Dance Into Flight…


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He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.    

….Friedrich Nietzsche

We had our first frost of autumn yesterday. The nasturtiums wilted fiercely, the woolly-bears came out in force, and Draconic must fills the air. Dragons have taken to the skies over the Green Mountains in joyful, romantic dance. Few beings have as innate an understanding of dance as Dragons, especially during mating season. They positively ripple with the rhythms of the elements, rising and falling on cool autumn breezes, tapping their talons on leaf-littered glens.

They understand the core of Agnes de Mille’s words,

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.

In the East, we humans look to Dragons for festive inspiration, especially around the New Year. The fluid ins and outs of the ritual Dragon Dance exemplify draconic strength and flow of the season.

And so, today, honor the dancing Dragons. Embrace their wild abandon and wing-flapping two-steps. 


To paraphrase William Butler Yeats – he was writing of Fairies at the time, though might just as well have been speaking of our scaly friends:

Come…take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

So, go forth with joy and dance with Dragons.




For the Dragon Who Has Everything: A Bibble, A Bauble, A Day at the Fair…


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Baubles And Beads - 12of8

Baubles And Beads – 12of8

Back in darkly superstitious – and Dragon-rich – 7th-century England,

Cheerful yellow dragon - BnF Latin 10533 - lived a very devout princess named Etheldreda. She was, by all accounts, a beautiful woman, and learned, to boot. In her younger years, she was fond of necklaces and beads, beautiful baubles of every description. While such finery was befitting a young royal expected to play a role in the political chess-game of the day, it was less apt for the saintly abbess she became once she’d extricated herself from not one but two unconsummated marriages and was party to numerous miracles. (Some say getting out of her connubial relationships a virgin was her greatest miracle of all!)


Etheldreda, aka Audrey, died in 679 in her early 40s (39-45, exact dates of birth were sketchy back then), young by modern standards. In the end, she succumbed to a great growth on her neck, which she attributed to divine judgment on her frivolous, necklace-loving youth. In recognition of this – and St Audrey’s pious legacy – St Audrey’s Fairs have become an annual tradition. Morris Dancers kick up their heels and colorful stalls are festooned with baubles and beads of less than stellar quality – downright tawdry, in fact – the word itself a bastardization of St Audrey.


As every Dracophile knows, Dragons have a warm place in their fiery hearts for baubles, tawdry or not. It is only fitting that, during the Month of the Dragon, we tip our hats to St Audrey and her deliciously tacky fairs. Thus, on October 16th, we celebrate Gaudy Bauble Day, a time to go to a tag sale or flea market or five-and-dime, and find a charming sparkly for your Dragon (or yourself). Remember, Dragons understand that their keeping is expensive, and so value the giving more than the cost. Gaudy Bauble Day is a celebration of the cheap and flashy – and a good time to do some early Yule shopping, too.

Time for Chipping In: All Paws On Deck!


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Month of the Dragon usually sets aside a weekend to get together with our scaly cohorts and tackle that autumn Dragon-do list we’ve all been trying to ignore. Cleaning gutters, blowing leaves (no burning, please), pruning trees, sweeping chimneys, and putting the storms on those upstairs windows. It is the draconic way of giving back and paying forward.

This year, in this as in so many things, is different. Fires, floods, and winds, disaster relief is under way around the world – and now Ophelia bearing down on Ireland. It all makes a few leaves in the gutter seem unimportant. With this in mind, the consensus among the Weyrs is to extend Chipping-In Day through the entire month of October and beyond as needs be. Related image

Even among non-believers, Dragons are there, watching out for the displaced and endangered. They lift the weary and make frightened children laugh. And when possible, they even find lost pets and keep them safe until they can be reunited with their humans.

It is a messy, troubled world out there, and just knowing that Dragons are around, lending a paw, somehow inspires the better angels of our own species and makes it all a little more bearable. Even if only in our imaginations.




Do You Believe In Dragons?


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Chances are, if you’re visiting the Nest, the answer is a resounding “Yes!!”


But today is Skeptics Day. And skeptics abound even in the company of Dragons. I am constantly surprised by just how may people, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still think Dragons – large and small – are just elaborate figments of our imagination. Silly humans.Baby Dragon

Of course, as any Dragon will tell you, “If they don’t believe, you can’t make them.” Some people will simply not see what right in front of their eyes.

For thse of you who still languish in doubt, I off a bit of film from Game of Thrones that always makes me smile. Not only does it feature the brilliant Peter Dinklage, but it offers the evidence to the rankest skeptic. And, as David Hume said, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” Plus, I too, when a child, always wanted a Dragon of my very own.

In the face of so much wonder, skepticism simply dries up and blows away.


Where’s Falkor When We Need Him?


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Since this time last year the world has been rocked, rolled, and tumbled, careening this way and that towards the edge of utter chaos. From the Himalayan Quad to the Weyrs of Tierra del Fuego, Dragons who should be delighting in the change of season and attendant mating rituals are on existential alert. For all of us.

And so it is with an added sense of urgency that we raise an orison to Luck Dragons around the world, and wish one and all a Felicitous Falkor Festival.

[Note: Falkor’s Festival coincides with the feast of Felicitas, Pagan tutelary of good fortune. All is connected in the world of Dragons.]

Falkor, for those of you new to the way of Dragons, is the Luck Dragon in Michael Ende’s Neverending Story. A pluch, sinuous, floppy-eared Dragon who comes to the aid of Atreyu in his quest to keep the vile Nothing at bay. Named after the Japanese Dragon of good fortune, he exemplifies the positive attributes of Asian Dragons from the Arals to the Pacific Rim.ArtStation - Chinese Dragon-sketch, Zhelong XU

Though not particularly magical himself, Falkor has a way of bringing luck to those who persevere.

At a time when nuclear tensions are increasing around the globe, there is another Lucky Dragon worth remembering today. In March, 1954, the Japanese tuna boat, Daigo Fukuryū Maru – Lucky Dragon No. 5 – and her crew were irradiated by fallout from the U.S.’s massive Castle Bravo thermonuclear test in the Bikini Atoll.

Castle Bravo Nuclear Test – 1954

On a draconic level, The Lucky Dragon incident gave rise to Godzilla lore. More importantly, the ship and her crew joined Hiroshima and Nagasaki as vital symbols of Japan’s anti-nuclear movement. At a time when certain moronic world leaders are wondering why we have such abominable weapons if we’re not going to use them, it is more important than ever to remind them – every day if we must – exactly why we never can. 

In short, today we need the wisdom and benevolence of all the Luck Dragons in the world. We also need to persevere in the quest for global sanity and peace.The Dragons of the Marsh

Find your own personal Falkor, rub him/her between the ears, and hold tight.

May their good fortune bless us all.


Fire Dragons In a Tinderbox


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Autumn in one of my favorite seasons. The air cools, the woolly bears come out, and the landscape turns positively polychromatic. It’s also time for Dragon courtship, but that’s a tale for another day.

As the leaves color, dry, and fall, the October wilderness becomes a tinderbox. And, despite the increasing number and strength of hurricanes and monsoons pounding coastlines this year, the sea surges and floods, climate change has been making the potential for conflagrations much worse.

Now Dragons have a spectacular relationship with fire. In the realm of pop culture, one has only to think of the oohs and aahhs elicited by the magnificent Dragons in Game of Thrones’ “Spoils of War” episode to get a properly draconic tingle up one’s spine. Special effects can be breathtaking!

But it is important to remember that, in the real world, Dragons are remarkably careful with their flames. Aside from hatching time, Dragonfire is used in defense – usually last defense – and usually with a keen awareness of ones fragile surroundings. After all, Dragons rely on the woodlands for food and shelter and are inclined to act in their own self-interest.This jpeg image - Fantasy Fire-breathing Dragon Wallpaper, is available for free download

Of course, young Dragons just entering their fire-breathing years are not always as careful as they should be. Between the exuberance of discovery and the impishness of youth, accidents can happen.Related image It is incumbent upon their parents/guardians and Dragonkeepers to teach them proper fire safety and etiquette. When better to start than during Fire Prevention Week.

Right now, our hearts go out to the denizens of California. North to south, the state is ablaze and our fur, skin, feather and fin friends are all threatened. While Dragons were not responsible for this spate of wildfires, as creatures in the wild, they are nonetheless impacted by the devastation.

Keep safe. Quench embers and errant sparks and don’t let your Dragons flame near the woods.

Fire Breathing Dragon – Jezebel

Indigenous Dragon Day


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Before exploring the indigenous Dragons of the West, we here at the Nest urge anyone and everyone wishing to mark Columbus’s journeys to do so by contributing to the rescue/relief efforts in Puerto Rico

Today in the States is a federal holiday. Schools, banks, government and postal offices are closed in recognition of a cruel, misguided European sailor, Christopher Columbus. This year, the 9th of October also happens to be Leif Erikson Day, in recognition of the Norseman’s crossing the Atlantic almost 500 years before Columbus.

During Month of the Dragon, we view the day differently. Of course.

We prefer to set it aside to honor the  Dragons of the Western Hemisphere and the indigenous people whit whom they shared the land.

Some, like the Canadian Snow Dragons are quite familiar. Indeed, the Euopean Dragons who headed west during the Trans-Atlantic Transmigration felt quite at home among their Arctic kindred. [Note: When it comes to Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, the Dragons fleeing the Dark Times not only had Columbus beat by centuries, but Leif Erikson, too. The sight of them soaring over Vinland soars must have made the Vikings, in their Dragon-prowed long boats, feel right at home.]

And further to the south, the colorful descendents of the great Plumed Serpents Quetzalcoatl, Gucumatz, Kukulkan, and Campacti lit up the Meso-american canopies.

Quetzalcoatl – Oreloki

Feathered Dragon – Sweetdrawingwind

They are gems of the skies, bobbing and weaving through the mist round Venezuela’s tablelands, bathing in the Iguazu Falls. They are also increasingly endangered as their habitat is targeted and climate change takes its toll.

But the indigenous Dragons of the Western Hemisphere include a slew of lesser knowns as well. Many of these creatures are linked to the lakes and rivers of the land and tend to be less than genial. Though their places in Native American lore are often marked by tales of death and danger, they deserve our notice and respect.

In the southeast woodlands of what are now the Carolinas, the Cherokee crossed paths with Uktena, a horned serpent/water dragon, native to the regions rivers and marshes.

Uktena – Cherokee Horned Water Dragon

Further west, he is known among the Lakota as the Unktehi, a lake dragon with a formidable reputation.

Unktehi – Lakota Lake Dragon

The Illini of the Mississippi Valley told tales of the frightening Piasa dragon, aka the “bird who devours people.” He was imortalized in lithographs on the river cliffsides.

The 1934 restoration of the Piasa Bird

Piasa Dragon – Illini. 1932 Restoration. Mississippi River Valley

And the people of the Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit and Haida, Salish and Chinook, shared their lives with the great sea and forest Dragons of the region.nw indian art | Water Dragon Northwest Coast Native American Indian Art on

[The playful Dragons of Washington’s Willapa Hills were delighted when the recent remake of Pete’s Dragon was relocated in their neck of the woods. Though some took exception to the Dragon’s furriness, they did consider it recognition long overdue.]

These are just a handful of the Dragons native to the Western Hemisphere. Though urban sprawl and climate change – especially in the United States – are pushing many to remote regions, they are still here. As long as we honor them, they will remain so.

Jabberwocky Appreciation Day: The Benefits of Diversity


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Jabberwocky – Robert Ingpen

I have been a Lewis Carroll fan since I was younger than Alice. Through the years, I’ve followed many a White Rabbit, had tea with Dormice, Hares, and Hatters of questionable reason, and marveled at the wisdom of Caterpillars and the humour of Cats, Cheshire and otherwise.

During the Month of the Dragon, we like to tip our hats to Wonderland wonder on Jabberwocky Appreciation Day. In the past we celebrated on 10/6, aka Mad Hatter Day, just to keep all the Carroll-inean festivities together. This year, though, in part due to the long weekend, in part to craziness beyond our control, the Dragons suggested we push it to 10/7. And who am I to argue with Dragons?

Now, many people think of the Jabberwocky as the fierce, extremely unpleasant, creature in Through the Looking-Glass, with “the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.” He was the burbling beast of a young man’s quest who wound up at the end of a vorpal sword. Here at the Nest we take a more benign view and embrace the Jabberwock as a symbol of Dragons in all their infinite variety.

True Dragons and pseudo dragons, large and small, scaled, smooth, and feathered, there is no family, genus, or even species on this planet as diverse as Dragons. Just take a look at How To Train Your Dragon. Unscientific though they may be, one of the things I really enjoy about the HTTYD movies is the imaginative heterogeneity among the Dragons. What a colorful spectrum of draconic whimsy! It makes this Dragonkeeper’s heart soar.

While the True Dragons – European, Asian, and Feathered – receive the bulk of our attention this month (indeed all year round), Jabberwocky Day is devoted to the plethora of lesser dragons in the world.

Some are well-known, like wyverns

Winter Wyvern

and knuckers,

Image result for knucker

Hurtling Knucker – Behane

basilisksRelated image and drakes.Related image

Others, like the ropen, amphitere, and kiaus, are as unknown as the remote biomes they call home.Image result for ropen sightings

From egg-tooth to tail spade, Dragons know innately the power of their multiplicity. They know it has helped them survive when less diverse species have gone extinct. It has made them stronger in imagination and fact around the world. It is through the lens of this personal experience that they look at the disturbing human obsession with tribalism and homogeneity and shake their heads.

“Don’t you get it?” they ask. “Difference is a boon, not a bane.”

And they are right. It is impossible to celebrate Dragons without celebrating their glorious variety. So to everyone out there who derides diversity out of fear or bigotry or just plain ignorance, think of how meager existance would be if all dogs were poodles or all Dragons green. How poor we would be without tree-skimmers and diggers, lake dragons and cookie-loving pisuhänds.Dragon Treasure

Difference not only makes life possible, it makes life worth living. 

And makes us appreciate our Jabberwockys all the more.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Image result for jabberwocky



Kiss-a-Dragon Day: Promises to Keep…


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If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.  …St Francis


The Dragons around the Nest are not happy today. And normally they would be. It’s October 4th – one of their favorite days of the year. Not only is it the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, it is also Kiss-a-Dragon Day.

This is the day when, despite the anti-Dragon sentiments of the old Church, Dragons give a nod to the one Churchman who knew in his bones that from the least to the greatest – and who among us is greater than a Dragon? – we are all creatures of the Universe.

St Francis ~ Bellini embellished.

That we are all worthy of love, affection, and the greatest care. It is the day when we humans reach out in humble atonement for violent wrongs done to Dragons by church and knight and ego-maniacal warrior kings. When we bridge our differences not with cold steel but with a warm embrace.Image result for kissing dragons


Every year before now, the Dragons round the Nest and their friends around the world have taken to the skies. They were cautiously thrilled by the progress our species have made together. But this year they are angry and sad and crying out in the wilderness.Image result for lonely dragons

“How can humans be trusted to be kind to beings like us – or even cats and dogs and guinea pigs – when you are so vicious and cruel to each other? Have you learned nothing from your past? Have you learned nothing from us?” they asked. This isn’t politics, they insist. Dragons have no use for politics. This is wondering where our basic ‘humanity’ has gone.

I look at the blood in the streets of Las Vegas and Catalonia, at the catastrophic losses in Puerto Rico; I hear the deafening drums of war rumbling around the globe. I don’t know how to answer my scaly friends. Honestly. Because the Dragons are right. For all our positive human accomplishments – and they can be awesome – we are still a cruel, self-centered, superstitious species. We kill our own in madness and zealotry, and elect leaders who line their pockets and exploit their power all the while treating the most vulnerable of their people with callous disregard. 

So this year, perhaps Kiss-a-Dragon Day should not be one of silliness and mirth. Perhaps, listening to our Dragon friends, we should embrace each other in empathy and consolation. With tears as well as joy. In humble recognition that the worst in us is loose, and in the hopeful promise that the best in us can triumph. In the promise to replace contempt with respect, negligence with care, hate with love. A promise to follow the example of St. Francis and the wisdom of the Dragons. To live up to our better angels.

In the spirit of compassion and love – of making our world a better place – kiss a Dragon today. There was a bond between a dragon and its rider, a joining of the hearts and souls and minds for eternity. For a dragon did not choose just any person, but searched in their souls to hear the one whose blood sang the same dragon-song his did. (Beautiful! ***)

Month of the Dragon. October. 2017… When Only Dragons Will Do –


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The sun wasn’t even up this morning when the house dragons started racing across my bookshelves, nipping at cat tails, and creating all sorts of draconic mayhem.

I pulled the covers over my head, begged for another hour of sleep, but they were having none of it. It’s October 1, after all. Month of the Dragon has begun.

But it is 2017 – the world is very different than it was last year, especially here in the States. There is tension and pain, outrage and existential fear. These are Dark Times. The planet is angry: Monster hurricanes have hit Texas, Florida, Cuba, and islands across the Caribbean. Earthquakes have hit Mexico, monsoons have torn through Asia, and wildfires blazed from Canada to California.

And there is a pathological individual occupying the White House who thinks nothing of insulting allies and enemies alike, driving the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation, and is more concerned with athletes “knowing their place” than that millions of Puerto Ricans – citizens he swore to protect and defend – are struggling just to stay alive. 

Undead Dragon O Ka Fee by *RubisFirenos

In the face of all this, how should we here at WAFDE [World Association for Dragons Everywhere] and our friends celebrate MotD in 2017? 

Perhaps as we always have: With a defiant roar, an all-encompassing wing, and as much humour as we can muster. To that end, I’m kicking off the Month of the Dragon with a piece I wrote a few years back. A piece that reminds us why, perhaps now more than ever, the world needs every Dragon it can get.

On Wings Everywhere Ascending:
The Relevance of Dragons in the Modern World.

In the simpler times of long ago, our ancestors struck flint to tinder and, with deer on the spit and wolf cubs at their feet, watched shadow monsters dance across cave walls. They knew Dragons intimately and held them close. How could they not? With primordial majesty, Dragons ruled earth, sea, and sky; reminded us of the danger beyond the firelight, the world beyond comprehension. They were Awe personified, revered for their wisdom and at-one-ment with the Universe, dreaded for their strength and elemental energy.

Of course that was back in the day, in a world before writing or numbers, when the elaborate covenant of conservatorship between humans and other creatures was becoming quantified and definite:

Some we ate; some we wore; some we worked.
Some were admired; some loved; some feared.
Some were mundane; some supernatural.
And some were Dragons.

They lived through the sophistry of the Ancients, the persecution of the Dark Ages, the dispassion of the Enlightenment. Wars, industrialization, habitat loss—Dragons survived even monumental disbelief that would have crushed lesser beings. They fell back when they had to, returned—in a blaze—when they could, finding their niche in the world, their place in the human psyche.

As high-tech whirly-gigs and sub-atomic wizardry change the Earth in ways Merlin could never imagine, the question arises: Are Dragons, ancient and eternal, still relevant in this brave new world?

The simple answer is a resounding “Yes!”Dragon

Of course, as with all things Dragon, no monosyllabic reply, no matter how emphatic, will suffice. For some people Dragons never have been—and never will be—relevant. And that’s all right: Dragons have suffered such dismissive treatment since the beginning. As every dracophile knows, this is indicative of a human failing not a draconic one. If you refuse to see what’s right in front of your eyes, an imagination adjustment might be required (or a pair of glasses). But for the rest of us, Dragons are deeply ingrained in our DNA, capering through our psychological, spiritual, and physical lives: through Lore, Faith, and Science.

Lore, once contained in myth and epos, now resides in dream analysis and between the pages of fantasy fiction. In the past it taught us to see Dragons as lone monsters, rapacious, greedy, and generally up to no good. We made them keepers of our fear and testers of our valor. Slaying Dragons was a rite of passage for many a princeling on his way to becoming king. Today, actual facts about Dragons have taken the place of quaint oral tradition and grotesque whimsy. The recent boom in Cryptoherpetology (Dragon Studies) has allowed us to know our scaly friends well enough that they’ve become less creatures of nightmare and more inspiration for dreamers. We know, for example, that Dragons are not solitary rogues guarding their hoards but complex social beings who would far rather dine on salmon than knight. Absorbing such information, our psychic appreciation has evolved along quite liberal lines. True, the rare Freudian may still cling to notions of Dragons as the mentors of the unbridled id; yet, generally speaking, we’ve come to replace fear and loathing with respect and honor. Today, we embrace modern Dragons as totems of our courage, loyalty, and, yes, willfulness. Rather than shun them, we claim our inner Dragons with a discerning wink and prideful roar!

When it comes to faith, the egregious treatment European Dragons suffered at human hands is fortunately a thing of the past. Able to shed most of the demon-from-Hell baggage of the last six-thousand years, modern Westies are cast in a more benevolent mold, like that of their Asian cousins. We no longer need Dragons as allegories of evil. We have caused so much trouble ourselves in the past hundred years, to shift that burden onto Dragon shoulders, even figuratively, is disingenuous at best. More on point, it is erroneous. In a sign of our shifting spirituality, we see modern Dragons personifying justice, wisdom, magic, and a Jamesian “ineffability” of the mystical. They aren’t saints, by any means, but, in an age when science pushes us to explain everything, their wordless mysticism is a precious tonic for the soul.

Curiously, science has extended draconic relevance to those more familiar with our friends soaring through faërie tales than lighting up crepuscular skies. To even the most rabid non-believer, the practical information amassed by the Dragon Conservancy and the World Association for Dragons Everywhere, is clear evidence of how much we can learn from their wild way in the physical world. To begin with, unlike humans, Dragons are elemental and cannot choose to separate themselves from nature. As such, there is no greater barometer of the Earth’s health: where Dragons thrive, the planet thrives; where they languish, the planet and everyone on her are in deep trouble.

Abraxos's tail thumped on the ground, the iron spikes in it glinting. A giant, lethal dog. With wings.

By studying Dragons, from scale hue to clutch size and eggshell density, we see our world in miniature, with all its strengths and weaknesses. The multigenerational structure of a weyr (Dragon community), for example, is an excellent sociological template, and Dragon longevity and resistance to disease have intrigued doctors for years. On an environmental level, though the apex predators of their realm, Dragons never take more than they need and never have more young than their habitat can support, two rules of talon from which we could learn a lot. Combine that with their ability to adapt to even cataclysmic climate change and what they can teach us becomes downright prescient. Indeed, if the past is indicative of the future, the more we insist on divorcing ourselves from the natural world, the more we will not only cling to Dragons, but need them.

This is just the tip of the relevancy iceberg. (Check out The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook for an A-to-Zed treatment of the subject.)

Rachel Carson wrote, “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” Nothing is more beautiful or mysterious than Dragons. They are our connection to the Earth, to the jaw-dropping wonder of the Universe.

In this or any other world, that’s relevance.

elizabethscomstock: “ (x) ”

Happy Month of the Dragon. Remember: Sometimes only a Dragon will do.