Close Encounters of the Dragon Kind

In my previous post I mentioned that I did not yet have a personal dragon for the element of Water. Well, that changed this morning during a meditation I attended with friends in the beautiful surrounds of the Royal National Park (Audley, NSW). Early in the meditation we called on the dragons of each element, so naturally I called on my personal dragons for Air followed by Fire, and was pleasantly surprised when a name and an image of a Water Dragon  popped into my mind next, before continuing on to my Earth Dragons.

(Click to enlarge)

My Dragon of Water is known as “Elle” …as always that is the dragon’s “public” name that I am sharing, not her private name that must not be shared with anyone. Elle is a very large dragon with a long serpent-like body …reminiscent of what some people believe the Loch Ness monster to look like. She is a beautiful shimmering blue-green colour with a very smooth, metallic appearance. She has frilled ‘gills’ on the side of her head  — a little like an axolotl — with sets of  silvery fins along her body. She actually looks a lot like the stylised, symbolic drawing of a water dragon I painted on the medicine drum I made  in 2009. I think she’s been with me a lot longer than I realised but I just didn’t have name for her until now.

Unfortunately I can’t remember very much of this morning’s meditation and I had difficulty getting ‘into’ it due to the hot, humid weather we are currently experiencing. I do however, remember that in one part of it I became a dragon and once again sprouted wings on my back and flew high into the sky. As a dragon, I too was a blue-green metallic colour, but my dragon skin wasn’t as smooth as Elle’s. I was covered in thick knobbly scales with little black and silver patches on them which gave me a very mottled appearance. I briefly looked at the world through the eyes of a dragon and saw everything through a yellow-green haze, with multiple images as if looking through a faceted jewel. It was definitely a different and fascinating experience. The image below is my attempt (with my limited Photoshop skills) to show what my dragon’s eye view of the world looked like. Interestingly, another person in the group who was sitting next to me had a very similar visual experience of seeing the world as a dragon. Even though such synchronicities happen frequently in our group meditations they never cease to amaze me. 😀

My Dragon’s eye view of the world (Click to enlarge)

I now have personal Dragons for each of the four elements as well as one Chaos Dragon…

Eastern Water Dragon (Click to enlarge)

We also had a couple of visits from some more mundane types of dragons this morning. The first was either a Bearded Dragon or more likely an Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) as we were sitting close to the river during our meditation. The dragon was a few metres away from us, on a low-hanging branch, so it was difficult to tell exactly which species it was. It stayed on the branch for quite a while before finally darting away.

Goanna (Click to enlarge)

After we’d finished our meditation we walked back to the main picnic area to have breakfast at one of the tables under the shelter. Our second dragon visitor was a goanna, possibly a Lace Monitor (Varanus varius) — a species which is known to frequent picnic spots to scavenge for scraps. These critters can get to over 2 metres long! This one was about 1.5m (5ft) or there-abouts. Definitely a beast to be wary of! It initially caused  a stir when the people behind us saw it being driven away by a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo that was obviously very worried about this dangerous predator and scavenger. People scattered as it made its way into the picnic shelter and eventually up to our table, where we sat very still while it walked between our legs under the table and out the other side, off the concrete and back onto the grass.

One of my friends (who also took the photo above left) decided she’d feed the goanna but all we had apart from fruit (which it didn’t want) was some cold pizza, which is obviously not a good choice of food for a wild monitor lizard. She picked some pieces of meat off the pizza and threw them towards the goanna, but that action startled the goanna and instead of going for the meat the goanna reared up on its hind legs and lunged at my friend, who screamed and ran backwards very quickly to get away from it. This brief confrontation was hilarious to watch, but it could have ended badly. I’m not sure if the goanna was trying to attack her, or possibly trying to climb up her to take refuge, mistaking her for a tree.  It is known that alarmed goannas can mistake standing humans for trees and attempt to climb off the ground to safety, which is understandably painful, as well as distressing for both man (or woman!) and beast.  Goannas can also inflict very nasty bites and research has shown that goanna saliva contains a weak venom which causes extra pain, swelling and prolonged bleeding of the bite wound.

Feeding wildlife in national parks and other natural environments does not help the animals in the long run as it adversely affects their foraging and feeding behaviour and compromises their general health and their ability to survive in the wild. Well-meaning people who think they’re helping obviously don’t realise they’re causing any problems, but animals that expect to be fed by people can become aggressive, harassing people for food when they are hungry. I think that may have been the case with this goanna as it certainly wasn’t in any hurry to leave the area and actually came back into the picnic shelter full of people in its quest for food, sending lots more of us up onto the tables and benches again to avoid it as it was looking a little more agitated this time. To try to placate the beast it was given more pizza (cheese, pastry …the lot!). I’m sure it’ll be back to harass more picnickers in due course. 😮

Perhaps the earlier sighting of the water dragon on the branch and the visit from the goanna were subtle signs from the Dragons that they are all around us. Perhaps also the encounter with the goanna was a reminder that we must maintain a healthy respect for the Dragons and not take them for granted and never do anything to antagonise them. Remember…

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are small and crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”
~ Dilbert, by Scott Adams