Lady CG’s VC Writer’s Prompt: Boundaries

I just got a prompt from Lady CG on the topic of boundaries in the Vampire Community. The angles and concepts started dancing in my head. Where do I start?

Let me begin by sharing that I have a panic and anxiety disorder. People who are prone to these disorders are also more prone to boundary issues. Perhaps I should start there.

What are boundaries, anyway? Can we think of them as areas of discussion that we feel uncomfortable addressing or even listening to? What happens when someone oversteps the boundaries that anxious people have?

We’re dealing with a lot of grey area when we deal with the concepts of boundaries as a whole. We have social boundaries that are commonly represented  (protected) by the laws and regulations of the areas that we live in–we cannot perform particular acts because they violate the rights of others. (No hitting, touching or otherwise physically invading another person’s territory, body or belongings.)

Then, we have those social rules that are more specific to one’s group membership. We know better than to use profanity in church, use racial slurs against other ethnicities, use homophobic language against queer-identified people…

As if that wasn’t enough to keep track of, many people tend to dismiss that some of us have more complicated systems of association between our ideas. Whereas some people are more neutral and do not have physical/emotional reactions tied into many conceptual or verbal triggers, there are some people who definitely do.

The reactive [hypersensitive, sensitive] members of society might be so because of depression, anxiety or a whole host of other mental or emotional conditions.  Those of us who suffer from, deal with or have this type of wiring need to take a bit more care in navigating through the world–especially through some fringe subcultures like the Vampire Community.

While those who have anxiety disorders are not the same all across the board, we do have general similarities…even while we vary in what actually activates our anxiety and to which degree the symptoms are experienced.  When those of us with anxiety are exploring the Vampire Community, we might do it in a different way than do those who do not experience anxiety to our level or degree.

One of the primary reasons for being part of the Vampire Community is to find reliable resources of information.  When navigating through the online groups, it is pretty much a definite that we will come across individuals who are less than helpful, if not downright antagonistic.

Ideally, someone would just sift through the bad information, until they found material which is not only useful and practical, but enhances the individual vampire’s life in some way or another.  Unfortunately, when we have anxiety, coming up against abrasive personalities activates our systems to the point that we cannot focus or discern what is useful information.

There are those people who say that when sifting through the internet and the online parts of the Vampire Community, that we should take everything with a grain of salt and just keep plodding along.  We have to expect negative individuals and occasional negative interactions, just because it is the nature of the world to encounter these things.

This would be sound advice if the nervous systems of the anxious weren’t so uncomfortably and automatically reactive.  Speaking for myself, as soon as my anxiety is triggered, there are physical, emotional and mental processes which make it impossible for me to stay open to any incoming information or interactions, at that point of my anxiety being activated.

In big letters–WHILE ANXIOUS PEOPLE SHOULD STILL KEEP WORKING ON EMOTIONAL HEALING, MAINTENANCE, AND GROWING OUT OF THEIR CONDITIONS TO THE DEGREE WHICH THEY ARE ABLE TO IN THIS LIFETIME…WE SHOULD ALSO DISCERN WHAT IS NOT UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOR IN OTHERS [I.E., WHAT IS ACTUALLY NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OR FAULT OF OTHERS, WHEN WE EXPERIENCE ANXIETY]…AND ALSO NOT BE UNREASONABLE IN PUSHING PAST CURRENT (AND HOPEFULLY, TEMPORARILY) LIMITATIONS, SO THAT WE CAN BE AS FUNCTIONAL, AS IS CURRENTLY POSSIBLE IN EACH MOMENT.

The stance that some members have in the Community [and in other information/learning groups] is that we should not block other members, because we might be missing out on possible information that they might have to share.  At the very least, we can have healthy debate or a personal challenge to our beliefs, when we meet up with contrary opinions.

Depending on individual triggers, an anxious person will often shut down or overreact during interactions–and at that point, the receptivity to information flow will also shut down.  To some of us in the information-sharing aspects of the VC, it is the open flow of information which is the most important.  Included in this concept, the receptivity of the student (listener) is an important factor.

The anxious member of the VC should be aware of what their personal limitations are, even while they are working on healing them or moving past them.  If the anxious vampire is constantly reacting to an abrasive individual, regardless of whichever techniques they keep applying, it would be better to block the abrasive individual to cut down on the triggers that interrupt the information flow.

In my humble opinion, information is found in various channels–groups and people.  There are often other individuals who may share the same information as the person who is being blocked.  At any rate, if an anxiety sufferer is constantly being triggered [because they have not worked out of particular anxiety-triggers], the information is incapable of being absorbed, regardless of how long or how often they “sit in” with that would-be teacher.

Anxiety sufferers have a different way of interacting with the world.  We need to adjust accordingly in the VC, so that we can be as productive as possible.  This might include blocking or avoiding specific individuals, so that we can continue to learn and interact with the general populace in as positive and productive way as we can.

Twisted-Wisdom~~element85

 

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Witches, Vampires, Analogies, Degrees, Overlap and Levels…Oh, My!

Because I am a magician, metaphysician and an energy worker–I tend to use those models when I consider aspects within vampirism and how they all come together in the Vampire Subculture. I often find it helpful to explore the concepts and analogies found within the Magicians Communities and apply them to the Vampire Subculture–

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Keeping in mind that spirituality is not the same as magick, I’ve found that I’ve strayed away from a lot of witchcraft and pagan groups that tend to focus on rituals and spellworking [practical magick] as opposed to activities that affect the personal evolution of consciousness and perception.  Low Magick vs. High Magick.

When I was new to the Pagan Community, I had very strong ideas about what “real” or authentic Witches were. I was biased towards particular traditions, beliefs and practices being true Witchcraft.  I had an emotional investment in the “other” traditions and practitioners NOT being authentic Witches, because I was the one REALLY practicing real Witchcraft.

As time went along, I realized that it didn’t matter how “authentic” any tradition was or how accurately some tradition was reconstructed from the “original” version.  It was more a matter of my personal journey.  For myself, my criteria for the usefulness of techniques and practices was based on the value of bringing me more peace, more silence, and the sense of spiritual connection.  And in the calm, if I can bring more love and joy into my awareness, then the practice has value to me.  In the silence, if I can relax into that feeling of expansion or connectedness/oneness, then the practice is something that I am going to keep and repeat.  I might explore a particular tradition only for the purposes of cultivating its practical parts for my own private routines.

As I’ve evolved my personal practices, I’ve left behind some techniques that no longer fulfilled my needs.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve “outgrown” them so much, because I wouldn’t want to imply that they are basic or inferior to where I am now.  As a child, I needed clothes in children’s sizes and my dietary needs (and tastes) were very different from what they are now.  I’m not better because my clothes are bigger or because my menu has changed.  I just need a different “fit.”

I’ve noticed that many magickal practitioners forget about grounding, centering and cleansing–almost as if they are basic-level techniques meant to be replaced or left behind, at some point.  Some seem to think that when you no longer use “basic” techniques, it means that you are obviously at an advanced level.

When I speak to someone within the Pagan, Witchcraft or Magickal Communities, I like to gauge where they are coming from.  Rather than show off what I know (or think I know), I think it is more useful to realize what it is that they can RELATE TO on an intellectual level.  While I might think a single-focused Eastern meditation might be a great solution for me, if I were in a similar situation to whatever it we happen to be discussing–someone who is just starting to perform grounding and working with the elements might not relate to a more Eastern-style of focusing on the emanations of Divine Energy.  Also, if someone has been practicing spirit evocation from Bardon’s work or summoning Goetic Spirits, my suggestion of astral projection to the Faery Queen’s realm might not ring as effective as a working method for them.

Simply put–the effectiveness of a technique or information relates to the degree to which we can relate to or identify with that information on a personal level.  Universal truth, historical accuracy or group agreement means very little to nothing, if the observer cannot relate to the information in a personal way.

Efficacy of any new techniques or information might not have as much to do with the source of the information as much as how well it fits into the Magician’s framework of reference.  In the Spirit Model of magick, there is the working assumption that all of the entities that we work with have an existence that is independent and predates the life of the summoner. This is one of the models of magick that makes sense to me.

However, there is also the Psychological Model of Magick. The basic idea echoes the concept that the world of experience (the world of the senses) is a reflection of the internally held thoughts, feelings and convictions of the observer.  The magician uses the ideas of gods, spirits and entities in symbolic ways…while the mage goes through the motions of ritual action, it is meant to move the internal psychological aspects that are symbolized by the mythology and the archetypes found within sorcery.

[Sharing my personal filter is important, so that others can understand where I am coming from and what my choices in perception are based in.  Personally, I am not so convinced that practices in metaphysical, magickal or spiritual activities is based on a continuum.  From my perspective, the human personality/experience is based on necessary limitation–filtering out awareness and identification with omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence in order to be able to identify with human likes, wants, preference and seeming obstacles.  The pathway to enlightenment is not formulaic…an exact pathway with the same guidelines, guideposts or process for everyone.  While systems of magick might have traditions that are standard, enlightenment is something almost accidental…it happens when one creates the conditions most conducive for the event, but not on anything resembling a set schedule.]

Although it is popular to believe that we are on a continuum throughout our series of lifetimes–that each life holds learning that is accumulative over the reincarnation of the soul, a Zen moment would release the individual consciousness from the limitations of the human personality.  There might not be “stages” in the necessary sense, like school grades that we have to pass through.  Awareness of the intellectual/philosophical “place” where an individual is at might be necessary to see what they can relate to at any given moment.

Even though I enjoy systems of magick and metaphysics, I am very aware that the conditions for enlightenment (spirituality) could as easily be found in a ritual meditation or in contemplating the beauty of my morning coffee.  So, following that mindset, I interact with others depending on what I perceive their framework to be, at that moment.  Again, I wouldn’t say that I see people on a continuum.  An individual could be practicing a particular religion their entire life, but still not clearly identify with Divine Love, even at the end of their life.  Whereas someone might be more eclectic and because they have spent more time contemplating Divine Love through various images from many different cultures, they might end their life having touched much higher spiritual planes.

I enjoy earth magick.  I love the physical tools of candles, stones crystals, ritual oils and all the arts and crafts of modern magick.  However, while I enjoy spellcrafting and everyday, practical magick…I am aware that it is not the same as spirituality, including evolution of spiritual awareness.

Not everyone online or in real life has an interest in personal and spiritual evolution.  Some of us only have an interest in occasional spellcrafting for practical purposes, to move objects and events in our everyday lives.  I will not criticize or disparage that.  I have my moments when I do the same.  So, when I am offering magickal/metaphysical information, I will gauge which framework the individual is currently working with and hopefully offer them the most liberating technique, tool or piece of information that I can give them…depending on how I intuitively discern their most immediate need.

Translating all of this to the Vampire Subculture–we have so many perceptions of what vampirism is…but, because I identify with metaphysics as the principle part of my framework, I will be addressing Energy Vampirism, more specifically.  (Respectfully, leaving the subject of sanguinism to others, at this point.)

Among the many variations, we have obligate vampirism on the level of nourishment-only.  We have some feeders who are primarily concerned with feeding for purposes of health, only.  There is very little concern for any other application beyond the basic health level.  That, or the vampire’s more spiritual metaphysical interests are independent of one’s energy vampirism.

There are some energy feeders who will go through their entire lives, feeding and being aware of their self-identification as a vampire as an occasional mental reference or superficial-level reference in group settings.

To give a context to my personal identification as a Vampire–I have my ideas about what is historically accurate and what I consider real vampirism. However, I am also aware of what the many other definitions of vampirism and Real Living Vampires are, as they are considered by the many members of the GVC.  Personally, I don’t care where the original “vampire” came from–whether it was a creature of mythos that energy feeders and/or blood feeders LATER became associated with…OR if it was the exaggerated/poetic retellings of actual feeders that became the mythology.  From my perspective, we are gathered under the umbrella of “Vampire” right here, right now as the loose subculture that we currently experience.  Whether or not there was a “true Vampire” at some point in history, I am looking at practical energy feeders and spiritually-oriented energy feeders as two distinct psychic creatures, identified by their natural tendencies.  As naturally occurring as clairvoyants or other types of magickally-tended creatures.

Some Vampires are very metaphysically-oriented and spiritually-propelled.  They are intuitively geared to keep expanding and climbing in terms of consciousness. Their spirituality is tied into their concepts of vampirism.

However, there are also some feeders who are geared to remain in the more practical, nourishment-only-focused aspects of vampirism.  For whatever reasons, their emotional and mental bodies are set up with so many justifications to stay focused on nourishment-only vampirism because it makes sense for their personality in this particular lifetime.  Not everyone is meant to become enlightened at the same time as everyone else in the same particular lifetime.  Just as with other lifetimes, the individual has chosen (or is “meant” to, according the individual soul’s purpose) to focus on a particular limitation or focus in terms of life’s passion or obstacles.  There might be value for some of us staying nourish-only in our lifetimes.

There might be secondary value or reasoning to NOT being spiritually-oriented that will be personally revealed at a later time.

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When talking to other Witches and Metaphysicians, I share whichever series of meditations I’m working with…which one-pointed meditations I enjoy.  However, I know when to keep the references limited to rocks and herbs and candles…because that’s all that some audiences can understand and relate to.  Trying to “educate” too far beyond the student’s reach creates a separation between the would-be teacher and the intended audience.  Reminding the student of techniques already within their repertoire, we can still also offer newer information…but only when that information is relatively close enough to the student’s framework to seem like it could possibly make sense.

While I may go on to explore other definitions of vampirism to see if they are a better fit and DESCRIBE my experience as a better working definition–I will more than likely still acknowledge and offer information to the feed-only obligate faction of vampirism.