Myths, Images, Metaphors and Symbols

20 Sep 2011

Author: Angel Night

Pic. credit ~ Univ. of Nottingham & gizmodo.com

Greetings,

There are many labels and beliefs as to what best defines a vampire and how to describe the particular types. The definitions seem to change with the culture and are frequently under debate.

Just when I think I have figured out the correct words to describe vampirism, I come across new or re-vamped (pun intended*grins) ideas and/or definitions. I don’t believe it is a bad thing necessarily but, it can lead to quite a bit of confusion.

I decided to look up some of the more common words used that either explain the reason for vampirism or is used to label it.

Cain, Lilith, Aliens, Karmic, Cursed, Viruses, Therian, Demons, Mutants, Vampyre, Parasites, Other kin, Evolution, Nephilim, Nosferatu, Atlantean, Symbiote, Fey/Faerys, Psi/Psychic, Elementals, Ancient Man, Alien hybrids, Soul Suckers, Fallen Angels, The Old Gods, Ancient Aliens, Astral Entities, Hungry Spirits, Sumerian Gods, Damaged chakras, Succubus/Incubus, Sang/Sanguinarian, Ancient Egyptian Gods, Human Living Vampires.

The list goes on….. *grins*

Some of these labels will evoke different images and emotions for each of us.

The question is …..which one is correct? Will we ever truly understand or know the answer? Do we have to pick one to feel at peace or find meaning in our lives?

I tend to think most ideas have a bit of truth mixed in with personal theories and urban legends. Its just difficult to know which part is which at times. The one constant thread through all of this …is the burning need to understand and make sense of our world and ourselves.To define who or what we are helps us to better understand our own needs . It is natural to seek out others who have experienced similar feelings and challenges.

The internet changed so much of our ability to share information and bring us together. The inevitable birth of the O.V.C. (Online Vampire Community) as an offshoot of the growing V.C. (Vampire Community) .

On a side note.

I think of the V.C. as the natural connections we make with one another as a whole and that we are an extremely diverse group. The O.V.C is just part of the V.C but, is a natural response to technology and using the information highway to help us further connect with one another. I know some people identify it as a type of Vampire Authority for all Vamps but, I wanted to clarify on how I classify it’s role.  I do not see the O.V.C. as “The” voice, just one of the voices within the V.C. *smiles*

Back to my original train of thought. I know. Angel go off on a tangent? Never! *grins*

I feel that we are drawn to each other for different reasons.

Maybe, we see something of ourselves reflected in each other and it helps alleviate our feeling of being alone?

To find another person that understands and does not judge is another reason to seek out other vampires. (At least we hope there is no judgement but, sadly we may run into that at times.)

I believe, it is part of the human experience to seek knowledge and learn who we are and to understand why we feel the way we do.

For Psi and Sang vamps, it is the need, the drive for blood and/or energy that first gets our attention. Then we begin to look back and see that the symptoms were always there and try to make sense of it. Due to denial, ignorance,beliefs and lack of access to the internet, we may or may not know what it is or what it all means. All of these things play a role in our ability to understand our own nature and what makes us who we are today. It also, inspires us to seek out others with vampiric traits.

Even after we find others we can identify with, the inevitable questions then arise.

Why am I this way? Is it all in my head?

Could all of us be deluded ? Am I crazy? Are they?

I am happy to say that I truly do not think we are crazy. *grins*

But, it does seem to me, that these are all good questions. It shows that we are searching for the truth. That we are not blindly accepting something just because someone said so or because its what we want to believe.

Back to the meaning of words.*smiles*

Words are always evolving and changing.   What was once a positive word or meaning can sadly, become lost in confusion or become inexorably linked to an event or idea and forever be changed.

The swastika is a prime example.

Thanks to Hitler, we only relate the word and symbol to hatred and violence. Yet, the original symbol and its true meaning is just the opposite. The pentacle and pentegram are other examples of words or symbols “gone bad”.

Swastika – correct spelling is Svastika it is a Sanskrit word and there is no “w” in Sanskrit. This is a traditional symbol used today.  It means : “It is!”, “Life is good!”,  “There is meaning!”, “There is value!”

The history:

This solar symbol dates back to ancient times to about three thousand year ago and was used by many cultures.  Greece , Northern Europe and India. It is used today by modern Hindus to symbolize “Good luck”, “Good health” and “Prosperity.”

http://www.sanskrit.org/www/Hindu%20Primer/swastika.html

The pentacle (five pointed star within a circle) and pentagram ( five pointed star without the circle) :

This symbol dates back to 3500 BC but, some scholars believe it is even older. Here are just a few of the original meanings:

This star symbol represents protection and the elements.  Earth, air, fire, water and spirit.

It was worn by Christians to represent the five wounds on Christ.( I love that.*grins*)

In medieval times it was used as a protection symbol and called the endless knot and was the symbol for truth.

It was used on a knights shield to show the five virtues:

Generosity,  Courtesy,  Chastity, Chivalry and Piety.

The sign of Freemasonry and the Master of the Lodge.

The Rosicrucian use it as a symbol to represent Humanity Reborn.

The Ancient Egyptians and the Celts both used it to signify creation. Most likely why, so many tombs have stars carved or painted within them.

Modern Wiccans use the star within a circle to denote the five elements.

This symbol did not become a negative symbol until much later.

These more negative aspects came out during the 17th and 18th centuries when occult and esoteric teachings became a popular focus. Hollywood then took over and did the rest.  Reference for this info: Please, see link for more on the pentacle/pentagram. http://paganandproudofit.com/The-Pentagram-its-real-history.html

If we just use these two examples of how an original definition or symbol can become something very different. Its easy to do the same with an emotionally charged or misunderstood idea or view.

Political and religious power struggles also, play a big part in the downfall of symbols and words.

A favorite tactic used over the centuries is when an image or idea is demonized in order to control a specific behavior and belief.

Pagan holidays are a good example of not only demonizing but, of hijacking an original belief in order to draw in the followers of these traditions.

The hijacked holiday or belief is twisted or changed just enough for the original meanings to be lost and the groups wanting to control the people then claim it as their own.  As though the Holiday was always, theirs.

Then they use religion as a way to wreak havoc and pain and then have the audacity to point to the evil pagans or witches as the ones to hate.  Such hypocrisy …uggh.

Sorry, I get a bit annoyed by that sort of behavior. * I step down from my soap-box and nudge it away with my foot. Grins*

Back to my original point.*smiles*

The word Vampire…even with all its baggage ….is the one word that seems to best describe our condition and has been widely accepted within the Vampire Community.

The word has many cultural and mythical meanings:

In modern times it has widely been accepted as a blood thirsty undead

immortal that sleeps during the day and can only come out at night.  The vampires only weaknesses being sunlight and a wooden stake through the heart.*ouch!*

Thanks to movies and series like Twilight, Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Diaries, HBO’s True Blood, Cirque Du freak (funny, yet still a contributor) ,Blood Ties, Moonlight and Forever Knight….there has been a new and evolving view regarding vampires. Whether we fully agree with these portrayals or not, they have helped to create a more positive view of the concept. The image of pure evil and hunger has been replaced with a more human and moralistic vampire. It has nurtured a compassionate view of vampirism and a more open minded approach for all of us.

More people are discovering the OVC everyday and in time I believe, it will lead to more donors and support for all of us and less of a knee-jerk response that we are  evil or deluded.  There is both good and evil in any group or culture, we are no different.  We are many faiths and creeds and have as many traditions and cultural influences as well. I see that as a positive influence. It allows us to create powerful voice that represents more than one specific person or culture.

Back to the meaning of the word:

Another modern and popular  term is “Real Vampire”.  This is one that is used to mark the difference between the Hollywood Vampire and a person who needs energy or blood to function and stay healthy.

Someone, claiming to be a real vampire is not claiming to live forever or live on blood or energy alone. We eat, get sick , age and die.

We can go out in the sun without bursting into flames. (unless your me..  after just a short while I personally feel as though I’m on fire.  I burn easily and will look like lobster girl in no time at all. I am extremely fair skinned.)*grins*

I then began wondering as to the origin of the word vampire and its history?

Here is what I found or should I say…did not find. *grins*

There are a lot of sources that touch on this subject but,very few that agree on it. I found a plethora of theories and opinions but,  not any one person or source that can claim ,with absolute certainty , as to the origin of the word or its meanings.

I went round and round on the internet hoping to somehow surf my way to the Holy Grail of discoveries and sadly, never did. I know there are many facts on this topic, but to wade through them all seemed a bit daunting. I will leave that undertaking to people more driven than myself.*grins*

Each culture has its own version of spirits/undead humans and beings preying on the living. Usually for some sort of sustenance or to exact revenge. The common theme is the harvesting of energy/life force, blood and other bodily fluids.  It was quite fascinating to read the varied beliefs around the world. (That may be a whole other article.*smiles*)

With that being said, I have come to the conclusion that maybe, this is a good thing. It leaves us a bit of freedom in deciding how to define not only the word but, ourselves as well. Maybe, one day we will more or less agree on a definition and possibly have learned the cause as to why we are this way. Until then we may as well have fun figuring it out.*smiles*

I think our biggest challenge is to break away from the stereotypes and the Hollywood myths.  The other is to be aware that each of us can only define our own vampirism in the way we understand it.

That what I call myself may, be very different from what another may call themselves and thats ok.

As long as we keep the communication channels open and treat one another with respect and a willingness to see from another persons point of view, then I truly believe we will all benefit.

The OVC as a whole can continue to evolve and be a support for those in need. Even if we don’t always agree with each other we can still lend support to one another. It can help foster a more positive image and maybe, we will find others willing to share our journey.

A lot of us feel we have to travel alone through life and feel the need to step back from society and become observers. We sometimes, miss the opportunities and chance meetings that arise due to trying so hard to protect ourselves and keep our secrets.

To find others that can understand and are able and willing to walk along side us is truly a wonderful thing. We just have to be open to the idea and take the proverbial leap of faith.

I like to think that we all want the same things in life.  Happiness, peace , friends and family.  These are  just a few of the things that come to mind. ( I did not want to be too sappy. *smiles*)  So, if we are all on a similar journey and  want the same things then it seems logical to support one another and create a safe haven for discussion and sharing. Its not always easy but, well worth it in the long run.

Trust is earned but, it also starts with vulnerability .  *smiles*

Enjoy your journey.

Angel

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