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 enter 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, (and some women), especially those with domineering mothers, their own feminine sides and certain 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, and 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. So the next time you’re faced with an uncomfortable truth about yourself, it might help to remember that facing and befriending the Dragon Lady is the price of the prize.
Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks
Mandorla Consciousness: Part II
There is a time for everything. The dualism that gave rise to our evolving ego and developing Christ potential has become our worst enemy: the anti- Christ. And as long as we repress unwanted parts of ourselves and project them onto others—whether these be our compulsive instincts, dangerous emotions, or frightening aspects of our masculine and feminine sides—we will struggle through the darkness of confusion and the world will be a dangerous place.
This is fascinating on so many levels: social, personal, environmental, artistic. Thank you for the ideas about how to invite or allow this process to work within the thought process. I caught myself earlier today judging somebody (in my mind) and realized what a massive hypocrite I was being. It wouldn’t have dawned on me to relate this uncomfortable truth to ‘Dragon Lady’ or ‘the Sacred Feminine.’
I’m glad you found this personally meaningful. Yes, the inability to see and honor our dragons is our downfall on all the levels you mention. Society’s repressed material manifests in greed, poverty, crime, political corruption, and environmental pollution. Our personal dragons plague our work and relationships and block our creativity and spiritual development. The fact that you can see your secret judgment is a huge step toward befriending Dragon Lady and availing yourself of her enormous power for good. I wish you well on the most exciting adventure of all: the journey to your whole, fully empowered self!
Thank you Jean.
Thank you, Skip. It means a lot to hear this from you!
Jean … Prince Ego … what a delightful way of expressing the ache we feel as the ego moves to locate its ‘guru’ – the ‘holistic self’, (intuiting that such a figure of speech exists), and where the question sits which will likely remain unanswered – ’Is this all there is?’ In elevating and honouring the quest through your metaphor …
… ‘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.’ …
… you also consider the male in the journey from ego to soul, seeking the anima calling from his personal princess, offering him a way to shadow acceptance – opposed, yet desirable and essential … thank you …
Thank you, Andi. And I very much like the way you expressed the male’s “journey from ego to soul, seeking the anima calling from his personal princess, offering him a way to shadow acceptance – opposed, yet desirable and essential…” May I add that accepting the shadow is desirable and essential because the only way Prince Ego’s hubris can be checked is by experiencing the humbling power of Queen Anima…a most difficult but necessary lesson for modern man if he is to attain his noble potential. Blessings, Jeanie
Jeanie, I wonder in reading this any lines of similarity and difference you’d draw between the Dragon Lady and the Black Madonna? Regards, Lee
Hi Lee, what a great question! There are a number of ways to approach this, but here are a few associations that come immediately to mind. As Mary the Queen of Heaven represents the conscious masculine ideal of feminine spirituality, I’d say the Black Madonna symbolizes the repressed aspects of feminine spirituality, which is Soul: the dark, earthy, instinctual (including the instinct for sex), intuitive, creative, feeling side of us. In that the Soul is so largely repressed and therefore unconscious in Western society, disowned aspects of Soul can, indeed, manifest as Dragon Lady. Only by accepting the whole feminine can we bring balance to our spirituality. I hope that helps! Thanks so much for writing.
Yes, in Jungian terminology there’s gold in our shadows too. But we can’t find it without first digging through the places where we don’t want to go. Growth requires us to acknowledge both what we admire and what we fear in ourselves. Have you been watching “Once Upon a Time” on Sunday nights? It has some very interesting treatments of traditional fairy tale characters, many of whom are shown in the light of evolving psychological awareness.
So true, Jeanie, and no but Ill check out “Once Upon A Time” … it’s at the local video store! Thanks!
ha! Jean! I just saw this post! How funny, and telling that we were working on unpacking dragon imagery simultaneously.
Lovely post btw!
Thank you! I loved yours too. Yes, it’s interesting to see who’s on the same underground pipeline with us, isn’t it? Suddenly the same topics pop up everywhere! Jeanie