Imoogi: The Great Lizard

Radhika Taori
3 min readMar 2, 2021

Korean folk mythology states that initially all the dragons were Imoogis. Unlike other dragons who are associated with fire, an Imoogi is linked with water and clouds. It is a creature that is said to take birth in a millennium and resembles gigantic serpent having defensive scales and acidic toxins and can change forms.

Although Imoogi is not a complete dragon but still is the biggest depiction of viciousness, destruction, cruelness and despair. Korean Mythology describes Imoogi as dragon in training who needs to survive 1000 years to convert into a fully grown dragon, Yong. After surviving for 1000 years, the Imoogi waits to catch the Yeouiju (similar to falling star that is known to grant wishes) falling from the sky. If the Imoogi catches it, its wish will be granted, and it will become a Yong, a dragon far greater in power and sense of judgement. Still, like humans, they cannot withstand showing off their achievement, and will always carry their Yeouiju either clutched in their mouths or held in a paw.

Some say that The Korean Sun Goddess created Imoogis through human girls. The girls are imprinted with a dragon symbol on their shoulders. The day she turns 17, she is converted to an Imoogi.

Whereas some believe that a human named Akuma was the first living being that came in contact with this beast. At that time Imoogi was as an egg. Akuma helped Imoogi to hatch and grow into its adult form thereby creating a strong brotherly bond with it.

Another theory that exists and sounds the most logical to me, says that Imoogi was born in a place where living and dead intermingled. It was created in cave where thousands of people were stuck due to war in 420AD. As more and more people started to die in the cave, their intense agony and suffering led the foundation for Imoogi’s birth and therefore it symbolizes destruction and sadness.

Imoogi controls the power of birth, death and rebirth. Ouroboros, a symbol of wholeness/infinity is also represented by a snake(serpent) eating its tail. An Imoogi is said to know the deepest emotions which is not known to oneself, the dark side of your soul. It can very cleverly control what you think and how you act by controlling you according to its own needs. Its natural instinct is territorial and dominant and has high resistance to control which is obvious due to its greater life span.

Although people nowadays don’t believe in dragons but what if they existed once? What if they reappear someday and rule the world? What if they are hidden deep down in the Earth or oceans out of human reach? These questions do remain.