Red Dragon Wavespell
The image on Red Dragon’s glyph is of a cauldron fired over flames, a vessel making the tincture of life. The Tzolkin spin begins with this picture, reminding us that life on earth was initiated in the primordial effluvium of the oceans – protozoa evolving over epochs into our animal forms. Likewise, each animal incarnation begins in an egg or womb where we in utero are suspended in amniotic fluid, warmed by our mother’s life force. Red Dragon, the conception point of this sacred count, is steeped in feminine divinity. It is the only glyph of the 20 the Tzolkin celebrates that represents something so mystical as to be imaginary. In modern times, reverence for the divine feminine is almost as extinct, a fairy tale memory. When we walk through the sacred count of the Tzolkin, a 260-day harmonizing with human gestation in the womb, we reclaim the journey of growth within the dark uterine waters of our mother, and the great mother. We invoke the power and grandeur of a fiery goddess who also swims, and remember that – man or woman – we each hold her essence inside us.
Initially, the Maya named this day for Crocodile, and Red Dragon is modernized away from the monstrous, predatory images that brings. Maybe that crocodiles mostly spend their placid days with only eye bulbs above the water line of a warm swamp is overlooked; we overemphasize, dramatize their urge to kill for food because it is something humans are occasionally threatened by. This is a good metaphor for mothering, and how we view the ways women raised us. Most of us harbor some resentment at not being nurtured in peace, calm and tender love; we remember our mothers’ fanged reptilian outbreaks over the hours they were more subtle, quiet, pervasive. We can’t cognate the stress or sacrifices impeding them from being more primal and present. Maybe when we become parents ourselves and emit ragged rages as if spewing fire, also noticing the times we do not turn on our children but take the calming inhalation instead, we see our mothers – and fathers forced to act maternally – were in truth more human than monster.
So the Red Dragon wavespell is a time to face your mother issues, from the child’s perspective and the parental one. It is a moment when ultimately we can come to the essence of a mother’s role, which is to create us from the seed-egg convergence of made love, into a being that can be birthed into an oxygenated world. If our mothers made that magic happen, something from nearly nothing, they are as mystical as the dragons in legend, as sought after. The myths themselves make the dragons predators, a terrorist who needs to be overturned, but that’s an archetype invented by patriarchy, and when we seek to slay our mothers, eradicate them, we are also killing divine order. In the Mayan territories there was no such fear, intent to destroy, only reverence. Half winged bird, half scaly serpent, Quetzalcoatl was the greatest god, full of fierce benevolence. Each of us has within us the power to reverse the perceptions of our mothers as not good enough and to cling to the truth of the life force they brought us, their worst fumes of fire the only way they could vent the heat our culture has tried to chill, with cool-headedness, into containment.
The Red Dragon wavespell is also, alongside our ancestral experience, absolutely about the maternal goddess, and we will find representations of her in the ocean, the dragonesque whales that populate it, in remembrances of Shakti, Pele, Juno, and other icons of feminine fire force. You yourself will have feminine energy to spare, will want to reach out maternally, to matter to people and make those gestures of reassurance, encouragement. You will have a resolve on occasion to blow the smoke out of someone’s eyes with your own steam, insistent that they be kinder and more compassionate with themselves, parenting their own inner child in ways we would call ideal. You can do this with yourself in the mirror: look adoringly, smooth your hair from your forehead, see the lines of worry as marks of grace and remember that we are good enough, everything will be all right. This may have been missing in childhood, but the archetype is available from every cultural history to embody, now. Mary, Kwan Yin, Mother Teresa, Michelle Obama. We come from a lineage of loving kindness, if we choose to look for it.
Jose Arguelles chose three words to describe the Red Dragon. Its action is to nurture, and this means taking care of what we want to grow. We are at the start of the Tzolkin spin and find ourselves birthing babies conceived 260 days ago that need to be pushed into emergence, nursed through infancy until they are strong enough to stand on their own. You will see projects, relationships, opportunities crowning out of a karmic birth canal and need to caretake them as soon as you are holding them visibly in your arms, instead of within the recesses of your reproductive organs. Whatever comes to light now is intensely of you, your magic, and to let it matter in the outer world, stay closely connected, vigilant, certain of its importance. Give it love, presence, delight, be amazed at your creativity, and how this outcome was seeded co-operatively with another person or resonance. Remember the masculine principal, and bring it close to protect you and the nurturance you are embodying.
The power is birth, because the mother-child reunion is preceded by the most painful gesture of love we enact. The Red Dragon’s fierceness and fire is a reflection of the searing, tearing split mothers withstand in order to free their offspring to individuality. This happens once when we give physical birth, and endlessly ever after – for fathers alike – when we allow our children to grow up, to our own level and even higher. This wavespell invites some quality of worthwhile suffering, tears, outbursts of misdirected anger, the instinctual will to open while the pain threshold begs everything to close down. We let our actual children, our inner children, other works we birth into the world, become free, but it hurts. This time is for allowing necessary discomfort and remembering that the teaching of a woman’s body: the worst pain is rewarded with the ultimate blessing of innocence and purity, new life.
The essence is being, which is what we become when born, not doing, thinking, acting responsibly. Babies can only receive, be held, rest from their hectic emergence and adjust to the new sound waves of the outer world. We stop being and start a laundry list of small jobs soon after, always struggling spiritually to hearken back to that earliest simplicity. In this Red Dragon moment it is easier to recalibrate back to a loose focus on your life purpose, what you are, be, in this incarnation. You feel it simply, solidly, without excess words and images. By now, much older than infancy, many Red Dragon wavespells of birthing layers of selfhood later, you will see how purpose-full you have been, the human being that you have unveiled.