Archive for Monday, 12 December, 2011

Otherkin in a Vampire Community

Posted: Monday, 12 December, 2011 by deacongray in Community Articles

 

By Deacon Gray, Graveyard Press

 

It’s Friday evening, 11pm for those of us on the West Coast and I am settling down with a cup of hot green tea waiting for my phone to ring. Sarah, an “Otherkin” I met on line is due to call and speak to me about what it is like to be an “Otherkin” in the vampire community. She is from L.A. and has a full night ahead of her, “Lunar Eclipse, man don’t you watch the news?”

Despite her planning and celebrating the celestial event, she has decided to take a moment and speak to me about how she feels about being a “Otherkin” in a predominantly Vampire based web community. My phone rings and I pick it up to hear someone in the background howling. “Sarah is that you howling?”

For a moment I hear nothing but background noise, than someone yells “Hey shut up Sarah is on the phone with that Press guy.”

Sarah: Sorry about that, my friends are all a little drunk. At this rate I am not sure if we will make it to the observatory.

We take a few moments to get set and I look over the photo’s on her facebook page to get a better feel for who she is. The smiling blond haired woman is dressed mostly in swimsuits with towels wrapped around her waist, and she has a fresh from the ocean look about her that feels both natural and mature. I know from her profile that she is a mother of two, in her late thirties and lives on the beach most of the year. She has a soft husky voice, that is light and full of good humor  and amusement. She is certainly not what you might picture when you think about someone who is active in the vampire community.

GYP: So you are Otherkin, can you tell me what type?

Sarah: I always tell people I am Foxkin, but that is more of a joke. No seriously I consider myself more of a wolf.

GYP: so you call yourself what exactly, a werewolf, a lycan, wolfkin?

Sarah laughs over the phone and everyone laughs around her. For a second I wonder if I am on speaker, than realize her laughter is somewhat infectious

Sarah: You vampires and your labels. I don’t call myself a Lycan, that’s just silly if you ask me. Normally I just tell people I am a Wolf, if they ask, and since most people don’t ask I don’t bother to tell them. What I am is not as important as who I am. I don’t need a otherkin support group to tell me how to deal with my kids, I am their mother I know how to deal with my kids. I like interaction, but you can be a normal person with a normal person’s life and still interact with others.  I don’t feel the need to run around proclaiming I am what I am at all.

GYP: The Vampire Community is filled with people who have a very different view. Is it difficult being a Otherkin in a Vampire Community?

Sarah: It can be. I get frustrated that so many people talk about otherkin who aren’t kin at all. Vampires seem to me to have a real bad habit of talking outside of their area of knowledge. I followed the big conflict a while ago when some lady, a Psychic Vampire, wrote all about Sang Vampires. There we a huge amount of upset, people talked about leaving the community, feelings were hurt and tempers flared over what exactly? Well basically it was because someone was talking out of turn, then everyone else needing to put there two cents in. When people talk about otherkin most of the time I think they are not just wrong, but dead wrong. I suppose I should correct them, but why? They will just get into a big debate and fight over that too.

It is more difficult being in the vampire community on message boards then it is in real time. In real time we get along great. I spent nearly a year learning from a Vamp about ritual and magic, we traded info on the Left Hand Path, and got along just fine.

GYP: So what would you say is the biggest point of conflict? Is it the Vampire Community just not knowing enough?

Sarah: Kin that I know are not like Vamps in that we don’t even think about shoving our beliefs down other peoples throat. If someone comes in saying they are a half elf half wombat from Neptune, we nod our heads and move past it and see what kind of a person they are inside. Like I said I can only speak about what I have seen, and I don’t know every kin in the country.

I think one of the biggest differences is the focus on socialization as opposed to education. I think that for those kin that I know learning about ourselves, the wild, magic and spiritualism is more common.

GYP: What about the pack? In the Vampire Community we are always on about the Caste system, is the pack like that?

Sarah: Do you understand how a pack works? It is nothing more than accepting who you are and who other people are. Leaders can’t just stop leading. Followers can’t help but to follow. We don’t ask people in our group if they are leaders, or followers or dominant or submissive, we let people just be who they are. If someone wants to step up with an idea, we either go with it or don’t depending on the mood of the pack. Like this full moon eclipse we are going to in the morning. The people who  normally set up everything are not the ones who came up with the idea. One of our youngest, newest members said…”hey guys there is going to be a killer eclipse in the morning, we should check it out.”

GYP: Do you believe the moon as sway over you?

Sarah: Yes it is called tidal pull and it makes us all crazy and we run around howling at the moon. (in case you missed the tone, she was being sarcastic here) The full moon effects us like it does everyone else. It is bright and we see better with better light. When you can see better you tend to be more active, its that simple.

Sure we love the moon, my group does anyway, and we call it affectionately Luna, but we are not convinced a orb of dust and rock has any spiritual significant.

GYP: so you do not follow Native American tradition then when it comes to the earth mother?

Sarah: You looked at my pictures, do you think I look Native American? My family comes from Sweden. Why in the world would I practice Native American beliefs? You realize there are other cultures out there with wolves and a sense of nature right? I think that people make the mistake of thinking that simply because you are naturally minded, or Kin that you have to either come from the USA or Ireland.

Look Vampires are good people. I like them, I just don’t think they really get us. We don’t have a huge amount of websites, and organizations. There are a few facebook groups, most linked to the vampire community, and some web pages that are totally independent of the vampire community. We don’t mind either way.

I don’t speak for all kin, only the ones here in my house and myself, but I will say this. Vampires on line tend to be too uptight. Life is about living, it doesn’t matter what faith you have, what color your skin is, or what you are, what matters is that you treat people with respect as best you can and live well. For me, living a good life includes taking care of my friends and family, enjoying each day and, tonight, enjoying a spectacular moon and eclipse.

 

GYP: well thank you for talking to me, and have fun!

 

Sarah informed me afterward that the eclipse was amazing (I slept through it) and that despite having to leave some intoxicated group members to sleep it off, she, with family and friends went to the Griffith Observatory, where several hundred people gathered in the dark with binoculars, cameras and telescopes to watch a total lunar eclipse — the last one until 2014.

Vampires At Occupy

Posted: Monday, 12 December, 2011 by deacongray in Community Articles

An outsider speaks from the inside
-Boise Idaho
We’re in a coffee shop just a little ways off from 5th and Jefferson, the site of the Boise Occupy campaign on a lazy Sunday evening. Outside Christmas lights are going up, or shining brightly and people are moving in the cold in a hurry to get home to a nice warm house and a good meal Gunnar, Matt and I are sitting down to a seasonal coffee drink with way too much sugar and enough calories to ensure lunch is overkill. He is wearing a thick black hooded pea coat with a bright pink scarf “It’s to support breast cancer awareness” he says by way of explanation. Gunnar ( fake name) is 48 years old, and looks more like a business man then a protestor, and he certainly doesn’t fit the mold I had in my mind when we agreed to talk.

“I am retired. I did 25 years in my industry, than got medically retired.”

Gunnar and Matt ( Also a fake name) are also a self proclaimed Psychic Vampires.
“I am an out of work bum.” Matt says, a twinkle in his eye at the inside joke between himself and Gunnar that I am not fully able to work out. Matt, unlike Gunnar, is 23 years old, with a wild tangle of curly hair and a devil may care attitude trussed up in a thick faux fur lined parka. “I like breasts too, but it’s too cold to worry about pink scarves.”

GYP: So for me the obvious question is, what does Vampirism have to do with Occupy?

Gunnar: For me it has very little to do with Occupy. I am down here doing this because I have been watching year to year my father’s retirement get slimmer and slimmer. The cost of living allowances are not being increased to follow the market, and the company he worked for is posting record profits while the people who made that happen, the people who worked their whole life to move them toward success are being not only left behind, but slowly cut off.

Matt: I think it matters because the vampire community is affect by this just as much as the rest of the country. We are a subculture to be sure, but that doesn’t make us any less a part of what’s going on in this country. It might seem weird, but our community and ones just like it are some of the creators of social media. So it makes sense to me that we come out and help organize, to blog, to tweet. After all if not for social media our community wouldn’t be where it is today and I think the same can hold true for Occupy.

Gunnar: We see a lot of it all over the world, Libya is a great example, Iran too. They are learning to use their social connections to accomplish great things, to spread the word and make things happen.

Matt: You know that’s true, look at the Endless Night event. I mean it went from being a pretty small thing to an internationally known venue. People got to New Orleans from all over the world just to see that event. If those guys is New Orleans can do it, then there is no reason why we can’t do the same thing with Occupy. We have even been considering bringing up the idea of a Flash Mob at the mall to bring attention to our cause.

GYP: It sounds like some pretty tenuous links to me. So you think that the lessons learned from the Vampire Community, specifically to the social media aspect of it, can help Occupy?

Gunnar: I do, I think that we can help them learn how to make the forums and message boards productive instead of battle grounds. We have seen for years on the vampire message boards where perfectly reasonable discussion can turn into pointless bickering. (He shoots your reporter a dirty look for some reason)
We can show them how to avoid those pitfalls, how to work more like a think tank, with each person’s views considered and the majority making the decisions.

Matt: I am not sure about that aspect. I mean sure it sounds great but there are a lot of different views and reasons for being here and each one wants their voice heard. There is a lot of conflict in Occupy inside and out. It has to be that way, it has to be less focused and more encompassing. This is the perfect place for Vampirism to be spoken of as an issue. This is a perfect place for “We” the “Subculture” to have our voices heard.

We can stand up and say out loud that we are part of the process, we are not just a subculture we are also a part of society and this community of Americans. We contribute to the tax base and we have a right to be heard and respected just like everyone else.

Gunnar: That is a point in which we will have to disagree.

GYP: Ok, so moving on. Are you out to the people at Occupy? If so why did you make that choice and if not will you explain your hesitation?

Gunnar: No. I think it takes away from the bigger message. We need to be aware of the real issues we are facing. Our community, the Vampire Community needs to be aware that it is not just about bums, selfish youth, and the “Every child gets a medal” culture we see today. The rewards for competition are great, that is what this country was founded on. However, the rewards of competition cannot forget those who laid the ground work. The rewards cannot always just go up to the top 1% sometimes the rest of us need our share of the pie too, the pie we help make.

Matt: yes, I am pretty vocal about it. I think people need to know that we are part of society and not all just nut cases biting teenage girls at “Twilight” movies. We are not all ritualistic killers, or wacked out drug addicts. We are your brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. We are real people dealing with a real issue, and dealing with the same issues as everyone else in this country.

GYP: Thank you both, it has been a great to hear your points of view.

Both of them leave the coffee shop and go back out into the cold. They will travel down the ice cold gray cement walkways, cross the streets and rejoin their fellow “Occupy” protestors peacefully with widely different reasons for being there, but drawn together by a common cause. In the end I suppose it really doesn’t matter what purpose you have for being a part of any protest, as long as you follow your heart and stand up for what you believe in, even if it does require the use of a Flash Mob at the Mall.