… We have to wait until the final book of the ‘New Dispensation’ before we
encounter a Dragon.
“And there was war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…”
The Dragon in question, though, is red and, “… has seven heads,
and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads…”
This being the Book of Revelation we may well wonder about the symbolism…
Unusually for this text, we do not have to wonder for very long for we are told,
“… and the Great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan…
he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.”
At which point we realise that although the book purportedly deals with ‘last things’,
this particular vision has to do with ‘first things’, the Third Day of Creation to be precise,
and the expulsion from Heaven of Lucifer and the Fallen Angels…
Why this Dragon should have seven heads is an interesting question made all the
more interesting by the fact that few if any of the depictions of St Michael
show him in combat with a seven-headed Dragon or accompanied by any other angels!
Also worth consideration is the attempt to visualise ten horns on seven heads…
It can be done thus: the two ‘end heads and the ‘central head have two horns each,
and the other four heads have only one horn each.
In this context the phrase, ‘for a time, times and half-a-time,’
which was first brought to our attention
in the Book of Daniel, and is again utilised
later in this chapter of Revelation, springs to mind.
It is possible that the Seven-Headed Dragon is a symbol of time.
Satan is earlier described as the one, “…which deceives the whole world.”
A description which could also serve for time…
The Creation, in this schemata, takes seven days to complete,
and seven is the basis for a number of natural rhythms and cosmic cycles,
and is the symbolic number used throughout the text of Revelation…
Obviously, we still, in some part, retain this rhythm by following a seven day week.
For the ‘Old Dispensation’, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday,
which is Venus, Saturn and Mars would represent, ‘times’,
whilst Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday,
that is, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Jupiter would be, ‘half-times’.
And for the ‘New Dispensation’, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday,
and their corresponding Planetary Cycles would be considered, ‘times’,
whilst Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and their
corresponding Planetary Cycles would be the ‘half-times’.
But does any of this really matter?
Over such things, traditionally, are wars fought and countless lives lost…
With regard to this particular stained glass window, we might wonder
why Michael needs to be armoured, with a hand resting on the
pommel of his sword, in order to weigh
the souls of the dead?