Vampires in Mythology and Folklore

Vampires in folklore appear to have strong connections with snakes, that may not be as clearly stated as those with bats but are outlined well enough to be implied. There is the similarity of the fangs, the idea of immortality associated with snakes in ancient lore as well as the arcane abilities that were said once to be the purview of snakes and their higher developed relatives, dragons.

When we think of mind control or perception altered by vampires in modern fiction and cinema, a similar ability comes to mind when we regard snakes. For instance, Mowgli’s python benefactor has the talent of hypnosis he chooses to exercise on the monkeys, freezing them in their tracks.

At one time I had to wonder if modern lore of this kind originated with the more ancient one of Greek mythology. Both Hermes and Athena exhibit certain ability to freeze people as well, most often by turning them into rocks. Now I tend to believe that the opposite is true. After all, Hermes through his kerkaion/caduceus and Athena with the famous aegis that ties her to Medusa’s serpentine connections, have something to do with snakes.

Similarly, Apollo of Delphi, which appears to be a somewhat different creature in cult worship than the slightly more marine Apollo of Delos, despite being an archer (in symbolic terms reaching the goals) is also known often for his attempts to stop famous heroes like Herakles or Achilles from reaching their goals that could lead to their destruction.

Thus, of the Olympians most frequently mentioned for their affiliation with snakes, those three also happen to the ones most frequently displaying the freezing ability.

But if snakes share that lesser ability with vampires, what about the even better known property of feeding on blood? Well, there doesn’t seem to be as much direct evidence that any connection was made mythologically in that regard between snakes and vampires. But some tenuous hints suggest that a possibility of a connection does exist. After all, there is Lamia who feeds on bloods and is occasionally portrayed with serpentine characteristics. There is also the prophet Tiresias who was associated with snakes to some extent as a legend of his involvement with two serpents indicates, and then is shown in the Odyssey to feed on the blood of a sacrifice offered by Odysseus and co.

More importantly, blood as a generating source of life was listed in several Greek legends, one of the earlier ones perhaps being connected to the birth of Aphrodite. Equally important for this theory might be the idea that Medusa’s blood gave rise to various serpents, reaffirming association between serpents, blood and life in a way corresponding to that of vampires. .

Why is it that vampires would be connected through their mystical properties to vampires? I don’t have a precise answer to that question. Perhaps to some of us, the snake represents the ferocity of the lizard brain associated with the vampiric aggression as well.

Interestingly enough, most mythological entities associated with the dead coming back to life in ancient mythology, similar to vampires of modern lore, were always somehow intense or outright brutal. Orpheus who returned from the Underworld, Dionysus who was reborn, and even more so Sisyphus who sought to cheat Death, are never described to have much gentleness in their lives, whether because of their own actions or because of their tragic ending.

Although the said heroes of Greek myths do not necessarily display any obviously vampiric connotations, they nonetheless provide us with a certain imaginary template of what it could be like for the Dead to come back to life.

Heroes, demi gods and Chtonic deities rising from the Underworld usually acquire greater powers than they previously possessed while, in a kind of a balancing act, losing some of their human morality in the process.

Perhaps the Living Dead of modern lore, serving as the mythological counterpart of such legendary characters also undergo a transformation necessary for their adaptation to new conditions while at the same time exacting too great of a toll to retain completely the previous characteristics of their human existence.

From a biological standpoint, it might be interesting to note at this point that snakes might experience more pain during the process of shedding their skin[ making them more aggressive until the soreness retreats] which largely gives rise to the ancient belief in their immortality in the first place. Thus the snake can be said symbolically to follow the pattern established by the mythological heroes in that they may grow more while losing something else they used to have.

With Underworld serving a similar transformative function for ancient heroes and the act of dying similarly contributing to the evolution of a vampire, it begins to make more sense for the vampire and a serpent to be symbolically linked, not only through their unexpected behavioral changes but even through their supernatural properties.

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If you share my interest in vampires, you may also consider the following vampire themed videos to be of interest because they are dedicated to vampires, bats and bat jewelry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQlBB9XGhfg&t=27s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyL9qKvDII8&t=26s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI-yZH5KybA&t=41s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcusHRB6mvw&t=19s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKrilitLb_M&t=69s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpdBdTUfgNE&t=48s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwgY9DsGo_w&t=18s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDrrBu9c6jM&t=72s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7SdTcRwpOc&t=26s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75iRKuJ7cl4&t=93s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3honQIoDeow&t=23s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_DzncAlG3o&t=22s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBTn56NMJxU&t=30s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slNbmqWFCtE&t=402s

Learning From Stones

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If you enjoyed Morticia’s article, you might also find our gemstone hauls to be of interest:

Garnet

As the wheel begins another turn into the year 2009, we all begin to think of new beginnings, fresh starts, and new year’s resolutions.  To begin new ventures, or even to begin the ending of old habits, one must draw on inner  resources of courage.
     It is no coincidence that January’s birthstone, Garnet, is a stone of courage.  It’s strong empowering energy gives us the push to go forward…to do what we must.  It gives our gut feelings support, and we know that ‘IT’,  whatever ‘IT’ may be, can be done!  One step at a time is the best way, but the first jump…the first step must be made.  The energy and strength of garnet encourages our spirit on this path.
     Other  than strengthening our courage so that we may eagerly move forward, garnet has many other talents.  It is a wonderful healing stone as it cleanses and strengthens the aura.  As all illness starts in the aura, garnet’s cleansing and strength can help to nip illness in the bud.  This is best when garnet is constantly worn or carried so that it does not lose contact with the aura.
     Garnet’s cleansing abilities are also useful when giving or receiving psychic readings.  This is because our aura picks up gunk from everyone we come into contact with.  If when giving or receiving a reading, the aura is cluttered, things won’t be as clear as they otherwise could be.  Garnet cleansing out the auric area helps in this greatly, however.
The most widely seen garnets are the red ones.  This red can manifest itself in a manner of color ranges from a brownish orange to  a lighter red, to a very deep red, to a red that looks black unless held under an extremely bright light.  Green garnet isn’t as often seen, but it’s energy is very soothing.  Rainbow garnet is a more rare variety, and very lovely.  Like most of the earth’s children, garnet comes in many more colors than are commonly displayed in typical jewelry stores.  Each is unique, powerful, and lovely, and should be remembered.
Happy New Year, and Happy Stoning!
Morticia, JekyllHydeClub
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If interested in garnets and metaphysical properties of gemstones, feel free to also check out our garnet video on youtube:

Greek Mythology/Self Help

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When thinking of Hephaestus, I always associate him, along with Hiemdall, with the rune Wynn/Wunjo. If like me, you extend your love of mythology from Greek to Norse mythology, you might enjoy my cursory introduction to the Nordic runes, the Elder Furthark.

Those Insightful Greeks/Self Help Mythology

Those Insightful Greeks
    The Greek mythology has many facets. It
entertains us with its picturesque details. It
inspires our poets and story tellers. It explains the
mysteries of the universe through the beautiful
stories. But most importantly, the Greek myths give us
an insight into our own nature. They teach us how to
act, and not to act, in order to be happy. The
following series of articles purports to analyze, from
an unconventional, and at times humorous, standing
point, several Greek ideas which are still relevant in
the modern times.
Breaking the Patterns
    Uranus, Zeus’ grandfather was a very bad parent.
He put his personal happiness above that of his family
and incarcerated all of his children in his body. He
was afraid to allow them any autonomy, so that he
wouldn’t be deposed from his lofty position of a
ruler.
    Chronos, which many sources mention as Zeus’
father, and Uranus’ offspring, became a tyrant in his
own right. He, who suffered from parental abuse and
should have known better, repeated the mistake of his
sire.  Worried about his continuing leadership he
chose to meticulously control his own children. He ate
all of his sons, and was planning to keep them inside
for all eternity.
    Zeus, a son of an abusive father, and a
grandchild of a tyrant, broke the chain. A few
unflattering comments can be made about his character,
but one thing was clear. Among the uncountable numbers
of children he had, he loved everyone. Not once has it
crossed his mind to limit their freedom out of fear
for his own leadership. Even though his male side of
the family trained him in the tradition of abuse, Zeus
found inside the courage to rise above the
circumstances. He judged his children according to
their behavior, rather than the perceived threat. His
relationship with the two godly children sufficiently
illustrates this assertion. The ruler of gods disliked
his son Ares for his militant character, and favored
his daughter Athena, even though she objectively posed
a greater threat to Zeus’ own dominion aided by her
unfathomable wisdom.
    From a numerological point of view then, Zeus’
primary number is 6. He in many ways represents the
ideal parent, who gives his children exactly what they
need, rather than what they want. Ares, the god of
aggressiveness, always demanded some kind of war from
his father. Most parents would be too worried to
refuse the requests of their beloved offspring. To
them, denial of the child’s desire might indicate
their failure in the parental duty. The case is
different for those who have a 6 in their number. They
wisely conclude that sometimes temperance is the best
method of education. Zeus came to this conclusion
during the Trojan War, when his blood thirsty son
required more and more casualties to satisfy his
enormous hunger for pain. The elder god knew that
total freedom would ruin Ares, encouraging him in the
unhealthy appetite until it was too late to turn back,
and so he refused his request. Even while concerned
about the tension between himself and Ares, the
greatest of gods still made the right choice, as the
‘6’ archetype of parent often does.
    In his actions, Zeus hence exemplifies the most
balanced approach to breaking the patterns. He went
away from the automatically negative attitude towards
his children, but he equally rejected the temptation
of overindulgence. Many a parent, raised in strict
families themselves, will compensate for it by extreme
lenience towards their children. Not so the master of
the gods. He escaped the tyranny in himself, and the
possible weakness. He didn’t have any role models
among the elder gods, and yet, managed to develop a
well rounded and utterly balanced personality.
    None of us, regular mortals, can ever hope to
match the divine entity with its numerous powers. But
his most significant, emotional strength is in our
hands. If we choose to use it. This is indeed the
crucial factor. While we yearn for the freedom of
choice and are willing to fight for it, we are often
afraid to make the really important choices, if they
differ from the familiar.
    The choice doesn’t have to imply any physical
action. It might be just an inward decision to change.
A simple resolution to act differently would do, if it
is likely to improve the situation. It is an
incredibly great feeling to believe that we can change
our own position. Why wouldn’t we do then just about
anything to bring an improvement?
    Possibly, because the deviation from the standard
is emotionally uncomfortable. That is the reason we
would rather perpetuate the bad habits and pass them
from generation to generation, than stop and
objectively consider them. In fact, many of us use our
upbringing as an excuse to keep making the mistakes.
We are only humans, so it is understandable, we claim
to our inner critic and to others. We are right too,
on both accounts. But wouldn’t it be better, in spite
of our mortality, to embrace the greatest power of an
immortal god, and change ourselves for the better?
After all, our greatest right is not provided on a
golden platter by our heavenly or earthly father, our
government, or the United Nations. It is the right to
be happy. We have this right from birth,
unconditionally, no matter who we are, and only we
ourselves can exercise that greatest of rights.
    In the long run, Zeus’ emotional discomfort at
getting away from the tradition was only momentary.
His happy relationship with his children lasted
forever and it was the direct result of his actions.
He made sure, all by himself, to satisfy the strongest
of his needs. His greatness, therefore, didn’t depend
on any supernatural, undeserved powers. Essentially,
he is as strong as we are, or as weak as we are, for
he represents the human ideal. And if he broke away
from the negative patterns, so can we.
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Our fascination with mythology inspired, in part, an extensive acquisition of mythological items, if interested, you could share our passion for mythology with the following mythological haul:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn3ueMyDFWA&t=558s

Thoughts on the “Old Nick” Reference

There have been many debates and contributions to the familiar reference to the Devil and I would like to add a few ideas of my own. As has been accurately pointed out, there might be an evolution of the description “old” when specifically related to the Devil. The Jewish description of the Devil as the Spirit of Adversity, that could have eventually turned into the familiar idea of Satan is useless here because depictions of age are notoriously absent from the relevant paragraphs in Job, dedicated to the grandeur of God more so than to his minion, “the Adversary.”

We have to refer to the Christian translation that first designated the Devil as the source of all Evil and described him based on the Eden associations as the “old serpent,” as has been stated on the quora site, the word used in Greek to describe the Devil as old, was archaious and my immediate association with  it was of “arche,” the principle of primordial matter, the essential element, used by the pre Socratic philosopher to account for the creation of the universe itself.

With that in mind,  is it not possible that the Devil could have been seen at times as an ancient entity in his own right, familiar with the first principles of Creation and participating himself in the process of Creation.

It is a small stretch of imagination but such figures have been known in mythology. Prometheus of course comes to mind, punished for his sins, ancient, a participant, according to some versions, in the construction of mankind, and a rebel to boot.

As far as the relation to the name Nicholas, a comparison to Santa Klaus comes to mind, especially when his dark assistant Black Peter is considered as the distributor of retribution.

Further, the reindeer have been compared to the goats of the god Thor, who is perceived by many scholars as the god of the people, which could correlate to the meaning of the name Nicholas itself, as “off the people.”

Interestingly enough, Thor, through his domain of lightning, could be partially related to fire, and is even portrayed with the red hair and beards in some myths, going back again to the idea of Prometheus who also had fiery connotations.

It might seem counter intuitive to some readers that the image of the Devil, much like the concept of Satan, can only be conjectured in its entirety, based on several disparate sources. At the same time, the idea of Aleister Crowley comes to mind, that the so called Black Brotherhood lacks cohesion.

I personally think that it makes perfect sense for the idea of the Devil to be composed of various elements. Taking into account that for many the Devil represents conflict and adversity, unity, when established and  successfully conceptualized, must be the purview of the other side.

If any of you reading this are wondering what the video embedded below has to do with the article, well, it features the Living Dead Dolls rendition of the Devil figure, Nickolas, that actually inspired this entire article.

 

Rumplestiltskin (1987) Review

The movie starts out on a good note, with the introduction of the charismatic figure of the little creature by the name of Rumplestiltskin. Loosely based on one of the several versions of a German fairy tale, the creature is shown true to his nature: mischievous, entertaining, powerful and yet abiding by the certain unbreakable laws of magic.

His human antagonists seem flat in comparison. The miller’s daughter is appropriately naive and beautiful but also somewhat dull. The prince is noble but I only get a sense of his personality through his relationship with the heroine, by himself he lacks depth.

The atmosphere of the movie is crafted well, the Gothic setting is reminiscent of the pastoral ideas within the German Romantic period, but the music fails to match the tone, its delivery is technically acceptable yet lacks the soul and comes off more childish than it should have. Fairy tales are not always for the faint hearted after all  and could be enjoyed by adults when done right.

The king is given a name in the movie and it resembles a certain well known Hungarian name, which seems like a nice enough touch, to establish the Geographic proximity to Germany perhaps.

The conclusion of the movie is very similar to the fairy tale itself, with but a slight alteration in the naming challenge which was amusing.

Overall, the movie definitely deserves a three star rating. The acting and the plot were both passable, with Rumplestiltskin himself favorably showcased and some scenes in it can be tentatively recommended to lovers of fairy tales.

 

Maleficent Movie Review

Well, only the laziest of studios have not explored the fairy tale gravy train recently, but this movie actually does a decent original retelling. The figure of Maleficent herself, her relationship with Disney’s traditional character, Princess Aurora, is delightfully unpredictable.

Beautiful special effects, gothic flair, delightful creatures and a well rounded titular character. I think Maleficent the movie delivered on the promise of Winter Wars that fell flat in comparison. I would recommend it to those who still appreciate a good fairy tale whether they are still young or at least remember being young:)

Tin Man Miniseries Review

It is never an easy feat to step into some big shoes, and few shoes are bigger than those of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Tin Man, a 2007 miniseries, manages the job fairly well.

Zooey Deschanel, best known for playing Jess in the New Girl, had both her good and her bad moments of playing the Dorothy equivalent, D.G. but overall, even the cliches did not detract from the overall pleasing impression.

The Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow, are all reimagined in creative ways, and the Wicked Witch of the West part was simply breathtaking. The producers wanted to have something evil and diabolical, and I think they managed it exquisitely well. This is not your kid friendly witch who can be even laughable with passage of time, she means business, and is very dark even by my gothically inclined standards.

An interesting family dynamics, inner journey, different, unusual but not too crazy settings,  with some visual effects thrown into the mix. I am only sorry the mini series ended so soon, four days after watching it, the unexpected twist is still very much on my mind, and that kind of an impact has to imply a great show, even it if was short lived. Currently available on Netflix and highly recommended for lovers of fantasy and horror alike.

 

 

Review of Alchemy Gothic Viennese Nights Bat

I honestly usually prefer raised/3D designs for my extensive bat collection so I wasn’t sure what drew me to this piece. I kept thinking about it once I saw it online, though so eventually bought it several months back and have not taken it off. It’s just beautiful and the design is unique. It is light weight, sturdy and comfortable to wear, all of which are very important to me. It is elegant so can be worn with dressy outfits or to dress up a casual one and give it that special touch of spook. I love the ribbon slide closure as it’s comfortable, durable, won’t break, and is very to adjust to any size wrist so you won’t have to worry that the bracelet will e too big and slide off a smaller wrist or too small and press into your arm too much simply because you can make it any size you want in a blink. The fancy looking design on the clasp is also a nice touch as many designers don’t worry much over how nice the clasp itself looks. I have done an even more extensive review of this on our youtube channel simply because it’s so unique and I highly recommend this bracelet.