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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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The Power and Problem of Sarcasm In The Vampire Community

 

Here’s the problem–I can be a very sarcastic person.

(No matter which community I’m participating in.)

And here’s the good thing–my sarcasm is part of my humor and creativity.

I’ll admit that I’m not the most consistent person. I might fluctuate on my behavior, depending on circumstance, personal mood, what I’ve had to eat physically and otherwise.  And I’ll also admit that I will let friends and closer associates get away with more bad behavior than people that I might know more casually or not at all.

Here’s the situation–I have many moments when I care about being helpful to others. As a self-identified Psychic Vampire, I care about my fellow Energy Feeders and Blood Feeders. As a metaphysician and energy healer, I care in general about all people being healthy, happy and growing into their spiritual awareness.

AND…because I am not completely enlightened (yet), have a human personality and a dry sense of humor…I am not always completely altruistic. I have a wicked sense of humor. I believe that I can be helpful and caring, when it seems the most appropriate. But, some of my more sarcastic reactions are saved for my private walls–sometimes out of context, without revealing the prompting scenario.

Speaking for my own experience, it seems that even though I do want to be helpful and give useful information to fellow Modern Vampires and help spread factual/relevant information about modern understanding of blood/energy vampirism–receptive and intelligent audiences are not always uniform throughout the internet and in-person worlds. Even with the best of my intentions, sometimes the simple truth is that people DO NOT WANT my information, as I understand and offer it.

In the Vampire Community–“aspirants” ask to be “turned,” others want validation that they are born special, and still others simply want confirmation that they are Vampire–even if their working definition is different than mine. Others just want to be accepted as part of a Community. My general intention is to provide the actual blood/energy feeders with appropriate and practical feeding information, to offer alternatives to non-vampires (when they “want to be” vampires) and educate the public with my particular interpretation and understanding of modern vampirism. Those are my working ideals.

However–I’ve noticed that not everyone wants to be told that they are wrong with their self-identification.  Sometimes, members want to argue when I don’t give them a “quick solution” by turning them. Upon disagreeing with my interpretation, I’ve had people drop the conversation, repeatedly insist that they are vampires, insist that I turn them or just not follow through on the alternative suggestions I give them. At some point, it started to feel like a timed game for me–how can I give this person the most useful information in the smallest amount of time, with the expectation that this is the only time that they will ever talk to me?

I eventually got burned out on that idea. My observation of people in-person (offline) and online is that people can be way more complicated than what their surface actions and conversation shows. They can have heavy emotional investments in their ideas–what they WANT to be true. They might not have the conscious recognition of what the motivating factors are in their convictions, only the surface NEED to have their beliefs be true. Not everyone is reasonable or completely conscious in their interactions with those of us in the Community.

So….let’s bring this all back to the SARCASM in our online Vampire Community. There is no rule that everyone has to be welcoming, warm and kind to everyone that wanders into the Community. We have our individual rules in our individual online groups and houses–so, we have our range of responses to the comments and statements that come up in our online forums. There are some members that I tend to avoid in the OVC–I’ve blocked a few. There are other members who I tend to avoid responding to, because they just seem so abrasive. Then, there are some of my friends who can be a little abrasive, when presented with apparent trolling–but, will respond kindly to more believable newcomer questions and remarks. Personal interactions on our Facebook walls aside, I’ve noticed that the sarcasm tends to come out in two types of threads, in general.

The first type of discussion that comes up is that within a heated debate–sarcasm usually comes up in the form of “how can you possible think that?”-spirit of response. During a heated discussion, we are usually arguing among intellectual equals or, at least, between those of us who have strong backbones and thick skins. In this context, the fighting ground is relatively fair–the bigger boys and girls who can serve it, as well as take it. Sarcasm can be served both ways by people who can hold their own.

The second kind of scenario where sarcasm is used in our groups is in response to a single poster’s comment or question–in which the poster says something which is considered outlandish…or seemingly a statement that a troll or role player would say. A popular activity that I’ve seen is when a post will be answered by a lot of eye-rolling and “oh, this again”-kind of responses. The first problem I tend to notice with this is that there is an almost instant camaraderie that people try to form by ganging up on the original poster. Given, some of these claims, questions and comments might seem outlandish–but, I tend to be cautious of those that jump on the sarcasm thread to gain instant credit in a sort of “mob mentality.”

The system is not a perfect one–there are trolls, people who know perfectly well how self-identified Modern Vampires define terms and understand ourselves.  Trolls provoke by asking ridiculous questions, even though they might know perfectly well how we use definitions and how we understand concepts.  Then we have the people who genuinely do not know how we define terms and concepts, have a fantastical (fictional) view of vampires and vampirism….and are mistaken in their self-identification or want to be transformed into a Fictional Vampire.  Those two groups alone make legitimate members of the GVC defensive and sometimes combative, when we perceive someone who is trying to deceive our community.

The problem with this is that we sometimes make assumptions about how real Obligate Sanguivores and Obligate Psychic Feeders are supposed to behave and respond.

Although this is not a universal understanding, my personal interpretation is that obligation to feed does not guarantee any other personality or intuitive traits.  In my experience, I am an obligate energy feeder, so I am using my personal history as a gauge for what is possible (though, not an absolute) in the psychic vampire personality.  I perceive that I have always had a need to feed on energy.  I personally have not always had the same degrees of the same knowledge and information that can be found in a seasoned member of the Community.  However, I wouldn’t ask such outlandish questions in public forums, like some members do.

As part of the Magickal/Pagan Community, we would explore the limits of possibility in a methodical manner.  Claims of the paranormal and metaphysical were put to the test through reasonable amounts of time preparing and executing magickal technique.  Part of this framework for discernment translates fairly neatly over to the topics, claims and beliefs of the Vampire World.

While I tend to lean over towards giving people the benefit of the doubt, I actually rely on my harsher and less forgiving counterparts in the Community.  In the bigger picture, it seems that we very much perform the good cop/bad cop scenario.  The aggressive and abrasive of us call out those of us who might not be the most sincere.  And then there are those of us who are more gentle in our approach–we are the ones that will take in those that want the important teachings of the Modern Vampire.  Hopefully, those who really are obligate feeders have the instinct to find like-minded kindred and continue searching in the Community.  Maybe the push and pull of interaction in the Community is like the push and pull of washing the soil out of a dirty cloth–eventually, in all the motion, something will come out clean.

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From The House of Shadow Faerie–Leadership

In the world of the Vampire Community, the title of Leader is thrown around carelessly.  In common use, it is almost synonymous with Elder, King or Queen.  Unless these terms are clearly defined, the duties and responsibilities of a Leader are also left undefined….and there is more room for ego trips and personality issues than actual leadership.  A Leader is more of a guide and role model, not the dictator of some social club.

A Leader leads others towards something or away from something else.  What does a Vampire Leader lead to?  There is no Vampire army, so it is not a Leader in the military sense.  A Leader in the Vampire Community leads their people out of ignorance, out of dysfunctionality, out of confusion.  A Leader leads their people into full awareness, helping the newly awakened or misinformed blossom into their full potential as an evolved vampiric being.  This is not the delusion of role playing.  A Leader helps the individual vampire to become aware of and deal with any and all negative aspects of their condition, to the best of both their abilities to facilitate this personal growth.  Also, when applicable, a Leader helps the individual vampire to nurture the positive aspects of their condition–again to the best of the capabilities of both parties involved, in this cooperative effort.

To be an effective Leader in the Community, one must be able to navigate through the waters of social interaction with others, within their own particular group and the cooperative web of other groups and individuals in their network.  To be as effective as possible, it is necessary to be as emotionally neutral as possible when dealing with others.  Humans–all Vampires included–can be emotionally driven.  An evolved being knows that emotions are to be mastered, not catered to.  If one stays objective and unemotional when dealing with others, one can stay focused on whatever task is at hand.  It is socially acceptable to react out of emotion when others do so first.  However, this is the sign of the flock….to be affected by lower emotion.  To be a great Leader, one must practice being bigger than the moment and being the most effective, by not reacting out of emotion in the moment of debate and discussion.  There is a time and place to process fear-based emotions, such as anger.  Conviction, confidence and passion are not the same creatures.  An effective Leader knows when to act out of their center and not trigger others’ emotional reactions.

A Leader looks at the bigger picture.  They consider all possible factors involved when dealing with others and, while they consider what is best for their most intimate connections, also consider the effects and affectations of those who are connected to those involved.  A Leader is a thinker, not a bully.  Keeping peace in the larger Vampire Community is practical.  The newly awakened are attracted to and find groups and vampire types outside of our own.  If we are cooperative and respectful to others of the larger community, we can direct the newly awakened to those kindred type which would benefit them most.  We are like a village, making sure everyone’s children finds their way back to their respective homes at the end of the day.

A Leader acknowledges that those individuals that have found their way to him or her are individuals.  This means that the individual has strengths and weaknesses inside and outside of what makes them a Vampire.  An effective Leader is as realistic as possible about their charges and empowers them in their personal growth.  True empowerment is not showing a Vampire how to snarl and bare their teeth at every imaginary threat, but how to remain centered and calm, to evaluate when the threat is actually harmless.  More often than not, when a Vampire finds their center, we realize that most threats are harmless.

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Missing A Possible Opportunity In the Vampire Community

With all due respect, it seems that some Churches have little internal conflict during their meetings because the majority of the members ARE followers.  Some of us might make fun of them, but some people are entirely comfortable being “sheep”–they would much rather do the minimum of whatever the requirements are to be considered an obedient member of their flock and nothing more.  These groups work because the members find docility to be a virtuous quality.  There are a few leaders, but the majority are quite happy to remain followers.
This is not the case in the Pagan, Vampire and other “metaphysical” Communities.  Many people come into our communities quietly, respectfully…but, with time, many are not content to be followers.  Over time, members want to lead their own groups.  Sometimes, it is because they want to be of service to their fellow members of the Community–other times, it is because they want the recognition and the praise of being a good leader, elder or teacher.  As one of my Pagan mentors told me, Witchcraft and the other Magickal traditions tend to attract people with huge egos.
Huge egos are huge because they are swollen.  They are swollen, because of the emotional impacts or negative infections of life…big egos are such, because they are damaged.  Damaged egos want power, even if it is only the illusion that others are giving us their personal power.  Those individuals who want to be recognized as being in positions of power, sometimes do so to make up for how wounded they feel on the emotional level.  Spirituality and religion are very often pathways of healing.  Those who are the most vocal often tend to want to be coven leaders, teachers or authorities of some sort in their particular traditions.  Rather than focusing on personal growth or wisdom, they look for the secondary signs of someone of value or importance to others….represented as some sort of office in a group or badge/title of office.
The Vampire Community seems to overlap quite a bit with the Pagan Community.  Besides the fact that many Vampires are also involved in the Pagan and Magickal pathways, it seems that there are many in the community who fall into two other subcategories.  Even if they are actual Blood or Energy Feeders, it might be that they also embrace aspects of the Vampire Mystique to make up for existing ego flaws and issues, perhaps playing up aggressive behaviors and mannerisms associated with the Fictional Vampire–even when these aggressive behaviors might not have been part of their personality, without having heard about the Fictional Vampire.  Some members of the community are not Blood or Energy Feeders at all, but are drawn to identify with their impression of the Fictional Vampire, because they cannot relate to finding those empowered qualities within themselves.
Regardless of whether someone is an actual Feeder or not, we have a community of discordant personalities, that cluster into smaller groups, before breaking apart again, scattering and reforming into newer groups on a constant basis.  It seems that despite all the efforts that many well-meaning and helpful individuals of the GVC hold, much of our time is spent creating new groups and alliances, because of infighting, disagreement and otherwise unpleasant interactions.  Even if a group keeps the same name and banner, its member count is constantly rolling over and changing.
One of the problems that we have in our groups is a very human one.  We are not instructed on how to socialize and form cooperative communities, much less trained how to do so.  We do not get along with others, in part, because of the personality flaws that we are never taught how to deal with.  Unpleasant and discordant personalities are not taught to be the responsibility of the individual–all of our problems are, more often than not, projected onto others.
At best, we are told to control our outward behavior to some degree.  With personality issues, our emotional reactions can seem so uncontrollable that we justify acting out on them.  We incorrectly judge our emotional reaction as the fault and problem of others, so we feel justified in taking them out on the other party and demanding that they change their behavior for us.  Some of us have such extreme internal activity that we feel the impulse to express it in some way–some of this is can be in response to anxiety, depression, mania or a variety of other mental and emotional conditions and illnesses.
Many of us are not raised with whatever it means to get along with other people, much less taught how to put aside our feelings (reactions) when working with others in groups, towards common goals.  Some of us have personalities which are naturally compatible with others in general and some of us learn how to control ourselves, when we recognize the value of doing so.  But, for the most part, there are plenty of examples of people who overreact, bully and otherwise allow the EXPRESSION of their feelings and opinions to be more important than focusing on group goals or projects.
On one hand, it might be that some members of the GVC have the attitude that all adult members should know how to be cooperate, simply because we are of adult age….and therefore, must have the total capacity to do so….but, that they simply CHOOSE not to.  As a Latino, a Leo, a gay man and someone who works in retail sales….I have seen the rawest, ugliest part of humanity.  I beg to differ.  If we all have the capacity to control our emotions, that working conviction (belief)  is missing in some of us.  Without the conscious belief that we can influence our own emotions, that faculty is literally inaccessible to our conscious personality.
Telling someone to “just do it” does not work for everyone.
My guess is that some group leaders assume (hope) that all cooperative, stable members of the GVC will eventually gravitate to their particular groups.  If they wait long enough, and put in enough effort, only compatible (and Real) Vampires will eventually fill their groups–whether that is an in-person House or online group or a combination of the two.  This seems to be the unspoken working theory in some Pagan and Otherkin groups, as well.
Another possible factor is the underlying idea is that “real” Vampires have a naturally strong personality or a highly aggressive personality.  In these cases, there is nothing that needs to be addressed, when we believe that is a defining quality of a Modern Living Vampire.  This is simply the way that “real Vampires” are and nothing can be changed in them, so it is simply something to put up with.  However, because no one is addressing personality issues, this aggressive behavior is being allowed in all non-Vampire GVC members, as well.  If a “real” Vampire is just supposed to be aggressive, this same behavior is being allowed in the non-Vampire members of the GVC; which includes all misbehaving Role Players, trolls and (misbehaving) Life Stylers.
The GVC already has a strong overlap with the Metaphysical and Magickal Communities.  Many members of the GVC also practice magick, metaphysics and engage in self-development and self-growth practices. We are occultists and new agers. Emotional clearing/healing is not a foreign concept to many in the community.  All Vampires are still human–and that includes having an emotional body that comes with emotional issues.  Not all systems of emotional healing work for all people–however, if we as a Community promoted these healing systems and had practical, friendly working information in place, then it could cut down on personal wounds in the individuals of the GVC, which would cut down on the amount of emotional outbursts and other emotionally-fueled reactions in interactions with others.
If it were standard practice to encourage emotional clearing, then all members (regardless if what they actually are) might be less inclined to react out of damaged emotion and automatic triggers.  Confidence, born out of desire or passion, can be part of the Vampire Mystique.  Aggression can often mask insecurity, born out of fear, anger or other negative emotions.
If emotional clearing/healing were standardized practices, many members of the GVC might be noticeably less compulsive and combative. People with very strong emotional impulses can’t relate to the idea of behaving properly or “doing the right thing”.  With strong emotional reactions, the reasonable “adult” part of the mind is simply not in control.  Not that everyone should be given a free pass to act out whenever they want.  We should still have consequences for our personal reactions and actions.  However, since so many of us are already involved in metaphysics, magick and self-healing practices….it could be of benefit to share resources and encourage emotional clearing, healing and health for everyone.  The benefit could be less NEGATIVE emotion, with more clear thinking in our discussions and interactions.
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Well, I like the idea of Community…Pagans, Vampires and Pagany Vampires.

How long have I been here, anyway?

I considered looking up old posts, trying to figure out how long I’ve been involved with the online Vampire Community. That was before I decided that it didn’t really matter at this point, anyway. What matters most is how I feel about being part of the GVC, right now.  I wanted to reflect on my present experience, my place in and my future intentions towards the Community, at large.

When I first entered the GVC, it felt more like I was thrown in. I didn’t relate to “being a Vampire”. I didn’t have the desire to prove I was a Vampire to anyone or fit in with the other members of the Vampire Community.  It was more that some of my friends and associates in the Pagan Community pointed out that I am a sort of Vampire. From some of the definitions that were presented to me, I had to agree. The description of a Vampire (as a human creature that feeds on blood or energy) or Psychic/Energy Vampire (a human creature that specifically needs to feed on particular types of energy for health and well-being) seemed to fit. These descriptions filled in the holes in my spiritual understanding.

I wasn’t introduced gradually to the online Vampire Community, as much as I was just added to various groups by my friends from the Pagan Community. Personally, I was thrown into the ongoing conversations and eventually became familiar with the various definitions and understandings of the VC, as I went along. At first, I was under the umbrella agreement that all Vampires are the same….that we are all the same type of spiritual/psychic creature, and that we can feed on any kind of energy.  At first, it didn’t make sense to separate ourselves by any further delineation or definition.

This made sense to me, in part, because I like the idea of common ground–unity and the harmony of being the same kind of creature. I was a bit confused that not everyone in the community had the same attitude. This wasn’t actually that huge of a shock, when I realized that the same thing happens in the Pagan Community. In person, our local pagans never reached that ideal of community unity, no matter how much we talked about it. We pretty much just stay in our covens, our cliques, our smaller meeting groups. We change out friends, associates and coven members, every so often. Start up new groups, classes, circles, meetings on a regular basis. That just seems to be human nature.  The larger the group, the less likely that everyone is going to agree or get along with each other.

There are many reasons that some us feel like we can’t get along with others in groups. These are pretty much the same reasons why we can’t get along with everyone, everyday in our mundane lives. Socially awkward people, loners and highly unusual people might have even more trouble getting along with others around them.  I once read an article that basically said that nerds and other socially awkward people are often drawn to the occult and the paranormal. Either way we look at it, it might be the case for some members of our fringe communities. Either we are attracted to exploring and identifying with the unusual, because we are socially awkward….or we tend to be socially awkward, when we realize that we are not like all of the other humans. I don’t have a problem with finding out that one, the other or (to some degree) that both are true.

I can’t say that everyone in the Pagan communities has my exact ideals or similar life references that they draw upon. Even in my local Witchcraft Community, I found that I didn’t quite agree with everyone. The way that I see it–as a spiritual servant of the Goddess, I believe that my spiritual growth is served by constantly referring back to Spirit as my source. That personal evolution, for me, means that I control my emotional body–that I fill myself with the Love, Peace and Joy of the Gods. My working belief is that I will eventually become completely harmless to the creatures around me, because I am not holding them responsible for my self-fulfillment or emotional satisfaction.

Keeping that in mind, I have learned to equate personal evolution with self-fulfillment, becoming harmless, knowing that the reactions of others is not needed for self-fulfillment. These are the ideals that I keep coming back to, as often as I can remind myself of them. Part of my ongoing spiritual growth is that I recognize how quickly I return to my reference points.

My mistake when coming into the Pagan/Magickal Community is that I assumed that every other magician had the same understanding, the same approach and the same goal and viewpoint. Even if someone practices magick, metaphysics or some techniques of spirituality….there is no guarantee that they want to make their emotional bodies self-reliant or wish to become harmless to everyone around themselves. Many people still hold others responsible for their irritation, joys, happiness and unhappiness….because that is what is normal. That is standard for how people relate to each other in the world.

I was brought over into the GVC by Dual Feeders/Hybrids, that also practiced magickal LHP and Grey Witchcraft. I automatically adopted their viewpoints concerning the nature of Vampires. We were all supposed to be Dual Feeders/Multi-Feeders/Universal Feeders and all vampires were magickal or energy workers. This group of people was my “gateway group”, so I didn’t find any reason to think that the GVC was any other way.

I came in from the Pagan Community. I had somewhat of a voice in my local metaphysical community. I had somewhat of a voice in my witchy online groups. I was comfortable stating my opinions, outlooks and sharing my interpretations. Perhaps because I came in through my Vampire/Pagan groups, I assumed that all of the GVC was run the same way that the Pagan Community was run.

My current interpretation is that they are not.  The structure of the Pagan Community and the Vampire Community are very different.

There are many traditions and pathways of Magick and Paganism. While there are some mystically-oriented who see spiritual evolution as the goal, point and mission of existence….there are many who do not. There are many Witches and Pagans who are basically materialist in their lifestyle–or who might think in metaphysical terms, but be very victim-oriented and negative in their way of viewing the world. We tend to see community support in terms of teaching magickal techniques, sharing standard pagan holiday information and pointing out resources for more formal ceremonial structure. There are some in the Pagan Community who believe that one is “born a Witch” or born to a particular pathway (justifying that belief with past-life memories)…a strong feeling/intuition/conviction that they “should be” or “are” a particular type of Witch…or have noticed particular magickal or psychic phenomena without having “practiced” or read about it, first.

However, for the most part, many Pagans see paganism, witchcraft and the occult traditions as a conscious choice….essentially optional pathways that we follow out of our free will. They are the equivalent to religions.  Optional.  We can practice, not practice, deviate and come back to the magickal traditions. For those that subscribe to these philosophies, it is often more comfortable to follow them than not….but, they are a set of beliefs that we adopt and adapt and express. Free will and conscious choice for most of us thinking-types of magicians and pagans.

It’s a little trickier for Modern Living Vampires. Lifestylers and Role Players aside, the interpretation for Vampirism is a little different. Sanguines and Psychic Vampires come to their self-identification, through a different line of discovery. In my case, it was more that I came to see myself as a Psychic Feeder by default. How I understand myself as a Psychic Vampire is that I had an energy deficiency that was alleviated strongly by feeding on human vital energy, in a way that non-human vital energy could never nourish me. As a magician and an energy worker, I’ve had plenty of experience working with non-human sources of prana. Nothing else has had the same effect on my system as human-generated ambient energy– whether that was generated by a crowd, human psychic generators that seem to have an abundance of psy/vital lifeforce, or a lover. Personally, thinking of myself as a “Psy Vamp” (“Vampire” and every other definition of any other applicable term) has tied up the loose strings in my understanding of what is my personal energetic/metaphysical history. I can see where others of a metaphysical background could come to a similar understanding of a Psychic Vampire, through the terminology and concepts of energy workers.  This is not a choice of practice, per se.  This is more of an understanding of the pre-existing condition of one’s energy body and consequentially, a set of necessary and automatic behaviors….decided on (pre-birth) for one’s incarnation.

Likewise, a Sanguine Vampire differs from a Blood Magician in that the latter makes use of blood for practices that are completely optional.  A Sanguine Vampire needs to ingest blood for purposes of health on one level or another and suffers detriment if they do not ingest.  This is equivalent to the non-vampiric need of any human to ingest animal or plant matter (physical food), in order to sustain a physical body.  Again, more than likely this is one of those conditions of physical existence that is agreed upon (pre-birth) for one’s incarnation.

[Depending on one’s understanding, there is also another interpretation of the Vampire as more of a spiritually oriented creature who takes in blood/energy not so much for health, but as a sort of spiritual fuel to enhance one’s personal growth and evolution.  I haven’t intellectually explored this interpretation, yet, but there seems to be the instinct to feed one’s energy bodies on a regular basis….a sort of “hunger” on another level.]

In Paganism, there might be some traditions which can be traced back through actual history.  But, for the most part, eclecticism allows the individual to put together the elements that speak to them personally.  Because everything is up for grabs, there is little to no universal emphasis on a centralized history.  Each tradition or coven might have their own history, but as a Community, we don’t emphasis one over another.  In the Vampire Culture, there is more of a reference to  modern history (the roots of the modern subculture) and a secondary history of the Vampire as a mythological creature of folk tales and stories.  Many rationally-oriented members of the GVC recognize that the Historical Vampire could be a mix of the exaggerated accounts of real vampirism and completely fictionalized stories, representing the acts of the Blood or Prana Feeder through symbolism.

The modern Vampire Community is not that old.  There are still current members who were the original founders, part of the Community as it came to be.  It is entirely reasonable that these elders could think of or feel of the GVC as “theirs”, since they remember how the community was formed with all of its issues and ideals.  It is entirely reasonable that these elders remember how it has been shaped, grown, gotten sick and healed.  They were there at its creation.  It is something very alive for them.  To these members, the GVC might feel like it’s own Living Being, because they saw it at its birth.

Anyone who was not there from the inception of the Modern Vampire Community, might come in with a completely different attitude and reference points.  Although the GVC is not literally a physical being, anyone who watched it form could (on a symbolic level) relate to it as a child of some sort.  A baby.  They experienced when it was something new.  The elders, the founding members existed before the GVC did.  Watching something be created, be born and grow….gives someone a different relational point.  There was nurturing, caring and investment put into it’s existence.  The elders are the parents, aunts and uncles of the GVC.  Being more experienced, simply by having more time awakened than the new and newly awakened members, the elder members also take the place of the parents and grandparents to the new generations of vampires and GVC newbies.

New members, the newly awakened have come into the GVC as already a pre-existing entity.  There are elders in place, whether or not they present themselves as such.  Relationally, the new members are children in a sense….some of us well-behaved and polite, some of us demanding and needy.  When I came into the Pagan Community, specifically through the Goddess path of Feri Witchcraft, it was clear that (in the Pagan Community) we were to be guided….apprenticeship was not only part of , but expected in many traditions.  The concept of working under an elder or looking to Pagan elders for clues seemed to be built into the very structure of the Pagan Community.

While we might be given advice on practical methods of feeding in the GVC, the concept of apprenticeship is not so emphasized in the Vampire Community.  Mentor/student relationships are formed, but it doesn’t seem to be the standard as much as it is for the Pagan Community.  Part of that might be because we are taught “how to be” Witches, Mages or Pagans…..whereas Living Vampires are born–we don’t need to be taught “how to be” something that we already are.

There might be value in teaching more than the basics of feeding techniques.  Let’s be honest.  Most of us are not taught how to be social creatures–some of us get it, some of us don’t.  There might be some value in being taught how to “community” in the GVC.  Most newbies come in with this unspoken fantasy of becoming a respected (sometimes, feared) member, without any concrete idea of what that really means or how to do so.  Maybe if we teach each other how not only to conduct ourselves outwardly, but also how to deal with the internal that affects how we externally behave….we might have smoother interactions than what we have been having to date.

 

 

Mark Morris Dance Group

 

 

Predatory Psychic Feeders Vs. Vampires As Ethical, Spiritual Beings

 

People are not equal….or, at the very least, we are not the same.  We are not all the same because of our very human personality differences. With those personality differences, we express our lives with our varying attitudes, intentions and foci. In nature, we have our predatory and feral creatures. We have our animals that live to survive, for the most part self-oriented. At most, they will protect and provide for their families or packs.

And then, we have our more domesticated animals. Our household pets that give us love and companionship, among other things. Humans are very similar in some respects to other animals. As a species, our behavior can range from being completely self-oriented to only being concerned with our more immediate family group to caring for members outside of that personal family/friends circle. Within the food chain, unless we are completely vegan, we make accommodations in our general moral and ethical schemes to make room for our part in the violation of free will and murder or other living beings. As meat eaters, we make justifications in these two areas for non-human animals because we find eating them to be normal behavior. Many animals also feed on others, without any problem of moral or ethical justification. There is simply no conversation to it, in most cases.

As Energy Vampires, some of us follow sets of rules or guidelines for feeding on/from the energies of others. Even under the umbrella term of “Psychic Vampires” or “Energy Vampires”, we come in as a variety of creatures with a variety of reasons for taking in the energy of other human beings. Some of us hold that we were born to feed off of human vital energy in the same way that our physical bodies need to take in the right balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates to remain physically healthy and functional.

Others of our sub-community hold that some of us are instinctively geared to feed on human vital energy, not for our energetic (psychic, spiritual…) health, but because our systems get secondary benefits that we would not get were we not energetically feeding. It is important to talk about the different categories that we have within our community, simply because they exist. We could ignore the differences; but with ignoring the differences, there are specific needs that are dismissed….sometimes because, as a species, we love the idea of one-formula, one-explanation, putting everything into a tidy little box for our understanding…and we invalidate any personal experience that does not fit neatly in.

There are some of us who are ethical feeders. We have our own sets of rules and guidelines for feeding from the energy of others. Then, there are some of us who do not follow any set of rules….or at least, follow rules that are different from others. Putting out and sharing our sets of ethics for feeding can be prescriptive. However, there is no way of enforcing that all energy feeders follow our or any other guidelines.

What do we do with the non-ethical feeders? As information becomes more mainstream….everyone is becoming a blogger or at least adding their two cents in the comments section….the non-ethical energy feeders are becoming just as public as those of us who follow our individually-constructed or adopted feeding guidelines.

There are those of us who share our personal rules, because we truly believe in them. We share them because they work for us and we hope that they will be helpful to other awakening and awakened energy feeders. To some degree, some of us sometimes share information as a sort of “full disclosure,” to educate the non-vampire community (that we have nothing scary to hide) or to inform non-vampires so that they can pass along the (hopefully) useful information to unawakened/awakening energy feeders.

When confronted by non-ethical energy feeders, I do feel like a bit of a hypocrite. Physically speaking, I am not a Vegan. I eat meat and enjoy animal products. I know that I contribute (or at least, validate) a system where animal life is violated without permission for my personal needs. As a human animal inhabiting a human animal body, I understand that I am no different than any other animal in the wild that does not care about the free will or right-to-life of other particular animal life-forms (namely, chicken, beef, pork and a few other supermarket types). I might not hunt the same way as a lion or a wolf, but I benefit from a system that kills for me.

Coming out of a society that does not value all life (especially where food is involved); the fact that one session of energetic draining is not very likely to kill someone and the presence of the predatory Fictional Vampire archetype in our subculture….it is no wonder that there are some non-ethical energy feeders. As humans, we are not completely altruistic, benevolent beings at all times in all areas of life.

Are there any benefits to addressing the behavior or those that do not follow our ethical boundaries? We can suggest why our favorite sets of ethics should be followed, but should we be more explicit about the whys of it?  Being prescriptive about codes of ethics is good public relations….but, is there any benefit to discussing the non-ethical vampire in depth?

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