Author Archive

BEEN THERE DONE THAT AD NAUSEAUM

Posted: Wednesday, 6 January, 2016 by Catching Dragons in Community Articles, Uncategorized

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By: Belfazaar Ashantison

OK you new cats and old dogs within the GVC (Greater Vampire Community… Yes. I am officially done with separation of online and offline communities), I thought I would take the time to write about a couple of topics today that are close to the breaking point, as far as the nerves of some of the older members of the community goes.

Did you ever stop to wonder the “why” of a situation instead of reacting to the “who” of the situation? Most newcomers to the Greater Vampire Community, whether online or off, forget that the community has been around, solidly, for more than a few decades. I, myself, have been a full member of the community since the age of 13 back in 1978. It seems, as things tend to be VERY cyclic in the GVC, that no matter how much times has passed, ideas continue to respawn within the community in ways that are, at best, mildly entertaining. At their worst, they are frustrating beyond the level of human comprehension… At least it seems that way to those of us who have been in the community for more than just a few years.

As Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

This means, quite simply put, that those of us who have been in the community for more than a decade (hell, sometimes for only five years, depending on what movies, books or remakes of fictional vampires hits the time), we’ve probably seen, tried, done, failed at, and/or bickered over a specific proposal 5 or 6 times (at least). So the general attitude of anyone who has been a while in the community is “Been there. Done that. Ad nauseum.” Why do we have this attitude? Because you’re not doing anything, saying anything, writing anything that we haven’t already done, heard or seen. No matter what pretty package you wrap it up in, it’s the same.

“Why isn’t there UNITY in the Community??”
Take, for example, the call for “Unity in the Community”. As of last year, by my count, there have been 27 major attempts to unify the community under this banner or that banner, for this reason or for that reason. Three alone IN 2015. Each of these attempts have been produced by a person who has either a) not been received as the “ultimate savior of the GVC” so they decided to start their own thing and place themselves at the top of the pyramid scheme they’ve cooked up or b) a person who was so butthurt by other members of the community for not seeing their “obvious value to the community”, so they started THEIR own thing assuming leadership as a reward for their many many seconds of work within the community as a whole, or c) by that person who once worked within the community and left for whatever reasons but on their return they felt they deserved to be automatically recognized for their past deeds instead of anything current, so instead of working through established organizations and rebuilding connections, they create their own endeavor and, per usual, place themselves at the top of the heap.

Don’t believe me, take a look at the myriad of Councils created around the Country (US, folks). A posh selection of the who’s who of the community wedged into this group or that, many of us in a myriad of groups seeing the same “topic of interest” hit each group at roughly the same time with a lot of hashing and rehashing the same things out by the myriad of members within each of the groups. To what end? NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT THEM.

None of these “unity” attempts have ever taken into account that what flies in one area of the Country (the US) doesn’t fly in another, let alone doesn’t even get off the ground in the REST OF THE WORLD. As in, what works in the NYC area doesn’t fly in the New Orleans area. What works in Los Angeles does not fly in Tampa. What works in Las Vegas does not fly in Austin. This is NEVER taken into consideration.

BEYOND all of this, these self same groups ALWAYS trend towards making their “laws” universal. MEANING, it doesn’t matter if you are part of their group/community/organization, their rules and findings STILL apply to you. Sorry to tell you, folks, I don’t fly that way. If I am not part of your organization, don’t expect your rules and findings to even amount to a hill of gnat farts in my world, because they will surely be just as applicable to me. And, just to put this out here, I’m NOT the only longtime community member who feels this way.

In honesty, we can’t focus on such things as “unity” because we haven’t even begun to take the necessary steps to define such things as “vampirism”… the very essence of what makes a vampire a vampire… to the degree where we can accurately acknowledge and address those of us who truly do identify as vampire. Nor have we bothered to consider things such as WHY don’t things flow from area to area? What caused the breakdown from one portion of the community to the next? Is it a regional thing? Is it a seasonal thing? Or were the people who created the original system simply not concerned with other areas of the world (let alone Country) so they only concerned themselves with what was going on in their own neck of the woods (if you’ll pardon the pun)?

Elders vs Leaders:
Another heated topic that seems to make the cycle every few months or so is the whole thing about “the Elders should be responsible for…”… … … Really? REALLY? I’m not responsible for anyone but me, my home and my vampiric House. I’m an Elder in the community through my work WITH the community, which SERIOUSLY began at age 25 even though I had been in the community much earlier. It used to be that a person had to be active within the community for a total of 10 years before anyone considered them an Elder (and remember, I’ve been active in the community since I was 13). Back then, when I first reached Elder status, it merely meant “glorified servant of the community who had a bit of wisdom they could spread… given the right circumstances.” Somewhere, after a few Elders, such as myself, either created their own Houses or became the leaders of Houses, that definition seemed to twist to mean “leader of the community”… IT DOESN’T… It didn’t then. It doesn’t now. We took the term “Elder” from other communities because it was something we felt fit those who ACTIVELY endorsed the community and helped it to grow. It was never meant to be synonymous with “Leader”. Elders were the wise men and women of other communities that offered their experiences and wisdom when approached properly.

And I DO mean “when approached properly”…

Enter the question of LEADERSHIP… A “Leader” is someone who, simply, for right or wrong, leads a group/action. They are in charge of that group/action and are the final say so in what that group/action will do, won’t do, puts up with, won’t put up with, has, doesn’t have, keeps, and tosses away… just to name a few things… They aren’t automatically “Elders” and can be called a myriad of titles. More often than not, those titles are respected by other members of the community, however, there are those in the community who will poo poo ANYTHING they aren’t, actively, part of, no matter HOW much good that group/action does.

There have EVEN been articles written on holding “Elders” accountable, which in reality should be “Leaders”. Got news for you, MOST of the Elders I associate with ARE held accountable by their own groups for what THOSE GROUPS consider them to be responsible for. If those Elders happen to be Leaders, as well, they fall into a whole separate column of accountability that no other member of the community, save those that fall under them, are in a position to do anything about. HOWEVER, these particular articles demand that ALL Elders be held accountable for EVERY OTHER Elder. *BUZZ!!* Wrong. Think again. As with my earlier statement, your judgment of me, what I do, who I represent and what I should be held accountable for amount to a hill of gnat farts in a whirlwind as far as I’m concerned. Sorry folks, however, the way I see it… If Elder A screws the pooch, Elders B, C, and D are NOT responsible for cleaning up A’s mess and no amount of forcing the issue will change my mind on this.

Any group out there is ONLY as good as their Leader, yet, the converse of that is true as well… Any Leader out there is ONLY as good as the group they are leading. If the group is a roguish mob, the Leader will tend to act that way, as well. If the group is one of quiet contemplation, self examination, and self empowerment, again, the Leader will tend to act that way, as well. If the group is a Hell hole of impish behaviors, disrespectful attitudes, and “It’s my way or the highway” types… Well. I think, if you’re actually reading this, you get the picture.

A Leader is only as good as the quality of individuals within the group/action they are leading. Period. Yes. Some Leaders don’t fit a group/action, this is quickly established during the initial period of a Leader’s embarking in leadership of that particular group/action, however, it is usually also quickly resolved with “new” leadership being thrust into the position as quickly as the former Leader is flung FROM that position.

While I am on the topic of Leaders being flung from a position of leadership from a group/action… Parting ways with a group/action… Why the hell do we have to make it such a difficulty? Why the games and intrigues? Can’t we just simply choose to part ways without one side or the other attempting to slander the reputation of the other? Can it not just be, “well, I’m sorry you feel that way, I wish you well on your way…” and be done with it? Where does it say or where is it written that we have to act like a bunch of friggin five year olds who lost their toys or lost a game? Really. REALLY. Sometimes people just need to friggin grow the fuck up and move on. If you didn’t like THAT particular group/action, find one that works well with your own personal ideas of what a group/action should be and LEAVE IT AT THAT.

Back to Leaders and Leadership. Faulting every Elder or Leader for the actions of one or two just doesn’t do a damned thing. No matter how you slice it, each person is responsible for themselves and SHOULD be held accountable for THEIR actions. I don’t like getting blamed or treated poorly/disrespectfully for someone else’ bad actions. Therefore I DON’T DO IT TO OTHERS. If YOU, yourself, did something to me, I am game for a LITTLE attitude (Lord only knows I WILL sling some), however… AFTER the initial shock of “that bitch just fucked up,” I tend to go back to being my docile self, thinking before I speak/write anything so as not to provoke a series of “As the Fledgling Flaps” drama that tends to spread throughout the community like wildfire through dense, dry brush.

The “Blame Game”…

I don’t know about the rest of you, however, I get sick to FUCKING DEATH with the bloody blame game that seems to be the domain of certain individuals within the community. It is never, “I’m sorry. I fucked up.” It is ALWAYS, well, you see the newbie/fake vampire that is in my group’s/action’s fault. Or. The “community” is fucked up because of all the “fake newbies/vampires”…

No. The GVC was fucked up LONG before these particular new people, whether vampire, seeker or wannabe, came into being. Laying the blame on them instead of facing the REAL problems within the community shows that you haven’t clue fucking one what is really going on within the community and you are only a drama llama attempting to pull the focus off your own fucked up version of what’s been going on to this point in the history of the community. Indeed, the problem is MUCH deeper and are truly more encompassing than simply, and lamely, laying the blame on “fake newbies”. We have got Elders who’ve abused their power for YEARS. We’ve got people who aren’t made to feel special enough starting their own shit instead of working with established organizations, all for the need to feel like they, themselves, are a power and totally go out of their way to fuck with whatever group/action they either left or got booted from.

There’s a SERIOUS lack of direction within the GVC, itself, that causes new members to become jaded quickly as they see what some of the older members act like. There’s a lack of clarity as to what makes a vampire a vampire, let alone a simple fucking universally accepted working definition of what “vampirism” even is. We have a SERIOUS lack of smacking the disruptive influences down so that serious conversations/discussions/heated debates COULD finally lead somewhere other than the stupid lack of movement we currently have. We have a plethora of members, newer and older, cyber-bullying people who don’t automatically bend over and kiss their ass accepting every word that falls from their lips or crawls across their screen as the “Gospel Truth according to Jon Q Vampire”. We’ve got people who ACTIVELY try to promote the idea that vampirism is merely a religious/spiritual condition afflicting the soul and anyone who disagrees with their idea is just trying to mislead others… ON TOP OF all of this the people who are preaching “if I can get off blood, you can” bullshit actively ignoring the fact that basic human development has proven that not everyone can do the same things… If they could, I’d be damn sure painting like Rembrandt or Renoir by now… We have a plethora of idiots perpetuating fake wars between vampires and therians (more to the point vampires and werewolves a la Underworld movies) that PURPOSELY try to disrupt groups where both vampires and therians participate. We have an ever present perpetuation of hostilities between sangs/psys that started YEARS ago and seems to be on a particularly nasty cycle as it rears its ugly head from time to time. The original line sparking the hostilities back in the days of the Vampire Church was “sangs are nothing but psys on training wheels”.

We have a contingent of “Olde Guard”, as well as a few newer members of the community, continually belittling the Donors of the community. We have a contingent of older members of the community who hold no civility whatsoever as they belittle any new people asking questions to try and get a better understanding of who and what they are. Which is NEVER easy in a world like this. We have a whole plethora of people pretending they are the direct lineage of Vlad/Lestat/Elizabeth/Dracula/name a fictional vampire and everyone should bow down and grant them automatic title/status in whatever group/action they deem themselves worthy enough to participate in… And then there is the ever present “Kiss My Ring” crowd which many of our local communities splintered from because we were tired of being treated lower than a snakes belly if we didn’t dress/talk/appear/smell like them or hang with anyone they considered to be of any import…

These are REAL issues that NEED to be addressed within the GVC, as a whole, that are, more often than not, simply swept under the rug and tolerated.
So… Do you FINALLY see why some people within the community might have an attitude when you bring up for the umpteenth time, ‘we should do this endeavor to better the community because it’s a brilliant idea that I just suddenly come up with’…
Suck it up, Buttercups. It isn’t going to change until we take steps to tackle the REAL issues within the community.
“Once More Into the Breech”
Some of the older members of the community will NEVER understand that, for whatever reason, that the nature of the community is cyclic and that these cycles will always bring the same questions… Over and over and over ad nauseum. The reason these questions are cyclic, and no matter the wording, are ALWAYS THE SAME is that these new people in the community have never had anyone to ask these questions of. They shouldn’t be treated like they are idiots asking an already answered question with statements like, “if you just simply look through the prior topics, you’ll see that your question has been answered before more than a few times.” Or “this shit again?” Or anything like it. The question(s) should be answered to the best of our abilities, whether we’re tired of the question(s) or not. For no other reason than the fact that WE were there once. Some of us, such as myself, were lucky enough to have Elders that helped them along the way… Others have not been so lucky. The plan is simple. Take the questions with a grain of salt, pound of sugar, and, when need be, a good stiff drink.

It really is that simple. Answer the questions. If you don’t feel like it… LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. Just don’t bitch when one of them turns out to be one of those “fakes” you’re so ready to blame for all the other problems within the community.
Well. That’s all from me for now. Hope this article will help someone out there.

Ashe and be blessed,
Belfazaar Ashantison,
Founder and Elder, House of Mystic Echoes
Founding member of the New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA)

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htuktuk
By Stephanie Lovecs
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Anger doesn’t seem to get any respect. Many people try to avoid or repress the negative emotions like anger, envy, and jealousy, because they can take over your mind and influence you into negative behavior. However, some people get some sort of satisfaction from these emotions, in spite of the negative influence they have on our minds. Repressing these emotions can lead to extreme behavior when they finally do surface, so repression is not a satisfactory option. Satisfying these emotions as they arise makes you a slave to them with only short term satisfaction and often with long term problems that will have to be cleared up.

So is there another way of dealing with the wrathful emotions? Indeed, there is.

One aspect of the Left Hand Path is to examine the more negative aspects of your personality in order to understand them and transform them into something more satisfactory, so let’s take a quick look at them to get some understanding, and then apply a bit of reasoning that may lead to a way to transform them.
The wrathful emotions are based upon dislike, and are useful in removing or getting around unsatisfactory obstacles. You can approach obstacles from an intelligent manner and skillfully resolve them, or you can try to use force to smash through them. Anger will give you an adrenaline rush that could be channeled into force, but is there another way to channel this extra energy? Let’s examine anger a bit more closely:
When you are angry, the accompanying adrenaline rush not only energizes your body, but it also energizes your mind. Before you became angry, your mind was relatively clear and calm, like a lake or a slow moving stream. However, a myriad of energized emotions screaming for attention can quickly turn the calm waters into a cloudy, boiling rage that is anything but clear.
With an energized body and a clouded mind, it would seem that the option of dealing with obstacles by force would be the only way, as it is difficult to go the intelligent route by examining the obstacle when your mind in such a state. Your clouded state of mind is an obstacle to the intelligent route. {Wait a minute–aren’t wrathful emotions useful in removing or getting around obstacles? Indeed they are!}
Your first obstacle to deal with is your clouded, boiling raging mind. Direct the energy from the adrenaline rush there first, and remove the clouded state from your mind first. Then you will be able to think clearly enough to take the intelligent route for the external problem. {You apply Greater Black Magick to yourself, first, and then you turn to the objective universe ;)}
Anger is a quick and strong emotion. It can quickly silence the other disturbing emotions within your mind to still the boiling activity impeding your ability to think clearly. Once the mind has been cleared, the rush of energy can then be channeled into mental activity in order to find an intelligent solution to the external problem, instead of resorting to force.
You have overcome not just one obstacle, (the external problem,) but two obstacles (counting the obstacle of the clouded mind.) When you realize and appreciate benefits of this, the disturbing emotions will welcome and respect anger, and energy will not need to be expended in silencing these disturbing emotions, as they will be pacified by anger. However, when this point has been reached, anger doesn’t seem to resemble what it used to be. It has transformed so much that even the name “anger” doesn’t seem to fit anymore.
So, what has this emotion formerly-known-as-anger become? What name would be suitable for this force that can quickly clear the mind, yet super energize it as well? {Wow! It sounds almost magickal, huh?} I have some names for what a thought-pacifying-mind energizing force can be used as a basis for, including:
⦁ Mushin (Zen)
⦁ Samatha (Eastern religions)
⦁ the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Rupa Jhanas (Buddhism)
⦁ Shyine (Tibetan)
⦁ Samadhi (Eastern religions)
⦁ Pure Awareness (Advaita)
⦁ Clearing the Grounds to Alaya (Yogacara)
⦁ The Magickal Trance described in Peter J Carroll’s Liber Null (Liber MMM)
⦁ Kensho (Zen)
The only real name that I have come across to describe this transformed anger is Great Mirror Wisdom. (If you know of any other names for it, please let me know.) Whatever you may call it, it can be the platform/basis for all of the spiritual practices listed above and more, as well as the more down-to-earth tool for dealing with mundane obstacles in everyday life.
So, even if you are not spiritually or magically inclined, it is still worthwhile to apply Hephæstus’ Forge to your anger and transform it for the clarity of mind and problem-solving ability it gives in everyday matters, as well as liberation from being enslaved to its more base expression.
Free your mind!
© H☿D Herald of The Dawn 2NLE

Natural Witchcraft

Posted: Monday, 15 June, 2015 by Catching Dragons in Uncategorized
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piutpig

By Circe Arcanum

I like stripping away all the rubbish and masks of a subject and seeing straight to the truth of what it is. Witchcraft has always drawn me, I like the idea of a powerful wise witch that has the answers to everything. I like dancing outside without a care who is watching, clothed or unclothed. There is something wild and free about witchcraft that always has been attractive.

I ask too many questions for regular religions. Thou Shalt Not Question, is the unwritten eleventh commandment, and my next question was always, Why?

So my journey started when I could learn to read. A library was always a ‘safe space’ for me to hide in at school. I wasn’t actually bullied, much, but the other kids were very alien to me. I never felt we had much in common. If physical violence was necessary I was never afraid to hit hard. But it all seemed so pointless, I really lacked the competition needed to do well in school. But the library was a place of magic and clarity for me. Stories of myths and magic. Eddings, Feist, McCaffery, Norton, Tolkien, Clark, Herbert, and many more. Science fiction and fantasy became my religion and I worshiped my books. To me they were more real than invisible men in the sky. I would read books over and over again seeking out every nuance and inflection. rewriting them in my head with a slight change of plot or character. Yes…I was strange.

Books on the occult and magic soon followed. Witchcraft and lighting a candle to make a wish, gazing into a mirror to catch glimpses of past lives and feeling the heartbeat in a rock or crystal.

Long walks to a local forest became my temple and I connected up to the Nature God and the spirits of the forest. Not many words were needed, just a feeling of not being alone was enough. The books got darker and circles appeared on an old carpet that could be laid on my bedroom floor.

Astrological symbols were explored and runes cast. All was a natural progression for me. A move to another area by my parents and a different school meant a shift from outside to inside. I talked to a few others and we clicked, common interests were found. We asked questions and I voyaged out onto the astral planes and learnt out of body activities. College brought a new set of friends and new activities like sex and drugs. The Church of Adventists were of no interest to me when they handed out fliers at the College gates, but the Satanist were.

I learnt Wiccan and Satanism in equal doses. Committing to neither as both seemed to want control and power over me. I learnt to go still inside and find out where I wanted to go, not were others wanted to lead me.

I learnt my lessons very well, witchcraft lead to shamanism and energy magic and I was home, for a while.

I do not believe in hereditary witches, that is stupid and annoying new age bull shit. If you are drawn to chemistry or physics it does not make you a natural scientist. Witchcraft is not hereditary, though it you are lucky enough to be brought up with everyone around you doing magic it makes things a lot easier. I wasn’t, I just followed my Spirit or Nature and I found it flowed to me.

It doesn’t matter if you are 12 or 97 if you have an interest in anything go study it. Any one can call themselves a Witch, I am not going to tell you you are not. There is no exams to pass or certificates you need. Though there are many out there that will if you are foolish enough to believe them. I created my own brand of witchcraft and you can’t buy it, for it is not for sale. You have to create your own Path of being a Witch, with no rules or even a finish line.

If you wake up one morning and say, “Ok, I am a witch.” That is fine by me. How you define it is up to you, it is really none of any ones else’s business This is my definition.

I am not ever going to give you an insight into the traditional path of witchcraft. I am no scholar to give you the anthropological and psychological reasons on witchcraft and why it happen. I am gifting you with a glimpse of what I call Witchcraft and stripping it bare of all its bull shit.

Religions is worshiping someone else’ experience. Witchcraft, though mixed up Wicca, is not really a religion, any more than the daily practice of Buddhist is. It is an spiritual discipline that grows like you do.

I am part of nature, it is real and solid, no faith required.

So to be a witch is to be present and to see, be and feel what is solid and real. call it what you will, witch, shaman, warlock, pagan, heathen, even wizard, though the term maybe accurate, Harry Potter is not the kind of wizard I am thinking of here. I am looking at the Gandalf’s and those that look to the seasons and rhythms of the earth to find their way and be guided. No one really can teach you this but you can learn the ways of the land by studying the ancient peoples who didn’t have electric light at a switch of a button and were much more closely bond to the rising and setting of the sun and moon.

Nature is never the same, each snowflake is unique. Witchcraft taught me to dance with life and see the subtleties to the rhythm within and with out. I embrace change, it is the only way to survive the inconsistencies of this world. My nature, moods and cycles is part of this world, if I go still and listen, not easy in this over lit and very noisy world, I can hear the ebb and flow of my place and who I want to be.

Witchcraft teaches me to change myself and grow more fully into my nature, it doesn’t care about light, dark, good or bad, or social niceties. I do not know any other path that does the same