Tag: dark romance

The Secret Connection Between Angels and Vampires

 

Upon reading the Apocrypha of the Bible and the early books of the canonical Bible, you quickly start to pick up on a story about angels not often mentioned in other texts. The Watchers were the two hundred angelic beings, part of an order of archangels that were charged with guarding the earth. In some myths, the Watchers were the ones who guided and assisted our spiritual (and perhaps, literal) evolution.  In others, they were rebellious and arrogant to a fault, eventually leading them to follow Lucifer in a desertion of epic proportions.

In most stories, the Watchers number two hundred, with twenty being the leaders responsible for the rest. Some early manuscripts of the second book of Enoch put their number at 2 million. The location of this fallen host is said to be the fifth heaven, according to Enoch 2, along with Satan.

The Watchers taught humanity much hidden knowledge that was to be revealed to us in a gradual manner and not given all at once as it was. The demons taught our race everything from signs to phases of the moon to cosmetics and warfare. One of the higher-ranking Watchers, Kokabiel, was said to have over 300,000 spirits at his command and taught humans astrology, which was forbidden as one of the secrets of heaven.

In the book of Genesis, they are referred to as Sons of God, supernatural beings that lusted after the daughters of men. The angels left their posts and took the women as they pleased, thus angering God. The story goes that the rebellious angels, led by Samael or in some texts, Azazel (a common reference, though the devil goes by many names), were thrown to the earth and chained in the valleys of the earth until judgement.

In Chapter 18 of the second book of Enoch, the children of these unions, the Nephilim, or the Grigori as it is translated there, have human likeness but are brutal giants that ravage humanity. God soon passes his judgement on the offspring of these unions and sends the deluge to cleanse the earth from them once and for all. This is the beginning of giant lore.

It is unclear how long the savage children of the Watchers were allowed the fulfilment of their bloodlust, only that they are said to have been destroyed in the flood. However, giants are mentioned again in the Bible later in the book of Numbers when Moses sends two spies to scope out Canaan, saying that they were as grasshoppers to the people that were living there.

The crossing of archangels and humans apparently bred a race of bloodthirsty giants that loved nothing more than terrorizing and feeding upon humans. Giant vampires. Yikes.

In the Book of Giants, God sends Enoch to warn the Nephilim of his impending judgement for not only their rebellion, but for defiling everything they could get their hands on including each other, eating one another’s flesh and drinking the blood. Rather than turn from their debauchery, many of the Nephilim chose to continue on in defiance of God’s orders and the rest is history.

There are some who interpret the name “Sons of God” and the phrase “heroes of old” in the book of Genesis in reference to the Watchers to allude to aliens or extraterrestrials. While Ezekiel’s vision in the book of the same name in the Bible does describe some strange machinations like chariots of fire with eyes and wheels with eyes, most biblical scholars concur that these visions were of an order of angels charged with proclaiming the holiness of God, the Thrones. These angels appear as wheels and are an entirely different order of angels than the Watchers.

Although, I think if demons exist, they would be entirely capable of deceiving us into believing just about anything.

Lilith: What You Don’t Know About the First Feminist

Her house sinks down to death,

And her course leads to the shades.

All who go to her cannot return

And find again the paths of life.

— Proverbs 2:18–19

The origins of the female demon we have come to know as Lilith come from Sumeria and Babylon. A dark goddess or demoness, Lilith is oft portrayed as sexually promiscuous, unwilling to submit to men, and an eater of babes. While much is written about this empress of the dark, she is still quite an enigma even after her beginnings over some 4,000 years ago in a Sumerian poem entitled Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld. Pretty impressive, I daresay.

Though many religious texts mention female demons or a mother of demons, Lilith has prevailed and reigned as the standard by which all other succubi are compared. The original succubus, Lilith is said to fly by night, roaming the earth in search of male victims to terrorize and sexually vampirize. With the rise of Christianity, this lore expanded to include her role as Adam’s first wife.

In the Christian lore, Lilith is seen as rebellious and prideful, unwilling to be subservient to Adam. She runs off with an archangel named Samael, who is fabled to be the leader of the 200 Watchers that rebelled against God in the beginning. Samael later became associated with Satan. When Lilith refused to return to the Garden of Eden, she was cast off with the fallen angels and became the first female demon.

Early Rabbinic teachings often presented Lilith as the source of many sexual sins and the curses of womanhood which are squatting to relieve oneself “like a beast”, having long hair, and “serving as a bolster for one’s husband.” It goes on to state that nocturnal emissions are how demons are born (because you succumbed to Lilith in the night).

(I must tell you that I find myself siding with Lilith, so far.)

One of these early stories goes on to say that the reason she was guilty of disobedience was because she refused to have sex with Adam because she did not want to be beneath him (literally or figuratively). Ah, now we get down to it.

The Alphabet of Ben-Sira is considered to be the earliest manuscript which portrays Lilith as Adam’s first wife. In it, it is said that she fought with Adam because she demanded to be equal to him. Eventually, God replaced her with Eve. Unfortunately, Eve did not live up to Adam’s expectations either and is ridiculed as being “swell-headed and prone to jealousy”.

In other passages, though, Adam is criticized as being weak and ineffective in his dealings with Lilith and it even goes so far as to imply that even God would not deal with her and sent his angels to negotiate a deal.

For all the teachings, of both mystical and holy texts, it seems that Lilith was a strong-willed woman who knew what she wanted, and it wasn’t Adam. She refused to remain in the Garden of Eden and left willingly so that she would not have to live as a subordinate to man.

Go Lilith.

Your Worst Nightmares About Lucifer Are True

Satan and Lucifer are one in the same though he is known by many other names, such as Abaddon and Apolyon, the Destroyer or the Angel of the Abyss, Moloch, Mephistopholes, and the Antichrist among others. In Islam, a comparable character is referred to as Shaytan. In Judaism, he is thought of as a metaphor for difficulty or opposition. The name Lucifer means light bringer or star of the morning. In Christian theology, Lucifer was the brightest among the angels. As we see in this verse from the King James Bible:

Isaiah 14:12-14 King James Version (KJV)

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.

According to this verse, Lucifer’s rebellion started in his heart with the desire to not only disobey God, but also to overthrow him. Lucifer took a full third of the angels with him in his fall from grace and now they comprise the army of demons that is continually at war with everything that is good in this world. (This verse also has a literal meaning in referencing a King of Babylon that sought to be worshiped as God.)

And the war rages on. Lucifer has not given up in his quest to unseat God.

Lucifer is the antithesis of all that is good, but he is never obvious. Considering that the angels are beautiful, and his name means light or star, he is never the hideous demonic creature we see in film. Satan is more intelligent than we can imagine and sets traps for unwitting victims to fall into ruin.

The mythology says the devil tempts us to do wrong because he wants to punish us. Sadistic much? In religious lore, as an angel his job was to test the faith of the believers, accuse and prosecute them, and then punish them if they were found to be guilty. Medieval interpretations deemed him capable of starting wars, causing famine, spreading disease and causing natural disasters.

In the book of Job, Satan came before God to ask permission to test Job’s faith. He then sets about torturing poor Job by killing all his children, robbing him of his wealth, striking him with a near fatal disease, and then sending his friends to mock him.

In Peter 5:8, he is said to be roaming the earth like a lion looking for someone to devour.

In Revelation, he is described as a red dragon, a beast. Though we see his ultimate destination is the lake of fire, we are also told that he wants nothing more than to see you burn alongside him in eternal fire.

In the book Dante’s Inferno, Satan is trapped in the ninth circle of hell in a frozen lake. He is described as having three faces which continually weep blood froth, each one chewing on traitors while flaying their backs with his claws. He is widely agreed upon as the serpent which tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus being the instigator of humanity’s fall into wickedness.

What’s truly scary about the devil? He does none of these things. We do these things. We persecute, judge, and accuse one another for any minute difference we may find in one another. Rather than help each other, we watch as war rages, famine wipes out millions, and diseases that are easily cured run rampant through much of the world. We cast each other aside as nothing. Perhaps Lucifer is simply the representation of our darker selves and just what we are capable of when we convince ourselves we are justified in what we do.

That’s the stuff of nightmares.

 

Vampire: My Demon Lover

The allure of darkness, especially vampires, has infiltrated nearly every genre of fiction. With the popularity of vampire fiction and dark fantasy, you may be wondering, why? What is so attractive about a creature that drinks blood, ages centuries if they don’t feed, can’t go out in the sunlight, is cold, and is constantly seducing other people? Not to mention the number of enemies, vampire and human, that inevitably try and kill them?

A study in evolution would perhaps tell us that a vampire is formidable and powerful, able to defend and protect. They are also old and probably wealthy, wise and worldly, but since they are supernatural, they are still physically attractive. For extra points, they also seem to possess unearthly levels of charisma and can charm the pants off of anybody they happen to come across.

Most vampires in movies, television shows, and books are at the very least mildly bad boy (or bad girl). There is something inherently sexy about someone who operates outside the norms of society and is brave enough to be an outright rebel, casting any cares about what everyone else thinks aside. A vampire’s supernatural qualities make for a formidably powerful lover, add to that more sexual experience than that of an average human’s lifespan, and you get an irresistibly rebellious combination.

With the publication of Carmilla, female vampires and their insatiable desire set the stage for a lesbian love affair way back in 1872. Carmilla introduced people to the fact that yes, women have desires, and it was a glorious, in your face wake-up call for the prudish Victorians.

Years ago, before everyone became sexually enlightened, vampire fiction was a way to disguise sexual themes within a story. In fact, the very feeding habits of the vampire are laden with sexual inuendo. The kissing of the neck and sinking in of the fangs (which are phallic symbols or a throwback to our more animalistic days, i.e. werewolf), the pumping of the blood and racing heart, the devouring taking place under cover of darkness. It all adds up to the promise of mind-blowing sex. (And/or death, depending which vampire fandom you hang with.)

Perhaps we are also drawn in by the vampire’s mysteriousness because we live in a world in which everything has an explanation and there is nothing that holds our imagination like paranormal experience. There is something to be said for mystery rather than in your face, straight up graphic sex. Maybe we desire to be wooed and have our minds turned on as well as our bodies, which makes everything a lot more interesting.

Whatever your reason for reading vampire fiction, these guys are the epitome of sensuality. They are evil creatures at their core, powerful enough to easily kill you, but they don’t want to. Instead, they want to unleash all of that pent-up frustration at having to try and be good all the time in the bedroom. And they want to unleash it on you.

Who doesn’t want that?

Vampires, Moon Magic and Mysticism

Most of us go about our daily lives never giving a thought to mysticism or moon phases or religious ecstasies. We never notice how the moon affects the earth and ourselves, let alone give a care to what else it may be affecting.

It is known in vampire lore that the moon has a significant effect on this mythical creature and on that of his fellow children of the night, including but not limited to werewolves. For vampires, the moon is the closest they will ever get to actual sunlight. It symbolizes the opposite of the sun and daylight that causes so much harm to them and explains why they would revel in its light.

In vampire fiction such as Vampyre by Polidori, as well as in the penny dreadful serials, Varney the Vampire, vampires could be healed or completely restored to health by the moonlight. Simply laying their body out in the rays of a full moon could return a nearly expired, for lack of a better word, vampire back to good health.

Other magical and mythological creatures are affected by the moon including witches and of course, werewolves. Werewolves being the most famous moon lover, these beasts go completely insane with the moon madness and become raging, uncontrollable creatures with a hunger of their own, though it isn’t always about food. Some myths imply that a werewolf is a more sexually potent being than a vampire due to his wild nature. Who knew?

Witches have long studied and worshipped the moon, using the power of the various phases to impart supernatural power to spells and incantations. The new moon is said to be an excellent time for setting intentions and laying out the groundwork for what you would like to accomplish in that particular cycle.

In fiction, the night of the full moon is when all the children of the night come out to play because its power fuels their magic and gives them the energy to emerge and carry out whatever wicked deeds they have planned. I think the moon has gotten an unfair reputation for being evil and has become associated with the creepy aspects of the night rather than the beautiful ones it deserves to be.

Our moon maybe unique in the universe. Without it, the earth’s angle toward the sun would swing wildly and we would experience climate change that would probably wipe us out. (space.com) Perhaps the mystics of old recognized how important to our existence the moon is and that is why they began to allot magic and power to it. Maybe they simply observed the pattern of mayhem and their own emotional disturbances that always surround the full moon.

Whether you believe in the moon’s power or not, one cannot deny that our very existence is linked to it. Don’t believe me? Try standing on a beach, a grain of sand compared to the mighty ocean, and contemplating how massive a thing an ocean is. You know how much a gallon of water weighs, right? 97% of the earth’s water is in the oceans. 97% of 326 million trillion gallons.

The entire thing will be moved by the moon’s orbit around our planet. The. Entire. Thing.

If that isn’t power, I don’t know what is.

Vampires and Werewolves…It’s Complicated

For as long as there have been vampires, werewolves have been part of the vampire lore in some fashion. Several dark fantasy and vampire fiction tropes include the turbulent relationship that vampires and werewolves have. On the one hand, they share many similarities such as unnatural forms, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. However, they are often portrayed as arch enemies and are quite opposite in that werewolves are everything forceful in the natural, living realm while vampires are often portrayed as the reanimated dead doomed to wander the earth alone.

Werewolves are large, brute animals with shapeshifting abilities that rival that of any self-respecting vampire. They are also rumored to be overly emotional, given to outbursts of anger and fits, and unable to control themselves once exposed to that wondrous magical orb, the full moon. The original werewolf lore can be traced back to a time when Christians associated Pagan rites of passage into the warrior class as true transformation into the devil or a kind of channeling of him. Basically, a misunderstanding of the Pagan belief systems and judgment based on little to no factual information led to werewolf trials that rivaled the witch trials of Salem. (Mass hysteria was rampant in medieval Europe.) There are claims that the werewolf myth was also used as a way to explain the behavior of serial killers in medieval France.

The moon, for the vampire, is a source of healing and strength. I suppose it could be construed as such for the werewolf as well as a weakness, causing supernatural metamorphosis although at inconvenient times. Perhaps both the vampire and werewolf are slave to the moon and her whims.

In some vampire lore, the werewolf and the vampire are literally the same creature, though referred to by different names with slightly different attributes. The vampire was thought to be able to transform, like Dracula, into a werewolf or bat or mist. It was simply a variation on the original vampire lore.

In other stories, the vampire and werewolf are mortal enemies, though they are like minded in their hatred of mankind. Their very natures are polar opposite with the vampire being portrayed as wealthy and intelligent, a socialite of sorts at times, and the lowly werewolf being a simple-minded brute at the mercy of his animalistic nature. It’s no wonder then that the relationships between these two recurring characters in fiction is a complex one.

I personally find the possibilities that this juxtaposition of character traits brings very alluring.  Maybe we’ll see the animal side of the vampire, the aristocratic side of the werewolf, the fangs, the moon, the passion! It can be combined in so many interesting ways to create conflict that is still drawing us in.

Alas, every good villain, or love interest depending who you ask, is doomed to have his weaknesses. Werewolves are no different, but silver certainly seems to be the only one.

The werewolf legend continues to evolve, often alongside the vampire. Sometimes friend to the vampire, sometimes foe, the werewolf is not hindered by the sun and it would be difficult to say who would ultimately come out on top of this centuries old pairing.

Vampires: It’s in the Blood

Blood mysticism along with vampire legends and the lore and religiosity surrounding it have been present since our earliest days. Many cultures revere blood as a symbolic representation of the life force of a human being and a link between the body, mind, and spirit which may be more than mere symbolism.

For thousands of years, people have believed that blood represents livelihood, vitality, power, and/or magic. In truth, the blood is wondrous stuff. I’m not attempting to be gruesome but to contemplate everything it is able to accomplish and how quick our demise is with its loss is truly staggering. It is literally keeping us alive. If something is wrong in the blood, then the whole being suffers.

Blood carries nutrients, delivers hormones, carries away waste, carries oxygen, and it fights infection. It is so important to our survival and wellbeing that we use it to symbolize everything from our relationships with others to our religious beliefs, not to mention the use of its color to represent our most passionate emotions. How many times have you heard the term “bloodline” in reference to families? We say we are related by blood or that there is bad blood between us when there is animosity. Blood is symbolic in sacrificial religious rites and rituals in many religions simply because it is the elixir of life, as it sustains and bolsters us in nearly every facet of our lives.

In some religious texts, blood is referred to as containing the life of the animal and therefore the desires of the animal, which is why they view it as sinful to consume blood. With some of these belief systems, practitioners wash and salt meat repeatedly to fully remove any trace of the blood so as not to risk becoming contaminated or even giving the appearance of doing so.

Blood is also often used as a symbol for life, love, passion, sympathy, sacrifice and loyalty. There is a reason why people took blood oaths so seriously and why that oath connected the persons making the vow. The blood is the life and by taking a blood vow, you are swearing your loyalty on your life.

In occult practices, blood is used in many magic spells and incantations to bring about the desired outcome. The more personal the blood, i.e. your own blood, the more powerful the spell is said to be. For many hundreds of years, blood has been the ultimate sacrifice for many behests of the gods requiring power.

There is so much more to blood and its use in fiction than merely as a device for shock value or to frighten people.  As in vampire fantasy, we have the culmination of all of this symbolism. Many films, books, and myths, vampire and otherwise, use blood to represent loss and life and the dual meanings of so many human emotions, for blood can represent each one equally well.

Perhaps blood links us to vampires in more ways than one and is actually a myriad of connection to our deepest needs, desires, and fears.

Things You May Not Know About Vampire Lore

Dark fantasy and vampire fantasy have been shaped by the mythology of many cultures the world over and the evolution of the creature to that which we see in fiction today. Vampire lore began in ancient civilizations as a tale arising from improper burial which resulted in the deceased rising to attack their living relatives and suck blood in order to reanimate themselves. In later myths, the vampire was a demon or spirit that possessed the dead body and merely made it appear as though it were “living”.

None of this ancient mythology remotely resembles the modern vampire other than the consumption of the life force, whether the energy or the blood. Even this process has drastically changed from blood being taken, flesh being devoured, and even souls being stolen. In some cultures, the first vampires were female demons that feasted on children and kidnapped male lovers. In modern vampire lore, the creature took on fangs, sex appeal, and supernatural abilities that rival even the most powerful demons.

The modern myth of vampire began when a small village in southeastern Europe experienced some kind of mass vampire hysteria or else, supernatural occurrence, that made them believe that they were seeing their deceased relatives’ corpses walking around at night begging to be fed. During the vampire hysteria of the early 1700s, a man in Serbia claimed that his father rose from the grave to come visit him and ask for food during the night. After this, several people in the area died of mysterious causes and thus the vampire hysteria was born.

One of the men, Arnold Paole, was believed to have actually been bitten by a vampire years before his death and this attributed to the rumors and wives’ tales that led to the outbreak of paranoia which ensued. The hysteria resulted in the villagers digging up graves in order to detect suspected vampires. If the corpse’s fingernails were longer, the hair seemed to have grown after death, or red liquid was seen around the mouth, the deceased was determined to be a vampire and methods to keep them from rising again would be employed.

Bricks or rocks in the mouth indicate the entombed was thought to be a vampire, as does a stake through the chest. Some even went so far as to behead the dead in order to keep them from becoming a bloodsucker. Sometimes, the deceased would be buried facing down and have garlic placed around them or sometimes in their mouths.

Most of these instances can be explained away by a misunderstanding of the biological processes that occur after death, particularly if the body is inside a coffin. As for seeing dead relatives, having experienced supernatural phenomena first hand, I do lean toward the belief that we do not understand all there is to know either about ourselves or the world around us. I find the demonology that lies behind many of these widely held beliefs fascinating, as well. There are things older and stranger in this world than even our vast modern knowledge can explain.

Vampire Fantasy in Fiction

Vampire fiction has undergone quite the metamorphosis since the early legends and myths of ancient cultures and vampire lore.

Some regard Bram Stoker or Sheridan Le Fanu as the founding authors of vampire fiction, but as it turns out, vampire fiction was born the year 1816, when a volcanic eruption caused such upheaval in the climate that there was a year without a summer. The eruption caused the temperature to drop worldwide to the point that crops failed and there was ice in rivers in New England in July and August.

People were starving and freezing with nothing to do but wait it out and hope to survive. Dismal times, to say the least.

In Switzerland in the year 1816, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and John William Polidori were cooped up with nothing to do and no place to go. So what would a bunch of authors do if they were stuck inside all summer long? Read some ghost stories, of course! (They were reading Fantasmagoriana, which is a collection of German ghost stories that I now have to go and check out.)

The friendly group challenged each other to write something inspired by these stories and the rest is history. An entire new genre was born that has shaped Gothic horror and even romance ever since. It is so freaking awesome that this is how Lord Byron’s Fragment of a Novel, Vampyre, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John William Polidori’s Lord Ruthven (which is based on Lord Byron, makes me want to do some more research on him) came about!

After the publication of Byron, Shelley and Polidori’s works, there was a string of comic-like serials called penny dreadfuls that featured a vampire character called Varney the Vampire. This string of serials amounts to over 600,000 words and is the origin for many of the tropes and character traits modern audiences associate with vampires. It also marked the beginning of some serious changes to how the character is represented in fiction.

The penny dreadful series led to the creation of Carmilla, the lesbian vampire story by Le Fanu, and later, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Here’s where the sexual aspects of the vampire myth begin to be explored and take shape. It is so interesting to see the milestones of this literature and how these authors built on myth and legend and were inspired by one another. The constant evolution and adaptation of the creature, his habits, and his history are fascinating to see developing.

Varney the Vampire was perhaps the first of the sympathetic vampires and later, in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Lestat. These characters paved the way for the sexy, charismatic vampires we see in Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries today.

There are those who hold to the belief that vampires are evil and their representation in dark fantasy should remain so. On the other side of the coin, we see that writers are exploring other motives for vampire fiction aside from bloodlust in the romance genre. Perhaps it is fitting that this is happening, for surely there is some remnant of humanity left in them even though they have become vampire.

Vampire Powers

Vampire powers are seemingly limitless, and their weaknesses are few. How many times have you wished you could fly or read minds? How about shapeshift?

Given that vampires are immortal and gain power as they consume energy and life from others via blood or energy, they have ample time and strength to learn magic and abilities of all sorts. Being able to travel in the form of mist or smoke and possessing unearthly charisma is just the tip of the vampiric iceberg. Vampires can be healed by moonlight, adapt to sunlight (new one on me), and become invisible at will. From what I have found in older vampire lore, the older they are, the stronger and more gifted they become. (That is a nice spin on aging, in my opinion.)

Most vampires are also able to seduce not only your mind, but your soul as well. Perhaps they are consuming the soul, as well? Given that not just everybody is willing to offer themselves up to a blood-sucking demon, I suppose that one could be considered a survival skill of sorts. I know not every vampire fiction fan is a fan of the Twilight series, but I thought giving Bella the ability to shield the entire clan and thereby be the hero at the end was a great character arc. The whole time, you think Edward will always rescue her, but it is Bella that rescues him and more than once. I think this is an underappreciated aspect of the books.

In vampire lore, vampire powers are more practical. For instance, the undead have been granted unnatural strength and superhuman senses. Supernatural eyesight, including night vision and heat sensing capabilities, bolsters their hunting prowess while other senses such as hearing, smell, and taste have also been enhanced. Many vampire legends also attribute lightning fast speed to the vampire.

Let’s not forget their supernatural beauty. Attractiveness and unearthly beauty are not always part of a vampire’s repertoire of powers, but I think it’s a valid one given that us humans would be like moths to a flame just on account of this one attribute.

While they are but few, vampires do have certain weaknesses, though I have seen only a few methods that can be employed to actually kill them. In most lore, the sun equals instant death. Vampire death ain’t pretty. Holy water, applicable only to the demon possessed or demon originated vampires, can kill or weaken them. Sometimes I think that one may just be a symbolic representation of our hope that good will always prevail over evil and that hopefully, nothing exists that we cannot stop – somehow.

In dark fantasy, crucifixes, garlic, and silver are all said to weaken them, but even a weak vampire is still a vampire. Ultimately, if one is not courageous (or silly) enough to get close enough to stake them through the heart with a stake made from the wood of a white oak, then fire is the only remaining foolproof way to kill a vampire.

In other words, you don’t stand a chance.