A single candle now illuminates this night, my dark night. The day was crowded with the usual trivial chatter, warm bodies and frantic activities. Now as the daylight scurries away in the dusk, blessed solitude and the approaching darkness somehow seem made for each other. It is a special combination, appreciated only in the rare, quiet moments we humans allow ourselves just to be ourselves. Solitude, without any electronics, family or other such nonsense, gives rise naturally to thoughts of aloneness, loneliness and transformation.
It is self evident that we are but small flames that flicker weakly in the darkness before being extinguished either by burning through our inadequate allotment of wick and wax or being blown out by the seemingly capricious breeze of divine breath. If this seems grim, it it is only because we focus solely on our own flame. Looking outward into the night, we can spy other flames dancing in the darkness. These other candles illuminate and warm our paths to varying degrees. They are the light transforming our spiritual way, sometimes doing this with a strong light. Sometimes this happens with a faint light or one barely detected at all. All we have to do is look with our divine eyes rather than our physical ones.
Transformation has a language rarely articulated by mere words even though important ideas are shaped by words. It is in the thinking of these that transformations become images, knowledge and emotions that can be understood only on a spiritual level. As I contemplate such mysteries at my quiet desk at this still time of night, one Mr. Bram Stoker pulls up a chair next to me, reading the words I type from over over my shoulder. Ahh, brilliant, imaginative Bram! So good to see you! You were a romantic Irishman who transformed a 15th century Romanian prince, the depraved Vlad the Impaler, into the fascinating vampire, Transylvanian Count Dracula. This you did with nothing more than a gifted story teller’s ability for describing your dark fantasies with exceptional drama and flair, a relatively modern druid examining our fears of the unknown. Yours was an ancient tale dramatically retold around a bonfire circled by humans fearful of the dark and separation from tribal connections. Did you foresee how many permutations of your story were to come? Did you know of how the later transformations neutered the deeper underlying spiritual questions conjured by spilling either actual or metaphoric blood to continue his or her existence? Or of how the abhorrence of one who lights his or her own candle at the expense of others has been negated?
A once lyrical tale has been diluted from a terrible tale of loneliness and transformation into many culturally superficial ones designed for entertainment only. The attendant spiritual questions concerning the cruelty of our actions towards our fellow humans, our entirely mistaken ideas that we need to hurt and kill others to survive, and indeed thrive, have been obscured by childish tales of romance and revenge along with equally immature notions of justice. Rather than speaking deeply to the shadow archetypes of the soul, there are now nonsensical platitudes assure that every thing will be alright in the end, a vision of life that is utterly bound in mindless conformity. This spiritual death, a suffocation of the soul’s transformation through banality.
Bram, I wonder what you make of these latest shows, the modern version of the bards of old? Of particular curiosity is a fairly obscure British production titled “Being Human” in which an extraordinarily handsome but thuggish Irish vampire petulantly demands penance for his out of control sins from all concerned. The American productions of the vampire legend have all become pop culture caricatures not worthy of mention but the British one is interesting in the devolution it presents. Though British show is riddled with more than its fair share of cultural cliches, it s produced in the country in which you did most of your writing and had your career. Surely this not what you had intended all those years ago, to see your splendid creation become now a shallow rehashing about a stereotypical Irish drunk steeped in equally stereotypical Catholic guilt, albeit cloaked as vampirism instead of alcoholism. “Tis but typical, then” Bram speaks softly in the darkness as the he toys with the lit candle on my desk, “ once a transformation has begun, its course is entirely unpredictable. One would like to think it leads to a glorious illumination of the soul but…”
Now we are speaking of the common weaknesses of the human soul, the flickering flame. The tale often dilutes in the telling, the message becomes a faint light from a glowing screen somewhere, easily flicked off by a switch. The dim lights along the path offer some illumination, but it is well to shield from the pitfalls they may cause. Poorly lit paths offer as many dangers as ones not lit at all. There are many other candles in the dark and the strong ones guide the soul towards the hard questions that lead to the blessings of genuine spiritual transformation. With a warm smile and nod of the head, Bram takes my candle and lights his own with it before taking his leave. We understand the stories told, the spiritual questions answered and asked. It seems fitting we share our fire.