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In 2003 the renowned Lady CG, of Darkened Mirror, wrote an article entitled, “Putting your vampyric life together – or – how to be a whole, happy, well-adjusted vampyre“, and the opening to this article was priceless…
“So you’ve discovered you’re a vampyre, and right now it feels like it sucks to be you. Every older vampyre like myself, still remembers what it felt like to be the “newly awakened”, and you’re right… it can suck. You’re hungry, you’re depressed, you want to rebel against your parents and the world in general. (And it’s not a feeling restricted ONLY to youth… we older folks just rebel against different things, since our parents shouldn’t be the problem once we get out on our own). You don’t fit in with most circles of normal peers, light hurts your eyes, people say you’re weird…. You feel like a complete outcast, or maybe you just feel like you don’t fit in anywhere…. Life hurts. A lot, and frequently.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that. I’m here to tell you… it gets better.”
~ Lady CG
Who is there that can help you with this?
We all have, or have had at some point in our lives, teachers. The people who guide and form our thinking and our perceptions about the world we inhabit and where we fit into it. These teachers started with our parents, then, perhaps, our siblings, our friends at school and in the workplace and then, for some of us, those who discover their true nature as being a modern living Vampire, Therian or Otherkin and that is the point where the “Mentor”, in our particular context, comes in.
A lot of people in the culture will tell, “Oh yes, I’ve been a real living Vampire for X number of years, I can teach you…!” – Is this actually true?
There are indeed many people in our midst who have mentored a newcomer, a newly awakened youngster, many have done so a number of times and so forth but how do you become a mentor? Is it years of experience as that which you are teaching about? Is there some ‘Hogwarts’ type school to go to and qualify in “Mentorship”? Can you take an online course and become a mentor? What is it that makes a “mentor” successful, or unsuccessful?
As in any teaching relationship the teacher, or mentor, must first identify what it is the student is seeking. This, in and of itself, can be a complicated and delicate process. I have had the honour to be a mentor to three persons in my life since awakening. One discovered they were not “kin” at all but were an energy worker. One decided that they were not cut out for the online VC, nor even the society of other Vampires and continues to this day, as far as I know, to follow a very happy, secluded and private path. The third turned out to be someone who wanted to be an immortal, undead, ruler of the night – nuff said there.
The point of this is that these facets were discovered within the first three months of the process.
The initial contact between potential student and potential mentor is a delicate balancing act. The newcomer is unsure about themselves, uncertain about the whole “kin” thing, possibly mistrusting if they have been flipped off by others in the culture already, or if they have been ordered to, “go away and read!”
A true mentor is going to take the time to strike up, firstly, an acquaintanceship with the student. Finding common ground, common interests, is always a good thing. Listening to what the potential student has to say, in whatever way and order it comes is, to my mind, an indispensable step in the whole process. The mentor/student relationship is one that must be based in truth, trust and, above all, honesty. It’s no good lying to someone and telling them, “Oh yes, I can sense great power in you… you are most certainly marked with the sign of the Vampire/Wolf/Otherkin etc.” What’s that going to achieve except for confusing the potential student, turning them into a boorish asshat who tromps about the place annoying the fuck out of everyone and telling everyone that you taught them everything they know and are… see… karma, it’ll bite you in the ass so it’s much better to keep it honest and above board from the get go.
To my mind the Mentor needs to have the same things as any teacher/mentor does in real life, and I say this from the point of view of having trained warehouse employees and apprentices in mechanical and industrial workshops. The ‘mentor’ needs to have commitment to ensuring the best outcome for the student. The mentor needs to keep the student’s natural “exuberance” in check – what’s the old saying, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and a mentor needs to teach, by example, proper conduct.
We asked the honoured Lupa Gunnr MacPhee Lykaios of Gotham, “Have you had experience in mentoring newly awakened persons?” and, “”What do you think are the three most important attributes that a Vampyre culture mentor needs to have to positively mentor a newcomer?”
LG: Yes, I have had the pleasure of mentoring, Siring and guiding many newcomers: here in Gotham I mainly focus on newly awakened Fera or wolf. However having been Sired and awakened by a Vampire Lord O MacPhee, I am able to teach those who seek guidance in Vampyric ways
Transparency, genuine intent, selflessness
Without these it’ would be near impossible to truly expect anyone to listen and absorb all that they could learn.
It’s not good enough to say, “Do as I say, not as I do” that simply creates a conflict and confusion within the learning cycle. If you are going to be unruly while mentoring then you must clearly acknowledge that this is a fault of yours and is not the way you wish your student to act.
Kage Adamant-O’Mallie Asotus offered the opinion that;
“Integrity, inspiration and communication…
Mentoring much like Siring, is a two way street and cannot be achieved without; honesty, motivation and an open line of communication.”
While Prince-Lord Shaolin Asura MacPhee opined that a good mentor needs to, “[Be] Patient, [Have] knowledge and willing not only to hear but LISTEN.”
All most excellent points and observations and yet there are so many that profess, or have professed to be “Sire”, “Siress” or “Mentor” that have led their charges to chaos and confusion that it seems there are those who would rather go into the deal with their own ego in mind rather than the knowledge of what’s best for the newly awakened.
We contacted Magistra Xia, of the Ordo Omnia, who offered the following response,
“Three most important attributes willingness to learn and apply techniques , open mind and putting ego aside , determination to try , try again .
My mentors I would say did a disservice all except one. I think in today’s day and age mentors are offering more support to their students. The old format was like a mother bird tossing the Young out of the nest and seeing if they could fly. The old format I think served its purpose but at the same time probably lost some students along the way who could have offered more in return if they were eased into some of the practices over time.
As far as what I required I wasn’t taught to vet my superiors. My arts training sort of contributed to my mentality of trusting those who were teaching me. Again I would hope that the students of today approach their mentors with deepened respect but a solid mind-set to leave if something was awry or wrong.”
Self Defence for the Student.
Unfortunately this is going to be a very necessary part of the mentoring of any newcomer. The modern Vampire culture is awash with conflict, with argument, with dare I say it “Drama” and the newcomer, in order to be a solid and “respectable” citizen, needs to be able to recognise the what, when and where of avoiding this. In the event that they found themselves caught up in it they need to know how, when and where to fight back. It’s sad but its reality both in the online and offline culture.
How many times did someone slip me that hoary old line, “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”, to which my unfailing response used to be to toss in another match or capful of the proverbial gasoline. This is something that is not recommended however, remember the “Do as I say not as I do” adage…
Self-assurance is the main thing that needs to be instilled and built up in the student. With a strong sense of self and a strong sense of the ability and self-determination that every person has within them the student will develop their own methods and ways, which goes without saying and the mentor has the duty of ensuring that this innate ability is channelled in the most beneficial way for the student. Remember, the seeker is not there for your glorification as mentor, you are there for their betterment and benefit.
Copyright Tim/RVL 2018
Grateful acknowledgement goes to;
Lady CG of Darkened Mirror
Lupa Gunnr MacPhee Lykaios, Kage Adamant-O’Mallie Asotus and Prince-Lord Shaolin Asura MacPhee of the Gotham Halo.
Magistra Xia of the Ordo Omnia
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