Thursday, January 2, 2014

Battling Dragons in the Darkness

Article by Ty Hulse

A storm rolls in, blotting out the sun, bringing with it darkness and life.
For a storm brings life giving rain but it also brings winds and floods which would destroy homes and sweep away loved ones.

Storms are the most confusing of natural phenomenon - needed, even desired - yet at the same time, feared.

Nearly everyone has experienced fear as a storm rolls in, the sense of dread as the sky turns dark and the winds howl outside like demons.  In ancient times the storm was filled with dragons, giants, witches and demons. Yet it was also filled by good good spirits

The flash of lighting followed by the boom of thunder came from the gods, from Thor who was battling dragons in the darkness.

In Europe and at one time India lightning was a sign that spirit of the oak tree known as Thor, Indra, Zeus, Jupiter, etc. had come to protect people from evil. Among the Japanese the Storm Kami Susanoo defeated dragons to protect people In one local tale he battled two fire breathing dragons to protect a village and getting another serpent drunk so that he could kill it. The lord of the storm is the warrior who banished the darkness and destroyed evil with his thunder bolts.

It should be remembered that Thor and Zeus and Jupiter are the spirits of the oak tree. They are like a fairy which rose up to protect and be the champion of humans against the darkness. who had risen up to defend humanity against dragons and trolls.

Early on the people who worshiped these deities were nomads who had traveled thousands of miles from their home into the unknown where only the sky and the storms remained the same. The peaceful sky however could not protect them, it could not defeat the demons they feared, only the storm could do that. Only the ax, arrows, or hammer of the gods could strike down the giants of the new land in which they found themselves.

What this means is that when a weeping fearful child would climb into bed with their parents as the storm raged around them, the parents would comfort the child by telling them how the oak tree which they had made offerings to, the spirit of the oak tree which they asked to protect their homes and fields was out in the storm fighting the demons, fighting the darkness which the child feared. In this way the child would know that the thunder was his friend and so would be comforted.

So while the god of the oak trees and the thunder may be a god of war, making a warrior one of the most important gods to the Indo-European peoples this may only be because a warrior is sometimes what is needed to give comfort not just to those going into battle but also to those who are weak and afraid. 

For writers this image may prove useful because on some level this war god began as a local spirit, the spirit of a tree within a village who rose to great heights.

It's also interesting to note that among the Ugric people's of Northern Eurasia the Lord of Lighting would hunt evil spirits that would possess trees, objects and on occasion people (which explains why some people were struck by lighting).