Dragons are referred to as the divine mythical creature that brings with it ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune. But if these mythical entities can bring about real effects, are they not real themselves?
Dragons are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture and unlike the negative associations with Western Dragons, Eastern Dragons are beautiful, friendly and wise. Their origin is unknown, but certainly predates the written history. They look like a combination of many animals. For the Chinese people, Dragons were described visually as a composite of parts from nine animals –the horns of a deer; the head of a camel; the eyes of a hare; the body of a snake; the abdomen of a frog; the scales of a carp; the claws of an eagle; the paws of a tiger; and the ears of an ox. Each part embodies the various powers attributed to Chinese Dragons, but there is an added attraction to the fact that nine animals compose the Dragon.
The number nine is considered lucky in China . Eastern dragons have 117 scales (1+1+7), 81 ( 9 x 9) infused with yang (male energy) and 36 (4 x 9) infused with yin. This evens out the Dragon’s temper and personality.
The Dragon is credited with having great powers that allow them to make rain and to control floods. Eastern Dragons are portrayed as good, kind, and intelligent, though vain. They are insulted when people do not honor their importance. Then, by thrashing about, dragons either stop making rain and cause water shortages, or they breathe black clouds that bring storms and floods.
The Dragon brings the essence of life in the form of its celestial breath and yields life and bestows its power in the form of the seasons, bringing water from rain, warmth from the sunshine, wind from the seas and soil from the earth. It is the ultimate representation of the forces of Mother Nature, perhaps the greatest divine force on earth.
In the minds of the early Chinese, the Dragon was a god that embodied the will and ideals of the Chinese people and then carried them off to the celestial realms after death. Oriental Dragons are shown with a pearl in their mouth, under their chin, or in their claws. The pearl is where the Dragon gets its power and the means by which it can ascend to the heavens.
In ancient China nobody had any doubts about the existence of Dragons and they were accorded great respect as the symbol of the Chinese nation. All people in China , including the emperor, prostrated themselves before the image of the Dragon with reverence and awe. As a result, this unreal animal became the spiritual sustenance for a nation: firstly, as the totem of a tribe and then as the symbol of the nation. Eventually it became the sign on the national flag of the last feudal dynasty. In modern times, official dogma decries the importance of the Chinese Dragon, but this does not stop adoration on the part of Chinese around the world in the form of the Dragon Dance celebrating the Chinese New Year, or auspicious placement of decorative Dragon paraphernalia in the living quarters (as in Feng Shui). After all, the Dragon can ward off wandering evil spirits, protect the innocent and bestow safety to all that hold his emblem. It is the ultimate symbol of Good Fortune and that in itself makes it real enough for anyone who believes.