3.07: Dragon Legends

[Randy Cerveny]


Taken from Man, Myth and Magic (volume 5, pages 693-4):

"The most striking of these is that the dragon in China is not, as in the West, a representative or symbol of the powers of evil. On the contrary, according to the old Chinese Book of Rites, the dragon as the chief of all scaly animals is one of the four benevolent spiritual animals. This reflects the general principle stated by Jung that 'every psychological extreme secretly contains its own opposite,' which is expressed in Chinese thought through the classical doctrine of Yang and Yin. That this principle underlies the dragon's transformation into a beneficent being is confirmed by Wang Fu's statement that the dragon's scales number 117, of which 81 are imbued with Yang and 36 with Yin, because the dragon is partly a preserver and partly a destroyer. Yang is also the male element and, as its representative, the dragon also became at an early period a symbol of the Emperor, and appeared on the Chinese flag. During the Manchu dynasty, the dragon was held in especial esteem, and everything used by the Emperor was described in terms of it: there was the dragon throne, dragon bed and so on.

"Although Chinese dragons appeared at favorable moments to presage periods of prosperity, and had been known to emit foam which had supernatural powers of fertilization, they could also, when offended or disturbed, cause a drought by gathering up all the water of a district in baskets, or they could eclipse the sun. To propitiate them, the Chinese flew dragon kites, especially at the mumming parade in the New Year."

The parallels with Rand and LTT are obvious.