Friday, June 26, 2009Posted by Mitch Williamson at 5:29 PM
Is it possible to conceive that, surrounded in Nature with such monstrous creatures, man, unless himself a colossal giant, could have survived, while all his foes have perished? HPB.
157. When We dispatch a messenger We wish him success in encountering the dragon. Indeed, this is no harmless, betailed, pre-glacial dragon, but the cruel human egoism. NEC. AY.
126. In place of the Diplodocus, kangaroos leap; in place of the Pterodactyl, bats fly; in place of the dragon, lizards. What is the meaning of this? Can it be degeneration? Actually, it is only adaptation. FWI. HR.
The animals of the first ray are no longer in existence on earth. EPI. AAB.
Equally powerful are saliva and the other secretions of the glands. But one must observe the causes of increase and decrease of the reaction of the energy of these products. The saliva of wrath is poisonous, and the saliva of benevolence is beneficial.. One must be able to oppose the fiery element by Atma, which is incombustible. Hier. HR.
Now we find in the Zohar a very strange assertion, one that is calculated to provoke the reader to merry laughter by its ludicrous absurdity. It tells us that the serpent, which was used by Shamael (the supposed Satan), to seduce Eve, was a kind of flying camel [[kamelomorphon]].
A "flying camel" is indeed too much for the most liberal-minded F.R.S. Nevertheless, the Zohar, which can hardly be expected to use the language of a Cuvier, was right in its description:* for we find it called in the old Zoroastrian MSS. Aschmogh, which in the Avesta is represented as having lost after the Fall "its nature and its name," and is described as a huge serpent with a camel's neck.
"There are no winged serpents, nor veritable dragons," asserts Salverte, " . . . grasshoppers are called by the Greeks winged serpents, and this metaphor may have created several narratives on the existence of winged serpents."
There are none now; but there is no reason why they should not have existed during the Mesozoic age; and Cuvier, who has reconstructed their skeletons, is a witness to "flying camels." Already, after finding simple fossils of certain saurians, the great naturalist has written, that, "if anything can justify the Hydra and other monsters, whose figures were so often repeated by mediaeval historians, it is incontestably the Plesiosaurus."
We are unaware if Cuvier had added anything in the way of a further mae culpa. But we may well imagine his confusion, for all his slanders against archaic veracity, when he found himself in the presence of a flying saurian, "the Pterodactyl" (found in Germany), "78 feet long, and carrying vigorous wings attached to its reptilian body." That fossil is described as a reptile, the little fingers of whose hands are so elongated as to bear a long membranous wing. Here, then, the "flying camel" of the Zohar is vindicated. For surely, between the long neck of the Plesiosaurus and the membranous wing of the Pterodactyl, or still better the Mosasaurus, there is enough scientific probability to build a "flying camel," or a long-necked dragon. Prof. Cope, of Philadelphia, has shown that the Mosasaurus fossil in the chalk was a winged serpent of this kind. There are characters in its vertebrae, which indicate union with the Ophidia rather than with the Lacertilia.
And now to the main question. It is well known that Antiquity has never claimed palaeontography and paleontology among its arts and sciences; and it never had its Cuviers. Yet on Babylonian tiles, and especially in old Chinese and Japanese drawings, in the oldest Pagodas and monuments, and in the Imperial library at Pekin, many a traveller has seen and recognised perfect representations of Plesiosauri and Pterodactyls in the multiform Chinese dragons.Moreover, the prophets speak in the Bible of the flying fiery serpents, and Job mentions the Leviathan. Now the following questions are put very directly:--
I. How could the ancient nations know anything of the extinct monsters of the carboniferous and Mesozoic times, and even represent and describe them orally and pictorially, unless they had either seen those monsters themselves or possessed descriptions of them in their traditions, which descriptions necessitate living and intelligent eye-witnesses?
II. And if such eye-witnesses are once admitted (unless retrospective clairvoyance is granted), how can humanity and the first palaeolithic men be no earlier than about the middle of the tertiary period? We must bear in mind that most of the men of science will not allow man to have appeared before the Quaternary period, and thus shut him out completely from the Cenozoic times. Here we have extinct species of animals, which disappeared from the face of the Earth millions of years ago, described by, and known to, nations whose civilization, it is said, could hardly have begun a few thousand years ago. How is this? Evidently either the Mesozoic time has to be made to overlap the Quaternary period, or man must be made the contemporary of the Pterodactyl and the Plesiosaurus.
It does not stand to reason, because the Occultists believe in and defend ancient wisdom and science, even though winged saurians are called "flying camels" in the translations of the Zohar, that we believe as readily in all the stories which the middle ages give us of such dragons. Pterodactyls and Plesiosauri ceased to exist with the bulk of the Third Race. When, therefore, we are gravely asked by Roman Catholic writers to credit Christopher Scherer's and Father Kircher's cock-and-bull stories of their having seen with their own eyes living fiery and flying dragons, respectively in 1619 and 1669, we may be allowed to regard their assertions as either dreams or fibs. Nor shall we regard otherwise than as a poetical license that other story told of Petrarch, who, while following one day his Laura in the woods and passing near a cave, is credited with having found a dragon, whom he forthwith stabbed with his dagger and killed, thus preventing the monster from devouring the lady of his heart. We would willingly believe the story had Petrarch lived in the days of Atlantis, when such antediluvian monsters may still have existed. We deny their existence in our present era. The sea-serpent is one thing, the dragon quite another. The former is denied by the majority because it exists and lives in the very depths of the ocean, is very scarce, and rises to the surface only when compelled, perhaps, by hunger. Thus keeping invisible, it may exist and still be denied. But if there was such a thing as a dragon of the above description, how could it have ever escaped detection? It is a creature contemporary with the earliest Fifth Race, and exists no more.
We read in the "Memoire a l'Academie" of the "naive astonishment of Geoffrey St. Hilaire, when M. de Paravey showed to him in some old Chinese works and Babylonian tiles dragons, . . . . saurians and ornithorhynchuses (aquatic animals found only in Australia), etc., extinct animals that he had thought unknown on earth. . . . till his own day."
The fossils reconstructed by science, which we know ought to be sufficient warrant for the possibility of even a Leviathan, let alone Isaiah's flying serpents, or saraph mehophep, which words are translated in all the Hebrew dictionaries as "saraph," enflamed or fiery venom, and "mehophep," flying. But, although Christian theology has always connected both (Leviathan and saraph mehophep) with the devil, the expressions are metaphorical and have nought to do with the "evil one." But the word Dracon has become a synonym for the latter. In Bretagne the word Drouk now signifies "devil," whence, as we are told by Cambry ("Monuments Celtiques," p. 299), the devil's tomb in England, Draghedanum sepulcrum. In Languedoc the meteoric fires and will-o'-the-wisps are called Dragg, and in Bretagne Dreag, Wraie (or wraith), the castle of Drogheda in Ireland meaning the devil's castle.
The ultramontane writers accept the whole series of draconian stories given by Father Kircher (Edipus AEgyptiacus, "De Genere Draconum,") quite seriously. According to that Jesuit, he himself saw a dragon which was killed in 1669 by a Roman peasant, as the director of the Museo Barberini sent it to him, to take the beast's likeness, which Father Kircher did and had it published in one of his in-folios. After this he received a letter from Christopher Scherer, Prefect of the Canton of Soleure, Switzerland, in which that official certifies to his having seen himself with his own eyes, one fine summer night in 1619, a living dragon. Having remained on his balcony "to contemplate the perfect purity of the firmament," he writes, "I saw a fiery, shining dragon rise from one of the caves of Mount Pilatus and direct itself rapidly towards Fluelen to the other end of the lake. Enormous in size, his tail was still longer and his neck very extended. His head and jaws were those of a serpent. In flying he emitted on his way numerous sparks (? !) . . . . I thought at first I was seeing a meteor, but soon looking more attentively, I was convinced by his flight and the conformation of his body that I saw a veritable dragon. I am happy to be thus able to enlighten your Reverence on the very real existence of those animals"; in dreams, the writer ought to have added, of long past ages.
As a convincing proof of the reality of the fact, a Roman Catholic refers the reader to the picture of that incident painted by Simon de Sienne, a friend of the poet, on the portal of the Church Notre Dame du Don at Avignon; notwithstanding the prohibition of the Sovereign Pontiff, who "would not allow this triumph of love to be enthroned in the holy place"; and adds: "Time has injured and rubbed out the work of art, but has not weakened its tradition." De Mirville's "Dragon-Devils" of our era seem to have no luck, as they disappear most mysteriously from the museums where they are said to have been. Thus the dragon embalmed by Ulysses Aldobranda and presented to the Musee du Senat, either in Naples or Bologna, "was there still in 1700, but is there no more." (Vol. 2, p. 427, "Pneumatologie.")
Therefore, in saying that we believe absolutely in ancient records and universal legends, we need hardly plead guilty before the impartial observer, for other and far more learned writers, among those who belong to the modern scientific school, evidently believe in much that the Occultists do: e.g., in "Dragons," not only symbolically, but also in their actual existence at one time.
"It would have indeed been a bold step for anyone, some thirty years ago, to have thought of treating the public to a collection of stories ordinarily reputed fabulous, and of claiming for them the consideration due to genuine realities, or to have advocated tales, believed to be time-honoured fictions, as actual facts; and those of the nursery as being, in many instances, legends, more or less distorted, descriptive of real beings or events. Nowadays it is a less hazardous proceeding . . . . . "
Thus opens the introduction to a recent (1886) and most interesting work by Mr. Charles Gould, called "Mythical Monsters." He boldly states his belief in most of these monsters. He submits that:-- "Many of the so-called mythical animals, which, throughout long ages and in all nations, have been the fertile subjects of fiction and fable, come
Vol.II, Page 218 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
legitimately within the scope of plain matter-of-fact natural history; and that they may be considered, not as the outcome of exuberant fancy, but as creatures which really once existed, and of which, unfortunately, only imperfect and inaccurate descriptions have filtered down to us, probably very much refracted, through the mists of time.
. . . Traditions of creatures once co-existing with man, some of which are so weird and terrible as to appear at first sight to be impossible. For me the major part of those creatures are not chimeras but objects of rational study. The dragon, in place of being a creature evolved out of the imagination of an Aryan man by the contemplation of lightning flashing through the caverns which he tenanted, as is held by some mythologists, is an animal which once lived and dragged its ponderous coils and perhaps flew. .
. . . To me the specific existence of the Unicorn seems not incredible, and in fact, more probable than that theory which assigns its origin to a lunar myth . . . For my part I doubt the general derivation of myths from 'the contemplation of the visible workings of external nature.' It seems to me easier to suppose that the palsy of time has enfeebled the utterance of these oft-told tales until their original appearance is almost unrecognisable, than that uncultured savages should possess powers of imagination and poetical invention far beyond those enjoyed by the most instructed nations of the present day; less hard to believe that these wonderful stories of gods and demigods, of giants and dwarfs, of dragons and monsters of all descriptions are transformations than to believe them to be inventions."
It is shown by the same geologist that man, "successively traced to periods variously estimated from thirty thousand to one million years . . . . ., co-existed with animals which have long since become extinct (p. 20)." These animals, "weird and terrible," were, to give a few instances -- (1) "Of the genus Cidastes, whose huge bones and vertebrae show them to have attained a length of nearly two hundred feet . . . .
. . " The remains of such monsters, no less than ten in number, were seen by Professor Marsh in the Mauvaises Terres of Colorado, strewn upon the plains. (2) The Titanosaurus montanus, reaching fifty or sixty feet in length; (3) the Dinosaurians (in the Jurassic beds of the Rocky Mountains), of still more gigantic proportions; (4) the Atlanto-Saurus immanis, a femur of which alone is over six feet in length, and which would be thus over one hundred feet in length! But even yet the line has not been reached, and we hear of the discovery of remains of such titanic proportions as to possess a thigh-bone over twelve feet in length (p. 37). Then we read of the monstrous Sivatherium in the Himalayas, the four-horned stag, as large as an elephant, and exceeding the latter in height; of the gigantic Megatherium: of colossal flying lizards, Pterodactyli, with
THE FLYING DRAGONS.
crocodile jaws on a duck's head, etc., etc. All these were co-existent with man, most probably attacked man, as man attacked them; and we are asked to believe that the said man was no larger then than he is now! Is it possible to conceive that, surrounded in Nature with such monstrous creatures, man, unless himself a colossal giant, could have survived, while all his foes have perished? Is it with his stone hatchet that he had the best of a Sivatherium or a gigantic flying saurian? Let us always bear in mind that at least one great man of science, de Quatrefages, sees no good scientific reasons why man should not have been "contemporaneous with the earliest mammalia and go back as far as the Secondary Period."
"It appears," writes the very conservative Professor Jukes, "that the flying dragons of romance had something like a real existence in former ages of the world."** "Does the written history of man," the author goes on to ask, "comprising a few thousand years, embrace the whole course of his intelligent existence? Or have we in the long mythical eras, extending over hundreds of thousands of years, and recorded in the chronologies of Chaldea and China, shadowy mementoes of prehistoric man, handed down by tradition, and perhaps transported by a few survivors to existing lands, from others which, like the fabled Atlantis of Plato, may have been submerged, or the scene of some great catastrophe which destroyed them with all their civilization;".
The few remaining giant animals, such as elephants, themselves smaller than their ancestors the Mastodons, and Hippopotami, are the only surviving relics, and tend to disappear more entirely with every day. Even they have already had a few pioneers of their future genus, and have decreased in size in the same proportion as men did. For the remains of a pigmy elephant were found (E. Falconeri) in the cave deposits of Malta; and the same author asserts that they were associated with the remains of pigmy Hippopotami, the former being "only two feet six inches high; or the still-existing Hippopotamus (Choeropsis) Liberiensis, which M. Milne-Edwards figures as little more than two feet in height."
Sceptics may smile and denounce our work as full of nonsense or fairy-tales. But by so doing they only justify the wisdom of the Chinese philosopher Chuang, who said that "the things that men do know can in no way be compared, numerically speaking, to the things that are unknown" and thus they laugh only at their own ignorance.
Vol.II SD HPB.
Despised in the West and revered in the East, dragons have a long history in human mythology. How did the myth start? No one knows the exact answer, but some "dragon" bones probably belonged to animals long extinct — in some cases dinosaurs, in others, fossil mammals. Starting in the early 19th century, scientists began to find a new kind of monster, one that had gone extinct tens of millions of years before the first humans evolved. Because the first fragments found looked lizard-like, paleontologists assumed they had found giant lizards, but more bones revealed animals like nothing on earth today. Did these terrible lizards ever coexist with people? No. Although some creationists claim that medieval dragons were really dinosaurs that survived into modern times, this notion enjoys no support from any credible scientist.
Monday, June 8, 2009Posted by Mitch Williamson at 10:36 PM
Type: 12 Level Animal
Speed: 50 ft.
Abilities: Str +5, Dex +3, Con +3, Int -4, Wis
+2, Cha +0
Skills: Notice 15 (+19)
Feats: Attack Focus (bite), Double Strike,
Improved Grab, Night VisionB, Run, Tough (x1)
Traits: Scent, Snatch, Swallow Whole
Combat: Attack +10 (-2 size, +9 base, +3 Dex)
(+11 bite), Damage +11 (bite), or +8 (claws),
Defense Dodge/Parry +10/-- (-2 size, +9 base, +3
Dex), Initiative +3
Saving Throws: Toughness +10 (+4 size, +3
Con, +2 natural +1 Tough), Fortitude +11 (+8
base, +3 Con), Reflex +11 (+8 base, +3 Dex), Will
+6 (+4 base, +2 Wis)
Skills: An afrovenator has a +2 racial bonus on
Snatch: An afrovenator can use its Snatch ability
with its claws, targetting creatures up to two sizes
smaller than itself.
Swallow Whole: Creatures up to two sizes
smaller; +8 bludgeoning damage and +3 acid damage per round; gizzard Toughness save +9; an afrovenator’s gizzard can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents. An afrovenator is a large predator with especially fearsome front claws that it uses to capture its prey. These creatures travel in family groups and chase down any likely-looking prey with their swift pace. More lightly built than other large predatory dinosaurs, afrovenators are speedy and always hungry.
Dinosaurs come in many sizes and shapes. The species detailed and illustrated below are only samples; use your imagination to vary their appearance. Add spikes or sails or frills, colours, feathers and crests as you see fit. Every week newer, more fantastic creatures are being discovered in OUR mundane world, so the possibilities in a fantasy world ought to be even more incredible and spectacular.
These creatures are awe-inspiring in their size and their strangeness. Many travel in immense herds, calling out to each other in rumbling voices that carry for miles. They push over trees and churn the ground to mud wherever they go. The predators are usually speedy and powerful, and hunt in groups. Characters who are discovered by these sharp-toothed animals should be made aware that these are the most terrible hunters ever to walk the land.
Science has little to say on the subject of domesticating these animals, so we've made a bunch of stuff up. If you think that's unreasonable, you probably shouldn't play games about people fighting dinosaurs in the first place.