Dragons are powerful spiritual representations. They have a long history in many cultures around the world.
Whether dragons are four-legged, untamed beasts as they are depicted in Europe, or intelligent, wingless, serpent-like creatures in East Asia, they have always represented unapproachable power and strength.
No other mythological creature, regardless of its representation in different parts of the world, has been more powerful.
Dragons are revered creatures, and their spiritual aspect has deep significance. Some see dragons as evil, but some cultures see dragons as wise, powerful and strong.
The snakes are the main influence of dragons, so most of their appearance is due to this reptile. Like snakes, dragons are reptiles with scales and are usually conical, if not longer.
Snakes also represent cunning and mischief and are known for their ability to deceive. Clever dragons are often depicted in a similar manner. Like birds, dragons have wings and symbolize freedom.
Western dragons also have wings and use them as a bird would. Birds give dragons their powerful tails, which are used in flight or in physical combat. Dragons represent independence and, like cats, have distinctly feline features that symbolize it.
A dragon’s eyes are often slitted like a cat’s, and they stride and prowl in a similar manner. Although they are mythical, their animal-like behavior, in general, would be more cat-like than bird or snake-like.
In fact, dragons are a universal symbol of good luck. In Chinese culture, specifically, dragons are the highest ranking creature, as many temples and shrines are dedicated to them.
Dragons are so well known that there are nine types of them, including the earth dragon, wind dragon, fire dragon, water dragon, sea dragon, sky dragon, golden dragon, mountain dragon and celestial dragon. Dragons are also a symbol of strength, with qualities that accompany power: change, vitality, majesty and longevity.
Dragons can also represent a challenge or obstacle to overcome, as in ancient fables of heroes conquering dragons to protect or save what is important to them. As a beast, they use their intelligence to thwart the plans or goals of others.
In other words, a dragon can represent a challenge that you must overcome to achieve your personal goals.
Dragon Symbology in Different Cultures
In folklore and mythology, the dragon has been both a symbol of heroism and healing and a monster to be killed or tamed. Many myths from Europe, North and South America and Greek mythology depict dragons as greedy, hoarding treasure in their lair.
In Chinese folklore, if a dragon was seen living in a forest it was a source of medicine, and if there was ever a drought the dragon helped bring rain; in China, dragons are known as rain givers.
There is also a belief in China that a dragon has a stone in its crown and the stone is the antidote to all poison; however, a dragon’s poison could kill any creature that tried to harm it because it is the guardian of precious treasures.
The dragon in Asian culture
The symbolism of the dragon is very important in Asian culture. The dragon is one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac; moreover, the dragon is a symbol of royalty, strength, good luck and power. It can symbolize wisdom, longevity, regeneration and also has magical powers, and symbolizes water in all Asian cultures.
The Japanese see the dragon as a symbol of balance and wisdom, while the Vietnamese see dragons as a symbol of life, growth and existence. Similarly, Koreans see dragons as symbols of prosperity and associate them with water and agriculture.
what does a dragon tattoo symbolize? Dragon tattoos are also very popularized from the Asian symbolism of dragons, as different tattoos take on different meanings depending on the color and style.
Dragon tattoo can symbolize many things, such as strength, prosperity, longevity, yang, water, transformation, courage, tenacity, intelligence, enthusiasm and confidence, and the most popular dragons tattooed are Japanese, Chinese and Celtic.
Differences between the dragon in European and Asian mythology
There are many differences between Western and Asian dragons.
Homes: Unlike Chinese dragons, Western dragons usually live in lairs or caves in the mountains, while Asian dragons live at the bottom of lakes and rivers, and in cloudy skies.
Appearance: Western dragons have large bat-like wings and large claws, and most Western dragons look like carnivorous dinosaurs with wings, while Chinese dragons, while also dinosaur-sized or larger, have elements of many different animals and generally have an elongated, snake-like appearance.
Character: Western dragons are depicted as dangerous creatures and symbols of evil (usually), while Asian dragons, on the other hand, are believed to be friendly, auspicious and lucky (usually) – symbols of great power, good fortune, wisdom and health.
The Chinese dragon
In Chinese culture, the dragon is considered a symbol of luck, prosperity and protection. In Chinese mythology, dragons are associated with the sky, as the Chinese believe there are nine palaces ruled by dragons that divide the sky.
Sky dragons are often depicted ascending, descending and flying through the sky, regardless of rain, lightning, thunder and wind. In the Chinese zodiac, the highest in the animal hierarchy is the dragon.
The red dragon symbolizes good fortune, happiness and good luck. It is known as the dragon of summer and the dragon of the south. The symbol of the red dragon is often seen at weddings or other celebrations in China.
In ancient China, people lived mainly from agriculture. Rain and wind played an important role in people’s lives. They believed that there was something powerful that controlled the rain and thunder. And, in Chinese mythology, the dragon was such a powerful beast that lived in rivers, lakes and seas. The dragon was used as a symbol of great power, ruling even the emperor.
According to Chinese legend, the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi, a legendary tribal leader) launched a series of wars against nine tribes in the Yellow River Valley and incorporated the totems of the other tribes into his dragon totem after defeating them.
This explains why the dragon has attributes that belong to nine other creatures: eyes like a shrimp, horns like a deer, a big mouth like a bull, a nose like a dog, whiskers like a catfish, a lion’s mane, a long tail like a snake, scales like a fish, and claws like a hawk.
Dragons of other colors also have meanings. Black dragons are a symbol of age and are said to be very wise; green dragons represent earth and life; blue dragons represent compassion and forgiveness; yellow dragons represent help and sunshine; golden dragons represent wisdom and kindness.
Types of Chinese dragons
The green dragon is also called the blue dragon. It is one of the four great beasts in Chinese mythology (the Black Tortoise, the Vermillion Bird, the White Tiger and the Blue Dragon) that represent the four directions (north, south, west and east) respectively. The green dragon represents the east and controls rain and wind.
The winged dragon resides in the sky. In Chinese legend, the winged dragon is the ancestor of dragons. It controls the four seasons and is descended from the Yellow Emperor.
The coiled dragon is said to live on earth and cannot fly into the sky. The coiled dragon is said to be able to control the weather.
The horned dragon, according to Chinese legend, is a dragon that has lived more than 500 years, and at that age developed horns. It is a powerful and evil dragon that often causes floods.
The dragon of the underworld lives in the seas, rivers, lakes or underground. It can control the flow of rivers or streams.
The treasure dragon can protect hidden treasures or personal wealth.
The cloud dragon, according to legends, lives in the clouds. It can fly through the thick cloud and make rain. It is also a very popular dragon liked by Chinese painters.
The dragon king, or old dragon, is the most powerful and intelligent Chinese dragon in Chinese mythology. It can take different forms, including that of a human being. It is said to be able to control all the seas of China in all directions.
The Celts play a big role when it comes to dragon symbolism because, according to myth and partial history, the red dragon is cherished by Celtic leaders and symbolizes their right to power, as seen in the national symbol of Wales.
An obstacle for Celtic heroes in battle is almost always the dragon; however, dragons were not always evil. Celtic warriors often wore dragon emblems and seals on their armor to show power, strength and royalty.
There are also stories from Celtic and Druid folklore about dragons whose job was to protect secret and sacred entrances that were portals to other realms, and seeing a dragon was a good omen.
The dragon for Native Americans
Native American tribes have many legends and stories about different types of animals, but not too many about dragons. However, Native tribes have many stories about snakes and serpents, and the dragon myth is closely related to snakes.
However, there is one dragon-like creature known in Native American legends: the dragon-like creature known as the Thunder Lizard.
Native tribes of coastal California told stories of the dragon’s role in the formation of the earth with two gods named Nagaicho and Thunder. The gods created the earth, but a flood washed away all their work, so with the help of the earth dragon and Nagaicho, they were able to re-form the earth.
The dragon and the four elements
The fire dragon represents vitality, transformation and mastery. It can repair and restore peace and harmony to your life, which helps you regain your power.
The air dragon represents clarity, inspiration and insight. It inspires you with new ideas, helps you clear negative thoughts and helps you avoid negative behaviors and patterns.
The water dragon represents compassion, desires and courage, and is meant to help you learn that every experience in life is a learning experience. The water dragon helps you develop new compassion for yourself and others, and learn to use courage to face the past while being enthusiastic about the future.
The earth dragon represents power, wealth and potential, and is connected to the nature around us. The earth dragon helps you connect on a spiritual level with nature, and learn to ground your energy to grow and ultimately see your inner power.
The dragon as a spirit guide and power animal
Spirit animals are entities that protect and guide individuals through life and are there to help influence in a positive way. If the dragon is your spirit animal, you are a born leader; you strive to be noble and powerful in your career and personal life.
The dragon is the symbol of fire and passion, which encourages you to find your passion in life and take risks to develop your strength and power. If a dragon appears anywhere for you (in a dream, or you keep seeing physical symbols), it is a sign that you are on your way to a great spiritual awakening or transformation.
A power animal is a form of energy that serves to protect and guide you in the realm of non-ordinary reality (dreams, heightened states of emotion, somatic memories). Power animals also help to reveal and release our true self that has been hiding beneath the surface.
A dragon power animal ensures good luck and wealth, and may appear in your life if you have proven yourself to be powerful, spiritually and mentally. Carrying a dragon token can help protect you when traveling or when facing enemies.
Totem animal dragon
Totem animals come from Native American traditions and have important spiritual significance, as they act as a spiritual guide throughout your life and help you discover yourself.
The dragon totem animal is one of the most powerful and urges you to use the power of healing and change to improve yourself, emotionally, physically and spiritually. By connecting with the dragon totem, you can strengthen your bond and use the wisdom of this creature to face challenges, seeing the world through mystery and wonder.
The best way to connect with your dragon totem is to meditate and research dragons to feel more connected to them.