Aside from “vamping out” – which is the suffering we endure when we reach feeding time, or go beyond it – we in the community also speak of “the beast”. To us, this is the personification of our thirst – the thing within us that drives us to feed, and while we are feeding, to indulge in it, to go further, deeper and longer. It is the part of ourselves which we suppress and ignore, and which some even fear. It is this part of our nature, more than any other, which frightens us. Not so much in terms of controlling our impulses, but because the presence of such an impulse implies that there is a darkness within us that is very real and very strong, and very much a part of us. It is this part of ourselves which rattles the closet door in the dark, and causes even us to look in the mirror and whisper, shocked – “monster”.
I recently began thinking about the possible causes of the need of sanguine Vampyres to consume blood. Like others, speaking in recent years about the possible role of genetics, I have wondered whether this could be linked to the behavior of predatory animals in the wild.
Predators of all kinds consume other living animals, sometimes whole, sometimes in part – and in both cases, along with flesh, muscle, internal organs and even bone – a significant amount of blood is ingested – raw and still living. Therefore, whether predatory animals are aware of it or not, they also ingest the prana – the life force energy of their prey. Whether or not they make use of it or even assimilate it, is another matter I have no answer for.
In prehistoric times, before the advent of fire and the principle of cooking meat in it, human hunter-gatherers hunted, butchered and ate their meat raw, and of necessity, still fresh – and still containing life-force.
In certain other cultures throughout prehistory – and even more modern history, there was practice of cannibalism, particularly in the Island cultures, where people believed that in consuming their enemies, they would ingest their power and add to their own strength. Perhaps they also knew in some way, that they could also ingest their energy?
In other extinct ancient cultures, such as the Mayan civilization – where human ritual slaughter was an integral part of religious practice and a social reality, the spilling, and also in some cases, consumption of the blood by the priests, also features. Blood was reserved for the gods, and for the priesthood and for royalty.
In some surviving stone-age/bronze-age cultures today, such as in Africa, some tribes still consume living blood from livestock which they keep for that very purpose.
Be that as it may, at such a point in any society, I believe the Vampyres within those primitive societies would have gone unnoticed, even by themselves, because – well, everybody “did it” and participated in this generally accepted behavior within their communities – and since their needs were met, more or less, nobody had any real reason to question their nature, not even the Vampyres – who may also have just assumed that everyone else also got out of it the same thing they did.
Humans (and we as part of that group) are part of a species which developed out of nature, and through the application of intellect and technology, became supernatural. We stopped eating animals raw and still living, developed culture and fussy palettes, learned to cook – and kill our food properly, right down to the cellular level – using fire, freezers, boiling water and oil – and then micro-wave ovens.
This seems fine to us today, cooking and heating food today having been painted as an “advance” in culture, because it supposedly reduces the risks of disease etc – except for the detail that doing so deprives us of the intake of prana in our diets. As an aside, even modern dieticians will tell you that cooked, limp vegetables contain a significantly smaller concentration of nutrients than do fresh, uncooked veg.
Further, with the expansion and rise to power of certain puritanical religions which strive to dominate even individual thought and behavior, even in private – and to eradicate all forms of dissent – we have also been culturally and religiously conditioned and “forbidden” to consume blood within the meat, blood products – or blood altogether – and for the most part, humans (and unawakened Vampyres) adhere to this largely religion-enforced taboo. Again, blood is reserved for the gods, priesthood and royalty.
Perhaps in lower predatory animals, the need for prana is a natural need, one not yet identified by science – and we as Vampyres, the living human variety of the expression of this need for the prana and blood within other living creatures? Just as sexual orientation and gender identity have been misunderstood and went long-unidentified as ‘natural’ by science, rejected and vilified as ‘unnatural’ by religious and cultural taboo – we too have misunderstood and been oblivious to our own nature?
Could it be this deprivation that forces our nature – or natural need – to the surface?
Some people like to say that as sentient creatures, we have a choice in choosing what to do about our nature. To accept it, or to reject it. Funny enough, they say the same thing about other immutable characteristics, such as sexual orientation or gender, or even heterochromia – but their insistence and their concern is not for the suffering of the individual, but for the unity and same-ness of their group. Between us, we know what happens if we choose to ignore our nature, and neglect our needs. We know that road, we’ve seen the end of it, and we know it is not pleasant.
While there are still no definitive answers to what we are, and why we are this way – or how we got to be this way, this still brings up more questions, which are even harder to answer – questions such as: okay, if we need living blood, fine and well – but why is it that we tend to favor human blood? I’m afraid there is no easy answer to that one – and those that do come to the surface are even less welcome than their absence.
Is it because the taste of human blood is by far more acceptable than the blood of other creatures? Or is it because human energy in the blood has different qualities to normal animal blood? Does it? Does our spirituality, our sentience lend our blood different energetic qualities? Is it that we perceive human blood as a potent energy/ magickal symbol? Or is it perhaps that we somehow combine our thirst and need with a desire for our donors? Is it romantic? Is it erotic? Is it a basic biological and existential need? Or is it all of the above, in various combinations?
Those who don’t understand us, call us ‘monsters’. Some compare us to serial killers in history – even though we don’t need to kill in order to feed. One can be sure that if real Vampyres killing people for their blood ever became a trend, those in power would soon look upon our communities with disfavor, rather than watch us go about our business as they do. Nevertheless, there are those who point at historic figures like Vlad Dracul, who murdered a great many people (but never partook of their essence), or the Blood Countess – Erzabet Bathory, and say “that was a real vampire”. Oh, Bathory was cruel and she was merciless and by all accounts, vicious. She might even make a good representation of a Hollywood classical vampire. In fact, she even inspired the classic tale “Carmilla” and even parts of the later “Dracula” novel by Stoker. History bears all that out. Bathory indulged what we would today call ‘the Beast’ – that is, if she were a Vampyre. Was she? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Historic accounts at her time noted her lust for blood because she believed it preserved her youth – which she claims to have discovered after blood was spilled due to cruelty, and landed on her skin – and purportedly made it appear younger. There are no details indicating that she craved blood for consumption before that time – meaning that at best she was a sociapath who practised vampirism due to belief or ritual, not because she originally needed it as we do – and in far greater quantities than what we do.
What is the Beast then? Hunger. Thirst. Starvation. Wasting. Suffering – all of these rolled into one, with a measure of drive, determination, self-indulgence, wantonness, carelessness and cruelty. For us, giving in to it symbolizes capitulation, defeat, shame and disgrace – a betrayal of the thing that defines the humanity within us, which runs through our being like a thread of silver light in darkness. Giving the Beast its way takes away from us that which we feel still makes us human. Fortunately, we are singularly strong-willed creatures.
All philosophizing aside, I understand that as Vampyres these matters relating to blood and energy fascinate us. It is after all, a root fascination of our nature. However, especially relevant in this issue is the fear within us of “losing control” while feeding. Whether you feel this is a transference from fiction to reality – such as that other glittery twink we love to hate, who fears losing control in the bedroom – or if you have experienced this fear while feeding, or while starving, is something only the individual Vampyre will know for sure. One thing is certain, though – while understanding and studying and discussing these matters is perfectly natural and healthy – it cannot be seriously condoned or glorified, certainly not in public – and especially not by us.
Often, I have noticed the occasional new face on a forum, eagerly posting pictures of blood and gore and make a big play of how it appeals to them as a “vampire”, romanticizing it, indulging their fantasy. One artist’s rendering of a sexy, female vampire seated in a bath full of blood drew such comments. Occasionally there will be a picture of an attractive model posing, as though dead, covered with blood. While I appreciate art, and the fact that these are based on fiction, those making such comments about it just served to annoy and irritate.
I have seen some unpleasant sights in my time. As a child I saw some ugly things that young children shouldn’t have to see. A man sitting on the floor of a public bus, in a pool of his own blood, having suffered stab wounds. As a teen, I saw an old woman run over by a truck, and the weird foam and gel blood makes under those big wheels on painted concrete. As an adult, I watched from across the street as a workman fell to his death from a building – and saw the way blood runs on a pavement. I have seen so many things I didn’t need to see – and as one who has seen such things, when people glorify gore and cruelty or as sport or as gratifying, fill me with disgust.
As one who has on occasion tended to injured people, including attempted suicides, I can attest that a bath filled even part-way with blood, even diluted with water, is not a pleasant sight – even less to try and wash blood-drenched clothing and blankets, or to clean out a car interior soaked with it. Human blood has a unique scent, you see, so even closing your eyes so you don’t see it doesn’t help to shut it out. And if the car has been standing in the sun for a day, with closed windows, it gets even better. It is a cloying and sickly sweet scent that lingers – and it lingers in your memory long after.
That’s why I often wonder how many of these people are REALLY serious about being actual sanguine Vampyres when they speak of “blood everywhere” as if it is all fun and sparkly-twinkly vamps, romance and clip-on fangs. Yes, even if you need to feed on the red stuff now and again, it is no excuse to indulge the Beast, it is no excuse to lose touch with compassion, empathy and sympathy for suffering. That is why I say that many of those who drift on to open forums, so full of “blood-thirst”, are just full of fantasy – and frankly, bullshit. Should someone seriously offer them a feed, I’ll wager most of them would run a mile.
Believe me, as a Vampyre, dealing with blood is harsh, especially when you realize the rising thirst inside you, and the utter disgust you feel for yourself at the same time, while you are caring for an injured, suffering person and tending their wounds – especially while you know you haven’t fed for a while, and finding the stuff you are wiping away, rinsing down a drain and discarding is more difficult than ‘normal’ people realize. It’s especially disturbing when it’s someone you really care about. This is not good for a vamp’s self-esteem at all.
Even so, it’s good to know that there are vamps out there doing good things, humanitarian works, helping the poor and feeding the hungry – though many will never know that they are indeed Vampyres too. It’s good to know that Vampyres give back to the communities in which they live, and to their Donors, and do not – as some like to claim, “just take”. Many of us also give back, in whatever ways we can.
By the same token, I would rather be a “monster” who strives to do good and to do no harm, than a “good person” who glories in selfishness, doing evil and harming others.
We sangs are drawn to blood – I suppose there is no use in denying that. Our dependence on energy in other people, or the life force in blood is probably one of the most compelling reasons why we identify so well with the vampire stereotype. Perhaps that’s why some of us, on a deep personal level, consider ourselves monsters. But that’s only a feeling. Thinking about it rationally, you should realize that ACTING on those impulses in a way that shows no consideration for others – or denying that there will be consequences to your actions – is what would make someone a monster.
Everyone has a dark side, just as everybody has a shadow – but we are more than that. We are more than our shadow. Just as each individual is more than just a Christian, more than just a Luciferian, or a white woman or a black man, more than just a salesman or an IT tech, I am more than just a Vampyre. Though I have this need, I am more than this. And I hold myself accountable for my actions, as I hold others accountable for theirs.
I do not call myself “monster”, because monster is, as monster does. The Beast is a monster, but I am not the Beast. The Thirst is strong, but I am stronger. Though I suffer in Thirst, I am more than this.
I’m a Vampyre, but I’m also human as well.