Crossroads 2017: When in Rome…

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With grateful acknowledgement to Lady M. and Lady Felicia R. for their invaluable contribution.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Img source: Phuket Rent Houses, Nai Harh Beach, Phuket

I’d like to take a moment to imagine, if you’ll indulge me, a long sandy beach… bright warm sunshine but with a slight offshore breeze carrying that crisp, salty ocean air smell. The water is blue, some parts sparkle, some parts eddy and some parts rear into magnificent cobalt waves that stride toward the shoreline like some ancient army. Can you imagine?

That was favourite with a teacher at a self-realisation study I took around twenty-five years ago… it was a meditation based on real place relaxation. Easy when you live in a country where 80% of the population lives in the 20% of land mass that lies around the coast.

Now, add a surfer into the mix, a lone figure,

Img source: Travel Blog

3 fin longboard tucked under arm, surf shorts and rashy, wandering down to the water’s edge and launching him, or her, self into the sparkling blue water… the exhilarating impact of the cool sparkling water, the feel of the water sliding beneath the board as you paddle strongly out to meet that one perfect wave that’s gonna be a tube in about one minute… ever think about sharks? I didn’t, as far as I was concerned I was in their home now and that meant I had to be respectful of them, or lose something precious to me… like a leg, or something more.

That, dear reader is where I am going with this happy rambling.

Img source: tyglobalist.org

In the offline “Vampire” scene of the early 80’s, although we didn’t specifically refer to ourselves as such back then, people watched us from a respectful distance. We were… an enigma, an anomaly, something out of the ordinary and, in the main, people certainly didn’t run around yelling, “turn me…!”, “Embrace me…!” or “Make me your queen/ prince of the night” Heavens above, White Wolf Studios hadn’t even released the Masquerade back then…!

No, we didn’t have the problem that we have had since the subculture hit the internet. I have been roaming around cyberspace since around 2000 and came to the “Online Subculture” in about 2002. Since that time I have fielded hundreds upon hundreds of requests for me to explain all about myself, to help someone or other become a Vampire, to hook people up with REAL Vampyres and so forth and now, fifteen years down the track I find I still have to field these queries and pleas on a constant basis.

There are two issues that lie at the heart of this.

 

For The Newly Arrived

Anyone who has ever seen a Vampyre movie thinks we must look awesome (that would be what we call the ‘glampires’)… and we can do neat stuff (never mind the fact that most nearly all movie Vampires end up getting staked, cut up, or torched… or some combination thereof) Problem is we are most definitely NOT immortal, we CAN’T transform into bats or mist in order to gain entrance to selected bedrooms, many of us LIKE a bit of garlic on the Italian bread and our pizza and we most certainly DO NOT crawl forth from our graves at night to seek the precious blood of the innocents.
The fact of the matter is that apart from a small number of members of the subculture we don’t run around yelling, “Hey girls/guys, lookit me, I’m a Vampyre…gorgeous aren’t I?

Img source: BusBooking.lk

Truth is that the vast majority of us are just people who have a need to enhance the amount of energy, or substance, that our body physically craves. We are Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, Managers, Sales people, Nurses, Tradespeople, Secretaries, Taxi Drivers, Cleaners and so on. We have homes, families, many have kids, we have regular jobs, pay bills and put our trousers on one leg at a time just like everyone else so why is it that we are considered to owe the eager, bushy tailed, bright eyed Vampyre seeker the answers to life, the universe and everything including, I might add, the private details of our personal lives?

Are we Gods to be worshipped? Yeah, I know, there are those that think they are – that’s just part of life, no, we’re not Gods, we’re just people who have an added burden in maintaining ourselves in good health.

So, you ask yourself, what can possibly get under the skin of these incredibly lucky real living Vampire type people? Single word, disrespect.

In a nutshell, when you knock and ask to come into somebody else’s house then you had better show; at the very least, basic human respect and courtesy or you will get NOTHING from the experience.

Allow me to share with you a recent exchange that I was in attendance on;

Nb:The following messages were received, and answered at, RVL’s Facebook Page. The identity of the message author will NOT be revealed however, I am sure you can all relate, at least in some measure to what follows

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: Thanks for messaging us. We try to be as responsive as possible. We’ll get back to you soon.

J: My name is ***** I new hear I looking for a vampire to help me I been taking in my sleep I can’t stop my phone number is to call (edited)

J: My birthday in June. I will be 18 year old

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: Might I ask why you feel that you need our help?

J: My phone number if you need,to call me (edited) Because I can’t stop talk in my sleep about vampire I. I need a boyfriend I don’t have one I sad or friend. I just need help. I am a female. I having tube sleeping last week.

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: Good afternoon J,

There can be many reasons for talking in your sleep and the considered research shows that half of all kids between ages of 3 and 10 talk in there (typo) sleep while somewhere around 5% of all adults do so. There is no restriction on what the talk is about, it can be about anything at all but the mind will usually process, while you are asleep, in a specific subject for a good length of time. There is a good article about it that can found at the link following this message.

As for gaining a boyfriend/friend I am afraid we are not in a position to be able to help with that ma’am. Kind Regards.

[ http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/talking-in-your-sleep#1 ]

Talking in Your Sleep: Sleep Talking Causes and Treatments

WebMD explains sleep talking, which may point to an underlying disorder. webmd.com

J: Thanks. Sorry to bother you.

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: No bother at all dear lady, I would like to warn you about giving your phone number out too willingly. There are many dangerous people out there. Please be very safe. Kind regards.

J: Sorry. I don’t give out my phone number.

J: I love real vampire that are my favorite things. I am a bigest fan

J: Can you turn me in a vampire I hate been in (Edited) I life in (Edited) I need to you

J: Talk to you. I need a vampire talk me I don’t have friend or a boyfriend wish I had a vampire boyfriend make s me sad

J: my hart is broken I need a friend a And boyfriend.

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: https://realvampirenews.com/why-cant-i-be-a/

Why can’t I be a…

*Editor’s Note: Limited and non-exclusive permission is given for this article to be reproduced at personal websites and/or within online/offline groups, with full credit, in order to inform and al…

realvampirenews.com

J: Hi I sad

J: Hi

J: My real name (edited)

J: Turn 18 this June

John Reason’s Real Vampire Life: I am sorry, there is nothing that we can do for you.

J: Sad go away.


Img source: tentionfree.com

FIRSTLY, do not, dear reader, make judgements about this person from what you read, we didn’t. We tried to assist without “feeding” her obvious dilemma and distress. We sent her the phone numbers for a Teen helpline in her native country. We seriously hope she used those numbers.

As you can see, from this example, we still get desperate requests pleading for help, we answer each and every one with all the care and compassion for the author and we try and offer as much assistance and sound advice that we can practically muster but, unfortunately, it is often not enough, we know that and it does make us sad, however, what else can we do?

It is these sort of messages that a myriad of our fellow subculture members, and groups, receive every week and, after you’ve been receiving them end-on-end for five, ten or fifteen years you do become jaded. Not uncaring, simply worn out with the effort to try and answer each one.

There are MANY good and reliable resources out there that are NOT ‘B.S’ – we list a number of them right here and anyone who has spent an amount of time in the subculture, online, can tell people where to find them.

Sanguinarius.org, SphynxCat VP’s Vampires Support Site and Lady CG’s ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ are but three examples of highly credible, NON B.S. information and anyone who suggests that they have done, “All the reading”, might be surprised to read that I have been in the online subculture since 2002 and I HAVEN’T completed ‘ALL’ the reading.

These are some of the things that are guaranteed to get under a real living Vampire’s skin, in fact, probably the main things.

 

For Members of the Subculture

On the other side of the coin we also receive almost constant notifications that new arrivals to the subculture frequently remark on, in essence,

“Yeah how it should be but once someone does ask for help info and said they have been doing research and having problems with figuring out what is actually real and what’s bs just wanted to talk with others real got treated rudely and no help just judgement…”

Indeed, in my early days in the online subculture I got enough of this very treatment to fill an aircraft carrier… one of the BIG ones. So I can empathise with this statement, and many others like it. I have been in groups where I have seen it happen, I have counselled many dispirited people and asked them NOT to write us ALL off. It’s a real battle.

There’s a lot of talk – constantly – about “improving the image of the community to the outside”, unfortunately there’s not much of it being produced, except in the pursuit of material gain or status.

Img source: mindspaceapocalypse & Evil Ladies

YES – We can be, and often we are, damn rude, dismissive and judgemental. Yes, we can cite reasons from the earlier example but are we also being just a bit too dismissive, biased, judgemental and obnoxious? Instead of just telling eager seekers to, “go away and read”, suggest where they should go, send them to reputable resources. Don’t give twenty experts in a room, they’ll only get twenty different truths and will end up damn confused and frustrated – and that would be OUR fault.

For the record I would like to report, verbatim, the response I made to the post from which the text above was used [with the author’s permission]

“I would like to answer your comment about “us”.

 Since 2002 I have fielded probably more than 1000 requests to tell people about me and my private life as a vampyre. Invariably I have found that it is because these people wish to become a Vampyre, or become a donor (swan).

The bad but TRUE news is you can’t become a Vampyre. End of story I’m afraid. All the methods that have been proposed over the last 15 years have been all but disproven under rigorous examination.

As far as I am aware the last formal group of donors in the united states closed somewhere over a year ago.

 During the previous six years working for John Reason we received, and replied to, probably 300 requests for help, some people even going so far as to say they were willing to die to achieve what they wanted.

All of this, after a time, begins to weigh very heavily on the heart, mind and patience of every member of the subculture and it’s not because we are rude that we suggest personal research, it’s because we don’t want to give impressionable people ideas that they may run loose and wild with and end up harming themselves, either deliberately or unintentionally.

Now, at John Reason’s Real Vampire Life we have a section entitled “IMPORTANT INFORMATION For New Arrivals” – it seeks to answer, as does every piece in RVL, the questions that people have by gathering information from sources that are at once both reputable and highly respected within the modern Vampire Subculture. We have over a thousand followers on Twitter that seek us out as a source of GOOD information and we average over 120 page views per day at present. We do not offer to tell anyone what they WANT to hear, all we offer is information that has been researched, checked and cross-checked.

Am I suggesting you read? Not at all. I am a member of this group, I can be found here because I have notifications set to alert me to messages posted.

I will make this pledge to you, and to any other who wishes to “know” – if you have a LEGITIMATE and VALID question I will do my utmost to answer it for you. If I can’t, I will do what I can to get the answer for you.

Please bear in mind, neither I, John Reason’s RVL, Lady Emilie’s group (Ophiucus Living Vampires International) or any other reputable vampire subculture group are “introduction services”, “dating sites” or “escort services”.

I hope you will take the opportunity to interact and find out the facts about the modern vampyre subculture.

In closing, let me ask you this, if I organised 1000 people to contact you mere days apart and beg you to tell them all about your private life what would you do?”

The lady I was communicating with then sent this reply;
“THANK YOU so much for your time to do this for me! I really appreciate it and makes me feel a little more comfortable again”

A couple of posts that took me no more than five to ten minutes in total. No biggie.

And THAT, dear reader, represents two sides of the coin.

Img source: City of Columbus

In Conclusion,

There ARE faults on BOTH sides, faults that need to be considered and corrected if the subculture is to improve its “public” image. Faults that have to be corrected if newcomer’s wish to be respected and dealt with fairly when they come into “our house”.

Most of us, when we were very young, were taught by our parents to be respectful when we went into someone else’s house, most of us were taught to be respectful when we talked to other people. Common decency and common human respect dictates that we deal, on this level, with those who show the same.

Perhaps, when we boil it right down “common decency” and “mutual respect” are two other issues that we should be dealing with as well.

I will just settle for asking everyone who reads this editorial to take just a couple of minutes and think, can you be a little more welcoming? Can you be a little less demanding? Can you be a little more insightful and grown-up?

If you can then you will be one of the people that will bridge this gap.

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Copyright Real Vampire Life 2017

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.

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.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

RSVP…???

Img. source: Loreto Day School

Presented by

Tim

“In the beginning there was darkness…” isn’t that how many things start?

In recalling beginnings I think back to the late seventies and early eighties, I think back on the first awareness and the first interaction with others. We didn’t call ourselves Vampires then, we were just us, a group of people who had one thing in common – similar tastes of a sanguine nature. We didn’t have computers, didn’t know what ‘internet was’, in point of fact I didn’t see computers on a regular work basis until ’85. We were just a group of friends who would hang out together at every opportunity.

We didn’t recruit, people found us. We didn’t advertise, we watched. We didn’t invite, we got asked. We were very wary of ‘outsiders’.

Obviously, now, it is a very different proposition. The internet explosion and the attendant growth in interpersonal communication across states, countries and continents and the globe has provided a rich source of exploration and a massive audience for everyone who can handle a keyboard and the prime opportunity for more came from the growth of social media.

 

Today, social media services users are numbered in the tens, hundreds and thousands of millions; a vastly larger sum of ‘audience’ than would ever have been dreamed of in the late seventies and early eighties and with the advent of, and burgeoning reliance on, social media comes a long sought after, by many, ability to ‘make friends’ and grab a share of ‘audience’ – pretty much all you need is a good hook, right? Or maybe not.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you get invited to a party, a party being held by someone you hardly know but they invite you anyway – sweet huh? Now, imagine they don’t tell you but they tell pretty much everyone else you’re going so that everybody will think that you are die-hard friends with them and because you have a lot of friends, suddenly, everybody wants to be at the party. How do you feel when you find out that YOU are the hook?

This is a practice that has become rampant on social media platforms, people create groups and randomly add people to that group by ‘farming’ other people’s friends lists. They seek to build not only their own credibility but also the numbers of their group, and presumably ‘personal friends’ lists without ever actually ASKING people whether they want to be involved or not. From there it’s not such a stretch to find yourself connected with hate groups, derogatory homophobic, ethno-phobic or other groups with extreme, and often unpleasant, views and practices.

How many of you have been the subject of such ‘friend fishing’ practices and how do you feel when it happens?

The modern living Vampyre subculture is perhaps one of the most fertile of grounds for this to occur and when people have hundreds, or thousands, of ‘friends’ it is virtually impossible to keep track of everyone and everything that is going on all the time… I’d hazard a guess that if you kept open ‘notifications’ you would need all of your waking hours, outside of working, eating and sleeping alone, to keep track on even five or ten percent of what’s going on. In short, and in all likelihood, you won’t even know when you have been ‘added’ to someone’s pet group or ‘party’ and this, in its turn, can get you a reputation of a very different kind than the one you hope, and intend, to portray.

In recent conversation on this very subject the views of the people holding discussion seemed to be very clear on the matter. There was a universal condemnation for the practice of the random add. As for the people who ‘add’ others to their group projects without seeking consent or even advising that they have done so seems to be the height of bad manners online, a gross breach of ‘netiquette’. The proper practice, naturally, would be to make contact with a prospective member and actually show them a little respect in giving them the courtesy of choosing whether or not they wish to subscribe to your group, or ‘party’. This is intrinsic in building your own solid and respected reputation thereby getting people to want to come to your group. The flip-side of the coin is that if you are found to be randomly adding to your group from the ‘friends of friends’, and ‘friends’ lists of others you will quickly gain a bad reputation until no one but the ‘bad guys’ will touch you or your ideas. As you can see, in effect, by randomly adding people without thought or consent a person is actually eroding their own standing, credibility and reputation until they become labelled ‘troll’, or worse. Why would anyone even think of doing that to themselves?

Img. source: psanalfonso.archimadrid.es

So, how does the social media user prevent being ‘randomly added’ to groups? In short, as long as you are on some sort of ‘friend list’ it appears that you can’t for that pretty much flies in the face of the concept of ‘social media’ but what you can do is, say once or twice a week, check your groups lists, see where you are, see what you’ve been added to and then squeeze out a little time to look over the group page and see what sorts of things are being posted there. You may, dear reader, suddenly find yourself seen to be supporting something that goes against everything you believe and, let’s face it, while appearances may be deceiving in real life, in social media life, appearances can, often, be everything.

How does one start a group?

There are, of course, many ways to begin your own “Vampire/Vamp-Otherkin” group – aside from simply starting it and robbing people’s friends lists. The best way is to discover whether you have friends who are of the same mind as yourself, seek their input, ask them if they want to be in a group and make it so. Generally, the sort of friends I’m talking of are those you have been in another group with for a time, people whom you have conversed with and with whom you have a genuine; if only online, rapport with. This means that your group is going to start of small but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day right?

From there your friend list can, and will, grow as others come seeking to join your group once you and your friends “advertise” its existence. You may wish to try and invite people, people not on your friends list and to this end a polite invitation message is the best way to achieve a good response. Even if the response to membership is not affirmative the people you treat with respect will remember it and they will respect you for having taken that route. In this way you will build a good and positive reputation for you and for your group.

In a recent conversation on this matter, in general, opinions were quite firmly in the “respect” category…

MP: I think anyone who just randomly adds people has no pride in themselves, their path or in the company they keep! It’s a popularity contest to them and that invalidates their legitimacy or how seriously they should be taken. JMHO….

TB: …let us suppose though, as is usually the case, these new “leaders” simply add the most notable people from amongst individual friends lists in order to make their fledgling group appear high profile, noteworthy and credible… sort of a practice of, import quantity AND quality, even if they don’t know they’ve been added…

How would your opinion form about that group and its leader dear lady?

MP: I think if you add anyone without their permission then you are disrespecting that person and taking away their free will and right to choose whether or not to be a part of anything.

These people are also more likely to leave any group that takes it upon itself to simply add them without asking them beforehand.

SL: I have a few of those type FB associates who randomly add me to their groups. I frankly think the practice is rude. Then you have the other type that apply to every group suggestion given them and send random friend requests without so much as a note. Guess I am old fashioned but if you’re going to knock on my door at least have an explanation.

DL: Facebook farming. That’s precisely why I rarely accept any requests from strangers with two dozen VC as “common friends” anymore.

I’m not a vampire trading card.

MB: Exactly…. Here’s another fly in the ointment. How would you feel if your name was used in the groups description … you being a rather high profile person in the VC and you are not even a part of that group. It would, in my mind, make other people think that I was completely on board with this group and the views and opinions that they were posting about. It would, also, make people who would normally not bother joining the group, think that if so and so’s name is being used … this must be a great group to be a part of. Using deceit to gain members is, to me, an unethical practice.

JH: Not only for the vampire themed groups but for groups in general, I think that these leaders who pose questions and only want responses from their “favorites” are a sham.

I understand that there are “trolls” and people looking for a hookup or date while in these groups, but sometimes one mustn’t take things too seriously. For instance, if you pose a question to whether or not there is a correlation between vampires and sexual attractiveness. You’re opening the floor to some lewd responses. If that question is posed by a female and a male responds to it, even if in jest, then he had better be an admin or a very close friend. If you pose a question such as “Are those walk around in heavy makeup sporting fangs an abhoration to the vampire life?” Its a question that only the “In Crowd” of those groups can answer because anyone else who responds is frowned upon and may find themselves booted and blocked. These very same people whom they have invited from their friend’s list of friends. Draw them in, make them feel all comfortable and the first they do, if they get an undesirable comment, boot them out, ban them and spread their names across the related groups citing them as “bad people”. My thing is this, don’t go fishing for members, don’t pose a question and when those netted members give them an opinion, be ready to crucify them,

TB: Thank you for the comments my friends. It is interesting, I think, that we all seem to hold similar views in this respect and one has to wonder – NOT calling myself old fashioned or anything – whatever happened to good manners?

Img. source: debate.org

 

For all those reading this…

Might I suggest that you take a look at your ‘Groups’ list, you never quite know where you’ve ended up, unless you have your Facebook security settings screwed down hard perhaps.

To those who have, will, or might consider starting up your own group by random adding people from friends, or friends-of-friends lists… one simple piece of logical advice, DON’T. Your reputation will sink like a brick, your group will sink like a brick and your ‘Friends’ list may suffer an earthquake.

Manners aren’t just things you have at the dinner table, and respect is not only for other people but for yourself as well.

 

Refs:

http://www.smartinsights.com/

Clan Resurrectus Homepage discussion, March 31, 2017 (used by permission)

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.

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.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer       

Vampires – Pack or Solitary beings PartII

Pic. source: http://www.themindtrap.com/ Maroussi

There are a great many unaffiliated people in the subculture today, and there have been for a long time. Many who seem to feel that belonging to an organised House is either unnecessary or undesirable. Beside these members of the subculture walk those who are firmly, loyally and happily affiliated with a House, so, what is it that a House membership affords people? What comforts, what support, what benefits can be gained from belonging to such an organisation?

Following an interview/ editorial with Magister Mephistopheles of House Rakoczy we were afforded the great honour to be able to conduct a one-on-one with Lady Magdalena Rakoczy. RVL and Lady Magdalena first discussed this piece after she was a guest on a leading Vampire sub-culture radio podcast and the result was less than satisfactory.  We decided, at the time, that it would be an excellent idea to revisit the topic in a better and more professional manner.

In the interest of presenting a balanced approach to the topic raised in this presentation Part 2 looks at the benefits of House membership.

It is considered, in many circles, that for a “House”, “Coven”, “Order” or other such affiliation of modern living vampires to be successful it must be organised, it needs some sort of rules based footing and it needs capable leaders to administer it effectively or it will, assuredly, dissolve into chaos… this we have seen so many times in the past. Lady Magdalena is a member of a solid, reputable and long standing “House” in the sub-culture and thus is probably still, as she was then, a singularly good example of someone to talk to about the matter. The content of that interview/ editorial is as follows.

————————————————————–

RVL: Good evening Lady Magdalena and thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this editorial interview.

M: Good evening, Tim. I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinion.

 

RVL: Amongst the results yielded by the first stage of The Living Vampire Survey we tabulated the following. The question was “Do you belong to, or affiliate with a;”

Vampire House 12.7%

Vampire Coven 8%

Vampire Organisation 14.9%

Meetup Group 11.5%

None, I am Ronin** (i.e. independent and unaffiliated) 71.5%

The results are quite dramatically skewed in favour of the un-affiliated, why do you think this might be?

M: I think most newly-awakened vampires are surprised to learn that Houses even exist. Once they do, many don’t have any idea how to contact a House, or how to tell whether it’s legitimate. There are so many rumours and wild claims out there, I believe many vampires are wary of becoming part of any group. And because most of us are strong personalities, remaining independent and not “answering” to anyone else is appealing to many.

 

RVL: Are you currently a member of a vampire “House” and how long have you been a member of that, or any other, house?

M: I’ve been a member of House Rakoczy since March, 2011.

 

RVL: What do you see as being the main benefit/s of membership in a “House”?

M: Leadership and guidance from senior members; mentorship. I’ve had the incredible privilege of being personally mentored by Magister Mephistopheles, Head of House Rakoczy, as well as the opportunity to learn from other members whose experience has greatly expanded my knowledge. Support and friendship from House brothers and sisters to face issues in both dayside and nightside lives, and finding ways to achieve balance is invaluable. And now, I have the chance to share my own insights and experience with younger members and to see them grow on their own paths.

 

RVL: Do you think that, being a member of a house, can make a person feel safer, ‘stronger’, more secure than if they were not a house-member?

M: Most definitely. Outside of the Community, most of us face challenges in our mundane lives including the feeling of isolation, as we are “other” than the vast majority among who we live and work. The feeling of kinship within a House, of knowing that there’s leadership and experience you can draw on in difficulty, is a blessing. And within our Community, there is so much diversity, with so many strong opinions–belonging to a House whose paradigm resonates with your own allows you the freedom to be yourself, without fear of offending; to be accepted completely for who you are.

 

RVL: What do you think is the best method for a newcomer to make an informed decision about which “house” may be right for them?

M: If you feel called to join a House, research! Visit the sites and/or pages of as many Houses as possible. Talk to members of those Houses. Ask them questions. Learn as much as you can. Examine what the House beliefs and practices are, and whether they resonate with your own inner truth. Find out what policies the House has in place, as well as what hierarchical structure (if any) exists. Take the time, do the homework, and don’t commit to becoming a member of any House unless it has something to offer you which you consider to be of value, and you, in turn, have something to give back.


RVL: If a newcomer contacts a house with a view to joining what, in your opinion, should be the initial reaction of the house and its administrators.

M: I can only speak to what my own House does. In House Rakoczy, people seeking membership are encouraged to visit our website, and to learn what it is we believe and how we operate. If the newcomer is serious about membership, he or she then contacts the Head, who discerns whether they might be a good candidate. If he does, he assigns a senior member to mentor them as a prospect to the House for a period of time, usually six months to a year. This allows both time for the House to see if the member is truly a good fit, and for the member-to-be time to decide if the House is truly the right one for them. If, for any reason, either party changes their mind with the period of prospectship, there are no hard feelings.

 

RVL: If you have, in the past, spent a good amount of time as a Ronin but now are affiliated with a “House”, what made you take that direction? And, conversely, if you were a “house” member and have now stepped away what made you decide to do that?

M: I am a late-awakened vampire. My first impulse was to look for others like me. I met a few other vampires in real life in my area, then travelled to New Orleans in 2010 to attend the Anne Rice Ball and the Endless Night Ball. I met Belfazaar Ashantison at UndeadCon and heard him speak of his own, House of Mystic Echoes. I read his paper on how to found a House and was intrigued. Shortly thereafter, I began to look for a House. I visited a great many websites, took the AVEWRS Survey, and joined the Colorado Vampire Association, to which I still belong, as well as a local Meetup group, which has since folded. I looked into a number of Houses and organizations before learning of House Rakoczy. When I began talking with Magister Mephistopheles, and discovered the depth of his knowledge, and the focus of the house on serious occult study, I was fascinated. The concept of the vampire, or as we prefer, Upyre, as a race, and the study and preservation of Upyre lore, strongly resonated with me. Likewise, the emphasis on occult studies, of developing oneself as a working magickian and sorcerer, and the cultivation of the warrior traits of self-discipline through martial arts and physical conditioning, were vitally interesting to me.

The Magister is about to publish a great work, the Testament of Shadows, the sacred text of the Upyre race, and has already published the Cultus des Loogaroo, which lays out the history of the Loogaroo bloodline, as well as its spiritual traditions. I am proud to say I’ve contributed to both works with copy-editing and some illustrations—and in turn, this has imbued my own fiction with a much richer dimension. Since joining the House, I’ve completed one novel, The Right Hand of Darkness, and have two others outlined.

Being part of House Rakoczy has enriched and enhanced every aspect of my life: I’ve grown personally in my path as a novelist and a working sorceress, as a member of the Community, and even in my dayside life, as I am a much more disciplined and focused person than I ever was before.

 

RVL: In your opinion, how should established houses treat Ronins in the general environment of the vampire-subculture?

M: I believe Houses should treat Ronin vampires, as well as members of other Houses with respect. Regardless of beliefs and practices, we share a kinship with other vampires and have both gifts and burdens in common. Respect, and good manners, should be encouraged so that we may co-exist as a Community and support each other.

 

RVL: What, in your opinion, is the main drawback/s in belonging to a “House”?

M: I can think of only one: negative views held by others in the Community. In the past two years, I’ve been criticized for choosing to join my House, and have heard allegations of its being a harem (something I’m sure my many House brothers find amusing) and a cult—also ridiculous, as within our House, members practice all sorts of diverse paths from Quimbanda to nontheistic Luciferianism. Fortunately, I’m secure enough not to care about the negative opinions of others.

 

RVL: There are “Houses” that maintain a high visibility in the sub-culture and others who prefer to be almost invisible, to your mind which is preferable? And do you think recruiting members to a house is a good practice?

M: I believe there are different purposes which initiated the founding of different Houses. Some are purely social and want to provide venues for large groups vampires to interact with each other in public situations, and even to include non-vampires who enjoy the archetype—those Houses would, understandably, encourage recruiting. Other Houses remain “under the radar”, perhaps because the views held in common by its members may not be considered politically correct by the overall Community, and have drawn fire, or because the House is one of serious study and doesn’t want to attract dilettantes and role players. House Rakoczy falls into the latter group. I believe both types of House serve a purpose, so neither is preferable.

 

RVL: Do you see the same value in an “Online House” as opposed to a “Real, physical, vampire house”?

M: I think this question has two components. The first would be the definition of a real, physical vampire House. To some in the community, this means that all the members live in the same building, literally “housed” together. This type of house is in the minority. To others, it means that members live near enough to each other to meet in person.

Still other houses are purely online. Although some in the Community live in large urban areas where they can meet in person, many others are isolated in rural communities or ones in which there are no other vampires nearby. For them, an online house, if it’s an ethical one with a purpose of providing leadership, fellowship, and the furthering of personal growth, has great value.

Our House has a number of Lodges, in the U.S. and elsewhere, therefore, members communicate with each other online as well as in person. I belong to the Twilight Lodge of House Rakoczy, based in Louisiana. I travel there once a year to meet with the Head of the House and other House members, and communicate with my Sire (mentor), other House members, and my students online and via telephone on a daily basis.

 

RVL: Do you have any other comments you would care to make on the subject of Vampire “Houses” today?

M: Whether to belong to a House or to remain Ronin is an important decision. If your motives for wanting to join a House are to have a “cool name,” or appear more important by association, you’d be better off finding a role-playing game. If, on the other hand, you find a group with principles and beliefs you hold in common, and respect its leadership and other members, joining that House could be a tremendous enrichment to your life.

 

RVL: Thank you very much for joining us and sharing your insights with us today, it has been a great pleasure spending this time with you.

M: Thank you, Tim, for the opportunity to speak with you. It’s been a great pleasure for me, also.

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The strength of any ‘House’ is in the hearts and the minds of its members, if the members feel strongly represented, comfortable and secure then the house is on a sure footing. There are many people abroad in the VC/OVC who, I would hazard to suggest, feel somewhat detached and remote due to their geographic situation and that is where the online portal or web-space of any house becomes even more important. The internet has indeed given us the opportunity to engage with others in a way not previously easily possible.

As Lady Magdalena has most persuasively presented, House membership can be a great source of support, comfort, inspiration and guidance and these tools, when put toward personal growth and improvement, are gifts that are more precious than many and allow people to leave their mark on, and make their contribution to, today’s real vampire subculture.

Copyright: RVL, TB and Lady Magdalena Rakoczy 2013, 2017

nb: ‘Ronin’, also ‘independent’, a modern living vampire that is NOT a member of an organised ‘Vampire House’.

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In many ways the concept of the “Vampire House” has, even if promulgated by the entertainment industry and by popular fiction literature, become a grounding concept to many. Naturally, there are Houses who consider themselves aloof to anyone outside their ‘walls’ and to whom anyone outside is a non-person and less of a subculture member for not being in “the” right house – The Asetian’s are a prime example of this, and it is perhaps through the veils, and the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of many House Leaders that we are usually unable to determine a clear picture of what actually happens within such enclaves. That being said, however, there must be – at least for some – certain comforts that go with being a member of a “House”.

When I first came to know of my own nature I joined an offline group (only banks, scientists and big business had computers and internet back then) of people who were of the same nature, we were sanguinarian and we met, regularly, in various places. We came to recognise that we needed to have some sort of ‘Code of Conduct’ in order that we would remain ‘unseen’. It was a comfort and it was reassuring to have that, and your companions, at your back… it offered a sense of safety, if you will. That sort of interaction, that closeness between members of a gathering of any sort, goes a long way toward instilling a sense of pride and loyalty, something that seems lost in the online sub-culture but, as I mentioned in part 1 of this presentation, it really does fall to each person involved to make their own decision about whether to fall in with a “House”, or whether to remain independent.

Copyright RVL 2017

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