Archive for May, 2010

Parasites and symbionts

So i’ve promised you all some other posts, but this one is fresh from the press:

Donating, to me, is usually a win-win situation. At the very least it is a pleasant experience for both the vampire and me. Usually the vampire gets significant benefits, in particular sangs might benefit for weeks. For me a good feeding means deep restful sleep, a chance to relax from my usual overcharged state, and often also a break for my body during which it can heal from my everyday stresses.

It is not quite a symbiotic relationship, because in a true symbiotic relationship the two species are dependent on each other. But it is certainly one from which both the vampire and i benefit, and that’s without even considering any altruistic motivation.

But some vampires are parasites. They slip in a link when you’re unaware, when you’re preoccupied, when you’re tired from lack of sleep or from illness. They don’t ask, don’t negotiate, they disguise the drain with symptoms of illness, and then they just draw all that they can. Once they’ve drained enough, they don’t even disguise it any more, as you’re too weak to defend yourself anyway.

I’m lucky enough to have a very experienced psi-vamp and energy-worker, one who recognises the symptoms and can stop the parasite (and hopefully hurt them in the process). But getting attacked by a parasite like this is not something i wish on anybody.

I like vamps, i like the vampire community. Most vampires are friendly, open, very accepting of otherness. Most vampires are also very polite about feeding, never feed without explicit consent, and very conscientious about after-care. But idiots like this parasite, they throw the whole community into disrepute.

Vampires at the WGT

I was away for a bit, attending the Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) in germany. It is a huge festival, with 200 bands, a wide array of other cultural events (readings, movies, cemetery tours, picnics, opera, etc.), lasting well over 4 days (opening on thursday, and the last events going well into tuesday morning), with 20’000 attendants and 40 venues spread all over the town of leipzig. The target audience is the “black folk” (black referring to the predominant colour of dress), that melting-pot of goth, metal, punk, cyber- and steam-punk, victorian, ren-fair, pagan, bdsm, and other culture.

Half a year ago i would hardly have known that this existed, even though it’s the biggest event of its kind on the planet. But the german vampire forum (the CT) which i started participating in earlier this year uses the WGT as an excuse for a large get-together every year. The sewing forum which i joined more or less at the same time has also been continually abuzz with talk about the WGT, not surprisingly, as it is a wonderful occasion to show off all your most extravagant creations.

So i was getting ever more excited, and about 10 days before the event everything came together, i could buy spare tickets from a friend, got offered a ride for most of the distance, borrowed a tent from another friend. I had no idea what i was getting myself into, the WGT is way huger than i could ever have thought.

The whole event was (at least for me) under the sign of the vampire. Those of us from the CT who were camping decided to make a common camp, and though of the six of us there were only two vamps it was still quite interesting. Two others were lycs, another self-identified dragon and potential donor, and me. I’ve been negotiating with one of the vamps about a possible vampire/donor relationship.

Then there was also a whole day LARPing V:tM. I was just browsing through the program book (almost 200 pages, full glossy print, bound in white leather, and ad-free) and saw that mentioned, so several of us went to have fun there. Hey, just for once i could be the vamp! Though i didn’t experience much of the plot it was still fun. Then meeting up with more of the vamps to watch “Kevin – the integration of a myth”, a zero-budget movie in which fiction-style vamps are forced to live “normal” lives, integrated into mundane society. Truly hilarious.

Sunday was our big meet, the by now almost traditional brunch of the vampires. I was a little frustrated because i couldn’t find the dress i’d wanted to wear for that (turns out i’d left it in the photo-studio a few days earlier), but what the heck, i’d brought along about 10 different outfits. Forum meets are always fun, even as a newbie it’s fun to meet all the people you’ve been chatting with, and for the old-timers these are people whom they’ve known for years. The mood was happily exuberant and bubbly, but also with intense conversations and discussions going on. We’d had the chance to invite Dr Mark Benecke and partner to our brunch, amongst other things one of germanys foremost experts on real vampires, which gave an extra zest to the meet. I’ll write more about that encounter in another post.

In the evening hanging around in the pagan village with all the vamps (and Benecke and partner) having more discussions, and these much more specific than during brunch, more intense, in a smaller circle. I’ve mentioned my thing where certain vamps trigger a desire in me for them to feed from me. Here, it was so many vamps that i couldn’t say anymore which of them was triggering it, and it all came together in a prickly confusing overwhelming desire to be fed from. Silly perhaps, and certainly impractical, but then, the whole vampire/donor thing is like that.

Then finally on monday we found out that “father todd” would be making fangs that afternoon. Through what i knew of him i had already formed a rather low opinion of him. All his media-appearances and the way he’d turned “being a vampire” into a money-making lifestyle mean that it’s become quite irrelevant to normal vampires whether he actually is a vamp or not. Still, at least this was a chance to see for myself what the deal was with him, and his fangs are reputed to be quite good. So those of us who wanted fangs, and those who were just curious, went to see what the deal was.

I intend to write a separate post about the fangs, but as to Todd, he’s an impolite oaf with delusions of grandeur. His definition of a vampire doesn’t intersect anywhere with my definition, or indeed with those used anywhere in the vampire community which i participate in. It was still worth meeting him, because at least now i can judge by myself, but Todd is no asset to the vampire community. And it was fun to see my vampire friends getting fangs for themselves.

So that’s it for an update, and a promise of more posts to come. I hope to be a little more regular with my updates, but hey, you do what you can.

dreams

i went to a festival last night, not one of the huge ones, but quite large for a local one. didn’t have a ticket for today, but again for tomorrow (won them in a raffle, yay me). it was great fun, in particular the Skunk Anansie concert for which i grabbed myself a spot right at the front, up against the barrier. nevertheless i’m not partying too hard as i don’t want to be too exhausted for the WGT next weekend (that’s going to be 4 days of no limits partying) (well, except for Gogol Bordello who are playing tomorrow, i don’t intend to hold back for that).

all that aside, i had two dreams this night. except possibly they were one dream, but it felt like two. i’ve forgotten a lot of the details, that’s what happens when you don’t write dreams up immediately, but still.

in the first, there’s a woman in red. her clothing covers her head to toe, yet somehow very alluring. i am drawn to her, and soon realise that she’s a vampire. she quickly seduces me, though that didn’t require much. with gloved hands she strokes along my bare arms, my shoulders. she tilts my head to the back and side, and her fingertips brush away my hair. then she leans in and … kisses me on the carotid artery. i was expecting her to bite, the sharp pain of her teeth ripping and tearing my skin and flesh. instead, a kiss, but more than a kiss, she is drawing my energy, draining me as a psi-vamp would. it is not painful as such, not like an actual bite is. but the energy-draw is brutal and delicious, and feels an awful lot like an actual psi-feeding, but much stronger. she leaves me, with a dreadful wonderful promise that she’ll be back, and vanishes into the crowd.

i remember less of the second dream. it was at the festival, or something similar. the vampire – because obviously this is another vampire dream – is different. with the first, i knew that she was basically a kind of psi-vamp, quite similar to real vampires. this one, i know right away that she has powers. she is smaller, physically strong, there is nothing secretive about her. she moves with a coterie, people who are bound to her, her donors and others whom she has enthralled. without her saying a word i move to her, knowing she wants to look at me, knowing that if she were to chose so i would become hers. i would not have a choice about it. this is a creature immensely more powerful than humans, any human she wanted would become hers. and she would bite, and rip, and feed from me. and she would not care about the damage. this one is scary, because i have no choice. i am trembling as she leaves me, she does not want me, not right now, she is not hungry right now.

and i’m just going to leave you with this, interpret these dreams as you wish.

donor twoofing?

so vamps “twoof”. it’s an invented word of relatively recent origin, i think it was proposed by Lady Slinky. when a vampire’s bloodlust is triggered, when they get a little overwhelmed by their need, or their mind wanders of in daydreams of the read stuff. oh, here’s a definition from SphynxCatVP’s site:

Experiencing an acute flare-up of symptoms generally involving a change in the person’s manner, breathing, pulse rate, and thought patterns acompanied with an increase in sensitivity of senses. This causes a person to seem more primal and animalistic. Also see “Vamping out”, below

Source: LadySlinky, from Sanguinarius’ message boards

sometimes twoofs, combined with bad blood-thirst, can be really harsh, i’m not talking about that here, and have no intention of comparing the need us donors feel to the intensity of the need which our vampires face.

but it is something which comes up again and again in discussions amongst donors. sometimes we call it an addiction. other times a need. some of us describe an almost permanent desire, for some it varies. sometimes it gets triggered, just like a vamp’s twoof gets triggered.

today, i’m getting that. i keep getting flashes of of blades cutting my skin, lips on the wounds as my blood wells up, teeth digging into my skin, my blood being drank. i want it so incredibly badly today. it is not just incredibly distracting. it is almost painful. i have not gotten anything done today, nothing at all.

it’s quite clear what’s triggered this too. part of it was chatting with a vampire who makes me want to feed them. the other part was reading “fledgling” by Octavia E. Butler. i was already feeling this “donor twoofyness”, and the vampire (yes, it’s a vampire novel) in there was actually making me whimper with desire. and yes, of course real vampires feeding from one doesn’t feel like it does in fiction. but there were some parts in there which were way too close to reality.

and this is just dandy. as if this weren’t bad enough, i just got triggered into shifting. great.

slave donors reprise: not like this

third post in 24 hours! though actually, this one is less fun. because just as i write about slave donors, we get the news that some guy from vampirefreaks.com [1] has had a warrant for an arrest issued against him for “electronic solicitation of children”. the news has been pushed to the vampire community by the folks at the AVA, who do a good job in keeping us alerted to current events which impact the community. you can read the full news articles on their forum.

usually i would disregard such news items. not that child abuse isn’t a horrible crime which needs to be taken very seriously. not that the victims of child abuse don’t suffer deeply and deserve all our support. but child abuse is pandemic. at least 1 in 5 children suffers some kind of sexual aggression before they reach the age of 16. sexual abuse of children happens everywhere, in all societies, all cultures, all religions. and don’t forget the reverse: if so many children suffer abuse, then there are just as many abusers. think of that next time you chat with your colleagues at work, or with your mates in the bar, or the fellows with which you do sports. it’s a harsh reality.

but each time the media takes an event such as this and created a scandal around it they are helping us forget that it is something which happens every day all around us. no, they happen in catholic boarding schools or in scary goth internet fora. the perpetrators are priests (who quite consciously are “other”, and therefore never quite trustworthy for the simple mind) or self-proclaimed vampires (and how could they be anything but monsters). the media makes us believe that child abuse is something special, which only happens to others, when in reality it is happening all around us. sometimes i get very angry about this.

it is even worse when the media, like both the articles linked above, drag up and lay out all the sordid details in search of a higher readership. very soon this sinks into pure voyeurism, readers getting their fix of righteous outrage on the back of the suffering of others.

so what did actually happen here? as far as can be seen from the articles there was no force involved, no threats, no violence. to put it a little extremely, it was simply a relationship which developed from vanilla into an online master/slave relationship. the only thing which doesn’t work is that the girl is too young.

in BDSM one of the few universal rules is that all participants must give fully informed consent. there are edge-cases to this, of course, such as in consensual non-consent or when subs agree to play without safewords. but even then the partners don’t enter into that kind of relationship without understanding what this involves. fully informed consent is one of the very few absolute hard limits i play by.

the other edge-case for fully informed consent is whether the participant are able to give such consent. somebody who is not mature enough is not capable of understanding this kind of relationship and it’s implications, and is therefore not capable of giving informed consent to it. this is why we have legal age limits. some youngsters grow up alarmingly fast, but many don’t. so all are by default protected. and in a master/slave relationship being capable of understanding the implications at the time that consent is given is even more important, because being in such a relationship does weird things to your brain.

i do not mean to minimise the severity of the perpetrators deeds. fully informed consent is such a big thing exactly because the kind of power dynamic established in a master/slave relationship can very easily lead the slave to do things which they would not have agreed to do without that power dynamic. and a fifteen year old girl can not give such consent, even if she were mentally and emotionally mature enough to understand what she was consenting to. this has to be a hard limit.

nevertheless, the news lies not in that it happened. the elements which made this case news-worthy were that the perpetrator frequents a goth/metal forum, that he dresses himself in the allure of the vampire, that he is overseas (and not just overseas, but in such a remote location as the shetland isles), that he lives with his parents. the scandal is that people who read this story get to blame it all on strange people, on vampires, on people who live far away, they get to blame everything on the other, thereby becoming that little bit more blind to the abuse which is happening all around them.

what this whole post isn’t about is vampires, or donors, or bdsm, or master/slave relationships, or vampire/donor relationships, or even vampire/slave-donor relationships.

[1] vampirefreaks.com is only peripherally linked to the vampire community. a few real vampires can be found there, as there is some overlap between the communities. but it is mainly a social network catering to the goth lifestyle, fashion, and music. nothing in the articles indicates that the perpetrator actually identifies as a vampire.

slave donors

ah yes, i did say that i came across two gems, and only posted the one so far. this second one is perhaps even more of a dozy. there’s several sites where a vampire or donor searching for their counterpart can post a vampire/donor personal, the blackswanhaven of course, then there’s the vcmb which has a section for donor ads, the society of the black swan, or the vampire/donor alliance yahoo group. before they moved [vamp/sang/psi]space had a group for vampires and donors seeking each other. and remember i mentioned vampire religions in my last post? i discovered today that the TUVUP also hosts vampire personals.

what’s the TUVUP? they’re the “Temple United Vampyrian Unitarian Pagan (c)“, one of those vampire religions i mentioned. it appears that they’re reasonably well off, as they continue to maintain their web-presence on the ning network. and though i’m reasonably well versed in the varieties of religious experience and philosophy, i’ve not really been able to figure out what the TUVUP is all about.

but that wasn’t the point, the point was this ad by a psi vampire house looking for slaves/donors.

have you read it? not yet? then go back and read it.

i really find it to be quite impressive, if nothing else for it’s brazenness. most personal ads are much more restrained, talking about respect for the donor, about caring relationships, about feeding being non-sexual (though then many do indeed specify what gender the vamp/donor should be, that kind of weirds me out). here, in contrast, we have the whole shebang. they aren’t looking for a donor to cherish and honour, they are looking for house slaves, to be trained in their service, to serve them both in public/private functions and sexually, and to be fed from as needed (though psi-only, not sang. that is a rather consistent pattern with religious vampire groups).

If you’re looking to serve a noble house that intends to live forever, and feel that you can rise to the challenge of having your entire universe thrown into question while we retrain you to serve only us, then perhaps you might be one of the chosen few.

you know what? i frankly find that ad very attractive. the only thing really missing is the promise of pain. and of course the sang feeding, because i really do like donating sang best. such unabashed self-assurance is rare, and i find it an incredible turn-on (in case you don’t know yet, i have a deeply submissive aspect to my character).

unfortunately it all falls apart in the last two sentences:

We are transcending human thought, and becoming the next phase in human evolution- we are humanity 2.0!  Join us, or suffer the fate of the herd!

sorry, you’re not the next stage on human evolution, to the contrary, you are energetically handicapped. without strong donors, you are nothing more than a wraith, hiding in the shadows, feeding from whatever prey happens by. you need donors, and not some weak slavelings, but powerful beings who stand proud and tall even when they are drained.

i’m not saying that a vampire/slave-donor relationship can’t work, but be wary, be very wary of believing that you are above humans. and this is, in my view, where all the vampire religions i know of fail: the moment they believe that vampires are superior to humans.

an afterthought: i rejected my allegiance to the human species some time ago, and would happily see the whole species go extinct. i have no interest in seeing it replaced by humanity 2.0.

christian vampires

those of you who run their own websites or who have wordpress blogs will of course know that one can see the search terms which people used in google and co to find one’s site. i’ve made it a habit to enter the search terms into google myself, to see what other sites come up, and of course how high up the list i appear (it’s vain, of course, but sometimes very satisfying for the ego).

today i got two gems, here’s the first.

Christian Vampire: we all know by now that vampirism is not a religion (except for those for whom it is), and the general discourse within the vampire community is that there are vampires of all religions and creeds, even vampires who identify as christian (the exception is given by those who believe that vampirism is a religion, to them of course everybody else can not be a vampire). Still, in my ramblings through the vampire community i have encountered folks (vampires, donors, otherkin and therians) who subscribe to a huge variety of faiths: vodooisants, satanists, setians, asatruar, wiccans, followers of sumerian and egyptian gods, and that’s just those i can name of the top of my head (not to mention those who follow vampire religions) (and vampires of who’s faith i’m uncertain, but who are militant fighters against malaria).

but christian vampires? i honestly haven’t come across many folks in the VC who actively identify as christians. the reasons for this are probably multiple: of course there’s the biblical injunction against blood-drinking (but then again, for those christians who take the substantiation during the eucharist to be a literal event that becomes a little more complicated (they are all cannibals and blood-drinkers!!!!!)), but most vampires also share an experience of being “other” from the mainstream, which amongst other things leads them to explore minority faiths (which often are more open to the “other”). there might also be the injunction against witchcraft which makes christian faiths unwelcoming to vampires.

nonetheless, i shouldn’t be surprised that there’s whole groups of christian vampires around, after all the population base from which the (anglophone) vampire community stems is largely christian.

anyway: the site itself seems to be quite dead, it hasn’t been updated since late 2008, and many items still show the notorious “coming soon” buttons (i.e. “coming never”). the content is a bit of a mixed bag (to be mild). some info about psi-vamps is fairly accurate, some texts i felt like i was reading texts copied verbatim from other sources, other texts were outright offensive (do not feed from homosexuals, as we have bad energy, yeah right – then i remember why i can’t stand most christians).

it seems to me that the author realised their otherness, but instead of embracing and exploring otherness and all the wild beauty which being “other” offers they are trying to reduce their otherness as much as possible, and are overcompensating by rejecting all other forms of otherness. that is, sadly, all to common.