My mother, though not as strict of a Catholic as she once was, will not utter the word diablo. She won't explain it to me, but I imagine it's because to do so is to send him an invitation of some sort. I've been taught that the Word has creative and summoning powers, and my mother knows this through her faith and through her life.
"...the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan."
--Revelations 12:9, 20:2
Although I was raised in the Mexican Catholicism that so defines my mom's family, I do not give this trickster such power. I broke away from the religion at the age of eleven, and I've been trying to make sense of it since.
Satan is seen as a serpent and a dragon, and oftentimes, a biological amalgamation of the two. I've often wondered why this is the image that should represent one of the most evil creatures in the West, the antithesis of God, of light, and of life.
"The Gods of an older religion become the Devils of one that supersedes it."
I think it has something to do with our collective fear and thereby repression of darkness, of death, and of destruction. I spent the better part of my undergrad collecting evidence to support this, and eventually, wrote a thesis paper on the fear of darkness and death directly causing the subjugation of women.
"Like the Dark Moon, (serpents) vanish, leaving their old skin behind in winter and hibernating until spring when they return new-born. In this way they are epiphanies of the self-consuming and self-renewing powers of life, the mystery of an energy beyond the forms of time." --Jules Cashford
The pull to the mythic arts is the song of dragons. The calling of dragons seems to be heard by few, but I think it can be heard by all. Some pretend not to hear, and some, upon hearing, get frightened and call it the song of devils.
Fairy tales, folklore, and the mythic arts, in all their forms, all touch upon a darkness, some more than others. They directly confront the mystical cycle of our universe: birth, death, and rebirth. In the West, we're taught, either directly or indirectly, to see light and dark as an opposing duality. The darkness is evil, the light is good. Climbing and elevating should be our goals, our religion... and those who are drawn to the earth, to the soil, to the roots, let them be damned.
In truth, we cannot escape the cycle. We cannot escape the darkness, which birthed the light. The duality is what maintains life.
Snake and moon both die to the old, shedding their shadows to be reborn.
I've got a hunch that those of us who cannot ignore the song of the dragons have faced darkness head-on at one time or another in our lives. We know it's not evil. We know it's not something to fear (though its power can be frightening at times!). We know the darkness is integral to being a human, and in order to truly accept and integrate the light, we must welcome the dark. We must heed the call of dragons.
Note: There are a certain few people I have encountered that were are so vehemently against the mythic arts, it made me ponder if there was some sort of cultural foundation to their fear. This is my first exploration of this phenomenon.
I realize that my position is very much biased due to my belief in the magic and power of the mythic arts. I don't wish to offend anyone with my words, and I know there are many ways to live an authentic life, (which can and often includes religion), and devoting one's work to the mythic arts is just one of them. -R