Ian Elliott March 1st, 2017
“Look into the eye of the Dragon and despair.” – Merlin initiating Morgan la Fey in the film “Excalibur.”
A Druid of my acquaintance put this short dialogue into my hands. He refused absolutely to comment on it, but said I might do with it what I wished. So I am laying it before all of you:
A red-haired lady came to see me the other day. She said she had been having visions of angels, and she told me her visions in great detail. Among other things, she said that they control the weather.
She was a nice lady. I said that I did not doubt that she had had visions of angels. Then she said, “Then you accept my visions?” “I did not say that,” I said.
“Then you doubt my visions?” she said. “Nor that either,” I replied. “ I too have had visions, and so do other people. They do not always agree with each other. But they are all visions, sure enough.”
“Then you don’t think visions are real,” she said. “You don’t really believe in them.” And she stressed the word “really”.
“They are real enough,” I said. “All of this that we are seeing right now is a vision. We have learned how to agree about it, so it is a common vision. But it is a vision just the same, and not necessarily the last word on what is real.”
“Then what is real?” she asked, stressing the word “is”.
“A good question,” I said. “What is all this? If you look with that question in your heart long enough, you will see beyond vision, beyond these scenes of angels, or demons, or what-have-you. You will see what is here. We call that ‘looking into the eye of the dragon.’ But that is only a manner of speaking.”
“What happens then?” she asked.
“When once you look into the eye of the dragon,” I said, “things are never the same, because you are never the same. We say here that to look into the eye of the dragon is to lose the human form and become the dragon. In fact, everything becomes the dragon.”
“But how can everything become a dragon?” she asked, a little nervously perhaps.
“The dragon,” I corrected her. “Not a dragon. The dragon.”
“All right,” she said, a little testily. “the dragon. But how does everything become the dragon?”
“Everything becomes the dragon,” I said, “by virtue of already always having been the dragon.”
“I don’t believe it,” she said. “You tell me my angels aren’t real, and now you want me to accept a dragon – all right, the dragon – as real.”
“It doesn’t make the slightest difference whether you accept it or not,” I said.
“It’s an ugly thought, anyway, looking into the dragon’s eye and becoming the dragon. I’m going back to my angels.”
“That’s right,” I said, “why shouldn’t you? Stick with your angels as long as you can. There isn’t much advantage in seeing things as they are.”
She got up to go, then looked for a moment into my eyes and sat down again.
That was when I knew she’d been telling the truth about her visions.
“Is it – is it fearsome?” she asked.
“It is,” I said, “it is most terrifying. But not in the way you think.”
“How do you know what I’m thinking?”
“You’re thinking it might be dangerous, like a lion. It is not dangerous in that way at all. It can’t threaten you; it can only become you.”
She shivered and said, “I don’t want to become a dragon!”
“If only it were really a matter of becoming a dragon!” I said. “But unfortunately, calling it a dragon is only a way of flapping our gums, of having something to say. In reality, no one can say what it is. It’s here, that’s all.