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Monday, June 13, 2011

Dragons In Celtic Culture

According to Wikipedia The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages. Language wise they survive in the modern Celtic speakers of IrelandScotland, the Isle of ManWalesCornwall and Brittany. But that is slowly dying out unfortunately.

In Celt mythology the dragon had influence over the land (like the Japanese and Chinese dragons in my previous blog post). On the website dragonorama areas frequented by dragons had special power and the regular paths taken by dragons would turn into ley lines.  They are strongly associated with water and unlike many depictions of dragons these tended to have no legs...

Like in Japanese and Chinese culture they were seen as representing power. They also could represent the circle of life as depicted with their tail in their mouth.


Since the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, the dragons have been portrayed as devils or satan.  The story of Saint Patrick (The patron saint of Ireland) is about him converting the Irish. Many people see the dragons/serpents that were chased out of the country as actually just a representation of paganism and not ACTUAL dragons/serpents.  What do you think?

The dragon is in the Welsh flag.  From Wikipedia "The flag incorporates the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd, along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 after which it was carried in state to St Paul's Cathedral. The red dragon was then included in the Tudor royal arms to signify their Welsh descent. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959." 

So why are they still so prolific in Celtic culture today? Is it to acknowledge heritage and history? Do Dragons exist today? What are your thoughts?

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