Beneath the torrid skies of late summer, a dragon’s egg opens, presenting its hidden treasure—a single wand—to the world. It is Hatching Day, a time of beginnings and untapped potential, when every new-born deserves a boon. In the shadow of three volcanoes, wild pyramids of wisdom and spiritual power, the cosmic Fire Dragon unfurls his wings and blesses the hatchling with an incandescent puff of dragonbreath. The gift of fire.
There is a spark of energy. Creativity crackles. The thrill of a new enterprise is in the air. Ambition is no longer a dirty word but an inventive force. Projects long forgotten take on new life. Dormant passions awaken. All things seem possible.
This year, Diwali – the Lunar festival of Lights – and Month of the Dragon happen to coincide and the Dragons of the Himalayan Quad couldn’t be happier. They are doing aerial somersaults from the Western Ghats to the shores of Lop Nur.
Diwali is a moveable feast, celebrated by Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist across the globe. When it falls during MotD, it serves as a brilliant reminder that, though we may be more familiar with Western Dragons, we must never forget their wise, often-reclusive, Asian kin.
Fire Dragon – Vasylina
Occurring sometime between mid-October and mid-November, Diwali is a festival of joy, wishes, fireworks, and sweets – all thing Dragons embrace! It is also a time when intricate rice/flour paintings or rangoli are created on floors and in courtyards as sacred greetings for the gods. A bit of common sense advice: ask your Dragons to stay clear of the paintings, as they are fragile and can be dispersed with the slightest whoosh of Dragon wings.
Diwali is also the time to celebrate
light winning out over darkness,
good over evil,
knowledge over ignorance,
hope over despair.
Sky Dragon – Jackie Morris
In a year of increased fears and doubts about tomorrow, of lies exhaled as easily as breath by those who should be ashamed to do so, Diwali seems to carry a special significance.
Today we light a flame to honor the Inner Cosmic Light, the underlying Reality of All Things.
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.
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. 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.
Every now and then, even the calmest, most disciplined among us need to stretch our wings, kick up our heels, and blow off a little steam. And when better during MotD than on Mischief Night.
Depending on local custom, the day before Samhain is set aside for tricks, not treats. Devil’s Night, Cabbage Night, Mischief Night – in centuries past it was a time for late night garden raids and scarecrows ablaze with Dragonfire. When humans got in on the fun there were eggs dripping off windows, frost-spoiled cabbages smashed hither and yon, and firecrackers blowing mailboxes off their posts. In all, it is a night of messy but harmless shenanigans. What Dragon wouldn’t want to join in?
Of course, any time Dragons are involved, a certain amount of prudence is advisable. Through no ill-will of their own, our friends can be a destructive, especially in urban and suburban areas. They are, after all, forces of nature. Very large forces of nature.
So it is best to establish some ground rules and stick to them. This will help keep injuries to body and property – and any ensuant legal actions – to a manageable minimum. Back in the 1990s there was a Mischief Night so incendiary – 130 + arson reports in one day – that Dragons and their people were under suspicion from New Jersey to Michigan. It took almost a decade of laying low and being on their best behavior for public perceptions of Dragons and Mischief Night to return to some semblance of normalcy.
So, keep things safe and fun. Raise a little ruckus – maybe offer dragon rides to the kids. After all, Dragons are better than cherry-pickers for getting toilet paper into high branches. Try not to spook the neighborhood animals. It makes for terrible Dragon press, especially in rural areas where frightened cows make edgy milkers.
Plus, a civil Mischief Night makes for bigger, better treats tomorrow.
The leaves are falling, brittle flashes of red, gold, and orange dry beneath our feet. When better to mark Fire Prevention Week! But for Dragonkeepers the world over, the next few days can present myriad teaching moments, especially for youngsters just coming into their flame-hurling own.
Fire-breathing is one of the more exhilarating traits of Dragons. Well, Western Dragons. (Personally, I think it taps into latent pyromaniacal tendencies many of us humans have.)
It goes without saying that you should be sure 1) there are new batteries in your smoke detectors, 2) the fire extinguishers are topped up, and 3) your fire-insurance premiums are paid in full.
Rhymes With Orange. 10.9.16
Hilary B. Price
In a time of extreme climate change and weather uncertainties, Dragonkeepers must take extra care with their charges. Get daily updates on the drought conditions in your part of the world. Here in the U.S., you can check with the U.S. Drought Monitor. Also note the winds – even in a less-than-tinderbox environment, a gust-tossed spark can prove disastrous, especially this time of year.
Of course, we can’t keep good fire-breathers down, no matter how the wind blows. But we can teach them well. No fire near homes, fields, or forests. Direct your Dragons to beaches and quarries – places with plenty of water and little ready fuel.
With care and delight, enjoy the pyrotechnic joy of Dragonfire!
Rotisseried knights turned to a golden brown and draconic celluloid replete with pyrotechnic thrills are staples of the popular imagination. True, not all Dragons keep a lit wick in their arsenal, but let’s face it: that is a matter of fact not fancy. For all intents and purposes, Dragons go with fire like bangers with mash.
Thus, the second week in October is a very important time for Dragons and their people around the world. It is Fire Prevention Week. The leaves are piling high and dry, the winds dancing through denuded branches. It is time to take your hatchlings and juveniles in hand and make sure they know the rules of smoke and spark; and refresher courses for older Dragons never go amiss.
In areas of extreme drought – multiplying all around us despite what climate-change deniers might say – strict adherence to safety standards is a must. The emergency crews of California and the southern plains have enough on their hands without having to worry about a frisky dragonlet who’s forgotten the basics. Not to mention it does Dragon standing no good if they’re blamed for turning Sequoias to cinders. So, no fire near the house. No fire near the fields. No fire near woods or leaf-piles. In short, fire only over water on windless days.
And be sure to have your insurance premiums current, just in case.
**In the tradition of Month of the Dragon, everyone who leaves a comment here at Dragon’s Nest has their name go into a hat. At the end of the month, a name will be drawn and the winner will receive a signed copies of my books, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook and Dragons for Beginners(both from Llewellyn Worldwide). Hope everyone is feeling lucky!