Adventures through a darkened looking glass…

Presented by

Tim

Since 2002 our guest this evening has been gathering friends and followers in the modern Vampire culture, as well as helping hundreds, in the culture, she has created one of the most enduring cultural resources that we know of today, she has represented us in documentary work and has authored works directly aimed at guidance and practical help for every modern living Vampire.

Her contributions can’t be underestimated and now she is working to further ensure that modern living Vampires have the knowledge and resources to deal with this gifted existence.

Returning with a reviewed, refined and re-developed… could we pardon a pun and go so far as to say, “revamped” support and reference resource, it gives us the greatest pleasure to welcome back to RVL one of our dearest and most special friends, from points North, the amazing, indefatigable Lady CG.

——————————————————————————————————————–

~ Lady CG ~


RVL: Good evening Lady CG, it is always an honour and genuine pleasure to have you with us. How are you dear lady? And how’s the family? Survived the Yule season okay? *chuckles*

CG:  Good evening Tim, always a pleasure to be your guest.

RVL: Over the last couple of months we have been eagerly awaiting official word of this new venture of yours– would you tell us how, and when, the original concept came about?

CG:  Anyone who has been by Smoke and Mirrors over the past couple of years is aware of how full the old message board is. It has gotten to the point where it is now difficult, even with the search to find anything on that site.  Our counter doesn’t turn anymore, we seemed to have exceeded the max number of posts it is willing to show us.  It was just time.  It all came to a head when Yuku who used to own the site was bought out by Tapatalk. Tapatalk has the nice feature of being mobile friendly but it completely ruined all the formatting on our old threads.  I could fix them all but it would take forever.  Combined with how full the site is, it just makes sense to start something new, mobile friendly and EMPTY!

RVL: What is your aim in moving away from the previous “Smoke and Mirrors” format that we are all familiar with?

CG:  Smoke and Mirrors was created in 2002.  That was a long time before “mobile friendly” was even a catch phrase. We needed space to continue to grow and I wanted that space to be modern, mobile friendly and attractive.  I wanted it to be updateable.  I wanted more control over the background processes.  I finally found a tech who wanted to work with me, so I hired him.  The new site we developed is what you see today on The Darkened Mirror.

RVL: Now, we have established that you are no stranger to the modern Vampire Culture… May we ask, of your personal background, would you give just a quick bio for newcomers that may not know of you… as difficult as that they may be to believe of course… do you identify as a modern living Vampire and for how long have you been aware of your true nature?

CG: I think it was about 1995 when I first found people I related to online.  While my Vampiric experiences predate that time, those things are very personal in nature and appropriate here but the first online people I found who were “like me”, I found in a little IRC channel called “Parents Kitchen”.  My experiences there convinced me to look for even more information and others who related to the term “Vampire” elsewhere on the net as the community awakened to the new internet age and I found my first public home in the old OneGroup e-groups that would later become Yahoo Groups.

My first home was Vampiric e-group.  A relatively small group hosted by Blue Moon Occult Shop in the UK.  I became a moderator there in 1998, I believe.  I met a lot of good friends in that group, some who are still good friends today.

It was only a couple of years later that some of the first “modern” message boards were starting to become popular.  I found my way to The Pathways to Darkness message board run by the Sanguinarium.  I loved that board.  I was still moderating Vampiric but this was different, fun and the people there were amazing.  It was my first exposure to people like Sebastiaan Todd and Michelle Belanger, but they were far from the only friends I met there.  I collected a great group of people around me and the discussions were first rate.  When the board closed a year or two later and left we poor message board orphans out in the cold I started looking for a new board where we could continue our discussions.

In 2002 I was hanging out on Drink Deeply and Dream when Hapsburg and I decided to create our own board.  We wanted a place where there were no bars on what we could discuss, where there was no topic that was off limits.  Haps found ezboard and we built what would become one of the largest and one of the longer running message boards in the community.  As you know, Smoke and Mirrors still exists today as an archive of community history and discussions dating from August 11, 2002 to present.

RVL: The development of the new initiative comes during the 16th anniversary year of Smoke and Mirrors, how does it make you feel to be still a major source of cultural reference after that long?

CG:  I don’t know that I actually think of it in those terms, lol.  In truth it feels like I’m starting over.  When Facebook came into its own a lot of the community went all in.  Message boards all over the community more or less “died” as people chose to favour instant messaging and groups where reactions happened in seconds rather than the hours and days it often took to get feedback on the old message boards.

When I decided to rebuild I felt like I was looking at a monumental task in trying to drag the communities back to message boards.  Most young Vamps cut their teeth on cell phones and instant messaging.  I was afraid it might even be a hopeless task.  I tried once or twice to see if there was any reception to the idea.  In the end I had to wait till “Facebook Burnout” actually became a thing and enough people, besides myself, began to miss all the advantages of message boards over Facebook groups. It’s a slow process but I think we’re finally seeing enough interest in things outside of FB, and enough technology updates to the message board systems to draw people back, at least a little bit.

Darkened Mirror logo
(reproduced by permission)

RVL: Since the names, Smoke and Mirrors and Darkened Mirror seem to, ahem, reflect a common theme, that is, mirrors, what is the continuing message being carried by the name?

CG: When we looked for a name for our first board, Haps and I tried out quite a number of possibilities. In the end there were a couple of factors: We wanted a board whose name was not obviously vampiric.  We wanted something that would “sell”.  Smoke and Mirrors was catchy and when shortened to S&M it became something that stuck in the minds of our members in a humorous way.

When I was looking for a name for the new site I didn’t want to give up all association with our old board and yet I wanted it to be different, and there is still some hope that it will be a smaller project, quieter, perhaps a little more scholarly.  Darkened Mirror seemed to fit the bill, alluding to our old site and still fitting into the community theme, so to speak.

RVL: If we may ask now, a little about the format of the Darkened Mirror, will it be a similar sort of site to Smoke and Mirrors or is there going to be a departure from the S&M format?

CG: Now that the site is built you can actually see that for yourself!  We’ve gone with a similar format with a twist.  While we still have some general forums, hosted by myself, we are now offering a more “Collegiate” format site with some of the best teachers in the community offering their expertise in their own forums, teaching what they know best, while still under the safe umbrella of our site.  We take care of the tech and the trolls and the teachers can do what they do best, teach.

Along with that change we have also added a Discord server for text and voice chat.  You read that right, we are now offering voice discussions and support in addition to text chat to enhance the services we provide as teachers and mentors.  On top of the obvious social benefits this also supports our teachers in providing a place for actual lectures and channels for both group and one on one support in real time.  We can actually TALK to our members and offer voice support that does not run up their cell bills.

~ Lady CG ~

RVL: …and will you be employing “moderators” or “co-admins” at the new resource?

CG: Moderators definitely, as well as Teachers who run their own courses in their own forums.

RVL: How has the initial growth curve and response been to the set up thus far, from your point of view?

CG: We’re in a good place for having officially opened just a couple of weeks ago.

RVL: Given the current shape of the modern Vampire culture, and its often volatile and changeable nature, will anyone who comes seeking a place in Darkened Mirror be afforded one? Will there be some sort of “checks and balances” employed to maintain a certain standard of membership and interaction within the resource?

CG: We have talked about that among some of our staff, but in the end it was obvious that we wanted this resource to be as accessible as possible to those wished to avail themselves of it.  We have moderators to keep an eye on things and the teachers will largely moderate their own classes.  If there is an issue it will be dealt with by myself or my tech.  Abuse of the system will result in i.p. bans, no fooling around.  I’m counting on the support of the community to help keep the resource friendly and so far it’s working out well.

RVL: Prior to embarking upon the project did you consider changing, rearranging and refurbishing ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ or, do you feel S&M has served its purpose admirably and now it’s time to change direction a little for you

CG: We did.  I did initially consider just “revamping” the place.  The problem with that is the amount of community history filling up the old S&M forums.  It seemed dishonest to edit it all, especially since it is still used as a resource to those looking for information or researching VC history.  So in the end I simply locked up the forums, put most of the important ones on READ ONLY and decided to leave it be.  My tech and I have discussed possibly moving the whole archive to the new site, but for now it’s safe and fine where it is and we have put of that discussion for a later date.

Darkened Mirror homepage art
(reproduced by permission)

RVL: …and have you, as yet, received endorsement from any other major group or organisation for the initiative?

CG:  The support has actually been tremendous!  I don’t even know where to start thanking people for all the encouragement and all the advertising we’ve been given.  It’s been overwhelming and it’s been wonderful.  I think our community writers have been one of the biggest sources of encouragement, time and articles for the site.  Vampire Community News and Vampire Network News have both been generous in allowing us to post news of our opening and new articles. VNN has been tremendously supportive.  I can’t even start to thank them.  RVL has been supportive in offering this interview, Berinvonn offered me an interview for Alaska After Dark, so eventually I’ll be doing my first podcast interview.  Almost everyone has been supportive either in offering time, teachers, people to work on our new project, the Knowledge Base, where which we want to turn into a community encyclopedia.  I am sure I am missing some names, but support for the project has been community wide and I just can’t say enough about how good everyone has been.

RVL: …can we, dare we, ask… any plans to turn the Darkened Mirror into the Court of The Darkened Mirror? I’ve voted at S&M; along with many, many others, to make you a deity, what about Her Royal Highness Queen CG… being as how you live in a commonwealth nation and all?

CG: No, no courts for me, *laughs*. At heart I am a writer and a teacher.  I run a Coven here in Brooks and THAT is about as much time and responsibility as I can handle.

I just think Courts and Houses should have a physical presence.  I largely limit the scope of my boards to being oriented to the online community, which in my mind, takes them outside the possibility of being a court or house.  I am Canadian, as you know, and with we Canadian Vamps scattered across a vast country I find I am most useful as an OVC facilitator rather than one based in an actual physical court.  Most Courts and Houses prefer their members to be adults.  Online we can stretch that a little and help younger Vamps get ready for life in the Houses or Courts, as well as being here as support for Vamps who prefer to remain solitary or who live outside of areas covered by the Houses and Courts.  So no… no Queen CG. – You WERE kidding right? ‘cause that’s just a plain scary thought, *laughs*

RVL: …and what is the true ultimate goal, or aim, of the Darkened Mirror project?

CG: The Ultimate Goal is to provide a learning and teaching and support site that meets the needs of a more modern community.  The mobile friendly forums, the Knowledge Base project, the Discord server are all designed to work together to help Vampires, Therians and Otherkin find support and information online to help them learn skills that will benefit them in the outside world.  I’ve always believed that it’s not enough to survive being a Vampire or Kin type.  We have the right to THRIVE, and on DM we are hoping to help people find the path and skills to help them to do that in the way that best suits their natures.

RVL: We are aware that you have, in recent months, withdrawn from certain other places around the way… was this to concentrate specifically on the development of the Darkened Mirror?

CG: Almost entirely.  DM has been a work intensive project.  It became obvious early on that I had too many irons in the fire.  I HAD to drop some things, so I prioritized and dropped the areas that were most stressful to me.  Life requires us to pick and choose what we expend our energy on. I needed time to get DM up and running.  I hope I will eventually have time to return to things and places I’ve had to leave behind but right now this was just more important.

RVL: We’ve spoken of practical things, such as aims and goals but can you tell us, what is the guiding philosophy behind the Darkened Mirror project?

CG: I’ve always only ever had one philosophy in my GVC goals.  Being a Vampire or Kin is hard.  When I went through “awakening” I did so not knowing what was happening to me, which was ridiculous considering my mother’s family was full of Vampires!  My goal has always been to try and insure that no one who goes through this does so alone and uninformed.  My goal with S&M was to insure there was always a light on and a hand to hold when it got tough.  My goals for DM are the same, but now we want to do so with the benefit of newer technology.

RVL: As far as the group website is concerned, may we ask, is the infrastructure fully in place and, relatively, bug free now?

CG: *Laughs*  Well we hope so.  My projects are almost never a “finished product” Even when the site has all its ducks in a row I am forever finding things I want to do and having my poor tech talk me out of yet another of “Cg’s Hare-brained Ideas“… Hmm sounds like a new forum name… but I digress.  Things seem to be largely working. Avatars now work, signatures are now possible.  We have some “unfinished areas” like the Knowledge Base, which will be an ongoing project for a long time to come, and we have an unused “shop” which we are toying with, perhaps with the idea of a “kin marketplace” but we’re still messing with how we want that to work.  The basics are up and running both on the site forums and my blog.  What else will get added, I have no idea, but it’s me so anything is possible.

img. source: psiholistic.ro

RVL: So, if people want to be considered for membership where should they go to find the Darkened Mirror?

CG: You can find our site at https://www.darkenedmirror.com  and our “discord” chat facility is available at https://discord.gg/HgPGprE  They should just come on down, in the case of the forums you need to make an account if you want to post and take part in the discussions, no membership is required if you just want to read.  For the Discord just bring yourself and your sense of humour. Texting is possible on phones or desktops, if you’d like to take part in the voice chats you’ll at least need earphones to hear or better still, a headset if you’d like to take part in voice discussions.  We have some tech friendly people who can help if you come in and have issues either on the board or on Discord.  I spend a lot of time in the voice channels, and I really look forward to hearing the voices of people I have known online for years, but never actually spoken to!

RVL: …and how does Lady CG, personally, feel about heading into the 16th year of providing resources, education and support for modern living Vampyres?

CG: Old?… With my 55th birthday coming up in March I admit to sometimes feeling my age, especially when I watch those who started out as kids on S&M now taking their place as community writers, teachers and leaders in their own right!  All in all it’s actually a good feeling, it’s been rewarding.  I am actually looking forward to getting to know a whole new generation of members.  Exciting times!

RVL: Dear Lady CG, it has been an absolute joy to be able to spend this time with and we are very happy, and excited, to help you unveil this new project. We hope; and we are sure, it will become just as iconic in the modern culture as Smoke & Mirrors before it.

CG: Thank you Tim!  It’s always a pleasure talking to you.  I’m ecstatic about the new project and I think there are going to be some truly exciting days ahead as the community helps me to define my new project in terms of the modern community.


The new project, Darkened Mirror, is, as you now know, a brand new and by Lady CG’s owns words, empty playing field. I have joined to represent RVL there and I know that Lady CG and her team are looking for contributions to fill the knowledge base there. I urge everyone, don’t be jealously protective of your knowledge, share it so that the entire culture might benefit from it. Lady CG and her team have built a splendid new place that is leading the way for support and information for modern Vampires in the age of instantaneous communication and cell-phone apps, it would be a measure of the maturity of the culture if people were to get behind this latest venture by a renowned, admired and deeply respected leader in our culture.

Go take a look, it’s stylish, it’s ‘sharp’, it’s classy,
It’s

Darkened Mirror homepage art
(reproduced by permission)

Copyright RVL, the Darkened Mirror & Lady CG, 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Crossroads 2017 – Honesty, Integrity and the non-Partisan approach

Researched, Written and Presented by

Tim

Just think, not long now and I’ll have to design the ‘Crossroads 2018’ header image…

Good evening,
I trust everyone is well? You know I have a habit of revisiting certain things that I feel are of great importance to, not only our readers but to the cyberworld in general and this evening I wanted to return and take an updated look at “information”, information and its presentation, its uses, its benefits and even some harms.

There is a vast array of information sources available to the explorer of the modern real Vampire culture online, just like in the rest of the ‘world information’ infrastructure. Sometimes it is very difficult to discern whether the source you are looking at is totally accurate, honest and approaching matters with an unbiased sense of integrity.

In many cases it may not be so difficult to tell, for example, if you want to read positive things about the current government of the United States you read certain ‘pro-government’ newspapers, if you want to review negative things then you read other news sources. It is very much the way of things these days… as the old saying goes, “Opinions are like a-holes…” etc. etc.

So, how does the reader tell that what they’re reading is kosher?

img. source: pewinternet.org

When we prepare a publication piece at RVL we begin by researching the subject, the material, available resources and information that may be in the searchable public domain. From there we will ALWAYS attempt to make contact with the people involved in what we are intending to write on, after all, our audience wants to read about those people and their ideas rather than what we interpret their aims, goals and purposes to be. If the piece is an “Opinion Piece”, like this one, we will identify it as such, hence the “Crossroads” banner and headlines. In all cases we go to great lengths to ensure that what we are writing about is based in fact, is supported by material that can be linked to and cross-referenced or checked by the reader. We may not hit the mark 110% but we will always strive to get as close as we can and we will, with all except the “Crossroads” pieces, perhaps, seek for a mandated balance of impartiality but never doubt that sometimes even being neutral can get you in trouble though…!

Over the last couple of months we at RVL have been reviewing a selected sample of ‘Vampire’ resources, reviewing for content, reviewing for informed comment, reviewing the supporting information on which such commentary is based and looking for common denominators in these resources. Naturally, as one would suspect, we have found both ends of the spectrum. In presenting the following conclusions we are NOT denying anyone the right to say, and write, whatever they will… after all the freedom of expression is enshrined in, certainly, the constitution of the United States and, by and large, in the constitutional instruments of the majority of democratic institutions around the world.

Perhaps it is with a sense of the necessity for integrity, honesty and impartiality in reporting ‘news’ and ‘current affairs’ in the world wide real Vampire culture that we tend to measure other sources and determine our own path.

The resources that we have focused on during this period of observation are Lady CG’s ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, Jet Berelson’s ‘VampireFreaks’, Zane Robinson’s ‘Awake and Drink’, the late, great, Sanguinarius E. Sanguinarius’ ‘Sanguinarius.org’ and the relatively newly arrived ‘The Red Cellar’.

In each case, firstly, we must accept the fact that the owners and writers for each resource have the right to have an opinion about whatever they will, they have a right to publicise these opinions within their groups and to disperse these opinions as they see a necessity to do so, everyone has that right and that is something that must remain inviolate. The rub comes where said opinions, from anywhere, can’t be, or are not, supportable.

With this in mind let’s take a more in depth look at each;

img. source: Zane Robinson’s awakeanddrink.org

Beginning with Zane Robinson’s ‘Awake and Drink’, as a part of its offerings the resource presents a series of analyses of different sites, groups and web-resources along with the author’s opinion of each resource. One of the items that stands out is the analysis and presentation relating to Temple-House Sahjaza.

Mr. Robinson opines that;
My own thoughts on this Temple are generally disfavorable. Although their online presence is fairly unexciting, they are an extremely active in-person group. There have been numerous reports of some…unruly members of this group; however how much of that is the individual, versus how much is the Temple is questionable.

It is one thing to say that there have been “numerous reports” of something, quite another to offer substantive proof to support that statement and this is where opinions can fall down.

He goes on to write;

Also of concern is the indecisive attitude in regards to whether or not/how much they want to associate themselves with the Sanguinarium and vampyre subculture. For instance, here are two statements from this page:

“We will only accept those who come with a desire to maximize their potential and who can make a significant contribution to the Family, the Sanguinarium and the Vampyre subculture.”

“The Sahjaza, as a Family, do not hold involvement in the politics of other organizations or games of individuals of the sanguinarium and vampyre subculture.”

While I understand where they are coming from with this –that they don’t want to be taken down with all the other idiots out there by those idiots’ actions– you just can’t have it both ways;…

One of the problems here is that this is “old news”, it does not reflect the modern and most current outlook and practices of the organisation. This particular timeframe was somewhere back in the early to mid- 90’s, around 24 years ago.

The other major difficulty we discovered was that none of the hotlinks to “sources” mentioned in the analysis worked so we were unable to verify any of the statements and substantiations offered. We did make attempt, on two occasions, to contact Mr. Robinson for clarification via email but we received no response.

Upon reading further, particularly with reference to the section entitled, “The ‘Guide’ to Vampyrism” ( accessed via the publicly accessible dropdown menus ) we read that the site owner is adamant on the following point,

“The one thing that I will not tolerate is misinformation. While you may or may not agree with all which is posted within this site, unless you can challenge it with an argument well-supported enough to change my mind or the minds of others viewing, then the information contained herein will not change.”

At the very least it could be concluded that the web resource ‘Awake and Drink’ is now defunct by virtue of its material being long out of date, if not somewhat self-contradictory.

.

img. source: Lady CG’s Smoke and Mirrors

In stark contrast to this example we have Lady CG’s ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, established in 2002 this resource has had, and still does, a long and illustrious record of support and service to the modern Vampire culture. Many of you may recall that Lady CG was a guest on A&E’s “Secret Lives of Vampires” documentary, along with Lady Michelle Belanger, in 2005.

Smoke and Mirrors offers, and always has, in depth ‘real-time’ discussion facilities, a live chat venue on-site along with extensive archives of articles, editorials and reports that go back, pretty much, to its inception and provide a huge resource for students of the modern culture.

Of the many resources offered the modern real living Vampire there are a great number of practical guides for actually living the life, not in any theoretical sense but from the solid basis of Lady CG’s personal experience. Items such as the “Vampyres for Beginners” forum, an informative, supportive and non-judgmental place for newcomers to find out much needed things, Lady CG’s own seminal work, “Practical Vampyrism”, a book that modern Vampires can use as a guide to healthy and happy Vamp life.

Make no mistake, there is always room for opinions at S&M as well but the difference between there and many other places is that the atmosphere is most decidedly non-combative and though discussions can get lively they are, by the great majority, mutually respectful and non-judgmental.

img. source: Unesco

From the very beginning of my association with Real Vampire Life E-Zine, Real Vampire News back then, our owner made it very clear that decorum, impartiality and a ‘fair hearing’ for all were the foundations for the E-Zine. Yes, we are allowed to have opinions and, as Staff we are allowed to publish said opinions BUT the condition is that we identify such as personal opinions NOT the general position or opinion of the E-Zine. That’s why I created the “Crossroads” series. As I said, “…everyone has one” and has the right to speak their opinion.

Jet Berelson – founder of VampireFreaks
img. source: Google-Plus

One of the biggest surprises that we got while researching this matter was in the well-established and widely known web resource “VampireFreaks”. Originally developed, we discovered, as a Goth/ Indie/Industrial cultural resource it has, unfortunately, become widely associated with criminal instances perpetrated by individuals who frequented the site with predatory intent. As we also discovered, over something like two months of interactions there, there are NO real Vampires, or, at least, none who wanted to ‘stand and be recognised’.

After entering an inquiry, and touching base every few days or so, these are just a sample of the replies we received;

“They sparkle”

 “Just mosquitoes. ~shrug~”

“Vampires Bite”

 “there was a Vampire Duck called Count Duckula, he was enemies with Danger Mouse”

“Vampires existed in Ancient Egypt. They drunk blood in certain rituals.”

“Do you wear a fedora”

 “The red cross is an insatiable blood sucker.”

“Don’t even get me started on the Red Cross”

“I’ve worn fedora’s for 20 years until about last year when it suddenly became a thing not because I’m anti hipster, just because I wanted it to be 1935 again” 🙁

“You miss college that much?”

“I WISH I was college age in 1935, are you kiddin’!? Fun time to be alive. As long as I still lived in the NJ/NY area and not like Wyoming”

Okay, drifting off topic there at the end…!!! Out of curiosity we attempted to contact Mr. Berelson to determine how the name came about for the site, thus far we have yet to receive a reply.

VampireFreaks.com is an online community for the Gothic–industrial subcultures. It was created by site owner, Mr. Jet Berelson, in 1999, beginning with a limited range of forums dedicated to Gothic–industrial music.

Stepping away from the online site VampireFreaks hosts an online store that sells Goth and alternative clothing, it also hosts a number of events, mainly in the New York City area. Information of these events can be found on the website. Two of the most popular being the ‘Cybertron’, a gothic-industrial club night in NYC, and the ‘Triton Festival’, a music festival that has attracted gothic-industrial bands from around the world.

The site has been, as I say, somewhat unfortunately, linked with a number of violent and sexual controversies however, in a reported response the site owner has said, “the website does not influence its users to commit crimes”, and goes on to note that “The goth scene is a very friendly, nurturing, non-violent community and we are very supportive of our users and do not condone any illegal activities”.

But, as I said, contrary to the name, NO Vampyres to be found, sorry.

img. source: The Red Cellar

One of the latest resources that we have watched develop is that of ‘The Red Cellar’ and the linked resource ‘Ask a Sanguivore’.

It is a growing resource and one that caters specifically to sanguine Vampyres, now there are those that have, and will, opine that such separation is not good for the overall culture… sorry, doesn’t hold water in my opinion (there you go, there’s that phrase…!) It is vitally important to any culture that the rights of its individual sectors be upheld in equality… after all,

“The United States Constitution First Amendment (1791) Free Exercise Clause guarantees a person’s right to hold whatever [religious] beliefs he or she wants, and to freely exercise that belief. The amendment guarantees an individual’s right to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views. It also guarantees an individual’s right to physically gather or associate with others in groups for economic, political or religious purposes. It was intended to ensure a free exchange of ideas…” [Ref: Monk, Linda. “Amendment I”. Annenberg Classroom. Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.]

The Facebook portals offer an up to date reporting of resources for the student of the Sanguine and the website presents articles, editorials and commentaries regarding the current Sanguine life and movement. It is true, to some extent, that the Sanguine Vampire culture has been under assault for many years, the proliferation of ‘alternative’ Vampyre practices and theories that came along over the last ten to twelve years has been nothing short of breath-taking and, while each had its own points of merit in most cases, we have to agree that nothing says “Vampire” like the consumption of blood.

Whether the proofs are coming to support beneficial and nutritional uses for the ingestion of blood or whether we look back at ages old recipes that contain blood in some form in foodstuffs, whether we allude to the old folklores of the Vampire or whether we choose to examine the accounts of the ritual and historical uses and consumption of human blood among ancient, and indigenous, races we must accept that there is a great deal of merit in the Sanguine assertions and that ‘The Red Cellar’ is at the forefront of the studies of such.

img. source: Elcom

One of the greatest difficulties that anyone faces when coming to an online culture is in deciding what is a “good” source of information, and what is a “bad” source. Unfortunately you can get drawn to a “bad” source by the trappings of glamour and glitzy approach… it’s an age old advertising ploy, “catch the eye, catch the attention”, this can, however, often hide inferior product – false advertising? Some would say “clever advertising”. A good thing to bear in mind all the time.

Whenever anyone asks me what I consider to be the best web-resource for Vampires on the net they all expect me to say, naturally, J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine, many of them are surprised when I don’t… my answer never varies, and hasn’t for the last decade or so…

Sanguinarius.org

In August of 2015 a great tragedy was visited on the modern living Vampire culture, we lost Lady Sanguinarius E. Sanguinarius (a.k.a. Sangi) Her site, Sanguinarius.org, had become the yardstick by which everyone else measured their site developments and has been heavily supported and frequented since its establishment in 1997.

The site is still being maintained and provides a great range of resources for the modern culture. In an easy to navigate manner, the tab drop-downs at the top of the home page make it simple to find exactly what you’re looking for and the vast amount of information, much of it going back to the nineties, is maintained and fully accessible.

From The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6) to Vampire FAQ’s, from an Online Press Room to Vampire Community Graphics to the famous ‘Dictionary of Vampspeak’ and more there is a wealth of study information and interaction/reading available to anyone looking for relevant and unbiased information.

As it says, on the “About Us” page, in the ‘Statement of Purpose’;
“To establish and maintain a national/worldwide communication, information, and support network for all blood-drinkers, self-identified vampires/vampyres and otherkin/therians;”

At last visit it seems that the “Registration” for site is still disabled, however, we have contacted the administrators/managers at The VCMB (the Sanguinarius.org message board) to determine whether this will be changing and when. We will make the information available when we receive a reply.

In Conclusion:

As you can see, and perhaps it’s no big surprise but the resources available on the internet for real living Vampyres, students of the modern culture or researchers looking for credible sources, vary widely in scope and quality. The first thing one needs to make sure of is, “am I reading facts or opinions?”

If you can identify them as “facts” then they should be supportable, able to be cross-referenced and verifiable. A fact is NOT a fact just because someone says it is.

If you identify it, or rather, should the author identify it as “opinion” then, ideally, it should be informed, based in some sort of original fact or verifiable possibility. After all, opinion without support can very often be mistaken for something else and ignored.

Cases both for and against need to be built, built in calm, rational and sensible ways. They need to be supported and, above all, plausible. If they’re not they simply sound stupid, no?

Don’t sound/look stupid – doesn’t help anyone, least of all you…!

——————————————————————————————————————-

Copyright TB & RVL 2017

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Special Edition – Sang vs Psi: Making a Case for Separation ~ by Lady CG

Mountainside Conference Centre, Bethany, W. Virginia

Mountainside Conference Centre, Bethany, W. Virginia

Presented by

Tim

Good evening,
Tonight we have the honour of bringing to you an article written by the renowned, and highly respected, modern vampire sub-culture leader Lady CG of Smoke and Mirrors. The topic is not a new one, indeed, many may well recall past writings of a lady who went by the name of The Infamous CJ, the topic may well arouse the same discussions and tit-for-tat contests that often go hand-in-hand with such things in the modern sub-culture but it also marks a return to a question that goes much deeper than it seems at first glance.

On January 1, 1863 the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, issued The Emancipation Proclamation that was aimed at all of the areas in rebellion during the Civil War. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the eleven states that were still in rebellion. It marked the recognition of a segment of the population of the United States as being free to make their own decisions and lives within the larger cultural group of the population of the country.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed, enfranchising women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications and giving them the right to vote in the United Kingdom. The Representation of the People Act 1928 extended the voting franchise to all women over the age of 21.

Two examples of two different cultures recognizing the right of a sub-cultural group to exercise not only their inalienable rights as members of the human race but also opening the door for later petitions by other sub-cultural groups, such as the contemporary recognition afforded the Wiccan movement, to be recognized as valid and valuable parts of the whole. The topic was also touched on, and superbly so, in the July 2012 editorial by Lady Elzie Roze, “Bigotry in a Marginalized Minority Community – Vampires and Human Rights

RVL E-Zine is very pleased to be able to reprint, with full permission of the author,

Sang vs Psi: Making a Case for Separation
(or, I Want My Blood, and Drink it too!)

I got involved in a conversation the other day that inspired some soul searching, on my part. I thought I’d share my mental processes and perhaps shed some light on what causes Sangunarians to occasionally opt out of the greater Vampire Community. While I do not know if it is wise or even possible to separate the VC into its individual component groups, I DO believe that there is a need in the community for more separation then it currently has, or a change in community politics if the greater Community wants to keep its Sangs around over the long term. There is already and alarming exodus of older Sangs to private communities and away from public shared communities. There is much to gain from this, but also a chance that much will be lost.

I was an active community leader for many years. Stress and bickering and Community drama caused me to actually leave the entire VC for a couple of years. I’m back, but I have little public interest beyond my Sangs and my Vamplings. I’ll fight tooth and nail to protect them, but I don’t have a ton of interest in the community beyond that, and they are the only ones I come out fighting for now. There are some good reasons for that. While it’s true much of the Community is very supportive of Blood Drinking, there is a vocal minority that make becoming a healthy Sang a damned if you do and damned if you don’t proposition.

The Problem:

The most difficult part of being a blood drinker is that there is no politically correct way to get the blood we require to feed. We require blood. It’s dangerous to take it from donors (disease, accidents) and it’s cruel to use animals… We’re threatened with criminal charges, we’re attacked for our feeding methods on all sides. We’re told by some that we should “evolve” to feed on methods that do not suit our nature, we are expected to live up to the expectations of those who do not need blood and when we can’t magickally conjure it out of thin air we’re damned for incidents of rage, dramatics and expected to behave like normal people, no matter the results of our inability to feed, especially if that inability to feed creates media worthy incidents that draw negative attention to the Vampire Community.

It’s difficult to feed in a way that is considered safe and politically correct, and yet that very necessity is the answer to minimizing negative incidents in and around the community. An unfed Sanguinarian is an unstable Sanguinarian. If there was a way to insure that everyone who needed blood could safely get enough the number of incidents would decline dramatically. Desperate Vamps find desperate solutions, or they act out in rage. Non Sangs seldom understand that starving Sangs are not that different from any starving creature. We get sick and we get cranky and we get desperate. Think of the difference it would make to our public image if there were no headlines regarding slips of the knife, forced feedings, animal cruelty by beginners learning to kill animals for blood. Think of the difference if every Sang knew how and where to get blood and how much they required.

Sadly there is far too much stigma attached to blood feeding in the VCs present state of evolution. There are few places where this kind of information can be passed on publicly or in a way that would reach everyone who needs it. There is far too much condemnation from our own community when it is here that Sangs should find the most help and support. The topic of blood drinking is unwelcome on most boards and groups and certainly not welcome in any positive way in news groups and other semi-public Facebook groups, which have become the primary means of communication within the VC at this time, if they were ever welcome at all. Want proof? Try bringing up killing animals for blood on any group and see the results. How do we pass on information and techniques without talking about it publicly? How do we catch young Sangs before they learn bad habits or make horrible mistakes that lead to incidents that might make the news? As the community stands right now, it’s almost impossible.

The Solutions:

I’m one of the leaders with the opinion that we Sangs need our own community and should drop the name “Vampire” and just leave the rest of the community behind. While I believe the greater community WANTS to help, it’s clear that many have no desire to support or help Sangs, and even those who do realize there is a liability involved. We are not politically correct enough.

While I believe there are ways Sangs and other sectors in the community complement each other, it becomes more and more clear that we need our own communities where we can insure our kind are being fed and are healthy. The community in general doesn’t seem to see its better for the public image of the VC when blood drinkers are properly educated. Fewer media worthy incidents are a GOOD thing. Of course.. It’s not as easy as it sounds to separate ourselves from the community we presently inhabit and have taken part of for years.

The problem lies, in this case, in the fact that other Vamp communities feel threatened when Sangs talk about leaving the community all together. I’m sure almost everyone is aware of the Psi / Sang wars back in the 90s. Psi’s demanded the right to part of the Vampire Community, which originally only encompassed Sangs and our donors.
(We’ve been trying to get rid of them ever since – I jest, of course, sort of -don’t get your knickers in a twist, we all know I have a back handed sense of humour)

I have a lot of Psi friends, and I do believe there are places where it benefits us to have joint projects, my own message board is open to Psi’s, Sangs and most of the Otherkin communities, but we are NOT the same, and for some reason the idea of Sangs going off on their own again panics the community. I can understand why Hybrids would find it threatening, though.

When I owned the board S&M DARK, a more “adult” version of Smoke and Mirrors I had separate forums for Psi and Sangs, and as an experiment, made people choose which one they would be in, they could NOT be in both. It was very difficult to watch hybrids try to decide where they belonged, and not an experiment I’d want to do on a community wide basis. That said, there needs to be a better system than we have at present.

The sad thing is: It should not be NECESSARY to separate the Sang and Psi communities at all. We do have much in common.. but as long as the communities are joined at the hip, it will be impossible to get MOST Sangs feeding the way they need to for optimum health, and “incidents” are going to continue happening as long as we have unfed Sangs running around. We will continue to have unfed Sangs running around as long as other parts of the community continue pressure to make the community politically correct. We can’t have it both ways. If Sang feeding continues to be demonized the attached stigma will continue to prevent us from creating a truly healthy Sang community. The lack of a healthy Sang community is what demonizes Sang feeding in the first place. It’s an endless cycle

The first step to a healthy Sang community is breaking the cycle and teaching EVERY Sang that it’s OK to feed, and that there are healthy, even legal ways to do that.

I realize this opinion piece will likely create a lot of discussion, and I hope it does. I’m known for shooting straight from the hip and I think I’ve done that here, though I probably should have followed advice from Anthony Hogg when we were discussing the topic:
…framed as a dietary thing, it would be much more…palatable, heh heh

Stay Well.
Stay Fed.
Lady CG 2014

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I would suggest that we are not simply looking at a “separatist” issue; we are not looking at some attempt to establish an “elite” class that hold themselves over and above others… no, what we are reading here is a representation of the RIGHTS of every person of a sub-cultural group to follow their own path, believe in their own beliefs and the basic HUMAN right to be left in peace to explore their own identity and group consciousness without fear of malice, vilification or interference. As long as the group does so WITHOUT harm to any other then this is, and must be, as hundreds of commentators have pointed out before, a basic right to be respected and an assured right for EVERYONE.

Perhaps now is the time that the wider sub-culture extends those basic rights to the Sanguinarian community.

 

Guest article: “Sang vs Psi: Making a Case for Separation” copyright Lady CG 2014
Reproduced by RVL with full permission.

Introduction and closure, copyright RVL 2014

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NB: The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

Because the content of the collections of information presented come from many different sources and sectors, the collections may contain information that might be deemed offensive, or otherwise objectionable. RVL does not endorse or sponsor any content in the collections, nor does it guarantee or warrant that the content available in the collections is accurate, complete, non-infringing, or legally accessible in your jurisdiction, and you agree that you are solely responsible for abiding by all laws and regulations that may be applicable to the viewing of the content. In addition, the collections are provided to you on an as-is and as-available basis. You agree that your use of the Site and the collections is at your sole risk. You understand and agree that RVL makes no warranty or representation regarding the accuracy, currency, completeness, reliability, or usefulness of the content in the collections, that the Site or the collections will meet your requirements, that access to the collections will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error free, or that defects, if any, will be corrected. We make no warranty of any kind, either express or implied.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Real Vampire Life E-Zine and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, officers, directors, and volunteer staff from and against any and all liability, loss, claims, damages, costs, and/or actions (including fees) arising from your use of the RVL E-Zine services, the site, or the collections. In addition, you agree that should any provision in the Agreement be found invalid, unlawful, or unenforceable, that provision shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining provisions.

Under no circumstances, including, without limitation, negligence, shall RVL or its parents, affiliates, officers, employees, or agents be responsible for any indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising from or in connection with the use of or the inability to use the Site or the collections of information, or any content contained on the Site or in the collected information, or resulting from unauthorized access to the collected information or your transmissions of data, including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, use, data, or other intangibles, even if RVL has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced, or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and/or our guest/s.