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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“DISCRETION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spider-Web-Morning

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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.

Traditions-in-Bolivia

 

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

I got schooled by one of the Elders.

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

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

(Oh.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Vampire Community is dead?

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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.

dead you say

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.

 

 

Non-Vampiric Feeding vs. Vampiric Feeding

There was a time when I energy-fed–before I thought of myself as an Energy Vampire.  It was more that I didn’t think of it as “feeding” in the way that I think of vampiric energy feeding, now.  I did use the word “nourishment,” thinking in terms of “spiritual nourishment”–the energies that each of us need, as spiritual/energetic beings with spiritual/energetic bodies.

Before I self-identified as a Vampire and used the reference points that I use now, I thought of myself as a mage and an energy worker.  I moved energy and thought of this process as more of “channeling.”  One of the first concepts I was introduced to in Feri Witchcraft was that of the “The Tree” visualization–thinking of ourselves as rooted in the Earth, with our branches reaching into the skies and space.  Energetically connected to the energy system of the Earth and the Planetary bodies.  As a Witch, we were taught that we were spiritually nourished by taking in energies from the Earth and the Sky.  Within the context of paganism, we were also taught that our personal energy systems needed the feminine, Goddess, Earth energies from below and the masculine, God, solar, Sky energies from above.  With both, we were complete.

While I didn’t use the word “feeding” extensively at the time, I meditated on both types of natural energy filling my personal system and nourishing my chakras, energy bodies and any other metaphor/image that I thought of as my “self.”  At the time, my mental concept was not that I was anything special or unique because I practiced in this way.  My perception was that all beings benefited from performing this practice consciously, because it represented full communion with all spiritual energies.  Anything with a spirit (i.e., humans) became complete with this conscious practice.

Eventually, whether it was an intuitive understanding or a logical conclusion based on an analysis of these metaphysical concepts [or even, simply a psychological technique, working as some kind of emotional placebo], I found value in taking in other classes of energies.  Pretty much any other type of energy that I could conceptualize.

As a Witch, I pretty much figured out that every magickal system that we used represented the wholeness of reality by breaking it down into smaller symbolic parts that we could mentally relate to.  The signs of the Zodiac, Planetary Magick, Elemental Magick, Pantheons…with each exploration of every magickal construct, my main practice was channeling those energies into and through my self.  Earth, Water, Fire, Air.  Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars.  Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer.  Ra, Isis, Osiris, Horus, Sekhmet, Bast.  For whatever other technique I practiced or information I studied, I constantly pulled energy into myself.  The benefits were observable.  While, I wasn’t “healed” in the way that I conceptualized (and expected) to be, I did notice differences and improvements.  I felt emotionally calmer.  My physical body felt better.  I was healthier on those two levels.

I felt a satisfaction that I didn’t have before.  To me, these were spiritual and magickal practices that ANY spiritually-oriented person could choose to do.  These were beneficial, but not obligatory.  To my understanding, I was drawn to these practices, these states because it was natural to my being…but, I was still human.  There was nothing about my BEING that made me different from any other human, magician or non-magician.  These trends to want to explore spirituality, energy work and magick were things that I saw as part of my personality or consciousness–but, they did not set me apart as a different TYPE of human being.

My magickal practices didn’t fix everything in my life, but they certainly made them MUCH better.  By the time I stumbled into the Vampire Community, I was already pretty content with my personal system.  And because it was such a personal and living system, I adjusted and adopted the concepts that I discovered within energy vampirism.  The explanations that I discovered in the Vampire Community filled in the holes that my previous system had.  Looking back, I realized that I had auto-fed on other humans quite a bit of the time.  People also told me that I pulled on their negative energy in ways that I know I didn’t do consciously–again, automatically.  Friends and acquaintances told me that they felt better around me, because I would relieve them of their heavy, negative energies, simply by being in their presence.

Even though I had a comfortable background in the Pagan and Magickal Communities…or maybe BECAUSE I knew the value of considering myself a student in new territory…I was open to listening to the input from the various members of the Vampire Community.  They were obviously aware of their vampirism much longer than I had been.  Even though no one had expressly communicated this to me–from observing the focus of many Energy Feeders, I eventually considered “vampiric feeding” as the taking in of energy from other human energy systems.  I had a long history of taking in energy from non-human sources…and because I didn’t call it “feeding,” I never thought of that as vampiric.

Taking in energy from human sources was “vampiric.”  This was part of the reason that I quietly disbelieved that elemental feeders were really vampires, if their energetic diet was exclusive to that non-human energy.  Feeding on Nature’s energies was something that I had done for years–it was part of a magician’s routine.  Many spiritual people did it and everyone could benefit from it.

At some vague point, within some grey area, I started to think of myself as more of a Psychic Vampire/Energy Vampire/Vampire rather than as a Witch.  Not that I gave up on my old practices completely, but working with non-human energies happened less frequently.  I had created a distinction between Magicians/Witches and Vampires in my mind.  Even though no one else told me that I had to give up my old energy work, I had also accidentally created an association between solar/stellar energies and the powers of Nature.  Lunar and Nocturnal energies were in a separate category.  Vampires seemed to have a preference for nighttime imagery.

While I didn’t think in terms of Light/Good and Dark/Bad, I did use particular terms and images in my pre-Vampire Community days.  I thought of energy as Light…Diane Stein had introduced me to the concept of Black Light, so even working with Darkness wasn’t a problem in the modality I had been using.  While I did work with Lunar and Nocturnal energies/images, I thought of Light as being a strong part of this framework.

I thought of the principles of Energy Vampirism as rounding out my practices, so I adopted them.  However, I perceived that there is much more of a Nocturnal focus in many of the members…so, I eventually lost focus on the entirety of my old energy work, as I was used to practicing it.  It seems that many of the Energy Feeders focus on Lunar energies and Dark energies, if any energy work is done at all, besides feeding on human-sourced prana.  I hadn’t realized that I had narrowed in my focus in the same way in my personal practice.  Looking back, I realized that it was an eventual progression.

I hadn’t thought of my early energy work as Feeding, because that is not a term that we worked with.  We did use concepts like “spiritual nourishment,” though.  “Feeding” sounds like something predatory, while “nourishment” reminds me of something healthy and  nurturing.  Even though we often work with willing donation and ambient energy, “feeding” brings to mind something other than “eating”….it’s a more aggressive word choice.  When I thought of being “nourished” by the Earth’s energy, there was definitely something softer, caring, more loving about the concept.

I was taking in energy either way, but there was distinctions in my frame of reference.  I’ve recently found MORE wonderful, well-rounded, spiritually-oriented Vampires who embrace the value of working with non-human sources of energy, as well as acknowledging that it is part of our nature to feed on human-source prana.  Is it natural for some of us–Vampiric Energy Feeders–to focus only on Nocturnal energies…or is it another part of The Vampire Mystique to only focus on the Night?  Is it fashionable to keep only to the dark or do some of us keep to the shadows because we’ve associated the Light and Sunlight to the (unenlightened) society that we wish to separate ourselves from?

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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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“Sweetie, Shouldn’t You Have A Talk With Timmy About Turning?”

One of the problems with the Online Vampire Community is that we don’t have the equivalent of a “children’s table.”  We have many groups in which we have mixed membership–seasoned, reasonable, mature, practical Modern Vampires…in the same groups as those who do not have a realistic view of modern vampirism.

Specifically, I am referring to those “aspirants” who request to be turned, no matter how many times we tell them that we won’t or can’t…or that being “turned” won’t get them what they really want.  The subject of being “Turned” can be a controversial topic.  It is not even a topic on which we all completely agree–whether or not it is possible–or even on how we should define it.

When we talk about the concept of Turning, some of us say that it has the classical meaning–to produce the condition of vampirism where it was not present before.  Others say that “turning” is more of an activation of the recessive trait of vampirism, to bring its symptoms into full manifestation in those who possessed latent vampirism.  In the classical sense, a formerly non-vampiric being is transformed into a vampire.  In the “activation” of latent vampirism, only vampires can be awakened, not non-vampiric humans.

Reasonable, practical members of the Community sometimes discuss the prospect of Turning–either and both forms.  We discuss the possibility of both forms of Turning in terms of Sanguinism and Energy Vampirism.  We sometimes even share personal or second-hand accounts which we think validate our belief or skepticism in the process, itself.  The problem comes when “aspirants” come in from a side angle, wanting to be Turned into vampires.

A simple request from someone who is young, uninformed and is NOT heavily invested in the belief of the Fictional Vampire; but is more of a vampire-fan is not that much of a problem.  It is when someone is insistent that they NEED to be Turned and so stubborn about wanting to be transformed into a super-powered Vampire that they will jump from person to person in the community, aggressive in their search to be Turned.

Here is the little problem–among the more analytical of us, in our discussions, we refer to Turning within the context of our larger understanding.  Among Modern Vampires, we have more of an intellectual relationship to the concept.  Those of us who are already Obligate Feeders don’t need to be “turned”.  Those of us who are not Modern Vampires, but are still reasonable and mature members of the VC, are usually not interested in being “turned” because those members know what a Modern Vampire is and are not confusing that with any Fictional version.

However, when the less-intellectual, more-impulsive, less-informed, more-delusional “aspirant” merely hears the word “Turned,” they take the mention/discussion as confirmation that the classical, fictional process is a reality.  Even when some of us explain that classical/fictional Turning is not possible OR that Vampires are not granted extraordinary abilities, these “aspirants” can’t hear anything beyond the word “Turned.”

These Wannabe-Turnees are thinking of POWERS, powers found in movies, television shows, folk tales and modern vampire fiction.  Should we be more explicit when we talk about “powers,” “talents” and “abilities” in front of the kids?  In the Magickal and Pagan Communities, when we refer to the “powers,” it is within the context of inborn or developed/exercised abilities.  I was clairvoyant as a little boy, because of spiritual karma.  I was born with a level of natural talent because of past-life karma or pre-life spiritual agreement.  The level of skill I have in glamour projection came with my conscious practice as a witch.  Although there are “rituals” available, most experienced magicians don’t take many “instant transformation” spells seriously.  In the Magickal Community, what is not recognized as inborn is earned through time invested, along with hard work.

In the Magickal Community, there is no quick fix or instant transformation.  Even in the seeming appearance of a magickal working having “instant results” or “miraculous effects,” it is because of preparatory work or pre-existing conditions which allowed for the manifestation of such change.  It seems that many Modern Vampires have backgrounds or understanding of these principals of metaphysics, so that we often do not feel a need to reiterate the details when we talk about “powers.”  The “aspirant,” sometimes coming into the middle of our conversations, comes away with an incomplete picture.  To the uneducated audience, we seem like we have super powers…abilities well beyond the range of non-vampiric magicians and psychics.

Also, let’s be completely honest, there are SOME of us that qualify as Modern Vampires–we have the genuine obligatory need to feed; observable benefits when we feed; observable detriments when we do not feed–AND despite this, still exaggerate or embellish on our real experiences.  Instead of bragging about how many push-ups we did or how little carbs we ate on our diet–our Community version is how we drank a two glasses of “red” every day for two weeks running or how we drained the lifeforce of the local church pastor, causing him to drop dead of a heart attack.  Exaggerated accounts are taken with a grain of salt or called out by other Modern Vampires, who have their own experiences to gauge the range of possibility against.  However, for those “aspirants” who have an emotional investment in someday experiencing the fantastical, WANT and NEED to believe in those exaggerated accounts.

Is there any reason to be more careful around the “aspirants”?  For the most part, I’ve noticed that the standard response is to attempt to educate or correct said people.  With such an emotional investment and need to believe in the possibility that they will have eventually have powers, once they find a “real vampire”….are they even in the state to where our attempts at education will sink in?

Here’s another factor to be aware of–with the “aspirants” strong desire to meet what they think of as “real vampires,” is it more likely that they will run into a genuine Modern Vampire?  What if the “aspirant” meets up with an unawakened Vamp or awakened Vamp….what happens when the Vamp is uneducated or under the same delusions?  What about when they cannot fulfill the desire of Turning–because the Vampire must “just be holding out”?  Instead of just responding to the requests of being Turned as the requests appear…would there be any benefit to directly addressing this particular group of Turning hopefuls in a different way?

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