I never really got into the whole mysticism behind the winged creatures, but my sister became the resident expert in our home. (That is, if you do not include my fire-breathing mother when she was angry!) My sister soon began to collect the small Dungeons & Dragons figurines - specifically dragons. When 1994 rolled around, she got her first dragon tattoo on her upper left shoulder.
She never got a whole lot of dissension for getting a dragon, as I did when I got my fairy tattoos. One artist actually asked if I were a lesbian for getting tattoos of naked women on my legs! What the heck? Why wasn't my sister accused of the same thing, since it seems like dragons tend to be seen more on men than women? Hmm - I must still have some unresolved sibling issues buried somewhere! Anyway, her reason for enjoying dragons as much as she did actually had her stumbling for an explanation.
"I've always liked the idea of dragons, and I think it all started when I saw the movie The Neverending Story. In that movie, the dragon looked like an albino golden retriever. After that, I started to like them because of their need to protect and guard treasures. I don't know - I guess I just liked the idea of dragons being impervious to pain and danger. Oh, and I also liked the idea of frying my enemies to a crisp!"
Dragons tended to originate, once again, from oriental backgrounds. Some believed that dragons protected the deity, Buddha, and the Buddhism religion. Impervious to fire, dragons were considered gods of water and the sea, with certain powers to influence rain and storms in general. There were four guardians in such stories - one for each direction - North, South, East, and West. The Northern guardian was named Genbu, a green dragon that brought winter. Suzaku, the red dragon of the South, was the bringer of summer. The Western white dragon, Byakko, brought fall to the lands. The Eastern guardian, Seiryu, was a blue dragon associated with spring.
Perhaps many love the dragon lore because it, like much of the creatures of the Orient, shrouds itself in the mysteries of life, and the values that one must adhere to in order to attain true understanding of ourselves. (Gads, I feel like Jack Handy, of Deep Thoughts, or something!) Either way, they are construed as courageous creatures that protect and stand up for what they had been given charge of. Why not ink one on?