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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 22 April 2011

April A-Z: Succubus

The succubus is a female demon who visits men in the night and traps them in lurid dreams. In some versions of the myth, this is in order to gather semen, so that other demons (incubi) may use it to impregnate women, since demons are (obviously) sterile themselves. In other tellings, this temptation of men is an end in itself, or it may be a way of harvesting souls.

The succubus is a motif I've seen used in various ways. Sometimes the night time 'excitement' is enough to prevent a man from having normal relationships, or to destroy his existing relationship. Sometimes it's used as a kind of morality tale, leaving the man physically weak, due to his, er, energy being spent with the succubus. Clearly, succubi have been used as an excuse for wet dreams ('but the demon visited me ...'). On occasion, a man visited regularly by a succubus is being gradually killed.

Interestingly, there is a kabbalistic legend about Lilith (first wife of Adam) being a succubus who uses human men to reproduce (in some versions) or simply seeks to waste the seed of men. This legend, being so old, has diversified into different strands: Lilith may be a succubus and/or a vampire; she may seek to steal or kill children (especially boys); she consorts with demons/fallen angels; her offspring may be generic demons, succubi, djinns or other evil beings.

In searching for an image to accompany this post, I discovered an urban fantasy series featuring a succubus was Richelle Mead's first series. Book 1 is "Succubus Blues" - covers from two different US editions shown right. From her website:

Succubus (n) - An alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men.

Pathetic (adj.) - A succubus with 
great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool blog! I've heard of Richelle Mead's book too. It's on the list of "Things I'd like to read eventually."


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