My perception of reality has changed quite a bit since I began my conscious spiritual journey as a teenager. I have explored what beautiful and dark places that there were in my psyche and my conscious personality. When I write, I do it with the intention that I am merely talking about my personal experience and my analysis of that experience. I do not believe that I am the norm or the typical version of anything. What I write about are my observations of what I see inside myself, my reactions and how I understand all of those concepts. I explore ideas and techniques and working conclusions. If some idea seems to fit better as a relative truth that I can relate to, then I adopt it.
I approach concepts like a chaos magician. If they seem practical in the sense that they provide more of a payoff or a benefit than one that I previously used, then I will adjust and let go of the older idea that was not as beneficial. If I cannot see very many benefits to an idea or technique OR if the detriments are glaringly outweighing any possible benefits, I might not explore the new idea in any great depth to begin with.
In the GVC, I have come across a range of personalities who have expressed their ideas through blogs, Facebook posts and direct communication with me. I’ve bought a few of their books and I’ve watched a few documentaries. I’ve read articles. Lots and lots of articles.
Despite any and all attempts to unify the “real vampires” of the GVC, I have come to understand that “vampire” is an umbrella term for the various human beings who have self-identified as one or another of the various interpretations of what a “vampire” is. As much as MY definition of what a Vampire is makes sense to ME, I have to admit that there are also many other definitions that I do not agree with. But, I respect that these are the self-definitions of the members of the GVC that share the community with me.
Personally, I don’t adhere to the “if you think you’re a vampire, you’re a vampire” concept. It makes more sense to me to work with the idea of a specific type of being that I think of as a Modern Vampire, so that I can distill and work with the information relevant to that self-conception in practical ways….for my personal well-being and evolution, as well as having relevant information to pass on to others like myself.
Admittedly, I also have my limitations as to where I will be comfortable sharing the Vampire “classification” with those other definitions and interpretations that lie outside of my own. When I first joined the community, I felt that I needed to defend the standard interpretation of The Vampire, as held by the groups that I was in. Now, I see our various interpretations of “The Vampire” as a grouping of various descriptions of blood- and/or energy-feeders. Whether it was ORIGINALLY one or multiple of these kinds of creatures which were first classified as the Vampires of history–it is not as important to me to figure that out as is helping these types live and flourish NOW in our modern world.
Even when someone speaks of or writes about one “type” of Vampire being the true type or speaks about what are supposed to be our rules of conduct–I automatically interpret that as the speaker/writer talking about their personal perspective…what is important or relevant information to them. (And their best guesses.) There is no one religion, religious book or philosophy which could possibly apply to Universal human experience. When the members of the Vampire Community speak about their experiences, interpretations and guidelines for rules of conduct–there is no way that I can take each commentary as Universal or absolute, even when the individual tries to represent it as such.
If I do not agree with someone else’s advice or analysis, I will probably be prompted to give my own ideas on the theme. I offer it as an alternative. Even if I do not mean it to be prescriptive in any way, I offer a variation to open the space for others to also have their variations in the same areas.
When we dismiss or argue that someone else’s conduct or information is wrong–we are SOMETIMES implying that their perception, interpretation, observation or analysis of their own experience is incorrect. This idea might be underlying the additional idea that what they are saying is dangerous or unethical. (I am not saying that there should be a free-for-all or that we should accept any and all claims of experience. I think it might be more productive to keep in mind that sometimes SOME people are completely sincere in their estimation of their personal experience. When we come up aggressively against that, we just end up arguing and don’t get anything productive accomplished.)
As far as dangerous activity goes, we find two levels on which we can encounter harm–physical and non-physical. Common sense and common courtesy should be standards for everyone’s behavior before they ever enter the Vampire Community. A standard of knowing what one can do with one’s body and system before any physical donation is involved, just seems like it should be a given. My parents told me not to eat soap when I was a toddler. I didn’t need to be reminded as a teenager, or anytime after that.
Working with the energetic/spiritual level is a little more subjective–as far as energy vampirism goes, I tend to find that I am on the edge of what I believe is safe behavior for a spiritual/energetic being. Keeping that in mind, I don’t always contradict others’ interpretation of their experiences as wrong, as much as I keep in mind that their reference points and framework might be different than mine.
Besides our internal community arguments about what is the correct way to view and share our interpretations of Vampirism, and which information we should pass along to the newbies….we seem to argue quite a bit about how we should present ourselves [i.e., how we must look] to the amorphous society outside of our Community.
At the beginning of my stay in the GVC, I was very much concerned with how I thought that Vampires must look to the “outside world.” Given, treatment of Vampires and those suspected of being Vampires will vary depending on region, culture and subculture. Of course, I would recommend that anyone in any area or circumstance in which they would be in any sort of physical danger or threat of discrimination, should stay in the coffin. But, here in my world, I am more likely to view the dangers of disclosure on a sliding scale.
In my case, I’m referring to my personal experience, again. I am referring to my particular social environment. I move within Chicano, as well as more Latin American cliques. As a gay man in the particular latino subculture that I move in, we are sometimes referred to as brujas and vampiros, if only in a superstitious way….possibly because we are “otherworldly” to the larger heteronormative culture. Within my local pagan community, I can come out as an energy feeder. I have access to both a local Goth scene and a BDSM community that I can freely come out to as a blood drinker. Considering the many venues in which I can openly self-identify, I find it hard to relate so much to the absolute warnings against how carefully I must present myself. As absolute warnings, they don’t necessarily apply to MY personal experience–and because of my social conditions, might even limit my freedom of expression.
On that same note, there seems to be an admonishment to many figures [I keep watching people point at each other] of the GVC representing us in bad light. I’ve belonged to other groups where we were thought to be “all the same” by the “society” outside of those groups…so I’ve recently burned out on the idea. As a Chicano, I never thought of myself as “typical,” so I knew I was never representative of all Mexicans or Mexican-Americans, even when I saw the stereotypical Cholo or token Hispanic on television or movies. As a gay man, I am missing the standard superpowers of being able to cook, clean, dress nicely and arrange objects at 90-degree angles to each other. Even as a Witch, I became quickly drawn to energy work, so I missed out on memorizing a lot of planetary correspondences of the props and tools that we are associated with.
By the time that I got to the Vampire Community, I quickly got over the idea that there is a standard image of the Modern Vampire, so I’ve come to understand that there could never really be a good representative to the nonVampiric world. To understand what a Vampire is, there needs to be the frame of reference in which Vampirism makes sense. Vampirism is kooky to so many personal belief systems and philosophies outside of the GVC. How seriously can I take our internal complaints, when I’m aware that not only that we can’t agree on how we should present ourselves to nonvampiric society….but, also when I am aware that SOME PEOPLE are prone to pick out the “bad behavior” in all walks of life and take those to represent our groups, races, religions and types, anyway?
We’ll never have the perfect representative that we can all agree on. And the argument that so-and-so is a bad representation rarely goes anywhere beyond a bunch of arguing, until it’s time to complain about the next person. Talking about how we should stick to the shadows is a dead complaint. Someone took the lid off of Pandora’s Jar and it’s too late to put us back in. It might be more productive for those complaining to provide a “better” representation of the GVC, as they define it. Even if we have many different representations of the Vampire, then at least we could make it clear that we are as varied as any other group or community–with our serious, well-spoken, sincere members as well as all the others.
Venting about a problem or situation is useful, if it is part of the process to coming up with possible solutions. Complaining about something, without resultant action, is a waste of time that could have spent on other things.
I think that our debates and discussions are good, even if we do not agree on particular interpretations being the correct ones. It keeps those ideas in the air. It keeps information moving. It gives newbies and searchers the impression that there are that many concepts floating around and that they would benefit from exploring them rather than just accepting the first ones they encounter as gospel truth.