Lately, I’m noticing dragons everywhere: on my G/Son’s t-shirt, in paintings, in cloud formations. I recently gave G/Son d’Aulaire’s book of Norse myths which has some great pictures of dragons. He asked me why people are always fighting the dragons. That’s a good question. Dragons breathe fire and fire can be dangerous.
Dragons keep coming to mind as I sit with my Bit of Earth and ground myself into this preternatural and extreme Spring we’re having here in the mystical MidAtlantic. Spring, which normally unfolds over a period of months seems to have happened in the course of a few days. I have jack-in-the-pulpits blooming now that normally don’t bloom until late April. The Japanese maples are leafed out already. My pots of mint, nettles, and parslies are already full of juicy green leaves. Even the birds seems to be courting earlier than usual; I’ve already seen the male cardinals feeding seeds to the female cardinals out by my birdfeeder. Yesterday, I worked for an hour pulling hairy bittercress (which seems determined to replace wood sorrel as the weed with which I will wage a war of attrition; it is edible and, as lamb’s cress, had magical uses, so perhaps I’ll learn to work with it) out of the herb bed, where the lavender, rosemary, and sage are already leafing out and where there’s volunteer dill wanting to be harvested already. The sandy soil was warm to the touch and the sun was so hot that I was sweating. In March.
And as I prepared the ground for French tarragon (“Artemisia dracunculus,” also known as “dragon’s wort,” back when “wort” or “wyrt” meant a plant), I kept thinking of dragons. The sun beating down so strongly, even though the Earth is still tilted towards Spring, was a dragon. The strange stirrings underneath the Earth that so many Witches are feeling nowadays when we ground was a dragon. And the heatwave spreading out from the Midwest and pushing my own Bit of Earth into the chaos of early birth was a dragon. I dug and pulled and composted and remembered Dune, that desert planet inhabited by giant worms (wyrms was an old expression for dragons) and how Chani, in one last desperate attempt to give birth, consumed so much Spice that her pregnancy accelerated, draining her, in the end. And I could feel Mother Earth engaging in the same desperate attempt to produce before the heat wave becomes too intense this summer and kills things off.
Late last night, as I performed Hecate’s Deipnon, I thought more about G/Son’s question. I wonder if there’s a way to cooperate with these dragons, to work with them, to begin to know and understand them. Because I don’t think they’re going back to sleep anytime soon.
We’ve gotten to that place on the map, it seems, where the old cartographers put the sign: Here Be Dragons. And it’s too late to turn this ship, Gaia, around in time to avoid them, I think. Should be interesting.
Picture found here.