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Most of you familiar with the Month of the Dragon, know that it is presented under the auspices of the World Association for Dragons Everywhere, or WAFDE. What many of you may not know is the genesis of this august organization. When better than as we are plunging into 2012’s MotD, to share the tale so instrumental to the draconic renaissance of the past century.

If some of you know this tale, bear with me. I offer it for the young ones just starting out; for the inspired neophyte and the casually interested. And I offer it for myself and for my friends, Dragons and Dragonkeepers, lest, in the madding swirl, we be ever tempted to forget those who blazed trails and paved the way for the rest of us.

Years ago, I was told by the great green Dragon, Ka, “You must start every story – even accounts of morning croquet and kippers – with a legend. It is the Dragonish way of things.” Since Dragons are acquainted with more legends than I, I defer to our friends on this and start my tell a century ago, in the wilds of northern Wales, with a meeting between Dragon and human in which the modern world, as we knew it, changed. Here, two amazing young women – Amelia Penrhyn-Haile, and her partner, Portia Featherstone – had their first Dragon tête-à-tête. Not exactly what they were looking for at the time, but more than they could ever have hoped for.

Individuals of vast curiosity and arcane inclination, Amelia and Portia were on a summer walking tour of some of the lesser-known megalithic ruins around the UK. From the Daens Maen of Land’s End Peninsula to Callanish in the Western Isles, they were exploring a theory of Amelia’s about geophysical energy lines (ley lines) and their relation to sacred sites.[1]

Legend has it – and here I must admit to poetic licence and flights of fancy – that Amelia and Portia were leaning up against a toppled capstan, looking out across the mist-bound sea, and enjoying a rather tepid cup of thermos-flavoured Earl Grey, when a great green Dragon poked her head around one of the standing stones. With a nod and a calid snort, she welcomed them very politely to her home. Surprised, but not frightened (it would take more than a lone Dragon to frighten these two), they offered Teal – for that was the Dragon’s name – a biscuit and a marmite-and-cucumber sandwich, and struck up a conversation which continued well into the moonlit night.

The next day, Teal showed them around her Weyr and introduced them to the rest of her Enchantment. In those rare twenty-four hours, with a rip and a snort and a wondrous blaze of Dragonfire, the Dragon Renaissance took wing, and what was to become WAFDE, the World Association For Dragons Everywhere, began germinating in Amelia’s fertile imagination.[2]

And where would any of us be without WAFDE!

Shortly thereafter, with the aid of the National Trust and, some detractors insist, a little Dragon bounty,Amelia and Portia purchased the headland and, over the next twenty years, built High Wing Tor into a model centre for Dragon Studies in all their spectral permutations

Wild and woolly, natural as a Wyckwürm on heat, the Tor grew around the existing biome of Teal’s feral Enchantment. That in and of itself was unprecedented in the history of Dragonkeeping, the way Amelia and Portia were invited to join the Weyr. They entered the Dragon world rather than the Dragons entering theirs. On a half-wild three-league-square ness jutting out into the Irish Sea, the Dragon Renaissance in the Western World began.

I am partial, of course.

Amelia and Portia were more than just pioneering Dragonkeepers and Crypto-herpetologists. They were wise and witty women, mentors to generations of Dragonkeepers. They taught me in my youth and intrusted WAFDE’s legacy to my keeping – a charge I am still striving to live up to.

We lost Portia and Amelia a generation ago. And for a time, WAFDE’s activities were very sub rosa. Then, with the new millennium, the time seemed right to break out, go public. I can only hope we are living up to the hopes and expectations of our founders.

Today, WAFDE is open to all Dragons, Dragonkeepers, and friends of both. We welcome the flying of WAFDE’s flag, on porch, pole, or website. (copy it from above and display it proudly!) We ask only that you tell our tale, keep it and the love of Dragons alive.


[1]  This study was later published as part of the Oxbridge Treatises on Indigenous Metaphysical Phenomena and reissued by Ouroboros Books on the occasion the Tor’s Diamond Jubilee. Amelia was re-editing the work at the time of her death a year prior.

[2]  For a more detailed account of Amelia Penrhyn-Haile’s life and the founding of WAFDE see Welcome Home the Dragons: Amelia Penrhyn-Haile and the Dragon Renaissance by Ally Azdaja. Ladon Imprint. Wyvern-Basilisk Publishing.

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