Vampirism 101… will there be an exam on this?

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past.”
~ John F. Kennedy ~

Good evening,

This could be considered the second part of the idea that one reader suggested to us as a good topic to cover, the idea that ultimately gave rise to the editorial “Sires, Siress’, Mentors and Self”. This, like its predecessor, is by no means the “one and only Hitchhiker’s Guide to Vampirism”, what I write in here is not inscribed in stone and brought forth from the mountain, no, it’s simply the result of forty years awakened, having had three mentors and having mentored three.

In the preceding editorial I wrote about the connection between teachers and students in the modern Vampire culture. It was an examination of the individual methodology and expectations on both sides of that particular relationship, one facet of the jewel that is the modern culture you might say.

Another facet, another consideration, another question entirely might be, “How do you actually teach, and learn, Vampirism 101?”

How do you teach the newly awakened what they are experiencing is entirely natural to our kind? How do you impress upon them the often required need for discretion? The need for safety in blood-sharing? The proper ways to conduct themselves when conversing with others in the culture? With Elders? With Leaders? How do you teach them self-respect as a Vampire when they are feeling like crap? Perhaps most importantly, where do you even begin? Survival? Sanity? Feeding? Finding others like them?

A whole gamut of necessities and priorities to be juggled by the Sire, Siress’ and/or Mentors.

Pic. source: spreadshirt.co.uk

I would suppose that each case is going to be different, indeed, in my own limited experience I have found it so. Some newly awakened may only suffer mild symptoms, or side-effects, while others may suffer the worst “hunger”. It becomes, therefore, the prime responsibility of the “teacher”, in whatever form they may take, to assess the biggest problems facing the new-vamp. Think of it like VampTriage… a preliminary inspection to decide what the course of action will be and how, as the teacher, you are going to accomplish a successful transition for the newly-awakened.

Hunger

A commonly employed term for which there are synonyms, “The Thirst”, “Vamping Out”, whatever term you care to use it is the nagging, gnawing, insatiable feeling that “something” is needed to make the Vampire happy, healthy and whole. Luckily, in this arena, no one is alone but it is also the point where you, the teacher, need to be most careful. If you take your newcomer and say, “Here, go and read this, you’ll understand much better” you can probably imagine, quite well, the stomp of the foot, the fist on the desk and the quiet mouthing of, “FUCK YOU… I’m fucking dying over here… tell me what to fucking do…!!!”

This needs to be addressed, in this case obviously, as a major issue and needs be addressed directly by the teacher. Doing anything other will lose you the war before the first shot’s been fired.

“The Vampire”
Philip Burne Jones, 1896.

Discretion

“Coming out of the coffin” is a process which, in and of itself, can be fraught with dangers both obvious and hidden. As the student, if you ask a teacher, “What should I do?” any teacher worth a pinch of salt is going to start asking you questions. Questions like, “Do your family know of your true nature?”, “How do you intend to deal with the ramifications at school/work/church?”, “Does your bestie/boyfriend/girlfriend know of your true nature?”

The questions might seem, at once, deeply personal and also innocuous but the answers could have a profound effect on the safety, well-being and even the emotional survival of the newly awakened.

Feeding

Yeah, how else do you keep the “Hunger” under control? Seriously. Will you feed from a “crowd source”? (Most usual in Psi Vampires) Will you feed from specific Donors? (Applicable to both Psi and Sanguinarian Vampires) If you are Sanguine how are you going to ensure that the blood you are drinking is safe? Do you know how to conduct a blood-letting so that it does not harm your donor? Can you use animal blood as a supplement, or replacement?

Many, many questions… ALL of the answers are very important and ALL of these answers should be readily available from any credible Sire, Siress, Mentor or Teacher.

Image by: Lady SnipeShot

Hunting

Yep, really… there are those in the modern Vampire culture whom, euphemistically one would hope, embrace the term hunting for the process of going out and finding a donor who will, although they don’t know it, will become a willing donor… mostly.

There are many in the culture whom frown upon the “hunting” aspect of the modern Vampire experience but as long as you don’t physically, or unlawfully, harm or coerce anyone by any means then it’s really no different to going, out dressed to kill, on a Saturday night looking for a shag, is it?

Decorum

This is a delicate point among pretty much everyone… there is no universal cultural agreement on what actually constitutes decorum. Different Houses/ Clans/ Covens/ Organisations have different rules and regulations and usually require some form of “proper conduct” within their framework when being approached.

It is important that the Teacher ensure the newly awakened Vampire understands the concepts of common human dignity, politeness and decency. Just because the new Vampire has joined the ranks of the most energetic, powerful and enticing nightkind beings in the world doesn’t automatically afford them the right to become “Instant Assholes”.

History

Yes, history. It’s an important aspect of who and what we are. Every single person in the world has a “family tree”, a “heritage”, a “lineage” and we are no different. There is one school of thought that says modern Vampires were “Born” in New York City with the advent of the Long Black Veil events at MOTHER Nightclub…

It would be fair to say that this period was the latest incidence of the term “Vampire” being used as a common descriptor. The History of the Vampire, the lineage, if you will, stretches back to 3200 B.C. from Cuneiform writings, in ancient Sumeria, where Lilith appears as one of a group of Sumerian vampire/cannibal demons that included Lillu, Ardat Lili and Irdu Lili. (Please don’t make the mistake of thinking she was the first Vampire… we’ve got a whole research section on that)

The fact that modern living “Vampires” choose to call themselves that is simply the latest incarnation of the race.

Img. source: Adorable Wallpapers

Demographic

The real modern living Vampire culture is a GLOBAL entity, both by virtue of the fact that there isn’t a single country, or peoples, anywhere in the world that doesn’t have instances of Vampiric activities in their history and folklore someplace and it is the duty of any “Teacher” to make sure that the student understands they’re not just a Vampire in Nowheresville, they’re actually a part of a global nation.

Belief Sets

This is, for the student, something that must be assessed critically and sensibly. Think of it as the “90 days” period of a new job, they’re looking you over to see whether you fit and you, though almost all companies fail to realise it, are looking them over to see if they fit.

There are Vampire organisations that are strictly Vampires, no hocus pocus, there are those that have you go through elaborate and extensive “pledge” processes, there are those that will have you attend rituals of ordination… but I have to admit, if, back in the day, someone said to me, “Here, you need to drink this cup of blood and semen to become one of us…!” I would have politely declined and wandered off to find the nearest bar.

Each “organisation” will have, teach and enforce their own belief sets upon newcomers… kinda like organised religion yeah? Yes, that’s one too watch out for. To the newly awakened, in this period, just make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for BEFORE you go there. Very often something that looks too good to be true usually is.

Img. source: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
American Zoetrope,
Columbia Pictures Corp & Osiris Films, 1992.

In Conclusion

A Teacher must be ready to provide answers, not say, “Go away and read…” otherwise they ain’t worth shit as a teacher.
A Teacher must be “attuned”, through experience, to the priorities that are needed to be uppermost in making the newly awakened seeker’s transition as painless as possible.

A student needs to pay attention and ask intelligent questions because that is how we learn, all of us. This is the bit you’re really going to gag on, a student, where being taught by an older, experienced member of the culture should be able to demonstrate the proper respect for their teacher. Remember, you are asking the senior culture member for help, there is NO OBLIGATION on anyone to do anything for you.

If both sides can’t show a little respect, well, then there’s really nothing to say is there?

Copyright T & RVL, 2018

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