Vampires and the Nephilim
Written by: Michelle Belanger
A great many of the origin myths I've encountered in the vampire subculture seek to connect vampires with fallen angels. The following is one revision of the Enochian tale of the Watcher Angels that explicitly states that modern vampires are the descendents of the Nephilim. Those groups of vampires who do not look to Egypt for the origin of their kind often fall back upon the Bible. The Old Testament tradition is rich in symbolism, and as one of the oldest pieces of literature known to the West, the myths of the Bible have become a potent and integral part of the Western imagination. These ancient stories still speak profoundly to a wide variety of people, and so it is no wonder that vampires as well find fertile ground for their beliefs in this ancient text.
The story of the Nephilim appeals to some vampire covens, and I have now encountered four separate groups which, independently of one another, chose to identify their vampirism with an inheritance from the Nephilim. The Nephilim were children of angels who came down to earth for the purpose of sleeping with the daughters of men. Some people mistakenly confuse the Nephilim with the angels themselves, but the Nephilim were the half-breed children born of the union of the angels (typically called Watchers) and the daughters of men.
The children of these unions were invariably tall, strong, and especially attractive. (the root for the word Nephilim is given by some sources as meaning “miscarriage” – a grim reminder that the human mothers of these gigantic births rarely survived the process.) The angel-born children were skilled at many things, including magick, divination, art, music, and warfare. They stood out among the ordinary masses of humanity as great souls and leaders among men. But their arrogance prompted the God of the Old Testament to incite the Flood and destroy them all.
Although the Nephilim are given a brief mention in the Bible, the full story of the Watcher Angels appears in an extra-Biblical text known as the Book of Enoch. The following story was originally submitted by a group from the Chicago area circa 1996. Although their myth was not a word for word interpretation of the Enochian text, they presented an interesting variant on the ancient tale. Below is a retelling of their version of vampiric origins.
The very last portion, in particular the injunction against drinking blood, can also be found in the Book of Leviticus.
Thus it was recorded by the wise man, Enoch:
The sons of god looked down upon the daughters of men and they found them fair. But it was forbidden for the sons of god to leave Heaven and walk the Earth. They were overcome with lust for the daughters of men and they greatly desired them. And so a group among them conspired to leave Heaven and go down to Earth.
They left their place from on high. They left the gates of Heaven behind them, and they descended to the Earth. Those who left the hosts of Heaven to walk upon Earth among men became known as the Nephilim.
The Nephilim took to wife the daughters of men and they begat children upon them. And the children were part divine and partly mortal. The children grew rapidly and to great stature. Their bodies were fair and smooth of limb like their fathers, and their minds were keen. Their eyes looked upon the worlds of both Heaven and Earth. The mysteries hidden from men were revealed to their divine sight.
These children of the Nephilim were proud. They became great leaders among men. They undertook to teach their mortal brethren the secrets reserved for the gods. They taught men the art of warfare and how to make weapons in fire. They taught men how to adorn themselves. The art of cosmetics and the wearing of jewelry they taught them. They taught men the secrets of healing herbs and how to call spirits by name. They taught men how to read signs in the heaves. Various omens and divinings they taught them. They taught men how to bring forth water in the desert and how to make plants yield bountiful fruit. All the arts and the sciences which the gods had forbidden they taught to men. They taught them the secrets of living things, that the spirit of a living body resides in its blood, and by partaking of blood, the partaker of the blood gains the power of the creature whose life is in the blood.
When the Lord God looked down upon the Earth, he saw men living like gods. And the Lord God grew angry. He saw that men no longer poured the blood sacrifices upon the altar but kept the life of the blood to increase their own strength. He saw the men with the tools of the gods, making the Earth bountiful as only the gods should do. He saw them piercing the mysteries of the heavens so that their knowledge of themselves and their world rivaled that of the gods. And he saw them with great weapons of war, weapons which only the gods kept for themselves, and he grew afraid.
The Lord God saw the Nephilim amongst the children of men, teaching them. And he saw that the Nephilim had become great leaders of men. And he feared that Nephilim would lead the children of men to the very gates of Heaven to reclaim the realm forsaken by their fathers.
And so the Lord God undertook to punish the Nephilim and wipe their seed from all the Earth. Yet they had so intertwined themselves with the children of men that nearly all men bore the Nephilim's taint. So the Lord God hardened his heart against all mankind and therefore determined to kill every last one.
The Lord God prepared to visit a great Flood upon the Earth which would kill all living things and wash away all the works of the Nephilim. He called together the great hosts of Heaven in council about his throne to prepare for this Flood. The heavenly hosts did not wish to see all men destroyed, and so they pleaded that one household of men should be found and saved before the coming of the waters. The Lord God decreed that this one household must be completely free from the Nephilim's taint, having neither lied down beside them nor learned the Nephilim's arts. This household should still observe the blood sacrifices and must not partake of any portion of the blood for themselves. And if such a household could be found, the Lord God allowed that they be warned.
The Lord God sent his hosts searching all the Earth for one household free of the Nephilim's taint. And they came upon the man named Noah. And it was asserted that neither his parents nor his parents before them had ever lay with one of the Nephilim. Neither had he learned of the Nephilim's arts. And Noah was faithful to his God, and he made the blood sacrifices and neither did he partake of any portion of the blood himself. And so it was determined that Noah would gather all his household to him: his sons and his daughters, and the wives of his sons. And they were to build a great ark and gather into it seven pairs of every living creature so that the Earth would not be desolate when the waters of the Flood subsided.
So Noah gathered to him his sons and the wives of his sons. Also did he gather together his daughters. These pleaded with their father to bring along their husbands as well. And yet the daughters of Noah were married to men who shared blood with the children of the Nephilim. And though many of the Nephilim's ways and their arts were lost amidst the Flood, even so did the line of the Nephilim live on through the children of Noah.
And when the Lord God saw that Noah and his household had survived the floodwaters, he made a covenant with him. The Lord God blessed Noah and swore never again to doom the Earth and all of its creatures to a flood.
And so that the evil of the Nephilim was truly cleansed from on the Earth, God said to Noah: “Flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting. And if anyone partakes of any blood, I will set myself against that one who partakes of blood and cut him off from among his people. Since the life of a living body is in its blood, I have made you put it on the altar, so that atonement may thereby be made for your own lives, because it is the blood, as the seat of life, that makes atonement. The blood is for the gods alone.”