What Does a Dragon Symbolize?

Dragons generally symbolize power and grandeur, but Eastern versions view dragons as benevolent, lucky and wise, while their Western counterparts associate them with malice and trickery. In many cultures, the dragon’s fierce, majestic presence makes it a symbol of virtuous qualities, such as bravery, intelligence and ambition.

In European cultures, dragon symbolism has evolved to represent good and wicked forces. The widespread influence of Christianity made dragons and other serpents symbols of sin and corruption. Early European folklore also places dragons in villainous roles, depicting them as evil, greedy, destructive and secretive creatures that righteous heroes must slay. Yet, people admire dragons for their imposing strength, and they use dragons to represent nobility and authority in heraldry and military signage.

Asian cultures worship dragons as spiritual symbols of nature, balance, eternity and metamorphosis. They view dragons as friendly and protective spirits that help humans by bringing rain to the Earth and controlling bodies of water. Eastern dragons are hybrid creatures that possess the physical characteristics of many different animals and have the power to change form. People revere these dragons as symbols of good fortune and long life, and they believe that displaying dragon symbols chases away bad spirits and attracts blessings and wealth.