My Journey Through Dragon's Gate

I'm a Koi who has arrived at Dragon's Gate.... I haven't passed through yet but I feel my body, mind, and soul changing...

KOI TATTOO - Probably surprising to many westerners is the large of amount of ancient myth that surrounds these beautiful fish in the Orient and their elevated status there. Generally known here as the brightly colored fish that are common in public ponds and fountains, carp (koi is Japanese for carp) can be found in colors that include white, yellow, gold, a deep orange, and some are even calico-colored. Particularly beautiful specimens have been known to fetch prices in excess of half-a-million dollars from private collectors who specialize in their breeding and showing. However, the koi is more than just a colorful and collectible fish. It is also one of the most popular and beautiful of Japanese tattoo symbols – a beauty which belies its symbolic meaning. Although Chinese in origin, the carp is now widely celebrated in Japan, particularly for its manly qualities. It is said to climb waterfalls bravely, and, if caught, it lies upon the cutting board awaiting the knife without a quiver, not unlike a samurai (warrior) facing a sword. This theme dates back to ancient China, where a legend tells of how any koi that succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called Dragon Gate (on the Yellow River) would be transformed into a dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement. Eventually, the stoic fish came to be associated with so many masculine and positive qualities that it was appropriated for the annual Boys' Day Festival in Japan where even today colorful, streaming koi flags are traditionally displayed for each son in the family. In tattoo imagery, especially in combination with flowing water, it symbolizes much the same: courage, the ability to attain high goals, and overcoming life's difficulties.

Chinese Dragon

To the Chinese, the Imperial Dragon or Lung, is considered to be the primary of four benevolent spiritual animals, the other three being the phoenix, the unicorn and the tortoise. Having unrivaled wizdom and power the dragon symbolized the Emperors of China themselves, who were actually called dragons. Hsi, China's first emperor, was said to have a dragon's tail. Shen Nung, his successor was supposed to have been fathered by a dragon. The Chinese Emperor sat on a dragon throne, rode in a dragon boat and slept in a dragon bed. To distinguish the chinese imperial dragon from all other dragons, only the Imprial Dragon bore five claws.


The Nine Entities (parts) of A Chinese Dragon

The dragons are said to be made up of many different types of animals of the Earth:
Head: Camel

Scales: Carp (fish) 117 scales total - 81 infused with yang, the good, and 36 infused with yin the bad. This evens out the dragons temper and personality.
Horns: Giant Stag (deer)
Eyes: hare (rabbit)
Ears: Bull
Neck: Snake
Belly: Clam
Paws: Tigers
Claws: Eagle


It is belived that the Lung is based on the Indian Nagas.

The Nagas were dragonlike beings, semi-devine snakes with human faces and serpents' tails who occupy palaces (Patala), in the watery region under the earth. They are divided into four classes: heavenly, divine, earthly, and hidden, depending upon their function in guarding the heavenly palace, giving rainfall, draning rivers, or guarding treasures. In Burma, the Nagas combine elements of the dragon, snake, and crocodile, and give rubies to those they favor; in addition, they guarded and protected royalty. Chinese Dragon Kites were even known to be used in warfare.
The Four Types of Dragons

In China dragons are know as Lung. There are four main kinds of Lung.
The Celestial Dragon (Tien-lung)

The Celestial Dragon protects the places of the Gods
The Spiritual Dragon (Shen-Lung)

The Spiritual Dragon controls the wind and the rain
The Earth Dragon (Ti-Lung)

The Earth Dragon controls rivers, and water on the Earth
The Underworld Dragon (Fut's-Lung)

The Underworld Dragon guards precious metals and gems.


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