This is a sequel in many ways and a companion piece in every way to the post titled “werewolves” which appears a few posts earlier. They both come from the same Facebook group. That group was founded by someone else but is now administered by me. Like all recycled posts so far there have been no substantive corrections or changes in the first version posted here.
First Original Post:
If one goes back to very ancient images of dragons such as the ones carved in jade in ancient china they were representations of what could easily have been currently existing creatures. Thus in a sense all crocodilians susch as crococodiles, alligators, kaimans and similar creatures are dragons and so were Kimodo Dragons, monitor lizards and iguanas. They were part of that process by which humans embraced their environment. These totem animals would connect societies of tribes and clans which came into contact with the world and some were used as familiars and domsesticated as pit guards in the ancient world. In this ancient human pre-literate world the body of knowledge of composite dragon lore was exchanged and espanded by retelling confusion and exaggerated dance and art. These dragon people would have been comparable to hawk people, wolf people, cat people and many other webs of clans and societies that bound people together and often determined whom one might marry.
Among the legends that was part of the world then was a bit of firebreathing because on the rearest occasions while dragon people were out gathering small cracodilians swamp gasses would ignite and they would find the young near the neast just after the unseen firebreathers had left. However, even with these rare miracles the medicine and magic of dragons was not very strong. For a long time they were second rate totems behind wolves, lions and hawks even in areas where they would later dominate.
Later dragons would become the most important totem for many peoples and one of earth’s most universal symbols. That change would come about in a major revolution of ideas that was one of the most significant changes of the prehistoric world. I will get to how that happened in the next post.
Second Post a few days later in the same group.
It is sort of a matter of definition that all the things listed in the description of this group are hard for lots of people to believe that they sort of persist as beliefs people don’t believe in and yet we all know that this is more complicated. Dragons are in a category where the story that I am about to tell has not really been told much at all and yet it is likely to proven impossible in the minds of many people and it is very complicated. Unlike the werewolf stroy which is really kind of simple and pristine the dragon story is by its nature very confusing and complicated. The original phase grew and developed lore that included some fantastical and fictional pieces. Even in the first post above on this topic of dragons in one sentence I typed “rearest” kinstead of “rarest”, “cracodillians” instead of “crocodilians’ and ‘neast” instead of nest. Sometimes just such a small error could create hege misunderstandings in the ancient system of communication of the mythopoeic arts of ancient animal societies. The next phase in the Dragon story comes to be after werewolves had begun to emerge in dominance and had begun to drive vampirism into unimportance in many places. While this is not a discussion of Vampires per se its possible to say that many vampires were “snakepeople” they belonged to snake societies. They had high priests who had the art of milking poison from deadly snakes and using it to kill secretly. They emulated the qualities of the snake ass sneaky and deadly and they aspired to master the imortality of the snake who could survive sheeding its skin. They wished to persuade their vicims to accept death because of snake magic imortality and they wished to live many human lifespans which they did by shortening human lives by killing people and drinking their blood.These snake people were hunted and warred upon by the werewolves. In the very ancient world when an animal society was in trouble it would become a sub-society of a larger animal society. Had the werewolves been losing the war they would probably have become part of the bear society. What happened instead is that the snakepeople brought all their knowledge, magic and medicine into the dragon society. This made the dragon society much stronger and more powerful and it changed the way that the dragon people saw the world.But that is only a part of the change. Just as not all vampires had become snakepeople not all snake people became dragonpeople. But dragonism itself was about to be greatly changed. Dragons guarding great secret wealth in caves and rocky chasms which are very huge and breathe fire were about to become part of the lore forever. Fossils revealed by earthquakes and other events revealed the giant stone dragons of many ages earlier. These dinosaurs skeletons were powerful prroof that heir dragons were descendants of mighty gods who had the secret to real power over the world. In some of these same fossil pits the dragon societies found oil seeps and began to mine coal. The theme of imortailty was affirmed by these indestructible gods of the our totem which were dead but still breated fire.Using live small dragons at these holys sites and startin g fires with fosil fuels they used vampiric systems of deceit and murder to create places where people would sacrifice their neighbors and children to a combination of smalll dragons fossil fuels and a few stone dinosaur teeth. In this event cluster the dragons found power to dominate much of the ancient world. The learned to mine coal and gather oil, to lie to dceive and to klll many at once. Because the old morals of the dragon society were against many of these behaviors they developed the theme of light and dark magice which became common in other magical circles. The dark places where the stone gods were found was the place where death magic came from. The fierce but balanced outdoor world where the old (in terms of society lore) living dragon species existed was the source of life magic.
The dragon people also saw a kind of IQ test in which they felt superior to people who made up absurd fictional animals from found dinosaur and pre-human fossils. They developed a crude kind of science for recognizing that dragons had once covered all the Earth in many forms.
Their knack for elaborate theatricality made it possible for them to convince ancient peoples that villages destroyed by dragon pirates were destroyed by giant firebreathing dragons. These dragon societies were still very strong among the Vikings who raided and conquered much of the world in the Eleventh century AD. The societies never completely disappeared but became more secretive and less relevant in the last 1,000 years.
These posts were first published in a Facebook group known as Why Are People So Fascinated By The Strange/Macabre/Horrifying/Alien???? , this group was founded by a very young woman who’s name is preserved in the open group. However, I am now one the administrators and she has moved on to greener pastures. Are you interested in werewolves? If so this is short…
You wroteon February 9, 2009 at 1:41pm
I think that whole it is perfectly acceptable to have a group like this that lumps a variety of phenomena trogether and it is true that all of them seem alien to modern urban life the actual answers to these questions must each be different. People are interested in anything that coud be dangerous and is unusual because despite the impression some might have the failure to be interested in such things would be complete insanity.
As with many other things on the list the tradition of werewolves must be approached from two sides that are very far apart. One side is the very ancient roots of the phenoenon and the belief in the phenomenon and the pother is modern popular culture and other learning based on a very long tradition that includes much of fiction.
In this post I am going to deal with the very remote origins of lycanthropy or werewolfism as it once changed the world. At one time many hunter-gatherer bands were often nearly starving and stagnating during the winters trapped in valleys surrounded by other tribes, clan and bansd or were otherwise isolated. During hard times killing and eating one another led to the roots of other legends such as vampires.
Then suddenly the first people to believe in werewolves were attacked on a full moon. The ice sheet reflected the lightas groups of of wolves and wild dogs pulled sleds of warriors into a circle around their camp . Wolves killed warriors as they were driven by men who howled and wore wolf skins. Many in the band were killed as these wolfpeople showed superior power in so many ways.
But the he wolfpeople subjugated and in a sense taxed the band. Secrets known to the wolfmen were guarded. The band now recieved trade goods by leaving them with wolf men and then there were carried far and fast to othere bands. Slaves and brides and warriors were sometimes blindfolded but only the learned were given access to hunting packs and sled wolves. Many had seen enough to know that these were not ordinary people but people who could become wolves.
When times were bad people ate some of the wolves. There were fewer bad times and canabalism was discouraged. The bodies of enemies were fed to the wolves and some part of each wolf man but burial rites signified liberation from canabalism. However, when the wolves were eaten werewolf priests and Shamanic leaders would remember that they had eaten men and that man became wolf and wolf became man. In time dogs would become ordinary in alll of these ancient tribes and the wolf rites, traditions and cults would appeal more to a group of mostly warriors in those peoples. However in some areas that original era of 100% real werewolves running things lasted for longer than we have had priniting presses.
My next post in this topic will be on lycanthropy since those early days. But the first phase is where the deep and powerful energy of the subject comes from.
You wrote on February 10, 2009 at 8:29am
Over centuries as knowledge of wolves and dogs diffused among people who found little significance in these animals. Those warrior groups and other societies that preserved the secret knowledge of these early werewolves relied more on rituals, storie, secrecy and other esoteric elements to preserve their identity. People as humans have learned a huge amount from empathizing with, imitating and collaborating with animals. These societites would be in competition with horsemen/centaurs/early knights and some gorups of witches and others that used familiar animals.
So werewolf prospects were soon defined as those with warrior ability, a knack with anuimals and people who had a definable affinity with wolves. This “wolf in the man” (or “wolf in the woman” in some societies whiich had member of both sexes) began to be the basis of the individual centered disease/curse/gift kind of lycanthropy which is the basis of most books and movies. Through channeling and cultivating their wolf like qualities these people could reach parts of their human nature that were otherwise cut off from modern humans. They also caaried on a tradition related to the original phase.
These warrior societies occurred in many place where a dog-pulled travois could never be as fast as a dog sled and where large wolves were rare or unavailable. So in most places and times the groups shrunk and became less important. The tradition diffused and the werewolves survived as an increasingly shadowy phenomenon in most places relying on theatricality and attracting people who were more comfortable with dogs or wolves than people , who were violent outlaws and who had certain physical-mental conditions for which the old werewolf disciplines provided help and a cure.In most cases it was such small groups or individuals who provided the basis for ever richher stories as werewolves could not object anymore effiectively. While some more or less ancient werewolves survived the fiction and literature of all kinds was mostly based on these decaying and troubled forms. That does not mean they were all poor and insignificant. The silver bullet associated with killing werewolves in early modern times is the same projectile that was believed necessary to kill and a good and true king. Royal and noble families often were last bastions of older forms of lycanthropy.
Posted in Personal Philosophy and Moral Economics
Tagged dog sleds, loup garous, lycanthropy, mythology, religion, secret societies, travois, War, werewolves, witchcraft, Wolves