By Joseph “Joe” Panek | A Seeker’s Thoughts
“With vast convolutions Draco holds
Th’ ecliptic axis in his scaly folds.
O’er half the skies his neck enormous rears,
And with immense meanders parts the Bears.”
– Erasmus Darwin’s “Economy of Vegetation”
“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons,
and discover the treasure of their true selves.”
– Carol Lynn Pearson
Draco is one of the largest constellations in the heavens. We currently refer to this constellation as “Draco the Dragon”. However, in Ancient Egypt this constellation was called “The Cobra” or “The Serpent”
So, why is this constellation referred to as the Dragon in modern times? And, to be even more precise, what is a dragon, and from where do we get the word “dragon?
To properly answer these questions, it is necessary to look into the etymology of the word “dragon”.
The word “dragon” comes from the Latin word draconem and the Greek word drakontos. Both of these words sound like “dragon” and both of these words contain the sound draco within them. Therefore, by simple word association, we get Draco the Dragon as the modern name for this constellation.
However, when properly interpreted, the words draconem and drakontos translate as “Serpent”, or “huge Serpent”.
With these thoughts in mind, let us now analyze the Symbolism and mythology associated with the constellation Draco in its role as the heavenly archetype of the Cosmic Serpent.
In ancient times Draco was a much larger constellation than it is today. However modern astronomers, astrologers and
sky cartographers, in their never ending pursuit of attempting to improve upon the perfection of the Ancient Skywatchers, have dissected, or broken up, what was once an enormous, mythologically rich, constellation in the ancient sky. This breaking up of large ancient constellations by modern astronomers, astrologers and sky cartographers has not been limited to only Draco.
In ancient times Draco consisted of not only the modern-day remnant but also included both Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper) which we also know as the Big Bear and the Little Bear.
And because the Little Dipper resembled a “wing”, which was then a part of this ancient constellation of the Cosmic Serpent, this constellation was also referred to as the Winged Serpent – or Feathered Serpent; a term which can be found in many ancient mythologies.
For example, this constellation of the Feathered Serpent was known as Kulkulcan to the Mayans and as Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs.
So now we come to the question: Why was this constellation of the Cosmic Serpent regarded with such importance in ancient mythology?
And the answer is: because this Cosmic Serpent is that same “tempting Serpent” which lives within the branches of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” in Garden of Eden lore. This Garden of Eden Tree is the same as The Cosmic Tree and The World Tree we read about in the mythologies of various cultures throughout the world.
In ancient times, stars and constellations which never set, or fell below the Horizon, were considered more powerful than those which did fall below the Horizon. Therefore Draco, The Cosmic Serpent which entwines itself around the pole center of the heavens, and therefore occupies the trunk and branches of the Cosmic Tree, was a Symbol of eternal cosmic vigilance.
In the Garden of Eden myth we are told that there were two trees in the Garden: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Tree of Life is the Tree of Spiritual Life, or the “Tree of Unity”. Unity, of course, is “one”; and “one” is the number which is Symbolic of the spiritual, united and undivided realm. The Tree of Life, therefore, exists in the Spiritual Garden, or Spiritual womb, where all souls reside prior to their manifestation, or Incarnation, into the realm of matter.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the “Tree of Duality”. Whenever we come across two extremes, or opposites, in mythological tales or religious texts this should automatically remind us that these opposites, or extremes, are a reference to Duality and the realm of Duality. Duality can only exist in the realm of matter; and duality is expressed, numerologically, by the number “two”.
It is within the branches of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that the “tempting serpent” resides. This is, metaphorically and Symbolically, the same Cosmic Serpent which resides in the stars (branches) of the Cosmic Tree; the World Tree; the Tree of Duality; and the polar center of the heavens,
The Serpent tempts Eve with the Forbidden Fruit. Eve accepts. She then offers the fruit to Adam who also accepts. They are then “banished” from the Garden of Eden.
What can this tale possibly mean?
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that this tale is a myth, a metaphor, an allegory of an archetypal process by which spirit becomes manifested, Incarnated and united within matter in the physical realm; the realm of duality.
The Word temptation can also be interpreted as “test”. Symbolically, spirit is feminine: therefore Eve is the Symbol for spirit. The “tempting serpent”, or Cosmic Serpent, is a Symbol for Time, re-Incarnation and Cycles; all of which can only exist within the realm of duality or matter. The Forbidden Fruit is the Symbol for the “Seed” of manifestation into matter (the “test”). Adam is the Symbol for mankind.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the Tree of Duality) is where a soul, or spirit, who is ready to re-Incarnate (Eve) accepts its test (temptation) from the Cosmic Serpent which is Symbolic of Time, Cycles, and therefore re-Incarnation.
And what is this “test”? The test is for this particular soul to rid itself of, or Alchemically purify itself from, all Karma and Sin it has acquired throughout all of its past Incarnations. If this soul can pass this test during its upcoming Incarnation then the soul will no longer have to re-Incarnate again into the mundane world of matter.
At that point the soul is ready to Ascend into higher and higher realms and receive more noble and glorious “tests” until it finally reaches the most divine spiritual realm from whence it originally came; which is the ultimate Destiny of all souls.
How does the soul accept this “test”? By eating the “fruit”, or Seed of matter, with which it is presented by the “tempting serpent”; the Cosmic Serpent.
Once the Seed of matter (fruit) in ingested, the soul then descends from the high spiritual realm through the branches of the Comic Tree (the stars), past the Serpent (Draco), down the trunk of the Cosmic (World) Tree and into the realm of matter and duality where it becomes a temporal member of mankind (Adam).
Manifesting as a member of mankind, this spiritual soul (Eve) becomes entrapped, or impregnated, within matter (mankind; Adam) until its Incarnation, its Adventure in the realm of matter, is complete.
If the soul passes its test during that incarnation it will no longer have to return to the physical realm. If it does not pass its test it will have to re-Incarnate again and again until finally passes its test.
We have discussed how the soul descends past the Cosmic Serpent (Draco) into the realm of matter by accepting its “test”. Now let us analyze what role this Cosmic, winged, Serpent plays when a soul has completed its Incarnation in the realm of matter.
There is a painting, a Symbol, which comes to us from Ancient Egypt. This painting portrays a soul Traveling on the back of a Serpent amidst the stars. This represents the soul, whose earthly journey has ended, being carried back into the spiritual, heavenly realm to either Ascend to a much higher level of consciousness after passing its earthly test, or, to await its next re-Incarnation back into the realm of matter where it will once again be presented with its “test”.
As the descending soul must accept the temptation, or “test” from the Cosmic Serpent, and as the Ascending soul is carried back into the heavens by this same Cosmic serpent, Draco can therefore be considered to be the “guardian of the heavens”; for Draco stands at the gateway, or border, that separates heaven and earth.
For whether a soul is ascending, or whether a soul is descending, it must have a Symbolic encounter with this Cosmic Serpent named Draco.
It is also in this sense that the dragon (draconem, drakontos) has become the guardian of mythological treasure (Gold; purification). For to get past the dragon, Ascend past Draco, we must first become Alchemically pure. This means we must rid ourselves of all past Karma and Sin. For only then can we gain the Gold of Ascension and be permitted to pass into the highest and purest realms of the domain of Spirit.
Closing Thought: What is the purpose our continual Incarnations into the realm of duality; what is the Lesson to be learned; and what is the “test”?
The “test”, and Lesson, is to rid ourselves from the pull we experience whenever we are “tempted” to associate ourselves with either side of duality. For whenever we make a Choice based solely upon the notion that this faction, or idea, is right and that one is wrong we are drawn away from balance and Harmony. These “temptations” are the kinds of befuddling Choices and Beliefs which cause us to accumulate Sins and acquire Karmic debts.
The realm of duality Instructs us that it is necessary to have two opposing forces, tensions, or entities constantly tugging at each other in order to establish and maintain equilibrium and Harmony. When we learn to Transcend Duality we understand how to balance opposing tensions: we learn how to turn the chaos (Egyptian Isfet) of duality back into the Harmony (Egyptian Maat) and tranquility of Unity.
This is the “temptation” or “test” our spirit is sent into this physical Incarnation to conquer. This is the “Seed” or “fruit” offered to our spirit by the “tempting Serpent”.
Once we pass the test of physical duality we acquire the Wisdom, purity and tranquility which enables us to ascend to the much higher spiritual planes.
It is at this point that the Cosmic Serpent (Draco) seats us upon its back and flies us into the higher and higher realms of Divine Consciousness.