Let there be Dragons

I’m guilty. I like dragons. I even have a character in Becoming Merlin, my next novel, and that character can shapeshift and become a Chinese or Western dragon. The choice is up to Merlin what he wants to be.

The Chinese Year of the Dragon was in 2012 and the next time dragons will arrive is 2024.

In Western culture, dragons have wings, spews flames, eats women and young children, and is often killed by knights in shining armor.  Even in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the dragon is a monster that terrorizes, kills and hoards gold.

But, in China, dragons are seldom depicted as evil.  To most Chinese, the dragon may be fearsome and powerful but the creature is often considered fair, benevolent, and the bringer of wealth and good fortune. Dragons also appear in ancient Chinese literature. In fact, Chinese dragons are considered wise too.

Instead of flying, Chinese dragons are seen as water creatures that live in lakes, rivers, and oceans. One-quarter of the night sky is called the Palace of the Green Dragon and the dragon constellation is said to predict rain. The dragon is also the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac.

When Buddhism arrived in China, dragon symbolism was adopted by that religion, and in Beijing, there is the famous Nine Dragon Screen as seen in the next video.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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