I made this comment in the context of an original statement of yours: "The medieval fear of dragons is psychoanalytically seen as a symptom of the male fear of the female, which was extremely pronounced in the Middle Ages as an effect of clerical sexual hostility and reached its absolute climax in the sexual-sadist practices of witch persecution".I don't know what you're alluding to here with the "Christian viewpoint", it is certainly not mine, quite the opposite. Anyway, the fact that the Nordic snakes are male doesn't mean that mythological snakes in this region had always had this gender. We only know the traditions from historical times, but we don't know what it looked like in the centuries before. It is very likely that in the strongly patriarchal culture of this region there was a more original phase in which snakes mythologically had still female traits.
Due to time constraints, I'll go into the rest of your article later.Since I have never heard or thought of the medieval concept of dragons specifically being feminine, I just wondered where it came from
That's easily explainable.The curious thing is the way dragons and dinosaurs are named in Asian languages.
Japanese: りゅう [ryū ] — きょうりゅう [kyōryū ]
Chinese: 龙 [lóng ] — 恐龙 [kǒnglóng]
Korean: 용 [yong ] — 공룡 [gongnyong ]
Since today is a very slow day at work, I found a page of serpent-slaying gods and saw if I could find out something about what gender the serpents are. I started from the top of Storm gods and Serpents and then ran out of steam before the end, but hopefully this is a good enough list of examples.As far as the quoted passage is concerned, it should be borne in mind that according to psychoanalysis the motives of attitudes, actions and feelings are in many cases highly or completely unconscious. In my opinion, this also applies to the aforementioned medieval fear of dragons. The fact that they are masculine on the surface does not rule out that they represent something feminine for the unconscious, precisely because snakes and dragons were genuinely associated with the feminine, as the history of myths, I believe, proves unambiguously (I have given examples). Please remember that the first mythological dragon killing, the murder of Tiamat by Marduk, was directed against a female dragon (as I mentioned in my first reply). This should be an additional indication that the killed dragons in the Middle Ages also, unconsciously, stand for the feminine, even if they are shown as male.
The fact that most of the dragon stories handed down are about male dragons is probably due to the fact that patriarchy has gained control over almost all societies for several thousand years. It can therefore be assumed that older myths or dragon ideas with female connotations have largely been forgotten or rewritten into the masculine. I have already mentioned the example of the Python of Delphi (first female, then male). Therefore your statistics, as interesting as they are, have no deeper significance, they only show the extent of the overwriting of older (female connotated) dragon myths by patriarchal mythographs.Since there doesn't seem to be a consistent continuum of the serpent or dragon as female for at over a thousand years prior to the middle age, I don't really see how the gender of the Tiamat could anymore be seen as an indication that the dragon would unconsciously stand for the feminine in say Saint George and the Dragon. Would such an unconscious concept that the male dragons are really females survive over such a timespan? How would this unconscious idea be transferred across generations?
Even so, snakes were symbolically associated with many female goddesses in ancient times and seen as positive beings. Here is an example from the Minoan culture on Crete from around 1,500 BCE (a snake goddess):Humans ( and monkeys too ) have an innate fear of snakes.
This is interesting speculation, but in order for me to accept that there is some kind of truth to it, I would prefer to see some actual evidence that such a shift really took place or that the medieval writers really saw the dragon this way.I have already indicated above that hatred is directed less against the feminine than against a particular form of the feminine. The patriarchal image of women is split, distinguishing between the good and the bad woman, or more precisely, the good and the bad mother, in the way toddlers experience their mothers in the first months (about half a year, according to psychoanalyst Melanie Klein). Good mother means: experiences of fulfillment, bad mother means: experiences of frustration. Melanie Klein speaks more precisely of the good and the bad breast, which can be internalized by the child as separate objects and projected onto various female figures in adult life. As examples I mention (1) the hatred of women which swept through the Middle Ages, as it happened with Thomas Aquinas and many theologians, and was reflected in devastating writings (examples I have mentioned), and (2) the exuberant Marian worship, which in the same centuries led to the fact that the population valued her almost higher than the figure of Jesus.
A very similar split exists in the St. George myth, where a distinction is made between a beautiful virgin and the terrible dragon. The dragon stands for the evil mother (breast) and the virgin for the good mother (breast).
Yes, I come from a place where there are no snakes but being surrounded by snakes is one of my recurring nightmares. However I have no such fear of spiders, which can be deadly. When I'm awake, I virtually have no fear of snakes. I'm actually fascinated by them.Humans ( and monkeys too ) have an innate fear of snakes.