Sylvere ap Leanan - Real-Vampires Community Alliance

Section 1 : Beliefs and Definitions

Define vampire and vampirism.
A person who experiences a deficiency in energy that cannot be attributed to any known medical cause such as leukemia, lupus, hypoglycemia, porphyria, or Epstein-Barr virus, nor is the result of engaging in magic(k)al practices to an excessive degree, and which cannot be alleviated by typical methods including eating a balanced diet, resting, and routine social contact with friends. This deficiency can only be corrected by ingesting blood (typically human) or other bodily fluids or absorbed through various meditative, spiritual, or "psychic" practices. If left untreated, the deficiency leads to various physical effects on the person's body, including but not limited to: migraine, extreme photosensitivity, severe mood swings, lethargy, nausea, or a chronic feeling of hunger or thirst that cannot be satisfied by food and drink.

Vampirism-The condition that causes the need for and/or the act of drawing out and ingesting (human) bodily fluids for the purposes of gaining the living energy they contain or absorbing that same energy through psychic and/or spiritual means in order to maintain one's health at optimum levels. While one may engage in vampiric practices, if the consistent need to do so to ensure good health is not there, then the person is not a real vampire. The difference is subtle and is often overlooked or misunderstood by those who are not truly vampires.

Would you define vampires as human or non-human?
Both. Our bodies are physically human. There is really no question of this. There is absolutely no credible evidence to suggest that we harbor an unknown virus, carry a genetic mutation, suffer from an enzyme deficiency, are missing or have a flaw in certain mitochondria, or are the descendents of an ancient subspecies of proto-humans that crossbred with modern humans or an alien race that crossbred with prehistoric humans. We are normal and generally healthy homo sapiens, end of story.

However, based on my personal spiritual philosophies, I believe that the soul of a vampire is no longer "human." Either vampires were not human in the first place and have incarnated into a human body in order to learn some spiritual lesson or the soul has reached a stage of spiritual evolution that is a step closer to reconnection with the Universal Soul than an average human. Because of this spiritual "otherness," our human bodies are unable to adequately meet our needs. In some cases, vampires simply use more psychic energy on a routine basis. Others may lose energy similar to the way a faulty seal will allow air to seep out of a tire.

Do you believe that there's more than one kind vampire? If so, what do you think those kinds are and what defines them?
All vampires require living energy. The only difference is the means by which they acquire it. While some prefer or require blood as a focal point, others are more adept at or have a preference for drawing the energy from other sources. These may include but are not limited to: the ambient energy of a large crowd, natural sources such as electrical storms or running water, the intense emotional states of others nearby, sexual energy, or the energy of artists in the process of performing or creating.

Section 2 : Traits

Do you believe vampires are born, made, or some of each?
All vampires are born as vampires. The state of the soul is what causes vampirism and that state is achieved prior to incarnation into a human body. If the human body were more compatible with the higher state of the soul inhabiting it, the vampiric condition would probably not exist.

Do you believe non-vampires can be turned into vampires?
Not in this lifetime. However, it is possible for anyone to achieve a state of spiritual evolution that would create a vampiric condition if they inhabit a human body in the next incarnation. To become a vampire in a single lifetime would require an experience or series of experiences so intense and profound that most humans would not be able to cope with the resultant trauma to the psyche. I suppose that those who managed to do so without going insane might then manifest vampirism but I find this highly unlikely

If you think non-vampires can be turned into vampires how might that be accomplished?
No human who is not Other Souled at the time of birth can be made into a vampire. However, it is certainly possible for that soul to be "sleeping" and may, therefore, be Awakened. Most of the time, the Awakening process takes place over many months or even years. However, it is possible for a single emotionally or spiritually intense event to act as a catalyst to set that process in motion. This "Catalytic Event" (CE) may appear to be the cause of the changes to those who are not particularly self-aware. However, in a real vampire, this appearance will prove inaccurate as the individual explores his/her nature.

Do you think there are certain traits that all vampires share. What are they? If a self-proclaimed vampire doesn't exhibit these traits how would you classify them?
There is no specific set of symptoms, per se. The defining factor is the persistent energy deficiency. If this is not present but the person greatly enjoys the sight, taste, and smell of blood and is erotically aroused by it, then I would classify them as a blood fetishist. If there is no energy deficiency and no arousal, then the person is either suffering from delusions and in need of help from a mental health professional, is simply a poser in search of attention, or is attempting to manipulate the na´ve and gullible for personal gain. It is also possible to exhibit a combination of these less-than-favorable characteristics.

I would say that the only trait shared by all vampires is an energy deficiency that can neither be explained nor remedied by Western medicine. Many vampires tend to exhibit similar tendencies toward photosensitivity, a nocturnal circadian rhythm, an ageless appearance, and an unusually compelling and charismatic presence. Some display greater psychic sensitivity or stronger psychic ability than average. However, there is no set of defining features beyond the inability to produce enough energy to meet the needs of the body through the usual methods of balanced diet, rest, and recreation.

Section 3 : Sang~Psi~Self-Perception

How do you know you're a vampire, or if you're not, what would make you think someone else was one.
Over the years, I've been tested for numerous ailments from diabetes to hypothyroid, anemia to HIV. Other than a tendency toward low blood pressure and borderline hypoglycemia, I'm as healthy as the proverbial horse. I have been to counseling with a licensed mental health professional. While I do have Seasonal Affective Disorder and trichotillomania, neither of these conditions accounts for the often debilitating physical symptoms I experience when I have not fed. These include but are not limited to: migraine including severe auditory sensitivity, acute chronic fatigue, extreme photosensitivity, intolerance of temperature extremes, and nausea. Upon absorbing psychic energy from another person, these symptoms disappear. They recur in a cyclical manner, usually once every 4 to 6 weeks, and worsen progressively the longer the interval between feeding sessions. For others attempting to determine whether or not they are vampires, I would recommend a similar program of medical testing, psychological evaluation, and extended period of self-observation prior to drawing any conclusions.

If your definitions include "energy," define "energy." If not, what do you believe the vampire draws sustenance from?
This energy is the living energy of the Cosmos. It has been described over the centuries in various Eastern and indigenous philosophies as ki, chi, prana, "spirit" or "breath." It is not the sort of energy studied by physicists; rather it is the essence of the Universal Soul that is resident in all things

Have you ever consumed blood? If so, how does doing so effect you?
Yes, I have. While it is pleasant to taste, the energy contained in it is not the form of energy I require. Therefore, it had no effect other than being a tasty treat

Do you believe in "psychic/psionic" abilities? If so, do you think vampires have enhanced abilities in this area?
While I do believe that abilities currently termed "psychic" or "psionic" exist, I don't believe they are intrinsic or exclusive to vampires. All humans are capable of such abilities to a greater or lesser degree, barring any abnormality of the brain. As for the source, the capabilities of the human brain and human mind have yet to be fully explored and mapped. While I am not a neurologist and cannot explain the exact processes involved, I anticipate that science will eventually "discover" we have abilities that have been thought of as psychic or magical for centuries and are actually perfectly normal for our species.

Do you believe that all vampires need to consume blood or that some can feed by tapping energy directly(psionically)?
Certainly not. The spiritual resonance of the energy found in blood cannot sufficiently meet the needs of all vampires. Some of us require a higher "frequency" or energy in a more pure state to attain any benefit from it. Others simply choose to get the energy they need from other sources due to the potentially serious health risks associated with drinking blood.

All vampires need to consume energy in order to enjoy optimum health. While a vampire will not die from lack of feeding, s/he will experience detrimental effects on health, extreme discomfort, and be an exceptionally unpleasant person with whom to associate

Section 4 : Spiritual and Social

Do you follow a particular spiritual path and if so what is it?
I do not follow any particular religious path and am adamantly opposed to all organized religions as fundamentally flawed and valuable only for purposes of brain-washing and manipulating large groups of people by a handful of elite. My spiritual philosophies bear strong similarities to the Smarti branch of Hinduism although I do not consider myself a Hindu. I incorporate elements of Egyptian, Judeo-Christian, Celtic, Native American, and Kabalistic spirituality combined with personal revelation into my belief structure. At best, my beliefs are described as "eclectic Paganism" for lack of more appropriate alternatives.

Does your spiritualiy or religion have any relationship to vampirism? Do you believe that vampirism has a religious context or is a religion?
Only insofar as my beliefs about the evolution of the soul and it's effect on the human body serve to explain the "why" of vampirism. Vampirism is not a religion in and of itself and being a vampire does not confer any special brand of enlightenment. Vampires are not gods to be worshiped. Blood magic and the spiritual paths that employ it are perfectly valid practices but should not be confused with true vampirism.

Do you believe in physical immortality, and if so can vampires be immortal? What about spiritual immortality?
The idea of physical immortality at this stage in our technological development is absurd. We are human; we age and die in normal human fashion. Perhaps at some point our society will be technologically advanced enough to live indefinitely but it will not be in our lifetimes. I may look younger than I am, but I will still die at some point.

My views are difficult to convey in English so please bear with me. The Universal Soul, of which we are all part, transcends the concepts of mortal and immortal. It encompasses the totality of the universe and is beyond existence and non-existence. Our individual souls are small parts of the Universal Soul. As such, our souls also transcend the concepts of mortal and immortal. We may incarnate into different bodies in different periods at any point along several possible reality streams depending on what lessons we need to learn to achieve the next phase of our spiritual evolution. When we reach a certain point, we return to the god-head to share our experiences with the Divine Whole.

To use an extremely simplistic analogy, drops of water (our individual souls) evaporate from the ocean (the Universal Soul). When it rains, these drops fall to Earth, forming tiny rivulets and streams that eventually merge to form larger

brooks and small rivers. These converge to form large rivers that eventually flow back to the ocean. As the water travels, it picks up bits of soil, minerals, vegetation, etc. and carries these back to join the other substances brought by other drops of water from other places as they collect in the larger whole.

What do you think would be the ideal relationships between vampires and society? What do you see the real relationship between vampires and society as being?
Vampires are physically human. However, for the purposes of the question, I will refer to those who are not Other Souled and/or who do not know of or understand the existence of vampires as "human" while "vampire" shall refer to those of us who experience the energy deficiency I have described elsewhere in this questionnaire.

Ideally, humans and vampires would peacefully coexist. Humans would not fear vampires, view us as "sick" or delusional, or feel the need to "save" us via religious dogma. Human society would afford us the same reasonable accommodations in the workplace and other public areas as someone with a disability; for example, flexible scheduling and 24-hour businesses, including government or utility offices, to accommodate nocturnal circadian rhythms. Vampires would also not need to fear losing spouses, children, jobs, homes, or freedom as a result of being discovered by humans. Our energy needs and methods of meeting them would be viewed as no more threatening than the special dietary needs of vegetarians or people with diabetes.

In Reality-Sadly, the norm is for vampires to be feared, ridiculed, forcibly institutionalized, and pressured to conform to societal expectations. Fearing to "come out" to friends and family, vampires often experience a sense of alienation, disenfranchisement, and disconnection from peers which can lead to depression and an "us vs. them" attitude. Since we are hard-pressed to find willing, healthy, and trustworthy donors, vampires must often starve or go for long periods between feeding sessions, thus exacerbating the already detrimental effects to health that comes with the energy deficiency.

Do you think there should be an overall community or organisation for all vampires? If so how should it be structured? If not, why not?
I think need is too strong a word. I do think a unified organization of vampires would be beneficial to those who desire a sense of kinship or who have no other support system. Ideally, such a society would be organized and managed as a social club with local chapters and a board of executive directors to handle financial, legal, and other business matters as well as to perform routine evaluations of individual chapters. Members would dedicate themselves to charitable service in local communities as well as individual philosophical and spiritual growth. Chapter facilitators and veteran members would act as mentors to newcomers, introducing them to the policies, procedures, and ethical guidelines of the club as well as assist them in locating resources, whether the resource is a healthy donor or esoteric treatises for study and contemplation. Facilitators would also organize social events and make members aware of opportunities to perform community service. Examples of these might range from gathering in a local coffee house for relaxing conversation to attending a theatrical performance, from donating money to a fund to aid the Red Cross to volunteering to build a house with Habitat for Humanity.

Membership requirements would have to be relatively simple since there is no litmus test for determining how "real" a vampire might be. Commonalities in philosophy combined with adherence to certain ethical standards seem appropriate. This might be measured or verified by utilizing a variety of methods such as membership applications, opinion polls, or sponsorships between established members and potential applicants. Additionally, the organization should be open to donors and other supportive individuals rather than excluding those who are not specifically vampires. The possibility of a small, annual membership fee is not out of the question in order to cover any administrative costs. However, efforts to keep such expenses to a minimum should be considered a priority.

With all that being said, I must apply the following caveat: There exists an unfortunate trend in our community to attempt to establish various nations, houses, covens, etc. that incorporate a hierarchal structure with a select few "elders", "priests", or other figureheads backed by artificial designations of authority at the top of the food chain. A few unscrupulous and/or mentally unstable yet highly visible individuals have poisoned the well, so to speak, by manipulating the na´ve for personal gain and ego gratification while taking great pains to silence or discredit their critics.

The problem lies in the schism between the natural human desire for social structure and the extremely individualistic nature of a majority of vampires. The thought seems to be that, in order to avoid being oppressed, one must become the oppressor. There exist also those people who are not consciously aware of this attitude in themselves and who would deny its very existence, declaring that they are working for the good of the community and have its best interests at heart. Yet, simultaneously, they refuse to permit critique or even in-depth discussion of topics related to the quality of their performance in their self-appointed roles (or, in some cases, positions of dubious authority handed to them by friends without a basis in competence).

This has led to dissatisfaction with, suspicion of, and outright hostility toward anyone who claims a leadership role, thereby ensuring that those who have the experience and wisdom necessary to perform well in such positions avoid them like the plague. As a consequence, we have come to be entangled in a Catch-22 situation. Until such time as these issues are recognized, addressed, and attempts made to remedy the situation, it is my opinion that no organization of, by, and for vampires can enjoy any sort of tangible success. Furthermore, no such organization should be permitted to exist until and unless it has addressed these issues and put in place appropriate checks and balances.