Elder Summits, Repeating Ourselves and How To Spin Our Wheels A Little Longer

There’s recently been another announcement of the newest summit/conference to address the “detrimental leaders” of the GVC.

This reminds me of going door to door preaching the gospel or giving unsolicited advice.  It’s a lot of the same lip service, nothing new, nothing changes–but, all the people preaching feel like they should get credit for their effort.

Here’s a couple of reasons why doing the same things the leaders have talked about and tried before won’t eliminate the chaos we’ve always seemed to have–First, we have no real consequences for people who upset or offend any of our members. Banishment only makes a member of the Vampire Community a modern day villain.  While some of the offending members might not like being cut off from some groups or areas–online or in-person–others enjoy their status as a Vampire Community villain, in line with the villainy of The Fictional Vampire in mythology and literature.

They are ostracized even by the outcasts–there might even be a sort of specialness in accomplishing that.  (So bad, even the Vampires don’t want them.)

Without naming any names, I am aware of quite a few figures of the GVC who have a lot of advisories and warnings posted against them…and who still enjoy having friends, followers, fans and groups that they can interact with.  “Community-wide bans” just mean that they are ostracized by those groups that agree to that ban.  There is no way to enforce this as an absolute, in all areas that we might designate as part of the Community.

We have no centralized government, we do not have any ruling body.  No thousand-year-old Leaders or super powerful Vampires that anyone has to pledge allegiance or follow or answer to.  Rebels, radicals, scoundrels and morons only have to follow any group rules when they are trying to retain the grace of said House/Coven/group to stay in that organization.  Trolls are going to continue trolling because there really is no consequence other than being booted from SOME of our groups.

One of the problems that we have in the GVC is that not everyone has the same centralized goal, ideal, vision or mission.  What is the best that we can call our Community “goal?”  To get along, peacefully?  Towards what end?  The motivation that any one of us has for working towards a group’s common goals is the personal payoff–even if that payoff is the idea that something is “the right thing to do.”

Online and in-person, we have our mix of personalities.  Regardless of whether or not we are talking about actual blood and energy feeders–we have some personalities who don’t feel as strong a desire for peaceful cooperation with others…as much as conflict with others (or control of others) feels more natural to them.  I have not seen any widespread practical conversation about how to work in cooperation with others for common or group goals.  The best we have is that a coven will hold up their in-house rules and enforce them.  Members who do not follow the rules are outed from that group.

Any and all general online interaction and all outside-of-house, in-person interaction falls outside of the danger of punishment of removal from a house.  There is no consequence for bad behavior outside of in-House activities and presence.    “Banishment” is a weak punishment and certainly not a deterrent.  Villains make their own houses.

What can we do beyond what we’re already doing and have already done?  We already post community wide warnings. We are already on each other’s numerous blacklists.  We already refer to rules and codes and regulations–and those might vary greatly from House to House. Perhaps we are already doing whatever can possibly be done to keep damage and danger to the minimum.

Law enforcement does not actually get rid of all criminal activity.  People are bad.  They do bad things.  They break laws and push their luck.  We won’t be able to get rid of uncooperative behavior in the GVC.  Maybe, it is more realistic to realize that we need to keep bad behavior down to a minimum, at all times.  And that’s what we are doing by training and teaching the newbies and students that come into our houses and groups.

Perhaps we can’t do anything to those people outside of our individual Houses…or collectives–neither teach nor control their behavior.  Maybe it would be more productive to focus on those that we can teach and mold into productive members of our Community.  Focus on the positive things we can control and enhance.

 

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Where Have All The Vampires Gone?

It seems like the more vampire imagery I see, the less authentic modern vampires that I encounter.

When I first came to the GVC–within the context of my self-identification as an Energy Vampire/Psychic Vampire–I expected to eventually find myself in multiple groupings of like-minded individuals. Within these tribes, I expected to find friends and acquaintances who shared similar experiences and comparable circumstances. I assumed that the elders of the community would tell the stories of their lives, illustrating how to not only live comfortably, but also how to thrive as a vampiric human and spiritual being.

If I had never found the Vampire Community–I assume that I would have eventually found, carved out or stitched together my own personal community within the groups of magick or energy workers. I would have found kindred in the Fae Community or even within some of the Otherkin Community.

Apart from ever wanting to use the terminology of the Vampire Subculture…or ever being in love with the Vampire Archetype…OR being so in love with the Fictional Vampire that I neeeeeded to make it part of my personal narrative–quite a bit of my internal experience, perceived psychic experiences and perceived energy/spiritual reality matched up with the other metaphysicians who were self-identified Modern Vampires. I began to think of myself as a “Vampire” in the same way that my fellow metaphysically-oriented, self-identified Modern Vampires defined themselves, based on our common perceived paranormal experiences.

The working definition that I had for Spiritual/Psychic Vampires came from the people that first introduced me to the Community. Because of my desire to explain my experience, share stories and put together my personal understanding of my non-physical reality–it was important that I work with relatively firm definitions on what my like-minded/fellow/kindred are. Working with the looser definition of “Oh, you’re a Vampire if you feel like you’re one” didn’t work for what I needed to find (my truth) within the Community.

[Real Sangs, being born with particular conditions and needs to be met for functionality, seemed to be the physical parallel to the Energy Vampire–so, they were easy to relate to.]

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, I noticed that there was less focus on information sharing and talking about the personal experience that defined Modern Vampirism in the Online Vampire Community. Along the way, I have managed to pick up a few very wonderful friends that I am convinced are Real Modern Vampires–Psychic, Spiritual and Sanguinarian varieties–because of the stories that they share.

At the beginning of my stay in the Subculture, what I wanted was a sense of community, even if I didn’t consciously understand what that meant. As I look objectively at what people seem to need from the community, I now notice a bigger focus on the same emotional needs that can be applied to any social group, regardless of that social group’s main theme or defining characteristics.

People want to feel accepted, included, validated or made to feel special. These are very human needs–they are also needs that people erroneously rely on other people to give them, sometimes without even having clearly delineated the criteria for “making” us feel accepted, included or special.

Many online and in-person groups seem to be more fandoms than gatherings of Real Modern Vampires.  Even if we do not need to discuss practices of modern vampirism every single moment of the day, it is valuable to know that when we do need to discuss it, that we have other people who can give us feedback because they have or have had similar experiences.

Even if they are not fandoms per se, some people join “vampire groups,” using the Vampire as a symbol almost like Satan is a symbol for some Satanists.  These are people who do not quite fit in with the crowd–whether it is because they do not have the same mainstream interests or because they are the nerdy, strange or socially awkward.  [Not to say that some of us Modern Vampires can’t also be nerdy, strange or socially awkward.]

At any rate, I am not disillusioned with the GVC/OVC as a whole.  It is my working assumption that this is how it has always been–a small number of Modern Vampires swimming in a sea of the misidentified or outright role-playing.  I perceive myself as a Real Modern Vampire navigating through this amorphous Subculture.  I know that I am not the first and I assume that I will not be the last.

There are Community Elders, seasoned veterans who are way more relaxed than the rest of us, because they understand that it isn’t worth it to get all riled up over every little discussion or argument that pops up.  They stick to their corners, their houses or websites and don’t worry so much about being active in the larger online or in-person community.

They live their lives, communicating with those who visit their neck of the woods.  Having large numbers in our groups isn’t nearly as important as maintaining contact with those who share the same vampiric experience.  It is not as important to be going around in circles with those that are trying to prove that they deserve the label of “Vampire.”

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Why Some Role Players Won’t Give Up Role Playing: The Metaphysical Benefits of Role Playing

My working definition of Modern Vampires are those people who experience observable benefits from ingesting blood (physical level) or energy (metaphysical level) and/or experience detriments from not ingesting blood or energy on a regular basis.  There are those people who do ingest blood or energy from other humans without experiencing any observable benefits and do not experience any observable detriment when they withhold from ingesting blood or energy.

Within the Vampire Community, Role Players are literally those that LARP or otherwise play at being a modern vampire. As an extension of this definition, “role player” is also used to designate those people that claim to be modern vampires, but are deluded or mistaken in their self -diagnosis or self-identification.  Meaning, there are people who do drink blood, but who do not receive any physical benefits from it.  There might also be those people who metaphysically draw on other people’s energy systems, but do not have the need to do so and/or do not process this consumed energy in any way which benefits their system.  Then, of course, there are those role players who just talk about performing either form of feeding, but do not actually even go through the basic motions of either form.

At one point, I assumed that just by pointing out how role playing interferes with clear and precise data collection and information sharing….that would be enough to deter non-vampires from playing the part.  I assumed that once role players understood that their pretending interfered with our information exchange, the respectful thing to do would be to stay within clearly-delineated areas of roleplay which would not interfere with our discussion groups.

The easiest excuse for justifying role players continuing to interact with actual modern vampires is that some role players assume that we are ALL role playing or otherwise deluded.  There is not any physical test using technology to measure the clear-cut validity of either blood or energy vampirism.  Self-perception of modern vampirism is based on a complex thought process–in the case of sanguine vampirism, it is an extended observation of how blood affects the physical system, whether in consumption or in the absence of consumption.  This includes abstinence, as well as the substitution of other substances.  In the case of energy vampirism, the observation is based on metaphysical theory, including the validity of non-physical sensing.  A decent metaphysician will refine one’s observation process, including experimentation on ingestion of non-human energies.

The main difference between someone who thinks of themselves as a Metaphysician and someone who does not self-identify as such is that Metaphysicians strive to be conscious of the process of cause and effect, within the framework of metaphysical principles and concepts. Even though non-metaphysicians are not working with the terminology, Metaphysicians recognize the same energetic and mental-level processes manifesting with the non-metaphysicians.  Magick and metaphysics is the study and conscious application of the processes that happen on energetic and non-physical levels in the manifest world.

In the case of Role Players–some of them are haphazardly deriving secondary benefits from the role playing, itself.  Ritual drama, thoughtform-assumption and god-assumption involve consciously taking on the energies of a chosen archetype and the characteristics associated with that image.  For the magician, it is a conscious attempt to “become” that archetype on a psychological level to a certain degree, to mentally tap into the characteristics attributed to the archetype–and therefore, make an identification with those traits.

[“Vampires are powerful.  I am a Vampire.  Therefore, I am powerful.”]

When Role Players pretend, depending on how much they “believe” or do whatever it takes to make themselves believable to any outside audience, there might be that possible mental shift in which energy is invested into that personal identification with the Vampire archetype.  In the process of role playing, the Role Player might mentally shift into the strong conviction that they are the Fictional Vampire, however they might conceptualize that figure.  Depending on how strongly they identify as that figure, their psyche might take on the characteristics of that–strong, stately, powerful, unstoppable, mystical, confident…the specifics being personal to the Role Player’s interpretation.

This might be a developed thoughtform, depending on how much the Role Player has fleshed out the backstory and description of their vampire character.  At any rate, taking on the persona of their Fictional Vampire might allow the Role Player to take on personality traits that they might not access in their day-to-day life.

This is partially what makes acting, impersonation…even such role play as found in Ren Faires and LARPing….very attractive.  This process allows one to mentally and energetically shift into personality traits at least temporarily, as a sort of relief from everyday life.  At very best, with enough practice, this will make those desirable personality traits easier to access in the normal day…in real-life scenarios, away from play-acting and role playing.

There are benefits to Role Playing, if performed with conscious direction.  Even if performed haphazardly, some benefits might manifest.  As someone who is invested in information exchange, the only thing I ask for is precise categorization of experience.

 

 

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The Difficulty of Language In The GVC

–by guest writer, Anslee

“Language is difficult. It’s especially more difficult when we place more importance on labels instead of explanations, and even worse when some labels have expectations to fit a certain status quo.

In the Greater Vampire Community, we often tire of this argument or that. The flavor of the week is fought tooth and nail because our experiences shape our reality, our identity.

If we ever wish to truly “bridge the gap,” it will require some much needed research and understanding, instead of furthering a divide between the camps as is the case currently, to be quite honest, almost any and every year I decide to check in.

For a moment, think about aspects of the VC that grinds your gears. Think about the “Others” that you dislike, because maybe they are representing a version of vampirism that doesn’t fit with you. Maybe they did something, or said something that sounds wrong to how you would have described it.

Some of the most common gripes amongst the blood drinking varieties, for example, are about tropes such as, “I feed for energy;” “I feel high after feeding;” “It feels electric.” These statements are often seen as misrepresentative at best, and plainly delusional at worst.

But could our real problem be that we lack the information on what is going on, and people are just using the words they understand to describe their experience?

I wonder if even those who are vehemently against using such statements actually may experience something similar, but describe their own experience in a different sets of words and therefore thought to be experiencing something entirely different, or unrelated to those “others.” How can one who feels high from drinking blood sit in any sort of spot in reality? They’re just turned on by it, or addicted, right?

Well, first and foremost: no one truly knows the entire be-all end-all of what constitutes as “vampirism.” It could be multifaceted and remain so unless or until one understands it in more than one way. Who am I to say that it is only physical or only metaphysical for one person or another? My own opinion of how reality works doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and neither does yours. Allegory of the Cave, anyone?

The fact is that we do experience things, they are actually experienced with our available senses, and those experiences are valid whether we think they are “logical” or not. We may not always understand how we or anyone else experiences everything, but the way we describe these experiences and our own understanding of them is very important to how our experiences are perceived by others… how dare you describe something in a way that makes sense to you!

We have to remember that even in the most similar of people, there will always be differences. If you go looking for differences, you will find them.

Where does that leave us now? In the near future I hope for more compassion, and more listening. More leaving our shoes at the door, and becoming an active participant to a way of understanding where people are coming from instead of just jumping to conclusions and enabling a game of disparagement.”

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Anslee is a writer and member of The GVC.

 

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.

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“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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

The Vampire Community is dead?

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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.

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Some People Just Love To Argue…And Other Factors That We Ignore When Communicating With Each Other In The Vampire Community

 

[TRIGGER WARNING: It can be so easy to get defensive when reading about traits that some of us normally think of as negative. I am not accusing YOU, the reader. I am merely trying to point out that regardless of our best intentions and the best intentions of our companions, we can and do run across those personality types that seem uncooperative for their own reasons. I am not even referring to the entirety of any particular group. My references are to the possibilities of certain individual types within our groups. To be able to get through my thoughts on the subject, please read the majority of this article as if I am talking about “THEM,” not “YOU.”]

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I think it might be fair to say that it is all about agenda. As individuals, we have our perceptions about what we would each like the Vampire Community to be–how we would like for it to operate. Whether or not we each take those actions to create the Community the way we want it, we all seem to have ideas.

There are two principal factors involved in our personal ideals. There is the end result–the form that we each want The Vampire Community to eventually take or how we envision it should be–and the steps that we are convinced must be taken to form the Community into what it should be.

In life, we tend to follow our personal agendas to create the situations and conditions that we think are best. We often work with others who have the same vision or similar goals or compatible goals in a cooperative effort to get our dreams fulfilled.  (A general exception to this rule is when we allow or help loved ones fulfill their ideals, even if they have nothing to do with our plans or our bigger picture.) This desire to help others fulfill their dreams might be subject to how much it interferes with our personal goals–unless helping this other person fulfill their goals IS one of our personal goals.

As humans, we tend to not help others who have goals that directly conflict, block or interfere with our own projects. Sometimes, we can even actively try to block others whose actions interfere with our personal goals.

In the Vampire Community, there are smaller networks of members whose projects work well with each other’s in our webs of contact, work and communication. When we have similar goals, ideals and projections of “how the VC should function”….we find harmony and cooperation. What gives the appearance that we might be able to work together harmoniously in all aspects of our community is the fact that some of us belong to more than one faction. Some Writers/Teachers attend Vampire Balls, are Life Stylers or LARP vampire-based role play games. There can be more than one faction of the Vampire Subculture enjoyed by the same Vampire. However, when one has a vested interest in one faction of the Community more than another faction, there might be a conflict of interest when our individual projects are brought up in community discussion or debate.

HYPOTHETICALLY–Someone from the Information/Support aspect of the Community might find it most important to share the practical feeding information that obligate energy/blood feeders need to live productive and healthy lives. To those of this faction, a secondary agenda might be disputing misinformation about real modern vampirism. We might want to spread factual information in very down-to-earth, practical terms. It is reasonable that from the perspective of the Information/Support group, some of us see Role Players, Life Stylers, and large Vampire events as perpetuating the public image of the Vampire as an overly-dramatic, fantasy-based figure rather than just someone who needs to ingest blood or perform particular metaphysical actions to live a healthy, normal life.

Someone from the Information/Support faction might have an attachment to the idea of shaping a public image of the Modern Vampire that is more “friendly”– divorced from the fiction of the movie, television or novel versions of the super-powered, undead, romantic character. If someone has an emotional investment, they might be in opposition to those that publicly portray themselves in a way that they might see resembling the Fictional Vampire.

HYPOTHETICALY–Someone from the Events/Business faction of the Community might be entirely focused on the sales factor or purely social aspect, to the point where they have a completely different agenda. If they have an investment in getting as many paying customers as they can get into an event (ball)….then, as far as they are concerned, everyone is a Vampire…as long as they pay entry price. The focus is not on passing accurate information, as much as it is in selling tickets and filling a room. Something similar can be found in selling fangs, contacts or costumes–making a sale is the bottom line. Community politics, public awareness might not have any importance, relatively speaking–beyond the community interactions necessary to build up numbers for advertising and ticket sales. The agendas of the Information/Support factions might not be important, at all–because they are not really relevant to sales.

HYPOTHETICALLY–There might be Materialist, Science-only, Physically-oriented Sangs that have a strong disbelief in the metaphysical. [These are not all Med Sangs. Some Med Sangs are very respectful. Some Med Sangs are metaphysically-oriented in other venues, outside of the study and exploration of the science-only approach towards sanguinism.] There are some science-only Sangs that want to focus on a practical exploration of the need to ingest blood, the benefits that derive from blood drinking, and the detriments that come from obligate blood feeders not ingesting enough blood over time. It is possible that the agenda of SOME of these Science-only Sangs is to want to be divorced from ALL metaphysical interpretation of vampirism, energy-feeding, role play and lifestyle–which could be considered all extraneous to their need for blood. While there are some Science-only Sangs that are very cooperative to other factions and individuals within the Subculture, there are also some that begrudgingly stay in the community because they wish to meet other Obligate Blood Feeders who might not find them otherwise and/or Donors. The less-cooperative Science-only Sangs might not willingly or pleasantly interact beyond the need to fulfill this agenda.

HYPOTHETICALLY–You might also run into those Psychic Feeders, Energy Feeders and/or Dual Feeders (energy and blood) who are militant in their stance that every Vampire in the Vampire World is really feeding off of energy. Those who have this absolute worldview insist that there is no such thing as the materialist perception that blood works like vitamins or medicine (food). To these Militant Metaphysicians, even those Vampires who feed off of blood are actually getting their nourishment from the energy behind the blood. Those people who do not agree with the metaphysical/energy interpretation are WRONG and need to be educated. For the Militant Metaphysicians, this is not a point of compromise. Their agenda is to have everyone agree with them. And if you don’t, this type might simply refuse to cooperate or be agreeable.

When we come across disagreeable types in the Community, sometimes there is very little that we can do to get their cooperation. This is simply a fact of life. In my humble opinion, it becomes more productive to stick to the smaller scale of working with those people who are willing to work on the relatively smaller (and possibly, more local) projects. A lot of little completed projects can offer more than constantly failing at making large projects work.

Besides these specific types that we find in the Community, there are also those people in the world who disagree with us just for the sake of being contrary. There are some personalities who simply enjoy conflict–whether that is because of a technique of feeding (Chaos Eaters) or because it simply natural for them to be conflictive or combative.

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While we can’t control other people who find being contrary, conflictive or combative natural–if you find these qualities in yourself, there are some simple meditations to do to help alleviate them.

Prepare meditative space in any way which seems appropriate–For a more spiritual experience, cleanse the area with sage or salt water.  Create sacred space by casting circle or invoking guardians.  For a more casual working, make yourself some tea and simply get comfortable.

Meditate or contemplate in whichever manner seems correct for you.  Free associate, journal or meditate on your ability to get along with people in a more harmonious way. If you wish to work with imagery, perhaps imagine the energy of working and being with others in the GVC as a sort of colored light…or use some other image which represents your interaction with others.  Imagine, feel, sense the energy of working with others becoming more pleasant, flowing easier and more harmoniously to create mutually beneficial outcomes.  As images come and go, make them more positive in any way which that makes sense to your imagination.  Be creative with light, color, feeling and sound.

If you choose to work with meditative prompts in the form of questions, work with any of the following in meditation–What are the benefits to working with others?  How comfortable am I working in positive ways with others?  Am I okay getting along with others?  Are there more positive ways to interact with others, that is to benefit all involved?  Can I fulfill my goals in the easiest, smoothest way possible?

We don’t need everyone to agree with us.  Share your perspective in the Community. But do not be attached to everyone seeing the world through your eyes.

 

 

My Approach; My Perspective; Why I Get Confused In The GVC; And Why I’m Glad When I Just Don’t Take It As Seriously As I Used To

 

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.

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Edumucating The Masses: A Golden Apple For The Teachers

 

I love being part of the information network of the Vampire Community.

We share practical information about feeding, along with other material, to help Modern Living Vampires live healthy, fruitful lives. Another part of our function is that we educate the non-vampiric masses about the reality of what it is to live with vampirism–what it constitutes and what it does not.

Much of our information is readily available on our blogs, websites, online groups…a lot of it for free. But, how much good are we actually doing? Are we actually making a difference to anyone?

The amount of negative response seems almost overwhelming, at times.  It often makes me question whether I am offering accurate, helpful or positive information. For the most part, I am sharing my perspective as a completely personal one. I am going by my own experience and sometimes those of my friends, who also share their original content online.  I often reiterate that I am not any sort of spokesperson for the modern Community.  I am not a textbook Modern Vampire.  I also make it clear that while I have my ideas about what I consider Vampirism–there are many others who hold their contrasting and varying opinions and interpretations.

As part of an unofficial collective of writers, I am aware of the large amount of written and spoken material available on Sanguinism, Energy Vampirism and a variety of other vampire-related topics. It would seem that with all that information so easily accessible, one might think that we should have a lot more smoother interactions in our online and in-person groups.

I suspect that because I am so focused on information-sharing, on the groups that share information and the teachers and speakers…it seems almost odd to me that other people would come into the community and not want to focus on taking in as much information as they possibly could on vampirism, weighing it out and coming to their own working interpretation of the spectrum of experience.

As it currently stands, The Vampire Community and The Online Vampire Community are not carefully and rigidly structured–regardless of what they were ORIGINALLY intended to be. The Community is a loosely connected web of groups (virtual and in-person), people and events.

On the part of the teachers/educators and every other person that enjoys sharing information–my interpretation is that we share that information which we sincerely feel brings a benefit to other Modern Vampires’ lives.  The hazard is when we look for positive feedback to let us know that we are sharing relevant and helpful information.  We can make the mistake in assuming that the people who need our information the most, who benefit from it (immediately or in the future) are also able to articulate themselves or simply are not too shy to speak up.  It is difficult to speak through and hear through the larger amount of negative feedback, response and drama that floods the communication lines…simply because Modern Vampires are still human….and most humans are negative.

At risk of sounding cynical–it seems that there is a lot more negativity in this world than there is positive energy and encouragement.  Just by virtue of people tending to express more of this negative energy, we will run into more discouragement than encouragement from others.  This negativity seems to outweigh (and sometimes drown out) the positive reinforcement and encouragement that we also receive for our efforts.

When I share my observations and my perceptions, I speak from my personal experience.  I share what makes sense to me on an intellectual level.  I share which experiments I perform on a magickal, energetic level and which working conclusions I have thusfar come to.  When I come up against criticism and/or contrary views or information–I give myself time to process whatever my initial reaction/response is….then, I question and analyze everything.

On my side–I question whether what I share might be helpful to someone in a practical way.  By this, I question whether it might be some piece of information that someone could apply to their life in some way (on a mental, emotional or physical level) or that it might simply be something inspirational, affecting their mood in a positive way.

With any criticism that I receive for my articles, I do consider if there might be any truth behind that critique.  Before I consider those words, I look back at what I’ve written.  Is what I wrote relatively true, according to my interpretation of my personal experience and analysis of that experience?  Even if this personal account or interpretation is not common among the masses, is it possible that my account or perception might validate or be helpful to someone else in the world?  If the answers to my set of questions are that I was being true to myself and that I can honestly perceive that my information will find the right person that needs it at the right time for them, then I am at peace with my sharing.

How practical is it to reiterate the guidelines of common sense, disclaimers of safety and responsibility (physical and/or energetic) with each of my articles?  What about the idea that anything that I have to say could be “dangerous” or “unethical” to the reader or student?  My answer to that is that I won’t ever share anything that any reasonable adult would endanger themselves doing.  I am not responsible for any other adult not having common sense or using their ability to research any activity and its safety parameters before they engage in that activity.  I cannot be responsible for anyone’s recklessness or for someone who is not of their right mind.

If I had the responsibility to keep someone safe, I would be able to control what sort of information they had access to and what sort of activity they engaged in.  I cannot be responsible for someone that I don’t have control over.  Give me absolute control over someone, then I would be happy to be responsible for them.

As a teacher (someone who offers information), I will act in a way that is respectful and true to what I feel is right, at all times.  I do not need to perform in any way, with the intention of gaining approval…nor am I going to perform in a way of trying to gain someone’s disapproval, as a stealth act of rebellion.

Here’s where I admit that it gets tricky.  On one hand, I want the freedom for all Living Modern Vampires to be able to live freely in a way in which we can easily share information relevant to our real-life scenarios.  This includes being able to speak of, find and engage with willing donors and the uneducated/unenlightened vampires in a much easier fashion.  This would be the ideal.

However, while we are still working towards these ideals of safe/practical networking in the world, we need to be aware of what we are currently working in and with in the present moment.  What we are working with is a society of varying personalities, belief systems and prejudices.  In terms of the non-vampires, we need a certain degree of normalization of Vampire activity–to where we can reveal ourselves as necessary for purposes of practical function in the world and to make ourselves available to awakened/unawakened kindred, when we see it as fit, on a case by case basis.

As long as we educate with sincerity and constantly weigh the value of revealing and sharing information against any possible desire to shock our audience, we might be outweighing the negative feedback with benefits in the world.

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