Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en! Bram Stoker, Dracula, Whitby, astrology..

Hallowe'en! A look at Bram Stoker, author of "Dracula" and other stories touching on the weird and the occult.

Wouldn't you just know that he was born with both Sun and Moon quite close together in....Scorpio?
8 November 1847 in Clontarf, near Dublin, Ireland. His time of birth isn't known, but the Moon would have been in Scorpio whatever the time, and quite likely not far from his natal Sun.

Mercury, the writing planet in Sagittarius, in helpful trine to Uranus, planet of the unexpected and futuristic can clearly be seen coloring his weird and wonderful tales, blending with Scorpio's sinister darkness. Jupiter, planet of publication and exaggeration forms another helpful trine, this time to to his Sun (and maybe Moon too), reflecting the spread of Bram Stoker's stories both before and after his own death.

In the town where we live, in south-west Oklahoma, Bram Stoker is remembered and honored in this amazing Hallowee'en display in someone's front yard - spotted (you can't really miss it) by my husband this week, camera at the ready!.

Inspiration for Stoker's famous Gothic novel "Dracula" came from a visit to Whitby - I know it well - a town on the north-east coast of England, not too far from my own old hometown.

(Whitby)" is an ancient village first settled in the 5th or 6th century AD. In 637 AD a Catholic abbey was built nearby.... In 1077, the abbey was rebuilt in the foreboding gothic style of the medieval time. Now, the abbey ruins (see above) brood on the outskirts of Whitby. The commanding presence of towering stone façades pierced with sightless arches can cast the eerie shadow of folklore on even the most unimaginative mind.

It was into this harbor of history and myth that Bram Stoker sailed in 1890. He had been working on a novel inspired by Hungarian adventurer Arminius Vambery who had regaled Stoker with eastern European tales of the blood-hungry living dead. Whitby proved to be the perfect setting for Stoker to derive some of the more intriguing details for his book. He was so impressed by the surrealistic, menacing aspects of the immense stone abbey and St Mary’s Cathedral looming over the small town, that he used Whitby in his novel Dracula as the place where the seductive Count meets and kills Lucy.

While in Whitby, Stoker stayed at a small inn on the river. Every evening at dusk the local pigeons would sit on the window ledge and tap mindlessly at their reflections in the glass. Stoker incorporated this sound into his novel as Dracula tapping with long, sharp nails on Lucy’s window, demanding entrance. The bats residing in the stable behind the inn lent another aspect to Stoker’s main character: his ability to shape-shift into not only bats, but also black dogs and mist. (Right: Christopher Lee as Dracula)..............................
Stoker visited Whitby several more times over the next few years. The novel Dracula was completed and published in 1897 to little acclaim. The book did not become widely popular until Hollywood began filming versions of the work in the early 1900s, a few years after Stoker’s death in 1912.
(Read the rest HERE)

A postscript for astrology buffs: in another of Stoker's books, "The Jewel of Seven Stars", at chaper XVI, Powers - Old and New, one of his characters has something to say about astrology:
".........Once, in the midst of a most learned dissertation on the growth of Egyptian Astrology, he broke put on a different subject, or rather a branch or corollary of the same:
'I do not see why starlight may not have some subtle quality of its own! We know that other lights have special forces. The Rontgen Ray is not the only discovery to be made in the world of light. Sunlight has its own forces, that are not given to other lights. It warms wine; it quickens fungoid growth. Men are often moonstruck. Why not, then, a more subtle, if less active or powerful, force in the light of the stars. It should be a pure light coming through such vastness of space, and may have a quality which a pure, unimpulsive force may have. The time may not be far off when Astrology shall be accepted on a scientific basis. In the recrudescence of the art, many new experiences will be brought to bear; many new phases of old wisdom will appear in the light of fresh discovery, and afford bases for new reasoning. Men may find that what seemed empiric deductions were in reality the results of a loftier intelligence and a learning greater than our own. We know already that the whole of the living world is full of microbes of varying powers and of methods of working quite antagonistic. We do not know yet whether they can lie latent until quickened by some ray of light as yet unidentified as a separate and peculiar force. As yet we know nothing of what goes to create or evoke the active spark of life. We have no knowledge of the methods of conception; of the laws which govern molecular or foetal growth, of the final influences which attend birth. Year by year, day by day, hour by hour, we are learning; but the end is far, far off. It seems to me that we are now in that stage of intellectual progress in which the rough machinery for making discovery is being invented. Later on, we shall have enough of first principles to help us in the development of equipment for the true study of the inwardness of things."


anthonynorth said...

A great writer and a great little town. I remember many visits to Whitby throughout my early years.

Twilight said...

AnthonyNorth ~~~ Me too! It's very picturesque and atmospheric.
I was sorry I didn't get to take my husband up there during the time he was in England. It's a wee bit hard to reach by public transport. :-)

Candela said...

I remember reading "Dracula" in late Autumn when I was 16 or 17 and honestly being scared of going to shower for a week or so because all I could see from the bathroom window was the dark skies and leafless treetops in the wind...
That was during what I now call "Pluto in Scorpio Vampire Boom". Gothic horror always has a certain appeal to teenagers (undoubtably especially those with a strong Scorpio), but that certainly was an amazing time for the genre. Anne Rice wrote a best seller after one and there were several mainstream, high production value TV and film production that dealt with these themes (although "Interview With The Vampire" was a major letdown for the fans, to begin with the casting that really didn't make any sense).

Twilight said...

Candela ~~ Hi! I remember those Pluto in Scorpio times. :-)

There has been a flurry of vampire movies and TV shows recently too- the "Twilight" movies, and "True Blood", some others too. I'm at a loss to account for them astrologically though. They don't appeal to me one bit. For me, that genre belongs to the past, and ought to stay there. ;-)