|My legal name is Inanna Arthen, and Vyrdolak is who I really am. I awakened as a vampire in 1970, resisted the truth for the next fifteen years and finally ran out of rationalizations. I wrote, by request, the magazine article “Real Vampires” in 1987. I contributed to Noreen Dresser’s research for American Vampires in 1988. In 1997, I put up my own website, now known as By Light Unseen. I’ve been around the online vampiric community since I put up my site, but I’ve always been a solitary and a maverick, so I’ve never joined an offline group or gone to a meet-up or event (yet!). I am a Pagan, a magick-worker, and bisexual and very public about all of my “alternative lfestyles,” including vampirism. However, I am a very civic-minded person and I don’t affect a more eccentric appearance than the average artist. I’m a writer, public speaker, graphic designer and generally creative spirit, and I am presently developing a small publishing company, By Light Unseen Media, devoted exclusively to fiction and non-fiction related to the topic of vampires. That’s my full-time job until at least 2012. I live in Massachusetts.|
View Of Vampi(y)rism: I regard true vampirism as an inborn, immutable state of being, characterized by an ability to use the power in blood and other vital fluids. I don’t see vampirism as having anything to do with “need” or weakness of any kind.My view of vampirism derives from a long study of folk traditions and historical evidence related to magical practices and paranormal phenomena across multiple cultures. I became aware of a repeated and quite consistent belief concerning non-human beings that lived within human communities. These beings were usually born to human families. They had inherent psychic and magical powers, functioned at a higher level (intelligence, talent, all-round competence) than the norm (often earning the envy and suspicion of others), and were believed to literally steal vital fluids from animals and other human beings to empower themselves. In regions that had a well-articulated “undead vampire” lore, these “living vampires” were always thought to return as “undead vampires” after death (as were related beings like witches and werewolves). But “living vampires” were believed to exist in cultures that had no clear “undead vampire” belief. Names applied to these “living vampires” include
strigoi vii, kharisiri and tlahuelpuchi, but in many cases these beings don’t have a specific name, only a consistent description of their characteristics and behavior.I only realized that I fitted the descriptions of these beings after I had been studying related folklore for years. I didn’t base my fundamental concept of a “real vampire” on my own subjective experience.
Currently, the “Community” seems to be a conglomeration of individuals who are irresistably drawn here almost in spite of themselves. Their sole similarity is a strong personal affinity with some aspect of “vampirism,” either blood-drinking, “energy feeding,” “donating” blood or energy, or just being intensely interested in the subject. They argue, they fight, they drop out, they form their own splinter groups, but they keep coming back. Everybody seems to want to find some way for all of us to agree without any single person having to compromise one iota on his or her personalized self-identity, opinions or “definition of a vampire.” The really remarkable thing about the Community, given all that, is that people DO keep coming back.
It would be great if the Community could actually find its own common ground, which I suspect lies far Outside The Box of where almost everyone here is still looking for it. I’d like to see members of the Community maintain real respect for each other. Of course, we’re going to disagree, but there is no reason we can’t disagree politely! I’d like to see us all feel confident enough about what we are to relax, and talk about other aspects of our lives besides endlessly nattering away about our vampiric problems, and trying to one-up each other about who has the worst “need to feed.” I’d like to see us achieve a strong enough degree of unity and common purpose to be able to respond to social and political threats with some strength of numbers and consensus. I’d like us to feel safe about exploring scientific, medical, and otherwise empirical tests and studies of our “symptoms” and traits, and to have a large enough body of individuals to make such testing meaningful. What I’d like, more than anything else, is for vampires to fully acknowledge, and learn to use, their own inborn power, as a group–but at this point I’m very pessimistic (and disappointed) about that ever happening.
Views On Ethics – The Black Veil – Codes Of Conduct:
I hold myself to a very strict degree of personal principle, because I know what I’m capable of doing if I don’t keep myself firmly under control. I’ve been aware of “The Black Veil” since Sebastian Todd posted Version 1.0 to Vampyres List in the 1990s to get feedback. I always regarded it as a slightly pretentious set of role-playing game rules (the “game” initially being the nightclub “scene” in New York City). Unlike some, I didn’t see The Black Veil as being “common sense” because many of its elements struck me as nonsensical, particularly the proscriptions about respecting the hierarchy of the group.
I certainly agree that vampires should be ethical and have a code of conduct–but that “code” can be stated in very simple terms, as far as I’m concerned. Follow the laws of the human community, state and country you live in; don’t do unnecessary harm; don’t take or drink from humans without permission; don’t “out” other vampires or do anything to put them at risk; take responsibility for yourself, your actions and your words. Adding all kinds of flourishes and capitalized archaic terminology only serves to protect the status of a few “elders.” I saw too much of that sort of thing in the Pagan/magickal community to be fooled for a moment.