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The Separation of Church and Dragon: A Clash of Titans.

Before we get rolling through Dragon Country an announcement:

Tomorrow, October 21, I am delighted to be hosting the guest writings of The Dragon Master. I hope you will all drop by and enjoy the wit and wisdom of this dracophile extraordinaire.

Now, to our tale.

In this Week of Wells, it is only appropriate to acknowledge on of the classic scenarios in European history: Church v. Dragon for the rights to springs. The end of the first millennium C.E. (Common Era) saw the royal stamp of approval placed firmly on the new Christian faith. Conversion went hand in hand with conquest, and the sacred sites of Druid and Dragon were prime targets.

It made sense, after all. Displaying an arrogant, back-handed regard for the old ways, the Christian knights, monks, and their monarchs, recognized the importance of the ancient spiritual places, with their Dragon guards and mystical power (hard not to, really). And claiming them in the name of the new religion, they felled the sacred groves, using the timbers in their new churches.

And then they turned to the springs and wells. This was understandable. In the new faith, the rite of baptism maintained the link between water and religious mystery. And the waters of Druid and Dragon were very mysterious! Linked to ley lines,[1]  they were alive with Earth power, and treasured for their ability to heal and inspire. Conflict between old uses and new was inevitable.

Of course, this was not a new battle. During his despotic reign (37-41 CE), Caligula got it into his head to shatter every Roman taboo he could, including invading the sacred woods and waters of Nemi, a crater lake 30 km southeast of the capital. From time before remembering, Roman law declared Nemi the holy province of Diana. No one was allowed to sail the lake or hunt the forests, and the surrounding mountains created an idyllic, micro-climatically controlled enclave for a plethora of creatures including both Dragons and unicorns, the latter of which were sacred to the Dea Loci.

Lake Nemi

Believing he was himself divine, Caligula, sought to claim the lake as his personal playground. He did not care that a weyr had been thriving there since before the mountain blew its top and the lake was formed, or that, every year, passions of unicorns filled the hills with their mating songs. His imperial ego demanded an imperial footprint on the world. At Nemi, that meant following the template laid out by the Hellenistic and Ptolomeic monarchs: he set his twisted mind on the construction of an aquatic resort, including two massive ships, one a temple, one a floating palace, for his pleasure. As a result of these hedonistic pursuits, the enchantments were decimated, those who survived the Roman onslaught flying across the Adriatic, into the more hospitable Carpathian Mountains, never to return. The unicorns disappeared for well over 200 years, before the renewed grace of the Goddess and their mating instincts drew them back. Reports of their song bouncing across the crater exist to this day. But that is another story.

Back to the Christian conflict.

In the days of early Roman forays into Dragon lands, the Druids and tribal leaders had stood with their scaled friends against the invaders. Now, unfortunately they were so besieged themselves that the Dragons were on their own. And so began the darkest chapter of the draconic Dark Times, when losses on both sides were too numerous to count. For what is a Dragon without water? Without guardianship?

In the end, the humans won out, driving Dragons across the Atlantic to the New World or into the Otherworld sanctuary of the Sidhe. Today, we are blessed by their return. With luck we have learned to separate Church and Dragon to the benefit of all.

We would do well to remember that the Rights to Springs were theirs first and should be theirs again and for perpetuity.

[1] The planet’s energy grid, throbbing with electro-magnetic energy.