I was doing some research this morning for my website when I came across a reference for the symbol of the Dragon in a dream. I’ve recorded several symbols for the dragon (see Dragon Symbols in the Dreaming Wizard website ), but was not aware that they are often seen as riddle makers as well. Given my run in with a Riddlegnome in the book The Archipelago of dreams (see Books by Author on right hand column), I wondered what part a riddle played in fantasy stories, or dreams for that matter.
Frequently riddles are a collection of opposing characteristics describing a single person, place or thing and yet it is the essence of the answer that reconciles the opposites into a single correct answer.
Riddles are often found at the entrance to all kinds of things and are presented as a means of opening the doors to something such as a cave, lair, or bridge and as such aid in the protection of these things. The riddle’s solution is thus the answer to an achievement of something valuable and nothing worth achieving is won without struggle. So it’s no wonder that the Dragon that is often seen as the protector of human treasure is affiliated with the riddle.
The riddle also represents mystery and mans struggle to discover the truth of things. Its solution elicits many of the same feelings associated with the discovery of an unknown truth–the conquering of something heretofore bigger than oneself.
For me at least, any riddle always tries my patience and tests my wit. It is also a metaphor for something that makes me feel stupid and requiring usually a higher degree of analysis and synthesis skill than I think I have. It can often be seen as the prelude to failure and an obstruction to progress. But I must be in pretty good company, or it wouldn’t be used as a protective charm so often in stories of magic. However, I also suspect that they are used in most cases to strengthen one’s higher-order thinking skills and as such as a game to test, or hone, one’s mettle.
While researching, my own dragon entered the room and of course, true to form, posed its own riddle that I present to you now, but unlike my encounter with the Riddlegnome, I will not munch on your bones should you fail to answer correctly.
“It is as warm as a summer’s breeze, or as cold as a stone on a winters day.
It is brighter than a star, or as black as a moonless night.
It can be as hard as rock, or as malleable as clay.
It is of the flesh and of the spirit.
It opens itself up to the universe and yet it can close hard latched when vulnerable.
It is all-powerful and yet easily broken.”
What is it?
There is no reward, or punishment for a correct answer other than the one presented by your own ego. Is that not always so?