Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

George the dragon slayer and the virgin (introduction)

St. George as dragon slayer, Artus Court, Gdansk

By on 31 December 2020

St. George as dragon slayer, Artus Court, Gdansk

The dragon slayer, St. George. Sculpture on the northern wall of the large hall
of the Artus Court in Gdansk, probably from 1485 by Hans Brandt.

The Dragonslayer and the Maiden, Introduction

Saint George

Saint" George, the dragon slayer, is depicted in most illustrations with a red cloak and a white horse. With his long sword he slays a fearsome dragon and thus wins the virgin who is waiting for him in the background (see also Wikipedia).

Click here to go directly to:

The Nordic fairy tale of the dragon slayer, full text
Start, episode 1, the theme: the vision of the virgin (7 for wholeness)

The dragon slayer George and his symbols

The Dragon and the Maiden: The Integration of the Feminine

The Hero's Path from Negative to Positive Femininity

The dragon or dragon snake, as a reptile, is associated with the element of water and the feminine. As a further development of the snake, this oversized powerful mythical creature symbolizes negative femininity, namely the inner woman of the hero, who is not yet integrated.

The hero must overcome the inner dragon in order to find the pure, miracle-working love ("virgin") (see Life and the Serpent: Ascent and Descent).

Thus, there is a Nordic fairy tale that tells how the dragon slayer achieves immortality through a fulfilled life in the service of love. The three colors white - red and black (for wholeness) play an important role.

The apple mould, from black to white and the integration of the spirit

The Hero's Path from Matter into Spirit

The hero rides the white horse. It is an apple white horse, black - grey - white spotted with round spots the size of apples. At birth, the animal's coat is still grey-black. Its colour changes in the course of its life, becoming lighter and lighter until it is finally completely white.

The change of the color from black to white is an image for the way of the human being from the bondage in the matter (black) into the freedom and width of the spirit (white).

The red cloak: protection against the temptation of power through violence

Fire symbolizes power and passion of the male body. It eats forward, but can also cause destruction. The hero wins the red coat by death-defyingly saving love from the flames (see Fire Dynamics) and thus demonstrating warm-hearted helpfulness (of the father) (see Episode 3: The Red Coat).

The dragon slayer in Norse lore

St. George in the church

The Man's Path to Wholeness

While the Church limits its legend of St. George (Wikipedia) to the slaying of the dragon and rescue of the virgin, Norse lore paints a comprehensive picture of the man's journey to wholeness. (The theme of "wholeness" is contained in the word "holy" or "sanctus" in Latin. "Whole," "holy," or "sanctified" is indeed he who has attained wholeness ("holiness")).

Thereby the inner dragon symbolizes the ego, which has to be overcome in order to find pure love and eternal life (symbolized by the virgin).

The Way of the Hero, Scandinavia and Strong Femininity

Scandinavia was Christianised rather late, in the 10th or 11th century. Possibly for this reason, matriarchal traditions and structures have survived better there than in Central and Southern Europe. A deep connection to nature and respect for life is part of the veneration of the maternal side of existence. It also includes the understanding that everything takes its time and that growth is a process.
This is also vividly expressed in the Nordic legend of the dragon slayer.

The Path to Wholeness (White - Red - Black) 

The fairy tale of the maiden in the castle of rosy clouds describes the path of the hero and dragon slayer from his youth to his mature age. It tells how he wins the sword, the red cloak and the white horse in the course of his life. Finally, the high goal awaits him: the virgin and eternal life.
The narrative follows the hero's path and the male path to wholeness, on which positive femininity, namely pure, devoted love ("virgin") must be integrated. This is how the hero wins his soul.

John Bauer: "With loose reins, Georg blasted forward."

Paintings by John Bauer, photo-technically expanded (original format at the end of the article). The clouds thus appear as a triangle pointing upwards, into the realm of the spirit.

Three fulfilled areas in three Life phases (3 x 3 = 9)

Three colours red, white, black for three phases of life

The trinity is symbolised by the three colours red, white and black. The fairy tale thematises the path of the man and the hero 's consciousness to wholeness. This path leads through the three phases of life, which must be completed.

The three phases of life are thematised in the fairy tale through 3, 6 and 9 years:

  • 3 years, YOUTH: The hero wins the mantle, red as blood and embers of fire, by using his body for the good of others.
  • 6 years, ADULT AGE: The hero wins the white horse by remaining kind and repaying evil with good.
  • 9 years, Mature Age: The last thing the hero overcomes is a black giant who wants to block his way into the clouds. This symbolises his own death(shadow).

The three phases of life are completed by the hero expressing love in the three areas of life, body, soul and spirit, in each individual phase:

  1. BODY, Red: Devotion of bodily strength through energetic help.
  2. SEELE, Weiss: Devotion of the soul: love, warm-heartedness, forgiveness.
  3. SPIRIT, Black (Spirit) 9 years: Overcoming ego and death through trust.

This is what this illustration is about:

The Nine for Wholeness, 9 = 3 x 3

The Dragonslayer and the Hero's Path: 7 episodes

The Norse narrative, like so many traditions, follows the structure of the Hero's Path (see The Hero's Path). It begins with 7, the introduction of the goal (wholeness):

7. superordinate goal (spirit): The virgin in the castle of the rosy clouds

The youth recognises in a dream image the higher vision of love ("virgin") and eternal life.

1. personal decision for the path (awareness, vocation)

In a next step, he learns what he needs concretely to achieve the goal and he decides to fulfil the prerequisites to the best of his ability.

2. the first step on the path (initiation): the dragon serpent and the sword

His path begins with a concrete sign of surrender to the great feminine, life itself. He wins the miraculous sword and slays the dragon.

3. fire (desire), overcoming (desert): The red coat

The hero uses his body to save, provides active help and overcomes paralysis in his youthful strength and devotion.

4. devotion also in success (service): The white horse

Even in success, the true hero remains humble, helpful and does not impute evil.

5 Integration of Shadows (Trial by Fire): The Black Giant

Even in the face of death, he does not lose sight of his goal.

6th Holy Wedding and the Birth of the New / New Life

This is how he achieves his goal in the end. Virgo is a symbol for the positive female parts of the man's personality (anima). With her he gains pure love and thus access to the spirit and eternal life.

This completes the heroic path. It is the "masculine" path, in the sense, that is, the path of loving consciousness to wholeness. It leads out of the bondage to matter (black), into the fullness of spirit and life (white; see Male and Female - the Two Primordial Forces of Creation / The Sacred Marriage - Wh oleness / The creation of new reality - fruit of the unity of male and female.).

John Bauer, The Castle in the Rosy Clouds

"With loose reins, he blasted ahead."

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