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The Dragon: Making Sense of a World Wide Myth

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Everyone is familiar with the mythical motif of the Dragon. In myths and fairy tales across the world, we find different versions of a snake-like, coiling creature which connects earth and sky, dwells in water, breathes fire and has a particular fondness for young maidens. In this talk, Chris will be proposing a revolutionary new way of decoding dragon myths. The dragon has nothing to do with folk memories of dinosaurs. Instead, it belongs to the sphere of human ritual, particularly initiation ritual. The dragon is a way of representing matrilineal kinship and women's solidarity through menstrual synchrony, a social force often depicted negatively under conditions of patriarchy. Some of the most persuasive evidence for this new interpretation comes from Aboriginal Australia, where stories about a Rainbow Snake are not disembodied myths but are still acted out in ritual performance.


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