On Vampires

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"I replace the moon, the sun, the sky and the stars,
To those who see me without a veil, bare...
And impotent angels damn themselves for me."
-- Charles Baudelaire

"But first on earth as vampires sent,
Thy course shall from this tomb be rent."
-- Lord Byron

"It takes us back to primitive times,
when we worshipped dark gods as well as light gods."
-- Anne Rice


Whenever anyone says the word 'vampire,' one usually thinks of the most famous vampire, Dracula. The real Dracula was not a vampire, though his legend as a monster from the dark regions of Transylvania (literally, "the land beyond the forests") was used as a basis for the famous book by Irishman Bram Stoker. Before we talk about real vampires, let's examine the real Dracula.

The Story of Dracula

In the year 1418, Sigismund I, King of Hungary and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, founded the Order of the Dragon as an Order of Christian knights opposing the Turks. That same year saw the death of prince Mircae cel Batrin (Michael the Old), who left behind an illegitimate son named Vlad. Vlad won out in a struggle for political power with the legitimate sons of Prince Michael. He married the Hungarian Princess Mara and became Prince Vlad. On 08 February 1431, Sigismund inducted Vlad into the Order of the Dragon and gave him the throne of Wallachia in Transylvania (southern Romania today). Vlad started minting coins bearing the image of the dragon, and others began to call him Vlad Dracul, Vlad the Dragon. The only problem was he had to take the throne by force, and in 1436 Vlad finally took the throne of Wallachia.

In 1444, surrounded by treachery from Hungarians and Saxons and facing an invasion of Turks, Vlad gave his two youngest sons, including 13 year old Vlad, to the Turks as hostages of his good will. When the Saxons killed Vlad Dracul in 1447 for helping the Turks, his sons were released and the Turks helped young Vlad (who now called himself Vlad Dracula, son of the Dragon) to briefly take the throne of Wallachia in 1448. Deposed by the Saxons, who buried his older brother alive, Dracula bided his time waiting for revenge. After the Turks took Constantinople in 1453, Dracula briefly allied himself with his enemies the Saxons to take back the throne of Wallachia on 22 August 1456. A comet appeared in the sky at that time, and was taken as an omen by many.

From 1456 to 1462, Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia, was a merciless tyrant. He impaled all of his enemies, most of his friends and even passing strangers. He decimated the countryside, impaling whole towns of men, women and children, as well as 500 local noblemen. Emissaries from other governments and representatives of the Church received the same treatment. The Turks took to calling him Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler. When the Turks forced Dracula to flee in 1462, his wife committed suicide by jumping off the castle wall into the Arges River rather than be captured by the Turks. Dracula was imprisoned for several years by the son of Sigismund, and then restored to power in Wallachia in 1476. Shortly afterward, he was killed while fighting the Turks, and his head was sent to Constantinople, where the Sultan displayed it on a stake.

Dracula was an emotionally warped man who dealt with a difficult situation with extreme measures, and although he liked to dine among his victims dying on their stakes, there was nothing to link him to the story of the vampire. Such ideas developed later as a result of local legends and printed propaganda about the blood-thirsty monster called Dracula, son of the Dragon.

Abraham (Bram) Stoker was heir to a three hundred year literary tradition of the vampire. The many vampire epidemics of central Europe that occurred in the 1600's and 1700's, and subsequent widespread debate on the subject of vampires spread the vampire legend throughout Europe and Britain. Aside from the many newspaper accounts, early vampire literature tended to be dissertations in languages such as Latin, French, German and Italian, especially by members of the Church. In the hundred years leading up to Stoker's book, an increasing number of English language poems, plays, and short stories about vampires appeared, including works by authors such as Goethe, Samuel Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Keats, Alexei Tolstoy, Alexandre Dumas, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling. John Polidori's story, "The Vampyre" (1819), was an early vampire story in English, and the penny dreadfull "Varney the Vampyre, or The Feast of Blood" by James Malcolm Rymer became a popular vampire series with over 200 stories in 1847, the year Bram Stoker was born. Stoker read about Dracula and the Romanian folklore of vampires in Emily Gerad's book, Land Beyond the Forests (1888).

Bram Stoker also wrote several other novels, including The Mystery at Sea, The Lair of the White Worm, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and his companion book to Dracula (1897), The Lady of the Shroud (1909). A chapter of Dracula removed from the book before publication was later published as a short story entitled "Dracula's Guest." When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he had a wealth of ideas about vampires to draw upon and an already established literary tradition to receive his work.

The word 'vampire' is generally believed to have been introduced to English-speaking audiences in 1734, when accounts of vampire activity in Austria were translated and re-printed in English newspapers. The word itself comes from the Slavic 'upyr,' meaning a monster, with the prefix 'vam,' meaning energy or the life force (later extended to signify 'blood,' a carrier of the life force). Before the invention of the printing press and the spread of printed dictionaries from the 15th to the 18th centuries, words were spelled any way one decided to spell them and all variations in spelling were acceptable. Thus, the word passed into English spelled variously as 'vampyr' or 'vampyre' or 'vampire.' Virtually every culture on earth has a word with a similar meaning, indicating that the vampire exists in all cultures.

There are many types and gradations of vampires and vampiric activities. Basically, a vampire is a being who drains energy from other beings. The classic vampire needs the energy to survive, since it has lost the capability to survive from other sources of energy, such as food. Perhaps the most common type of vampire you are likely to encounter uses the energy it steals either to promote its health or to assuage some great desire. Please note that I am not including here the many people now into RPG's (role playing games) or those who like the taste of blood, but still eat lunch at McDonald's; drinking blood is not the same thing as vampirism. Of course, any of these people could, and probably do, engage in some form of vampiric activity. The basic fact is that we are all beings made up of many kinds of energy, energy that is constantly interacting with the energies around it. We unconsciously exchange energies with others, and when we are in a weakened condition energy-wise, it is usual for us to replenish our energies by taking some from someone else. Thus, we all indulge in vampiric activity from time to time, whether we know it or not.

The origin of vampires is a dark secret known to few. The oft repeated story that an early shaman discovered that he (or she) could steal energy from others, and thereby live longer and gain spiritual/psychic powers, has some truth so it but still hides the Truth. The Truth is that we are beings made of energy, and our consciousness was long ago ambushed and taken over by other beings of energy. These dark and dense entities live off of our energy in vampiric fashion, and thus are the original and archetypical vampire of human experience. They have gained almost complete control of us by accomplishing the masterful maneuver of giving us their minds in place of our own, which remain submerged within us as a now unknown self. Thus, the knowledge and ability to be vampires resides within all of us. This ancient event is echoed in worldwide tales of an ancient War in the Heavens between the Gods (or between Angels), which resulted in the overthrow of the Elder or Primal Gods by the Young Gods. The subsequent imprisonment of the Old Gods in the Underworld, the casting out of Heaven of the Fallen Angels or the Fall of Man from a state of spiritual Grace, all represent our separation from the universal source of all things, the dark sea of awareness. In this state, many seek to find a substitute for the energy they lack because their individual soul is no longer in union with the universal source. This results in the discovery that one can approximate that which is missing by stealing energy from others; when our longing plays into the hands of a greedy "host," then the Other or the Beast within us may prey upon the energy of the human victims of others of its kind.

Vampires have existed as long as there have been humans on the earth. The classic vampire is an expression of the lower or vitality soul. Each person has a lower soul of vitality which develops from the moment of conception, as well as a higher soul of spirituality which comes in at birth. At death, the higher soul departs from the physical realm, while the lower soul remains attached to the physical body and slowly decomposes. This form is often seen in graveyards hovering over tombstones as a bluish-white "ghost." When something causes the lower soul to remain in the physical body after death, the corpse may become re-animated, especially if the corpse is exposed to a source of similar vitality such as sunlight, moonlight or an animal jumping over the corpse. In this case, the actual physical corpse may take on a life of its own, mindlessly seeking to prolong that life by finding other sources of extra vitality.

Most often, however, the classic vampire is the wandering lower energy body of a buried corpse, rather than the corpse itself. When it can be seen, this energy body will look like the corpse until it gets enough extra energy to resurrect the trace memory of its former physical appearance. This lower soul may also appear to people in dreams. The vampire may gets its energy from others either by taking it from their auras (where it contacts the lower vitality soul of its victim) or by taking their blood, which contains the life-force. Reports of blood-drinking vampires most often state that the vampire bites the victim's chest, sometimes feeding on the heart itself. Some vampires have been known to suck the blood through the skin; in these cases, there is usually a black bruise left on the victim. The appearance of fangs, however, is not often mentioned outside of fiction. When the grave of such a vampire is opened, the corpse often appears fresh and has a reddish cast to the face, because the vampiric form returns to the corpse to rest and transfers some of its stolen vitality preventing further decay. In these cases, a specialized organ develops in the energy body as a second heart, wherein this energy resides. This has led some to say that the vampire has two hearts, and it is this vessel which spurts blood when a stake is driven into the vampire's chest. If the physical body is destroyed while the vampire form is absent, the vampire may survive to find another method of manifestation. The idea that vampires sleep in coffins and need some of their native soil around them arose from the fact that these vampires use their dead physical bodies as a focal point and resource for forming their energy body. In these cases, if the physical body of the vampire is destroyed while the vampiric form is within it, its energy form will usually gradually dissipate. Those who did not wish to destroy the body of a vampire sometimes instead would re-bury the corpse on an island so it could not resume attacking others. While the actual spirit of the classic vampire has departed, the leftover lower soul remains behind to live off of the living; thus, this type of vampire is often referred to as the Revenant.

The most common type of vampire is the astral being (spirit) of a living person that leaves the body while it sleeps to interact with those in the physical world. This ability may come from the practice of magick, an ability to astral travel, a religious or spiritual life or just a very strong desire. Most of these vampires remain energy forms which cannot be seen by the physical sight. The astral form is sent out (either consciously or unconsciously) to seek out others and feed off of them. Most often the vampiric form attaches itself to its victim's aura and absorbs energy from its victim. The victim is often unaware on a conscious level that he or she is being attacked, although it is not uncommon for the mind to send warning signs to the waking consciousness in the form of dreams, visions or premonitions. Even when the victim has some awareness of what's happening, he or she often doesn't know what to do to stop it. Commonly, the victim will manifest a malaise or tiredness, and in extreme cases may even die. Since the victim's energies have an emotional component, the astral vampire runs the risk of absorbing negative emotional energies from its victims, and this can lead to emotional or physical distress in the vampire. Sometimes a semi-independent personality complex within the subconscious develops vampiric tendencies and siphons energy from others; this is called the 'Beast,' and if this 'entity' gains sufficient power, the conscious mind may have to battle for dominance of the personality.

A particularly strong vampire can form its energy body into a quasi-physical body; such a body requires some physical substance to sustain it, and thus this type of vampire will seek to drink its victim's blood. This being feeds off of its victim's blood for both the life force and the physical substance. While astral vampires who take on a 'physical' form appear to be physical humans, they are not and their "body" is only a sophisticated illusion. The 'physical' form of such vampires can perform feats that their normal physical bodies cannot, such as running at high speed, leaping off of high places without injury, crawling up or down the sides of buildings, flying, transforming into other forms such as the wolf, bat, vapor, etc. When a vampire does possess a living physical body, vampiric activity alters the body. Such people become uncomfortable in sunlight and prefer the night. One reason for this is that sunlight tends to tear down the energy form of the vampire, causing the vampire to feel pain from too much sun. Also, exposure to sunlight decreases the size and activity of the pineal gland, whose secretions aid longevity. The primary pineal secretion, melatonin, has been associated with increased psychic power, and high melatonin producers are sensitive to sunlight.

Another way for the astral vampire to feed off of one's life force is through sexual contact, and in this case the vampire becomes an incubus or succubus. Most vampires result from a temporary conversion of the astral form of someone living in the physical world into a vampiric form. Although the most numerous, these generally are the weakest vampires and therefore are the most seldom seen by others; they do, however, account for the majority of those vampires known as incubi and succubi (the sexual impulse is far stronger in physical beings than in spirits). This type of activity may result from a strong emotional fixation on someone, or it may result from the unconscious reaction to a strong conscious desire, especially when there is a pattern of visualization and masturbation involved. The victims of the incubus and succubus are usually those who are physically weak or live alone and have no strong energy bonds with another to protect them against an invasion of their aura; this is especially true of the very young, the very old and those whose longing for the energy exchange of a physical relationship opens them to such an attack. When, however, the vampire is very strong, anyone can become a victim.

Some vampires are the souls of those who have died with strong unfulfilled desires, or as a result of a sudden and violent death. Such deaths often cause the lower vitality soul to be imbued with a sense of urgency that causes it to seek to linger in the physical world. A few "return from the dead" after the soul encounters and succumbs to a bodiless vampire. Some very powerful vampires can migrate from one body to another, taking over and subduing the soul of its present inhabitant. Sometimes, the vampire finds it easier to cause the victim to kill itself, and then take over the body when the spirit departs. It is also popularly believed that vampires are created when the person has lived a particularly sinful life, was born with a caul or dies and is not buried in consecrated ground (such as a death at sea.) The idea that someone becomes a vampire after being bitten by one and then ingesting some of the vampire's blood is mainly an invention of writers, and in fact popular folklore around the world states that drinking some blood from a vampire will actually give one immunity to the vampire's attack and heal any illness resulting from such attacks. Although the classic vampire is obsessed with obtaining enough energy to survive, those vampires who are more than just the Revenant do "have a life" and other interests. For example, magickal vampires often 'hunt' for hidden knowledge. The vampire is normally a loner, but some astral and other-dimensional vampires do work together in packs.

Vampires & Magick
It is apparent that vampires have existed among practioners of Magick throughout history. From the old Middle Eastern 'eaters of souls' to Morgana le Fey's habit of giving her followers rings by which she could siphon off their energies and live forever, to modern practitioners of black magick who give lessons in conscious vampirism on the Internet, stories of magical people who have engaged in vampirism abound. Magickal Adepts create an energy body called a magickal personna to house their consciousness on its journeys through the astral and other dimensions, giving vitality to their energy forms through meditation and ritual work. Some magickal practitioners also create though-forms called fetches or servitors; these thought-forms may be programmed to seek out information or absorb and neutralize harmful energies. Sometimes, the magickal personna or servitor can become so energized that they take on a life of their own, and even manage to survive pass the time of their creators' deaths.

Most of what passes as vampire magick among vampire wannabies either attempts to imitate the effects of vampires upon others (taking their energies or seducing them) or is just plain old black magic designed to bring harm. Most real vampires have naturally strong psychic powers and do not indulge in magick to accomplish their feeding. Real vampires take other people's energies in order to survive, but they are not evil by nature (at least, not their own nature), other than those few vampires who are driven insane by their condition (though, as with any other group, there are both good and evil among them). The magick practiced by real vampires is instead designed to affect themselves, most often to bring about a transformation that will allow them to stop feeding on others. For some, this means trying to become just like everyone else, but for others, it means seeking the freedom to really be themselves by throwing off or even taking over the Beast within by accomplishing the Great Work of Alchemy and High Magick.

Occasionally, the vampire is an entity which has gained the spiritual knowledge and power to transform the physical body at will. Ancient Mysteries speak of men and women achieving immortality by periodically absorbing extra life force from the cosmos, in some cases eventually transforming the dense physical body itself into a body of energy. Wise Men, Alchemists and mystics who stray from the Path of Initiation and become addicted to living off of the energies of others, instead of developing that energy for themselves, suffer an imperfect transformation. Such beings must periodically absorb energy from others to prevent their death. In cases where the transformation is not only imperfect, but also incomplete, the physical form may transform into an energy beast and become trapped at a particular physical location. Such beings have to wait like spiders in their web until an unsuspecting mortal passes by and is captured. Some of the more powerful of these poor souls can survive in this condition for hundreds of years.

Often, there appears to be no real defense against the predation of the vampire. The strong psychic power of the vampire allows it to mesmerize its victims through telepathic suggestion. A house is a repository of energies of its inhabitants and, especially in cases where they engage in religious or spiritual activities such as praying or meditation, offers some sanctuary against the vampire; thus it is said that one must invite a vampire across the threshold in order for the vampire to gain entry. This, however, is not true of the strongest vampires. The cross, the host and blessed holy water probably became associated with a defense against the vampire due to their use in exorcism by Christians, and their efficacy depends on spiritual / psychic power of the one who blessed them and / or the one who wields them. This is not a case of good versus evil as is commonly believed, but of one energy overcoming another. Plants that are known to absorb negative energies, such as garlic, onion or lemon, also work mainly against weaker vampires; their use is tied to their effectiveness in defeating the energy of magickal attacks. Similarly, other methods of defeating magickal attacks that are also thought to be effective against the energy of the vampire are crossing running water, surrounding oneself with a circle of salt or amulets of silver. Running water pulls energy forms along its path with great force, so that any magickal spells or astral forms trying to cross it are drawn into it and end up miles away. Salting has been used from ancient times to break down existing energies of a place, purifying it so that it becomes holy or consecrated. Silver takes a charge of psychic energy very strongly, hence its use to disperse other energies, sort of like a short-circuit. It is still a common practice in some parts of Europe to place a silver coin in the mouth of the corpse to prevent it from becoming a vampire.

Typically, the vampire is disposed of by being consumed in fire, having its head cut off or having a wooden stake driven through its heart. The bodies of strong vampires may resist the flames, until they are cut into pieces. Wooden stakes driven into the vampire's vitality reservoir kill the vampire only when they are of sacred types of wood, such as white thorn (hawthorne), rowan, elder, oak, ash, etc. Iron stakes are also effective. If a vampire is not very powerful, it can also die as the result of an exorcism or by remaining too long in direct sunlight. When a vampire is "killed," usually what has happened is the vampiric energy form has been dispersed. After a vampire is killed, the form vanishes but dried blood is left behind in cases where the vampire has recently fed off of another's blood. However, if the vampire is strong enough, it can form another energy body. One method used to discourage the vampire from forming another body from its own remains is to salt the remains to disperse the energy. At any rate, one cannot be certain that a vampire will not find some way to return.

Now let's examine some false ideas about vampires. In cultures with a strong Judeo-Christian influence, the vampire is often considered to be female. This belief is based on the teaching among Jews and Christians that women are agents of the Devil sent to tempt man, and therefore do not possess the spiritual nature of men. In other cultures, such as that of Finland, the vampire is most often said to be male. Vampires, of course, can be either male or female. The false belief that vampires are inherently evil has led to the false assumption that vampires cannot walk or rest on holy ground, such as a church. Actually, vampires are only precluded from such places when the energy of the place is stronger than that of the vampire. It was believed by the ignorant that mirrors do not reflect vampires because vampires don't have a soul and are evil. Mirrors reflect dense physical objects such a human bodies, but not the energy forms of vampires, which only appear to be solid (when they appear at all) to the mind's eye of the beholder due to telepathic suggestion by the vampire or psychic ability in the beholder. Vampires with real physical bodies can be seen in a mirror just like anyone else. Actually, when a mirror is functioning as a dimensional doorway, the vampire which cannot be seen with the physical eye, can be seen. Some people were falsely accused of being vampires because they were buried when they were mistakenly thought to be dead. In old Europe, graves were typically not very deep, and if someone awoke in such a situation and managed to dig themselves out of their grave, they could easily have been mistaken for a vampire. It was a common practice in the American Old West to bury someone with a gun so they could kill themselves if they awoke in a buried coffin and couldn't get out. At the other end of that spectrum, those who are transformed by contact with spiritual forces while alive sometimes leave behind corpses that do not decompose for a very long time.

Today, a large number of false ideas about real vampires are being disseminated by writers of vampire stories, role-playing "vampires," the mentally disturbed and many apparently intelligent and educated people on the Web. Some of these "sound good but just ain't so" ideas include: the vampire virus, "you too can become a blood-drinking vampire," vampire races, crossbreeds, etc. Despite the gruesomeness of vampire folklore, many modern writers have transformed the vampire into an attractive character, and some have created quite extraordinary concepts of the vampire, blending truth and fiction into a powerful and believable mythos. Poppy Z. Brite became an instant underground legend with the 1993 publication of Lost Souls, while one of the most successful mainstream authors is Anne Rice, author of The Vampire Chronicles.

These and other authors have capitalized on a renewed interest in vampires sparked by TV shows such as The Munsters (1964), The Addams Family (1964), Dark Shadows (1966) and Nightstalker (1972). All of these sources have helped to perpetuate many false ideas about vampires.

Thus we have many types of vampires: the living, the dead and the undead, the energy thieves (psi-vamps) and the blood-suckers (sanguinarians). Lest we think that all vampires are monsters, however, let's not forget granddad and grandma, who just love to get a visit from their grandchildren because afterwards they feel so full of energy (relax, the grandchildren have plenty to spare). Or the person who is deathly ill and surrounded by loved ones and well-wishers, whose visits make them feel so much better for a while. Of course, the ultimate in your run of the mill vampiric activities is the exchange of energy that takes place between a male and female having sex. At the moment of climax, there is a brief burst of energy which emerges from us as consciousness momentarily alters its perception of reality. Here, each is giving and receiving in turn, feeding off of each other's energy to aid the evolutionary transformation of their consciousness.

In spite of the fantastic advances in science and technology in the modern world, vampires are still very much with us today. Understanding that we are all victims of an energy vampire within us, and that even we ourselves may become vampires from time to time, is one of the mysteries of our Being.

Source

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

whoa

Anonymous said...

ohhhhhhhhh.... well i wish vamps were real. kinda... welll nice vamps anyways

Anonymous said...

im like in love wid vamps for some reason now
haha

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