March 21, 2019
Childhood is a time when fantasy worlds are at their brightest. Through a child's eye, dragons truly do soar across the skies, fairies hide in gardens, and mermaid tails flash in the sea. It's through stories that children's imaginations come alive and magic becomes reality.
We're constantly adding to our Children's Books collection here at Dragonspace, always excited by new titles and old classics to add to our shelves. While every one of the books in our collection is a delight, we're highlighting ten unique titles in this week's blog post that would be a wonderful addition to any young reader's library. From unicorns to yoga, there's something for every imagination.
The 'Ology' series of books are as beautiful as they are interesting. Suitable for older readers, these gorgeously illustrated books take a deep-dive into the history of their subjects, complete with maps, diagrams, collages...even dragon scale samples! Kids will feel like a true scholar, scientist or historian as they study these magical books...much better than school textbooks, right?
Thelma the Unicorn has taken the world by glittery storm! This popular picture book tells the story of an ordinary horse who longs to be a unicorn. But when her dream finally comes true, is it really all it's cracked up to be? Kids will laugh throughout Thelma's fantastically entertaining journey, and finish the tale knowing how to stay true to themselves. One of life's most magical lessons.
Sometimes nothing beats the classics. An illustrated collection of fairy tales belongs in every library, and this vividly coloured anthology from Candlewick is a diverse and unique addition. Children of all backgrounds will relate to the characters in these illustrated stories, which include classics like CINDERELLA, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and more, all told with a fresh voice.
This lovely little book introduces kids to the principles of yoga and mindfulness through storytelling. It intersperses gentle and creative yoga exercises with positive messages to help kids get ready for the day. Paired with vibrant illustrations, this book shows that picture books can be more than just books - they can help readers achieve peace and calm amongst all the excitement of the day.
This charming witchy tale comes from the creators of the beloved Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The story follows a happy witch and her cat who offer a ride on their broom to a number of friendly animals. But can the broomstick take the load? Witty and entertaining, this board book is perfect for very young readers, and shows that witches don't have to be mean and ugly!
Kids probably aren't quite ready to tackle the wonderful world of Lord of the Rings until they're a bit older, but this picture book is a perfect place to start. This is an illustrated biography of John Ronald Tolkien - aka J.R.R. Tolkien - an imaginative little boy who loved dragons and would grow up to become the one of history's most famous fantasy writers. Kids will love reading about Tolkien's life, accompanied by lovely storybook imagery - this will have them itching to read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings once they're old enough.
Mermaids have long been a mystery, but here's a chance to finally learn all the secrets of these mystical sea-dwelling figures. Just like the Ology books, The Secret History of Mermaids takes the form of an entertaining "textbook", interspersed with beautiful illustrations and fascinating findings. Lovers of mermaids will be delighted by this compact little tome.
Every fairy fan will recognise Cicely Mary Barker's beautiful Victorian fairy illustrations. These lovely fairies adorn the pages of these fun activity books, perfect for the child who might prefer getting a bit hands-on. Glittery stickers, puzzles, riddles, paper dolls, colouring in pages and more will keep young little minds entertained for hours, all with a generous touch of fairy magic.
Bedtime stories are one of the most magical parts of childhood. This unique collection draws on tales of Buddhist wisdom to make bedtime even more enlightening. From the tale of The Kind and Wise Stag with its message of forgiveness to the story of Two Ducks and a Turtle which will teach your child to think before speaking, these stories aren't just entertaining—they're meaningful as well. A perfect way to enchant and calm the mind before your child dozes off into dreamland, with lessons they'll definitely remember in the morning.
This is another great tale of fantastical friendship. Everyone knows dragons have big sharp teeth...but what happens when they get a toothache? And how are they meant to fix it? Told in a classic picture book style with quirky illustrations, this will make the kids laugh and go 'aww' in equal measures. And most importantly it will teach them that dragons aren't all fierce and scary—they have problems too, sometimes!
Funny, enchanting, enlightening, academic...there's definitely something to spark every kind of young imagination in this collection. And the best part is that you don't even have to be a kid to enjoy these tales! Click below to see our full collection available online, or come into store to see even more magical titles.
February 18, 2019 2 Comments
Image: "Dryad & Dragon" by Josephine Wall
Fire-breathing, treasure-loving, glitter-scaled, mighty-winged...No creature has dominated lore and legend over the centuries quite like the mighty dragon.
The dragon is our mascot here at Dragonspace, and for us, dragons are symbols of luck and protection. We like to think that the dragons on our shelves are guarding the store’s treasures and bringing us good fortune. However, dragons aren’t seen as so benevolent in other tales, where they’re depicted as fearsome beasts to be conquered. This contrast in stories is part of what makes dragon mythology so fascinating.
So where did the legend of the dragon first originate? How do different cultures around the world see the dragon? And how can you harness the elemental power of dragons in your spiritual practice? Read on to find out:
The origins of the dragon
Stories of dragon-like creatures stretch as far back as Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. In Mesopotamian legends, these creatures often resembled serpents or animal hybrids, combining snake, mammal and bird features into a fearsome chimera. Ancient Egypt mythology gives us the legend of Apep - the giant serpent deity - and Ouroboros - the familiar icon of the dragon or snake eating its own tail, which would later become a symbol of alchemy. In these old Egyptian tales, dragon figures are revered rather than feared.
Scholars have long been intrigued as to how dragons have managed to pop up in so many different cultures around the globe. Some theorise that the origin of the dragon myth might come from an inherent human aversion to snakes, common the world over. Others have linked dragon mythology with the age of the dinosaurs, noting similarities between mythical dragons and the real-life prehistoric creatures who once roamed the earth. Whatever the theory, there's definitely something universal about dragon iconography.
The Chinese dragon
One of the most well-known depictions of the dragon is from Chinese culture. The dragon is a sacred symbol in Chinese spirituality, and is actually the highest ranking animal in the Chinese animal hierarchy. Far from being a wicked beast, the Chinese dragon symbolises power, strength and good luck. The Dragon is also one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, and people whose birthday fall under this sign are believed to be gifted with confidence, ambition and great intellect. In fact, in Ancient China, it was believed that the Emperors were actually descended from dragons, and successful people are still sometimes referred to as 'dragons' to this day. This reverence and respect for dragons in Chinese culture is a welcome contrast to the antagonism shown towards the great beasts in much of European legend.
Dragons in European and British mythology
Dragons appear in many well-known European myths and legends. Beowulf, Saint George and the Dragon, the tales of King Arthur…these stories are iconic, and all feature dragons as enemies to be defeated. Dragons also pop up in Eastern European mythology, from the Polish Wawel dragon to the Russian Zmey Gorynych. In many of these stories, men are made heroes by slaying the dragon and saving the innocent from the clutches of the wicked beasts. In this way, dragons came to symbolise evil, greedy forces that threaten civilised society.
This legend has carried on into more modern tales, such as the wicked Smaug in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. However, in more recent times, we’ve seen the fearsome dragon shown in a more complex light in Western popular culture. George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series depicts the traditionally fearsome dragon as more of a ‘weapon’, only as wicked as whichever side has control over it. While J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books take a more zoological approach, presenting dragons as a variety of species with different temperaments, some more pleasant than others. Dragons still continue to fascinate the masses, and it's good to see representations shifting. To read more about dragons in popular culture, see our previous blog post here - Puff, Smaug and Other Famous Dragons.
So...do dragons really exist? Almost. There are a few interesting creatures in the real-life animal kingdom that have eerie similarities to the mythical dragons of legend. There are several types of lizards referred to as ‘dragons’, such as the ‘bearded dragon’ common in Australia and the more intimidating ‘Komodo dragon’ found in Indonesia. In fact, Komodo dragons have a venomous bite, which is similar to breathing fire!
There is also a type of gliding lizard referred to as a ‘flying dragon’, as it has the capability of gliding flight thanks to ‘wings’ created by a membrane around its rib and hind limb area. Another real dragon-like animal is the ‘dragon snake’, which gets its name from the raised ridges down the back of its body – similar to dragons of legend. Perhaps these real-life creatures are where the legend of the dragon came from? It all depends what you wish to believe.
It's evident that dragons possess a powerful energy. If you follow a spiritual practice that calls on the energy of magical creatures for strength and inspiration, you can use dragon energy to guide your practice. Dragons are actually a perfect balance of all four elements – water, fire, earth and air – making them a powerful figure in elemental magic and a way of aligning the elements in your life. Dragons can also be called upon when you’re seeking success and good fortune, or when you need a burst of confidence and determination to get through life’s challenges. Their similarities to snakes and serpents also make them a strong symbol of change and transformation - a shedding of skin to make way for new life and new opportunities. If understood and summoned correctly, dragon energy definitely can be a powerful force in your life.
This is just scratching the surface of dragon mythology, which spans from the seas to the heavens across millennia. While dragon mythology is complex and varied, one trait certainly dominates all stories – dragons are figures of great power. If you want a little more ‘dragon’ in your life, check out our range of dragon giftware below, from books to jewelry to home décor.
December 08, 2018
Yuletide is almost here, that magical, merry time of year! The world feels all the more enchanted during the festive season, and so we thought we'd put a mythical spin on our gift ideas this year.
Most people have a magical creature that they feel most connected to—whether it's the fieriness of the dragon, the earthy energy of the fairy, the playful spirit of the mermaid, or the mystery of the unicorn. We've collated a list of Dragonspace gift ideas based on each of these four magical creature personalities. So read on to find out what to get for your mermaid-sister, unicorn-nephew and all in-between!
FOR THE DRAGONS
Dragons are known for their fiery nature. The dragon-lover in your life will probably be drawn to fire as an element, so celebrate that by gifting them with some distinctive candle-holders or incense to burn. In particular, our Dragon and Sword Candleholder will look perfect in a dragon's lair, and our Dragon's Blood Incense is ideal for protection and banishing negative energy.
Dragons also love treasure. There's sure to be something in our sterling silver jewelry collection that your dragon will want to add to their treasure trove. Our Celtic Band Rings are popular among men and women alike, or perhaps some Dragon Earrings fit for a dragon queen.
Dragons are fierce. Our sword and dagger collection will appeal to dragon-lovers who enjoy tales of battle and glory. We've even got replicas of Game of Thrones swords, such as Jon Snow's "Longclaw" and Ned Stark's "Ice" Dagger.
FOR THE FAIRIES
Fairies are often believed to have magical divinatory powers. Help the fairy in your life divine the future with a divinatory tool like our range of pendulums and runestones. Our Amethyst Pendulums and our Rose Quartz Runestones are always popular.
Fairies are powerful feminine figures. We have a number of books that celebrate magical women in our collection. The Priestess and the Pen takes a look at powerful priestess figures in history and mythology, and Avalon Within explores the mysteries that have inspired women through the ages, such as Arthurian legend.
FOR THE MERMAIDS
Mermaids are creatures of emotion. Mermaid-lovers will likely be highly in touch with their emotions and creativity, so would appreciate a meaningful journal or notebook. This special Mermaid's Mirror Journal features quotes from poets and artists inspired by mermaids, while this vibrant Imagination Journal is perfect for the dreamer.
Mermaids are playful. They'll love rising to the challenge of one of our fantasy-themed jigsaw puzzles, such as the intricate 1500 Piece Flight of the Fablemaker Puzzle or the elegant 550 Piece Gift of Love Puzzle.
Mermaids are known for their self-love, sometimes mistaken for vanity. So a mermaid would have no qualms about having statues of herself in her home! We've got a range of lovely mermaid statues and figurines, like our Mermaid in a Pond and our adorable Mermaid Baby.
FOR THE UNICORNS
Unicorns are mysterious creatures. The unicorn-lover in your life will likely be intrigued by the mysteries of tarot and oracle, and we've got a large range of decks in stock to choose from. The stunning Oracle of the Unicorns and the mystical Shadowscapes Tarot in particular would be a perfect fit.
Unicorns are pure. A gift of sage smudge sticks or resin incense will help your unicorn to cleanse and purify their life and surroundings. Our White Sage and Cedar Stick is perfect for smudging, and this Forest Blend Resin creates a fresh earthy aroma perfect for forest-dwelling unicorns.
Unicorns are legendary. Your unicorn friends will enjoy reading about other myths and fairytales, like this beautifully illustrated Classic Fairy Tales collection by Berlie Doherty. And for the little unicorn in your life, you can't go past the charming tale of Thelma the Unicorn.
So there you go...a little something for every magical creature in your life! Here's hoping you have an enchanted Yuletide with your loved ones and we look forward to supplying you with more mystical and mythical wares in the New Year.