Crossroads 2017 ~ Titled or Entitled

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Presented by

Tim

A matter which has often been long and hotly debated, which has created conflict and confusion out of nothing and has been source of much derision and sarcastic wit is that of titles… specifically the titles that are used within the modern Vampyre culture.

Where do titles come from? How are they given out? Why are they given out? Do they come in cereal packets? Can you buy them at Walmart?

Good questions one and all, let’s see if we can sort out some of this…

 

Titles, to designate people’s positions and responsibilities have, literally, existed since man organised himself into tribes for mutual protection. Someone had to be the boss, someone had to be the senior decision maker, the organiser and so-forth… in order to make sure everyone was on the same page a title seemed to be the easiest way to ensure that rather than making certain everyone knew the boss’s name.

For example, among the earliest known titles we find the Sumerian En and Lugal

EN (Borger 2003 nr. 164 EN; U+12097 , see also ENSI) is the Sumerian cuneiform for “lord” or “priest”. Originally, it seems to have been used to designate a high priest or priestess of a Sumerian city-state’s patron-deity” [1]

Lugal is the Sumerian term for “king, ruler”. Literally, the term means “big man.”[1] In Sumerian, lu is “man” and gal is “great,” or “big.”[2]

Lugaldalu, King of Adab – Sumerian, by Ficatus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 img. source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

 

As societies grew and expanded the necessity for a greater number of roles and areas of responsibility called for some method of defining who was supposed to be doing what, or who was supposed to be organising what for the populace. Ancient Egyptian society, as another example, included the following titles, Divine Adoratrice, Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King, God’s Wife ( an Egyptian ceremonial appointed title that was associated with the cult of Amun) Haty-a, Nomarch, Servant in the Place of Truth (an institutional function within the Theban Necropolis) Xry Hbt (a ceremonial position, institutional in nature and associated with ritual centres) and, of course, Pharaoh, the highest, hereditary, national executive office in the land.

With the subsequent growth of political systems under the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Roman systems titles became even more necessary as the range and expansion of social systems grew and grew.

Imagine for a moment, although you may not want to, our modern governments, where would we be if they didn’t have clearly defined structure, arranged by function with the individual offices following a chain of command under people with appropriately assigned titles…

img. source: http://www.avictorian.com/

So, you ask, how does this relate to the modern Vampire culture? We are not a government, we are not a department structured regulatory device and we don’t have a societal structure on a “national” level that demands delineation of duties and responsibilities.

Very good points, what we have is an “association” of Groups, Organisations, Clans, Tribes, Houses and Temples that do not gravitate around a central authority, nor do they necessarily come together in any great measure unless a situation of mutual interest eventuates. Within each of these individual entities there may be found a need for recognition of levels of authority or definition of responsibilities and, as we have already noted, the easiest way to accomplish this is by the use of titles. The thing with these titles, be they hereditary, elected or appointed is that they are peculiar ONLY to that particular organisation or group.
The Order of Maidenfear was created in 1966, making it the oldest recorded Vampire institution and the modern incarnation of that order still exists today in the Ophiucus Living Vampires International entity. Its owner, Lady Emilie C. recalls that,

“Early on (mid-1980’s) we used “titles” just as a means of organization.  We’ve always been uncomfortable with a limitless entity such as vampire culture needlessly being divvied up and categorized.  Now if people want to go in for the names and titles and such because it suits them, that’s their prerogative…”

img. source: Dark Souls 2 Wikia

 

Much argument is made, frequently, about why certain individuals should be referred to by titles – the short answer is that it is necessary to define their position within their own organisation. An example, and one that is commonly argued, is the use of what are seen as royal titles, King and Queen.

Historically speaking King and Queen originated in the Old English to Middle English period (around 900 A.D.)[3] And denoted a hereditary, national executive position of authority. In the case of the modern Vampyre culture the titles are used solely to denote the supreme position not on a national basis but on a regional, or local, basis where a number of “families”, “clans” or “tribal entities” may gather in a “Court”. An individual bearing the title King or Queen will usually have their title appended by the name of the local, or regional, area they are designated as being responsible for leading. The title doesn’t mean anything outside of that particular place but may be used in ceremonial functions in other places outside of that region as a mark of respect and recognition of a leader. It’s somewhat akin to the use of professional titles such as Doctor or Professor, a recognition of position or achievement.

img. source: www.britannica.com

In speaking of titles recently Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza, Matriarch of Temple-House Sahjaza, commented;

“As well they are honors bestowed on our members and others in the community for time served plus works in the community. The higher the level the deeper the service”

In a similar vein, Lady Gia Ahlia Bathory von Ecsed holds the same opinion;
“the titles are earned through contribution and community leadership as well as giving your life to serve the people in it.”

 

There is, of course, a precedent for the use of titles in the modern Vampire culture that goes back to the very foundation of modern culture establishments, such as The Order of Maidenfear,Temple-House Sahjaza and to the very beginnings of the modern movement stemming from the original Long Black Veil Events of New York city. As one of the Co-authors of the original Black Veil texts has noted they did not have the benefit of a lexicon for the culture back then and the only frame of reference they had was the work of Mark Reinhagen, the creator of “Vampire: The Masquerade”, the game released by White Wolf studios in 1991.

From V:tM we can easily follow the establishment of early “titles” in the movement and although such were not really common, they were still used under certain circumstances. Titles such as, Abbott, Archbishop, Baron, Chief, Consort, Paladin, Prince, Recruit, Seneschal and Sheriff. Some of these among the adopted titles to define an entirely new, and wider “social organism” that had never been “organised” in the manner which it was now becoming.

More common, you will find, is the use of the title “Lord”, a term which originated in the Old to Middle English period also and literally meant, “loaf keeper”, or, a provider for the people under his tutelage.[3]

The Devil’s Advocate, 1997, Warner Bros. in assoc. with Regency Enterprises, Kopelson Entertainment,Taurus Film, Monarchy Enterprises B.V. & New Regency Pictures.

 

At this juncture, because there are always two sides to any coin, I am going to play “Devil’s Advocate”, why? Because I can and I’m going to have some very astute help to do it…

There are always the cases of the establishment, or rather self-establishment, of “Titles” by people who have not yet demonstrated, through action or words, that they deserve any more than casual and polite response or consideration. This is the tarnish that colours the perception of titles within the culture and through the subsequent actions of these individuals, especially if they do conduct themselves disgracefully and prove to be problematic, the use of the titles they affect casts a pall over the true intent of such articles. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about those people, they have been, and will continue to be, a problem for the modern culture as they parade around “playing the role” with gusto.

As Lady Julia Darkrose, owner of The Darkrose Journal and Rose Wytch Media, recalls her experiences within the earliest organised systems for modern living Vampires;

“A blood drinker/”vampyr” community existed long before Todd Hoyt and The Sanguinarium organized everyone into Houses. We, were the Underground, sometimes, literally. It is due to the onset of public Internet that allowed Todd and Michelle Belanger, to organize and dictate The Black Veil…of bullshit. I was there, with Michelle, before The Sanguinarium organized and dealt out unearned titles. I, too, was given a title of Adept Elder in 2000. That was six years after I came up from down under.”

She further defines the situation in saying;
“Of course, at that point, titles had already been pulled out of thin air and given to the followers (sheep mostly) that they liked the best. The rest is as they always say…history. Those coming into the community since 2000, have every right and reason to give themselves and others titles within their own groups. However, to expect everyone else to value them as such and afford them respect and honor that is highly doubtful they have earned, is ridiculous. Keeping up the charade of, well, all the bullshit that is spewed from groups that are mostly just making up crap as they go along, is, well, bullshit. To become an organized anything, the willy nilly handing out of unearned titles and expecting everyone else to be on the same page, is a detriment. Some titles, I suppose,  are  actually earned, within any given insular group.”

Titles are, and always have been, hereditary, elected or appointed not simply plucked out of the air as required and this is an important point to keep in mind.

As Lady Julia goes on to say;
“Some titles, I suppose,  are  actually earned, within any given insular group. Beyond that, I believe, if I were still a relevant member of the V community, that I would concentrate on simply helping people that are or believe, truly, that they are Vampyre, to live the best quality of life they can. I know, without a doubt, that titles, Houses, and all the hooha, are completely unnecessary in order to accomplish that. Which, by the way, is the reason most Titled Community members give for being in the community…they want to share their “wisdom” with everyone. Again, title are completely unnecessary to achieve the greater good, as a whole, or for individuals. Titles are meaningless when a person’s actions and motives are the opposite of their titles.”

The Nobel Peace Prize Coin
img. source: https://www.nobelprize.org/

Another point to bear in mind is that from time to time an organisation may well choose to recognise an individual for exemplary service to the whole and they may opt to bestow a title, usually reserved for use within said organisation, on someone not in the body of the organisation – we must also recognise that this has precedent also. Think of the Nobel Prize awards. The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural or scientific advances. They were founded in the will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel and were established in 1895.

In 2012, The Madame Webb authored a paper entitled “The Importance and Purpose Of Respect & Protocols”[4] for a leading Vampire house. In it she laid out guidelines to the membership of that House which included;
We will respect all of our Elders, of title and or physical age, and we will hold them in high regard. We value all that we can learn from them. Let us take for example the Native American path. Hardly any cultural group is attending to and learning from Elders as they should, or could be. Elders are assets and rewarding resources; much more learned then our beloved “Google.” There is still plenty to be learned about the world and how to live in it. We learn by listening and respecting Elders, not just in our community, but also in the world at large. Elders have a master’s degree from the University of Life. What they allow to be shared with us is a gift.”

Titles, such as “Elder” are not always to denote ranks and responsibilities, they can also be used to denote expertise and depth of experience in important areas and anyone who has put in the effort, invested the time and returns willing to teach should be recognised for such contributions to the modern culture.

In conclusion:

The main concept we must all recognise and accept here is that in each organisation, house, tribe or other such body the members and leader of that entity have the right to adopt any form of official delineation of roles, responsibilities and duties that they may see fit. It is entirely endemic to the individual organisation and does not mean that they hold the same position on other than a local basis and within their own organisations… the use of the title is, however, a point of polite address and interaction. Now, you may call me “Old School” whatever that may mean, because I prefer to address people with a prefix of “Lady” if they are feminine and “Lord” if they are male, that is my way unless a person declines to be addressed so then I shall simply make my address polite and respectful – when dealing with people it gets you much, much further and my honoured parents, my dear departed grandmother and my early English grammar school education brought me up to be polite and respectful, you, dear reader, may have been brought up with a much different perspective and that is perfectly okay – as always but simply because you don’t personally dig the idea of titles and their use doesn’t entitle you to be ignorant of social niceties and be out-and-out rude, does it?

Copyright TB  2017

References:

  1. Saggs, H. W. F. 1988, The Greatness That Was Babylon (revised edition)
  2. Watson E. Mills; Roger Aubrey Bullard (1990). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. p. 975. ISBN 978-0-86554-373-7.
  3. com Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
  4. “The Importance and Purpose Of Respect & Protocols”, The Madame Webb, ©2012, Retrieved Sept. 2017

Additional references:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_titles

http://whitewolf.wikia.com/wiki/Vampire:_The_Masquerade_lexicon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize

https://www.nobelprize.org/

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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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