Why Vampires? Why Now?


When an archetype of which we’ve been unaware makes its way into collective consciousness its shadow often emerges first. The more strongly it’s been repressed the more negatively its shadow will express itself. The Androgyne is no exception.  If the healthy Androgyne gives equal respect to the masculine and feminine drives which are the psyche’s two basic forms of life-energy,  the unhealthy Androgyne disowns one or both.

Imagine a man who obsesses over his masculine side and completely represses his feminine side. In his outer life this shows up in rigid role stereotypes and extreme, sometimes violent, prejudice against women. Patriarchal societies still provide plenty of examples of this kind of one-sidedness.

An apt image of the shadow Androgyne entered collective consciousness in the early 18th century with the introduction of the vampire. In those days vampires were almost always macho males who victimized females, but now they have markedly androgynous characteristics. Why? Because we are becoming more aware of the Androgyne archetype and realizing that if healthy Androgynes honor both drives, shadow Androgynes — vampires — kill both.

Life is generated by the interaction between opposites. Without tension between the north and south poles there would be no electromagnetic field and life would not exist on Earth. Likewise, tension between pairs of psychological opposites creates our psyche’s life-energy. If we cannot tolerate this tension and if we take extreme measures to escape it, the result can be addictions which sap our life-energy. Then we are like the living dead, lethargically sucking the energy out of those who love us with deceit, blame, and irresponsible behavior.

During the day vampires sleep in coffins because sunlight will kill them. People with severely repressed life-energy are the same. Failure to develop one or both drives destroys our creativity and hope of enlightenment. Repression leads to depression. In the dark nights of our souls we function as though dead, unable to experience the sunny warmth of meaningful work or the pleasure of living, loving, being.

And a final example: In the novels of Anne Rice the flesh of vampires becomes harder and colder over time. Interestingly, Dr. Alexander Lowen, founder of bioenergetics, says in The Spirituality of the Body that stiffness and rigidity characterize the bodies of people who lack psychological integration.

Why are we so obsessed with vampires? Because our souls know the Androgyne archetype is re-awakening but our egos are having a very tough time accepting it. Why are we experiencing an epidemic of lethargy, depression, hopelessness and meaninglessness? Because our resistance to our inner opposites is wearing us down. Where’s the societal polarization, religious fanaticism, and political mean-spiritedness coming from? Society’s ignorance of its shadow and unconscious need to project it onto others.

Why can’t we get enough of vampires? Because focusing on their flaws takes the heat off us. Because we hope that if we can understand them, maybe we can understand ourselves.

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0 Responses

  1. I’m glad to see that you’re keeping this exploration of the Androgyne Archetype going, as it does seem so relevant to what we are facing in society today. I’m not persuaded that I must run out and see a vampire movie in the immediate future, but every time I watch Fox News I’ll endeavor to do so from a compassionate perspective, recognizing that what I project onto them is also within me. (;-) It’s a hard pill to swallow, but swallow it we must if we will return the United States to a civil society.

    1. Hi Skip, I’m with you 100%. We’ve got to start acknowledging the monsters within. It is, indeed, a very tough pill to swallow, but it’s something the most intrepid and morally scrupulous among us will do because they care, and because it’s the right thing.
      Thanks again for being my guest blogger last time. It was a great post!
      My best,

    1. Thank you, Viv.
      I must be one of the few people who have never read a Twilight book (there are books aren’t there?) or viewed an episode (it’s a TV show, right?) of Twilight. I know: what planet do I live on! I did enjoy the Anne Rice books and movies a while back, but somehow I just haven’t revisited the newest iteration of this fascinating topic. Too busy writing, I think. I guess I should check it out!
      My best,

      1. Hahahaha…
        Yes, they are technically books. I read the first one out of a desire to understand the phenomenon and because I’d enjoyed Ann Rice. I found myself rapidly bogged down in bad prose and worse role models. The films (not a tv show) have not drawn me at all. There is controversy because the hidden agenda of the novels is violently anti-feminist, among other issues.
        Now Buffy the vampire slayer I did love…
        Go onto you tube sometime and look for Buffy versus Edward; there’s an extremely clever mash up of the two!!

  2. I love your analysis of the book version — “bogged down in bad prose and worse role models!” I’m glad to have dodged that pit.
    It doesn’t surprise me that the hidden agenda is violently anti-feminist. What else is new? Patriarchy’s shadow — the vampire — is ramped up to the max in a last-ditch effort to maintain an outdated self-image and God-image that is destroying us all. I just received a few tweets from a follower who told me that some of the things she finds attractive about the Twilight series are that vampires are above the law, invulnerable, immortal, and have all the time in the world to learn. Her honesty is very refreshing and I totally understand. Of course, we’re fascinated with vampires! Every ego would love to have these qualities, wouldn’t it? But what does this say about patriarchy’s shadow? That we want to be gods with absolute power and control over everything that frightens and threatens us, and that this need is so powerful that we prefer to ignore the destruction we leave in our wake.
    We need a wake-up call, and actually I think we’re in the middle of one. It’ll be interesting to see how many stay awake and how many just fall back to sleep and what the results of all this chaos will be.
    I really appreciate your thought-provoking comments and look forward to checking out Buffy versus Edward.

    1. I confess to being a True Blood watcher, because the vampires in that are real vampires and have agendas and plots. It’s much more adult a series.
      I followed the Ann Rice series and particularly enjoyed Queen of the Damned for it’s take on feminism.
      I did upset(very slightly) one FB friend I met via Twitter by saying I wasn’t in to vampires, but I do find the psychology more interesting that both books and films.
      I wrote a vampire poem a few years back you may enjoy: The Vampire
      I’m a vampire, you know.
      No tricks with blood:
      That’s so outdated.
      Have you ever sat down
      Suddenly ambushed
      By exhaustion in a mall?
      That was me,
      Siphoning off your energy.
      I eat garlic daily:
      It’s good for the heart.
      I even wear a cross
      And walk around in daylight.
      Your best defence?
      Knowing I am here.
      I can see you now,
      Glancing round uneasily.
      I’d wave, but-
      You might spill your drink.
      What a waste.
      You’re not in any danger.
      I just wanted you to know-
      I’m watching you.

      1. I love it! “Your best defence? Knowing I am here.” Absolutely right on. When we see the vampire in ourselves we don’t unleash it in the world and it can’t come back to bite us!
        Thanks for sharing this very apt poem. I appreciate your comments.

  3. No, Jean, there are two of us. I have never read any of the Twilight books or seen the movies. Friends have raved about the series but when I see the trailers on tv and look at the actors’ faces, there’s nothing that draws me to these stories. However, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was different; I loved the film and could feel its mystique hovering for several days.
    Another way the Vampire archetype speaks to me is that there are both conscious and unconscious energies in my life that suck the life blood out of my very being. Technology via the computer and cellphone are biggies. When it’s hard to pull myself away from the computer, it feels very much like an addiction. Needy friends; senseless activities can also feel very vampire-like leaving me tired and drained.
    It’s easier to love vampires on the big screen than to make them conscious in your own life.

    1. Hooray! It’s lovely to know I’m not alone on my little planet.
      Your examples of how the vampire manifests in our lives are perfect! I think the vampire is at the bottom of every addiction and every energy drain. While there can, of course, be physical reasons for these things that can be eased by physical remedies, we would make rapid progress if we addressed the psychological causes.
      Making our own vampires conscious is, indeed, the hardest thing. Often we don’t even notice our energy draining away until it’s too late. Then when we finally notice what’s happening it can take some deep digging to find the psychological reason. It helps to ask myself things like, “What am I doing right now that is causing this ennui?” Sometimes it’s not things from outside myself, but negative inner talk coming from my vampire. I also ask myself, “What is it about this thing that is taking away my energy?” or “What is it about me that finds this so draining?” and “Why do I keep doing it if I really don’t enjoy it?” It’s all about asking the right questions.
      Thanks so much for adding your observations to this discussion!
      My best,

      1. “Sometimes it’s not things from outside myself, but negative inner talk coming from my vampire.” Thank you for that awareness. I hadn’t thought about the inner voice that is so quick to criticize and blame but certainly recognize it as a part of my inner dialogue.

        1. I’m glad that spoke to you. Negative self-talk saps my energy more than anything else. Learning to recognize it has been life-changing.
          My best, Jeanie

  4. I came back to ask: What can we do to speed up the process of moving this into the collective consciousness? I loved the comment that mentioned *above the law, invulnerable, immortal, and all the time in the world,” because that is what I feel has happened to me as a member of the Middle Class. The vampire class has finally sucked so much blood out of society that a very few, who still have some blood, are fighting back. I pray in time to stop the infestation of vampires.
    Sometimes I do, too, feel that the computer is “screen sucking” me so much that it too is a vampire. But then I remember that I’m one of the ones that still has some “blood”. The blood I have is not in the form of greenbacks, which are all gone, but rather in the form of assets harder for the vampires to attack and attach–the grey matter between my ears and a wealth of experiences reposing there. The computer is only one of my weapons to fight back, like the silver cross from the stories of yore.
    Circling back to the question: How do we spread this information more quickly? It’s going to take a long time–perhaps too long–if we only rely on blogs and books. And there are so few of us who get these metaphors and their significance to the overall wellbeing of our society.

    1. I don’t really have an answer for you, Skip. Books, blogs, tweets, Facebook are all spreading healing words around the world far faster than ever before in human history. But the thing is, hearing the kinds of things we’re saying doesn’t necessarily create change in human nature, and that’s what has to change. Most people resist looking within and changing habitual ways until they are forced to by some sort of crisis. There have been plenty of crises in our world in the last few years, and these are causing people to re-evaluate and look within. This is when the kind of information we are sharing will prove to be most helpful. So all I know to do is keep writing about the things I know about so it’ll be out there when someone wants it.
      Thanks for your always thought-provoking questions!

      1. Skip, I do have one more answer to your question above. I’ve been saying it here all along but it bears repeating. The single fastest and most effective way to create social change is for each individual to do the necessary inner work — psychological introspection, journaling, analysis, dream work (I’ve provided many examples in past posts) — to acquire enough self-knowledge, humility and compassion to become morally responsible.
        Laws and rules do not change human nature; they just create enough social pressure to temporarily rein in the most destructive of our instincts, that is until our shadows break out again and create another war. We cannot change the insides of other people, but we CAN change ourselves. Every individual can make a difference in his or her own life and the ripple effect will take over until a critical mass is reached and collective consciousness is changed.
        The evolution of the human psyche has been a very long and slow process over the last several thousand years, but there is no doubt we have better control over ourselves than did our most primitive forebears. There is also no doubt that individual and social change are escalating at a dramatic pace in the electronic age. For example, the rate of violent crimes in America has been decreasing for some time now.
        There really is hope. We’re just waiting for that hundredth monkey to tip the scales into a kinder, more peaceful future.
        My best,

  5. Thanks! It’s so nice to be meeting more of my like-minded monkey friends here! Maybe one of us will turn out to be the 100th!
    My best to you,

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