Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vampire Lore of India and the Power of Kali by guest author DENISE

I thought it might be fun to share some of the lore that ties in with the world building in my Immortyl Revolution novels. Although most vampire myths were spawned in Eastern Europe, a lot of evidence points to the legends first arising out of India. It is likely that traders along the Great Silk Road and gypsies carried these stories west. In Greece, the tales gave inspiration to the Lamiae, or female vampire-like spirits. 
Indian myths and folklore give us many examples of vampire-like spirits and deities. In the various regions are found a plethora of supernatural beings that inhabit cremation and burial grounds, such as the dakini, attendants of Kali. These beings often bear a striking resemblance to the vamps of Eastern Europe, although often they prey upon sexual or spiritual energy instead of blood. Many of these are said to be the spirits of those who died an unnatural death, or a woman who died in childbirth. Others are succubus-like creatures that drain men of potency, yet leave them with a feeling of euphoria.

When I was developing my series, I became fascinated with Indian religions, mythology, and folklore. In my research, I found that one deity is sometimes associated with vampirism is Kali, a fierce form of the mother goddess (Shakti). Like her husband Shiva, she both creates and destroys. She’s often shown standing on his body, symbolizing that in the scheme of the cosmos the male principle is subordinate to that of the female. Kali is usually depicted with dark blue or black skin and a third eye. She wears body parts as jewelry and has a tongue that sticks out in defiance. Her favorite places are battlefields and burial grounds. Kali is often misunderstood in the West. She is the goddess of time, not death as many think. She slays only evil demons. Symbolically, she annihilates the selfish impulses and ego that bind us to our material bodies. Her aspect is fearsome, but she is called Kali Maa (Mother Kali) and is revered in many parts of India. Kolkata (Calcutta) is sacred to her and named for the goddess.

Tantric cults often focus on Kali. Tantrism is an older religious tradition than Hinduism, dating back to the time before the Aryan tribes migrated into India. These groups center on Shakti worship and sometimes use sex and even blood in their rituals. The idea behind this is to gain control over the body to capture divine energy and gain blessings. The adepts of the ancient arts in my novels practice a form of tantra.

In my reading, I’ve come across only one group associated with Kali that was violent. They were known as the Thugees. This is the root of our word thug. These devotees would waylay travelers and use them as blood sacrifices to the goddess. The Thugees inspired the Kali worshipers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They are by no means representative of the vast majority of her devotees. My first two Immortyl Revolution novels Cara Mia and Twilight of the Gods don’t deal much with the roots of the India-centered vampire culture that I’ve imagined. However, my current release, My Fearful Symmetry, is told from the POV of Cedric MacKinnon an adept of the ancient arts or temple dancer in service to Kali. This book gives a different outlook on the revolution and stands on its own. It can be read first in the series.

About the author:

Ms. Verrico is an Urban Fantasy author and New Jersey native who grew up in Western Pennsylvania. She attended Point Park College and majored in Theatre Arts. For seven seasons, she was a member of the Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC. Denise has loved vampire stories since childhood and is a fan of the Dark Shadows television series. Her books are published by L&L Dreamspell Publishing and include: Cara Mia (Book One of the Immortyl Revolution Series), Twilight of the Gods (Book Two of the Immortyl Revolution Series), and My Fearful Symmetry (Book Three of the Immortyl Revolution Series). She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and her flock of seven spoiled parrots.

For excerpts of the Immortyl Revolution Series, character profiles and the Immortyl Lexicon visit

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