Honoring Gaia Through Writing
- Embracing the Dragon: A Story for Our Time
Everyone knows the story: a young man in his prime embarks
on a quest and slays a monstrous dragon. In North America, we know this
young man inside out. He's the hero, the champion, the winner in a battle
of cosmic proportions. He wins the girl in the end and saves Western civilization
to boot. Sword in hand, he dashes off to fight the good fight, taking
charge of his life and creating a better world in the bargain. His courage
is legendary, his strength renowned; he prevails with flying colors. He
is St. George or Heracles, Siegfried or John Wayne, even Daniel Boone.
Sometimes he's a cowboy, sometimes a soldier, sometimes he's a superhero.
When we talk about rugged individualism or the self-made man, it's the
dragon-slayer's story that paints the backdrop, lending a larger-than-life
feel to our concepts. When we think about sports or politics, business
or war, perhaps even love, it is the mythic hero who gives us a touchstone
for what's happening. In his story, there are victors and villains, trials
and temptations, obstacles to be overcome and dragons to be slain.
know the hero. We model our lives on his story, even if we're female.
We go off to work and deal with our dragon of a boss. We sit down to the
computer and slay the demon of writer's block. We overcome whatever stands
in our way -- fears, blocks or hurdles --, to accomplish what we're determined
to do. Got a problem? Then whet your sword and slay that dragon.
But who is the dragon? Why must it be killed? Why have we suppressed this
mythological figure? And why does it keep coming back, rearing its ugly
head, just to have it lopped off again? Is it simply a scaly monster that
must be slain? An obstacle in our paths that needs to be eliminated? Or
does it, like the hero, represent something substantial in our lives,
something we need to consider?
I answer these questions and more in my book-in-process, Embracing
the Dragon, a Myth for our Time. This book looks at the snakes and
dragons in our myths and legends. Embracing the Dragon will contain seven
chapters (so far there are four) structured according to the seven chakras
of the Hindu tradition. Within Hinduism, the serpent goddess Kundalini,
a dragon herself, is said to rise through the chakras of a person's body
until she reaches the seventh and enlightenment occurs. Embracing the
Dragon focuses on the seven areas associated with the chakras (survival,
sex and sensuality, will, love, creativity, psyche and the sacred) and
in the process, brings the reader enlightenment about the dragons in our
- by re-telling stories of snake and dragon deities from all over the
- by discussing how and why dragons have been repressed by our culture
- by speculating about how embracing the dragon might help us live our
- by offering exercises to get us in touch with our own inner dragons.
Here are two published excerpts from Embracing the Dragon: "Kali,
Powerful Crone and Dark Mother", and "Sacred
Sycamore." Here is the text of a recent sermon, also an excerpt
from the book: Invoking Goddess Fire.
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Nancy Vedder-Shults, Ph.D.
Madison, WI | (608) 231-3362