Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series. Vampire: the Masquerade. History channel documentaries about “real vampires.” It seems literary vampires are more popular than ever, and there are more real vampires walking among us than most “normals” ever realized. They are coming out of the woodwork in greater numbers with every passing year – becoming more vocal on the internet, making TV appearances in documentaries, forming houses, holding conventions, and steadily increasing visibility as a community. The vampire subculture is experiencing a revitalization similar to that which Wiccans and the gay community have experienced in past decades. But who and what exactly are the vampires who walk among us?
Modern day vampires are a form of Otherkin. “Otherkin” is a blanket term for a variety of people including many who feel they have a non-human spirit in a human body. Otherkin include vampires and other vampiric beings; therians, which are were-beings like werewolves and were-leopards; faery-kin; angel-kin; dragon-kin; and many other varieties. Vampires are not to be confused with Goths. “Goth” is an artistic movement encompassing a “dark” aesthetic. Some, but not all, vampires are Goths. Some, but not all, Goths are vampires.
The vampire subculture encompasses many varieties of vampiric beings. The major delineations are: sanguine vampires, who consume life energy by consuming small amounts of blood; psy vampires, who primarily draw on psychic, emotional, or magickal energy; sexual vampires, which include incubi, succubi, and leannan sidhe (an Irish faery version of a vampire, succubus, and muse all in one); and of course, the donors, who are sometimes vampiric themselves, but often suffer from the opposite condition, having an overload of energy that they are constantly trying to siphon off.
Vampires are not simply playing a Live Role Playing Game (LARP or RPG) such as Vampire: the Masquerade; nor are they merely people who like to dress up in costume. Such individuals are called “vampire lifestylers.” Lifestylers do not have a physical need for blood or energy to maintain health and well-being, they just enjoy the vampire mystique. There is also a basic difference between vampires, who need energy from an outside source, particularly human, and those who are vampiric, who can take energy from other sources but don’t necessarily need it to survive and stay healthy.
Vampires may suffer from an energy deficiency for several reasons: they may be unable to access the natural, ambient, or universal energy that others have access to without thinking; they may be unable to “digest” or utilize that energy fully, like being unable to make the most of a particular vitamin; or they may naturally expend energy at a faster rate than they can take it in. This tends to be the case particularly with powerful magick users, who find themselves drained and needing to recharge after a big, sudden, or unexpected expenditure of magickal energy.
People who self-identify as vampires do so because they are conscious of what they are, and the vast majority of these choose to live by a set of rules and ethical standards designed to ensure their well-being and that of those around them. One of the best known codified versions of such a set of rules is The Black Veil. Others are in the process of “awakening” or discovering what they are, which usually means taking some time to realize and acknowledge their vampiric tendencies so they can control them properly.
Most vampires are capable of harmless “ambient” feeding, drawing on the excess energy that floats around the room in large crowds of people, who naturally emanate such energy. Others “surface feed,” drawing lightly from several different individuals in a social setting (though many vampires frown on this being done without the individuals’ consent). The most intimate form of feeding is one-on-one feeding from a donor, and this must always be a consensual relationship. Deliberately targeting someone to feed from them without their consent is considered worse than rape by most in the vampire community, and one reason for this is the incredible intimacy of such a psychic connection and energy exchange. Donors often experience a kind of euphoria from sharing energy during a feeding, and many vampires are adept at refining the energy they take in, circulating it through their system, and feeding some of it back to their donor through their connection. Vampires are often donors for each other, especially when each is capable of taking in and using one particular kind of energy that their partner can offer, and easily outputting another, that their partner needs.
Article by Vivienne D’Avalon