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Dragons - the origin

hilary

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I'm sorry, I think of airborne alligators and for some reason can't help being reminded of this -

[video=youtube_share;yltlJEdSAHw]https://youtu.be/yltlJEdSAHw[/video]


However. That is a splendidly dragon-like alligator you have there. And Pankenier in Astrology and Cosmology in Early China, when he has finished explaining about the Dragon made of stars, adds some good information about the Yangtze alligators:
  • they were numerous, especially in the marshy regions in the east
  • their skin and bones were used to make drums, even in prehistory
  • ...and the drums were used to call the dragon to bring rain
  • they hibernate underground over winter, hunt and bask during the day in spring, become more nocturnal in summer. So their behaviour actually matches the movements of the constellation as well as echoing the seasonal round of ancient Chinese farmers.
 

charly

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... And Pankenier in Astrology and Cosmology in Early China, when he has finished explaining about the Dragon made of stars, adds some good information about the Yangtze alligators:
  • they were numerous, especially in the marshy regions in the east
  • their skin and bones were used to make drums, even in prehistory
  • ...and the drums were used to call the dragon to bring rain
  • they hibernate underground over winter, hunt and bask during the day in spring, become more nocturnal in summer. So their behaviour actually matches the movements of the constellation as well as echoing the seasonal round of ancient Chinese farmers.
Hi, Hilary:

I found this quote, I believe from the page 52 of Pankenier's book:

The question now arises, how early is it possible to document this focus on the astronomical function of the Dragon constellation? Although dragon motifs of many kinds are nearly ubiquitous in early Chinese Bronze Age art, their abstract, multifaceted depictions have long discouraged speculation about a naturalistic origin. Some art historians have considered the often “dragonitic” mask-like taotie images fanciful, a pure product of human imagination. Others,
on scant evidence, impute “shamanistic” significance to them (see the Sidebar on taotie).47 A few scholars have alluded to a more down-to-earth connection of the dragon with the endangered Yangtze alligator, Alligator sinensis.

In fact, the climate of north China where the dragon motif was widespread by the early second millennium BCE was much warmer and wetter than at present. Abundant textual and archaeological evidence shows that the alligator, together with the Asian elephant, rhinoceros, and other subtropical flora and fauna, were common in north China, especially in marshlands and swampy areas in the
east.49 Archaeological finds of polished alligator scales in Neolithic burials at Dawenkou and alligator skin drums containing alligator bones at Taosi, some five hundred kilometers from their customary range, attest to the presence of that creature in the eastern Yellow River drainage, and to the alligator’s importance in elite ritual and trade.

Throughout Chinese history, drumming was an essential feature of rites intended to induce the Dragon Spirit to deliver rain and may have simulated the alligator’s “thunderous” bellowing during the spring mating season.

Pankenier: «Astrology and Cosmology in Early China»
With some luck, seeable in Googe Books, look for «alligator».

Say that during spring the interests of Alligator Cinensis were not only hunting and basking but asl mating. I don't know what happened to the Celestial Dragon, but of course it also echoes «the seasonal round of ancient Chinese farmers»

Yours,

Charly
 

hilary

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Yes, that's the part I was summarising. When I looked up the alligators, other sources said they mated in summer rather than spring, so I left that bit out. I'm sure I've read (in association with 2.1) that for the ancient Chinese farmer 'mating season' was winter: something to do while you're shut up in your hut waiting for spring. So in that regard, human and alligator seasons don't coincide.

I don't know what the Celestial Dragon gets up to, either.
 

Tohpol

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Then there's also the idea that the dragons and serpents were a way to translate what was happening in the skies during various epochs which saw huge changes in the Earth and Heavens. In other words, cyclic appearances of comet swarms and fireballs which seem to manifest alongside enormous socio-cultural changes.

Dragons as Earth energy and dragons as Heavenly harbingers of planetary cosmic upheaval might have been re-interpreted as a yin-yang mythological mirror of sorts, which was then passed down through disjecta membra of language, imagery and iconography of all kinds.

A passage from Dragons, Memes, Culture and Evolution:

"...for every culture to have these shared myths, and legends with similar features, a very long time ago there was a common observation of some disastrous event. What kind of event could have been observable all over the world, disastrous and looking like a dragon? Two different kinds of astronomical event seem like candidates. A particularly bright comet passing close to the Earth, perhaps, early in human history, with a long glowing tail unfurling itself across the night sky for weeks on end, visible from every continent? We know from medieval records that comets were traditionally regarded as omens of doom, associated with predictions of cataclysms and plagues. They created horror and fear in people’s minds. Alternatively, an actual impact on the Earth by a large meteor would have been seen as a brilliant light streaking across the sky and would have been followed by an impact involving a vast explosion which flattened trees for miles, threw vast amounts of dust into the atmosphere and therefore perhaps altered the course of the seasons for a while. Many different legends (especially Slavic and European) mention the disastrous effects of dragon attacks. Myths tell that fire breathing monsters killed children, women and the elderly, ate domestic animals and burnt crops, gardens and forests. Failed harvests and lack of protein due to the inability to hunt would have caused widespread hunger and poverty. In turn, this would have caused numerous human deaths, especially among children, women and the elderly. Those lucky enough to survive would have told their children and grandchildren about those horrible times when the ‘dragon’ attacked."

And from Human Memories of the Doomsday Comet:

"... increasing numbers of scientists may be coming to see that the global theme of the Doomsday comet is not a figment of human imagination, but a universal memory yet to be deciphered. The recent Discover Magazine article "Did a Comet Cause the Great Flood?" discusses the research of Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Masse says of ancient petroglyphs depicting coiling serpents, "You can't tell me that isn't a comet." Masse concludes that, perhaps 5,000 years ago, a body three-miles wide smashed into the ocean off the coast of Madagascar. A watery cataclysm ensued, killing roughly eighty percent of the world's population."

I do think this theory has great mileage since it would have to be something truly momentous to imprint itself on the psychology of the mass mind right across the planet for thousands of years and with cultures entirely separated from each other in time and space.

Further reading:

Comets, dragons & prophets-doom
 

hilary

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Yes, in general, but that is not a Chinese dragon. A Chinese dragon does not bring disaster and doesn't breathe fire: it's a water-creature and brings rain.
 

charly

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Yes, that's the part I was summarising. When I looked up the alligators, other sources said they mated in summer rather than spring, so I left that bit out. I'm sure I've read (in association with 2.1) that for the ancient Chinese farmer 'mating season' was winter: something to do while you're shut up in your hut waiting for spring. So in that regard, human and alligator seasons don't coincide.

I don't know what the Celestial Dragon gets up to, either.
Hi, Hilary:

I don't know too much about alligators, I have read somewhere that they are docile creatures, but dangerous, can cause fatal injuries. I don't remember if Pankenier, Lewis or another told that in the old days even dragons were domesticable. I will try to look for the quotes.

About the mating season of ancient chineses farmers, of course they didn't watch tv, maybe they mate whenever they had a woman at hand. Mainly when they were married.

But the season for the youngs to get married, I was said, was the autumn although the season for courtship and mating, the «first hello» is what matters, was spring.

Maybe I'm wrong. Nobody's perfect!

All the best,

Charly
 

Tohpol

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Yes, in general, but that is not a Chinese dragon. A Chinese dragon does not bring disaster and doesn't breathe fire: it's a water-creature and brings rain.

Hmmm... But that's just a product of the same interchangeable Earth-heaven focus. Fire in the sky - Water on the Earth. Such "dragons" would "breathe rain," as a watery counterpart, mirroring its fiery companion in the heavens. And dragons are, after all, primarily concerned with POWER. Similarly, it is control over water, particularly its dramatic manifestations which is important, presumably in order to appease and prevent the anger of such Gods.

Think of it this way: if you had a Earth change or catastrophe from the heavens - whether meteors/fireballs, comet swarms, supervolcanoes or earthquakes - all of which hugely shape the human psyche - the cultural interpretations vary only in accordance with geography. If you had a settlement on the coast who had never seen a tsunami before how would they interpret such a phenomena during and after it wiped out all their neighbours and members of their families? Maybe there were enormous water spouts and water tornados striated with lightening connected to the sea and clouds; raging storms, rising water levels and floods the likes of which our ancient people had never witnessed before.

All of which redraws and reshapes the ecology of the land and in turn, the landscape of the mind. It would behoove them to create rituals and beliefs that would appease such a dragon and to honour its cyclic presence in oral traditions and imagery so that later generations would be forewarned, the message of which however, gets lost over time and we just think it's honouring Nature to give a bountiful crop or look after sailors. I think its root is much more than that.

Perhaps Chinese dragon mythology and most mythological interpretations go through a process of cultural embellishment based on a very deep-rooted wish to appease and make benevolent what are essentially earth-shattering events, anthropomorphized. Once our ancestors understood the nature of geological and meteorological disruptions and the huge problems that they brought in their wake then they looked to their leaders to protect them and do something about it. Isn't this the origin of the Divine King - interceding with the Gods on behalf of his people? Enter the creation of culture and its rituals and sacrifices to placate those earthly and heavenly deities. After all, we have an in-built disposition to seek refuge from the most mundane stress so imagine what brain switches are tripped when confronted with cataclysmic celestial and earth changes which are imprinted into the collective mind? Water and Fire Dragons would pretty much fit the bill as a perfect rendering from our super ancient ancestors.

Incidentally, I think this is the heart of the "Mandate of Heaven" and the dynastic cycle where the behaviour of rulers, the condition of the Earth and cyclic catastrophe are intimately related. But that's another story...
 

hilary

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Hi, Hilary:

I don't know too much about alligators, I have read somewhere that they are docile creatures, but dangerous, can cause fatal injuries. I don't remember if Pankenier, Lewis or another told that in the old days even dragons were domesticable. I will try to look for the quotes.
Yes, there is something in Pankenier about how in the old days the king employed dragon-keepers.
About the mating season of ancient chineses farmers, of course they didn't watch tv, maybe they mate whenever they had a woman at hand. Mainly when they were married.

But the season for the youngs to get married, I was said, was the autumn although the season for courtship and mating, the «first hello» is what matters, was spring.
I dare say alligators have a 'mating season' but humans manage to fill their whole year with a whole variety of 'mating seasons'. And this is why alligators didn't create the Shared Readings forum ;) .

Hmmm... But that's just a product of the same interchangeable Earth-heaven focus. Fire in the sky - Water on the Earth. Such "dragons" would "breathe rain," as a watery counterpart, mirroring its fiery companion in the heavens. And dragons are, after all, primarily concerned with POWER. Similarly, it is control over water, particularly its dramatic manifestations which is important, presumably in order to appease and prevent the anger of such Gods.
More hmmm - good soundtrack to this thread, lots of hmmm-ing and bellowing mating alligators... - is the celestial dragon moving through hexagram 1 primarily concerned with power? Or is it more to do with harmony and timeliness? True, the celestial dragon is the arbiter of what is timely, and that's certainly one definition of 'power', but there's a great deal more to it than that.
Think of it this way: if you had a Earth change or catastrophe from the heavens - whether meteors/fireballs, comet swarms, supervolcanoes or earthquakes - all of which hugely shape the human psyche - the cultural interpretations vary only in accordance with geography. If you had a settlement on the coast who had never seen a tsunami before how would they interpret such a phenomena during and after it wiped out all their neighbours and members of their families? Maybe there were enormous water spouts and water tornados striated with lightening connected to the sea and clouds; raging storms, rising water levels and floods the likes of which our ancient people had never witnessed before.

All of which redraws and reshapes the ecology of the land and in turn, the landscape of the mind. It would behoove them to create rituals and beliefs that would appease such a dragon and to honour its cyclic presence in oral traditions and imagery so that later generations would be forewarned, the message of which however, gets lost over time and we just think it's honouring Nature to give a bountiful crop or look after sailors. I think its root is much more than that.
Yes, to the absolute importance of cataclysms and dis-astrous omens in shaping people's thought.

And in China at least, the harmony of nature is every bit as important. Nature contains principles of order, it's woven round its own jing-threads, and human society needs to accord and resonate with those. When the natural world is out of harmony, so are we. (I get the impression that the causality of that - whether heavenly disorder caused human upheaval or vice versa - wasn't a settled thing, but the correlation certainly was.)

So there are forces for chaos and for harmony - and the dragon of hexagram 1 is a force for harmony. No doubt it has a few sources - the dragon that spends the winter in the mountain lake, the alligator-dragon - but the most important one is the dragon made of stars. This dragon flies across the sky in the same way and at the same time every year, bringing the rain and laying out a pattern for our work in the fields. It isn't capricious; it doesn't cause disasters. (There are plenty of other things to do that.) For a full account of this, with star charts and an explanation of what's happening in 2.6, see Pankenier's book.
...Incidentally, I think this is the heart of the "Mandate of Heaven" and the dynastic cycle where the behaviour of rulers, the condition of the Earth and cyclic catastrophe are intimately related. But that's another story...

...and one you can also read in detail in Pankenier. He points to a specific celestial phenomenon - an exceptionally tight clustering of the five visible planets - as signalling a change of mandate. The dates of this planetary grouping line up neatly with changes of dynasty. He also ties this in with the receiving of the Hetu and Luoshu diagrams... and really, you don't need my vague impressionistic version of this, you need the book. You'll enjoy it.
 

Tohpol

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More hmmm - good soundtrack to this thread, lots of hmmm-ing and bellowing mating alligators... - is the celestial dragon moving through hexagram 1 primarily concerned with power? Or is it more to do with harmony and timeliness? True, the celestial dragon is the arbiter of what is timely, and that's certainly one definition of 'power', but there's a great deal more to it than that.
Yes, to the absolute importance of cataclysms and dis-astrous omens in shaping people's thought.

And in China at least, the harmony of nature is every bit as important. Nature contains principles of order, it's woven round its own jing-threads, and human society needs to accord and resonate with those. When the natural world is out of harmony, so are we. (I get the impression that the causality of that - whether heavenly disorder caused human upheaval or vice versa - wasn't a settled thing, but the correlation certainly was.)

More hmmm-like musings... I suppose what I'm describing is that in that "absolute importance" of periodic earth-cosmological changes I'm not implying that it quoshes all other related symbolism. Only that such cyclic and often global phenomena were the root cause of its development and trajectory of subsequent mythology, becoming a many layered and complex medium of archetypal communication. I see the Dragon as representative of both harmony and chaos since they are two sides of the same coin and you can only embody and/or offer appeasement (thus harmony) or rejection (thus chaos) through that human interaction with nature and the cosmos. I suppose in that sense, when a planet or a person has reached such a point of imbalance that a shift is needed, such a temporary chaotic state can be seen as re-establishing new pathways to harmony. Perhaps the Dragons are seen from that dualistic perspective?
So there are forces for chaos and for harmony - and the dragon of hexagram 1 is a force for harmony. No doubt it has a few sources - the dragon that spends the winter in the mountain lake, the alligator-dragon - but the most important one is the dragon made of stars. This dragon flies across the sky in the same way and at the same time every year, bringing the rain and laying out a pattern for our work in the fields. It isn't capricious; it doesn't cause disasters. (There are plenty of other things to do that.)

It may not cause disasters but such mythological creatures can be its watery or fiery symptoms, not least the later portents to keep one's eye on the seasonal ball... To think that the root inception of the Dragon only represents the seasonal, rhythmic and repeatable may not be necessarily true. The initial spark of such a mythology - rather than how it was subsequently seen - may have been rooted in the unpredictable and anomalous as much as its predictability as a precise descriptor of Nature and the human-Cosmic connection.
For a full account of this, with star charts and an explanation of what's happening in 2.6, see Pankenier's book.
...and one you can also read in detail in Pankenier. He points to a specific celestial phenomenon - an exceptionally tight clustering of the five visible planets - as signalling a change of mandate. The dates of this planetary grouping line up neatly with changes of dynasty. He also ties this in with the receiving of the Hetu and Luoshu diagrams... and really, you don't need my vague impressionistic version of this, you need the book. You'll enjoy it.

Interesting - I'll have a look thank you.
 
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Trojina

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For myself I think dragons were dragons. I mean who is to say they didn't exist. They may not have been invented by the human mind at all.
 

Trojina

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I mean by and large people do not/did not see in the sky, in the constellations what did not exist on earth. The only zodiac sign not on earth for example is Sagittarius the centaur. In the skies were seen bears, horses, crabs...earthly things. So in order to see a dragon in the constellation they must already have had an idea of what a dragon looked like.. I don't wholly buy any of the ideas so far about the origin of the Chinese dragon since I think the origin of the Chinese dragon was the dragon somewhere back in time.
 

charly

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... I don't wholly buy any of the ideas so far about the origin of the Chinese dragon since I think the origin of the Chinese dragon was the dragon somewhere back in time.
Hi, Trojina:

Some authors think that the real dragon somewhere back in time was the Yangtse Alligator, not still extiguished although in danger.

Dragon meant THE POWER OF SIGHT, maybe even in early China.

Of course, the alligator is powerful and has a scary sight. An attibute cultivated by shamans and kings, people of powerful sight. Scary people even when protective or benevolent, lords of life an death.


Dragon_Power_of_Sight.jpg

Can download the complete poster of The Chinese Sky here:
http://idp.bl.uk/downloads/chineseskywallchart.pdf

For westerners DRAGON shares etymology with DRACULA (Love at First Glance):

Annex-Lugosi-Bela-Dracula_04.jpg

Dracula just about biting tender meat.
Source: http://vamped.org/2014/11/30/vampire-films-bela-lugosi/
Quoted here: http://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/frie...Book-of-Jokes-and-Riddles&p=218483#post218483

All the best,

Charly
______________________________________________
P.D.:
In China there is a fruit known as «Eye of Dragon»
Ch.
 

heylise

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Bradford, thanks! I didn’t realize that there were often found “examples” of dragons. Looking a lot like the alligators and yet different. Bigger, more impressive.
I don't know too much about alligators, I have read somewhere that they are docile creatures, but dangerous, can cause fatal injuries. I don't remember if Pankenier, Lewis or another told that in the old days even dragons were domesticable.
Yes, there is something in Pankenier about how in the old days the king employed dragon-keepers.
I don’t think anyone would dream of ‘domesticating alligators’. But keeping them, yes. Nowadays by criminal bigshots. There are enough video’s on youtube about how to handle alligators, and it always involves tons of muscle and daring. They are not nice, but as the sign of the beginning of the rains or other beneficent times people did appreciate them.
The Western dragon is a completely different animal. It is a symbol of the maiden (or her parents) denying the young man the access to her bed. A firespitting hopefully-stepmother dragon. The dragon guards her virginity, and the young man has to slay the dragon first.

- is the celestial dragon moving through hexagram 1 primarily concerned with power? Or is it more to do with harmony and timeliness? True, the celestial dragon is the arbiter of what is timely, and that's certainly one definition of 'power', but there's a great deal more to it than that.

And in China at least, the harmony of nature is every bit as important. Nature contains principles of order, it's woven round its own jing-threads, and human society needs to accord and resonate with those. When the natural world is out of harmony, so are we. (I get the impression that the causality of that - whether heavenly disorder caused human upheaval or vice versa - wasn't a settled thing, but the correlation certainly was.)
… the dragon of hexagram 1 is a force for harmony.
Hex.1 is all about timing and man having to live in harmony with the time. Heaven’s clockhand is the big dipper, and the dragon constellation moving along with it.
I suppose in that sense, when a planet or a person has reached such a point of imbalance that a shift is needed, such a temporary chaotic state can be seen as re-establishing new pathways to harmony. Perhaps the Dragons are seen from that dualistic perspective?
I agree that big disasters or other important events are an origin of myths, but I think in the case of the dragon it was everyday life with its good and bad times which caused the myth of the alligator – and then dragon – as time-giver. A crop failure was a huge disaster back then, often erasing complete families, and many people were chronically close to it every day of their life. There are lots of almanacs in China with advice for the right time of sowing or harvesting and everything else connected with farming. But seeing in your own surroundings that the alligators wake up and knowing this is the moment for – whatever has to be done now. It is extremely important to have this connection with nature, survival depends on it.
For myself I think dragons were dragons. I mean who is to say they didn't exist. They may not have been invented by the human mind at all.
People found dragons – look at the picture Bradford posted. No need to invent them. But I still think the behavior of the alligators were the origin of the connection with water-bringers.
For westerners DRAGON shares etymology with DRACULA
Dracula is the myth of the vampires, which started after a huge epidemic of rabies in Hungary. Infected people got a need to bite, caused by the virus in their brain, and oversensitivity to light (water, mirrors, sunlight). The bite passed the disease on to the victim. Vampires got associated with the bats which bit cattle and other animals at night, sucking their blood.
 

heylise

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Alligators look a lot more like dragons than a bat looks like Bela Lugosi. But the vampires originate from a quite small animal, biting a fox - biting a dog - biting a human - biting other humans. So a worldwide myth can start like this.

Pankenier page 67-68
Thus there is abundant evidence to suggest that the dragon ranked high in the pantheon of spirit entities revered by those early Bronze Age Chinese. The behavioral characteristics of the Chinese alligator suggest the reason why. Today, this Yangtze alligator is so called because it lives almost exclusively in or near the Yangtze River. They are denizens of swampland, which explains their gradual retreat southward as a result of the growing aridity of the north over the past three millennia. A noteworthy characteristic of their behavior is that during the winter they hibernate in underground burrows to conserve energy, emerging in spring to hunt during the warmth of the day. During the summer, in contrast, they switch to a nocturnal schedule. Like the peasantry, they store up caloric reserves from March through October to see them safely through winter hibernation. It can hardly be a coincidence that the seasonal behavior of this intimidating and sometimes aggressive creature is a perfect analog of the Dragon constellation's behavior and the seasonal activity of the late Neolithic and Three Dynasties farmers.
It is fun to find something like this, fun to make a page about it, but lots of fun when a discussion starts. Thanks everyone!
 

Trojina

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People found dragons – look at the picture Bradford posted. No need to invent them. But I still think the behavior of the alligators were the origin of the connection with water-bringers.

:confused: I don't see that as a dragon
 

heylise

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Not even this image is a dragon?? Or at least looking like one? It has no wings, but a regular Chinese dragon has no wings (one later kind does). It has all the rest.

I agree about the prehistoric dragons, that they must have known about them. In all times they dug up dragon bones. Part of them were turtle carapaces and other bones used for divination, but as far as I know, there were also dynosaur-bones and the like. Maybe even back then already complete skeletons, who knows.

The dragon is not identical to the alligator, even though the alligator might be the inspiration. Like a bat is not a vampire like the kind in the stories (though there are bats called vampire bat). And a normal snake is not an Ouroboros, biting its tail.
 

charly

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Dragon Reborn
Alligator Sinensis

THE ONLY OTHER ALLIGATOR SPECIES IN THE WORLD is the Chinese Alligator. These small, harmless reptiles once inhabited much of East China but by the turn of the 20th. century there were just a handful of them left on one tiny part of the inmense floodplain of the Yangtze River. They survive in a few village ponds separated by miles of rice paddies and cornfields, so they weren't breeding anymore...

Vladimir Dinets: Dragon Songs: Love and Adventure among Crocodiles, Alligators, and Other Dynosaur Relations

Preview available at Google Books: https://books.google.com.ar/books?i...OAhVLGZAKHWrHC0YQ6AEIVDAF#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ch.
 
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hilary

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Is there any more to that than the picture?
You can right-click on the picture (in Chrome) and search for it in Google - and then take the page results to Google translate. This one has been hibernating for 180 million years.
 

Trojina

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Not even this image is a dragon?? Or at least looking like one? It has no wings, but a regular Chinese dragon has no wings (one later kind does). It has all the rest.

Well in hexagram 1 the dragon does fly in the heavens so it seems important to me it has wings yes.

In ancient Chinese is the word for alligator the same as the word for dragon ?



The dragon is not identical to the alligator, even though the alligator might be the inspiration. Like a bat is not a vampire like the kind in the stories (though there are bats called vampire bat). And a normal snake is not an Ouroboros, biting its tail.

I don't myself feel the alligator was inspiration for the dragon. I will be buying you a pet alligator though so watch your mail box
 

charly

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... I don’t think anyone would dream of ‘domesticating alligators’. But keeping them, yes...

The Western dragon is a completely different animal. It is a symbol of the maiden (or her parents) denying the young man the access to her bed...

Dracula is the myth of the vampires, which started after a huge epidemic of rabies in Hungary. Infected people got a need to bite, caused by the virus in their brain, and oversensitivity to light (water, mirrors, sunlight). The bite passed the disease on to the victim. Vampires got associated with the bats which bit cattle and other animals at night, sucking their blood.
Dear LiSe:

Chinese alligators are tall like 40 kg. dogs and little aggressive if not during the mating season, they eat moluscs, fishes, rats or ducks, almost like humans or foxes. Maybe more dangerous is a man for another man that a chinese alligator to a man.

Of course, they are scary people. The watery habitat make of them YIN beings, even more, the courtship ritual is innitiated by the females.

They have in common with humans and draculi the taste for tender meat (see Bela Lugosi). If one can avoid to be biten by a tiger (see the Changes) then can avoid to be biten by a chinese alligator.

Another diference with westerners the chinese dragon doesn't deny people the access to another's bed. Maybe they mark the time when duty calls.

All the best,

Charly
 

bradford

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Is there any more to that than the picture?
No- I just figured that in an agricultural society in a land full of dinosaur bones, somebody must have dug up something big and scary like that and either attached it to the idea of dragons or else formed the first picture of dragons from it.
 

hilary

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Trojina - Chinese dragons don't have wings. They can fly without them.

Why don't I get a pet alligator? :hissy:
 

heylise

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More hmmm-like musings... I suppose what I'm describing is that in that "absolute importance" of periodic earth-cosmological changes I'm not implying that it quoshes all other related symbolism. Only that such cyclic and often global phenomena were the root cause of its development and trajectory of subsequent mythology, becoming a many layered and complex medium of archetypal communication.

... To think that the root inception of the Dragon only represents the seasonal, rhythmic and repeatable may not be necessarily true. The initial spark of such a mythology - rather than how it was subsequently seen - may have been rooted in the unpredictable and anomalous as much as its predictability as a precise descriptor of Nature and the human-Cosmic connection.
Many myths have a huge disaster as their origin. The myth of the big flood is a worldwide example of it. But those are not the kind of myths which are celebrated each year. The dragon with its cycle has many celebrations in China, because it belongs to everyday life, year-round. The myth of the flood is told as stories or part of sacred books.

We have celebrations connected with events from the past, like Christmas or Easter. But originally they were celebrations of the yearly cycle. The return of the light at midwinter, the start of spring at spring equinox. We still have the tree and the bunny from ages ago, long before the myth of the savior. The dragon myth is also a myth of people’s own life, of their efforts to survive and their knowledge of nature.

Hilary said “Nature contains principles of order, it's woven round its own jing-threads, and human society needs to accord and resonate with those.” The myths of the cycle of nature have to do with those threads, with nature’s rhythm. That is not a small thing, actually more important through the ages than a big flood. We live in cities, but back then everyone was in the middle of nature without any SS to get through bad years.

I love those "small" myths which don't grow big in size like a disaster, but big in meaning because they happen year after year through eons. They are the real story of the roots we still share with the people back then, with our own origin. They connect me again with nature.
 

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