Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Vampire Tarot, Dracula & Carl G. Jung

"The vampire of European legend is a repulsive, ugly monster, the stinking reanimated bloodsucking corpse of a criminal, a suicide victim, an alcoholic, a heretic or other social misfit who crudely preys (on others);...folk beliefs do not attest to the intelligence of this monster...who rarely strays far from home.

+However+, the vampire of modern novels and cinema bears little resemblance to his folkloric predecessor. He is likely to be a romantic wealthy noble who has lived for centuries, travels far, has his choice of beautiful women for prey, intelligence (etc.); he or she may also be beautiful and the focus of sexual desire.

To comprehend the connection, and yet dissimilarities, between the folk and the literary fantasy, the observations of the famous pioneer of psychology, C.G. Jung (1875 - 1961) are helpful. Jung observed that whereas passive fantasy -- the fantasies produced in dreams, visions, delusions and folktales -- "bear a morbid stamp," active fantasy -- a therapeutic, conscious exploration of a fantasy, one that takes place in the arts as well as in therapy -- "is one of the highest forms of psychic activity." Applying this observation to our vampire theme, we see that the folk traditions of the vampire are passive fantasies and bear a morbid stamp. In Jungian terms, this morbid quality occurs because these fantasies are unconscious projections of fears that derive from a powerful inner force or archetype. The archetype that they derive from is one that Jung termed the Shadow, which is a depository in the unconscious for all aspects of the personality that most people consciously disown.

The literary vampire, on the other hand, is a work of art, which is a conscious exploration of the unconscious. The archetype that it calls on is primarily the one that Jung labeled the Anima (male psyche) or Animus (female psyche)...personifications of the soul that can appear as either a negative or positive influence. In fact, when explored in a fantasy, the Anima or Animus tends to transform from negative to positive and become a guide to greater wisdom. Because it is a conscious fantasy, the literary vampire is a personification of the Anima or the Animus, and owes more to the mythical themes of gods and lovers...that is why it can become the theme of a Tarot deck."

[The Vampire Tarot book, pages 69 & 70]

As an armchair student of Jung's, I found this fascinating! Sorry for any typo's that I might not have caught after proofing.

p.s.: I should add that I wasn't aware Mr. Place is a student of Jung's nor that Jungian psychology is applied to "Dracula" in this book and Tarot, when I purchased it. What a delightful surprise this has been! :-)


Karswell said...

Very cool post! I have a friend who will find this very interesting too, though I'm sure he probably already knows about it as he's a Grand Master of Tarot himself:

(PS: I designed his website too.)

Cindy M said...

Hi Karswell. :-) One comment Mr. Place goes on to make which puzzles me, though, is HIS being puzzled as to why Dracula continues to be sexually appealing to women through the 20th century and to now, considering Victorian mores and repression are gone. Mr. Place should know the answer: Dracula is a negative Animus. I have a negative Animus as well (not Dracula).

Thanks for posting your friend's link. I'll check it out.