Self-Identification Questions for Sangs, Psys and Otherkin

While this list is not meant to be definitive, like a pass-or-fail exam or a checklist, it can be considered a starting point for more accurate self-identification in any of these three categories.***

When considering if one is a Sang Vampire, use the following questions to help navigate the next steps in remaining healthy–

What are my body’s noticeable physical benefits from ingesting blood?

Do I have any noticeable physical detriments when I do not ingest blood?

Desire to ingest blood aside, what are the physical benefits that I experience when I actually do ingest blood?

Fantasies of biting or violent extraction aside, do I experience a physical benefit from blood drawn in a safe, clinical manner?

If I could have a regular, clean blood donation without any of the role play or fictional scenario found in movies, would I still be interested?

If regular blood donation came with the insistence that I keep it private and not attend any public vampire events or vampire groups, would I agree to the conditions?

Do I have an emotional investment in being seen as a Sang by others, even if I have a lack of evidence to support any benefits in blood drinking?

Do I have an emotional investment in seeing myself as a Sang, even if I do not find any evidence to support any benefits in blood drinking?

thW5R6I71Y

When questioning whether or not you would be a Psychic Vampire, start with these questions or variations thereof–

Have I noticed any observable benefits when I consciously feed on external sources of energy?

Have I noticed any detriments when I consciously withhold from feeding on external sources of external energy?

Do I feel any need to tell people about my energetic feeding habits?  Do I rationalize excuses to divulge my information when it is not actually necessary?

Is it important for me to classify myself as a “vampire” of any sort?  If I found useful information from another resource that didn’t use the label “vampire,” would I be okay with that?

Sunrise Breakfast

When exploring whether or not one is Otherkin,  start by exploring these questions–

What is my reasoning for believing that I have a soul other than a human soul?

Is my perception that I have a non-human soul because it makes the most sense or is it a symbol for not relating to the other humans around me?

Is my life made better by the realization that I am non-human-souled or is it going to make my life more complicated by working with this information?

Am I really non-human or is that a symbol for feeling displaced or unsatisfied in some way?

Is it true that I am non-human or could my Therian/Otherkin self really be a spirit totem or other kind of spiritual being or energy that I am incorrectly identifying as “myself,” when it is actually something external to myself?

Would I be comfortable working with the information of my non-human identity, if it meant that I couldn’t share it with the community at large?

Do I look forward to the revealing of my nature because it is controversial or puts me in a fringe community?

Do I want to be Kin-identified because it automatically puts me into a group that relates to me?

Am I attracted to the idea of using my identity as an excuse to complain or brag to others?fox-symbolism-fox-spirit-animal

This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions.  Part of identifying the possible nature of oneself is by also exploring that one might not be what one initially suspects.  It is entirely fine to not be any of the above three types of human variations.  If one wants what one perceives as “special powers,” reasonable versions of those are attainable through metaphysical and occult practices.  “Instant powers” never come through self-identification in any of the above-mentioned categories.

Advertisements

The Black Veil–Absolute? Recommended? Applicable? An Examination Of Our Relationship To Discretion

[Trigger warning: I am not attacking or even criticizing The Black Veil. This is more of an examination of the various interpretations and current applications of The Black Veil.  To get the most out of this article, I recommend reading it more than once.]

I’ve read The Psychic Vampire Codex and actually still carry my copy around with me. The way my memory works is that I often don’t remember information verbatim. Being extremely visual, my brain often translates information into visual images and symbols that makes sense to me…and I’ll store a lot of information as mental pictures.  I’m a visual thinker.

I don’t necessarily believe that everyone who refers to The Black Veil always follows it literally in the manner in which its concepts are stated. Even though there is the implication that they follow it to the letter, when they refer to it…we all have a variety of ways to understand all the information that we are presented with.

We each have our own ways of interpreting, storing and remembering information.  It is useful to share definitions at regular intervals.  While we might think we are on the same page, we might actually be using different translators.

Anyone who is interested should familiarize themselves with the wonderful commentary found on http://kheperu.org/black-veil/. The Black Veil was intended to be–

. “At the core, they [The Black Veil] are simply common sense rules of behavior based upon respect for oneself and for others.

Beyond expressing the values held by a majority of the community, the main function of the Black Veil is to provide a widely publicized ethical code that the media can see when issues arise that might reflect poorly upon our community.” http://kheperu.org/black-veil/

The section that I wanted to address is the first one of The Black Veil.  It seems that this section is what many of my fellow Community members have in mind, when they criticize the behaviors of others, not acting in ways which they consider proper or appropriate.

“DISCRETION

Respect yourself and present yourself so that others also respect you. Take care in revealing your nature. Explain what you are, not to shock, but to teach and to inform. Do not flaunt what you are, and know that whether you want them to or not, your actions will reflect upon the rest of the community.

Share your nature only with those with the wisdom to understand and accept it, and learn to recognize these people.”

The beauty of this section is that the language is open enough for exploration and elaboration. A Community teacher can expand on and explain the various concepts in this passage. A serious student can meditate on the concepts separately and how these concepts interact with each other.

One of the factors that I keep in mind, when I read The Black Veil,  is that Michelle Belanger is an occultist and metaphysician. She knows the value of looking beyond that literal meaning of words. There is value in looking for double meaning, underlying meaning and unintended meaning in any sort of communication.

The Black Veil can be used as a framework to pass along the valuable information that each Elder or individual House wants to pass along to their pledges and students.  It can be a wonderful teaching tool.

It can be used to teach discretion to newbies. Younger people (who can sometimes be more passionate than calculating), newly awakened vampires and vampires who are new to the subculture might not have the discretion, discrimination or other relative reference points to act in a way which is productive for themselves and the community, at large.  To error on the side of caution is sometimes more prudent.

However, the problem with assuming that being discrete or respectful is ALWAYS better is that SOMETIMES being shocking or scandalous might have some excellent payoff, depending on real-life circumstances. In terms of social needs, perhaps dramatic reveal has gotten a favorable reaction on the part of some vampire’s audience–whether that audience was a full bar, a small group of friends or an individual.

[**Not that I am encouraging being shocking or scandalous.  I am merely pointing out that some absolute teachings might be seen as invalid, because they are not always applicable or practical, across the board.  What sometimes happens is that newcomers will “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and assume the entire body of information is invalid, because of some part not holding to be absolutely true.**]

Furthermore, scandalous, dramatic or distasteful behavior might have led to the beginning of a donor-relationship in some cases. A positive outcome in the form of a donation is possible, regardless of the style of the introduction to and approach towards the subject of vampirism.

Aside from formal donation (with consent)–for an energy feeder who is able to be nourished on negative emotional energy alone, the bigger, the better the shock value.  There is a larger payoff, in the form of a negative energetic feed, when this type of energy vampires DO NOT conduct themselves with respect and elegance.

“Respect” can be an amorphous concept, in and of itself . Respect can constitute a fear of approach. Respect can be seen as a sort of sacred treasuring. Respectful debate can include objective examination and direct questioning, without negative judgement.  Respectfulness might not always be practical or desirable…again, depending on circumstance.

Sometimes, acting what we think of as “respectful” might not be as valuable when weighed against a personal gain, in the form of emotional satisfaction or energetic payment. In short, not everyone sees the benefits of having respect, at all times. Especially, when the vampire is attached to the mystique of the fictional vampire being vicious or beyond reproach…in short, above everybody else.

Some vampires have no interest in trying to gain the respect of others. Either, they might not embrace the idea of being a cooperative part of the modern collective of the Vampire Community/Subculture…or they are attached to the idea of Vampire as being a rebel, villain or above all authority.  Either this vampire will not take other’s opinions into consideration….or will actively be contrary, and do what they perceive to be in contrast to other’s opinions.

As far as their actions reflecting upon the Community, either they might not care or purposely perform those actions which they think would cause shock, awe and controversy.

Spider-Web-Morning

************************

“Share your nature only with those with the wisdom to understand and accept it, and learn to recognize these people.” –http://kheperu.org/black-veil/

This is actually wonderful advice.

But–

No.  Actually, AND…

This is a great section to meditate on.  By “meditate,” I mean to write this line at the top of a piece of paper, close your eyes, muse on the various ways to interpret this concept, imagine the various ways that this concept could be applied in the practical world, then freewrite on the thoughts.  Perform this multiple days in a row.

Discernment is an excellent tool to cultivate.  Not only for recognizing other kindred, but just to use in a very practical way in life–to make our navigation smoother.  Unfortunately, many people either over-reveal or under-reveal their nature.  Two simple questions that can help one decide whether or not there would be mutual/greater benefit to revealing one’s nature–

–What would be the positive outcome of me revealing my nature to this individual, in this scenario?

–Do I have an underlying negative reason for wanting to reveal my nature to this individual, with the unconscious expectation of creating negative or dramatic results?

Just as dictates and advice need to make sense in the context in which they are written or passed down–perhaps our need for absolute discretion is no longer practical.

That’s right.  I said, “practical.”

Even 20 years ago, the need for secrecy was much more vital than it is today.  Let us start by just remembering some reasons and benefits for remaining in secrecy, in the past.  Real Living Vampires could have been persecuted…or at the very least, ridiculed for believing in such things as we do.  Besides that, putting out the information of real, practical vampirism could have led to quite a bit of imitation by non-vampires, sometimes with dangerous or damaging results.  In short, there is the stigma from engaging in vampirism or the idea that one is strange, delusional or dangerous also comes with the embrace of the beliefs in actual vampirism.

The call for discretion and secrecy was not only to protect the vampire or one claiming to be a vampire–it was also to minimize the possibly embarrassing and bad representations of Vampires that might be putting themselves out there.  However, at this point, there is plenty of bad information out there, including false teachers.

92a36defa49b5c47ce656798c88feb0f.jpg

At this point, I’d like to address the idea of representation and reception, in general.  Perhaps, I lean on the sides of jaded and cynical…but, it seems that the world has more critical [negatively critical, not just objective and discerning] responses to things than supportive responses.  Part of this might be the lazy tendency that people have to lump all like items the same in a group.  No representative can encompass all desirable qualities.  People and all of their variations are not easily lent to this process.  We look for something to criticize about representatives, instead of viewing the “spokesperson” as one interpretation among many.

If we are talking about all members of a religious group, for example, it is not completely reasonable to lump all followers into the same group because interpretations and expression of any religion is not uniform all the way through the membership.  Let us illustrate using the hypothetical example of a Christian church.  There is a standard book of reference [The Bible, but even that is subject to variations of the book] and whatever official reference material for that particular church/denomination.  However, beyond that, church members will run the range according to the level of dedication that they make to studying the church teachings and the individual application of that understanding to their everyday life.  From there, explanation and expression of that understanding will vary considerably.  Some church members will quietly share their experience and information only when directly asked to.  Other church members will wait for the earliest opportunity to share their testimony when it seems relatively natural to talk about their understanding, within a conversation.  And then we have the fanatics–who seem to constantly go on an on about what they think they know, without waiting for an organic opening in the conversation for their testimony.

There are some very knowledgeable Bible experts.  There are some people who know their particular religious tradition very well–some of them can present information in an informed, well-spoken way.  Then we have plenty of people who can neither present themselves in an interesting or informative way.  As a matter of fact, there are some speakers who are counterproductive in the way that they present themselves or the information that they are trying to put across to potential convertees.  Whether that is a fault in the actual delivery, the structure of the presentation of information, failure to correctly gauge receptivity of the intended audience…comparable problems can come across when Vampires or Role Players intend to present their life experience as educational or informative.

At risk of sounding negative, I am very aware that there are many people who are less than receptive audiences to anything which seems out of their version of ordinary.  On top of that, some people are hypercritical of everyone–it doesn’t matter what the vampire looks like.  The vampire will be criticized for being too stereotypical  (looking too much like the media portrayal of a fictional vampire) or for not looking “traditional” enough  (not looking enough like a media portrayal of a fictional vampire).  There is no standard appearance, set of mannerisms and speech pattern which will represent all vampires in the community, because we vary so much in type.

Is the solution to have no representatives out there?

Or is there a remedy in having a larger variety of representatives out there?

In this internet/media age, everything is already out to the public.  There are many examples of vampires on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.  None of them have the mass approval of everyone within the Subculture and Community.  There are complaints about various Real Vampires breaking the rule of Discretion…displaying actions or speaking openly about vampirism.

If we take a step back, we could argue that someone who really wants to be discrete about their nature would not draw attention to themselves even with the subtlest of clues–no attending public events, no admission of vampirism in any capacity and certainly, no fangs.  The internet is no discrete place, even when we set our pages to “friends only” and only add ourselves to secret groups.  It’s all a matter of degrees.

There are a lot of bad, embarrassing, misleading representations of Vampires out there in medialand.  There is a plethora of bad, harmful, disempowering information that is all too available to the newly awakening Vampires AND the non-vampiric Public.  We have all sorts of misinformation that is already out in the mediaverse.  Those of us who are Real Living Vampires can continue to keep semi-public/semi-private, while we keep criticizing all levels of everyone else’s reveal…or we can be more realistic about what is going on in the world and offer a more productive and practical alternative.

To counteract the ignorance and bad information, we can acknowledge that what SOME of us really want as a Subculture is to offer relevant and practical information to the newly awakened–along with a secondary presentation of the Vampire Subculture offering a reasonable, well-spoken variety of speakers and teachers.

Perhaps, the “speaking of our truth” and “coming out” that has been embraced by other minorities feels like a productive way of empowering our still secret and silent groups.  Discretion might have been a way to keep safe in the past.  But now, some of us instinctively feel that hiding and being silent might not be as powerful as reaching out and speaking up.

This is a media age.  With or without talent or skill, many people are now broadcasting their lives out loud–offering information and teaching, on whatever their truth is.  Some of these are informative and truthful.  Some not.  There are going to be more Real Vampires who will stumble along, sharing their lives openly, whether the rest of us like it or not.  We can’t turn off their video cameras and shove them back into the coffins.  Perhaps, another alternative is to cultivate proper role models for them?

Adapt to the times and the current culture and show them how we would like it to be done?

29513087_1795434233851980_8505541240701526205_n

Tradition–Keeping It Old School or The Evolution of Our Rules and Practices?

What are our traditions in the Vampire Subculture? What exactly are these Old Ways and Teachings?

We use these terms much the same way that we use them in the Pagan and Magickal Communities. They refer to practices that we repeat within a particular context…or beliefs that we profess, as part of a particular group.

Because common usage sometimes veers off from formal definition–new “traditions” can be declared on the spot, with the intention or promise to repeat the practice again, in the future.

When traditions are upheld in the Vampire Subculture, there is no guarantee that the practices and beliefs are ancient ones or even very old.

I’ve heard references to “tradition” and “old ways” in ways that infer that the beliefs and practices are old, they are automatically beyond question and therefore indisputable. It’s a trick of language to label something as “old” to infer that it is long-standing because it must have intrinsic and time-proven value.

On one hand, if something is claimed as part of a long-standing tradition, it is fair for someone to be curious about the documentation or research which traces this practice or belief, over time.  There is nothing wrong with practices and beliefs being associated with a modern mythos or legend, as a storytelling technique–but, claiming an imaginary history to validate the value of a tradition is a bit misleading.

On the other hand, more modern traditions have no need of a long history if they have value in and of themselves.  Practices can have practical value–they can be a way of performing a metaphysical or physical activity that is useful.  They might not be traceable far back into history, but they might be the recommended practice within that group, because they work.

As far as practices which are not necessarily the most practical or effective, they might have more value on a symbolic level. Perhaps these practices are repeated because the founding or early members of the group practiced in such a manner. Repeating the same activity is a way of honoring the lineage and keeping connected to the group mind of the House.

As far as beliefs within a tradition go, they might sometimes be presented as fact or historical account that is passed down to later generations. While this might be the case at times–in other cases, there might only be validation for the belief in question because there is the false presentation of the belief as fact. We can think of this as a purely mental process–meaning that we are observing only the information that confirms our expectations–or as a metaphysical process–meaning that we are manifesting the thoughtforms of the beliefs in these traditions.

There is nothing wrong with having a standard set of practices and beliefs in one’s particular group, house or lineage. However, we should be aware and careful where language can be misleading. In paganism, we refer to “Traditions” when we refer to particular bodies [sets] of information–practices, mythos, deities, symbols and beliefs.  For the most part, pagans understand that it is a package of information that the individual adopts because it makes sense to them in their philosophical navigation through this world.  Traditions in paganism are optional and consciously chosen.

In contrast, many Modern Vampires often see themselves as born into vampirism–some of us see us as something more equivalent to a “sub-race” within humanity.  Vampirism is not chosen, not optional.  The “traditions” within the world of Vampirism could be mistakenly seen as being more obligatory, belonging to our heritage.  It is not like choosing between religions, where one has the option of changing between churches, as their understanding changes and grows.  Some people might feel that this is more like discovering that you are part of an “ethnicity”–you already belong and this is what your people have been doing for centuries. Many newbies find it believable that there might be long-standing lineages, with hidden wisdom–the most efficient practices and “beliefs” (which are implied to be “facts) are passed down in the form of traditions.

When pledging into groups, respect the ways of their organization. Discretely gauge which parts of their particular Tradition are negotiable, if you want the option of modifying the information. If non-negotiable aspects don’t mesh with your perception or experience, gracefully excuse yourself from the group and find another which nourishes your growth.

Traditions-in-Bolivia

 

Vampire Community…or Vampire Subculture? An Exercise in Language and Supposition.

I got schooled by one of the Elders.

No. Just kidding. I was having another lovely exchange with a friend of mine who has been around since the beginning of our modern Vampire Community.

What she says is that what we have now is more of a Vampire Subculture, not so much a Community.

(Oh.)

Why is it important to explore the difference between the two terms? For one, language is important. It represents ideas and conveys meaning. Words can be a form of shorthand.  We gather a lot of implications from one well placed word and act accordingly, depending on how we relate to that word.

When I first discovered Real Vampires/Modern Vampires/Living Vampires on the internet, I was told that I was entering The Vampire Community.  I didn’t question the name, at all.  I had just come in from the Pagan Community.  For better or worse, I was used to the idea of “Community” referring to any gathering or collective of people who came together because of a common interest, trait or defining quality.  Also, I was aware that fan-bases considered themselves “communities,” as well.

What didn’t seem odd to me is that I was also aware of “community” being used to describe the collective of people in my hometown (Community of Mendota) and the culture (Mexican Community).  There were communities with such a variety of personality types and relationships, that the Vampire Community seemed like just another assortment of negative and positive types, as well.

It wasn’t until more recently that I’ve heard some of the seasoned veterans bring up that they perceive it to be more accurate to use “The Vampire Subculture” to describe what some of us still call The Vampire Community.

Up to that point, I assumed that we were a “Community” because we were a loosely connected collective based on our different relationships to “the Vampire.”  Whether this is because some of us believe that some of the mythos of the Vampire stories were fantastic elaborations of real blood-drinking individuals and psychic siphons in the past…OR that we, the modern collective of blood-drinkers and psychic siphons,  adopted the Vampire as a group mascot, because of actual or symbolic similarities…OR because some of us relate to the art and imagery of the fiction based on the Vampire mythos.  To me, I thought that our common ground was that we were made up of groups that related to the idea of the Vampire in any one of the three above ways.

As a Community in the loosest sense, we do not have an agenda or goal common to all factions of the Vampire Community.  Rather, we are a loose collective that relates to the symbol of the Vampire as the common factor that connects all areas of the Vampire Community, under it’s umbrella term of Vampire.  It’s no surprise to me when there is uproar and discord every time someone wants to “unite” the whole of the Community, because we have so many various and conflicting agendas in the whole of our communication network.

Referring back to the conversation that I had with my friend–she pointed out that what we commonly refer to is actually more of a Subculture.  How I interpreted her remarks was that what she knew at the beginning of the crystallization of the VC was more of a community in the sense that there was more of a feeling of support, connection and camaraderie from the relatively small numbers of members who were beginning to come together.  My personal supposition is that our modern Vampire Community was originally based more on that sense of support because it was mostly the initial gathering of lone individuals who (up to that point) had the experience of being MOSTLY SOLITARY AND ISOLATED Blood Drinkers, Psychic Energy Siphons and Self-identified Vampires…before there was any Community, online or in-person.

The danger and the beauty for those of us who now come to a Vampire Community, ALREADY IN PLACE, is that there is the impression that there is already a tribe here in place, waiting for the incoming members.  Even if (or when) one comes to the conclusion that one’s tribe is to be found WITHIN the Community, and not necessarily the whole Community itself, it’s a matter of eventually finding your fit.

My supposition is that the founding and original members created and entered the new Community under an entirely different emotional atmosphere than what we now have.  There might have been a more intense feeling of loneliness, aloneness and strangeness that these members held for much longer, because there was very little resembling a support system before the VC.  The relief and hopefulness–and perhaps worry over the fear of this Community not being able to fulfill one’s hopes for support and camaraderie–might have been a much larger emotional stake for those of the newly-formed VC.

Also, because of the IDEA that these early Vampires finally found like-minded, like-experienced people–creatures LIKE THEMSELVES…it might have been enough to create a sense of  immediate friendship and a family-like atmosphere in the presumably smaller group membership.  It might have been more intimate because there were more interpersonal communications happening, out of necessity.  At the time, there was a lack of larger amounts of people to interact with, along with a lack of the quick communication that would come later with advances in technology.

tree-chairs-forest-the-situation

According to the layman’s common interpretation of “community”, the Vampire Community really was a Community, at its beginning.

Personally, I am not so much a group person.  I find connections with individuals within larger groups.  Even though that I understand what “Community” is supposed to mean, I have always tended to make my Web of connections with the people that I click with.  I have never been used to the idea of feeling like the group at large supports me.  This is just my personal experience.

Even so, even though I have my own re-interpretation of “Community” whenever I hear the word–I can see how the word might conjure up warm, fuzzy expectations for others.  There might be people who expect a “Community” to offer emotional support, validation and instant fulfillment.  There might be people who equate Community with “family”….the way that people throw around “family,” “brother,” “sister” or other like terms indicating some sort of relationship, sets members up to make assumptions about unconditional love and acceptance, that might not be a given in every circumstance or even over time.

Perhaps the VC did have more of that atmosphere in its inception.  Arguably, we make our own “families” in life as adults…with conscious effort, we find and make our own support systems through the friends and associates that we surround ourselves with.  Perhaps, there are even some lovely people, that because they are generally good-natured, gravitate towards good experiences and find that Community “feeling” in their personal network of contacts and associations.  (The key might be to focus on your tribe and ignore everyone else.)

Ultimately, I probably won’t argue for replacing one term for another.  One Vampire might find Community in what some of us call The Subculture.  Some of us have a less-than-supportive interpretation of what Community should mean, according to formal definition.  But, these might be some things to keep in mind when we use the word “Community”….and like with everything else, it’s up for further discussion.

untitled

 

 

“…And Since You Brought Up The Elders…”–A Copy and Paste Response Article

“In the Olden Days there was an unspoken understanding between the old and the new: the old retires gracefully into the shadows and the new takes over. Such is the cycle of life. It was understood that – barring some great fall of grace – the Elder would resign and be looked after by the new generation – until they shuffled off the old mortal coil.“–from The Messenger.

***This is lovely poetry. But, is this literal? I’m going to go out on a limb here and use my version of logic–before the modern social scene and fangsmiths and Robert Pattinson…I’m assuming that the people who thought of themselves as “real Vampires” were those people who actually drank blood (Sanguivores) or those whose psychic reality included consuming energy from others (Energy Vampires) or both.  We wouldn’t have had Role Players or Life Stylers as a thing, yet.  If any were organized into anything resembling Houses or Covens, it was probably more of an underground organization with much less members in number.

The problem with referring to “the Olden Days” is that it is not clear when that actually was, how long of a timespan that covers and therefore, not immediately verifiable through any research.

Again, this sounds pretty…but, are we trying to use fairy tales to create an ideal for the modern Community?  How fair is that to hold up the current framework against a model that never existed?  Which insinuations are we going to draw from that–that everyone today is flawed for not being able to uphold that standard?

29790290_1805577009504369_6762886176929820331_n

 

“When they’re not embarrassing us with their grumpy rants, they’re exploiting vampirism all over the place, selling out to MTV, or burying their heads in the sand. Or they’ve shrugged off “vampire socialism” altogether and wandered off to create baby kingdoms to lord over.

Yet they still want to be acknowledged today as “Elders of the VC”.

Terrible right? The entitlement! What have they done for us lately anyway? And how dare they ask for our respect after they abandoned us.”–from The Messenger.

***Are you absolutely sure that “they” want to be acknowledged as the “Elders of the VC?”  And who are you referring to–are you thinking about one or two specific people and lumping everyone together into a group, because that’s safer?

***How are they “embarrassing” you?  Are your werewolf friends making fun of us because we have a lot of vocal and demonstrative members that share their perspective…and it’s a human flaw to try to make one person the entire representation of whichever label or category that you can place on them, because that’s lazy thinking?

***Define “exploitation” in this case.  From the outside, without knowing anyone personally–their motivations, their ideals, their flaws and misunderstandings–we could accuse everyone who misuses the images of the Fictional Vampire as exploiting the historical symbolism that we’ve generally adopted as a modern social group.  Who gets the rights to decide who’s interpretation is absolutely correct and how to express that interpretation?  Do we decide based on who drinks more blood, who has more time in the Community, which contributions they’ve given, who is out of the coffin or who has more followers on Instagram?

***On the note of the Grumpy Rants, here’s the way that I view it through my experience as a sometimes-student, occasional workshop leader, former coven leader and mostly-Pagan–I thought that the articles from The Grumpy Vamp were generous notes on how to get the most out of your experience, when dealing with a seasoned veteran of the VC.  When I think of an Elder in the Community, I think of a person who has spent a lot of time interacting and teaching the variety of newbies–actual obligate feeders, deluded people who think that they are vampires because of the strangest/smallest criteria and PLENTY of people who want to be turned into the vampires from movies.

Depending on personality type and ability to deal with stress, it can become years of dealing with the same questions and aggressive/annoying/uncooperative/demanding students.  Serious students, students who are intelligent enough to follow directions and research resources are very far and few between the masses of people demanding instant gratification…regardless of whether these students are actual obligate feeders or not.  The Grumpy Vamp notes are fair warning on how to approach Information Resources (seasoned veterans or Elders) who are possibly experiencing burnout, while they strive to continue to be available to those FEW, SINCERE seekers in the sea of drama queens and crazies.

All members have the option of not seeking out particular teachers or not speaking to them at all, at any point.

***On the note of “selling out to MTV” (and camera whores, as long as we’re on the subject)–from my perspective, anything can be a starting point for further conversation.  The cat’s out of the bag.  Pandora’s box has been opened.  There are no more shadows.  We have cameras everywhere and a plethora of bad information and misinformation is too readily available–to everyone.  Instead of complaining that the veils have been breached, we could work on cultivating well-spoken and informative representations of all types of Vampires to counteract the undesirable images out there, in the public eye.

We’re not going to get rid of what’s already out there in the world.  The newly awakened Kin are going to find what’s right in front of them first, while some of us insist on role playing as mysterious fictional creatures of the night, who can melt into the shadows on the wall.

***”What have they done for us, lately?”  What does anyone owe anyone else?  Everything that Belfazaar, Sylvere, Julia, Barbara, Michelle or Merticus gives to me is out of the kindness and generosity of their hearts.  I’m not paying them a dime.  I’m grateful for what they do and I’m not entitled to think that any of them owe me anything.

“Abandoned us?”  Again, who are you talking about?

29597704_1805595446169192_3909494396206645481_n

 

“Those golden days when we were a small close-knit tribe of families with established laws that tied us together (AKA a “Community”) are gone. That community started fraying at the edges the more mainstream and commercialized it became. And the internet took care of the rest. With the advent of the World Wide Web the “VC” became too big and too diverse. And then armchair-vampirism exploded onto the scene and burned what was left to the ground.”–from The Messenger.

****When did those days exist?  If they ever did, then your Community is gone.  Bury it and let us do the best with ours.  My version is because of the Internet.  If I didn’t have the OVC, I wouldn’t have come as far as I am, now.  Sorry your version is gone, but I’m blossoming in the fertile ground of the one that I’m in.  Fertilizer, included.

If your VC is dead, go off and mourn for it.  Or go create a House in memoriam of its ideals.  For whatever flaws my VC has, it is a place that like-minded individuals eventually find me.  It’s a kind of search and rescue mission…and for better or worse, it gets my people to me.

The Vampire Community Is At Least Undead…Because Something Is Still Moving

The Vampire Community is dead?

29570779_1802867133108690_7282108753190221629_n

All possible jokes aside…is this really a helpful thing to say? I’m all for a click-baity title, but only when it’s relatively harmless…and hopefully, amusing.

The problem that I have with this declaration is that it’s alarmist. There are newer members to the VC/GVC/OVC that don’t yet understand to take all online accounts, reports and declarations with a grain of salt. Those of us who have been around for a while, carry those 10 pound bags of sodium chloride and hand it out to others by the spoonful.

What does it mean when yet another person says that “The Vampire Community is dead?” When someone is dead, we bury them.  (Or cremate the body.)  A reasonable amount of time is spent mourning over the loss of that loved one–we mourn for the imagined future that we can never have with them.  We do not need to be reminded that the beloved is dead and gone, unless our reaction is unreasonable over a prolonged amount of time–and we need this fact repeated to us.

So, by pointing out to us that “the Vampire Community is dead,” is The Messenger telling us to move on, to go on to other things?  Abandon the corpse of the Community and let it rest in peace?  Even though it feels like we have had this conversation multiple times, we probably should discuss it again because of the constant influx of new members–and also, to refresh and clarify our various perceptions on the subject for the present members.  Kind of like a regular Safety Meeting.

A Vampire Community Safety Meeting.

As a writer, I understand that sometimes we need to speak in general, sweeping terms.  This is a device I use to make a point or address a particular vantage point–it is a technique that is used to communicate an underlying idea, even if we shouldn’t recognize it as a universal truth.  However, there are other times in which it is extremely helpful and practical to be specific about our topic, subject and piece of terminology.  Of course, this depends on the writer’s agenda and intention in creating that particular piece.

First of all, when we make blanket statements about the Community…what are we actually referring to?  Are we talking about the Online aspect of our Community–the vlogs, blogs, Facebook groups, Discord interactions, websites, forums and articles?  From what I can see, we have quite a bit of activity and interaction.  Are we talking about the in-person House activity?  That would be subject to the individual House.  But, I am aware that we have quite a few open and active Houses and Meetup groups.  How about the social scene?  From what I’ve seen on social media, there is a plethora of activity in the in-person events scene.

So, with all of that activity, I’m going to have to say that from my understanding of the word “dead,” that is not the case with any of the Community factions, as far as I can see.

So….let’s move on to the other aspect, that maybe I define in a different way than The Messenger.

DEAD.

I think of “dead” as describing an organism that is currently engaging in no activity that we would observe as conducive to any of life’s vital functions or passtimes.  There is no lack of activity in the various aspects of the Vampire Subculture.  However, if we are referring to someone being dead in the sense that they are not able to interact with us in the same manner that they did when they were alive–that they are currently unable to be what they WERE for us, including meeting our expectations of what they would eventually BE for us in the future, then that definition might apply to some member’s definition of “dead.”

I have not yet been a long term member of the GVC/OVC/VC.  I am not exactly a new member, either.  I am something in the middle.  I am somewhat familiar with the terminology and basic structure of the Subculture…but, I do not consider myself an Elder, by any stretch of the imagination.  I’ve come in…asked my questions, asked to be pointed in the direction of the most reliable resources, and interacted with other members through online means.  Just as in the Pagan and Magickal Communities, I’ve come up against useless and false information; but I’ve weighed the information that I’ve encountered against my better judgement, intuition, experience and the input of others.  My experience in the online aspect of the Community has been fruitful and rewarding.

As far as an In-Person House, the only experience I’ve had has been with a few friends.  I left them and their House for personal reasons.  I haven’t had a strong interest in trying to find or start another House.  I am more of an online/information personality, myself.  However, I am very aware that there are Vampire clubs and events in my state, should I be inclined to go.  While not easily accessible to me in the physical sense, because of geography [and…hey, Nature didn’t plant a lot of other real Vampires in my area with me…it happens]–I wouldn’t say that the events scene is dead in my part of the country.

So, what’s dead?  Is it because the Community isn’t the same as it was?  What changed…and the better question is, is it valuable to complain about it changing?

I’ve heard other, Seasoned Veterans of the VC mention that the Community has changed from what it was when it started.  My response to this is–how could it not have?  Everything changes.  Organizations change.  The members within it change.  For better or worse, everything in this world changes.  Maybe the Community was “better” at the beginning of the modern scene because it had fewer members and those members were cooler, more sophisticated, more educated….back when everyone wasn’t trying to be classified as a Vampire on the only criteria that they stayed up past 11 o’clock and liked to hang out in graveyards.  I don’t know.  I don’t care.

The Community has seemed relatively consistent since I tumbled into it a few years ago.  Despite it being  (socially) post-apocalyptic with it’s mutants [poseurs, deluded people and role players], I’ve found plenty of survivors [real living Vampires and obligate vampiric beings] within the masses–because I dug for them.  I don’t pine for a lost Golden Age [the late 90’s?], because I never had any other version of the Vampire Community to compare today’s version to.

And on that note of the aspects that I might not agree with or even like in the current version of the VC–I am being and becoming the best CONTRIBUTOR to my Community that I can be.  I write…I offer articles.  I will eventually create video posts.  I will eventually host in-person Meetups.  I will not complain about what used to be good about the Community, nor will I complain about what’s missing.  I will develop myself and help develop others towards the ideals that will help create a better Community, tomorrow.

The Vampire Community is not dead.  And I will not try to stir up drama by alarming members with such declarations.

It might have a lot of blemishes and infections, but some of us are keeping it moving…like a beautiful Undead creature.

dead you say