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David Arthur Walters

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Approaching the Dragon
By David Arthur Walters
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2006
Last edited: Monday, November 27, 2006
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Beware of Dragon Breath

Approaching the Dragon

Few people are conscious of the existence of real dragons and the grave danger they pose for human life when wrongly approached. Dragons are not extinct yet. We ignore them except in fantasy and dreams because we unconsciously know how dangerous they are and how to avoid them by denying their existence. But at least a slight acquaintance with them should be regularly maintained for our own safety.

On the positive side, dragons bring wisdom and longer, healthier lives to those who deliberately look for them and approach them rightly. However, if dragons are completely ignored, all hell will break loose on Earth. Therefore do a little bit of the right thing. At least take a peek now and then. Seek and you shall see. But of course do not ignore your limits in the process.

Dragons must be approached with extreme caution, and never, never with intent to slay, for that will cause widespread natural devastation and even worldwide war. Always remember that anyone who sees the dragon in its entirety will surely drop dead from that cause alone. Therefore, if the dragon is in heaven, one must lower his eyes to Earth; if the dragon is on Earth, one must raise his eyes to heaven. Yet do get a glimpse of a dragon. Hardly anyone looks up and down for dragons anymore, for scarcely anyone believes in the real dragon. Let us save a dragon rather than slay one, and make prudent approaches bearing sufficient sacrifices, for if a dragon is starved by neglect, it shall leap unexpectedly out of its bounds to needlessly devour millions of humans as if they were livestock fattened for its consumption.

The awful truth about the sublime dragon is that it cannot remain forever slain: it will always arise somehow from its own rotting flesh or from its elements however scattered, whether burnt or buried. Nor can the fiery red dragon coming from the South be bound underground in some freezing, bottomless black pit up North long enough to starve. At the very moment it is adjudged extinct, the metallic white mice of the darkness ascending in the West will chew through its fetters and release it to the woody green wild in the East, for the dragon must inevitably return to its center in the yellow soil.

The sincere seeker may fail to recognize the dragon because it takes on various forms. Many so-called experts believe the dragon does not exist in any shape or form, but the wise know they are sorely mistaken. Therefore take heed that to the extent we disparage the real dragons, or fail to give  them reverent regard after taking the appropriate precautions, we shall by our neglect be diminished accordingly - note the high incidence of suicide and bankruptcy due to gambling amongst so-called experts who deny dragons, not to mention miscarriages and bicycling accidents.

There are a multitude of contemporary references to the dragon. For the most part, the modern draconic state is a relatively discombobulated state of affairs consisting of inconsistent allusions to the real thing. In the popular arena, we have the auspicious dragon rising in the East, quiet nice to the Asian community, but when it sets in the West, it is the pernicious dragon heroes fancy slaying. The most "evil" Western dragon is sometimes called Satan! Hence the present decadence and decline of the West.

Our children do enjoy some of the traditional dragon lore, but its popularity is waning in favor of a motley assortment of postmodern monsters supplanting not only the dragon but the mundane old Mesozoic dinosaurs as well. Yes, adolescents have their dragon games. And there is a plethora of virtual dragons on the Web, not only for the entertainment of kids but for the otherwise young at heart. But such will not suffice, for entertainment is hardly a full education; the genuine dragon is not to be toyed with.

Less well known are the obscure dragon of the mythologist, the romantic dragon of the poets and literary scholars, and the occult dragon of the mystics. The esoteric dragons are the spiritual aspects of the dragon that is getting awfully hungry for red meat. We must for our own safety address its ravenous appetite.

Further, since the dragon is can be a powerful friend or foe notwithstanding our race, religion, gender, or geography, it behooves us to inquire further into the nature of the beast, for appearances can be disastrously deceiving! A mere sidelong glance from carefully averted eyes simply will not do in desperate situations, for the appearances and disappearances of the dragon have a crucial bearing on life and death, and if we do not get a glimpse of one we are doomed. On the other hand, be reminded that a full view can result in death. Therefore due regard at a safe distance is called for.

How may we recognize a dragon when we see one? What are its physical characteristics? The ultimate beast appears in its various draconic forms as assorted conglomerations of the features of diverse animals including but not limited to the snake, lizard, crocodile, rooster, bat, eagle, lion, cat, ass, horse, fish, shark, whale, elephant, man sometimes, and so on and so forth up and down the Animal Kingdom.

One does not have to know probability theory to reckon that fantasy makes possible an extraordinary number of improbable combinations of animal characteristics. A very complex society of types could be organized therefrom, provided that diverse peoples could agree on their respective objective references. Yet all draconic combinations usually have a reptilian characteristic, that of the Worm or serpent - in fact, according to a strict definition, a dragon is a kind of serpent. That does not, however, detract from the dragon's magical ability to take the form, for example, of a cloud, or of a mountain creeping up the side of a mountain like a Polynesian lizard; or to appear in some other monstrous form by legitimate or illegitimate descent, perhaps as a hound of hell, or as a shark with legs.

According to some informed sources, the Worm is the essential feature of the dragon, whether that feature is apparent or not. As strange as it may seem, an anonymous evolutionist has identified man with the Worm. According to his theory, when he says, "Man is a worm," he really means it and deems man wise thereby. He argues that the great wise Worm evolved into a rat, which further developed its brain for the efficient conduct of covert night operations. This creature eventually emerged through various and sundry forms into broad daylight, then evolved up the food chain until it became the she-dragon Apollo slew in yet another dichotomous sequel of the prehistoric battle between the sexes and divorce pursuant to the cosmic prenuptial agreement. In gnostic quarters, the god-man is referred to as a dragon, as was the emperor of China.

The dragon may also take the form of a incorporated global conglomerate with far-flung facilities organized into seamlessly integrated units, fully functional on a stand-alone basis at the most advantageous locations - this all due to the continuous improvement of just-in-time innovations. As the draconic conglomerate interfaces with its various environments through it branches, multiple dragons emerge with various combinations of paws, claws, fins, fangs, tongues, tails, legs, wings, horns, hooves, arms, legs, eyes, the ever-present trunk, beards, manes, et cetera. It is important to note here that the number of heads a dragon has depends on its system of government. Now then, the foregoing facilities naturally perform their attendant functions, such as fly, swim, creep, crawl, claw, paw, bite, puncture, ram, smash, crush, sweep with the tail, think, breath fire, speak in tongues, give the evil eye, inseminate with foam, shred, dismember, to mention a few.

The basic features of the dragon serve its purposes well, as we can observe in its major pastimes. The dragon is, for example, the ultimate consumer and producer, the very embodiment of creative destruction, of life feeding on death - it is certainly not a vegetarian. It is renowned for stealing cattle and eating them raw or cooked -  the dragon breaths fire. But the great devourer's ravenous greed is not limited to consumable commodities. For the dragon when not guarding treasure steals symbols of immortality in their most treasured forms, such as gold, platinum, silver, precious jewels, stocks, bonds, bills of exchange, modern fiat currency, postmodern digital mana, women as currency and as symbols of private property relations, conquest and love, taxes, glory on the battlefield or in politics, in court, in literature, and in other professions; and all the other accouterments, physical and abstract, that purchase eternal life for the powerful, whether by virtue of wealth or fame, in heaven and hell, or on earth by means of inheritance and descent.

Yes, the dragon snatches wealth and fame, the temporal symbols of immortality, thus it is the world's foremost guardian of inedible treasure, kept in its cache at its lair. Yet, although ferociously guarded, there is a slim chance for stolen fame and fortune to be regained, at least for awhile. Like the man keeps saying, "Las Vegas is holding my money for me." Note well here that Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, often appears with a wheel of fortune and with a griffin to guard it - the griffin is cousin to the dragon. Our ambiguous dragon is the guardian, then, of the gate to heaven as well as to hell. That is, a person might have to go through hell to get to heaven: an enormous cataclysm, or a fiery purification precedes utopia - at the end of the Stoic cosmic cycle, for instance, the entire cosmos goes up in flames. Some roads to hell are paved with auspicious signs: Cerberus, who is descended from the dragon, the snake-adorned guard dog at the gate of hell, is friendly to all who enter hell but is trained to let no one out.

Furthermore, the dragon has been known to fly a son of heaven to heaven after the son has been duly purified of everything mundane by virtue of his sacrificial offerings. And, on the return trip, the dragon may fly over a woman and impregnate her by means of dragon foam mysteriously emitted from its mouth, at least in children's stories. Hence the dragon is also the guardian of the Golden Egg, the golden mean between complementaries that seem to be contraries. But from this egg might be hatched the dragon-emperor or -empress, a cosmic cockatrice who can kill by means of a deadly glance - only the serpent who hatched this ominous creature can answer the perennial question, Which came first, the chicken, or the egg?

Many men abhor such puzzles, preferring to avoid the sphinx who is eating up the community one be one. They dislike ambivalence and ambiguity. In ultimate matters as well as in trivial ones they require some sort of decisive dualism to motivate them along a certain course of action. They tend to believe their course is certain and the only right one; one that is, if vigorously challenged, diametrically opposed to the alternatives, which are necessarily evil. Therefore, in the interest of keeping their peace, men will, under certain circumstances, kill each other or their wives for almost nothing in comparison to the almost infinite number of alternatives. And, when assembled by the need for universal identity, they may murder millions of the disagreeable, evil ones over what may seem to be a trivial difference to an alien from, for example, Mars. Other men meet, in most tragic fashion, the very gruesome dismemberment they sought to avoid by keeping well within the confines of the city walls upon which is perched the terrifying dragon.

Finally, do not ignore of insult the dragon. Approach the oracle where the original egg is harbored, guarded by the dragon, bearing your finest treasures as gifts.

To Be Unexpectedly Continued Somewhere Else



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