Thursday, October 24, 2013

30 Days of Halloween - Day 23: The Blessing of the Werewolf

'Bod limped up the hill and retrieved a folded piece of paper from beneath a stone

The Hounds of God

he read.  It was printed in a purple ink, and was the first item on a list.

Those that men call Werewolves or Lycanthropes call themselves the Hounds of God, as they claim their transformation is a gift from their creator, and they repay the gift with their tenacity, for they will pursue an evil-doer to the very gates of Hell.

Bod nodded.
Not just evil-doers, he thought.'

-Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book (2008), Chapter Three, The Hounds of God
(Illustration by Chris Riddell, from The Graveyard Book)

In this chapter, the young protagonist Bod had been kidnapped by ghouls and spirited into another dimension.  One of Bod's guardians, Miss Lupescu, is a werewolf and this Good Monster chases and overpowers the Bad Monsters, delivering Bod back to safety.  It seems Gaiman is drawing on the legend of the Livonian werewolf Thiess here, who claimed his ability to transmogrify into a wolf was not a curse but a blessing, a blessing he used in service of God and in battle with the devils.

Today I simply want to say that I believe in the Redemption of Monsters.  Theologically, I do think that monstrosity can serve as a powerful metaphor for the curse of sin.  But I also see in Scripture (e.g. Genesis 1:21) that monsters come before the Fall.  So it seems to me that a thorough theology would hold that part of Christ's redemption of the world will be to heal the monstrosity of wickedness and restore true and holy and glorious monstrosity (e.g. Hnakra and Seraphim and Cherubim).

Thus perhaps our Ludic Monstrosity on Halloween night can be not only about playing at the sinister, but also playing at monstrous goodness, growling and prowling not only in a pageantry of the Curse but also of the Blessing.