Before there were Dragon Kings of the Sea, there were Dragon Queens. These sacred Dragon Ladies control winds and precipitation. They protect sailors, travelers, ships, and all those who ply the sea, whether for food or trade. The Dragon Queens provide people with protection and prosperity. They are healing spirits who can cure illness and provide or enhance fertility. The Dragon Queens are among the most ancient East Asian deities.
Post-Confucianism, however, it was considered unseemly for women to rule men.
(See Also: Abka Hebe.) The Dragon Queens were reenvisioned as male to suit official court mythology. (Alternatively, the Dragon Queens’ sons, fathers, and husbands were promoted at the expense of their female relatives.) Although their original gender and identity were suppressed, they were never entirely erased. Dragons as a species are emblematic of yin, the primal force identified with the female powers of the universe (as opposed to yang, the universe’s opposing and balancing male force). This is as true of Dragon Kings as Queens. Dragon Kings command the yin element of water and are associated with moisture, rain, and damp, dark caves.
The Dragon King has a daughter who is prominently featured in his iconography and veneration. Some theorize that she was the original Dragon Queen, now demoted but never completely removed.
Although Dragon Queens are among the most primordial sacred forces, many no longerrecognize the spiritual implications of the phrase “dragon lady,” which is now frequently construed and intended as an insult, indicating a scheming, aggressive woman or a devious femme fatale, a predatory bitch goddess rather than a beneficent guardian.
This misogynistic definition has historically been used as a pejorative stereotype for East Asian women. However, any negative implications associated with the title “dragon lady” are solely of Western origin and probably did not exist before the twentieth century.
In East Asian cosmology, dragons are not evil or even particularly aggressive. They are regal, powerful, and benevolent. Western usage of the title “Dragon Lady” may derive from the scheming pirate queen character in Milton Caniff’s comic strip, Terry and the Pirates, which debuted in 1934. True Dragon Ladies are great, generally benevolent goddesses who are no more or less temperamental and volatile than any other spirit of the sea. Although the Dragon Queens have been laying low in recent centuries, they may still be invoked in the same manner as their male counterparts.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
- Dragon Goddess of Borneo
- Dragon King of the Sea
- Green Jade Mother
- Long Mau
- T’ai Shan, Lord of
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.