Monday, December 6, 2010

Guest: Denise Verrico

Please welcome back to VampChix, author Denise Verrico!  One lucky commenter will win a CARA MIA t-shirt and signed poster, both of which feature the beautiful butterfly cover design by Linda Houle of L&L Dreamspell.  So show Denise some love in the comments!  [Winner announced on Wednesday.]


VAMPIRE LORE OF INDIA
I’m happy to be back again at VampChix!  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 the most familiar vampire myths were spawned in Eastern Europe, a lot of evidence points to the legends first arising out of India.  When I was developing my series, I became fascinated with India.  Indian mythology and folklore give us many examples of vampire-like spirits and deities.  In the various regions are found a plethora of demons that inhabit cremation and burial grounds.  These bear a striking resemblance to the vamps of Eastern Europe.  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 energy yet leave him with a feeling of euphoria.  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. 
One deity 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 three eyes.  She wears body parts as jewelry and has a tongue that sticks out in defiance.  Her favorite places are battlefields. 
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.  Kolkutt (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 tantrism. 
In my reading, I’ve come across only one group associated with Kali that was violent.  They were known as the Thugees.  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 Immortyl Revolution novel, Cara Mia and my current release, Twilight of the Gods don’t deal much with the roots of the India-centered vampire culture that I’ve imagined.  However, the third, My Fearful Symmetry, is told from the POV of Cedric MacKinnon, an adept of the ancient arts or Immortyl temple dancer and courtesan. He’s a member of the chief elder’s household in India.  I wanted for this part of the saga to have an observer of Mia and Kurt’s revolution within the inner sanctum of Immortyl power.  Cedric will be a major player throughout the series.  I’m very excited about My Fearful Symmetry, which is due to be released in May.
Thanks to VampChix for allowing me to share with you today!  
Please visit Denise at her website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook!

6 comments:

RK Charron said...

Hi Michele
Thank you for bringing Denise and her writing to my attention. Thanks to Denise for sharing here. I've put Cara Mia & Twilight of the Gods on my ToBeRead list. They sound very interesting.
All the best,
RKCharron

Shannon said...

I too have always been fascinated by the Indian culture and can't wait to see Denise's view on it. I will pick these books up a.s.a.p

SandyG265 said...

I think that I've only heard of one other vampire book set in India.

sgiden at vverizon.net

Anonymous said...

Fascinating.

I've lived in India for a short time...a very interesting place.

This looks like a great read. Gotta get these on my wishlist...which is growing longer and longer...sigh!!!

Valerie
in Germany

Anonymous said...

I love vampire books that depict different cultures. This series will definitely be one I will be on the lookout for!

Christine
in USA

tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new reads about vampires, sounds different! tWarner419@aol.com