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In the West, the dragon’s serpentine looks connoted evil. Blame its serpent relative making trouble for itself and all mankind in the Garden of Eden. Later, some famous Christian saints did battle with the fire-breathing dragon, Michael and Saint George, to name two. In images depicting the famous battle with Saint George, the dragon is portrayed as a sea dragon, and the patron saint of England is the clear winner.
The dragon tattoo design symbolizes nobility, magic, the power of transformation and imagination, perseverance, loyalty, power and the ability to transcend the ordinary. For those who conquer dragons, the dragon represents courage, bravery, duty, honour and the great quest. And who amongst us has not sought out a great quest that will reveal the very best of ourselves? Such is the extraordinary power of the dragon.
The Celtic Cross is well represented in the Book of Kells and other manuscript illustrations – many of them religious texts – and carved stone crosses with the familiar intertwined lines and zoomorphic figures of Celtic art may still be found all over the British Isles, in Scotland in particular.
As symbolic expressions, the circle and the cross could not be more different. One is mystical while the other is almost geographical. The circle is a symbol of eternity and the endlessness of God’s love, while the cross relates to the four directions, or four corners of the Earth (or perhaps the four elements: Air, Earth, Fire, Water), while the axes coming together imply the joining of forces such as Heaven and Earth. That coordinate, enclosed within the circle, suggests a realm where time & space cease to exist, a precondition for communication between this world and beyond.