It is Sunday, meaning that it is once again time for Faith & Healing, the weekly series that examines the role faith has played in my recovery. However, today is also Halloween, a time for demons and darkness and things that wouldn’t typically be in a post about faith. Yet one parallel that has always fascinated me is the parallel between vampirism and communion, and how those connections might play a role in healing.
The connection is something I was thinking about today during communion. Of course, for those of you who follow certain branches of Christianity, you know that communion comes from the Last Supper, when Jesus shared bread and wine, referring to it as His body and blood, and telling His followers it signified the new covenant He was sharing with them. Several denominations believe that the wine used in communion becomes the blood of Christ. And drinking blood certainly reminds me a lot of vampirism.
However, in the case of vampirism, the whole thing works in reverse. Rather than Christ sharing His blood to unite his followers in His covenant, vampires take the blood of their victims, although in a dark and twisted way they unite their victims as well, albeit through the shared status of being victims to vampirism themselves.
Yet both processes offer those involved renewed strength and healing. Indeed, during communion we pray that the body and blood of Christ goes to the nourishment of our bodies. As for vampirism, they are often depicted, starting with Dracula and going all the way through to modern vampire tales, as having above average strength and regenerative properties.
Of course, vampires are not only the anti-Christ when it comes to the symbolism of drinking the blood, but are often said to come from hell itself, courtesy of the devil. Or at least be in the same neighborhood as the devil. This is seen not only in the evil they spread, but their vulnerability, at least in some tales, to holy water and crucifixes.
And for me, I definitely recognize the healing I have experienced from re-finding my faith, and being strengthened through the community created in Christ’s covenant, as well as faith in what I receive when I partake of that bread and that wine. I recognize how its strength can be greater than that of the devils and demons of mental illness, who seek to sap your strength the way the vampire saps their victim of blood. I say this because I was certainly on a dark path at certain points of my depression. I certainly felt the darkness pulling at me during those days, offering me a covenant in alcohol and depression. It was the healing power of the church, that sense of community, and the covenant that I entered into through my faith that, like the crucifix and the vampire, drove the darkness back.
And maybe it isn’t faith, but if you find yourself being pulled in by the darkness as well, I hope you find something stronger to pull you out.
Happy Halloween everyone (and Happy Reformation Sunday as well). Thanks for reading.