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Another Month of the Dragon has come to a close. We all made it through in one piece, I trust, without too many scratches or scorch marks or visits to the emergency room.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed, in few words or many. Without your help, we would not have celebrated with such draconic gusto and erudition. I hope between now and midnight you’ll drop by, leave a comment, and insure that your name is in the hat for a signed copy of Dragons for Beginners or The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.

                     

I have always thought it most fitting that MotD ends on Samhain (Halloween). This is a very special day for Dragons, especially Westies and the lesser dragons in their ken. Indeed, as much as Dragons have holy days, this is right up there at the top of the list.

Which takes us to a chapter of Dragon history full of blood and gore and nightmares that would make the strongest Dragon weep: the Dark Times and loss and grief they brought to the enchantments of Europe. Technically the Dark Times ran from 2000 BCE to 1450 CE, though it was the indiscriminate dragon slaying of the Dark Ages that nearly drove Western Dragons from the face of the Earth.

St. George – Raphael

By the 7th century the Trans-Atlantic Transmigration[1] had already occurred, diminishing the continental Dragon count by half. Gone were the havens of grove and spring and standing stone. The weyrs were on edge: Queens laid smaller clutches – stress even forced some to skip generations of hatching altogether. For most, it was coming down to fight or flight, and the former didn’t hold much appeal. This was when the sidhe came to the rescue. They offered the Dragons of Europe a way out, a refuge in the Otherworld. And so it was that Dragons retreated into the mists – along with the unicorns and other rare and unusual beings – until the world of humans became more Dragon-friendly.

Except on Samhain. Once a year, when the veil between the worlds of sidhe and human thinned, and an expectation for the strange and unusual was in the air, the Dragons returned. In the umbra of streetlight and balefire, they flew over housetops and buzzed the frost rimmed pumpkin patches. They danced across the face of moon – often mistaken at a great distance for large bats – and played hide-and-seek with those who, attuned to the mystical, could actually see them. As night tipped towards dawn, a great lamentation coursed through the heavens, a keening for Dragons lost and lives left behind….

Then they were gone.

For another year.

So it continued decade after decade, generation after generation. Then, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the tide began to change. Some say it was the strength of the Enlightenment, driving out the darkness of superstition, others the resurgence of mysticism and neo-paganism. Either way, it was the opening Dragons were looking for, the glimmer of hope that the worst of the anti-Dragon madness had passed. And from then on, every Samhain, more and more Dragons not only came through the veil, but chose to stay on our side of it.

October 31 is a time of somber and jubilant celebration. When we mourn Dragons gone and rejoice in their return.

As is noted in The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook: 

It is now the twenty-first century. By the blessing of the Great Dragon, we made it past the Dark Times and farther than many thought possible.

Out of the darkness, Dragons roared, reminding us we need them. Reminding us of their right to be. With horns charmed and scales ashimmer, they walk amongst us. They share our lives and lend mystery to the mun­dane. They fill the skies and sing in thunderous tones for all to hear, “We are Everywhere!”

Hatchling – Jackie Morris

Happy Samhain, everyone!


[1] An exodus of a passel of adventurous European Dragons who were fed up with the rampant anti-Dragon sentiments coursing through Britain and the Continent in the Dark Ages. Shortly after the Saxon invasion of the British Isles, they heeded the call to “Go west, young Dragons!” and crossed the Atlantic. In the New World they made their way amongst the enchantments of North America.

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