Vampyrism within the Pagan community
By Aislin Ni MorRhiaghan © 2006
This is not a lecture about how to become a vampyre, feeding techniques, or how to find a donor. I will not be disclosing deep dark secrets or revealing anything more basic than what is needed to know in order for total acceptance and unity within the Pagan/Vampyre communities. While the two communities are often intermingled they are not synonymous and should not be used interchangeably. Living vampyres often turn to Paganism as a means of finding spiritual balance within themselves, finding the acceptance that they often do not receive from other more traditional belief structures, and hopefully, meeting others that are accepting of who they are, and maybe even coming across some like themselves. This does not mean that all who are within the Vampyre community are Pagan or that all Pagans want the Vampyre community within their circles, rites, or groups. For many this can lead to isolation, solitary practice, and frustration. What I am hoping to accomplish with both communities is to form a bridge that will lead to a greater understanding of the two so that it may become in some fashion, greater unified. This is also to let both members of the communities know that they are not alone in the darkness.
Darkness is after all, what we as vampyres personify. Our very predatory nature separates us from others that are more attuned to their lighter side. For us it is a matter of finding the balance within ourselves and within our spirituality as well. It is not only important for the socialization of our kind, but also for the viability of our kind as the balance between our light side or our dayside and our dark natures, or our nightside is a fragile one. For many people it is merely a matter of control over the more negative aspects of the self or the ego, for us it is very different. Still for many, the negative aspects do not include considering a bleeding finger or a piece of raw meat as a healthy part of life. This is what separates vampyres from someone merely suffering from a spiritual imbalance.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind of many that hear the term vampyre is a thin, bone white corpse, trailing its’ shroud through a darkened cemetery under the light of a full moon. Despite this lovely metaphor, it is far from the reality. Nor all we all lost in a reality based on a roll of the dice and scripted plots. No one who calls themselves vampyre has ever died in this lifetime to be reborn into this nature. This is something that we are born with, which is why many of us prefer the term living vampyre versus the stereotypical Hollywood variety. There is no specific look to the vampyre; we come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, beliefs, and careers. We are your neighbors, your pastors, your priestesses, your police officers, your teachers, your gardeners, and your doctors. Likewise, no one can be turned, embraced or any of the other terms used for the transmutation of the mundane into the vampyric state nor would anyone knowledgeable about vampyrism choose to do so.
Many illnesses have been mistaken or even blamed for vampyrism, both by the mundane and the vampyre community, either as a means of explaining something that can not be explained or through the willful creation of such information as to protect the community. People fear what they do not understand, and it is much more acceptable to believe that the nice pale lady living next door to you is suffering from a form of anemia than it is to believe that they are someone suffering from vampyrism. Vampyrism itself is a condition of sorts, not one but many, and can have many causes and manifestations. There are as many different types of vampyre as there are types of people. You may be surprised to know that many members of the vampyre community are not predatory in the least and want nothing more than a good thunderstorm to get what they need. Nonetheless, the generally accepted definition of the vampyre is someone who must partake of life force via blood or other form of energy for the maintenance of life. The most commonly recognized form of vampyrism is Sanguine vampyrism, the blood drinking vampyre.
The strongest concentration of prana is found in the blood and it is the blood that certain types of vampyres must have in order to maintain a healthy life. What exactly causes this is questionable, as there is little research done among mundane scientist to determine what it is specifically that makes us the way we are. However we have some commonly displayed symptoms among research groups within the community that relate to this as a condition. Vampyres that are willing to discuss their condition with members of the community often report symptoms beginning with severe headaches, dry throat, insatiable thirst, bleeding gums, difficulty breathing, exhaustion, lethargy, UV and temperature sensitivity, severe abdominal pain, hot and cold flashes, fever, tremors, seizure or mild convulsions, black outs, bloody nose, tachycardia, anemia, light sensitivity, pain in the eyes and skin, nausea and vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth intensifying the desire for blood. The severity and how we handle this is different for each of us and is commonly referred to in some communities as beasting. There are many medical illnesses that have some of the symptoms, but few illnesses contain all of the symptoms at the same time. Many of us undergo all of the above over a period of days, with a few not exhibiting the totality but propionate symptoms. Illnesses such as porphyria and Renfield’s syndrome, as well as megaloblastic anemia have been blamed for this condition; however anemia is just a symptom of the whole not a cause of the problem.
Both porphyria and megaloblastic anemia are caused by the body’s inability to break down and utilize vitamin B!2 and/or folic acid resulting in several groupings of the illnesses. Since sanguine vampyres are often tested for blood-born pathogens and often go through extensive blood work to rule out anemia, and the rarity of cases of either illness among the sanguine community we can safely rule out either of these as being causes of the condition. One of the self treatments of beasting is the administration of B12, as well as folic acid naturally occurring in fresh uncooked vegetables and fruits. Many Sanguine vampyres are even vegetarian and manage to live successfully and episode free.
The next obvious cause would be psychological. This is often the next step for an awakening vampyre to come to terms with what is going on with their bodies and also a determining factor for the realization that the person living with this condition is neither physically nor mentally imbalanced. Clinical vampyrism may be treated but the living vampyre will continue experiencing pranic lags throughout their lives. Clinical vampyrism stops when it is medicated and is defined as the pathological conditions in which a person develops a compulsion to drink blood and is not followed by the physical abnormalities experienced by living vampyres. The term “clinical vampirism” often refers to murders or other violent situations where a person’s primary goal is to acquire blood and may include such activities as auto-vampirism (drinking one’s own blood), killing animals or people for this purpose, the eating of corpses or other violation of the dead, and cannibalism. None of these are aspects of normal vampyre behavior or community. One of the most popularly referred to clinical psychosis is Renfield’s syndrome in which a person believes he must have blood in order to live. This is accompanied by a deep compulsion, asymptomatic of physical causes, but laden with sexual dysfunction, violent or abusive childhoods, and might also be plagued by such psychosis as schizophrenia, paranoia, violent or aggressive behavior, and sociopathic behavior. The difference between the mental illness of clinical vampyrism and the reality of vampyrism is the part of the psyche that lives within truth. We all know on some level who and what we are. We know innately that we are female, that we are male, that we are brown, or pale, or blonde, gay or straight, or mundane or vampyre. It is merely the acceptance of that inner truth of knowing ourselves rather than learned behavior and accepted deviant gratification that separates those of us who know that there is nothing supernatural or evil about ourselves. Mental illness stems from a loss of reality, an imbalance whether spiritual or biochemical, and is not something that we are born knowing. It is something that we acquire throughout our lives. Vampyrism is something that we are born with.
This is not to dismiss psychological issues caused by vampyrism in other areas of life. Many of us at some point go through various total periods or awakenings, where our darker side comes close to the surface and pushes us beyond a state of complacency. In short, we are faced with our own natures which can cause a spiritual crisis if we are not careful. During these times we may experience depression, a sense of being totally alone, isolation, solitary study and practice, aggression, animosity, bouts of intense spiritual study or a complete lack thereof with the entire experience akin to a Dark Night of the Soul. This may be affected by the natural onslaught of biochemical responses to the changes in life, dietary changes, an emotional or spiritual imbalance, or crisis that causes us to reexamine our lives or the causes behind our condition. In this case the sooner a balance is achieved the more stable the person becomes. General treatments of Sanguine vampirism are meditation, yoga or other physical exercise that help release aggression, vitamins B and B12 (which is necessary for the healthy production and viability of red blood cells), abstinence from drugs, caffeine, and alcohol, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and mental and spiritual hygiene. Living a stress free life is not possible in the day to day life of modern society, however being as peaceful by avoiding as much stress as possible, accepting what we can change and working around what we can not is of vast importance to members of the vampyre community.
The other faction of vampyre is the energy vampyre, the psychic vampyre, or the pranic vampyre that feeds instead on life force without the interaction of plasma influences. Symptoms include many of the above primarily headaches with or without nausea and vomiting, weakness, lethargy, sleep disorders (sleeping too much or insomnia), and a general weakness of aura. Some theories state that this type of vampyrism comes from holes in the auric field, while others show an accelerated metabolism that may cause dysfunction on a cellular level, causing the amount of life force to be diminished. This results in the desire to take in amounts of prana from others, since we certainly can not take it in ourselves if we are lacking it. However, this form of vampyre is not limited to the taking of life force but may also take in other forms of energy as well as from a good thunderstorm, electrical appliances, the elements, and emotions. For this type, having a healthy knowledge of positive energy work and balanced living is a must. I’m sure someone out there is thinking ok this is all fine and good but what causes it. There are as many different stories of origins as there are stars in the sky. The stories of Lilith and Cain are two of the more popular ones at the moment, although there are also associations within many different cultural Fae and Deities as well. Many believe that we are the offspring of various Deities, others believe that we are cursed, the incarnation of once living witches, sorcerers, or heretics, variable speciation, I’ve even read pages of theorem aligning us with UFO’s and genetic experimentation. Whether any of these or all of these are true or not is irrelevant. The important thing is to separate the truth from the myth. We do not explode, obviously, from being in the sun. Many of us actively enjoy both the sun’s warmth and energy, even though we may not be sunbathers. Too much time in the darkness is as unhealthy for us as too much time within the light. There must be a balance and this is as true for people living with this as with any other human being. Garlic isn’t a problem and neither is holy water, crucifixes or any religious icon for that matter. Theology has been intermingled with the condition of vampyrism because of an explanation, a means of control, or a path to overcome our natures. It is not an innate part of vampyrism itself. We are human just like anyone else and nothing of the supernatural.
We do however know, that at best a large amount of admitted vampyres do suffer from some type of physical abnormality, whether it be severe food or vitamin D allergies, abnormal physiologies, or unexplained red blood cell dysfunction which leads me to believe that other than a supernatural cause there is a perfectly logical explanation. We know that for the most part, vampyrism seems to be carried in the female genes. It also seems to not be a genetic condition in itself but a combination of the spiritual and physical, for instance a female vampyre may have several children with no issue of vampyrism until several generations later. It seems to be at best a recessive trait. In my studies, I have come across several types of reasoning for this. Either we are the result of genetic programming that has maintained records of our more predatory and bestial ancestors (even though they may be repressed or recessive in nature), or we have chosen when we would incarnate as vampyres and when we would not, either through transmigration, or through spiritual blue printing. As a result, we tend to be attracted to deities that represent the Darkness in all of us, the more chaotic natures and magicks, and through these we are able to reconcile our spiritual attractions with our physical natures.
Throughout the ages we have been an ever present part of the Pagan community, living with them sometimes as living representations of gods, practicing along side them in circle, and dying along side them during the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. Even today, like the witch, we are persecuted and sometimes killed for virtue of being an anomaly among the mundane. Thanks to negative media and superstitious profiling, and of course, a few miscreants here and there, we have acquired a rather nasty reputation as a community irregardless of our individual natures. There is good and evil in every person, it is up to us as individuals to use our free will to make informed, logical, intelligent, and ethical choices.
Innately, we are not evil beings. We are only what we would have normally been within the realms of the mundane. In short, an evil or aggravating person will be that way regardless of his or her condition. Personality is not key to this condition unless we manifest our conditions into our personalities. As being a part of society, we are also subject to the laws and responsibilities of society. It is simply unacceptable to behave in a bestial manner or to flaunt our bestial sides for shock value. Nor is it acceptable to behave in a manner that places the rest of the community at risk. The 13 rules of community, or the Black Veil, are suggestions of common sense that are for the safety and tranquility of the vampyre/mundane communities. Any vampyre that behaves as a miscreant is ostracized from the community and in some cases reported to the proper authorities especially in cases where there has been a violent crime committed. As both the takers and the givers of life, we are acutely aware of the sanctity of life and the part we play within it as its protector. In closing, I would like to say thank you for coming and listening with an open mind and an open heart. Even though there is little here that I have not presented elsewhere at different times, it is imperative that we recognize that the two communities are always coming in contact with each other, and even though there may be variations we all have one goal. That goal is for inner peace, outer peace, the reconciliation with the Divine that created us all, and for a healthy and tolerant atmosphere in which we can raise our families, our communities, and openly practice our beliefs in truth and harmony with each other. I hope that each of you, whether experienced, newly awakened, or just curious take something of that peace and hope with you.