Dragons Symbolize the Life Force

The Dragon is one with the Tao, which is a term from ancient Chinese philosophy that translates into Way. This Way refers to a primordial order -- Nature -- in which everything exists virtuously, which is to say that everything exists according to its vital principle and in right relationship to everything else. What is meant by "Nature" is more than a reference to the biospheric web of life; rather, it is a reference to the deep order inherent to Being and Becoming. With this understanding of Tao, we can, then, say that it is the Way of Nature.

The relationship between the Dragon and the Way is this: the former is the active principle and the latter is the passive principle co-emerging from the Ground of Being as the primordial, creative order of Nature. The Way of the Dragon, itself, emerges as the union of these active and passive principles in consciousness.

As the Dragon awakens within our consciousness, we begin to increasingly understand and identify our relationship to the whole of life as the whole of life. The world in all of its diversity, familiarity, and strangeness becomes unified in experience as self and home. Eventually, the Dragon is fully realized in the dissolution and emancipation from any self identity. One simply is. As a person, the Dragon is one in whom the active and passive principles have been realized, unified, and mastered. Once the Way is mastered, the Dragon's gate opens to a life of graceful, playful equanimity.

Dragon as Universal Symbol for Human Beings

According to Scott Peck, "Dragons are creatures of myth. Long before the fire breathing fantasies of todays comic books and television cartoons, Christian monks throughout Europe were illuminating manuscripts with painstaking illunstrations of dragons. So were Taoist monks in China. And Buddhist monks in Japan. And Hindus in India. And Muslims in Arabia. Why? Why dragons? Why should these mythical beasts be so extrordinarily ecumenical and international?"

"The reason is that dragons are symbols of human beings. And as mythical symbols, they say something very important about the basic truths of human nature. We are snakes with wings, worms that can fly. Reptilelike, we slink close to the ground and are mired in the mud of our animal nature and the muck of our cultural prejudices. Yet, like birds, we are also of the spirit, capable of soaring in the heavens, transcending, at least for moments, our narrow-mindedness and sinful proclivities. So it is that I sometimes tell my patients that part of their task is to come to terms with their dragonhood, to decide whether they want most to exercise the more slothful or more spiritual aspects of their nature."

"As a mythical symbol - and all myths are about human nature, one way or another - dragons are relatively simple. But as in dreams, many meanings can be condensed into a single myth. Take the wonderfrul story of Adam and Eve, the Garden, the apple, and the snake (dragons have slipped in, even here). Is it a story of our fall from grace and alienation from our environment? Or is it a story of our evolution into self-consciousness ( and hence that shyness that is so essentialy human)? Or both? It is also a story of human greed and fear and arrogance and laziness and disobediance in response to the call to be the best we can be. And it tells us that we can no longer go back to that unself-conscious state of oneness with the world (the way is blocked by a flaming sword) but can find our salvation only by going forward through the rigors of the desert into ever deeper levels of consciousness."

"Even the simplest of myths is multifacited because, like dragons, we are multifacited beings. Indeed, this is the very reason for myths. Our nature is so multifacited and paridoxical that it cannot be captured in words that represent single, simple categories. Myths are required to contain and embrace the richness of human nature."

Reference citation: Peck, M. Scott (1987). The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. Simon and Schuster. New York, NY. p. 172-176.

We are all dragons already. We just don't know it.

The Dragon should not be seen as an ultimate attainment, but rather as the active quality of the Way. The Dragon's movement is not something apart from ordinary existence. It is not a heavenly or transcendental state of Being or Mind. It is the "suchness" of ordinary reality. In fact, we are always the Dragon, whether asleep in the light or fully awake.

The awakened Dragon is extraordinarily ordinary. Seeing beyond the dualistic illusions of self and God and abiding simply in isness, the Dragon doesn't show up as something other than the ordinary. The difference, however, is this: Dragons do not resist the ordinary. They do not suffer about suffering; they do not wish to be elsewhere; they do not wish to be different from who and what they are. They are content, and so they are extraordinary.

The Way of the Dragon is the path of becoming extraordinarily ordinary. We, the Wayfarers, are called into authenticity by discovering the integral character of our natures through the various aspects of ordinary life experiences. Standing in reality itself as it is -- not as what we want it to be or don't want it to be or some other delusional form of grasping or aversion -- synchronizes the Wayfarer with the Way and opens the gates of power through which the Dragon flows. When this synchronization occurs, then the Wayfarer, the Way, and the Dragon become one.


My personal interest in the Way of the Dragon stems from several powerful mystical experiences I have had, one of which was a visionary dream about two dragons dancing in a spiral, wherein worlds were created and destroyed in the gyre. As I have studied Dragon lore and attended to the Dragon's presence in my life, I have come to view the Dragon as the penultimate symbol of mercurial transformation, as well as of enlightened humanity and culture; hence, the Way of the Dragon denotes both a way of personal and social growth and transformation in harmony with all of Life as well as an ontological view of the vital way of Nature itself.