Dragons hold vastly different meanings in the East and the West. The Dragon is a symbol of royalty in China, suggests that those born under this sign will be brave, powerful and born leaders. It is the symbol of the Emporer who has supernatural power. The emphasis in the East is on the positive aspects of this primal symbol like wisdom, strength and the guardianship of esoteric knowledge. The Dragon is said to grant fertility and is revered as a harbinger of good fortune. In the West the Dragon often carries quite the opposite meaning. It has come to represent chaos, evil and the untamed and unmanifested animal nature. The slaying of Dragons was a medieval right of passage and proof of a man's true heart. There is also an ancient connection between the dragon and the serpent. As the serpent is to blame for the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, this would explain the great distaste cultivated toward this mythic creature in the West. The Leviathan, a dragonlike sea creature mentioned in the Bible, is often thought to be the continuing embodiment of chaos in the world. It is said it will finally be conquered and eaten at the great Messianic feast. However, in the Kabbalah, Levithan is equivalent in value to the word malchut which means kingdom, suggesting the Leviathan as a symbol of the Divine Source of Kingdom. More than any other symbol then the Dragon might be said to embody the unifying force underlying all opposites. The mutual dependence of light and dark, male and female, creation and destruction. In itself it need not be either good or evil, rather it represents energy that can be used for either. The Dragon has come more recently to stand for the inner world of the unconscious. A struggle with the dragon represents difficulties to be overcome in gaining the treasures of inner knowledge. The Dragon in the Garden is a Dragonfly. Along with the butterfly, dragonflies have a symbolic connection to the soul. The Dragonfly is the essence of change. May all beings benefit.
Sources 'A Sea-Monster with the Head of a Bull' c.1541-45 by Perino del Vaga from the Baltimore Museum Show "Raphael and His Circle: Drawings from Windsor Castle" Summer 2000 "Dictionary of Symbolic and Mythological Animals" by JC Cooper "An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols" by JC Cooper "Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend" Alan Unterman "The Hebrew Letters, Channels of Creative Consciousness" Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (2) "The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols" Edited by Udo Becker NYTimes Article by Somini Sengupta