Metaphorical stories change after many years of repetition. St. George is associated with courage and chivalry – the cross is on the badge of the Order of the Garter order of chivalry, and the St. George’s Cross bears an image of St.George vanquishing the dragon. His image also adorns memorials built to honour those killed in war.
There are many stories about St. George. Did you know that the real St. George didn’t actually slay a dragon? He wasn’t even English – he was born in Cappadocia – modern day Turkey and had never visited England. He wasn’t even a Knight! He was an officer in the Roman army!
The fact is he was a martyr who died for the Christian faith because he refused to make a sacrifice in honour of pagan gods.
Images about this were widely distributed across Europe during the 9th century. This was 500 years after he died. It is thought that these images represented the battle between good and evil. Soon his reputation for holiness and virtue spread.
During the middle ages people turned to him for protection, which was invoked against the plague and leprosy. They believed he was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases.
His protection was also invoked for the English army. In Shakespeare’s Henry V the monarch calls on St. George during his battle cry.
Stories about St. George abound. The story about him slaying a dragon was added much later during the 12th century which post-dates the real George by several centuries. The story is about him taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices and how he rescues a town and the princess chosen as the next offering.
Stories such as this one play an important role in passing along and reinforcing core and cultural values and to highlight important traditions.
The dragon in this legend is a metaphor for the devil. Metaphor is all around us in everyday language such as “I feel caged in”, I’m climbing the walls here!” yet we barely notice it. Every word of every language is a metaphor, a stand in, a symbol of some reality or other. It is an intrinsic part of the way human beings understand and communicate experience.
Famous American Psychiatrist, Psychologist and medical Hypnotherapist, Milton Erikson, developed a method of indirect hypnosis telling metaphorical stories to help his patients make changes in their life.
Telling someone stories that in some way parallels a person’s own predicament takes away any pressure to accept or reject the therapeutic pattens contained within the story.
The conscious mind can just enjoy listening to pleasant stories, while the unconscious mind may use the story as a template for future behaviour or perspectives. People rarely accept straight advice but can accept it when it seems to apply to other characters in seemingly different circumstances.
Hypnosis is a wonderful approach to help people make changes in their life. I have been in private practice for 14 years and have helped many people. Go to my Home page for full information about my services
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