The dragon is a highly complex symbol, combining images of the serpent and the bird, two loaded images in isolation. Together, they form one of the most powerful monsters dating back to antiquity. The dragon is a symbol of evil, in both the chivalric and Christian traditions. In the Orient, it symbolizes supernatural power, wisdom, strength, and hidden knowledge. In most traditions, it is the embodiment of chaos and untamed nature. It is associated with the depths of the unknown sea, with the mountaintops, and with the clouds. Heroes typically fight ("slay") dragons to gain control over territory; dragons are also usually guardians of a treasure,whether it be material (as in GOLD) or symbolic (as in knowledge). Killing the dragon is the conflict between light and darkness, slaying the forces of evil.
It has many correspondences: in psychology it is a fear of incest, or the chaos
of the unconscious, evil. In ALCHEMY
it relates as one of the many names of prime matter. In Blake it represents
sex and war, and in Yeats it is a guardian of life. Dragon blood is a talisman,
ensuring good fortune, health and luck, can inflict incurable wounds if weapons
are dipped in it.
Click the dragon above to return to the painting of St. George and the Dragon, or click here to learn more about Visual Symbolism.
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