The Sun does not shine on us perpetually. It is not always day. We are not perpetually awake. We have the night. And with the night we have the Moon whose changing light accompanies us. The lunar cycle from New Moon to Full Moon back to New Moon is an image of that which happens in a shorter period to the Sun in a solar eclipse. The light of the Full Moon, if we begin there, is slowly eaten away until it disappears completely at the time of the New Moon. We might ask here why did the ancients not fear this and why a lunar eclipse was not seen with the same apprehension? The answer is quite simple. Because it is already night. The loss of light and warmth is not as dramatic.
The Moon as “mirror-image” of the Sun is also why the Moon was seen as an image of our own intelligence. As the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, so does our intellect reflect the light of the spirit. The waxing and waning of the Moon is an image of our daily cycle of waking and sleeping. In traditional astrology it is the Moon and Mercury which are significators of wit and intellect. William Lilly describes it this way: “Significations of the Wit and Intellect are taken especially from Mercury and his configurations with the Moon, for he governes the rationall Soule and animall Spirits in the Braine, as the Moon doth the Vegetative and strength of the Braine, more near to the Senses.” John Frawley in his article, “The Moon as Mind” elaborates on this. He says, “What we know is what is revealed and accepted within the heart. The seat of mind throughout the world’s tradition is in the heart (Sun) rather than the brain, which like Mercury, is servant rather than master. So our knowledge is the Sun. …If our Moon is functioning properly, it reflects (for such is its nature) the light of knowledge, hence the desirability of finding Sun and Moon in harmonious aspect. Its proper function is sometimes referred to as ‘intuition’…” (The Real Astrology Applied p.106)
The central issue is light and lack of light. This light can be seen as our treasure. The being that metaphorically hungers after this light, that at times during an eclipse is able to engorge it is the dragon. This being takes on many forms in the ancient stories. He is the snake that tempts mankind to eat of the tree of knowledge. He also guards the golden apples of the Hesperides. Or in northern mythology he hoards a treasure of gold, silver and precious stones. In fact there are so many stories that we might have to be careful which dragon we are dealing with; even though the theme of light, intelligence, knowledge and treasure etc. is common to them all. I would like to suggest, that from an astrological standpoint, there are three dragons. There is a fixed dragon. This is the constellation Draco, which is forever circling the northern celestial hemisphere, never rising and never setting. The myth says that he was thrown there by Pallas Athene during the war between the olympic gods and the titans. There is the mutable dragon. This is our dragon, which we will describe in more detail later; and a cardinal dragon who is found by following the serpentine path of domicile rulers from Cancer to Capricorn. This is of course conjecture and might have to be abandoned later if another line of thought disproves it. But for the moment it is worth considering!