Who could be more notorious than Adam and Eve and Lucifer, eh? And yet, as with all notorious beings – whether historical or hysterical, legion or legendary – how we are drawn to their dark glamour, their rebellious shine, their aura of danger!
Attraction to danger, to the dark side, to a disturbed aura is a well-known and documented phenomenon. We see it in literature, in psychology, in survivors’ groups, in our everyday dealings with friends, in our own souls.
To put it in earth-based context, thunder and lightning are both full of exciting energy – though both have the capacity to scare us and, in the case of the latter, to inflict serious damage.
In many ways, falling in love and developing a huge sexual attraction for another is very like being struck by lightning. The way lust lights up the sky of our lives; the way it zings beautifully through our inner landscape; the way it illuminates the darkness and turns us on (for many are secretly excited by storms) – all of these are enormously arousing.
It is, I suspect, no coincidence that my first sexual experience took place during a wild and wuthering storm, and that the backdrop to passion’s heaving gig of primal noises was the full orchestra of thunder, lightning and driving rain!
What is it about those individuals with jagged auras, or disturbing colouration to their energy, though? The Heathcliffs of this world, I mean! What is it about this kind of cruel-edged personality that fascinates so many of us? Why is a frisson of nastiness often more alluring than kindness and sun colours?
Is it all to do with the Fall, whether reality or allegory? Is it the race memory of the delight of temptation, the dizzyingly erotic call of the forbidden? Does light call to darkness and vice versa for some form of completion? Do edgy types quite simply have a greater tank of sex pheromones at their disposal?
Is a storm necessary for the highest expressions of Eros? Is niceness, actually, not particularly sexy? Is the creative side of sexual amour aided and abetted by the merest hint of the destructive?
I think that, for many of us, the Fallen Angel is far more attractive than the Archangelic and ascending variety. We may condemn Lucifer for his rebellion, but we can never forget that his name means Bearer of Light or Morning Star, and that he was, symbolically, an essential counterpart to the God figure.
I have flung myself body and heart into caverns of ice and darkness, sure that I could provide the heat necessary to melt the former and light to heal the latter – but also intrigued by the sheer splendour and beauty of those underground stretches of frozen time.
And I think that the phrase ‘frozen time’ may provide part of the answer, for there is something rigid and unmoving about many fascinators (human, not hat!): Often deeply wounded in early childhood, these people remain stuck – and this can easily be confused with a reassuring firmness of purpose and a rock-like steadiness. But also, and more sinisterly, the frozen aspect can leave them immersed in the hardened amber of youthful beauty and grace far beyond the time for ageing.
Often we sense the portrait in the attic, see it, perhaps, as a sack of darkness attached to the back of the individual we love or lust after. We can feel the reality of Dark Wings, but we romanticise them and sympathise with the act of rebellion which caused our Lucifer – or Lucy – to be thrown down from Heaven in the first place.
But I think it is also very simple: Religion has very much associated sexual desire with the dark side, with guilt, with sin. I think it no coincidence that many priests and priestesses are required to live a life of celibacy and that the great religious icons are portrayed as sexlessly beautiful beings.
I think we are programmed to see sexuality and our own sexual responses as bad, wrong, even evil, an endless wicked striving for forbidden fruit, with the Wrath of God hovering just out of sight if we take the teeniest bite!
And, if this is so – and many of us, at a deep level, see those hidden urges as dark and sinister and wrong – it is, perhaps, not surprising that we seek reassurance, and affirmation, in other dark auras, not always seeing clearly that there is one hell of a chasm between guilt and deliberately choosing the Dark Side.
Perhaps we are just looking for a snake to blame for our own arousal!