Sparkle Schoolhouse
On Dragons and Navigating Big Emotions

2016-09-20
On Dragons and Navigating Big Emotions

Dragons are everywhere.

Pete’s Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Dragon Slayer – and countless more films and television shows every year feature or include dragons.

Most creation stories and mythologies include dragons.

The Chinese astrology has a dragon representing one of the 12 signs – the only one that is not based on something “real.”

Dragons are clearly important to our understanding of what it is to be human – so… what is a dragon?


I talk more about Dragons and Navigating Big Emotions in this video:

https://youtu.be/cP4dfoJte4w


In many cultures, dragons are monsters to be controlled or slain.

In other cultures, dragons are to be honored and celebrated.

They tend to be reptilian, snake-like, dinosaur-ish – able to fly, swim, burrow under mountains and breath fire. Sometimes they are greedy. Sometimes they are angry. Sometimes they are lonely. Sometimes they are regal.

But they are always powerful. That is the key to dragons – pure power.

Last week I wrote a story that can be used for this Dragon-rich time of year (Michaelmas! Read about the festival HERE). “The Dragon and the Unicorn” and I had a chance to sit with dragons and let them whisper to me.

And here is what I learned: the source of a dragon’s power is their emotions. Their feelings. They feel A LOT – and this shows up as pure power.

Finn as Knight

So then I started thinking about all the storied knights, kings, queens, townspeople, heroes and heroines that successfully or unsuccessfully control or even kill dragons. What is that? Controlling emotions? Trying to manage our feelings?

Something about that felt deeply right – but then the story wanted a unique ending.

The dragon didn’t want to be controlled – just like our emotional children don’t want to be controlled.

Instead – the dragon wanted to be witnessed.

She wanted to be seen and heard and to have someone who was present for the entire emotional experience. Someone who wasn’t frightened by the expression and who was able to not only be with the experience – but even… give it some direction. Offer a place to put that anger and sadness. Give an outlet for all this joy or worry or grief or irritation.

David telling story in the woods to boys

And then it was clear: that individual is a unicorn. Unicorns are dear creatures – pure and present and magical and able to direct or point their influence with that single horn.

The dragon was able to FEEL. And the unicorn was able to be PRESENT and DIRECT. The dragon: power. The unicorn: direction of that power. Working together in honor and respect. In balance.

So the story of "The Dragon and the Unicorn" is a story of balance. A story that honors the need to feel ALL our feelings – be present with them – and then direct them in such a way that makes it safe and respectful for the child and those around her or him.

And it is a Michaelmas story in the end. A story of courage, endurance and might – but not in the traditional way of beating or winning over something else. It is the courage to FEEL, the courage to be WITH that feeling – and then the courage to DIRECT those feelings in a respectful and affirming way.

We hope this and the other “Dragon” stories can help you and your family do the same.


Find "The Dragon and the Unicorn" story on the Sparkle Podcast!

Or on the streaming website here.

(Not a subscriber? Sign up here!)

 

About the Author

David Sewell McCann

Story Spinner

David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.

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