I have been thinking a great deal about the riddle that defines this eighth-part of the year – the time from Summer Solstice to Lammas. The riddle given to me was “Wake the dragon and teach it to fly.” I have therefore been considering what “waking the dragon” might be to start with.
That time is nearly up, and as I promised myself I have managed to schedule a walk up Cadair Idris – Wales’ second highest mountain after Snowdon. I’m also walking up Snowdon soon, too, in aid of the Love Hope Strength cancer charity. I’ll spare you the JustGiving page, because I’m not asking for your money – I’m just spilling my thoughts into the electronic void that is this blog. I just mention it because it’s Snowdon – a favourite mountain of mine.
Inj this post I want to discuss two concepts that have emerged recently – the dragon breath and the dragon pose. Also, I want to look at the various aspects of the idea of “waking the dragon”. As soon as I started looking into “waking the dragon” here are some news, events, concepts and ideas that emerged:-
1. “Waking the dragon“: Proposed giant sculpture.
A new sculpture to mark the pride of Wales could be built by October 2011 at Chirk in North Wales.
Chirk is the town that is in between two other sites that I like to visit – the old oak trees around Pontfadog village, and Dinas Bran, the sublime mound that overlooks the town of Llangollen. Turns out that in between these two oft-visited druidical sites they plan on plonking a huge 200ft statue to rival the Angel of the North and the gigantic White Horse planned for the South of England. It wasn’t surprised that it was a dragon, so much as surprised that it was entitled “Waking the Dragon”. Seemed quite auspicious.
Link: The Daily Mail (yikes!)
2. Raising Kundalini : The Serpent Fire
Something mentioned in hushed tones by C.W.Leadbeater in his various books, especially The Chakras. In that book Leadbeater cautions against this dangerous action being undertaken without the supervision of a guru – the action of raising the serpent fire energy from its sleeping position coiled at the base of the spine like a serpent, and rising through each of the chakras in turn.
I must admit I don’t see the necessity of going through this process. Kal and I have discussed what it means to be “enlightened” and have decided that if it means walking around in a bliss state then it’s not for us. If it means having a perception of the whole universe in a moment, then we’ll pass on that too. The small steps we have taken to balance and enhance our own chakra points as a means to creating a faster and more efficient interface with the various sentient forces at work in the world we inhabit, then that’s enough for us.
3. Dragon Mounds – Wearyall Hill and Cadair Idris
Wearyall Hill in Glastonbury was the focal point of my vision during the Summer Solstice, a vision of a dragon waking from sleep. After it had awoken I needed to direct the dragon to unfold its wings and fly again after a long slumber. This was the trigger for me to begin to try to understand how this image translated into my life for the next few weeks. Only the next day after the vision I was already somehow certain that Cadair Idris mountain was important and more local to my task.
Cadair Idris mountain translates as something like “The Chair of Idris”. No-one seems to know who Idris was – a Saxon poet, a giant (or both), or something else. Perhaps I get the idea of Cadair Idris from the works of Susan Cooper or from Ivor The Engine, but I associate Idris with a dragon.
Other associations with dragons related to Cadair Idris can be found in Celtic lore:
Dragons and winged serpents were also reported around Lleyn and Penmaenmawr in Gwynedd, the ravines of the Berwyn Mountains, Cadair Idris, the wilds of Cardigan (Dyfed), Radnor Forest (Powys), the Brecon Beacons, the marches of Carmarthen and Worm’s Head, Gower. (source: Celtic Encyclopeadie)
4. Associations with King Arthur
There may be some link between The Pendragon – Arthur – and Cadaer Idris. In an essay published online August Hunt explains:
Triad 52 of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein concerns itself with the “Three Exalted Prisoners of the Island of Britain”. After listing the three prisoners, the Triad continues as follows:
“And one [prisoner], who was more exalted than the three of them, was three nights in prison in Caer Oeth and Anoeth, and three nights imprisoned by Gwen Pendragon, and three night in an enchanted prison under the stone of Echymeint [Llech Echemeint]. This exalted prisoner was Arthur.”
…The word anoeth is used in the STANZAS OF THE GRAVES, where it is said of Arthur that his final resting place in this world is a “wonder” (“anoeth bid bet y Arthur”). As an adjective, anoeth means “difficult” or “wonderful”. The Caer Oeth and Anoeth placename is also mentioned in the Mabinogion tale CULHWCH AND OLWEN, where it is one of the castles Arthur boasts of gaining entrance to. Once again, in the STANZAS OF THE GRAVES, we are told that the burial ground of the host of Caer Oeth and Anoeth can be found in Gwanas, a mountain tract located near Cadair Idris in Ceredigion.
A fuller explanation of some of the more obscure references to archaic Welsh literature and its meaning in this context is given here: http://www.maryjones.us/jce/oethanoeth.html
5. The Dragon’s Back
Looking at an ariel view of the mountain of Cadair Idris I am reminded of the very shape that I saw in the vision of Wearyall Hill. See if you can see what I mean:
6. The Dragon Breath and Dragon Pose
One evening I ventured to my new favourite haunt – my nemeton – to further my quest. Once I was firmly ensconced the rain began to come down in buckets. I slowly let myself attune to the atmosphere…the thud of the water, the smell of the leaf-laden earth, and then CRACK – THUMP!! A huge branch from a tree only a few feet away dropped to the floor and landed with a loud bump which startled me, making my blood pump in alarm! I laughed…and then relaxed into the atmosphere again. Clearly, I needed to be both entranced and alert at the same time. A little reminder perhaps?
I began an impromptu ritual of being cleansed in the rain, adopting a strange pose in response to the feel of the water. I began to think about my task at hand: waking the dragon. My body began to react to the stream of cold water and my breath began to be forced out. Two thoughts came to mind – this was the physical answer to my question “How do I wake the dragon?”, and that the breathing was “the dragon’s breath“. With this realisation I knew what I needed to do on Cadair Idris. As well as remembering that I could call upon Mab to assist.
The incident with the falling branch reminded me of this quote from the film ‘Excalibur’ (another Arthur/Merlin/Dragon link):
Merlin: What are you afraid of?
Arthur: I don’t know!
Merlin: Shall I tell you what’s out there?
Arthur: Yes, please!
Merlin: The Dragon! A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and all complete in a single glance it would burn you to cinders!
Arthur: Where is this Dragon?
Merlin: It is everywhere! It is everything! Its scales glisten in the bark of trees, its roar is heard in the wind and its forked tongue strikes like… like…
[a bolt of lightning strikes nearly at their feet]
Merlin: Oh, like lightning! Yes, that’s it!
I reminded myself that, although I was in my nemeton, it was not my space – I was just a privileged visitor to Nature’s space.
How to adopt the Dragon Pose
Legs shoulder width apart and relaxed. Knees slightly bent, as if for skiing. Hands out in front, with palms upwards at stomach height, and cupped as though waiting to collect something in them. Very similar to the position adopted now by Rugby players when they take a kick, but not as exaggerated as that, more relaxed.
I recreated the Dragon Pose today. As soon as I was in the correct position my face flushed and I got a tingle along my spine! I began to feel light-headed, the way I do before some kind of revelation happens. I felt the sweet familiar tingle all over that accompanies me getting totally in tune with Nature. It was very startling how a simple posture could recreate all this! I knew then that this posture was important to me.
I now need to understand more about the dragon’s breath – is it qigong? (e.g. this site) Or something else? I remember a line from the film ‘Excalibur’ in which Merlin mentions the Dragon’s Breath as being a writhing mist or vapour called forth by the Charm of Making. Perhaps I should revisit that charm and consider learning it. Might it be useful to call that upon Cadair Idris whilst adopting my Dragon Pose? Some things will only be revealed during the next week. I’ll report back after my walk up the mountain.