We take an overdue look at the bizarre attitude of disapproval which permeates the UK's vampire organisations.
There is a great and mysterious conspiracy of silence taking place in this country's vampire community, a conspiracy which touches anyone who approaches any of the several organisations catering for alternative vampire lifestylers. It is something which will no doubt surprise many readers who for whatever reason have never been near any of these groups, for it is a taboo which strikes to the very heart of what it surely means to be a vampire – blood.
One would imagine that to such groups – allegedly catering for the cross-media appeal of those fascinated by all things dark and vampiric – this subject would be, if you'll excuse the pun, their very life-blood. But a curiously persistent barrier faces the unwary vampire enthusiast who attempts to infiltrate any of these groups. If you are a blood fetishist, have a taste for the sticky red stuff, or believe you are really a vampire, you are most definitely not welcome in these societies. Some will even bar you on the basis of an interest – whether practical or merely theoretical – in 'the occult', whatever might be meant by that vague and misleading term. (As hysterical fundamentalists will state, 'the occult' incorporates a huge range of sins coving not just alternative religions, witchcraft and magick, but also many elements of the so-called 'New Age'.) That alleged vampire societies should be barring their doors to such elements is a scandal of monumental proportions, and needs to be highlighted for the hypocrisy it is. And what better place than in the pages of Bloodstone, which has always striven to promote the idea that virtually anything goes in this glorious would we call vampire.
Don't get me wrong: this is neither a denunciation in entirety of the role that vampire societies have to play in the cultural substrata in which we vampires are just one manifestation; nor a free-spirited advocation of the joys of mutual exsanguination. My personal views on the subject of blood-drinking are somewhat ambiguous: it is not something I imagine or believe I have an empirical need to do to survive, but I have on occasion experienced it with a close companion and have found it an enjoyable and meaningful diversion, physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually. My role here is certainly not to promote the activity in the world at large – it is a risky business and it should be left to the personal integrity of the individual as to whether they wish to experiment with such a thing or not. It is not for everyone, and to suggest that you need to indulge in it to be interested in vampires is patently ridiculous.
And yet, love it or loathe it, you cannot ignore it. Blood lies at the very heart not only of vampire existence, but also of human experience. We are born in blood, it sustains us every moment of our lives, the loss of it in accidental circumstances portends illness, attack or death, whilst for women the shedding of monthly blood can be a profoundly emotional, spiritual or even traumatic time. There are few occasions where I would quote the Bible with equanimity but here I must confess that the old adage is indeed truth – the blood really is the life of all of us.
By turning their backs on blood-drinkers, vampire societies are undoubtedly serving some useful purpose for themselves, of course. The unfortunate fact is that many unstable people are drawn to the mythology and cultural imagery of vampirism through its dark sexuality and inherent violence, and by setting such a condition on admittance the societies are protecting themselves from the attention of fringe lunatics and dangerous or destructive elements who are 'into' vampires for all the wrong reasons. Trawl through any chatroom on the internet and you will discover these unsettling individuals – those who seem to believe they are the 'real deal', need to drink blood to survive, and will often stop at little or nothing to get it. Clearly no self-respecting, serious or media-friendly organisation wants such people on its books.
However, by actively forcing out all blood-drinkers – even the well-balanced, rational, moralistic ones who use blood safely for fetishistic sex-play or magickal purposes, and take it only with strict consent from willing donors – societies are also denying themselves the vital juices of new blood which revitalise an all too easily coagulated scene. The vampire 'scene', such as it is, is only small in this country, and to weed out minorities from an already limited minority group is surely a case of political correctness gone mad.
Having witnessed both the birth and death of some UK vampire societies, I am all too aware of the dangers of creating an over-elitist group, where unorthodox thought (of which blood-fetishism must by its very rarity be an expression), individual enterprise and free spirit (as typified by the application of occult or magickal aims) are suppressed; a gang whose exclusivity sooner or later becomes its own death warrant. The birth of a new society is invigorating, exciting, a challenge. But once the challenge has been met and the conquest made, what then? The dull and petty conflicts of internal politics invariably set in and all the fire goes out of the thing – it quickly stagnates unless given fresh blood on which to feed. The vampire has surrendered to its torpor, its ultimate challenge – boredom – and it needs to be re-awoken if it is to become excited by anything once more.
The vampire is a universal archetype of unguessable antiquity. It is also a constantly evolving phenomenon, and nowhere should this be more true than within the societies which claim to represent the modern face of this phenomenon. The beauty of the vampire, the very nub of its appeal to most of those who find it so fascinating, is its very darkness. Whether or not you choose to drink blood as part of your own particular vampiric experience, you cannot deny its importance to the generic form of the vampire. The erotic sensibilities of the bite of the vampire have been explored endlessly by worthier analysts than me, and I surely don't need to go into this particular argument again here and now. But surely it doesn't take a genius to realise that if you strip the vampire of its darkness it becomes weak, ineffectual, and ultimately meaningless.
My point is simply this: by denying the relevance of blood-drinkers (in whichever form they come, be that ritualistic, sexual, magickal or those who just happen to enjoy the taste) a vampire society cannot justify calling itself a representation of vampires. Whether or not one approves of drinking blood, drawing blood, the whole sensual or power-driven interplay of donor and taker, the last place one would expect to find squeamishness about it is in a group of people who claim to be vampire enthusiasts.
It is time to make a stand on this point, to be honest with ourselves about what the vampire truly means. The seductiveness of the vampire lies inevitably in the allure of darkness, of mystery, of secrets and taboos whispered about far from the common herd of humanity. It is time to be true to what the vampire is – romantic, decadent, passionate, seductive... yet also dangerous, bloodthirsty, terrifying and sometimes violent. We must acknowledge our demons, accept our sinister side (our own personal 'occult'), and learn to celebrate openly the glorious majesty that is conjured up by an honest appraisal of the word 'vampire'.
Drink deeply, dream darkly, and live long in peace, love and light. Blessed Be.
see also on this site: His Vampiric Eminence Vampyria II Vampyria Overview Twins of Evil
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