Sometimes love and happiness are so close to us but we intentionally have our eyes closed and we keep them away. Oh, how great everything would be if you just opened your eyes, if you stopped being blind, if you let me show you the way... You say that you want to be loved, why don't you just open your soul? Stop searching for endless chimeras, love is in the air you breathe when you are close to me...
What are we but lonely souls keep searching for a port? What are we but lonely planets trying to find an orbit?
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Sometimes love and happiness are so close to us but we intentionally have our eyes closed and we keep them away. Oh, how great everything would be if you just opened your eyes, if you stopped being blind, if you let me show you the way... You say that you want to be loved, why don't you just open your soul? Stop searching for endless chimeras, love is in the air you breathe when you are close to me...
Friday, June 29, 2007
"There are things you should know
The distance between us seems to grow
But you're holding on strong
Oh how hard it is to let go, oh so hard to let go"
There are things that we wish we could have said, but we cannot; things that are destined to remain unsaid; things that we will take into our grave or at least we try to. But how strong do we need to be as not to express them? How easy is this? How painful it can be?
And I wonder how honest is this? For how long can we pretend being something that we are not. Sometimes it seems that we have no other choice 'cause if we show our true self everything will collapse. And this is a great dilemma. Losing what you love the most or hurting every day being someone else?
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Marc Berry: Susan walked down the quiet avenue, wisps of fog swirling around her feet. No stranger to the lonely street, she was accustomed to its twists and turns as she shook off the stresses of her hectic work day. What she could not shake off so easily was the unaccustomed sense that she was not alone. Perhaps it was something in the way the mist seemed to cling to her feet, or the damp chill that so easily penetrated the light coat she wore. Or perhaps she really wasn't alone after all. The stranger stood, unmoving, in the middle of the street just ahead of Susan, the fog coiling around him like a lover's seduction. Where he had come from, why she hadn't seen him before, were questions that Susan couldn't think to ask, as she stared at the nightmare vision before her. His clothes, so black that they seemed to be more of an absence of light than a colour, made it appear as though his his head rode a wave of moonless night. His skin was as pale and cold as the mists that swirled around him, his face a mask of chilled beauty that was hypnotic in its inhumanity.
Vampire: the word conjures up visions of pale monsters who walk in the guise of man, endlessly searching for their next victim. In the modern incarnation, the vampire is one who drains away a person's vitality and life force, leaving his victim listless, tired, and drained of energy. We refer to them as psychic vampires, but they are no less frightening as the blood suckers of legend. But are all psychic vampires as evil as we want to believe?
There are a great variety of psychic vampires, but they all share one thing in common: a need for life force. For some reason they are unable to produce or maintain sufficient levels of this energy to sustain themselves. Some are aware of their condition, others are not, but they all need to replenish their energy from exterior sources. Energy sources range from the environment, to living creatures, to specific emotions such as fear or love.
There are deliberate vampires, who, in order to increase their lifespan, and maintain a healthy quality of life, have deliberately cultivated the ability to steal life force from others. These predators most closely resemble the monsters that we think them to be, and are to be avoided wherever possible. There are unintentional vampires, who are not consciously aware of their need. They manifest as parasitic individuals, drama queens, and the like, who's draining effects are generally mild unless one is exposed to them for an extended period of time.
There also exists in our society a third category of vampire: the self acknowledged vampire. These people know that they have a deficiency in their energy body that needs to be regularly replenished. While some of them adopt a "goth" lifestyle, complete with hair, makeup, and clothing, many of them are normal people with normal lives. They are construction workers and secretaries, brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers. They are you and me.
Most of them follow a code of ethics that precludes predatory feeding, preferring to find a donor instead of a victim. If they do not reveal themselves to you, you might never know who or what they are. Many belong to a vampire organization, called a house, though some prefer not to affiliate themselves with any particular group. If it were not for the vampire aspect of their lives, they would be indistinguishable from everybody else.
What makes them need life force? Why do they have a deficiency in their energy systems? It could be similar to models of weight loss and gain. There are some individuals who are thin, and are healthy that way. Then there are other individuals who are skinny and not healthy that way; they require supplements to balance their system and so raise their weight up to healthy levels. So it might also be with energy feeders: some may be perfectly healthy operating on less energy, while the same lessened energy levels in an other would be insufficient to maintain their lives. That situation could be an indicator that the individuals are missing a frequency set that they either cannot retain or manufacture. These individuals could be made healthy by replacing the frequency or harmonic set from external sources, which is where the energetic individuals would come in. Those who are healthy have, or can create, the energies they need for life, whether those needs be great or small.
I wonder if the psychic vampire are not a precursor to man's next evolutionary phase? Consider this: in our society we have psychic vampires, and we have people diagnosed as hyperactive, one of the key symptoms of which is an uncontrolled overabundance of energy. What if the latter could function as an energy source for the former? What if, through subsequent development, the "vampire" could, in addition to feeding, take a group's excess energy, and direct it toward a useful end, rather like the components of a flashlight? The group would provide the power, and the vampire would direct the energy to produce light?
It is widely held belief that mankind is moving toward a more enlightened age, one of spiritual awareness, and psychic ability. Many vampires believe that they have inherent psychic abilities, and indeed is a requirement for energetic feeding. Perhaps these abilities are an extension of an overall ability to harness life energy, and direct it to the betterment of mankind.
It is clear that we, as a species, are moving on in our overall development. We are developing a world consciousness, an awareness that we are all connected. An increasing number of people are manifesting abilities once relegated to the realm of the mystic. In the larger group, everybody has a role to play. Perhaps some are energy sources, and others are directors of that energy, while still others are healers and builders, with each individual helping to maintain the overall organism that is man.
Whatever you choose to believe, believe this: there are vampires in your life. Right now, and possibly closer than you think. While some are predatory or parasitic in nature, there are many more who are just trying to live. When I have a deficiency in my systems, I seek to correct it, just as they do. The majority of them are not out to harm you. They just want to live a good life, the same as you and I.
MBerry is co-founder of NewBranes.com, a blog covering all aspects of the paranormal.
His ultimate long term goal is to discover the General Unified Theory of Everything Weird.
Article Copyright© Marc Berry
Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, and uses the city in many of her novels. Her mother died when she was young, and her first child died at the age of five from leukemia in 1972. She has another child with her husband Stan, of 34 years. Her husband Stan was poet and painter and died in 2002. Some of his work can be found in Queen of the Damned. Anne has a Master of Arts in creative writing from San Francisco State University. Interview with the Vampire was her first novel, published in 1976.
In an interview with Larry King after the release of Memnoch the Devil, Rice explained her fascination with vampires. She said that the vampires were a vehicle for her to explore her own views on life, good, evil, and religion. The vampires are a natural metaphor for people because of their affluence, powers, and greed. Lestat, the main vampire in the chronicles, is described as Rice's bad-self, questioning the boundaries of good and evil, and helping her to overcome her anxiety. When she first began the series she compared herself to Louis, a weak and overly sensitive vampire, but as time passed and the series grew she saw some changes in her own feelings and came to relate with the character of Lestat.
Lestat . . . it's hard to describe Lestat. Lestat, in a way, is my whole life, because even when I'm not writing about Lestat, I'm looking at the world through Lestat's eyes, and it's Lestat who has made me a world traveler. Lestat who's transported me out of myself, and my preoccupation with my limitations, both physical and spiritual. Lestat is more than just a created character to me. He is a symbol of some kind of freedom and dominance, and yet I never kid myself about his evil. He represents the ruthless side in us, but he's part of my thoughts night and day. And, part of my conversation night and day, I suppose. Almost everything I see, I ask myself "What would Lestat think of this . . . how would Lestat react to this," so I would say that he is the other half of me, but he is the male ruthless half of me that, thank God, does not exist, except in fiction.
Anne Rice's vampires have created a cult following. The wide variety of web sites and information available about these characters is a good indication of their popularity. People are looking for something to follow, someone to admire, and many have associated these feelings with the vampire Lestat. He offers a way for people to explore deep questions and to live on the edge of life, without actually taking the risk themselves. Lestat experiences many things that mortals have experienced and he continues to live on. It gives us all hope that we will one day reach a place of contented bliss, even though Lestat never reaches it himself. Many people are fascinated with the idea of immortality. Often people say they would like to live forever, but it is also comforting to know that it will never happen. I think this is also a way of exploring our own beliefs about death and the afterlife.
Rice's style is appealing because it is easy to read and very descriptive. The images appear in your mind as you read. The simplicity combined with the sometimes complex emotions creates a book for the masses that is easily adapted into a cult following. Rice offers answers to reader's questions at one of her web sites. These give some insight into her own views on why the books have gained so much popularity.
"Why do you think that your fans are so attracted to the concept of tormented immortality?"
-- Frank Joseph D. from California
"Well, I think we all want to be immortal. We all want to be immortal, yet we're all relieved that there is the possibility of death...that suffering would not be eternal. We can conceive of the eternal, but we really don't have to put up with it, and it's an idea...an idea planted in our minds with consciousness, and we don't know what to make of it all. We don't know what to make of the fact that we can conceive of being immortal, and yet we're not immortal."
"The thing that I find more often than not, is that there is a part of almost all those characters in us, either at previous stages of our lives, or right now, and that would be to me the explanation as to why so many people, from so many different backgrounds, have taken THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, and given these vampires a special place in their hearts."
-- Luke C. from Australia
"Well, I really treasure your comment. I think that if any literature or any story telling is going to have value, what you say has to be true the characters have to have hearts of human beings in them, they have to have deeply human traits. The author has to be telling everything that he or she knows about human beings, and so there must be levels and levels of truth, and I hope my books live up to that."
"Why does everyone connect so much with Lestat? Why do I catch myself still thinking about him, over a year after I read the books?"Rice answered:
-- Beary L. from Ontario
"I wish I knew. I know I, myself, identify completely with Lestat. I can say Lestat is my other self, he's my male self. He and I travel together. He does the things I wish I could do, but can't. I love the fact that people identify with him. I worked very hard, and at the same time, it was a great joy to get a very intimate voice in the Lestat books. Lestat really sounds like he's sitting at the table, talking to you, because that's the way I feel about him when I'm writing--that he's right there, telling me the story, leaning over my shoulder, telling me to get it right, pointing out things I should change, breathing down my neck, doing everything but biting me! Which he wouldn't dare!"source: http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/rice.bio.html
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Bram Stoker (1847-1912) is best known as the author of Dracula (1897), one of the most famous horror novels of all time.
Abraham Stoker was born in Clontarf, Ireland in 1847. He was a sickly child, bedridden for much of his boyhood. As a student at Trinity College, however, he excelled in athletics as well as academics, and graduated with honors in mathematics in 1870. He worked for ten years in the Irish Civil Service, and during this time contributed drama criticism to the Dublin Mail. His glowing reviews of Henry Irving's performances encouraged the actor to seek him out. The two became friends, and in 1879 Stoker became Irving's manager. He also performed managerial, secretarial, and even directorial duties at London's Lyceum Theatre. Despite an active personal and professional life, he began writing and publishing novels, beginning with The Snake's Pass in 1890. Dracula appeared in 1897. Following Irving's death in 1905, Stoker was associated with the literary staff of the London Telegraph and wrote several more works of fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). He died in 1912.
Although most of Stoker's novels were favorably reviewed when they appeared, they are dated by their stereotyped characters and romanticized Gothic plots, and are rarely read today. Even the earliest reviews frequently decry the stiff characterization and tendency to melodrama that flaw Stoker's writing. Critics have universally praised, however, his beautifully precise place descriptions. Stoker's short stories, while sharing the faults of his novels, have fared better with modern readers. Anthologists frequently include Stoker's stories in collections of horror fiction. "Dracula's Guest," originally intended as a prefatory chapter to Dracula, is one of the best known.
Dracula is generally regarded as the culmination of the Gothic vampire story, preceded earlier in the nineteenth century by Dr. William Polidori's "The Vampyre," Thomas Prest's Varney the Vampyre, J. S. Le Fanu's Carmilla, and Guy de Maupassant's "Le Horla." A large part of the novel's initial success was due, however, not to its Gothicism but to the fact, noted by Daniel Farson, that "to the Victorian reader it must have seemed daringly modern." An early reviewer of Dracula in the Spectator commented that "the up-to-dateness of the book--the phonograph diaries, typewriters, and so on--hardly fits in with the mediaeval methods which ultimately secure the victory for Count Dracula's foes." Stoker utilized the epistolary style of narrative that was characteristic of Samuel Richardson and Tobias Smollett in the eighteenth century, and that Wilkie Collins further refined in the nineteenth. The narrative, comprising journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings, a ship's log, and phonograph recordings, allowed Stoker to contrast his characters' actions with their own explications of their acts.
Some early critics noted the "unnecessary number of hideous incidents" which could "shock and disgust" readers of Dracula. One critic even advised keeping the novel away from children and nervous adults. Initially, Dracula was interpreted as a straightforward horror novel. Dorothy Scarborough indicated the direction of future criticism in 1916 when she wrote that "Bram Stoker furnished us with several interesting specimens of supernatural life always tangled with other uncanny motives." In 1931 Ernest Jones, in his On the Nightmare, drew attention to the theory that these "other uncanny motives" involve repressed sexuality. Critics have since tended to view Dracula from a Freudian psychosexual standpoint; however, the novel has also been interpreted from folkloric, political, feminist, medical, and religious points of view.
Today the name of Dracula is familiar to many people who may be wholly unaware of Stoker's identity, though the popularly held image of the vampire bears little resemblance to the demonic being that Stoker depicted. Adaptations of Dracula in plays and films have taken enormous liberties with Stoker's characterization. A resurgence of interest in traditional folklore has revealed that Stoker himself did not conform to established vampire legend. Yet Dracula has had tremendous impact on readers since its publication. Whether Stoker evoked a universal fear, or as some modern critics would have it, gave form to a universal fantasy, he created a powerful and lasting image that has become a part of popular culture.
Stories and novels appear just now in plenty stamped with a more or less genuine air of belief in the visibility of supernatural agency. The strengthening of a bygone faith in the fantastic and magical view of things in lieu of the purely material is a feature of the hour, a reaction--artificial, perhaps, rather than natural--against late tendencies in thought. Mr. Stoker is the purveyor of so many strange wares that Dracula reads like a determined effort to go, as were, "one better" than others in the same field. How far the author is himself a believer in the phenomena described is not for the reviewer to say. He can but attempt to gauge how far the general faith in witches, warlocks, and vampires--supposing it to exist in any general and appreciable measure--is likely to be stimulated by this story. The vampire idea is very ancient indeed, and there are in nature, no doubt, mysterious powers to account for the vague belief in such beings. Mr. Stoker's way of presenting his matter, and still more the matter itself, are of too direct and uncompromising a kind. They lack the essential note of awful remoteness and at the same time subtle affinity that separates while it links our humanity with unknown beings and possibilities hovering on the confines of the known world. Dracula is highly sensational, but it is wanting in the constructive art as well as in the higher literary sense. It reads at times like a mere series of grotesquely incredible events; but there are better moments that show more power, though even these are never productive of the tremor such subjects evoke under the hand of a master. An immense amount of energy, a certain degree of imaginative faculty, and many ingenious and gruesome details are there. At times Mr. Stoker almost succeeds in creating the sense of possibility in impossibility; at others he merely commands an array of crude statements of incredible actions. The early part goes best, for it promises to unfold the roots of mystery and fear lying deep in human nature; but the want of skill and fancy grows more and more conspicuous. The people who band themselves together to run the vampire to earth have no real individuality or being. The German man of science is particularly poor, and indulges, like a German, in much weak sentiment. Still Mr. Stoker has got together a number of "horrid details," and his object, assuming it to be ghastliness, is fairly well fulfilled. Isolated scenes and touches are probably quite uncanny enough to please those for whom they are designed.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Skeletal Death, black robes or armor, sometimes with a scythe or a flag featuring a white rose on a desolate black field. There is often a rising sun. Sometimes there are other figures in the field. The most common, reoccurring figure on Death cards is a child.
Basic Tarot Story
Having left the tree from where he hung, the Fool moves carefully through an fallow field, head still clearing from visions. The air is cold and wintery, the trees bare. Before him, he sees, rising with the sun, a skeleton in black armor mounted on a white horse. He recognizes it as Death. As it stops before him, he humbly asks, "Have I died?" He feels, in fact, rather empty and desolate. And the Skeleton answers, "Yes, in a way. You sacrificed your old world, your old self. Both are gone, dead." The Fool reflects on that, "How sad." Death acknowledges this with a nod. "Yes, but it is the only way to be reborn. A new Sun is rising, and it is, for you, a time of great transformation." As Death rides away, the Fool can feel the truth in those words. He, too, feels like a skeleton, all that he was stripped away. This, he understands, is how all great transformations start, by stripping things to the bone, and building fresh upon the bare foundations.
Basic Tarot Meaning
Yes, the Death card can signal a death in the right circumstances (a question about a very sick or old relative, for example), but unlike its dramatic presentation in the movies, the Death card is far more likely to signal transformation, passage, change. Scorpio, the sign of this card, has three forms: scorpion, serpent, eagle. The Death card indicates this transition from lower to higher to highest. This is a card of humility, and it may indicate the Querent as being brought low, but only so that they can then go higher than they ever have before. Wang notes that Death "humbles" all, but it also "exults." Always keep in mind that on this card of darkness there is featured a sunrise as well .
The connection of sex and death in Scorpio (the sign stands for both) is a strong indication of what this card is all about. We westerners see "Death" as a frightening card because we often see Death as an end, and we hate for things to come to an end. However, in other traditions, Death is just a natural and important, if sad part of an on-going cycle. In a karmic sense, you die so that you may be reborn. Winter comes so that there can be a spring, and we can only appreciate what we have when we know that there is loss. The Death card signals such things. This is a time of change. Time for something to end; but time also for something new to begin. The Querent may honestly be told that they may feel sad or empty, low, but that this will give him a way to rise again, like a phoenix from the ashes. Death is not the end. It is only the precursor to resurrection.source: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/
Friday, June 22, 2007
According to Rabbinical mythology, the Talmudists say that Adam had a wife before Eve, whose name was Lilith. Refusing to submit to Adam, she left Paradise for a region of the air. She still haunts the night as a spectre, and is especially hostile to new-born infants. Some superstitious Jews still put in the chamber occupied by their wife four coins, with labels on which the names of Adam and Eve are inscribed, with the words, “Avaunt thee Lilith!” The fable of Lilith was invented to reconcile Genesis i with Genesis ii. Genesis i represents the simultaneous creation of man and woman out of the earth; but Genesis ii represents that Adam was alone, and Eve was made out of a rib, and was given to Adam as a helpmeet for him.
In Eden Bower D G Rosetti says “It was Lilith, the wife of Adam … / Not a drop of her blood was human, / But she was made like a soft sweet woman.” Goethe introduced her in his Faust . The mage is introduced by Mephistopheles to various apparitions on Walpurgis Night in the Hartz Mountains. Presented with a whirling crowd, Faust asks: “Who's that?”; Mephistopheles replies: “Her features closely scan - ‘Tis the first wife of the first man”. “Who, say you?” asks Faust; and the Spirit answers: “Adam's first wife, Lilith. / Beware - beware of her bright hair, / And the strange dress that glitters there: / Many a young man she beguileth, / Smiles winningly on youthful faces, / But woe to him whom she embraces!”.
In Assyrian demonology, a female demon appears, represented as winged, with dishevelled hair. Such demons were banished from Hebrew religion, and hardly appear in the Old Testament except in poetic imagery. But these ‘hairy ones', nocturnal ‘goblins', are exactly like the Arabian jinn . They haunted waste and desert places in fellowship with jackals. There is a Mohammedan story of Bilkis, Queen of Sheba, who married Solomon. She had hair on her ankles and was thus shown to be a jinniyyah by descent. The Arab writers say that Lilith was an evil spirit, the first wife of Adam, and that her children were the jinns or devils. She is said to have had 784 children, as the letters of her name have this numerical value. Her name is found in the Assyrian inscriptions as Li-lit , ‘the black', an ‘evil spirit'. She was said to have stimulated ‘nocturnal impurities', and to have been more especially dangerous to married women at the birth of their first child, upon which occasion the Arabian nurses still throw stones at the foot of the bed to drive her away.
The night devil of Isaiah xxxiv, 14, she was especially feared in Babylonia where a special class of priests, the Ashipu , were employed to ward off the harmful effects of witchcraft. Her designation was originally applied to certain spirits of the northern Semites; it was only later that it was applied to the person of Lilith of the Talmud, the first wife of Adam. She may be equated with the ghoul of pre-Islamic myth and with Ninlil , the Babylonian goddess. A very common practice, constantly found in the Mesopotamian exorcism tablets is that of the use of magic knots. These were tied by the ashipu for the protection of a pregnant woman. A magic knot could be tied by a sorcerer or witch to invoke spirits and to gain power over an enemy. By loosing of the knot the power of an evil spirit was broken. One of these maqla tablets, directed against witchcraft, ends with the words, “Her knot is loosed, her sorcery is brought to naught, and all her charms fill the desert”, where the desert symbolizes the underworld.
Rabbinic literature is full of the doings of Lilith, who bore Adam devils and spirits. Whoever slept alone in a room was likely to be beset by her. The Rabbis believed, too, that a man might have children by allying himself with a demon, and although they might not be visible to human beings, yet when that man was dying they would hover round his bed, to hail him as their father. At the funeral of a bachelor the Jews of Kurdistan cast sand before the coffin to blind the eyes of the unbegotten children of the deceased. Among the Jews in Palestine, Lilith (or the evil eye in general) is averted from the bed by hanging a charm over it consisting of a special cabalistic paper in Hebrew together with a piece of rue, garlic, and a fragment of looking glass. It is said sometimes that women find their best gowns, which they have carefully put away in their bridal chests, have been worn by female spirits during their confinement, because they did not utter the name of God in locking them up. On the first possible Sabbath all the relations assemble in the woman's room and make a hideous noise to drive away the evil spirits.
We may note that Asmodeus was the counterpart of Lilith, as being dangerous to women. Cognate with the concept of Asmodeus is the curious Arab belief in a female demon accompanying every woman, and having as many children as her counterpart. Just as Lilith took the place of Eve, evidently this spirit is intended, in one of her phases (that of bearing children), to do the same for each man. She is very dangerous to pregnant women and newly married people; that is to say, just as Asmodeus becomes jealous of interference with his rights, so does this female spirit admit of no dallying with other women. She is said to destroy the creative power of men and to make women barren, and to her is due epilepsy as the penalty for pouring water over the threshold of the door without naming God, on a Friday, or to quench the fire. She may appear as an owl, a Jewess, a camel, or a black man. There is a story that Solomon once met a singular looking woman and asked her whether she was jinn or human. She answered that she was the female spirit “ … that puts hatred between husband and wife; I make women miscarry; I make them barren; I make men impotent; I make husbands love other men's wives, women other men's husbands; in short, I do all contrary to the happiness of wedded life”. In The Testament of Solomon, one Obizuth is the name of the female spirit that visits women in childbirth, and if she is lucky she strangles the babe.
According to Rabbinical tradition among the Jews, Lilith has her strange story thus related in Jewish legends. “When the blessed God created the first man, whom he formed alone, without a companion, he said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone': and therefore he created a woman also out of the ground, and named her Lilith. They immediately began to contend with each other for superiority. The man said: ‘It behoves thee to be obedient; I am to rule over thee'. The woman replied: ‘We are on a perfect equality; for we are both formed out of the same earth'. So neither would submit to the other. Lilith, seeing this, uttered the Shem-hamphorash ”, that is, pronounced the name Jehovah , “and instantly flew away through the air. Adam then addressed himself to God, and said: ‘Lord of the universe! The woman whom thou gavest me, has flown away from me'. God immediately dispatched three angels to bring back the fugitive. He said to them: ‘If she consent to return, well; but if not, you are to leave her, after declaring to her that a hundred of her children shall die every day'. These angels then pursued her, and found her in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters in which the Egyptians were to be afterwards destroyed. They made known to her the divine message, but she refused to return. They threatened, unless she would return, to drown her in the sea. She then said: ‘Let me go; for I was created for no other purpose than to debilitate and destroy young infants; my power over the males will extend to eight days, and over the females to twenty days, after their birth'.
“On hearing this, the angels were proceeding to seize her and carry her back to Adam by force: but Lilith swore by the name of the living God, that she would refrain from doing any injury to infants, wherever or whenever she should find these angels, or their names, or their pictures, on parchment or paper, or on whatever else they might be written or drawn: and she consented to the punishment denounced against her by God, that a hundred of her children should die every day. Hence it is that every day witnesses the death of a hundred young demons of her progeny. And for this reason we write the names of these angels on slips of paper or parchment, and bind them upon infants, that Lilith, on seeing them, may remember her oath, and may abstain from doing our infants any injury”. Another rabbinical writer says: “I have also heard that when the child laughs in its sleep in the night of the Sabbath or of the new moon, the Lilith laughs and toys with it; and that it is proper for the father, or mother, or any one that sees the infant laugh, to tap it on the lips, and say, ‘Hence, begone, cursed Lilith; for thy abode is not here'. This should be done three times, and each repetition should be accompanied with a pat on the mouth. This is of great benefit, because it is in the power of Lilith to destroy children whenever she pleases”.
Lilith warrants special attention, not only as principal female demon, but because, unlike others mentioned, she was conceived to possess human rather than animal form, and also on account of her prominence in the later Jewish literature. According to Rabbinic teaching Lilith was the night demon par excellence . By a mistaken etymology the name was supposed to be derived from the Hebrew word lailah , (‘night'), a derivation favoured by the similarity of the two words, and also by the fact that Lilith was supposed to be specially active at night-time. Modern scholars prefer to associate it with the Sumerian word for ‘wantonness', and explain her as the demoness who inspires lust. However, it is very probable that she is referred to in Psalm 91 where the psalmist says: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night”.
In the Rabbinic literature Lilith is usually portrayed with long flowing hair, and as possessing wings. She is the queen of the Lilin , which form one of the great classes of demons. It is enjoined that a man should not go out alone at night because an evil spirit, Agrath bath Mahlath , (to be identified with Lilith), together with eighteen myriads of destroying angels, roams about and is permitted to destroy anyone whom she meets. Though specially dangerous to children, the Lilin also attack men. Thus the injunction that a man be forbidden to sleep alone in a house, lest, ignoring this warning, he be seized by Lilith. Formulas for exorcizing Lilith are given. This Jewish conception of Lilith appears to have much in common with the empousa of the Greeks and with the strix and lamia of the Romans. Whilst the name and leading characteristics were clearly derived from the Babylonian demonology, the conception may also have been influenced by Persian ideas.
Alone among the spirits known through Jewish tradition, Lilith retained her position during the Middle Ages, and indeed strengthened it by virtue of the closer definition of her activities. Originally a wind-spirit, derived from the Assyrian lilitu , with long dishevelled hair, and wings, during Talmudic times the confusion of her name with the word for night transformed her into a night spirit who attacks those who sleep alone. Laylah appears also as the angel of night, and of conception. Out of the assimilation to one another of these two concepts grew the view that prevailed during the Middle Ages. Though Lilith and the popularly derived plurals, the lilin , and the liliot , appeared often in nondescript form, merely as another term for demons, as when we are told that the liliot assemble in certain trees, the lilits proper possessed two outstanding characteristics in medieval folklore which gave them distinct personality: they attacked new born children and their mothers, and they seduced men in their sleep. As a result of the legend of Adam's relations with Lilith, although this function was by no means exclusively theirs, the lilits were most frequently singled out as the demons who embrace sleeping men and cause them to have nocturnal emissions which are the seed of a hybrid progeny. It was in her first role, however, that Lilith terrorized medieval Jewry. As the demon whose special prey is lying-in women and their babes, it was found necessary to adopt an extensive series of protective measures against her.
All sorts of means are used to circumvent the malign influences of Lilith and her demons and both men and women appear to be in need of this protection. According to the usual amuletic practice, wearing an amulet inscribed with her name protects against her activities and this practice accounts for the numerous amulets thus found inscribed. Amulets inscribed with the name of Lilith alone can possibly have been worn by men and indeed could be worn by everyone with advantage at all times but those inscribed with the alternative names of Lilith or with the names of the angels sent in pursuit of her, were intended to be of use to women only, particularly near the time of their delivery. The usual custom was to write these charms on pieces of paper and hang them around the mother's bed and even until recent times, the ‘Song of Degrees' (Psalm 121) was thus written and used. Metallic amulets inscribed with this psalm were worn by men as well as women at all times and became an article of decoration. They are extremely common.
Elijah the Prophet, that great performer of miracles, on one occasion encountered Lilith, doubtless secure in the fact that he was himself originally an angel and so immune from her attentions. Elijah's angelic name was Sandalphon , and he is one of the greatest and mightiest of the fiery angelic hosts. He imposed restrictions on Lilith's activities which, after dire threats, she was compelled to accept. The most important of these conditions was that if any of the numerous names of Lilith were inscribed near a childbed, and particularly if the inscription of Psalm 121 was associated with it, Lilith would be compelled to abandon her right to injure that particular mother or her child. In addition, the names of the three angels who were sent to recall her to her wifely duties and whose message she disobeyed were to be equally effective in neutralising her activities.
We have seen that Lilith undoubtedly derives from very ancient sources, appearing as Lilatu , ‘a female demon' in Assyrian literature and earlier still as Lillaku in Sumerian tablets of the story of Gilgamesh in which she was supposed to have lived in a willow tree. A connection between these similarly named demons can scarcely be denied. According to David de Pomis (Venice, 1587 CE) Lilith is a wild animal, or an evil spirit, or, as some say, a bird, which flits about alone at night and fills the air with wailing. Solomon ben Abraham (Salerno, 1160 CE) said that Lilith “grows out of the wind just as the salamander grows from the fire”. Lilith represents the classical example of the succubus in Jewish mythology. The incubus is a spirit which, taking the semblance of a man, has intercourse with mortal women. The succubus is a similar spirit which in the form of a woman behaves in a like manner with mortal men. The Hebrew Lilith was regarded as queen of the succubi by the theologians who spent much time investigating such matters. St Augustine states that “devils do indeed collect human semen, by means of which they are able to produce bodily effects”. St Thomas Aquinas did much to prove that incubi and succubi were demons sent to tamper with frail humanity. But in the 17th century CE Peter Sinistrari made the unorthodox claim that such visitants were not demons but semi-angels who honoured mankind by contact, echoing Gnostic ideas. Many renowned people, including Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Plato, have the distinction of descent from such unnatural unions, which is not impossible when one takes into consideration that Hieronymus relates a story of a young woman who called for help against the attack of an incubus, which, on being pulled from under the bed where it had rushed to hide, proved to be none other than the good Bishop Sylvanus.
The succubus has always been a rarer phenomenon than the incubus. There are far more male than female devils. Pico della Mirandola tells us that he knew an old man of eighty-four years who had slept for half his life with a female devil; and another of seventy, who had enjoyed the same advantages. Sprenger reports that a German magician “had carnal connection with a woman before the very eyes of his wife and friends who were present during this action but were prevented from seeing her form”. Gregory de Tours tells of a holy bishop of Tuvergne, Eparchius, who had also been exposed to the temptations of a demon. He awoke one night with the thought of praying in the church; he arose and left for the church; on arriving he found the basilica resplendent with an infernal light and filled entirely with demons, who committed the most horrible deeds in front of the altar; he saw Satan in women's clothes sitting in the bishop's chair and presiding over these immoral mysteries. “Infamous whore”, he cried, “thou art not satisfied with poisoning all and everything with thy pollutions, thou even defamest God's sacred spots with thy loathsome body”. “Since thou give me the name of whore”, answered the prince of demons, “I shall present you with many instances of it and will make you lust after the body of woman”. Satan disappeared in a cloud of stench but he kept his word and poor Eparchius felt the torments of the fleshly appetites every night until his death. The similar temptations of St Anthony are too well known to need repeating. Despite the saint's advanced and revered age Satan did not disdain from decorating his lonely hermitage with obscene and passionate pictures.
In The Sayings of Rabbi Eliezer , Samael (Satan) is charged with being the one (in the guise of a serpent) who tempted Eve and seduced her. In Jewish tradition Lilith was the bride of Samael. She predated Eve, and had relations with Adam in Paradise. According to Rabbi Eliezer, Lilith bore Adam every day 100 children. The Zohar describes Lilith as “a fiery female who at first cohabited with Adam” but, when Eve was created, “flew to the cities of the sea coast”, where she is “still trying to ensnare mankind”. In the Cabala she is the demon of Friday, and is represented as a naked woman whose body terminates in a serpents tail. The rabbis regard Lilith as the first temptress, as Adam's demon wife, and as the mother of Cain. In Talmudic lore, as also in the Cabala, most demons are mortal, but Lilith will “continue to exist and plague man until the Messianic day, when God will finally extirpate uncleanliness and evil from the face of the earth”. The scholar Scholem says in an article that Lilith and Samael “emanated from beneath the throne of Divine Glory, the legs of which where somewhat shaken by their joint activity”. It is known of course that Samael was once a familiar figure in Heaven, but not that Lilith was up there also, assisting him. Lilith went by a score of names, some of which she revealed to Elijah, when she was forced to do so by the Old Testament prophet. Moses Gaster in his Studies and Texts in Folklore lists some of these: Abeko, Abito, Amizo, Batna, Eilo, Ita, Izorpo, Kea, Kokos, Odam, Partasah, Patrota, Podo, Satrina, Talto . Another listing is given by Hanauer in his Folklore of the Holy Land , namely: Abro, Amiz, Amizu, Avitu, Bituah, Ik, Ils, Kalee, Kakash, Kema, Partashah, Petrota, Pods, Raphi, Satrinah, Thiltho. Other sources provide: Abyzu, Ailo, Alu, Gallu, Gelou, Gilou, Lamassu, Zahriel, Zephonith. The name of the land to which Lilith betook herself in her flight from Paradise is recorded as Zamargad , near the Red Sea, where she set up her abode and mated with the demons who were well known to be living on those shores.
Her principal copulation there was with the archdemon Beelzeboul. The fruit of their union, a nameless male demon, yet writhes, enchained by King Solomon, at the bottom of the Red Sea. Of Lilith's other numberless progeny few are known. Yet obscure texts do name one son and a daughter, Hurnim and Hurmiz respectively. Also, Arabian tradition tells of a lone daughter of Adam who emulated her nefarious practices. This daughter of Adam, Anak , is apparently to be blamed for belief in talismans and other evil practices. This lady, so it is said, was the first “to reduce the demons to serve her by means of charms”. God had given Adam a sprinkling of magic words, just to enable him to control a few spirits, and these words he communicated to Eve. She preserved them quite faithfully until Anak extracted them from her while she slept. It is not stated how this robbery was effected; perhaps the words were impressed in cuneiform characters on clay tablets, or she may have extracted them as did Isis from the great Sun god Ra ; however, once Anak was in possession, she “conjured evil spirits, practised the magical art, pronounced oracles, and gave herself up openly to impiety”. Interestingly, the name of Lilith survives in an ancient curse of Coptic Christian origin. This text on parchment, preserved in the Louvre, is uttered to separate a man from a woman. It comes from the tenth century CE. The utterance, to be written on a blade-shaped parchment goes: “ Tartari, Saro, Ptha, Astabias, Thatha, Eibethatha, Lahkimaia, Kaha, Alaha, Lilith, put hatred and separation, put hatred and separation between Sipa son of Siheu , and Ouarteihla daughter of Cauhare. They must not be able to look at each other's faces, yea, yea!”.
Amulets to protect pregnant women and women in child-bed were as common among the Hebrews as among pagan nations. Wallis Budge gives details in his treatise on amulets. They were written upon parchment, and also upon the door and walls of the chamber wherein the woman lay. And if they were to be really effective, the texts had to be written in ink in which holy incense had been mixed, and even the copyist had to be a man ceremonially pure and a believer. One of the most important and powerful child-bed amulets is contained in the rare Hebrew work generally known as the Sepher Raziel , ‘The Book of Raziel', bequeathed to the faithful by the preceptor angel of Adam himself. This amulet contains figures representative of Adam, Eve and Lilith. Above these are the names of the three angels sent after Lilith, Senoi, Sansenoi, and Semangeloph. There seals are given. The Hebrew text says that the woman will be protected by the name of God from all the evils and calamities which are enumerated therein. This amulet had a double purpose. The three figures of the angels and their names and seals protected the newly born infant and its mother. And the text warded off any and every evil which Lilith might attempt to do to either. Contained in the text are the names of the Seventy Great Angels whose protection is secured by the amulet.
Two other amulets are illustrated in the Book of Raziel. At the four corners are the names of the four rivers of Paradise, Pishon, Gihon, Prath and Hiddekel. Inside two concentric circles is the Hexagram, or so-called ‘Shield of Solomon' and fourteen groups of three letters and the words “Go forth thou and all the people who are in thy train”, and permutations of the initial letters of the Hebrew words for ‘holiness' and ‘deliverance'. Between the circles are the names of Adam, Eve, and Lilith, the three angels, and also that of the angel Khasdiel, with the words: “He hath given his angels charge concerning thee, that they may keep thee in all thy ways. Amen. Selah.” Another amulet is similar, except that the two triangles of the hexagram are arranged base to base. In the inner circle are fourteen groups of three letters which have esoteric significations.
Concerning apotropaic procedures to ward of the influence of Lilith and her cohorts, Gershon Scholem describes an antidemonic rite both ancient and curious. He says that until quite recently, and indeed occasionally to this day, Jewish burials in Jerusalem were often marked by a strange happening. Before the body was lowered into the grave ten men danced round it in a circle, reciting a psalm which in the Jewish tradition has generally been regarded as a defence against demons, i.e. Psalm 91, or another prayer. Then a stone was laid on the bier and the following verse (Genesis xxv, 6) recited: “But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away”. This strange dance of death was repeated seven times. The rite, which in modern times has been unintelligible to most of the participants, has to do with Cabalistic conceptions about sexual life and the sanctity of the human seed. Here we have an entire myth, the object of which is to mark off the act of generation from other sexual practices, which were interpreted as demonic in nature, and especially from onanism.
According to Talmudic tradition, demons are spirits made in the Friday evening twilight, who, because the Sabbath has intervened, have received no bodies. From this later authorities drew the inference, implicit in the Talmudic sources, that the demons have been looking for bodies ever since, and that this is why they attach themselves to men. This entered into combination with another idea. After the murder of Abel by his brother, Adam decided to have no further dealings with his wife. Thereupon female demons, succubi, came to him and conceived by him; from this union, in which Adam's generative power was misused and misdirected, stem a variety of demons. The Cabalists took up these old conceptions of demonic generation in pollution or other practices. They are systematized in the Zohar, which develops the myth that Lilith, queen of the demons, or the demons of her retinue, do their best to provoke men to sexual acts without benefit of a woman, their aim being to make themselves bodies from the lost seed.
To the Cabalists, the union between man and woman, within its holy limits, was a venerable mystery, as one may judge from the fact that the most classical and widely circulated Cabalistic definition of mystical meditation is to be found in a treatise about the meaning of sexual union in marriage (Joseph Gikatila, c.1300 CE). Abuse of a man's generative powers was held to be a destructive act, through which not the holy, but the ‘other side', obtains progeny. An extreme cult of purity led to the view that every act of impurity, whether conscious or unconscious, engenders demons.
Abraham Saba, an early sixteenth century CE Cabalist who had come to Morocco from Spain, was first to establish a strange connection between this conception and a man's death. All the illegitimate children that a man has begotten with demons in the course of his life appear after his death to take part in the mourning for him and his funeral. For all those spirits that have built their bodies from a drop of his seed regard him as their father. And so, especially on the day of his burial, he must suffer punishment; for while he is being carried to the grave, they swarm around him like bees, crying: “You are our father”, and they complain and lament behind his bier, because they have lost their home and are now being tormented along with the other demons which hover bodiless in the air.
According to others, the demons claim their inheritance on this occasion along with the other sons of the deceased and try to harm the legitimate children. Those who dance seven times round the dead man do so in order to form a sacral circle, which will prevent these unlawful children from approaching the deceased, sullying his corpse, or doing other harm. Hence the verse from Genesis about the ‘sons of the demonic concubines', whom Abraham sent away lest they harm Isaac, his legitimate son. A similar rite, in which the bier is set down on the ground seven times on the way to the cemetery, has the same purpose. Most important of all, the Cabalists strictly forbade the children, and especially the sons of the deceased from escorting him to his last resting place. In his lifetime, it was held, a pious man should expressly forbid ‘all his children' to follow him to the grave; by so doing, he will keep his illegitimate demonic offspring away and, in case any of them should nonetheless get through to his grave, prevent them from endangering his true children, begotten in purity. It is known that some Jews in their lifetime sternly ordered their children not to make the slightest plaint or weep until the dead body in the cemetery had been purified by washing, cleansing, and the cutting of the finger and toenails, because the unclean spirits are thought to have no further part in the body, once it is cleansed. Another noteworthy rite is connected with similar conceptions. Especially in a leap year, the Cabalists fasted on Monday and Thursday of certain weeks in the wintertime, in order to ‘correct', by special prayers and acts of penance, the taint which it is said a man inflicts on his true form by involuntary ejaculation in the night and by masturbation.
But it is not only in unlawful sexual practices that Lilith takes a hand. Even legitimate union between man and wife is endangered by her, for here too she tries to infringe on the domain of Eve. Accordingly, we find widespread observance of a rite recommended by the Zohar, the purpose of which was to keep Lilith away from the marriage bed: “In the hour when the husband enters into union with his wife, he should turn his mind to the holiness of his Lord and say: ‘Veiled in velvet - are you here? / Loosened, loosened be your spell! / Go not in and go not out! / Let there be none of you and nothing of your part! / Turn back, turn back, the ocean rages, / Its waves are calling you. / But I cleave to the holy part, / I am wrapped in the sanctity of the King.' Then for a time he should wrap his head and his wife's head in cloths, and afterwards sprinkle his bed with fresh water”.
The symbolism of erotic demonic activities is encountered down the ages, even by such as the venerable Doctor Dee in his workings with Edward Kelley. On 15 August 1584 CE their first Prague action began with an extraordinary series of alchemical visions. Madimi appeared, in apocalyptic mood: “Woe be to women great with child, for they shall bring forth monsters … Woe unto the Virgins of the Earth, for they shall disdain their virginity, and become concubines for Satan”. According to Cabalistic tradition, quoted by Dion Fortune, Lilith taught wisdom to Adam; and he could not forget her. This writer also quotes another tradition which holds that it was Lilith who performed the office of the Serpent in tempting Adam to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. A rare illustration of this appears in Queen Mary's Psalter (1553 CE). In The Secret Doctrine , Madame Blavatsky regards Lilith as having appeared in the primordial ages, and describes her as “An ethereal shadow … an actual living female monster millions of years ago”. She is linked by the theosophists with the planet Saturn. The importance attached to Lilith in witchcraft is attested by Doreen Valiente, who regarded her as one of the presiding goddesses of the Craft, calling her “the personification of erotic dreams, the suppressed desire for delights”. According to Gerald Gardner there is a tradition of the continuous worship of Lilith to the present time in witchcraft, and that hers is the name sometimes given to the Goddess being personified, in ritual, by the coven Priestess. Leland in his Etruscan-Roman Remains identifies Lilith with Herodias, or Aradia. He notes that she is mentioned in the old Slavonian spells and charms, and therein has twelve daughters, an instance of the witches thirteen perhaps. In Irish tradition Lilith gives her favours especially to ‘celibates, mystics and hermits'. Yeates calls the Sidhe her ‘children'. In Voudoun she is assimilated with the loa Erzulie. Modern magicians have deliberately used the mechanism of intercourse with spirits in their rituals of magica sexualis . The activities of such as Crowley and his adherents are perhaps too well known now from published accounts to warrant any exposition here.source: white dragon.org.uk
Thursday, June 21, 2007
A man hanging by one foot from a Tau cross - sometimes from a bar or tree. His free leg is always bent to form a "4," his face is always peaceful, never suffering. Sometimes his hands are bound, sometimes they dangle. Sometimes coins fall out of his pockets or hands.
Basic Tarot Story
The Fool settles beneath a tree, intent on finding his spiritual self. There he stays for nine days, without eating, barely moving. People pass by him, animals, clouds, the wind, the rain, the stars, sun and moon. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought of why, he climbs a branch and dangles upside down like a child, giving up for a moment, all that he is, wants, knows or cares about. Coins fall from his pockets and as he gazes down on them - seeing them not as money but only as round bits of metal - everything suddenly changes perspective. It is as if he's hanging between the mundane world and the spiritual world, able to see both. It is a dazzling moment, dreamlike yet crystal clear. Connections he never understood before are made, mysteries are revealed.
But timeless as this moment of clarity seems, he realizes that it will not last. Very soon, he must right himself, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned. For now, however, he just hangs, weightless as if underwater, observing, absorbing, seeing.
Basic Tarot Meaning
With Neptune (or Water) as its planet, the Hanged Man is perhaps the most fascinating card in the deck. It reflects the story of Odin who offered himself as a sacrifice in order to gain knowledge. Hanging from the world tree, wounded by a spear, given no bread or mead, he hung for nine days. On the last day, he saw on the ground runes that had fallen from the tree, understood their meaning, and, coming down, scooped them up for his own. All knowledge is to be found in these runes.
The Hanged Man, in similar fashion, is a card about suspension, not life or death. This is a time of trial or meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, prophecy. The Querent stops resisting; instead he makes himself vulnerable, sacrifices his position or opposition, and in doing so, gains illumination. Answers that eluded him come clear, solutions to problems are found. He sees the world differently, has almost mystical insights. This card can also imply a time when everything just stands still, a time of rest and reflection before moving on. Things will continue on in a moment, but for now, they float, timeless.
Neptune is spirituality, dreams, psychic abilities, and the Hanged Man is afloat in these. He is also 12, the opposite of the World card, 21. With the World card you go infinitely out. With the Hanged Man, you go infinitely in.
This card signifies a time of insight so deep that, for a moment, nothing but that insight exists. All Tarot readers have such moments when we see, with absolute clarity, the whole picture, the entire message offered by a spread. The Hanged Man symbolizes such moments of suspension between physical and mystical worlds. Such moments don't last, and they usually require some kind of sacrifice. Sacrifice of a belief or perspective, a wish, dream, hope, money, time or even selfhood. In order to gain, you must give. Sometimes you need to sacrifice cherished positions, open yourself to other truths, other perspectives in order to find solutions, in order to bring about change. One thing is certain, whether the insight is great or small, spiritual or mundane, once you have been the Hanged Man you never see things quite the same.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Again I say, I do not know what has become of Harley Warren, though I think--almost hope--that he is in peaceful oblivion, if there be anywhere so blessed a thing. It is true that I have for five years been his closest friend, and a partial sharer of his terrible researches into the unknown. I will not deny, though my memory is uncertain and indistinct, that this witness of yours may have seen us together as he says, on the Gainsville pike, walking toward Big Cypress Swamp, at half past 11 on that awful night. That we bore electric lanterns, spades, and a curious coil of wire with attached instruments, I will even affirm; for these things all played a part in the single hideous scene which remains burned into my shaken recollection. But of what followed, and of the reason I was found alone and dazed on the edge of the swamp next morning, I must insist that I know nothing save what I have told you over and over again. You say to me that there is nothing in the swamp or near it which could form the setting of that frightful episode. I reply that I knew nothing beyond what I saw. Vision or nightmare it may have been--vision or nightmare I fervently hope it was--yet it is all that my mind retains of what took place in those shocking hours after we left the sight of men. And why Harley Warren did not return, he or his shade--or some nameless thing I cannot describe-- alone can tell.
As I have said before, the weird studies of Harley Warren were well known to me, and to some extent shared by me. Of his vast collection of strange, rare books on forbidden subjects I have read all that are written in the languages of which I am master; but these are few as compared with those in languages I cannot understand. Most, I believe, are in Arabic; and the fiend-inspired book which brought on the end--the book which he carried in his pocket out of the world--was written in characters whose like I never saw elsewhere. Warren would never tell me just what was in that book. As to the nature of our studies--must I say again that I no longer retain full comprehension? It seems to me rather merciful that I do not, for they were terrible studies, which I pursued more through reluctant fascination than through actual inclination. Warren always dominated me, and sometimes I feared him. I remember how I shuddered at his facial expression on the night before the awful happening, when he talked so incessantly of his theory, why certain corpses never decay, but rest firm and fat in their tombs for a thousand years. But I do not fear him now, for I suspect that he has known horrors beyond my ken. Now I fear for him.
Once more I say that I have no clear idea of our object on that night. Certainly, it had much to do with something in the book which Warren carried with him--that ancient book in undecipherable characters which had come to him from India a month before--but I swear I do not know what it was that we expected to find. Your witness says he saw us at half past 11 on the Gainsville pike, headed for Big Cypress Swamp. This is probably true, but I have no distinct memory of it. The picture seared into my soul is of one scene only, and the hour must have been long after midnight; for a waning crescent moon was high in the vaporous heavens.
The place was an ancient cemetery; so ancient that I trembled at the manifold signs of immemorial years. It was in a deep, damp hollow, overgrown with rank grass, moss, and curious creeping weeds, and filled with a vague stench which my idle fancy associated absurdly with rotting stone. On every hand were the signs of neglect and decrepitude, and I seemed haunted by the notion that Warren and I were the first living creatures to invade a lethal silence of centuries. Over the valley's rim a wan, waning crescent moon peered through the noisome vapors that seemed to emanate from unheard of catacombs, and by its feeble, wavering beams I could distinguish a repellent array of antique slabs, urns, cenotaphs, and mausoleum facades; all crumbling, moss-grown, and moisture-stained, and partly concealed by the gross luxuriance of the unhealthy vegetation.
My first vivid impression of my own presence in this terrible necropolis concerns the act of pausing with Warren before a certain half- obliterated sepulcher and of throwing down some burdens which we seemed to have been carrying. I now observed that I had with me an electric lantern and two spades, whilst my companion was supplied with a similar lantern and a portable telephone outfit. No word was uttered, for the spot and the task seemed known to us; and without delay we seized our spades and commenced to clear away the grass, weeds, and drifted earth from the flat, archaic mortuary. After uncovering the entire surface, which consisted of three immense granite slabs, we stepped back some distance to survey the charnel scene; and Warren appeared to make some mental calculations. Then he returned to the sepulcher, and using his spade as a lever, sought to pry up the slab lying nearest to a stony ruin which may have been a monument in its day. He did not succeed, and motioned to me to come to his assistance. Finally our combined strength loosened the stone, which we raised and tipped to one side.
The removal of the slab revealed a black aperture, from which rushed an effluence of miasmal gases so nauseous that we started back in horror. After an interval, however, we approached the pit again, and found the exhalations less unbearable. Our lanterns disclosed the top of a flight of stone steps, dripping with some detestable ichor of the inner earth, and bordered by moist walls encrusted with niter. And now for the first time my memory records verbal discourse, Warren addressing me at length in his mellow tenor voice; a voice singularly unperturbed by our awesome surroundings.
"I'm sorry to have to ask you to stay on the surface," he said, "but it would be a crime to let anyone with your frail nerves go down there. You can't imagine, even from what you have read and from what I've told you, the things I shall have to see and do. It's fiendish work, Carter, and I doubt if any man without ironclad sensibilities could ever see it through and come up alive and sane. I don't wish to offend you, and Heaven knows I'd be glad enough to have you with me; but the responsibility is in a certain sense mine, and I couldn't drag a bundle of nerves like you down to probable death or madness. I tell you, you can't imagine what the thing is really like! But I promise to keep you informed over the telephone of every move--you see I've enough wire here to reach to the center of the earth and back!"
I can still hear, in memory, those coolly spoken words; and I can still remember my remonstrances. I seemed desperately anxious to accompany my friend into those sepulchral depths, yet he proved inflexibly obdurate. At one time he threatened to abandon the expedition if I remained insistent; a threat which proved effective, since he alone held the key to the thing. All this I can still remember, though I no longer know what manner of thing we sought. After he had obtained my reluctant acquiescence in his design, Warren picked up the reel of wire and adjusted the instruments. At his nod I took one of the latter and seated myself upon an aged, discolored gravestone close by the newly uncovered aperture. Then he shook my hand, shouldered the coil of wire, and disappeared within that indescribable ossuary.
For a minute I kept sight of the glow of his lantern, and heard the rustle of the wire as he laid it down after him; but the glow soon disappeared abruptly, as if a turn in the stone staircase had been encountered, and the sound died away almost as quickly. I was alone, yet bound to the unknown depths by those magic strands whose insulated surface lay green beneath the struggling beams of that waning crescent moon.
I constantly consulted my watch by the light of my electric lantern, and listened with feverish anxiety at the receiver of the telephone; but for more than a quarter of an hour heard nothing. Then a faint clicking came from the instrument, and I called down to my friend in a tense voice. Apprehensive as I was, I was nevertheless unprepared for the words which came up from that uncanny vault in accents more alarmed and quivering than any I had heard before from Harley Warren. He who had so calmly left me a little while previously, now called from below in a shaky whisper more portentous than the loudest shriek:
"God! If you could see what I am seeing!"
I could not answer. Speechless, I could only wait. Then came the frenzied tones again:
"Carter, it's terrible--monstrous--unbelievable!"
This time my voice did not fail me, and I poured into the transmitter a flood of excited questions. Terrified, I continued to repeat, "Warren, what is it? What is it?"
Once more came the voice of my friend, still hoarse with fear, and now apparently tinged with despair:
"I can't tell you, Carter! It's too utterly beyond thought--I dare not tell you--no man could know it and live--Great God! I never dreamed of this!"
Stillness again, save for my now incoherent torrent of shuddering inquiry. Then the voice of Warren in a pitch of wilder consternation:
"Carter! for the love of God, put back the slab and get out of this if you can! Quick!--leave everything else and make for the outside--it's your only chance! Do as I say, and don't ask me to explain!"
I heard, yet was able only to repeat my frantic questions. Around me were the tombs and the darkness and the shadows; below me, some peril beyond the radius of the human imagination. But my friend was in greater danger than I, and through my fear I felt a vague resentment that he should deem me capable of deserting him under such circumstances. More clicking, and after a pause a piteous cry from Warren:
"Beat it! For God's sake, put back the slab and beat it, Carter!"
Something in the boyish slang of my evidently stricken companion unleashed my faculties. I formed and shouted a resolution, "Warren, brace up! I'm coming down!" But at this offer the tone of my auditor changed to a scream of utter despair:
"Don't! You can't understand! It's too late--and my own fault. Put back the slab and run--there's nothing else you or anyone can do now!"
The tone changed again, this time acquiring a softer quality, as of hopeless resignation. Yet it remained tense through anxiety for me.
"Quick--before it's too late!"
I tried not to heed him; tried to break through the paralysis which held me, and to fulfil my vow to rush down to his aid. But his next whisper found me still held inert in the chains of stark horror.
"Carter--hurry! It's no use--you must go--better one than two--the slab--"
A pause, more clicking, then the faint voice of Warren:
"Nearly over now--don't make it harder--cover up those damned steps and run for your life--you're losing time--so long, Carter--won't see you again."
Here Warren's whisper swelled into a cry; a cry that gradually rose to a shriek fraught with all the horror of the ages--
"Curse these hellish things--legions--My God! Beat it! Beat it! BEAT IT!"
After that was silence. I know not how many interminable eons I sat stupefied; whispering, muttering, calling, screaming into that telephone. Over and over again through those eons I whispered and muttered, called, shouted, and screamed, "Warren! Warren! Answer me--are you there?"
And then there came to me the crowning horror of all--the unbelievable, unthinkable, almost unmentionable thing. I have said that eons seemed to elapse after Warren shrieked forth his last despairing warning, and that only my own cries now broke the hideous silence. But after a while there was a further clicking in the receiver, and I strained my ears to listen. Again I called down, "Warren, are you there?" and in answer heard the thing which has brought this cloud over my mind. I do not try, gentlemen, to account for that thing--that voice--nor can I venture to describe it in detail, since the first words took away my consciousness and created a mental blank which reaches to the time of my awakening in the hospital. Shall I say that the voice was deep; hollow; gelatinous; remote; unearthly; inhuman; disembodied? What shall I say? It was the end of my experience, and is the end of my story. I heard it, and knew no more--heard it as I sat petrified in that unknown cemetery in the hollow, amidst the crumbling stones and the falling tombs, the rank vegetation and the miasmal vapors-- heard it well up from the innermost depths of that damnable open sepulcher as I watched amorphous, necrophagous shadows dance beneath an accursed waning moon.
And this is what it said:
"You fool, Warren is DEAD!"
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, American poet and author of macabre short novels, was born on 20 August 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. He came from distinguished British ancestry on both sides of his family. His mother made him wear his hair long until the age of six and treated him like a girl. His father was Winfield Scott Lovecraft a travelling salesman, who went mad, probably from syphilis and died when his son was five. At the time of his birth Lovecraft's family was quite well-to-do, most of the wealth derived from the extensive business interests of Lovecraft's maternal grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips. This prosperity, however, was not to last. At the death of Whipple Phillips in 1904 his fortune was squandered and the Lovecrafts were forced to move out of their Victorian home into cramped quarters at 598 Angell Street. Lovecraft was devastated by the loss of his birthplace, and apparently contemplated suicide, as he took long bicycle rides and looked wistfully at the watery depths of the Barrington River. But the thrill of learning banished those thoughts. Lovecraft suffered from terrifying nightly disturbances and nightmares which lasted until his own death. This deeply personal material also marked his stories.
Lovecraft was a precocious youth: he was reciting poetry at age two, reading at age three, and writing at age six or seven. His earliest enthusiasm was for the Arabian Nights, which he read by the age of five; it was at this time that he adapted the pseudonym of “Abdul Alhazred,” who later became the author of the mythical Necronomicon. The next year, however, his Arabian interests were eclipsed by the discovery of Greek mythology, gleaned through Bulfinch’s Age of Fable and through children’s versions of the Iliad and Odyssey. But Lovecraft had by this time already discovered weird fiction, and his interest in the weird was fostered by his grandfather, who entertained Lovecraft with off-the-cuff weird tales in the Gothic mode.
Lovecraft grew up as a fringe member of the conservative New England aristocracy, and was educated at local schools. He was somewhat lonely and suffered from frequent illnesses, many of them apparently psychological. His attendance at the Slater Avenue School was sporadic, and he was often kept away from school by his overprotective mother, but Lovecraft was soaking up much information through independent reading. At about the age of eight he discovered science, first chemistry, then astronomy. During this time he found the works of Edgar Allan Poe, who had visited several times the library in Province, and whose model inspired Lovecraft in his literary aspirations. He also read works by Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, and Lord Dunsany (1878-1957), who inspired him to write the short novel The dream-quest of unknown Kadath (1926).
Lovecraft later believed that Hellenism and astronomy were the two central influences of his early years, the latter especially because it led directly to his "cosmic" philosophy wherein mankind and the world are but a flyspeck amidst the vortices of infinite space. Lovecraft’s first appearance in print occurred in 1906, when he wrote a letter on an astronomical matter to The Providence Sunday Journal. Shortly thereafter he began writing a monthly astronomy column for The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner, a rural paper; he later wrote columns for The Providence Tribune (1906-08) and The Providence Evening News (1914-18), as well as The Asheville (N.C.) Gazette-News (1915). It was in the amateur world that Lovecraft recommenced the writing of fiction, which he had abandoned in 1908. W. Paul Cook and others, noting the promise shown in such early tales as The Beast in the Cave (1905) and The Alchemist (1908), urged Lovecraft to pick up his fictional pen again. This Lovecraft did, writing The Tomb and Dagon in quick succession in the summer of 1917. Thereafter Lovecraft kept up a steady if sparse flow of fiction, although until at least 1922 poetry and essays were still his dominant mode of literary expression. Lovecraft also became involved in an ever-increasing network of correspondence with friends and associates, and he eventually became one of the greatest and most prolific letter-writers of the century. L. Sprague de Camp has claimed in Lovecraft: A Biography (1975) that the author wrote over 1000,000 letters. At the age of 27 he was still at home, writing gloomy tales. He was eventually offered the job of editor at the magazine Weird Tales, but he turned the offer down.
Lovecraft was virtually unknown most of his career as a writer. His posthumous fame, particularly in America and France, rests on his Cthulhu Mythos stories that lead him to become a cult figure in the genre of horror fiction. He is considered the most original American writer of weird fiction subsequent to Edgar Allan Poe. Lovecraft's imaginary town in his tales, Arkham, was based on his home town of Providence. He never wrote (or, rather, sold) enough fiction to be a professional writer; instead, his income was provided by an ever-dwindling family inheritance and by the dreary task of literary revision and ghost-writing. This work ran the gamut from textbooks to poetry to novels to articles; but on occasion Lovecraft attracted revision clients who wished to write horror tales, and his "revisions" of the works of such tyros as Hazel Heald, Zealia Bishop, Adolphe de Castro, and others are often tantamount to original composition.
Lovecraft's mother died in 1921, when the author was 31. Mrs. Lovecraft, her frail constitution destroyed by the death of her husband under peculiar circumstances and pathologically overprotective of her only child, died in a sanitarium; the immediate cause of death, however, was a badly managed gall bladder operation. Lovecraft continued to live with his two aunts. His marriage in 1924 with Sonia Greene, who was seven years his senior, lasted only until 1926.
Lovecraft's fiction turned from the nostalgic -- The Shunned House (1924), set in Providence -- to the bitter: He and The Horror at Red Hook (1925) laid bare his feelings about New York, and the ending of the former tale encapsulates his yearning to return to the tranquil and familiar world of New England.
His later works show that he was beginning to outgrow from the genre of horror in the direction of science fiction - among others The Colour Out of Space and The Shadow Out of Time from his mature period were first published in science fiction magazines.
Most of Lovecraft's short stories appeared in the magazine Weird Tales, beginning in 1923. His works from the early phase include The Tomb, The Statement of Randolph Carter, Rats in the Wall, The Shunned House, From Beyond, and Cool Air, all written with more or less conventional scenarios. Lovecraft often used the first-person narrator, who is a scientist or scholar. The narrator witnesses horrors that contradict his beliefs, and going gradually insane he must face his destiny.
After two years in New York, where Lovecraft was horrified with its oppressive size, the hordes of "aliens" at every corner, its emphasis on speed, money, and commercialism, he returned to Providence on April 17, 1926, where he spent with his aunts the rest of his life. The last ten years of his life were the time of his greatest flowering, both as a writer and as a human being. He nurtured the careers of many young writers (August Derleth, Donald Wandrei, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber); he became concerned with political and economic issues, as the Great Depression led him to support Roosevelt and become a moderate socialist; and he continued absorbing knowledge on a wide array of subjects, from philosophy to the New England heritage, evoking its topography, history and society. This mature period produced such stories as The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Thing on the Doorstep, The Dreams in the Witch House. Many of Lovecraft's tales utilize a pseudo-mythical framework, termed the Cthulhu Mythos. His best-known work in the series is The call of Cthulhu (1928), where he created his basic myth of the Elder Race. It once dominated the Earth, but largely destroyed itself. Its members now lie sleeping somewhere under the sea or underground. In this cosmic scheme of things, humans were reduced to a position of hapless victims, who are not important for the incomprehensible forces.
His later stories, increasingly lengthy and complex, became difficult to sell, and he was forced to support himself largely through the “revision” or ghost-writing of stories, poetry, and nonfictions works. In 1936 the suicide of Robert E. Howard, one of his closest correspondents, left him confused and saddened. By this time the illness that would cause his own death – cancer of the intestine – had already progressed so far that little could be done to treat it and he died from a combination of cancer Bright's disease on March 15, 1937 at the Jane Brown Memorial Hospital in Providence. He was buried in the family plot in the Swan Point Cemetery. Lovecraft's friends August Derleth and Donald Wandrei set up in 1939 a publishing house for his work, Arkham House, and the author's books have remained in print ever since. Only recently has a separate marker been erected on his grave, the funds contributed by many of his posthumous admirers; the stone reads: "I am Providence".
"Homage to thee, Osiris, Lord of eternity, King of the Gods, whose names are manifold, whose forms are holy, thou being of hidden form in the temples, whose Ka is holy. Thou art the governor of Tattu (Busiris), and also the mighty one in Sekhem (Letopolis). Thou art the Lord to whom praises are ascribed in the nome of Ati, thou art the Prince of divine food in Anu. Thou art the Lord who is commemorated in Maati, the Hidden Soul, the Lord of Qerrt (Elephantine), the Ruler supreme in White Wall (Memphis). Thou art the Soul of Ra, his own body, and hast thy place of rest in Henensu (Herakleopolis). Thou art the beneficent one, and art praised in Nart. Thou makest thy soul to be raised up. Thou art the Lord of the Great House in Khemenu (Hermopolis). Thou art the mighty one of victories in Shas-hetep, the Lord of eternity, the Governor of Abydos. The path of his throne is in Ta-tcheser (a part of Abydos). Thy name is established in the mouths of men. Thou art the substance of Two Lands (Egypt). Thou art Tem, the feeder of Kau (Doubles), the Governor of the Companies of the gods. Thou art the beneficent Spirit among the spirits. The god of the Celestial Ocean (Nu) draweth from thee his waters. Thou sendest forth the north wind at eventide, and breath from thy nostrils to the satisfaction of thy heart. Thy heart reneweth its youth, thou producest the.... The stars in the celestial heights are obedient unto thee, and the great doors of the sky open themselves before thee. Thou art he to whom praises are ascribed in the southern heaven, and thanks are given for thee in the northern heaven. The imperishable stars are under thy supervision, and the stars which never set are thy thrones. Offerings appear before thee at the decree of Keb. The Companies of the Gods praise thee, and the gods of the Tuat (Other World) smell the earth in paying homage to thee. The uttermost parts of the earth bow before thee, and the limits of the skies entreat thee with supplications when they see thee. The holy ones are overcome before thee, and all Egypt offereth thanksgiving unto thee when it meeteth Thy Majesty. Thou art a shining Spirit-Body, the governor of Spirit-Bodies; permanent is thy rank, established is thy rule. Thou art the well-doing Sekhem (Power) of the Company of the Gods, gracious is thy face, and beloved by him that seeth it. Thy fear is set in all the lands by reason of thy perfect love, and they cry out to thy name making it the first of names, and all people make offerings to thee. Thou art the lord who art commemorated in heaven and upon earth. Many are the cries which are made to thee at the Uak festival, and with one heart and voice Egypt raiseth cries of joy to thee.
"Thou art the Great Chief, the first among thy brethren, the Prince of the Company of the Gods, the stablisher of Right and Truth throughout the World, the Son who was set on the great throne of his father Keb. Thou art the beloved of thy mother Nut, the mighty one of valour, who overthrew the Sebau-fiend. Thou didst stand up and smite thine enemy, and set thy fear in thine adversary. Thou dost bring the boundaries of the mountains. Thy heart is fixed, thy legs are set firm. Thou art the heir of Keb and of the sovereignty of the Two Lands (Egypt). He (Keb) hath seen his splendours, he hath decreed for him the guidance of the world by thy hand as long as times endure. Thou hast made this earth with thy hand, and the waters, and the winds, and the vegetation, and all the cattle, and all the feathered fowl, and all the fish, and all the creeping things, and all the wild animals therof. The desert is the lawful possession of the son of Nut. The Two Lands (Egypt) are content to crown thee upon the throne of thy father, like Ra.
"Thou rollest up into the horizon, thou hast set light over the darkness, thou sendest forth air from thy plumes, and thou floodest the Two Lands like the Disk at daybreak. Thy crown penetrateth the height of heaven, thou art the companion of the stars, and the guide of every god. Thou art beneficent in decree and speech, the favoured one of the Great Company of the Gods, and the beloved of the Little Company of the Gods.
His sister [Isis] hath protected him, and hath repulsed the fiends, and turned aside calamities (of evil). She uttered the spell with the magical power of her mouth. Her tongue was perfect, and it never halted at a word. Beneficent in command and word was Isis, the woman of magical spells, the advocate of her brother. She sought him untiringly, she wandered round and round about this earth in sorrow, and she alighted not without finding him. She made light with her feathers, she created air with her wings, and she uttered the death wail for her brother. She raised up the inactive members of whose heart was still, she drew from him his essence, she made an heir, she reared the child in loneliness, and the place where he was not known, and he grew in strength and stature, and his hand was mighty in the House of Keb. The Company of the Gods rejoiced, rejoiced, at the coming of Horus, the son of Osiris, whose heart was firm, the triumphant, the son of Isis, the heir of Osiris."
Papurys of Ani
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Translated by E. A. Wallis Budge
Saturday, June 16, 2007
The Justice figure seated or standing, scales in one hand (usually left), upraised sword in the other hand. Sometimes blindfolded.
Basic Tarot Story
The Fool is looking for a new path, a new aspiration and inspiration for his life. Sitting uncertain at a cross-roads, he notices a blind wise woman listening to two brothers argue over an inheritance. They have come to her for judgement. One brother has the whole inheritance, the other has nothing. "I ask that all of it be given to me," the poor brother demands, "Not only because I have a better right to it, but because I will not be wasteful with it, as he is!" But the rich brother protests, "It is rightfully mine and that's all that should matter, not what I do with it!" The woman listens, then awards half of the rich brother's inheritance to the poor brother. The Fool thinks this only fair, but neither brother is happy. The rich one hates losing half his wealth, and the poor one feels he ought to have gotten all.
"You were fair," he remarks to the woman after they have left. "Yes, I was," she answers plainly. "With only half the inheritance, the rich one will stop being so wasteful. And the poor one will have as much as he needs. Even though they cannot see it, this decision was good for both."
The Fool thinks on this, and new insight on his own life comes to mind. He realizes that he has spent his life achieving worldly ambitions, physical goods, while leaving his spiritual self to starve, primarily because he didn't want to make the sacrifices necessary to feed his spiritual self. Now, he sees that this is necessary, the only path he has not walked, one he must walk to regain his equilibrium. Thanking the woman, he heads out with new purpose. It is time to balance his own inner scales.
Basic Tarot Meaning
With Libra as its ruling sign, Justice is about cold, objective balance through reason or natural force. This is the card that tells the Querent that they can't keep smoking and drinking without consequences to their health. It is the card that advises cutting out waste and insists that the Querent make adjustments, do whatever is necessary to bring things back into balance, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually. In a more mundane sense, this card may signal a court case, legal documents, adjustments in a marriage or partnership. The outcome of all of these may not be exactly what the Querent wants, but it will be a scrupulously fair outcome. If the card is reversed, it can indicate bias, obstruction of the law, or legal complications.
I think Justice is a good card (as compared to Strength) to stand as the first of the next ten cards of the Major Arcana. The reason I think it right is because with it we move from the physical world (first ten cards) into the metaphysical world (next ten). When I look at Justice, I always see the two worlds balanced on her scales. "You've spent all your time in one," she seems to be saying, time to move into the other and balance things out."
One thing to remember about the Justice card is that it is not about punishment, good, bad, right or wrong. It i's about adjustment. The sword suggests that sometimes this won't be pleasant. Justice pares things down with that sword so that the scales end up equal. The message is to do what's necessary, no matter how hard, how disagreeable, in order to gain, or re-gain equilibrium. It is not a nice card, but in its way, it is a very wise card.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
One of the books that I had the pleasure to read recently is 'Salem's Lot written by the master of horror Stephen King. In my opinion, it is a masterpiece of vampiric and gothic literature. King as a scholar himself and reader of this kind of literature creates his own vampiric myth. He actually transforms the old-type vampire like Count Dracula to the contemporary, cruel and beast-like 20th century vampire, a vampire that emerges from the gross vampiric movies and cheap comics editions.
His writing is alluring and enchanting, it is frightening and tense... It is a well-written novel with many literary allusions that makes it pretty interesting to the well-informed reader. Without losing its horror point the novel has parts that will make us smile and parts that will make us even laugh. But not for a moment we aren't going to believe that vampires may not be a possibility... A thrilling novel, that's what it is.
In the novel we encounter some very old and common gothic motifs, such as the function of the house, The Marsten House, as trasmitter of the bad energy in the town, the house as carrier of the cruel things that happened inside it, the house as a reference point to the madness that runs in the minds of its owners. 'Salem's Lot is a town haunted by a house and the vampires are the mere result of its malignity...
Moreover, the whole city itself is a vampire that lurks in the night, a town where everything is well kept from the light of truth; echoes lying in the air like the signals that travelling from the old telephone wires. The city knows the darkness that is hidden within and when the vampire appears everything is ready for it flourish. Most of the town people are ready to embrace the darkness, ready to manifest its existence... and this realisation creates fear and discomfort to the reader because in an instance the familiar becomes unfamiliar and his deepest fears come to the light...
Another common motif is the role of the female in the novel represented by Susan Norton. She is a girl who doesn't fear as she should the filthy "Count" and finally she is trapped by him later to be proved that she was merely an instrument to him.
I could go on for ages writing about all the motives that run through the novel since it is written on purpose to remind us of the old gothic literature. However, it succeeded in being a whole literature text on its own that respects the old texts and that tries to tell also its own story...
Finally, I found more details about the novel and I would like to share them with you:
’Salem’s Lot is a horror novel by Stephen King, written in 1975. It was King’s second published novel. The book was adapted into a 1979 TV miniseries of the same name, starring David Soul and James Mason. A sequel film, A Return to Salem’s Lot, was made in 1987. A new miniseries was made in 2004, starring Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher and James Cromwell.
The title King originally chose was Second Coming, but he later decided on Jerusalem’s Lot. The publishers, Doubleday, shortened it to the current title, thinking the author's choice sounded too religious.
In a 1999 preface to the book, King discussed the importance of Dracula and formulated a theory that The Lord of the Rings was “just a slightly sunnier version of Stoker’s Dracula, with Frodo playing Jonathan Harker, Gandalf playing Abraham Van Helsing and Sauron playing the Count himself.”
Salem’s Lot was the first of King’s books to have a huge cast of characters, a trait that would appear again in later books such as The Stand. The town of Jerusalem’s Lot would also serve as a prototype for later fictional towns of King’s writing, namely Castle Rock, Maine and Derry, Maine.
King revisited the character Father Callahan, the local priest whose faith falters in the dreadful presence of Barlow, in his The Dark Tower series. He appears in Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower, and provides insights into his experiences after being exiled from 'Salem's Lot. In addition, the central characters of the Dark Tower books acquire an actual copy of ’Salem’s Lot at the end of Wolves of the Calla, which leads them to seek out King himself in one of the many realities featured in the series.
’Salem’s Lot was also the first novel by King in which the main character is a writer, a device he would use again in a number of novels and short stories.
Mark Petrie's chant used for repelling the vampiric Danny Glick is reused in another King novel, It.
At one point, Mears explains his experience in the Marsten house, including seeing the body of the dead previous occupant. Mears describes it as being a leftover or a remnant of what had happened there, just like the haunting of the Overlook Hotel in King's The Shining.
The exit sign for the town off Interstate 295 (now part of I-95), is noticed by characters driving past it in Pet Sematary and Dreamcatcher.