Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Dragon and the Damsel

We all know the story or are familiar with a variant of the theme. Brave knight fights the dragon to save the damsel in distress. On the surface this could be, merely, read as a bit of a macho man thing, striding in, slaying the beast and saving the defenceless woman. I like to look at it differently.

Stories like this always fascinate me because they deserve a little more attention than we sometimes afford them. Plus, they have always bugged me a little because I could not help feeling the old dragon, not to mention the damsel, got a raw deal.

I was reading a few books recently about the limbic part of our brain. It was referred to as our lizard brain, because it consists of the oldest and most primitive part of the brain.

Possibly, the part that generates dreams, it is concerned with basic drives, connected to the nervous system and has an emotional aspect to it. It would take too long to describe its full make up here. The point being that Lizard, Serpent and Dragon really represent the same thing. So we have a starting point with our story: the dragon may represent the lizard part of our brain.

So why do we need to “slay” it.

This caused a few problems for me. I have spent a lot of time seeing the need for us to develop and listen to this very aspect of our minds. As humans we spend too much time in our rational, cerebral mind and suppress a lot of what the cerebellum creates for us. Recently, I realised that, maybe, the Lizard/Limbic and the Cerebellum are not quite identical, or that there two sides to this portion of the brain too. It is the fearful, selfish, spoilt child part of us, the do as I please, want things my way, throw the toys out of the pram aspect in each of us…a shadow side to the cerebellum’s creative, nurturing aspect which is the part that has the potential to give birth to dreams and creativity.

So, perhaps, the dragon represents this shadow aspect. It does not have to be slain but it does have to be tamed. This is done with the rational, organising, logical aspect of our brain; the cerebral, thinking part. Rational thought, logic, etc, are qualities often attributed to the male, or masculine energy. The masculine aspect of the brain, in other words: The brave knight.

So, why does he save the Damsel?

We have already brushed upon it. The emotional and creative aspect of the cerebellum, where ideas and creativity are born and nurtured. These can be seen as feminine attributes. The damsel is a woman and a woman can bring forth new life. The damsel in the story is the positive manifestation of the limbic system that needs to be separated and rescued from the negative aspect (the dragon) by the cerebral aspect of the mind (the knight). Once the cerebellum is protected from the dragon of selfishness, fear, anxiety, stagnation and denial, the damsel of nurturing, creativity and love can be unchained.

This is just an interpretation and one I am not entirely content with from the point of view that it still has the Dragon as a negative, unwanted aspect.

Personally, I think Dragon mythology is a positive theme, particularly when understood in reference to Earth energies but, perhaps, that is a subject for a future post.


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competition or collaboration

I heard a story recently. it may be factual, it may be untrue but it has a sort of mythological energy to it.

Dinosaurs where, on the whole, either carnivores or herbivores. Herbivores tend to group together, the same is true today with mammals. The story goes that certain species of herbivores collaborated, not just with eachother but with other types of herbivore. Those with keen eyesight keeping lookout, those with heavy armour were ready to protect the group, those that were good at knocking down vegetation to eat leaving enough for the other herbivores to consume.

The carnivores existance was very different. Theirs was a kill or be killed world. Each day an individual struggle to survive. Not only would they hunt the herbivores, they would pretty much kill and eat anything they could, including their own species, their own young. Even their own kind were potential competiton rather than potential companions. You do not want the old or the disabled living, they just use up resources that would, eitherwise, be yours (unless someone beats you to it..better rush). Anyone different is a potential threat, best remove them. Carnivore society is a pretty bigoted place to exist.

It may not be true but, there in a nutshell, you have the two ways humans can organise society. Give it names if you want but certain tags have connotations created by paranoia, propoganda, et al, and I do not wish to use them. The bottom line is which would you choose as the society you wish to live in, to bring your children up within. I guess a few strong alpha males out there would choose to live like the carnivore, be top dog. You only get to be that for a brief, brutal while though; always someone bigger, younger, quicker on the draw coming along, unless you get them first..but you get old and then someone replaces you and you are left to die. Basing a society on the carnivore model is a nasty, rat race existance: yet, it seems to be the one that most of the world chooses, which is odd. On the whole, art and culture spring from a herbivore way of doing things; support, patronage, mutual respect and assistance. Competition or Collaboration, I know which one I prefer.

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