- Unity of Myth: A Series of Investigations Into Underlying Similarities Between Legends
The following is neither fiction nor fact, myth nor truth, tale nor lie, legend nor lore. It is neither of these, because it is all of them at once.
It is an adventure through myth and legend using an experimental structure. You could say that it is a tale of myths, a story of legends. It is not
the structure alone that makes the following what it is, but the fusion that embodies its very core. The fusion of lore and legend from every corner
of the globe into a single tale, an attempt at a unified story, an attempt to create something that already exists; but lacks strings, lacks
foundation and lacks hope in accepting what is in reality, a fragmented unison. Perhaps that is all it will ever be...
Download PDF version of Act I
- Act I
The story of the dragon is literally as old as any tale of Creation, any tale of God’s or the tales that spoke of great chaos. But the dragon was
not the simple minded winged beast that is believed by the majority today. In fact, you could say that the dragon underwent an evolution through human
history and recorded folklore, both spiritual and physical transformations have occurred as the dragon has ventured to every corner of the globe. One
would tend to question how the dragon appears in every ancient civilization and its mythologies even when there was no contact between the lands and
the people of them. It’s name has been uttered in every dialect, it’s presence recorded in every language, it’s power venerated in every land
and it’s legend espoused by humanity as a whole. So what is the truth behind this enigmatic creature? The following is a brief investigation in
order to trace the path of the legend, to draw the line from kin to kin.
The beast awakes.
Act I: Rise of the Dragon
“And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”
Dragon’s were creators, they spawned life, erected land and provided security for mankind. Many creation stories incorporate dragons, and hence,
this is where the beast first flew, through the legends of creation. When chaos became order.
Along with the origins of many other myths, the tale of the dragon originates within Mesopotamia, with the Babylonians.
was the original dragon, the embodiment of the priomordial mound in a monstrous form. She was
the first beast that existed and gave birth to the God’s. Although Tiamat is never depicted as a dragon, it is said that she gave birth to serpents
of the sea which is where the association probably originated. Further, since no depictions exist of Tiamat she is usually given the dragon form due
to its chaotic characteristics. This is the result of the nature of her existence as the goddess who was, before all else was. She was all the chaos
that existed before there was order, her monstrosity as a dragon is a reflection of this transformation, as after she was slain by Marduk, her body
became the Heaven and the Earth, her death ended the chaos that was, and initiated order. What is significant here is not only Marduk becoming the
first dragon-slayer, a trend in legend which will continue for millennium, but the death of the first dragon.
POM (Probable Origin of Myth): No later than 21st Century B.C.E. Although the tablets could be a lot older.
Our dragon friend heads now to the north-east from Mesopotamia, to the lands of the Orient.
Before the infamous Yellow Emperor of China came the Three Sovereigns. The Three Sovereigns were Fuxi,
and Shennong. Fuxi and Nuwa were brother and sister, husband and wife, who bred after a global disaster and gave birth to humans. Shennong
was a mysterious person who taught the people the knowledge of agriculture, he is not depicted as a dragon, although oddly some of his ‘children’
were said to have been dragons who became Emperors. Fuxi (female) had a human head and a serpent’s body and although at times the serpent and the
dragon are interchangeable, the distinction is apparently of importance, as it was Nuwa who had the head of a human and the body of a scaly dragon. It
is an accepted view that both Fuxi and Nuwa were the first dragons, as the Chinese creator of the Universe, Pangu, is disputed as being a dragon and
never really hinted as being one, we are left with Fuxi and Nuwa (creators of mankind) as the first. Fuxi is said to have lived for 197 years,
interestingly enough the tomb of Fuxi, the first dragon of the Orient can still be found in Huaiyang country, it has been a symbol of worship for
thousands of years.
POM: No later than 2800B.C.E.
We head down to the Australis land where the indigenous Aboriginals speak of similar tales.
The Rainbow Serpent
, through description, is probably one of the biggest dragons to have ever
existed alongside Tiamat. It was a huge python-like creature which controlled the water and gave life to mountains. It’s appearance varies from area
to area, from tribe to tribe. It was said to have horns while its color is disputed. Some say it was a sky blue, others that it was yellow with red
stripes, while some speak of it as being multi-colored, hence, rainbow. The Rainbow Serpent is not unique to Australia and the Aboriginals, but we
will continue with that quest later. The creature is said to have resided in large permanent water areas, during wet seasons it is that it would fly
and glitter in the sky, for all the people to see. It carved river beds as it flew over the lands and was kind towards humans, unless disturbed, in
which case it would cause chaos such as massive floods. Therefore it was both a symbol of life and death. The similarities between the Rainbow Serpent
and that of the Chinese Dragons are uncanny. Further, the Rainbow Serpent was seen as a link between the Heaven and Earth, almost like Tiamat, who
once destroyed, established the boundary.
POM: Unknown, due to oral nature of the myth.
The adventure continues now, with one of the first of the European beasts.
The Lernean Hydra
was an ancient, multi-headed water serpent. It was said to have poisonous
breath and its presence could turn the onlooker to stone. In Greek mythology, this beast was the guardian of the Underworld, the city of the dead.
Unlike the other dragon creators, the Hydra was an evil beast, perhaps one of the first serpent like creatures to carry negative connotations of evil
and death. The hydra was first mentioned in the tale of Hercules, where after a massive fight with the beast, he managed to slay it. However though,
the Hydra is mentioned in African mythology aswell, the multi-headed serpent creature was said to block the rivers from flowing, starving villages.
Further, the multi-headed dragon is also mentioned in Revelations. But the first mutli-headed dragon clearly originated in Greece.
POM: Recorded in the ‘Twelve Labors of Hercules’, written by Peisander, roughly 600B.C.E.