Dragons are one of the best-known mythological creatures. We admire their strength, their lithe scaled bodies, as well as their ability to spit fire. At the same time, these flying serpents inspire fear as they can burn to the ground in a split second or obliterate with a single sweep of their clawed paws. Admiration and fear are diametrically opposed emotions, yet they invariably arise when we think of these mighty creatures or look at pictures of them.
Perhaps for this very reason, dragons remain a unique fixture in folklore. And the things that strike a chord with us sooner or later find their way into art and popular culture. Remember how many films you have seen where the dragon was an antagonist or, conversely, a protagonist? And how many books you have read where dragons were an important part of the story, or how many times you’ve seen dragons in jewelry?
Unlike books and movies, jewelry lacks words to describe whether this dragon is a hero or a monster. But this is the beauty of metal taking a form. You, as an observer, decide for yourself what kind of emotions silver dragon pendants, rings, or charms should evoke.
Eastern vs Western Dragons
Dragons or creatures akin to them existed in virtually every culture, in every corner of the globe. At the same time, we can see a significant difference in the perception of flying serpents in Europe and Asia.
In the Eastern cultural tradition, the dragon is a symbol of good, might, and wisdom. It is the guardian of the east, the rising sun, the spring, and its life-giving power. According to Chinese legends, the dragon brings rain, which waters are the source of life for all living things.
Along with that, the dragon symbolizes nobility, magic, the power of transformation and imagination, perseverance, loyalty, as well as the ability to go beyond the ordinary.
Oriental dragons are often depicted with a pearl in their mouth or paw. This pearl is the personification of the most valuable thing that a person can have. But this is not a material thing, not money and not wealth. This is wisdom.
Dragons are also the harbingers of good luck. The ancient Chinese believed that meeting a dragon was the greatest blessing because luck would pursue a person wherever they go and whatever they do. Apart from that, dragons were symbols of imperial power and exclusivity. Only the emperor of China could wear clothes featuring the images of dragons embroidered with gold threads.
In Western civilization, however, dragons carried a negative connotation. They were a symbol of fury, which can only be destroyed through taming the spirit and body. Also, since the dragon belongs to the serpent family, it is the personification of both the original sin and temptations a person faces daily.
Unlike its eastern counterpart, the dragon from European mythology is an insidious, vicious, and greedy creature. It loves jewels and gold. It keeps its treasures in a cave high in the mountains. The dragon, on a whim, can burn down an entire village and terrorizes innocent townsfolk. It demands that gifts, such as jewels and beautiful maidens, be brought to it. Ultimately, the monster is killed by the noble knight’s sword.
The image of the Western dragon is devoid of any flattering features, but its symbolic meaning can nonetheless be appealing. It is the personification of negative traits that you would like to eradicate in yourself. And the image of a knight alongside a dragon (or his sword, shield, helmet, etc.) is the force that will help you achieve your goal.
A Bird and a Snake
The image of the dragon, as well as its symbolic meaning, also has a dual nature. The dragon is an offspring of a snake and a bird. The bird flies in the sky. It represents sublimity, spirituality, and the heavenly beginning. The snake, on the contrary, crawls on the ground and lives underground, in a hole or in voids under stones. The snake stands for earthiness, bodily desires, and also has connections with the underworld. At the same time, it is the personification of energy and strength.
Thus, the meaning of the dragon is the union of the earthly and heavenly. It is a symbol of the harmonious coexistence of the mundane and divine in the same person. People who choose a dragon as their talisman or amulet would like to have the knowledge that provides power both over their own desires and other people.
Symbol of Yin and Yang
The dragon represents the masculine Yang energy but it is not a purely masculine symbol. Its energy is dual and it is affected by the female Yin energy. The Chinese dragon has 117 scales on its body – this is the number of 1/3 days in a year. Of these, 81 are masculine (Yang) and 36 are feminine (Yin) scales. Therefore, the dragon can be the patron of men and women alike.
As a carrier of Yang energy, the dragon helps men to fully realize their strength and intellectual potential. Dragon amulets help them develop wisdom and gain success.
For a woman, the dragon denotes protection and patronage. This concerns both spiritual and real-life patrons in the form of another person, family, clan, or organization.
On top of that, the dragon can act as a symbol of monetary energy affecting finances and material well-being. According to Feng Shui, the dragon represents prosperity and wealth.