Even Gods Die

I think it began with the Bram Stoker’s Dracula film and the tagline of ‘Love Never Dies’. There’s an obsession amongst romance writers to have vampires, and other immortals as characters. Paranormal creatures used to be monsters and villains. They used to tell us about our own humanity by being beyond it. Now they are eternally young and beautiful, and they will love you forever. In theory, that’s the romantic ideal.

Everything dies, in nature. Even suns and worlds. The gods can die – just think of Ragnarok. Some gods die and are reborn – think of Odin hanging on the world tree, or Osiris torn to shreds.  Gods such as Hercules die in their mortal life and are reborn as gods.

Part of the point, with paganism, is embracing the cycles of life and death. Everything dies, but the energy within us is reused. One way or another. We go into the soil or the flame, we become something else. Our ashes are sprinkled on the land, and something that was us lives on in the plants. Change is essential in the natural world. It brings growth, renewal, possibility. Shed the old skin, take on a new one as spirit flows form one form to another.

To be denied change, to be forever one thing, one body, one face is not nature’s way. To be always youthful and lovely, never able to grow old and die is to miss out on so much of what it means to be alive and human. To me, immortals are the most tragic and cursed of creatures. Doomed to be themselves for all time. It’s such a lonely notion, and the prospect of never changing, of being exiled from nature by your own permanence, is a horrible one. Do I believe that love never dies? I’m not sure. I do know, that stasis and stagnation will kill love. Love needs to live and breathe, to change, to grow, or it withers away. Could you do that with just one person for all eternity? When neither of you is able to change much?

So when I was asked if I fancied contributing to an anthology about Immortal lovers, I said yes, and then I cheated. I thought of the longest living entity on the planet (so far as I know)  – yew trees – and wrote about a dryad. The thing with yew trees is that they can live for several thousand years. Compared to the human scale, that is close enough to forever for me. In theory, if a Yew tree puts down branches, roots them and makes clones of itself, something of the tree might regenerate and live for a very long time. Death is always possible, with all the necessary uncertainty, and the regeneration that brings change and freshness. In modern interpretations of ogham, the yew is very much associated with death, which added a pleasing layer of significance for me. They grow in graveyards a lot. Their wood was once used for making longbows, and these days a cancer drug is derived from them.

Do the classic immortal monsters reflect our fear of dying? I’m not afraid of my own death. I pity those who fear it so much that they could choose to abandon the cycles of life in favour of stasis, and living death. Would I want eternal youth and beauty? No. But it’s interesting to contemplate.

My Dryad story, Death and the Immortal is available from www.loveyoudivine.com and the anthology is on amazon in paperback – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1600543723/ref=cm_cd_asin_lnk

4 thoughts on “Even Gods Die”

  1. Excellent article Bryn. I’m a huge fan of vampires, but not the modern romanticized version. I truly believe that the obsession with immortal creatures such as the vampire is due to the fear of death in society.

    An acquaintance of mine actually told me once that I was weird because I don’t fear death. I tried to explain to her my beliefs, but she didn’t want to hear it. I later realized that she’s an atheist with no spiritual belief at all. She believes when you die that’s it, over and done.

    My interest in vampires is a direct result of my interest in psychology and spirituality. I’ve always been curious as to the extent of the fear that would convince someone it is better to live as a monster, a beautiful one I grant you, than to open one’s self to the possibilities of what lies beyond the death of our physical bodies.

    The idea of what lies beyond this mortal coil is far more seductive to my soul than living forever. At some point immortality in the physical sense it seems would drive the human mind mad. Immortality in the spiritual sense though would seem a release to greater and more fascinating paths. I hope that bloody well made sense. LOL


  2. I work with the assumption that this life is all we get – and treat it accordingly. I sometimes feel that there is more, but, if I treat it like a one shot deal and am wrong – no great loss!


  3. NEVER put a Video at the beginning of any article because I end up watching the video a thousand times ESPECIALLY if its a song I’m obsessed with lol. Corney but I always imagined this song playing in Bound by Blood (in one of the series). Ok so we all have our dreams.

    As far as Vampires…I tend to write beyond what Bram Stoker wrote since to me, he mixed myths and lore and did so poorly. I am not saying his fiction is poor—I love Dracula & other works but the sources he used were not always accurate ones. Then again, that’s fiction isn’t it—creating whatever you want.

    In Bound by Blood, I wrote of the immortal Vampire—or my species that could be compared to…HOWEVER, my Vampires are based more on our beliefs of Gods & Goddesses and not of the superstitious myths that came to pass during medieval times. Mine are immortal beings that live off of blood because its the greatest source of energy, or in the book rather, essence. Every creature big and small has to have a food source. *winks*

    As far as the obsession with Vampires you are thinking of…in my opinion the big deal and admiration concerning them is the whole ‘being swept away to enjoy pleasures we are otherwise denied or should deny based on society rules’. Vampires have a way of of whisking us away, letting us be ‘bad’ and enjoy things we have been taught to suppress. I also think that in terms of ‘monster’ these creatures can reflect our rejected sides…the sides that aren’t deemed so beautiful—therefore through the Vampire they become beautiful. I think that’s why they are often connected with the Fallen Angels because they are Angels—Angels are beautiful and even though they did this supposed evil—they are still beautiful.
    I also think that its not really the obsession of living with someone forever but rather finding someone who loves you so much that they will search the ends of time. Someone who would sacrifice everything and or destroy everything to be with you—in reality maybe not literally but the idea certainly gets people off.
    Great subject. I could go on and on about this subject FOREVER lol


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