Margaret of Scotland
it is written, was swallowed in her entirety by a dragon. Mythographers see such language as the conquest of one cult by another, the Margaret tribe “eaten” by the dragon tribe. Margaret has been canonized (feast day November 16), and we have come to know her in the vague fashion of the saints: devoted to the poor, reformist by nature, a just and holy ruler.
But who was this dragon? Was he the stock villain of Christianity, slain by the sword of St. George—that is, an embodiment of paganism, the devil in disguise? Was he Ouroboros, that self-sufficient creature, the first living thing in the universe, who devoured his own tail for sustenance? Or was it Ophion himself, hermaphroditic progenitor of the Cosmic Egg and its defender? What we do know is that he had feet to trod the earth, scales to slip the waves, wings to ride the winds, and breathed fire. And that his characteristic aspect was circular, emblematic of the great cycle of being, the endless wheel of Nature, from which there is no escape.
But in this telling Margaret has the final word. Immured in this monstrous prison, she thought to make the sign of the cross, causing that natural wonder to implode, leaving her unscathed, salvaged. Some beliefs are stronger than others, or the explanations of mythographers,
how does winter start? the sloughed skin of a snake