You can tell a lot about a culture by its favorite myths. Zombie stories coincide with disease outbreaks and reflect fear of illness. Witches rule in cultures fascinated by and afraid of women’s natural power and intuition. So what is with all the Vampire hype?
Vampire stories are centuries old and have roots in ancient cultures around the world, even before the time of Stoker’s Dracula. When the undead come to life society is often facing conflicts of repressed sensuality and longing for expression of passion and intimacy. Vampire legends also taunt us with the allure of the seductive but forbidden pleasures.
The nightwalking, blood sucking monsters mirror our own drives to be forever young and attractive, to tempt fate, cheat death and live forever. The vampire is closely connected to our sexual desires and fears. How do we age gracefully and not lose intimacy in relationships? How do we find love in a society that holds taboos by day but indulges in behind the scenes revelry when no one is looking? Vampire myths tend to coincide with epidemic addictions mirroring the obsession and compulsion to pursue an unquenchable thirst, longing to cling to trappings of love and sensuality that will be destroyed by the all consuming desire of the vampire. Walking the fine line between experiencing what you most desire, and destroying the object of your affections by forging an obsession.
The vampire story is a love story. It is the story of love corrupted much like the Devil card from Tarot. This corruption stems from the misuse of power and energy in relationships in the quest to satisfy inner needs through outer things- people, possessions, addictions, the urge to satisfy what is not at peace within and which ironically can never be satisfied externally.
What can we learn from the vampire? The power of accepting our own limitations and inner powers rather than trying to derive power only from others around us, the danger of losing ourselves to obsession, and the high price of cheating normal human limitations in the pursuit of ecstatic bliss, be it from drugs, alcohol, or other addictions. The vampire reminds us of the many ways in which we trap ourselves in pursuit of pleasure.
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