I love nothing more than what books seem to bring. Nothing materially is as satisfying for me as obtaining physical books. As I live in a city, people often leave out boxes of books at the curb for people to take what they want, and people seem to have interesting things they are thinking about in my area, so I sometimes have an occasion to pick up a book about something odd that I otherwise wouldn’t have bought on my own, or sought out for that matter. I also used to regularly walk into a book store and clear my mind and allow my intuition to grab whatever number of books I could for the price I wanted to pay that week. I mention this, as bringing books into my life always seems to bring with them wonderful synchronicities with meditations I have going, or I get odd coincidences that I find make life wonderful. I’m going to do future posts about some books which came into my life, and just some interesting things about them for something different to write about.
I wish to tell you now about how I came across Prince Lestat, to my chagrin when walking back from a job interview. I had noticed a cart-like shelf outside a bookstore whereupon was a sign signaling that all books on it were $1 dollar each. As I was trying to express in the first paragraph, with the introduction of books, I often get wonderful synchronicities, at least that’s what I’ll call them as to romanticize the silly coincidences (because why not?). This book lured me to it, as my girlfriend had grown up on Anne Rice’s novels. Knowing she hadn’t read this specific book yet, and that I could finally take a piece of that world into my own mind, I was very glad to have held it from the dollar shelf, when I brought no money with me, except small change. I had saved my subway money by walking instead of taking the transit to and fro for the interview, and figured I’d treat myself to pick up a handful of books so that I have some fiction to read, as I plan to venture into writing fiction (which happened to be a dream of mine as a child that I stepped away from as I could never muster the passion to see through completing a whole book, or fight off the feeling that if I were to write a book, it has to be of importance and really be saying something). Having not read much fiction in a long while, I also grabbed Robert McCammon’s Baal purely for the fact that its pages were red at all the edges, and the cover looked ragged and aesthetically reminded me of an old horror film… which it basically was! (Not to make this post a ramble, but a good example of a synchronicity introduced by books, was that I took a photo and uploaded it to imgur, to access it on my computer to resize adequately to put into this post. The Imgur code generated randomly to the image was EyDSETH – that being funny, due to Seth being the statue standing behind the book, and that Seth is commonly associated as Baal.
(I have the statue of Seth, though it is there representing Samadhi, and is before a black candle (as it is balanced on the other side with a white candle, and a Maat statue guarding it).
I have since read basically every McCammon novel, and he often touched on things I had been writing about, such as hypnosis, I believe he even mentioned Sleep Temples, etc. and I’ll be writing about these McCammon books in the future).
To return to the point of this post!
I was glad to bring Prince Lestat home and to read it. When I had done so, and whilst doing so, I was pondering at times how closely correlated the book was to some Thelemic ideas, and wondered if it had been an inspiration.
To sum up the book, or why I wanted to specifically make this post, in order for you to get the gist of it, let me explain as best I can to cover you in regards to the necessities. Prince Lestat is a vampire who has prominence among vampires, he was a public figure in the vampire and human world as a musician (there was a movie about that called Queen of the Damned, but it was not true to the book apparently!), and he was a novelist who basically gave the vampires in the fictional world their “history books”. He happens to, like all vampires in the book, cry blood, but he seems to do it a lot.
A prominent, and I guess new introduction into the series with this book were the scientists who happened to be “brought into the blood” (aka turned into vampires), the most prominent being one named Fareed, who was turned by an ancient old one named Seth. The pair were running a large operation, doing experiments trying to figure out about their kind, what vampirism does to their genes, etc. how their tissues stay fine, etc. Adding complications to this, there’s an issue for the species in dealing with the main heart or core that keeps them all alive, and currently it’s in a useless vessel named Mekare.
Maharet and Mekare are twin sisters who happened to be witches that channeled spirits in Egypt way back when, they ended up bringing in an evil spirit named Amel. Some necessary back story from Wikipedia about these characters: “Upon reaching Kemet, the twins learn what has happened. Amel had developed a taste for blood, and one of his favorite torments was pricking people and causing them to bleed. Akasha and Enkil had been stabbed, and as they lay bleeding to death, the spirit of Amel could be seen in the form of droplets of blood. The spirit was seen to dive into Akasha’s body, and she was somehow regenerated in a new form. Akasha fell upon Enkil, draining him of the blood that was left, and then feeding him her own. They were the first blood-drinkers.
Akasha and Enkil had summoned the twins in the hope that the witches could enlighten them on the form that they had taken, and how they could satisfy their endless thirst for blood. Mekare grows angry after taunts from the Queen and King and curses the Queen, also labeling her The Queen of The Damned, promising her that when the time was right, she would return to destroy the Queen one day. The twins are thrown into jail to be put to death the next evening, but not before Mekare’s tongue and Maharet’s eyes were cut out.”
Lestat had killed the Queen, Akasha, and the “core” was put in Mekare. Anyways, if the core dies out, they all die. There’s lots of stuff for the scientists to study, and Seth has big plans, they even figure out how to restore Lestat’s fertility and in an experiment they bring his child into the world (unbeknownst to him until much later in the story).
Seth, as described in the book, “Seth was the ancient one, and as always with those great survivors, I knew him by his heartbeat long before I ever saw him. They can cloak their minds, these antique monsters, and they can pass for human, yes, no matter how old they are, and they do. But they can’t stop an immortal like me from hearing that heartbeat and along with it a faint sound like respiration. Only it sounds like an engine purring when it comes from them. And that’s the signal of course to run unless you want to be burnt to a fine black powder or a little grease spot on a pavement.” That passage written from the perspective of Lestat (as he’s writing the book). The mention of being burnt is that these older vampires get a fire ability, and can burn younger vampires up by this special fire vision.
The story is that the young vampires aren’t coordinated, there’s too much chaos, and there are burnings happening, and it’s discovered that Amel (the spirit/voice) visits various vampires and takes knowledge of all their feelings/thoughts, etc. and engages in conversation with them, usually these exchanges are harsh and invasive, with him asking them to carry out mass purges and attacks on vampires. This has caused the rise of an online/radio broadcaster character who is fighting for justice and is looking to keep people safe in the time they’re in, who is with a collective of vampires that are backing Lestat to help restore order to their world.
This voice of Amel is shared by the species and he/it head-hops to different people, including Lestat who is one of the few hosts who tries to understand it and has a bond to it that the others don’t. Almost like a tolerance to it being present and the power it contains. Lestat has a reputation as being the “brat prince”, but he is also the elected leader due to his past actions, and celebrity, and he is chosen by Amel as the most ideal permanent host for this most ancient power which goes back apparently before Egypt to the days of Atlantis.
Anyways, the story goes on, the voice is revealed to be a kind of collective burden of the minds of the whole species, and could only be bared by the most appropriate vessel. The spirit was angry trapped in Mekare (who was barely functioning), and wanted to jump into Lestat after weighing its options. Lestat being most equipped but also most resistant to the influence of the voice, when in others heads it would make them act violently and burn vampires, etc. The thing being revealed that the more the “blood” was diluted and the more vampires there were, the weaker the stronger ones were and the spirits were drained, etc. So by culling them off, they returned to accessible energy for the spirit,or something like that.
It’s very symbolic of the shadow, not only of the self, but of the whole of society. The collective wrong-doings having made up what the world is, and making it chaos, the chaos being present due to the “blood” not being in accord with itself, the parts not recognizing their parts in the whole.
I mentioned Lestat had a kid, he also has a woman he had adopted, a character named Rose, whom Lestat spoils, and she ends up falling in love with Lestat’s son… But she was only adopted due to incidents with her family, she lived with an aunt and he provided money for her living situation… Anyways, near the end of the book, Rose and his son are with him, and Lestat retreats to his room, leaving the drama of his family and environment after lots of things happen and the books winding down, and he speaks to the voice of Amel in his head. He tells the voice that it is being quiet, but he knows it is present. The voice comes in and confirms its presence, and then asks him to recall a friend he knew as a boy, making Lestat bring up memory of speaking endlessly day and night for months with his friend, who happened to be named Nicholas. Amel, the voice, then asks of Lestat if he remembers what he called such long flowing exchange, and Lestat knowingly recalls that they had called it “conversation”. Anne Rice adds emphasis of this by having Lestat repeat the line, which is followed by Amel replying, “Well, we are having ‘our conversation,’ aren’t we?”, adding as well, “And our conversation will go on forever. There is no need for haste.” With receiving this latter line, Lestat is filled with warmth as if wrapped in a blanket of love. He then confirms, this is their conversation.
Of course, I found that odd, as I was meditating on the idea of the book being symbolic of the Thelemic process known as Knowledge and Conversation of the HGA. Everyone in the story battles with this internal voice, it drives them to act in ways they do not wish to, and not all can experience the burden of true knowledge, and they cling to delusion and it drives them to madness and irrationality. The whole story reminded me of a metaphor of enlightenment, the vampires in it often drawing upon references of stars and space, and referencing their fountain of immortality. Lestat’s name being Lioncourt, I thought of lions and alchemy, the book was quite well-written and I couldn’t help but think there was a deeper meaning to what I was seeing on the pages.
Lestat in meditation at one point realizes that the voice that he had fought off, and prayed would return when it was off influencing others, was the voice in his head that was present during his triumphant moments in life, etc. all along. That it was always there (if memory serves me right). So perhaps the book is speaking of being in a kind of dissonance with oneself, causing a conflict between mind and body and making an integration with them, or conversation between them, impossible.
As I started this post by mentioning synchronicities, I had been by chance getting inundated with Atlantis stuff (from returning to Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods after seeing Gobekli Tepe mentioned in Prince Lestat), and in Prince Lestat it had the word Ragnarok in it, which made me pull Ignatius Donnelly’s The Destruction of Atlantis: Ragnarok, or the age of Fire and Gravel off my shelf (which led to downloading Donnelly’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World‘s audiobook free from LibriVox). While come the end of Prince Lestat, I enjoyed it to my surprise, yet I wasn’t too eager to jump in and read the previous books of the Vampire Chronicles series (not that I’d object to if I happened to spot them free somewhere), but I wasn’t left with the impulse to buy any. Though, at the end of the book, with Lestat having this previously chaotic voice now inside him, and him choosing to do its will in keeping it in check, I am left curious as to where the story will be going next… and the next book in the series by Anne Rice is by chance called Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis!
…So I’ve given myself the excuse to read that one too.