Once upon a time there was a very special land, very different from the ones we know today. That land knew how to speak in the language of the dragons and taught the dragons’ language to its people. So the people who were born or called to live there knew that they were related to the dragons. The dragons themselves were very curious beings. They could be visible or invisible. Big or small. They could be flat or round. They could shapeshift into any form they wanted. Today people usually draw them like this:
But dragons were not necessarily anything like that. In fact many of them would be very much surprised, if they saw that people can only imagine them in one single form and shape, rather than in all the others that they could take. Today, very few people can imagine dragons differently and because of that most of us would never recognize one, even if the dragon would be starring at us straight in the eye, right above our noses. Actually… that is what happens more often than we would know. There are still plenty of dragons around, but it is very rare that people can sense or recognize them.
Many, many years ago, before the single image of the dragon that most of us share today took over people’s minds, people knew that even if they perhaps couldn’t always see the dragons, they could feel their presence. Well… most of them could. And some could feel it more than others. While everybody knew that when the winds were very strong and howling, the dragons were very active in the sky, only some people could see the signs of the dragons’ activities in the tiniest of things. Like in sudden surges of heat, or peculiar shapes of the clouds, the particular way the moon would reflect in the water, the changes in the brightness of the constellations in the sky, the quiet whispers of the trees or in the colors and the dances of the small lizards. Some people were so sensitive that they could even talk to the dragons. And sometimes the dragons even talked back. They would share gifts and favors.
At that time stories were also magic creatures. They were not what we think of them today. No, no, no… They would grow in the land, enter your body through your toes touching the earth, jump up and down in your stomach, squeeze your lungs, tickle your throat and come out of your mouth like a swarm of rainbow butterflies, or a flood of murky water, or an icy avalanche, or an army of mushrooms. Stories would play between humans and dragons and weave the fabric of connections between the seen and the unseen worlds. Things were all right back then.
But the dragons knew that there were two storms coming in the distance. One from the North and one from the West. During the first storm people would start to capture the stories and trap them in books and the stories could not play anymore. The captured stories would be prevented from weaving the fabric between the seen and the unseen worlds. Powerful men would begin to see the unseen world as a threat. Some women would protest and try to keep the relationships alive. They were punished very harshly for that.
The dragons became very worried. They wanted to help, but the imprisoned stories couldn’t weave the connections anymore. People started to believe only in the things that they could touch and see and that were written and jailed in books. They started to mistrust one another and built castles to protect themselves from each other. One of these castles was built on top of a house of a beautiful dragon. The owner of the castle wanted to cut off his head by proposing to lure the dragon to the castle and release the main grate on his neck. He even jailed a story about it in a book, but he could never really have done it. The dragon heard about the jailed story and asked himself: What the heck are these people doing? As people became more and more distanced from the dragons, the dragons also distanced themselves, because they could not understand why the people had lost their ability to be kind.
When the second storm arrived, people started to shrink and jail their hearts in thick boxes made of mirrors and their shrunken hearts would now only be fed with the value of money. Because such inadequate food never filled them up, they started to transform everything into money: the animals, the plants, the rivers, the mountains, anything that they could see and touch. They fought wars over who could put the most money in their mirror box. They were about to destroy everything. The dragons could not believe what these people were doing. Sensitive people were still being born, but they lacked the language to talk to the dragons. They even searched for the dragons, but their senses were partially numbed. They also did not know what to do. The dragons however had an idea…
They knew that on the other side of the Earth there were powerful turtles who had ancient wisdom. They decided to ask the turtles for help. At that time turtles themselves were facing similar problems in their part of the world too. The turtles and the dragons decided to put the sensitive people together. They plotted how they would travel to each other. The dragons and turtles left several clues to be found by the people, such as maps, images, songs and dances…. For instance, one of the messages from the dragons was delivered to a sweat lodge in Turtle Island. And one of the people there was asked to come and visit the dragon relatives to remind them of their responsibilities. The dragons and the turtles figured out that they needed to work together so that people could also work together. And they needed to contact all the other invisible beings around the Earth to join their effort too.
They wanted to release peoples’ hearts out of their mirror boxes and to revert back the things and beings that were transformed into money. They also wanted to liberate the jailed stories from the books so that people could begin to trust each other again. That was the plan. To send people powerful messages that could not be jailed in books, at the same time, to remind them of the wider families they belong to and that they were much more than what they had become. So all creatures – seen and unseen decided to join in to help the human people. The plants in particular gathered powerful medicine in specific leaves and barks of trees and whoever would eat them would have access to the the unseen world. The water and the dolphins composed a special song that – for those who could hear it, would make their hearts break out of the mirror boxes and expand and connect again. The moon and the sun created new nuances of color and light that would revert back the spell of the money and they also whispered for all babies that were born a spell that could free the jailed stories.
As the storms subsided, people learned a lot about their greed, their arrogance, their vanity and they realized that they were the youngest beings and that they behavior had been very foolishly and immature. By learning about their mistakes they grow up a little, so that in the future they would be able to make different kinds of mistakes. The dragons, the turtles and all the other being were exhausted after this long struggle and they needed some rest, but they went to sleep with one eye open, so that they could watch for the next mischief of their younger relatives. What can one do… a dragon’s work is never done…
One Reply to “Po-ethic inquiry #2: dragons…”
thank you for this story and many others. I have been wondering about dragons as they have left their mark on the land where I love on the Sunshine Coast, Squamish Nation of Turtle Island. I look forward to reading more