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A time to mourn, a time to dance… 

481785_4801244996229_769590516_nFor the Month of the Dragon to end on Samhain – Halloween – is fitting beyond measure. Indeed, in as much as Dragons have holy days – especially Westies – this is right up there at the top of the list.

It is thus appropriate that today we remind ourselves of a chapter in Dragon history full of blood and gore and nightmares that would make the strongest Dragon weep: of the late Dark Times and loss and grief they brought to the enchantments of Europe. A chapter also full of hope and magic and journeys between worlds…

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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.

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This was when the sidhe came to the rescue. They offered the Dragons of Europe a way out, a refuge in the Otherworld. 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.

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Yet, even in the worst of times, there was one day each year – Samhain – when the veil between the worlds of sidhe and human thinned, and an expectation for the strange and unusual was in the air. Regardless of what ever else was troubling the world, on that night, the Dragons would return. In the umbra of streetlight and balefire, through air sweet with windfall pomes and woolly bears, they flew over housetops and wing-tipped 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.

dragons%20halloween%20fantasy%20art_www_wall321_com_26As night edged 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.

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Decade after decade, generation after generation, this tradition continued until, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the tide finally began to change. Perhaps it was the strength of the Enlightenment, driving out the darkness of superstition, perhaps the resurgence of mysticism and neo-paganism. Either way, it was the opening Dragons needed, the glimmer of hope that the worst of the anti-Dragon madness had passed.

From 'Tell Me a Dragon'- by Jackie Morris

From ‘Tell Me a Dragon’- by Jackie Morris

From then on, every Samhain, more and more Dragons not only came through the veil, but chose to stay on our side of it.

So it is that October 31st is a time of somber and jubilant celebration, the day we mourn Dragons gone and rejoice in their return.

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…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!”                                                           …The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook 

Happy Samhain, everyone! When you are out trick-or-treating tonight, keep your minds open and your eyes peeled. And remember, if it is true that Dragons need us, it is the greater truth that we need them more.

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[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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