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. When I was developing my series, I became fascinated with Indian religions, mythology, and folklore. Indian myths 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 them with a feeling of euphoria. It is likely that traders along the Great Silk Road and the 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 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.
Kali is the great mother, who protects her earthly children.
Denise Verrico is giving away a free ebook of shorts to every commenter at the blogs.
She is also doing a tour wide grand prize basket consisting of a trade paperback of Servant of the Goddess, a Cara Mia t-shirt (XL), a set of posters (one from each book), a pen, a keychain, vampire notepaper and some other small items US entries only.