If You Are a Dragon… Stand Up!

I rarely post anything like this. However, I have the feeling this may bring comfort to readers feeling “too different” in a world that not only seems to aspire to conformity, but also dictate (often impossible) standards. That is a social virus that’s borne of — and spawns — deep self-hatred. It can strip us of our innate sense of faith, power and goodness.

In this world, we have so much in common. Focusing on the differences — in ways that divide rather than bond us — is so very sad.

If you are a monster, stand up.
….If you have been broken, stand up.
If you have been broken, abandoned, alone
If you have been starving, a creature of bone
If you live in a tower, a dungeon, a throne
If you weep for wanting, to be held, to be known,
Come stand by me.
If you are a savage, stand up.
If you are a witch, a dark queen, a black knight,
If you are a mummer, a pixie, a sprite,
If you are a pirate, a tomcat, a wright,
If you swear by the moon and you fight the hard fight,
Come stand by me.
If you are a devil, stand up.
If you are a villain, a madman, a beast,
If you are a strowler, a prowler, a priest,
If you are a dragon come sit at our feast,
For we all have stripes, and we all have horns,
We all have scales, tails, manes, claws and thorns
And here in the dark is where new worlds are born.
Come stand by me.
Catherynne Valente (author)

It’s time to revel in what makes us each as unique and beautiful as snowflakes. It’s time to find other outliers — those who will (perhaps quietly, at first) build and share our dreams. Dreams that inspire us to live better, happier, and more connected lives.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
Arthur O’Shaughnessy (poet)

Believe - fog and castle in background

image modified from and courtesy of GraphicStock.com

Meeting Faeries in Your Dreams

Faeries can be encountered in your dreams.  Sometimes it’s just a make-believe story — a typical dream* — in which you’re remembering a tale heard long ago… except that you’re in it.

The following article is from an answer to a reader’s question about some recurring dreams featuring frightening underwater creatures that seemed dangerous.

In my reply, I explain that the rules of the faerie world are different from ours.  Your belief in that realm — and what you believe — can affect your experiences there.  They may even affect the faerie realm that you’re in, in general.

Though it’s a reply to a specific reader’s question, the  following is what I recommend for anyone who is dealing with nightmares involving the fae world.

Mermaid, Nixie, Nix or Nixe - an underwater faerieDreams can be based on a forgotten story or even a genetic memory.  So, even if they seem vivid, you do not need to be afraid of them.

Underwater creatures with the teeth are part of several cultures’ faerie folklore.  The creature you described was probably a Nix, Nixe or a Nixie.  They’re the names of water spirits in Scandinavian, German and Swiss lore.

Each culture’s “Nixies” are a little different.  Many are beautiful, but a few are only disguised as beautiful women to lure humans to the water.

Most of them inhabit fresh water, but many have tails like mermaids in some reports.  So this kind of faerie may explain some mermaid encounters… but not all of them, of course.

As you can see, it’s possible that your dreams are triggered by some distant memories, or stories heard long ago.

However, even if it’s an experience in your past, in another realm or in a parallel reality, there is something that you can do about it.

Lady of the Lake presenting Excalibur to King ArthurFirst, read any book about King Arthur, and pay close attention to the Lady of the Lake in the stories.  She’s another version of a Nixie.

Then, remember that most faerie researchers — including me — are confident that what you believe about a faerie (and how much you believe it) has a definite effect on the faerie world.

So, if you realize — and believe — that you are able to transform into a benevolent Lady of the Lake, as in King Arthur’s stories, you can do so in your dreams.

The beautiful Lady of the Lake has inspired many writers, including Sir Walter Scott.  In his poem, he describes her:

With head upraised, and look intent,
And eye and ear attentive bent,
And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood, she seemed to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.

(A Naiad is yet another name for an underwater faerie or pixie.  Those stories come from Roman and Greek mythology.  As I often explain, this is why I think faeries are real: We see the same kinds of entities described across a wide range of cultures and distant lands.)

The Arthurian “Lady of the Lake” stories aren’t unique.  There is a Welsh faerie, the Lady of Little Van Lake.  She is not only beautiful and loving, but she’s also gifted with an understanding of herbs.  Her magickal cures are legendary.

Similar faeries have appeared in Somersetshire, in England.  Those stories are well-founded in history, and go back centuries.  They are real.

So, to help you shift the energy towards something beautiful — which might be beneficial to you in your waking life, as well — you might bring some houseplants into your bedroom.  Even artificial plants will be visual reminders of your potential powers to heal others, on many levels.

Create more beauty around your bed, so the last thing you notice before you fall asleep is something lovely.

The energy shift is important. It may not happen overnight, and the darker imagery may seem frightening and more intense as you consciously shift towards a more beautiful essence.  (That conscious work is called lucid dreaming.)

However, it might also be very easy for you to accomplish.  This varies from person to person.  The more you’re able to look at this as a quest in the faerie realm — a quest with important rewards — the easier it will be.

Also think of it like dealing with a toddler who’s having a temper tantrum.  The child may not want to stop fussing and being awful, but once you’re able to help him (or her)… well, the child is much happier as a nice person, enjoying the world around him (or her).

Just remember that you’re describing something that’s has real-world connections, and it can be affected by what you decide to do with the energy in the dreams.

This may take some practice.  It can be a trial-and-error experience, at first.  Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to make a positive difference.

However, by sending beautiful energy to yourself, your experiences and your world in those dreams, you can permanently change what’s going on in them.  Faerie research shows this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

*Dreams: I do not believe that all dreams are just fantasy or make-believe.

Like many people studying quantum effects, I think dreams may be real-life experiences in a parallel reality or alternate realm.  They’re opportunities to learn useful things.

So, in this article, I initially talk about the dream being make-believe, my advice also applies if the dream is a real encounter in a very real faerie realm.

Photo credit: Nick Yee, Mountain View, CA

Lady of the Lake illustration by N. C. Wyeth

A brief history of dragons

Bodium CastleThe history of dragons is not an easy subject.

Frankly, dragons appear in earliest recorded history. Nobody ever thought about where they came from, just as few people research where frogs come from. They just are.

However, there are few current stories about dragons, unless you include the Loch Ness Monster.

It’s sad that so many people think that dragons are just legends and fairy tales.

Until the early 20th century, people took dragons very seriously.

The earliest written tale of dragons may be the Sumerian/Babylonian/Mesopotamian creation legend, Enuma Elish, in which Mummu-Tiamat is sometimes represented as a dragon/goddess of the ocean or waters.

This story corresponds to the Bible account in Genesis 1:12 (NRSV) which mentions “sea monsters.” Dragons appear throughout the Bible, first as literal beasts in the Old Testament, and then as symbols of evil forces in the New Testament.

Dragons are mentioned steadily throughout written history, through the 20th century. In AD 67, Roman historian Octavus Livy described a battle that he had witnessed, involving a “leviathan” or dragon. Pliny the Elder mentioned dragons in his histories, too.

In the Dark Ages, generally prior to the 12th century, a dragon tormented Drachenfels, Germany and another was seen at Isle St. Marguerite in France. The latter dragon reportedly killed over 3000 people. He may be the same dragon as Drac, who lived in a cave near Beaucaire, France on the Rhone River.

The leading tale claims that St. Patrick banished both snakes and dragons from Ireland.

However, in the 11th century, Tristan reportedly killed a dragon to win the hand of Isolde in marriage, perhaps for his uncle Mark. During that same time, yet another dragon terrorized Kiev, Russia.

In 1222, two years after Henry III’s coronation, dragons were seen over London, England. At the time, the dragons were blamed for ravaging thunderstorms and the flooding which resulted. That is the same year that St. George’s Day became a National Holiday in England, named for the famous dragonslayer.

(Although St. George probably lived in the third and fourth centuries, his dragon tales were popularized far later, in 14th century England. According to a leading legend, he killed a dragon in Pagan Libya, and the entire town immediately converted to Christianity.)

We can find many dragons as we casually browse history:

  • Two dragons fought near Canterbury, England, with many witnesses in 1449.
  • A dragon was killed on Vatican Hill in Rome in 1669.
  • In 1942, the German U-boat Reichland reported a dragon-like sea serpent.

These accounts continue, far more than could be catalogued here. However, these tales follow one after another in steady succession, many with credible witnesses.

The most recent dragon lore may be the 1966 story of a British military unit practicing survival techniques in the Atlantic Ocean. According to this story–which may be urban legend–paratrooper John Ridgeway saw a huge, dragon-like sea serpent rise about him from the ocean.

However, this account may borrow from a more documented story from the VietNam war, involving an exchange between a soldier named Ridgeway and a helicopter called “Dragon.”

Regardless of the accuracy of individual dragon stories, the preponderance of evidence is surprising and almost overwhelming.

In the face of so much history, the bigger question is: Why don’t we believe in dragons today?

Learn more about dragons in my next article, Kinds of dragons

History of mermaids

Mermaids–and mermen–appear as consistently in history as faeries and dragons.

Like their “mythological” counterparts, mermaids were considered real until the early 20th century.

In fact, although we think of Disney’s Ariel when we hear the word “mermaids,” their actual history is ancient, well-founded, and–until recent years–treated as fact, not fantasy.

In this article series, we define the merfolk as people with a human upper body and a fishlike lower body. Mermaids and mermen appear in some of our earliest recorded history.

ancient vase with mermaid on itOver 7000 years ago, the Babylonians honored a merman called Ea, later named Oannes by the Greeks. This god of the sea had the upper body of a man and the lower body of a fish. He spoke to the people in their own language, and provided important knowledge in the arts and sciences.

Today, we are more familiar with his later Greek and Roman counterparts, Poseidon and Neptune, although only their descendants appear as mermen.

In Roman history, Neptune is a god of water. Neptune is the son of the god, Saturn. Neptune’s legends seem to have formed after the Greek Poseidon, and draw heavily from the Poseidon lore.

Poseidon, the god of the sea, was the son of Kronos and the brother of Zeus and perhaps Hades. When the world was divided, Zeus took the sky, Hades took the Underworld, and Poseidon took the seas. Although he is shown with a human body, Poseidon was able to live on land or under the sea.

Poseidon was also the father of Triton, one of the most famous mermen in history. Triton has the upper body of a man and lower body of a fish. In art, he is usually shown rising from the sea, blowing on a conch shell.

Triton’s mother was Amphitrite, queen of the sea and one of the fifty Nereids. Although Amphitrite is usually portrayed with a fully human form–so she is not a mermaid–in legend she, like Poseidon, was able to travel under the sea as easily as on land.

One of the earliest mermaids was Syria’s Atargatis, loosely related to Astarte and Aphrodite, and perhaps to Pisces. Sometimes–but not always–this goddess is portrayed with the lower body of a fish, relating to the cycles of the moon and the tides. She is also shown with a sheaf of wheat arched over her head, relating to a plentiful harvest.

Other early literature describes similar creatures, including sea nymphs and perhaps Sirens.

So, although Disney has given us a clear picture of a red-haired modern mermaid, the tradition of merfolk is an ancient one.

Photo credits:
Little Mermaid statue – John Nyberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

What mermaids look like

Similar to people, merfolk come in different colors and different sizes.

In one of the earliest written reports of modern times, the 1608 log of Henry Hudson described a mermaid on his second voyage. Two of his crewmen, Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner, saw her at about 71 degrees north in the Barrents Sea, near Norway.

On 15 June 1608, Hudson reported:

“…her skin was very white; and long haire hanging down behinde, of colour blacke; in her going downe they saw her tayle, which was like the tayle of a Porposse, and speckled like a Macrell.”

This mermaid was not simply a walrus that had been mistaken by men too long at sea. In fact, just a few days later, they reported seeing walruses; if there had been confusion about the mermaid, the log would have clarified the earlier report.

There are considerable legends claiming that all “mermaid” sightings were fanciful visions by lonely or drunk sailors, who mistook manatees, seals, walruses, or other sea creatures for mermaids.

Anyone who’s seen a manatee or walrus would raise an eyebrow at this explanation.

When we examine these tales more closely, we see mermaid reports by men of unquestionable reputation.

Also contrary to popular opinion, the majority of documented sightings took place in the 19th century, when people were far more skeptical than their earlier counterparts.

Regardless of the era in which the merfolk were sighted, their descriptions are consistent, within specific categories:

What mermaids look likeTiny merfolk – A small number of sightings report mermaids about the size of a well-fed three or four year old, or a figure approximately three feet tall. However, most accounts describe the merfolk in terms of adult human size.

Some have scales, some do not – Most reports are very specific about the mermaids’ lower bodies having scales, as in Hudson’s report above. However, some sightings are equally insistent that the mermaids were smooth, not scaled.

White merfolk – The majority of documented mermaid sightings refer to their skin as white, and often with very dark or black hair. The merfolk often have ruddy cheeks, and some accounts specifically mention blue eyes.

Green merfolk – Some references, including Ovid’s “green daughters of the sea,” speak of the mermaids and mermen having green skin. Others mention white skin but green hair, and/or green teeth or mouths.

Black or dark merfolk – Late 19th century sightings include mermaids with “dark complexions.”

These descriptions may seem diverse, but each type of mermaid has been seen repeatedly and over many centuries. We need to consider that “mermaid” may be a general terms for a broad category of beings who share only the general description of “part human, part fish.”

You may also be interested in the History of mermaids.

Photo credits
Seahorse – diko1967, Germany
Mermaid display at Harrod’s – Rajal Kanabar Ajai, Maharashtra, India