Vampiric self-definition is a right that each and every real living vampire has; the right to define their own “reality” based on personal experiences. Perhaps this is why there has been no universal definition for “Vampire” in the modern context. Each person’s experiences, each person’s feelings and each person’s thoughts are as unique and different as they are.
Added to this the normal growing and maturing of the person interplays with the concepts and the thinking that forms this self-definition, just as we grow and mature in real life so to do we in the vampire life span. Thoughts and feelings that one experiences at sixteen may be a far cry from the way they interpret and feel at 25, or 35, or 50 and so forth
We are all also aware that vampires; per se, do not exist, right? We spend a great deal of time telling newcomers that, right? Undead, blood-sucking revenants that rise from their graves at night to prey on the living are the stuff of fiction, superstition, folklore and Hollywood. Hollywood has also created vampire warriors for us to marvel at and, just lately, television and movie production companies have lead us to think of vampires as angst ridden young people with love problems and relationship issues as well as issues of self-image all tangled up with the need to consume blood. Confused? Well, I’m not surprised.
Come into the Online Vampire Community and look for the definition of a vampire, you won’t find a single one that is agreed upon by a majority even though the OVC has been discussing the matter since, oh around 1996 or something. Why is that you ask? Surely it should be a matter of some importance, if you’re going to call yourself a community, to decide what you are, if not who you are. Although most reputable definitions contain similar elements these days, such as a vampire being a person who needs to consume “blood or pranic energy (life-force)” for example, this overlooks the array of self-defining that is actually going on. A great many people, it seems, have a penchant for re-defining “vampire” to fit their own manner and ways. Where do “Elemental Vampires” fit in to this scope of definition? Is it a case of being told that “Elemental Vampires” do not exist by Sanguinarians, or Psi’s, or both? Are the lines being drawn, even now?
In 2011 one notable member of the OVC/VC voiced the opinion that it was time for the ‘sanguinarian’ vampire to divorce themselves from the ‘mainstream community’ and stop using the name ‘vampire’ in their self-identification. Ostensibly this would appear to stem from a desire to divorce one ‘class’ of modern vampire from the multitude of other ‘types’ or ‘classes’ that abound today but is it something more basic? Is it born of a desire to no longer be associated with heinous and irrational acts, in real life, of those claiming to be ‘vampires’?
We put a number of questions to several notable community members to get their views on whether it is indeed time to shift focus from the stereotype.
Accordingly, we would like to welcome,
Reverend Mercutio of the House of Dark Light. Who provided us a brief biography to introduce him to our readership. “I grew up in Southern California. My interest in the metaphysical and spiritual world arose when I was near eleven years old and has continued on and off since then. I began learning spellwork at that age and later on began recognizing and familiarizing myself with my own energy and the energies around me. From there I began to learn about my own Vampyrism and those associated with it. I began doing more energy work with the help of a mentor, who also helped me with Vampyrism, and from there, branched out on my own. I have studies multiple religions and philosophies throughout my life that incorporate balance and energy work in the every day life and have come to my own eclectic view on things.”
Our regular guest Lady Starfire
RVN: Thank you, to our guests, for your time today.
Starfire: Thank you to all who make up RVN for inviting me to participate. I find this site to be informative and on top of things. As always a pleasure
Anon: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to talk with you as well.
Reverend Mercutio: Thank you, it is definitely a pleasure to be here.
RVN: We are all aware that today, throughout the community, there are perhaps a majority number who do not identify with the stereotypical “Sanguinarian” vampire. Why do you think there are so many modern vampires that choose these alternatives?
A: Honestly, that’s a delicate question which I don’t feel fully qualified to address, but I’ll give it a shot: In my opinion and from the observations of the community that I have made, there are two main reasons for sanguinarians being in the minority within the community.
First, there is nothing to bar anyone who wishes from entering the community. This leads to a mix of sanguinarian, psi-vampires, donors, role-players, lifestylers, fetishists, vampire fans, and those who are mentally unbalanced all entering into the same small community. While it might be beneficial in a climate of mutual respect for most of these groups to collaborate, share, and grow in respect and understanding of one another, this is not often the case. More often each of these are in conflict with one another.
Second, it is my understanding that this was not always the case — that in the past the vampire community was more focused on the sanguinarian vampire and any groups (donors and such) that would go along with that. This changed some time back and the community has become not only more inclusive but more fractured and less focused. The various groups are in conflict both as to what it is to be a vampire and what goals the community should have for itself.
Rev. M: As Human Beings, we are all too aware of what kinds of diseases and such that blood may carry. Be it HIV or any auto-immune disorder, the common cold or any other type of illness one may suffer, I believe that we have had a chance to realize that the easier and “safer” path is to feed from Prana, or the Spiritual Life-Force that dwells within everyone. So once one has established the ways to identify and harness Spiritual Energy, it becomes easier to tap into than having another human being offer their corporeal life-force energy (blood). With the way the community looks at blood feeding and having a consensual donor, it’s just easier for any of us to go the alternative path.
Lady S: I think a lot of people in the community don’t like the connotations that one associates with sanguinarian or vampire/vampyre in general. I think because of this many are turning to harnessing their “inner psi” or sexual “tantric” vampire. They try to get their needs met in any other fashion then the one they really need (to consume blood). To me this seems detrimental to not only them, but others in the community as well. We are who we are inside and out, there is nothing wrong or weird about us…we are just a different kind.
RVN: In 2011, CJ (a.k.a. The Infamous CJ) wrote an article entitled “A Sanguinarian Treatise: An Argument For Partition From The Vampire Community” in which the observation was made,
“A second “sang/psi war” would merely be an unfortunate side effect in the greater goal of delivering ourselves from the stigma associated with sanguinarianism and/or the perceived need to consume blood. There is nothing gained or lost by leaving a community in which has been redefined to the point that it no longer pertains to us. The term “vampire” now belongs to the metaphysicists. They can have it and its Halloweenish connotations.”
Do you think there is merit in the idea of Sanguinarians breaking away from the general vampire community?
Lady S: I think it is better to have more support, but in the end it is a personal decision one should make on their own. I support everyone’s right to make their own decisions (about anything) after all it is what makes the world go round. I feel regardless, the word vampire would still be there…since a lot of people think of blood drinkers as vampires, before they think of a psi or sexual vampire or elemental, etc.
A: While I have personally made some very good friends within the community who are not sanguinarian and value their friendships immensely, I do see the merit in having a haven, a separate community or working group for those of us who have a physical need for blood. There are issues which pertain to us alone and which are difficult, if not impossible, to discuss openly and effectively in a greatly diverse community. It is not the drama which concerns me — there is drama where ever humans gather — but rather it is the lack of united identity and goals. This lack of focus prevents us from having the ability to move forward in any meaningful way.
Rev. M: The term “Vampire” by definition is a predatory hunter, who feeds on the blood of living animals or human beings. Hollywood, indeed, has taken their toll on the conceptual idea of scary and bizarre ways of the Vampire. However, “Vampire” and “Vampyre” in our time have two different meanings, i.e. “Vampire” spelled with the letter “i” is meant for the Hollywood stereotype, and “Vampyre” with the “y” is meant to acknowledge Us as what we are today. However, Sanguinarians will always exist. Blood in itself is a higher, more potent concentration and a more direct means of feeding. For some Hybrids, Prana can only go so far until the need for blood becomes, as most suggest to call the term “The Thirst,” overbearing. It’s hard to believe that Sanguinarians will “wash-out.”
RVN: With the media obsession with vampire crimes that involve blood do you think that there is a real possibility of “Psi” vampires being understood and accepted any more readily than Sanguinarians?
Rev. M: The media will find any way to make anyone a fiend. Vampires have had their rap, and the media will not do anything to change that, even for the sake of understanding. I think that Us coming out as a Community will never go as planned, which I am very sorry to say. But, if we were to keep at a slow pace and appeal to people who are sensitive to the metaphysical and have an understanding of our causes, we can somehow dodge the media’s attention until we can “come out” at a more appropriate time.
Lady S: I think psi’s might actually have as hard a road to hoe in regards to being accepted. A lot of people don’t understand or believe in mediums and the like, so they are fearful of them. It is somewhat the same with vampires of any kind. It is hard, but hopefully not impossible, to find a way to prove that we need the energy in order to function properly.
A: I don’t know really, and I’m not sure acceptance of Psi-vampires by the public has so much to do with the media focus on “vampiric” crimes as much as on the current climate in which anyone outside of the “norm” is viewed with fear and/or dislike.
RVN: Do you identify as a “real vampire” and, if so, what personal limitations do you place on yourself in being a modern, real vampire?
A: I’m not sure I understand the question. Yes, I identify as a real vampire, as a sanguinarian. Personal limitations? If by that you mean “What does it mean to be a vampire and what are the necessary prerequisites?”, then I would say that real (sanguinarian) vampirism is defined by the physical need for blood without which the individual suffers physical symptoms. Beyond that, there are no prerequisites, no dress code, no list of interests or hobbies, no code of behavior, and no set of beliefs or spiritual system. Those who would suggest that the lack of any or all of those things lessens the “reality” of one’s vampirism are in my opinion wrong.
Rev. M: I do identify myself as a “Real” or “Modern Vampyre.” I have had some work in Reiki Healing, dealing with the chakras of the human body and some energy work. When around family or personal friends, I do tend to “tame the beast” or cut myself off, out of decency and respect, when I feel that I need to feed and tend to make plans to feed with a consensual donor or otherwise to satisfy my “hunger” later on.
Lady S: I am not comfortable telling certain family or certain friends that I am a vampire, because of what they think on other issues. That is my main limitation in living a semi normal kin life. I am sure there are more, but right now nothing is coming to mind.
RVN: Do you believe it is a vital and necessary matter for the general public, or mundane world, to be convinced that modern vampires are just people with certain “special requirements”?
Rev. M: I believe Vampires or Vampirism in nature is a taboo subject for the public. It’s not something you hear people talk about on the street or in Starbucks at any given time. The Mundane world does not have to live or understand our issues or what we go through. Our treatment is feeding when necessary, and there is no cure – at least that I am aware of. And the only way it is discussed in modern medicine or science, is as a specified syndrome or disease affiliated with ones mental status – and their is a name for that, “Renfield’s Syndrome,” appropriately named after a character from Bram Stoker’s book, “Dracula.”
Lady S: I think in order for us to be totally accepted, yes they need to understand what makes us how we are. One cannot understand what one doesn’t know. Even if it’s not scientific proof, but people understanding point A to point B.
A: No, yes and yes. No, I don’t believe that Joe Public needs to know that there are real vampires, at least at this point. On the other hand, we don’t need Joe Public believing that those who are real vampires are universally evil or insane. It is either beneficial for Joe Public to know nothing or for Joe Public to understand that we are fully human individuals who differ in our needs. More importantly, however, if we are to move forward into determining the cause/origin of vampirism and find better ways to deal with our needs we will need to convince Dr. Public — the scientist/physician/researcher. We will need the support and aid of the scientific and medical community to move forward if we seek scientific/medical answers to our needs.
RVN: Do you think that “coming out of the coffin” publicly is a necessary step in convincing the public that vampires are not “bad”?
Lady S: It would help yes, but if everyone that is kin did come out, it might hurt them more then help them in their own life. I think it is a very personal decision, ether or not to come out. If people could see, vampires/kin are their brothers, aunts, friends…sure it would help.
A: As Sallah said to Dr. Jones: “… very dangerous. You go first.” — If we are to convince the public that vampires are not bad, that we are pretty much the neighbor next door, then yes we will have to “come out of the coffin” eventually – at least some of us will. That’s a tricky business though, isn’t it? As things currently stand in public opinion, many of us risk discrimination and the backlash caused by fear and misunderstanding. We risk our jobs, our children, and maybe even our safety. It will take the right individuals speaking out in the right way in the right places to make it possible for others to follow them into the public view.
Rev. M: In essence, we are predators, and will always be seen as such. Of course, appealing to the younger populace, who tend to think otherwise with the movies like “Twilight” and “Underworld,” they tend to lean towards the abilities that they see on the big screen and want to be just like what they have seen. They go searching and when they discover that Our world is completely different than what they had seen and imagined, they will change their minds and turn their backs in disappointment – or the “fad” will simply fade. If we do make a public statement, if anyone would actually come to the attention of the media and general populace, it would have to be done in a very careful manner.
RVN: Do you think it is coming to a point where we need to dispense with the term “vampire” in order to be seen in a more favourable light as a community group?
A: Wow! That’s a tough question. It really is. On the one hand we have no other words, save perhaps “sanguinarian”, by which to identify ourselves. On the other hand, that word – vampire - is very, very loaded, isn’t it? It is burdened with all the Twilight, Dracula, horror-genre book and movie ideas about an archetype which only vaguely resembles the reality of what we are and what we live. It is a word I had great difficulty in applying to myself because of that, and it did cause me a considerable delay in being able to accept my own needs and enter into this community. “I have this need, but I’m not a vampire!”, I said to myself, “That’s just crazy!” Is it a barrier to others who are like me? I don’t know, but I suspect that it is. Is that sufficient cause to change the terminology? Maybe so, maybe not. Would it benefit us in public opinion to do so? Now that is a very good question… and perhaps it is the most convincing argument in favor of changing the term. It would certainly be a question that’s worth consideration and discussion.
Rev. M: I think what we describe ourselves as, as a Community, is the necessary affiliation. We do feed on blood; we are more keen and sensible during the night time hours, etc… As Shakespeare put it, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” If we were to call ourselves anything else, it would not matter. We would still be the same predatory beings we are now, and will forever be.
Lady S: How else would you describe us? Some of us drink blood, some ingest energy of plants or people. Technically we feed off of something, would you rather be called a leech? Energy worker just doesn’t really describe what I and others like me are…but if someone can come up with a better name for all of us…have at it by all means!
RVN: Do you any further comment that you would care to make on this subject?
Rev. M: (No further comment)
Lady S: I think that we have a long road to hoe in terms of being accepted by the mainstream. People will always hate what they cannot understand, so unless we find conrete proof of what makes us this way…we shall have people despise us (and some may continue to do so even after proof). I believe it is an individuals right to come out or not come out of the coffin. To me it is akin to coming out of any closet. I do think though that if some of the more levelheaded “normal” of our community came out, people might look more favorably on us. I mean after all who would you must likely listen to a crazy wackadoo spouting stuff or a person who logically states the points about us (to make one understand what we are)?
A: Not at this time.
RVN: We would like to express our gratitude to our honoured guests, both for your time today and for sharing your views with us.
Starfire: It was great talking to you. It is nice to share my views and learn what others are thinking also.
A. You’re welcome and thank you for asking me to be a part of this discussion.
Rev. M: Thank you for having me, Blessed Be.
A well known community figure commented to me recently, in an email, that if someone no longer identified themselves as a real living vampire when they had done so for some time then perhaps they were never a vampire in the first place. I would suggest that it is more a case of re-defining oneself based on ongoing and cumulative experience and learning. Change is inevitable, nothing stays the same forever in this world and if I might draw an analogy, take for example a young person who spends a great deal of time engaged in the riotous activities of youth, it might be heavy drinking, experimenting with drugs, highly risky activities or whatever the case may be then, as that person grows and matures they cease these activities and begin to re-define themselves psychologically, morally and ethically and so they fit more neatly into society for one, and more neatly into their new “self-definition” for the other.
Perhaps it is time to start thinking outside the proverbial square? Is it time to recognize, more fully and diligently, that there is strong representation in the community of those who identify with neither Sang nor Psi vampirism and therefore, is it time to start thinking about a more radical and progressive re-definition than ever before.
Copyright RVN, Lord Rev. Mercutio, Anon & Starfire 2012
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