Dragon Lady: Shadow of the Queen


The Western world has been obsessed with the masculine aspects of Deity for thousands of years. As a result, to experience the Sacred Feminine we must be willing to follow Bear into the remote caverns in our unconscious selves where we have dumped all our unwanted garbage in hopes we could forget it ever existed.  In sum, we must be willing to develop a relationship with our “dragons,” by which I mean our frightening, disowned, less-than-lovely selves.
The myths that emerged in the Near East around 2000 BC featured a male deity who, unlike the son/lover of the previous Goddess religion, was a storm god of fire and lightning who conquered a dragon of darkness and evil. According to Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman, “…the plot and the underlying symbolic theme of the story is so similar in each myth that, judging from the stories that do use the name of the female deity, we may surmise that the allegorical identity of the dragon or serpent is that of the Goddess religion.”  Some still call a powerful, assertive woman a Dragon Lady. To many males, especially those with domineering mothers, their own feminine sides and some women seem extremely dragon-like:  something terrible and threatening that needs to be overcome.  Jung agreed and considered the dragon to be “a mother-image (that is, a mirror of the maternal principle or of the unconscious)…”
But the dragon is by no means all negative.  Hindus and Taoists consider dragons to be powerful spiritual beings, masters of the waters and guardians of treasures, especially the pearl of perfection that symbolizes enlightenment and bestows immortality. The Herder Symbol Dictionary says that in China and Japan the dragon grants fertility “because it is closely associated with the powers of water and hence with the yin [feminine] principle.” Thus, one meaning of this paradoxical symbol is that if we wish to attain the highest levels of consciousness and spirituality, we need to face all the despised and rejected qualities we have relegated to the feminine unconscious, and it is this descent that earns us the ultimate prize.
Unconscious parts of ourselves acquire negative power because of the well-known psychological law that the longer and harder we repress them, the more energy we give them until they start influencing our behavior in disagreeable ways.  They are like sweet little girl dragons which start out innocently enough.  If we love them and allow them to come out and play they will grow up to become our friends. But if we ignore them and starve them and keep them cooped up in dark and cramped cages — in much the same way many male-dominated cultures have treated women and their own feminine sides —  they grow stronger and angrier every day.
While the bad news is that facing the Dragon Lady, a symbol for the Queen archetype’s shadow side — i.e., the regressive powers of the feminine unconscious — can be very painful, the good news is that she can initiate us into a far nobler fate than we could ever imagine.  After all, if Snow White had not been terrorized by the evil Queen she never would have run into the wilderness, met her protectors, the seven dwarves, eaten the poisoned apple, or been awakened by the kiss of the prince to experience union with her Beloved.
Prince Ego’s search for the princess, our unconscious feminine self, is the authentic hero’s journey, and their union symbolizes wholeness or enlightenment, the ultimate prize and true destiny of every soul.

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0 Responses

  1. Your best yet. I just love the permission for being your own empowerment. Dancing through the beat of life.

    1. Thank you, Carol. Yes, our lives are our own and we are responsible for empowering ourselves and attaining our own destiny by learning to dance with our own shadows. I named my horse Shadow Dancer to remind me of that!

  2. Well, Jean, your post has inspired me again. You might know from following me on twitter that dragons sometimes appear in my messages…and they almost always have a child with them. Here are a couple that I wrote over the past month or so just to give you an idea of where this response is going:
    The child curled up snug against the side of the dragon. And the dragon smiled and shifted his wings to create a kind of tent over him.
    The dragon lowered his head and said, “Do I really have to say sorry to the villagers?” “Yes,” said the child, “and then fix their barns.”
    So, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination in Jungian archetypes. I just write what comes.
    And sadness came when I read your post. Sadness at thinking of the negative ways women have been treated by men. Sadness came at the thought of the negative ways men have been treated by women. Hurt people hurt, no matter the gender… And I am someone who suffered abuse from the hands of both sexes…So I know; I can still get frightened by the wounded dragons of both men and women. And I have also lashed out to avenge the pain…But that was long, long ago. Sadness also came when I thought about how poorly dragons have been treated also.
    But Wonder also came when I read your post however, and much Hope. And I thought: “OK, going to meet our dragons is hard and terrifying. But having come back from the journey many times over these past few years, I know it is not only possible, but Wonderful. Here is what I have found.
    What is in the heart of the darkness? Light. And where does the Light come from? The eyes of the dragons. And what makes their eyes shine like fire? Their hearts. And where does the fire in their hearts come from? Many sources. One is their pain…And their pain comes from each of us in one way shape or form. Another source is their joy. And their joy comes from those who journey to face them.
    And when I faced my dragons I did not go with a masculine or feminine energy. I went as a child. That might sound cute, but it’s true, and it wasn’t a conscious choice. And I don’t mean necessarily, my inner child—there’s too much idolatry wrapped up in that term now. I mean, perhaps, an archetypal image of both creative power and wonder, and innocence—Divine Innocence. Of course within the heart of that child burned masculine and feminine fires, but it was a child nevertheless that made the journey into the darkness. And the child did not go to kill or subdue the dragons, the child went to Love them.
    Your post also inspired a story, but I don’t want to hog up too much more space, so I’ll send it to you personally Jean on fb to do with as you wish.
    Thank you again for the inspiration.
    Your friend along the journey,

    1. Dear Joseph,
      Jungians have a name for your symbol of childish wonder: it’s called the Divine Child. It can appear in dreams as a very wise, beautiful, precocious, or otherwise unusual and fascinating child, and is, as you have so rightly intuited, a symbol for the Self, the archetype of divinity, love, wholeness, etc. Facing your dragons with the openness and trust of a child is the healing way. I salute you for trusting and following your intuition so beautifully, and look forward to reading your story.

  3. Thank you for this inspiring post. I especially liked: “Unconscious parts of ourselves acquire negative power because of the well-known psychological law that the longer and harder we repress them, the more energy we give them until they start influencing our behavior in disagreeable ways.” I feel that by acknowledging, loving and transmuting our unconscious feelings, we allow our wounded emotions to evolve and heal. As we heal our emotions, we heal our unconscious thought patterns that keep us stuck. I am glad you are inspiring us to take back our power and to graduate from being unconscious co-creators to conscious co-creators. Gratitude, dreamweaver333

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