By Heart Blog
Every dragon is a keeper of treasure
A story of Psychosynthesis
Do you have dragons?

I am talking about the monsters-within, the gremlins, inner critics, those places inside you that you try to keep as far away from as possible.

Every dragon is a keeper of treasure.
I'm guessing you're not overly fond of your dragons - and yet, every dragon is a keeper of treasure. Trouble is, your dragon spends all its time guarding the treasure, keeping it safe. After a while, it forgets to even glance at the hoard. After a while, it begins to forget what the treasure is. All its attention is now on keeping safe, and it couldn't tell you what is in its keeping anymore. All it seems to do is snarl.
Which is the other trouble: dragons are not known for exquisite communication skills. Rather, they are prone to using coarse language (just listen to any one of yours a minute, if you want proof). Their style is not exactly appealing or friendly.
Actually, if you think about it, dragons don't get much practice conversing or expressing their thoughts. It is lonely being a dragon. No-one likes you, you're an outcast. Huffing over treasure is all you've got going, as a dragon. And what's worse, you don't even know anymore that you're harbouring treasure. You think all you've got is wounds.
What does it take to persuade a dragon to bestow its treasure?
Before I share with you my secret: What do you think could persuade a dragon to make friendly with you?

Here is what I've discovered: dragons *adore* getting invited in from the cold. Don't believe my word – believe the testimony of countless befriended dragons around.
It does take a knack to tame a dragon, though. And courage. Even then, you wouldn't approach a dragon unless you had something to offer it that you were convinced it would find compelling. That's where recruiting a dragon-whisperer might be essential, unless you're already conversant with dragons.
Task number one - getting to know your dragon.
The first task is to get to know this particular dragon, which is not always easy. Primarily, because its behaviour and words are so off-putting. It is so hard to imagine that this 'creature' inside of you is capable of anything other than foul words, causing you pain and tearing you apart inside.
Even so, getting to know it is where it's at. I generally ask for someone's name when I first meet them, and so I ask the dragon how it would like to be addressed. Dragons like that.

Next, I respectfully offer it to tell its tale. Sometimes, a torrent comes out, sometimes they struggle to find words. Paradoxically, dragons may need reassurance and an invitation to take their time. I often feel quite affectionate and almost protective, helping a dragon to find the right words.
A dragon's truth doesn't tend to come out all at once.
Once it has said its piece, I ask it what it longs for, what it wants. Lots of dragons stumble here. They'd been nursing their grievances for so long, asking for their best-case scenario can take them aback.
When they find their answer, it can be surprising. Even to the dragon itself. The logic works fine, in retrospect. Once they speak up and explain what all that ruckus and steam and fire were about, it can make sense. Think of it like this: If you were watching a dragon thrashing about, and you were trying to figure out the cause, you could think up all sorts of plausible reasons. But it's so much simpler if the dragon could point to the toe that is hurting, with a big sting sticking out of it that the dragon cannot get at.

Now imagine how aggravating it can be, when one's toe is stinging, and no one will listen. So at this stage, I suggest you hold back any estimates of what's been wrong for your dragon.
The surprise will be worth the wait.
Why do I say 'the surprise'? Because if you knew already what the dragon is about to reveal, you would have taken care of the matter, and the dragon would already be purring by your side. Which they will in a minute, I promise.
Next, ask what it needs. Again, suspend expectations. Revelation is delicate work.
All those layers, like veils getting peeled back, take us closer to the kernel, the heart of it:
'What is your purpose, the blessing you've been waiting to bestow?

What is your superpower, your special magic?'
Inevitably (although the sense of wonder remains vivid for me, time after time) it turns out that this 'dragon', a part of you, had taken on a heavy duty at some distant point in the past. It undertook to keep for you something that was difficult at the time to live openly.

I've met dragons who'd been entrusted with safekeeping the person's vulnerability. Some dragons' treasure chests contain pride in the person's accomplishments. You see, it is difficult to take pride in one's accomplishments if one is surrounded by people who criticise a lot. That joy goes into hiding, turns in on itself, and transforms into a dragon.
If you look at your dragon now, you will see that it has revealed its true form. You're reversed the transformation. Your 'dragon' needn't encrust itself with protective armour anymore. It can now freely relish the wonder it had sustained all this time.
The secret was: Dragons like to purr, given enough tenderness.
I've befriended many dragons, both clients' and my own. One's own are generally more daunting.

So go easy on yourself if you're not feeling ready to start up a tender conversation with your resident dragon. Thankfully, there are people who specialise in dragon-whispering. There are as many ways of taming a dragon as there are therapists, coaches and what-have-you. Find someone whom you can trust to help you.
Please meet axolotl whose name means 'water dog' or 'water monster'. It is just 30cm long, and not that scary if you give it a chance.
Margarita Steinberg is a coach with a specialism in Psychosynthesis psychology.

Psychosynthesis is a psychology modality and an approach to self-integration, based in the theories developed by the Italian psychologist and psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli.

Read more here:

The Psychosynthesis term for dragons is 'sub-personalities' (although not all sub-personalities would be properly represented by a dragon; some are more like magical unicorns and other inhabitants of our inner world that we are yet to befriend).

This story illustrates sub-personality work, a part of the process of psycho-synthesis, which is to say a process of re-integrating into a unified whole all the parts of ourselves that have been skulking out on the periphery and outside our awareness.

Befriending dragons can be safely undertaken on your own, although it seems to go much easier in skilful and experienced company. :)
Find out more about my work
Quick links
Suggested related blog posts
Check out some of my other blog posts
ByHeart blog
I write about my clients' stories, about coaching and psychology, current events and the human condition
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive alerts about upcoming blog posts, offers and events
ByHeart Blog
I write about my clients' stories, about coaching and psychology, current events and the human condition
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive alerts about upcoming blog posts, offers and events