By Aislin Ni MorRhiaghan © 2005
The darkness before dawn, the hour when the first soft rays of light pierces the darkness. These are beautiful views of twilight and images that first come to mind when we hear the word. In the vampyric condition, twilight is the point in which we come to complete acceptance of our inner darkness and achieve a state of perfect balance between our dayside lives and our nightside lives. It is the embrace of both darkness and light, the duality of which we represent. It is the goal of every vampyre.... In truth, it is the very necessity... to be able to walk in both Light and Darkness in equal comfort and inner peace.
When we first feel the stirrings of our Awakening, we experience a period of utter darkness. It can be frightening, even terrifying, to someone trying to cope with their newly revealed nature. The physical discomfort leads us to feel that our bodies have forged a pact with our minds and all in all our very beings have betrayed us to illness and insanity. As we begin to understand what’s going on and the reasoning behind it, we enter a dark shadow state, whereas a wee bit of light has been shed on who we truly are. As realization takes control and urges us to make sense of something that is illogical, we then steadily begin working towards understanding and acceptance.
The beginning of this is the removal of the darkness, the stereotyping around the word vampyre. The very word brings to mind a sinister figure stalking young virgins, a loathsome, shadowy figure. Darkness itself carries a heavy connotation as a means of separating morality. To associate oneself with the darkness is not to embrace evil, or immorality, or corruption, but instead it is to accept the dual nature that exists in all of us and is most prevalent within the vampyre community. Darkness is the very essence of spiritual neutrality as it carries both the positive and negative about us. Slowly, by revelation, we move closer to the light and to the other end of the spectrum. A true shadow is a compendium of both the blackest darkness and the brightest light and so we as vampyres are the living personification of this. Part of acquiring the twilight condition is the removal of personal obstacles, including our feelings about vampyrism. Through research and education, we gradually begin to accept that the myths around us are just that. This can take years to accomplish, but it is well worth it in order to not only live in truth with us, but also with everyone else, and to achieve a greater level of understanding and acceptance. As we remove the stereotyping and the negativity around it, we begin to create our own feelings and comfort zones around our natures.
As both Witch and Vampyre, I have found that just as my studies and earning the title of Witch did not come over night, neither will becoming a responsible, self accepting member of the vampyre community. In the beginning, all was dark and frightening. Struggling with burgeoning abilities and talents as a young witch sometimes overlapped with my burgeoning innate knowledge as vampyre as well. Too many times, I found myself trying to over compensate for my inner darkness by over compensating with too much lightness. This resulted in mistrust and a suspicion that I was hiding something among my classmates, family members and later, my coven mates. Just as throwing myself headlong into the light made my nature all the more obvious, so did throwing myself into the darkness. As a young teen struggling with my identity and self-acceptance, I found that by dressing the part, even subconsciously, only served to draw more attention to my nature, which led to ridicule, harsh pranks, and isolation by my peers. I also found that I was drawn hopelessly into the vampyre fiction and began doing my own research and forming my own conclusions about who and what I was. During these formative years, I was also going through tutelage as a young witch and studying many types of spirituality and philosophies. These allowed my spirit to grow and expand and my mind to remain open to the possibilities that I was not insane and not dying of some rare disease. It also allowed for vital self-acceptance and love to grow, leading to acknowledgement and control.
It may sound at first sight, as if it wasn’t difficult to achieve, but it was hard work and growing up in a very conservative household, it was a constant struggle to come to terms with my dark side while also moving within the lighter circles of my own home. Thus I was forced to learn beast control early in life. For me, this meant daily meditation; afternoons spent communing with nature or writing poetry (my greatest release) usually in the cemetery down the road from my home, or engaged in quiet prayer. I found that discipline was of vast importance and enrolled in Karate, ballet, track, and yoga classes. I also found that by developing a healthy diet and avoiding triggers of the dark lust within us, (gory movies, raw meat, cuts, and music that invoked anger or hostile situations in general) allowed me to gain more personal control over my private self. At this point, near the end of my teen years, I was coming to terms with my vampyric nature, having long sense accepted my ‘witchyness’. It was at this time that I was to learn the true nature of balance.
As my beloved mentor and tutor passed away, I was left alone to learn the Craft of the Wise alone and a nearly three years later, met someone else who proved to be an experienced and vampyric tutor. As so many young ones do, I was eager to not only be accepted, but to also be back in the process of learning, having taken a break to mourn the passing of my grandmother and mentor. I learned perhaps my most valuable and difficult lesson in the years to come. When we choose someone to mentor us and to guide us spiritually, magickally, as well as into our full awakening as a sireling, we must consider many things, honor being of first and foremost importance. As a young one, personal honor was important to me and remains important even today, but at the time I was also struggling with the concept of good and evil as it relates to us and considered the concept of honor among thieves in relation to vampyric nature. In my young world, one could remove a tiger from the jungle and it will be beautiful, graceful, strong and cunning, but should you try to pet the tiger it will be all of these things with your arm in its mouth. My next mentor was such a tiger and introduced me to the darker aspects of vampyrism and also to the darker aspects of magick. The next three years, from 16 to one month shy of 19, I was in forced isolation, every teaching was one of self indulgence and apathy, and caught in situations of violence and constant confrontation. It was then that I learned that true darkness is a state of complete apathy and as I am and always have been extremely empathetic towards other living things, I could not be total darkness by virtue of my nature. My struggle with the acceptance of my inner darkness was over. I then moved into the next phase of understanding.
As we begin to understand and accept ourselves, we move into the shadow stage, the stage where our darkness is lightened somewhat by personal understanding and acceptance. We begin to grow as a spiritual being and we begin to expand our minds and psyche to accept that we have a purpose as everything else does and that our nature does not define who we are, we alone can do that. By this time, we have learned effective beast control (control over our lower bestial selves and vampyric natures) and have embarked on a spiritual and personal path of philosophy, beliefs, or ideology. We have adopted a healthy life (avoiding life choices that hinder our health and spirit and range from diet to personal decisions) and make our choices based on personal responsibility rather than raw animal instinct. We have learned to accept that we are dual, as all things are, but on a more extreme level. Control is second nature by this time and it seems that we are constantly being tested and gradually awakened. As we gain more control and greater spirituality, we also gain more light and open ourselves up to the reality of being boundless beings.
Moving slowly into the dove stage (a stage in which we are becoming both peace minded and at peace with ourselves and our inner beast, a gentle gray stage of shadow), we begin to seek inner peace and outer peace as well. Through the years, a vampyre seeking twilight has maintained a dayside life, in which he or she may have had to hide a part of their life from those they love, from their friends, coworkers, and even may have had jobs that required this aspect of their lives to be hidden away from common viewing. This is the dayside life where we move through it without considering our natures, without consciously thinking about it, without sharing it with others. We move through it effortlessly, as if we were gliding through warm waters. Our more nocturnal predatory natures have precedence over our other areas of life, the part in which we can be freely and openly ourselves. As we move into the twilight condition, we move closer to a time when the separation is removed and we are not vampyre by night and respectable member of vanilla society during the day, but one overlaps the other so smoothly that there is no demarcation.
The study of the science of magick and witchery is one that takes not only total discipline and consciousness but also commitment. It is a path that many members of my family have walked and I am honored to have walked it as well. The teachings of total responsibility and Divinity within all beings are relevant to the understanding of our vampyric selves. Even though not all vampyres are Witches, many of us are spiritual people and can in some way relate our spirituality to our natures in ways that are at once individualistic (we make them our own way of life in accordance to who we are and where we are in our development) and unitarian (as we acknowledge our part of a greater whole). We find that we are more easily accepting of time spent alone because as a part of a greater whole, we recognize that we are not alone. We are merely spending quality time with ourselves. As we move from our younger years into the realm of becoming an adult, we take on personal responsibilities as students, workers, homeowners, and parents. These things force us to take our natures by the horns and look it in the face. Beautiful as well as frightening, we are sometimes disturbed by what we see but nonetheless unable to stop looking, like a beautiful draconian cobra mesmerized by its own reflection. We move into a state of not only honesty but Truth as well, and as our Spirit grows and our minds open, the Universe whispers to us that we are not cursed vagabonds roaming the cemeteries at night, but children of the Ancients and thus valuable and honorable as well. Learning to move through the world with our nightside always right under our skin is no mere trick, it is something that takes tenacity and personal strength, but it also takes setting boundaries that allow us time to let our darkness roam free and a time to keep it sheltered, allowing it rest during the day hours.
For those of us that have walked in both darkness and light, we are very aware of the shift in energies between the day hours and night hours. Our nocturnal selves are wide awake in the later hours of the evening, and during the day we are able to make our daily rounds to our classes, to our jobs, and carry out our day to day responsibilities. Many of us take on evening jobs and classes to accommodate this shift in energies, and for them the job of blending in is perhaps the most difficult. Whereas during the day, our nightside selves are not as awake and more easily controlled, at night we are at full force and it takes more effort. The challenge is to learn to remove the seam between one world and the other. When we have achieved inner peace and control this is much easier to achieve. The point is not to subdue our natures, but to live in harmony with it. We do this by understanding that our natures do not rule our lives, they are merely a part of them and by prioritizing our lives. Our family must not overtake our personal time. Neither should work, study, or our nightside natures be allowed to overtake our every day lives. Even our magickal or spiritual lives must be put in order so that we can go about our lives in harmony with everyone else around us. While we are at work, we’re not moving through the day in a state of blood frenzy but instead concentrating on our work, our studies, or our spiritual space. We are in a state of knowing that our natures may be defined but may not define us, it is not the sum of our many parts.
Whereas prior to twilight, we walked among people that sensed our inner beast, we now walk in a state of acceptance by ourselves and everyone around us. At the time of twilight we are in acknowledgement, acceptance, and total control of whom and what we are, and at the same time we are also in balance with our lighter aspect of duality. We are able to move effortlessly from one arena to another and internally, on a much more spiritual level, we have reached a time of perfect balance and inner peace and wisdom whereas the emotional turmoil of our Awakening years have melted away into a period of temperance, honor, Truth, pride, responsibility, and wisdom. We may be perceived as charming, charismatic, or sensual, but not in a disturbing manner. The way we carry ourselves and the way in which we respond to others speaks of our ability to live in both our normal day to day lives and to embrace the totality of the vampyric nature. We no longer have to hide who or what we are, because we have accepted ourselves and reached that level of awareness that we quit segregating our natures into compartments and just dump it into the light and opt to love and accept all the different aspects of ourselves into one lump of Being.
This is the condition we all strive for and it is a balance well worth the study and self-exploration it will take to achieve it. One of the most important things to remember about approaching and achieving twilight is humility. We must remember as we ascend not only within our communities, but also in every aspect of our lives, that even the most knowledgeable teacher is always a student. There is always something that we can learn, and as the dawn rapidly approaches, we find that embracing the light is not so bad after all.