The character of Dracula in Bram Stoker's enduring classic has occult associations with the astrological zodiac as well as the Tarot deck designed by Miss Pamela Colman Smith.
It should be mentioned that Miss Smith traveled with the stage acting Company of Sir Henry Irving whose stage manager was none other than Bram Stoker. Both Miss Smith and Bram Stoker were members of the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn in England. (The Templar Revelation by Lynn Picknett, p. 201)
The Struggle Between the Forces of Light and Darkness
Bram Stoker's novel is fundamentally a struggle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. These forces are epitomized by the antithetical characters of Count Dracula and Miss Madam Mina. Bram Stoker's classic is a cornucopia of themes arcane and esoteric that has eluded the pop-culture that has coalesced around the novel.
While speaking to Mina, the metaphysician, Abraham Van Helsing remarks: "There are darknesses in life, and there are lights; you are one of the lights." (Dracula, p. 181)
Jonathan Harker remarks in his diary, upon first meeting Dracula at the castle: "[He was] clad in black from head to foot." (Dracula, p. 15)
The notion of the struggle between light and darkness is woven into the very fabric of the novel, for example: "There was a bright full moon, with heavy black, driving clouds, which threw the whole scene into a fleeting diorama of light and shade as they sailed across." (Dracula, p. 89) Dracula himself is distinctly associated with "blackness" regarding his great black hat, his being attired totally in black, his four black horses harnessed to his black coach, the black windows on his castle, his traveling on the black sea, and his nightly mischief. (pp. 9,13,332)
Mina, on the other hand, is associated with light and regarded as being one of the lights in life. Her favorite stone seat at St. Mary's Church graveyard had a great search light behind and above her--the two lighthouses at the entry to Whitby Harbor just below St. Mary's Church.
Associations with the Zodiac
Bram Stoker's Count Dracula is also associated with the astrological zodiac. He embodies the signatures of the astrological sign of Leo. Leo is the sign representing Kingship, authority, the need for recognition, willpower and dominion. Leo is the primary beastial sign of the zodiac.
The lion is the king of beasts and lord of the jungle. The following citations exemplify Dracula's link to the sign of Leo:
On p. 20, Dracula remarks:
I have been so long master that I would be master still—or at least that none other should be master of me.
A few pages later, there are even more references that reflect the sign Leo:
Whenever he spoke of his house he always said "we" and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking.
We Szekelys have a right to be proud ... who fought as the lion fights, for lordship.
(Dracula, p. 28)
The metaphysician, Abraham Van Helsing, after causing Dracula a setback, remarks: "The first gain is ours! Check to the king!" (Dracula, p. 146)
Bram Stoker incorporates an idealized astrological template into his classic. The novel opens in the month of May and closes in early November. This is a period of approximately seven astrological signs.
Leo has as its ruling planet the Sun, which symbolizes vitality and authority. The three decanates of the sign of Leo are ruled by the Sun (1st), Jupiter (2nd), and Mars (3rd). These planets symbolize, respectively, kingship, expansiveness, and impetuous willpower.
The following remarks by Dracula to Mina exemplify the combined components of Leo:
Then he spoke to me mockingly: And so you, like the others, would play your brains against mine. You would help these men to hunt me and frustrate me in my designs!
(Dracula, p. 284)
The metal associated with the astrological sign of Leo is gold. When Jonathan Harker almost stabbed Count Dracula in the heart Jonathan remarked: "As it was, the point just cut the cloth on his coat, making a wide gap whence [came] ... a stream of gold coins." (Dracula, p. 302)
Assuming Count Dracula's. campaign of mischief began at the height of his power in the sign of Leo representing the need for recognition, the Sun would be in the sign of Aquarius at the novel's conclusion. So at the beginning, the Sun was in its dignity in Leo and was in its detriment in Aquarius at the end.
Recall that at the novel's beginning Count Dracula was seen wearing a haughty great black hat. Yet, as the tide of events turned against Dracula he was seen fleeing England wearing a straw hat! The astrological sign of Aquarius is the polarity of the sign of Leo.
As the sign of Aquarius rules large birds, the following remark by Mina is pertinent: "She [Lucy] was fast asleep, and by her, seated on the window-sill, was something that looked like a good-sized bird." (Dracula in his changeling form, p. 94) The modern planet that rules the astrological sign of Aquarius is Uranus (the planet of reversal's and upheavals}.
When Jonathan Harker arrived at Count Dracula's castle, the Count boasted in the following manner: "Ah, sir, you dwellers in the city cannot enter into the feelings of the hunter." (Dracula, p. 18) As the novel proceeds and unfolds this statement by Count Dracula will be mocked.
As the campaign begins to stamp out the Count, Madam Mina exclaims: " I feel myself quite wild with excitement. I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as is the Count. That is just it, this thing is not human--not even beast." (Dracula, p. 226) Recall that Count Dracula mentions that he fights as the lion fights ... for lordship. (Dracula, p. 28)
Dracula and the Tarot
Count Dracula is also associated with several Tarot cards of the major and minor arcana in the Tarot deck designed by Miss Pamela Colman Smith. In the major arcana,
- IX THE HERMIT is an old man dressed in black looking down from a pinnacled mountain;
- XVI THE TOWER is a castle shown being struck by lightning perched on a high mountain top; and
- XV THE DEVIL shows the satanic goat seated in a position of rulership and dominion.
In the minor arcana:
- ACE of SWORDS shows an unsheathed sword held upright with a king's golden crown at its apex with a broken garland of peace dangling from it;
- IV SWORDS shows a young man laying upon a coffin with a sword embossed upon the side of the coffin. (Note: the man is laying inside a chapel);
- II WANDS shows a nobleman standing upon the battlements of his castle holding a globe of the world in his right hand looking out over the sea.
Returning to the notion of the struggle between the forces of "Good" and "Evil" as personified by Mina and Dracula, the metaphysician Abraham Van Helsing mentions that Mina has a 'man-brain' (pp. 232, 335), while Dracula has a 'child-brain' (p. 398). The difference between the two types of brains is, according to the metaphysician, that the 'man-brain' is not all selfish and has not cut itself off from God's grace. On the other hand, the 'child-brain' is all selfish.
The major arcana of the Tarot has two cards that definitively and distinctly correlate with Mina (man-brain) and Dracula (child-brain) . These are, respectively, the EMPRESS CARD and the DEVIL CARD. The link between these two cards and the characters of Mina and Dracula is established through an occult kabalistic method found in a work titled the Kabala Of Numbers by "Sepharial" (published by David McKay in 1920).
The following is a brief and concise elucidation of the several steps of the kabalistic method that establishes the occult link between these cards and two characters:
1) The so-called "Hebrew Code" is comprised of several clusters of the English alphabet's letters that are equated with a specific number: (From Kabala of Numbers, p. 30)
A I Y Q J
B C K R
G L S
D M T
U V W X
F Ph P H
2) From the Kabala of Numbers, p. 62:
To each letter of the alphabet a ... value is given, the valuation following the "Hebrew Code" as already given. These values are then multiplied by the inverse order of the letters, the products being finally added together. The unit value of the sum of the products constitutes the kabalistic key number. This key number being referred to the Tarot, an interpretation is given.
3) The expression in "2" above regarding the instruction "inverse order of the letters" refers to the specific number of letters in a chosen name. In this case "MINA" has four letters while "DRACULA" has seven letters. The following elucidation of the kabalistic method will readily clarify the terminology of entry #2 above:
4 X (M) 4 = 16
3 X (I) 1 = 3
2 X (N) 5 = 10
1 X (A) 1 = 1
"30" is the sum of the products
4) The expression "unit value" refers to the sum of the integers comprising the sum of the products, namely: 3 + 0 = 3.
The number "3" being the unit value which keys to the third card of the major arcana of the Tarot designed by Miss Pamela Colman Smith. The third card of the major arcana is THE EMPRESS. Some of this cards designations are-- First offspring of the divine will and imagination (Kabala of Numbers, p. 27)
Recall that the metaphysician, Abraham Van Helsing, refers to Madam Mina in the following manner:
She is one of God's women fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist ... and that, let me tell you, is much in this age, so skeptical and selfish.
(Dracula, p. 185)
In addition to the EMPRESS CARD (III) of the major arcana of the Tarot Deck designed by Miss Pamela Colman Smith there is one other Tarot card of the major arcana titled "THE MUZZLED LION" (VIII) which portrays a woman attired in white with an infinity sign above her head calmly shutting the mouth of a lion! Some of the designations of the card are conquest, determination, and vitality. (Kabala of Numbers, p. 28)
7 X (D) 4 = 28
6 X (R) 2 = 12
5 X (A) 1 = 5
4 X (C) 2 = 8
3 X (U) 6 = 18
2 X (L) 3 = 6
1 X (A) 1 = 1
"78" is the sum of the products
Therefore, the unit value of the sum of the integers "78" is 7 + 8 = 15. The number "15" is the key number that correlates to the 15th Tarot card of the major arcana which is XV THE DEVIL. Some designations of this card are evil, malice, and lawlessness. (Kabala of Numbers, p. 29)
Recall that Count Dracula had thrown down the gauntlet to Madam Mina about her daring to play her brains against his? (Dracula, p. 284)
In conclusion, I wish to mention the comment made by Alice in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" as she was about to awake from the terror of a bad dream where the Red Queen was shouting at Alice: "Off with her head!" to which Alice retorted: "Who cares for you? ... You're nothing but a pack of cards!" (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, p. 109)
Article by Walter Cambra
- Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland & Through The Looking-glass (and what Alice Found There). Edited with an introduction by Roger Lancelyn Green. " Illustrations by John Tenniel. Oxford University Press 1971. (First published, with revisions, as a World's Classics paperback in 1982).
- "Sepharia1" (Walter Gornold). Kabala of Numbers (Part 1). New edition enlarged and revised. David McKay 604-608 South Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA. 1920. Kessinger Publishing's Rare Mystical Reprints.
- Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Everyman Publication. Editor: Marjorie Howes. Rutland, VT, USA. 1995 edition.
- Waite, Arthur Edward. The Rider Tarot Deck (With an accompanying instruction booklet). Made in Switzerland expressly for U.S. Games Systems, Inc. New York, New York, USA. (Designed by Pamela Colman Smith)
- Picknett, Lynn and Prince, Clive. The Templar Revelation. Simon & Schuster: New York City, New York, USA. 1998.