It seems everywhere we turn these days we are seeing another vampiretv show or movie, from the massively popular Twilight book and movie saga to The Vampire Diaries and True Blood on tv, not to mention the countless other stories with supernatural creatures. I'm a big fan of them but I know that a lot of these aren't even good quality writing. So I asked myself why are all these stories so compelling to me and, judging by their popularity, to many other people. I thought about all the clients and students I know who also are big fans and why they love these stories and I finally figured it out: the Persephone myth.
For those of you who don't know the Greek myth of Persephone, here is a simple version of it: The earth Goddess Demeter had a maiden daughter named Kore who was playing with some nymphs in a meadow one day when she was abducted by the God of the underworld Hades. Now we sometimes say things like "It is hotter than Hades" as if it is a synonym for hell, but that is not accurate. Yes, it is downstairs but it is not the same as Christian hell. It is not particularly hot or evil. Hades in Greek mythology is the place where all souls went when they died. It psychologically represents the darkness of the unknown (the greatest unknown being what comes after death), so it represents the unconscious, the psyche. So maiden Kore is brought underground to be the young bride of the King of the unconscious and the psyche which then makes her the Queen of the unconscious and the psyche. This transition from innocence to insight through death and the supernatural makes her archetypally associated with psychic ability. The transformation is so big that she gets a new name: Persephone. The myth ends with Persephone's mother, the goddess Demeter, being so heartbroken that her daughter has been taken from her to live for eternity underground that she is not able or willing to make spring come back which threatens to starve all of humanity. Without humans, Zeus would have no one to pay homage to him so he negotiates a settlement between Demeter and Hades. Persephone will spend half the year underground with Hades (death, winter) and half the year above ground with Demeter (life, summer).
Like a detective, I started going through each of these stories and saw that there was a consistent pattern that supported my theory. Every popular vampire story of late has a romance between a Hades-like vampire character who because of his death-like status represents the underworld figure; a Kore-like maiden of the light represented by a young, good-hearted, virgin initiated into the dark, like Kore being sucked into the underworld; and lastly, and an element of the psychic. The most recent vampire stories emphasize the Hades-like characters desire to be part of, or connected to the world of the light directly or through Kore.
In The Vampire Diaries, it is partially Elena's independent and strong mind that makes her attractive to the Salvatore brothers, and shows her potential to be good vampire material in the future. Like choosing a Goddess Queen, only those humans who are of unusual quality are chosen in the stories to become vampire heroines. That is because both the role of Goddess Queen and vampire are figures of immortal consorts, like a marriage that lasts forever with no chance of divorce, you would want to make sure you chose someone interesting to spend eternity with.
In Twilight, it is Bella's psychic inscrutability that partially makes her so attractive to Edward who not only embodies the Hades figure by being dead but also by being psychic himself. Like the Salvatore brothers, he can go into literal daylight himself but still needs Bella, as they need Elena, to go into the metaphoric light of life, to keep him connected to the world of life, to wanting to be alive.
In True Blood, heroine Sookie Stackhouse is telepathic and her attraction to vampire Bill is initially fueled by her inability to hear his thoughts. In his deathly presence, she feels the first quiet of her tumultuous psychic life.
In the classic series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, in the episode where Buffy is temporarily telepathic she can't read her vampire boyfriend's mind because as he succinctly explains, "Like the mirror, I reflect no thoughts".
So why would the Persephone myth experience a resurgence of popularity? Because our culture badly wants psychic peace and quiet; we want respite from our manic fear of our own mortality through a glimpse into the unknown. That's the whole point of these stories: the uniting of light and dark transcends the fear of death and gives us insight into the great mysteries of life. In other words, it gives us intuition to see beyond the regular binary way of perceiving our worlds. I think that there is a clear shift in the collective consciousness towards a greater intuition that starts with an idle curiosity, even fascination (evinced by the popularity of shows like Medium, Ghost Whisperer, The Listener, etc.), and ends with a need for psychic harmony and peace that are represented in the vampire/Persephone stories. So I predict that vampire stories will continue to be as popular as they are now as long they continue to capture the zeitgeist of intuition that we are collectively experiencing now.
An increased interest in intuition in our culture is obvious. One just needs to check what is selling in our pop cultural venues from the tv shows listed above to the exponentially growing market of books and classes on intuition and psychic matters. What is less discussed is that people are actually getting more intuitive but don’t know it yet. People aren’t growing more intuitive because of the books. They are buying the books, watching the shows, taking the classes to understand what is happening to them. When I first started teaching intuition seven or so years ago, my classes were full but many of the people there didn’t even know what they had signed up for. I mean they knew the subject of the class was intuition but would actually say to me, “I don’t really know what intuition is”. They had a longing for something that they only knew instinctively. Whenever I asked them questions, they were regularly stumped. Now my classes are full of people who have very definite ideas about what intuition is, answer my questions with confidence, and often have fairly developed intuition for beginners. And when I ask them if they have read any books on intuition or taken classes already, the vast majority say no. So why is the collective’s intuition growing naturally? What I see is that people’s sensitivities in this culture are growing along side of our growing interest in not the occult, but in meditation and other practices of peaceful observation or mindfulness, like yoga. The next step for people is to recognize that their intuition is growing even if they are not making an effort to develop it. Many people who are naturally sensitive are osmotically growing their intuition. It is for that reason that the intuition training I teach through my school, Intuitive Centre, is not just about developing and harnessing intuition, it is about integrating it in a healthy way into our identities and lives. The number one fear of intuition I have heard over the years from countless students is that once they become intuitive, once they touch the unconscious, that they will never be the same again. And my answer is: they are right. You won’t be the same after you develop your intuition, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It wasn’t for Kore who then matured into her full power to become a queen. So next time you find yourself drawn to watching a vampire story, bring into consciousness what your psyche needs for its healing and growth: that the vampire story mirrors your own increase in intuitive interest or ability and shows you in an archetypal way how one can make the transition from Kore to Persephone, and still get to live in the light after touching the great mystery.
The themes this year are self-reflection, disconnecting from our fears leading us, reconnecting with our joy and our true nature, and letting go of any sense of certainty. It’s not party like its 1999, but if the whole system is going to crash, if all the delusions and illusions are going to start to melt then what is real to me? What do I want to get in/do/see/try/taste/experience/be before it won’t be possible? It’s not that it won’t be possible, but there will be a sense of urgency this year, like we are all looking at our bucket lists at the same time. This will give us a sense of the sacredness of life and connection again that we haven’t had as a collective in a very long time, not since the early days of the environmental movement, but where that was about valuing our planet, this year there will be an increased focus in the public discourse on the valuing of human lives, specifically dignity and quality of life. Public organization and policy makers will try to establish a new way of evaluating based less on funding amounts or deaths per capita due to illness or starvation etc but more on suffering. The giant machines of our world, economies, health systems, justice systems etc., will start putting a face to the suffering and it will change the way those systems are run. In the past years, we felt that the paradigm was changing and a lot of these old systems had to topple but this year it will become clear that the systems themselves are just constructs that will remain as long as they are useful and that it is the vision behind these systems that needs to topple and they will: they will be transformed.
In the last few years we have seen a rise in the consciousness around our global misogyny, about the war on women and that will continue but not with as much fighting energy. We will have a wellspring of support from loving, secure men who join the movement to end gender hatred that will come from left field to support the collective unconscious of women to end the collective gaslighting. In other words, this boon of support will help women collectively stop second guessing themselves and this will look like a decline in shrill, hysteric defense and instead a more solid response. As a result, the boundaries of women will get firmer. “You cross this line and exactly this will happen.” The warrior woman archetype came into prominence last year. We can see the rise of this archetype in the collective unconscious with the popularity of The Hunger Game, Divergence, and other stories of young warrior women and we can also see it in real life with the growing girls' and women’s movements, and the poster girl for peaceful resistance, Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Maybe young women today don’t want to be called feminists but who cares if they are standing up for human rights and dignity? The younger generation is redefining the old battle of the sexes because it is no longer cute bra burnings. It is gang rape and lynching of girls, burning girls with acid, a massive sex slave trade, the list of atrocities against woman goes on. And fighting this level of darkness head on is not as productive as changing the fight to level the playing field. Women got smart these last few years and realized we can’t fight for inclusivity and equality and then exclude millions of good men who believe in inclusivity and equality as much as we do. So we are finally including them and changing the whole dynamic of the fight from us vs. them, women vs. men, to human equality and dignity vs. archaic barbarism and gender terrorism and that is a game changing move. By naming the darkness accurately, the human equality fighters gained a lot of power.
Same goes for what is happening in the US with the black rights movement. By filming and naming what is happening accurately, the movement is seeing a resurgence that is every bit as powerful as the 60s. This battle has not played out and will not till 2018 when most things get resolved. I see ratifications to the policies or constitution of the US for the black and other visible minority people like the Hispanics in 2018, but before then I see more widespread rioting in 2015. I see a girl or a mother being shot. So far, it has been mostly black men. One young woman was shot. But I see a girl child or mother sparking widespread, multiple city riots and a strong government intervention. So far, Obama doesn’t want to ignite a racial war in the US by appearing biased towards the black population but he will throw caution to the wind and finally speak out strongly in 2015 flexing his political might in a way that will send a subtle shock wave through the white population of America. There will be a call for more white people who are against this racist violence to stand up with their black brothers and sisters. So again we will see that the best way to tackle bullies is to name them accurately and enlist the aid of those who are against bullying.
This is part of a larger arc in our world back towards love. There is a distinct and noticeable lack of love in the world in the last while. Some call it the Great Intimacy Depression. Others, a pandemic of narcissism. Either way, we are going to see love come back into the world first in the way of inclusivity and then mercy. It will take till 2019 for people to hold hands and sing kumbaya. But it’s been a long time since love had force in the world and we have been waiting for a long time for love to grow a set and it finally has. What this will look like in each of our daily lives is that more people will be standing up and speaking out in the workplace and in relationships where there is bullying taking place and not with hysteria, deep down feeling no one will believe you, or with malice hoping to inflict pain as retribution, but calmly with naming and reference to universal standards of fair conduct and treatment. Everyone is going to suddenly have a touch of Malala, of UN speaker in them. This also means that if you’re the bully, you will be forced to take a long look at why you behave the way you do, that it is ok to seek out help and until you see that bullying others= disconnection from others, you will be stuck in your insecurity and loneliness.
We have as a collective been in a major consciousness growth spurt since 2008 where we are all getting forced to look at our material and the big theme that is emerging for the individual is “What makes me really happy?” What do you really want? What’s really important? With so much being challenged and so much coming to an end, with last year full of death, endings, and letting go, it has forced us all to reconsider what really gives our lives meaning.
In 2015 we will start to wake up to the preciousness of our lives, our time here, our connections, the trust that we have with people, and all that’s beautiful and good. Sacredness will be an emerging theme. Preservation and conservation will extend past the physical fields of the environment, resources, buildings or art into the human factor. The dialogue around workers as human resources to be invested in has already begun on a wide scale but last year it was about human rights. This year it will be about how being good to people will produce better results for all. Companies like Costco vs. Walmart are an example of this already but this will become a sweeping tread even to poorer corners of the world where the conversion of profit-above-all-else mentality into humans-before-all-else-is-profitable mentality. This will blend with the emerging sentiment of education as sacred, children as sacred, womanhood as sacred.
We are already starting to see this theme of sacred in the movement towards scaling down our overblown North American lifestyles with smaller homes, less stuff, more working from home or living off the grid altogether. We will be called back to the land. Many in the coming years will be abandoning old ideas of security like the job-commute-city-mortgage lifestyle in favor of what feels real. Inundated with information and “experts” people will start to trust their instincts, what feels real to them, and what they want, in other words, their heart.
This isn’t a 60’s touchy-feely redux though; in that it does not have at its core innocence. It is the beginning of wisdom in our collective consciousness, the beginning of a true sense of responsibility tethered to a sense of sacredness. So far as a collective our sense of responsibility has been about duty and barely even about accountability, the emphasis being on profit. It was "responsible = contributing to the economic system". If you were decent, kind, hard working, but independent from the system, like living off the grid for instance, or not interested in making money, society would label you as irresponsible, a dreamer, flaky. The idea that responsibility means being fully accountable for the space you take up, the resources you use, the waste you leave and not just environmentally but psychologically, emotionally, energetically will finally come of age this year. People will make up neat acronyms and systems of evaluation and units of measurement for it, but basically this will become woven into our collective consciousness, this new idea of responsibility. So the post-war idea of the “suit” career and attendant marriage-mortgage-offspring-debt-die consumer lifestyle is going the way of the dinosaur. It will take more than 2015 but in several years ostentatious wealth and status symbols will not be wholesale embraced as they have been in our bling-bling obsessed culture of late. Give it about five years and much of what is fashionable right now in our collective from luxury cars and hand bags to elitist attitudes and celebutard culture will look as ludicrous and rabidly insecure as Hummers do now.
The younger generations have embraced geek culture in depth and breadth and we will see fresh ideas and cooperative attitude being the new markers of cool collective-wide. Reality shows will undergo a transformation and although there will always be a market for the lowest common denominator, intelligence will reemerge as culturally valued, after being in shamed and shoved into the the shadows for far too long. By contrast, competition shows will actually be about finding solutions, and gleefully reveling in other’s socio-economic disempowerment will be seen as another form of “hating” or bullying, so goodbye HoneyBooBoo. But these are trends that will take several years to play out.
For now, most of us will feel and have already started to feel the big themes of this year brewing of “What do I want? What really makes me happy? Where do I really want to be? Why/how can I have worked so hard and feel like I have so little to show for it? Screw it- the system is broken. I’m outta here.” Where that “outta here” will be for you, will be your journey this year. It might be metaphorical: leaving an old way of thinking behind, an outdated personal belief, or even dysfunctional family dynamics and old roles. Or it could be literally leaving a job, a career, a relationship, your home, or the country. Last year was about letting go through death, dying, breaking up, and suffering. This year is about letting go through detaching from our fears and even our old dreams, and letting ourselves go back to a tabula rasa state of being, perfect for evaluating, taking stock, and reinventing ourselves and our lives. What we fought kicking and screaming last year, this year we are going to shrug our shoulders and embody one of my favorite mantras “If it doesn’t flow, let it go.” For those that continue to resist all the signs pointing to let go, they will experience more of the 2014 energy of death, illness, dying, getting fired, conflict, whatever it takes until they wake up.
If however, you have finally surrendered to the signs to let go, rebirth awaits you. Happiness is our new northern star and our hearts our compasses. It will be a transformative year full of letting go’s, searching, exploring, trying new things, new beginnings, and even mistakes and changing-our-mind moments, but one overriding feeling will be “Whatever. Better this than that old that!” pointing backwards to the past. There will be a distinct lack of nostalgia. We are not leaving better times behind us. We have better times ahead of us. We may not have sureness or security in 2015, but the time is ripe for change, freshness, cooperation, and trying new things. Like coming out of our terrible teens, this is our freshman year where we get to try a whole bunch of things before we choose our major, before we decide who we want to be, where we want to be, and what is important to us. Don’t look for sureness in 2015 or you will be frustrated and scared all year. Instead, embrace it for the exciting period of self-exploration and rebirth that it can be for you.