Category Archives: dragons

History of Dragons: The Evil Part of Man?

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I watched a great documentary the other day about Dragons on the History Channel. It was different because it explored the scientific and historical findings that lead through civilizations. From Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Carthage, Scandinavia, China and Japan through the Middle Ages, across the ocean into Mexico with the Olmecs and Aztecs who performed human sacrifice to appease their dragon deity to Native North Americans and present day the basic concept of the dragon has endured throughout millennia.

The first evidence of dragons appeared in Mesopotamia 6000 years ago when the first written records were made. In this myth a good dragon, Marduk, slays the evil dragon, Tiamat, and uses the carcass to create all of the elements necessary for creation of the world. The question is why a dragon? Where did this concept originate? Why not a bear or wolf?

It went on to show the many civilizations that have used the various images of the dragon on pottery vessels, jewelry, facades, statuary, weaponry. They all contained similar characteristics; wings, large maw with massive teeth, horns atop the head, horn or beard below the chin, long tail, scales and clawed feet. Whether the image was Chinese with the elongated, sinewy body or European with a stout muscular shape, the main characteristics remained. One aspect that did vary greatly was personality. The European or Western dragons were always destructive and called evil. The Chinese or Eastern dragons are benign and revered.

The Imperial Chinese had an order in their government established by the number of claws on the dragon’s foot. Only the emperor could wear the image of a dragon with five claws. The Imperial Clan’s dragon had four claws and so on. They also believed that if the dragon flew eastward, toward Japan, he would lose claws. The Japanese believed that a dragon flying westward lost claws.

All societies have held a belief that dragons controlled water. In Japan the god of water is a dragon. Some held that dragons lived at the bottom of wells, lake and rivers thereby controlling the water supply. Some believe the Loch Ness creature could be a dragon.

Scientists conjecture that dragons may have been composed from three elements of which early man was deathly afraid; big cats, big snakes and big birds. Dragons share characteristics of each of these. A dragon’s head has a pointed snout full of teeth and large eyes, its neck is long and serpentine and it always has wings. It is also predatory.

While literature and myth portrayed the dragon as destructive and powerful, it wasn’t until the Catholic Church related the dragon to Satan in Revelations and the use of Gargoyles on the facades of Cathedrals that people began to identify them as evil and demonic. It was apparently the hope of the church leaders that this connection would scare people into trusting the church to save them from dragons, hence Satan. This was when such tales were born as St George and the Dragon or the Knights of the Roundtable. In all of these and more, virgin princesses were rescued from evil dragons by knights using swords. Anyone need that metaphor explained?

It is this aspect I have chosen to include in my book. I believe that dragons are symbolic and have always been part of man’s basic nature. They demonstrate parts of man that man wishes he had more of, like power and flight. They also demonstrate a part of man that he is afraid of in himself and wishes to slay. So we do it in literature. Whether evil exists in physical form or not the dragon is the perfect metaphor.

diablo as dragon

Diablo, Nefar

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Dragons -Real or Imaginary? Extinct? Actually a Dinosaur?

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Have you ever wondered whether dragons really existed at some time on Earth? I mean, if you take a good look at some of the newest dinosaur fossil finds it’s not that far a stretch to imagine that once upon a time those magnificent beasts soared over the hills and dales of our lands. After all, there are animals that once existed but are now extinct; like the Dodo bird, Irish Deer or Cave Bear.

Can’t you just imagine searching the skies for leviathan shadows before making a mad dash to the well for water to cook dinner or to visit your friend at the hut in the distance?  And if you were a sheep or cattle rancher, you pretty much figured a certain amount would go to the King of the Skies whenever he was hungry.

Or maybe they were completely benign, like antelope or lemurs. They raised their young on the craggy mountainsides, hunted wild creatures and left humankind alone. Or maybe they were wise and people sought them out for their wisdom, which would account for the piles of treasures they supposedly slept on top of (ouch?) and hoarded.

Why DID they hoard treasure? It’s not like dragons could go shopping at the local marketplace. What good did treasure do them? I guess that brings me back around to their being evil, right? Hoarding is greedy, greed is a sin, sinning is evil, therefore dragons are evil.  Sounds like good logic to me.

That must be why I chose dragons to represent demons in my book, Between the Dark and the Light: Vigorios for Alcedonia. They make great bad-guys! Dragons can have all sorts of looks. They can be Pokemon cute or Lord of the Rings horrifying or anything in-between.  My dragons are well-mannered, clean, shape-shifting demons, some of whom prefer to stay in their person-guise because of the attention they attract. Others prefer to remain as dragons because they enjoy being fierce and terrifying.

What kind of dragon do you prefer? Do you think dragons talked, if they existed? Should they talk in literature? Since mine are demons, they have to talk. Do you think dragons really shot fire? I can’t imagine a dragon without the fire feature – it would just be a dinosaur. Of course, they were pretty terrifying, too.

Which would you rather confront on a field, a dragon or a T-Rex? Why? Leave me a comment with your answer.

Dragons, Demons, Monsters and More

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For quite a while I’ve been contemplating starting a blog. But I kept thinking, “No one is interested in my thoughts.” But then I kept reading that as an author I should do this, so here goes. For over 20 years I’ve had a story running around my brain like a hamster on a wheel. I’d get up at 5:30 am and write a chapter, then go to school and teach my lovely 5th and 6th graders. This lasted for a few months then the chapters got put away in a file cabinet and forgotten. This was before computers and everything I did was handwritten. The funny thing is, what I finally wrought is in no way even related to what it started out as 20 years ago.

In the meanwhile, I started my own family by adopting a precious baby girl, so between being a new mommy and teaching, the writing took a far back seat. Then I had precious baby girl #2 and adorable baby boy #3. Still the writing sat in the file cabinet. Lastly, we adopted the final sweet baby boy #4 and shortly after that I retired from teaching permanently.

By that time, we were living in the countryside of North Florida and I was running a vacation rental business out of the log cabin on our property. So I took my computer to the cabin every morning after the school run and wrote and wrote. For 18 months I did this and out came child #5: The first book of a series called Between the Dark and the Light: Vigorios for Alcedonia Volume I.

I was a very proud Mama and immediately sent my baby off to a publisher so they could tell me what a wonderful thing I had birthed. But, of course, that’s not what happened at all. Instead, I spent the next 18 months rewriting, revising and editing to make it the truly wonderful story it is now.


For an excerpt from Between the Dark and the Light go to the excerpt page of this blog. Tell me what you think. Each post I’ll list a new chapter so subscribe and get a good idea if you like it, then buy the book!