Question of the day: Why are we (modern America) so absolutely, entirely, overwhelmingly obsessed with stories about zombies and vampires? Admittedly, I’ve watched my fair share of True Blood and The Walking Dead, and I’m always asking myself why these gory images are so compelling.
The answer I’ve come to…the zombie and the vampire are both manifestations/symbols of a part of the collective unconscious that is literally permeating every part of our modern life. The vampire is a symbol of manipulation, seduction and persuasion at its worst. Where is this symbol reflected in our outer world? I see it in every fiber of our capitalist infrastructure, every marketing scheme, every advertising campaign, and in our relationships with others. Ever had an “energy vampire” literally suck the life out of you at work or at home? It happens in small ways every…single…day.
We are both manipulating others (the vampire) and being manipulated (unwitting victim) on a daily basis. This perpetrator/victim cycle is reflected in our work relationships, friendships, family dynamics, everywhere. It’s no wonder that we become obsessed with the overt and sometimes comically obvious symbolic images and storylines that these underlying archetypes represent.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just an unconscious thing. The more that we can bring these patterns of behavior and interaction into our waking, conscious life, the more opportunity the psyche has to heal from these hidden wounds. Which is essentially why these images and archetypes exist. They point to a particular type of energetic pattern that is part of the universal human experience. It is universal for humans to feel seduced by a person, a product, a food, an idea…anything can trigger this energy in us. It is also universally human for us to play a part in manipulation or control over someone else. It can be very obvious, like trying to sell something to someone, or a subtle suggestion or innuendo, and anything in between.
What now? Let’s assume you agree with me that the Vampire image is an unconscious symbol of the human experience of manipulation/control and victimization. If we become conscious of this pattern in our lives, what then? The first thing is to recognize this pattern in the outside world (like seeing it in The Walking Dead), the next step is to start to recognize this pattern in our own life, (like trying to get your honey to buy you something or feeling victimized by your boss), the final step is to integrate this pattern into your life and begin to make conscious choices around these energies when they pop up. Maybe that looks like saving up for that thing you want instead of trying to get someone else to buy it for you, or maybe you don’t need it in the first place. Or instead of feeling taken advantage of or victimized at work, you schedule a meeting with this person to talk about the dynamic or quit your job and do something else.
Why is this effective? Because you literally begin to step outside of an unconscious pattern that’s controlling you (another example of the Vampire energy pattern), and integrate your need for control or to be a victim and make choices (maybe making the same choices, maybe not) which could literally change the course of your life.
Okay, now let’s talk about Zombies. What are zombies? Completely unconscious. What do zombies do? They consume. And guess what? WE are unconscious consumers, all…the…time. We consume everything in sight! Food, television, iphones, clothes, ideas, politics, news, the list could go on and on.
So, let’s digest (haha) the symbolism here. Zombies were at one time human (aka conscious), and have degenerated into monsters (our inner demons taking over) and consume only conscious peoples’ brains…leading these new recruits into the same state of monstrous unconsciousness. And the cycle goes on until there are no conscious minds left and we are left with a post-apocalyptic world of hedonism and chaos.
The other interesting thing about these stories is that there are essentially three groups of leftover humans…the fighters or heroes (think Michonne in The Walking Dead), the manipulator or tricksters (who take advantage of the chaos in order to gain control for themselves), and the quitters who either take themselves out or become listless and depressed, thereby adding to the unconscious group of zombies.
I think that most people have felt all three of these energies in the face of adversity at one time or another. There have been times in my life that I have fought against the tide of pain and chaos that seemed too overwhelming to confront, I have been the person to take advantage of a chaotic situation, and I have definitely had times where I have given up and allowed the unconscious pattern to continue controlling aspects of my life and my behavior.
So, we are all zombies, all fighters, all tricksters, and all quitters. Why is The Walking Dead so compelling? Because often, in the face of an unconscious pattern we are all four of these archetypes/energies at the same time. We would love to see ourselves as the perpetual heroes, but there’s a part of us (either unconscious or conscious), that lives out the other three patterns as well.
Now that we know we’re all zombies too, what do we do with this information? We just start to track the pattern in ourselves and others. These patterns of consumerism are repeated in our lives in a million small ways every day. For example, people often eat on the go. We have a short lunch at work, we are on our way somewhere, we are exhausted at the end of the day. So instead of being with our food, smelling it, tasting it, enjoying it, we just CONSUME it. Quickly, thoughtlessly, and then we’re on to the next thing. For some people, eating quickly and unconsciously is fine…they make a conscious choice to do it, it doesn’t affect them or whatever. But for most of us (myself included), we get to the end of the meal, and either we didn’t enjoy it, we’re tired from stuffing it down, we get bloated and uncomfortable…something happens that we wish hadn’t. So instead of being conscious humans eating a meal, we become unconscious zombies; consuming and moving on.
The vampire and zombie archetypes are here and now. Every age has different patterns, stories, and archetypes that come to the forefront of humanity and these are some of the strongest and most common patterns we are dealing with in this century.
As a doctor and self-explorer, these energies are very important for me to keep close in my mind. On a daily basis, I come across patients who have literal eating disorders (zombie) and are struggling with what and how to consume. And other patients who feel sick and victimized by their own bodies, or the medical system or their family or job (vampire). So for me, these patterns are very real and are very much affecting mine and my patients’ health and well-being.
That alone is enough for me to continue to work with these energies in a conscious way. I work on these patterns by recognizing them in myself and others (energy tracking), and by doing bodywork to release them from my physical being (Kundalini Mediumship bodywork). And like I’ve said before, there are a thousand, thousand ways to work on these energetic patterns, it doesn’t have to be the way I’ve chosen. But I would encourage you to take a moment the next time you watch Interview with theVampire or iZombie, to find those unconscious, unintegrated places in yourself, and get to work!
Please feel free to comment, question, disagree, like or whatever this post and please share with anyone who you think would benefit from this type of work! Finally, full disclosure, I recognize that my own projections and biases and patterns will come through in my writing, just know that I am “consciously” working on it!