October 06, 2022
How did the Dead become seductive? From the candy apple red lips of the Hallowen she-devil to the suave, charismatic vampire on the silver screen, the underworld houses a tale of intriguing taboo. If we look to the cosmos for an answer, we find it in the constellation of Scorpio which enthrones the body of our Solar Logos from October 23-November 21. Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day, The Day Of The Dead…these are all festivals born out of the illuminated depths of Scorpio Season between October 31-November 1st, when the days grow short and cold, harvest season is over, and death comes knocking at our door.
Maybe it waltzes in as an adolescent Grim Reaper with a plastic pumpkin full of candy, or maybe it’s the first frost which reminds us that we are all but dead without clothing, fire, and shelter to get us through the colder months. Whether or not we are connected to the changing seasons of the Earth, we share in our collective human memory the scarcity of Ice Age survival, and the magnification of our biological frailty in comparison to the macrocosmic forces of nature.
Samhain is a traditional Celtic Holiday now celebrated by Neopagans and Wiccans which marks the end of the harvest season, the beginning of Winter, and honors the Dead. The theme of death is found in nature at this time of year as trees lose their leaves, crops become barren, and animals retreat into caves, tunnels, and trees for shelter. Humans tend to spend more time inside, and this leaves time for inner reflection. Samhain is said to be a liminal or threshold festival when the veil between worlds is thin, and ancestors and other spirits are able to more easily contact and communicate with the living 3D world.
In Ireland there are Neolithic passage tombs which are lit by the sun on Samhain, and ancient burial mounds were once opened as portals to the Otherworld at this mysterious time of the year. Fast forward to the current era where we place foam gravestones in front yards, wear masks, prance through candlelit graveyards and watch scary movies. Through symbols, costume, and cinema we re-create the liminal passage tombs of ancient Ireland.
The origin of one of the preeminent liminal beings of the netherworld, the Vampire, can be found in the lore of the Emerald Isle as well. Most of us think of Romania and Vlad the Impaler when it comes to vampire origins, but the author of the 1897 novel, Dracula, was actually Irish, and had never even been to Transylvania. According to Stoker himself, he did not cull the name Dracula from Vlad Dracul, which alluded to his identity as a Knight of the Order of the Dragon or Drac. Stoker’s notes indicate that Dracula came from the study of Wallachian (old Romania) language; In Wallachian, Dracula means Devil and can refer to anyone who is known for courage, cruelty, or cunning. As far as the vampire story, there is an old Irish legend of a Celtic chieftain named Abhartach who was buried and then rose from the grave several times, until finally he was speared with a Yew and buried upside down under the direction of a wise druid. He never came back to life after this death ritual, and a dolmen still exists at his so-called burial site.
Stokers’ narrative raised the medieval Vampire legends of undead, problematic zombies to stylish, aristocratic, sexual predators. Written in Victorian England when ladies were meant to behave as proper prudent servants to the institution of marriage and chivalry. Sexual repression was at an all time high in this tightly corseted era, and a bloodthirsty foreigner like Dracula was the perfect villain to creep in and rip the laces off the illusion of tamed and proper sexual behavior.
Painting, Dracula, by Aruntzazu Martinez
Bela Lugosi and Carrol Borland in Mark of the Vampire c. 1935
It could be said that sex is the antithesis to death. It is after all the uniting of the polarized body parts of Yin (receptive) and Yang (creative) coming together as one to re-create another living being or thing depending on your harnessing of sexual energy and magick. If our bodies are the Earth, as they most certainly are made of Earth, that would designate the female sexual organs as the creative cauldron of the Underworld Womb where all life begins and ends…not in shadow, but in darkness. This water- bound void is the domain of Scorpio who’s star- bound hymns resound as a trance of desire through the entirety of each annual Season of the Witch.
The word Witch truly means “wise woman”, but has been fastened securely to a mask of the demonic feminine through thousands of years of oppressive patriarchal literature taking its origins from one Lilith in the original tale of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Most of us know Lilith as the first wife of Adam who refused to lay beneath Adam during sex, and consequently was exiled from the Garden. Various authors took hold of this tale thereafter and bent the independent rebel feminine into a blood lusting, sexual seducing, child-killing monstrosity. Independent feminine power and sexuality has been feared and villainized since our Western Creation Myth began.
Foggy Morning by Wini Minerd
We are beginning to understand through psychology and observation that the more you repress an aspect of your true nature, the more extreme and perverted the urge to express it becomes. This happens on individual and collective levels. The literary evolution of rebellious Lilith to demonic vampire can be traced to society's inability to integrate the strong independent woman into the patriarchal model of a male dominated society. The repressed nature of the independent sexual woman then found collective expression through the literary mask of a demon. The obvious sexual allegory in the Victorian Dracula tale of the undead immortal male sneakily biting into the neck of a feminine sleeping beauty alludes to a societal craving to merge the polarized experiences of sex or desire ie eros, and death in the form of a re-animated dead male vampire. In addition, this tale emphasizes patriarchal dominance in a time period that feminine sexuality was meant to be hidden, then activated exclusively by a male suitor.
The triple crossroad crux of these liminal tunnels of sex, death, and power are the Scorpion’s causeway of true understanding. Scorpio season urges us to peer into our own dark waters…to look at the skeletons, the taboo desires, the hidden motivations, and the liminal space between life and death. The tale of the vampire offers us the opportunity to merge the ever-present fear of death with the often-present desire of lust. When you read a story or watch a movie, you take your consciousness on a journey of new awareness. When you bring your magical awareness into the spectacle of the supernatural, you activate your own power to shift your reality through integration of what has been hidden. Maybe you find obscured in your own nature the vampire, or the sultry sleeping victim craving domination, or the independent feminine who turned her oppressor into the enemy, or the immortal soul which sleeps in your own mortal body.
How to integrate and utilize Scorpio awareness of sex/ death/ rebirth and taboo:
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