Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Religion and the Vampire, Interview Nine

Posted: Sunday, 10 June, 2012 by deacongray in Religion

 

I’ve found a more personal, pagan kind of religion to satisfy the spiritual side of things.
~ Julian Clary

This week, we are speaking with my friend, Jennifer Jewel. She has been involved with the vampire community for several years through the Yahoo eGroup, ShadowLore. Perhaps not the most well-known member of the vampire community, she is still a great person – one whom I recommend you all get to know. Previously, the community members we spoke with seemed to all be on a path they had started as children. Jennifer’s journey has been different, and I am thankful she chose to share it with us!

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
JJ: I’m sang and psi, prefer sang but use psi when i need to. not sure what you mean by explaining your vampirism

GYP: I apologize for any confusion – I meant exactly how you answered. Thank you for answering!

GYP: And what faith do you follow?
JJ:  i consider myself eclectic pagan

GYP: Why do you consider it “eclectic” paganism?
JJ: I consider myself an eclectic pagan because when I first started learning about the pagan religion there wasn’t one specific tradition that called to me, initially Wicca did and I learned a lot about it. As I grew as a pagan and learned more about other traditions, I also learned that as a pagan you weren’t required to subscribe to a set path. Now, as I go I gather bits and pieces from various paths as well as the Native Americans, to integrate into my own path making it my own. I’ve never been one for “organized religion”.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
JJ: roughly 10 years

GYP: What led you to this particular path? Did the Lady come to you, or is it something you just kind of “stumbled” upon that you knew fit?
JJ: Well, I’d say it probably started in high school when I was taking a biology class. They were teaching evolution. At the time, I was Methodist. The more I learned, the more it made sense. This caused me to search more about the “source” or the ALL. I started figuring out what I believed in, and it wasn’t the Christian God. One day in my high school Chemistry class, I was talking to a friend about how and what I believed but didn’t know what it was. She told me to do some research on Wicca. I started really thinking about it then, but not being in an environment where I could truly research it, I waited until college. I went to a bookstore in the mall and bought the Idiots Guide to Paganism. I was so excited, it described me to a T. I was so happy to finally find a name for what I believed, and it’s just grown from there

GYP: May I ask what faith(s) you followed before finding this path?
JJ: I grew up going to a Methodist church.

GYP: Have you ever experienced anything that might have shaken your faith, or caused you to doubt?
JJ: not my current faith, no

GYP: You say not with this faith, how about with previous faiths?
JJ: When I was Methodist, I initially accepted it blindly. As I grew up and learned more in school, I had more and more questions that “you weren’t supposed to ask” or that no one had answers that felt right to me. I also started doubting the church, as things were not so great in my childhood and I couldn’t understand why God would let it happen. As many times as I tried accepting Him into my heart, I never truly felt it. Which is where the biology class in high school started changing my thinking.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
JJ: no, as long as the energy is taken with permission

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
JJ: no

GYP: A few vampires do incorporate their religion into their vampirism. Is there  a reason you do not?
JJ: Honestly, there are a few reasons. One, I don’t feed as often as I should and two, I don’t know how.

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
JJ: i’ve considered it but never did

GYP: A lot of people might consider the two questions regarding incorporating religion into vampirism (and vice versa) to be redundant, so can you explain to readers how you might incorporate your vampirism into your religion, but not your religion into your vampirism?
JJ: Maybe I have this backwards, but I think being an eclectic pagan makes it easier for me to be a vampire since there is not as much dogma about “being different” or worry about being ostracized for being something other than they want you to be. Pagans, in general , seem to be more accepting of differences in people whether they are vampire, otherkin, or just a different person all together (sexual orientation, relationship preferences, etc.) As far as how to incorporate my vampirism into my religion, I don’t have enough experience or networking with people who have to know how to bring the two together. It’s not that I don’t want to, I don’t know how. Maybe being somewhat new to the vampire community (roughly +/- 5 years) has something to do with it, I don’t know. There surely aren’t books on that! LOL.

Religion and the Vampire, Interview Eight

Posted: Monday, 4 June, 2012 by deacongray in Religion
Tags: , ,

A tremendous stream is flowing toward the ocean, carrying us all along with it; and though like straws and scraps of paper we may at times float aimlessly about, in the long run we are sure to join the Ocean of Life and Bliss. ~ Swami Vivekananda

Each week, we interview a member of the community to learn more about their spiritual path. As I have said before, I truly believe that this allows us to better understand our fellow community members. Vampirism can be – and often is – such a small part of our totality, but too often what we really know about each other begins and ends with feeding habits. This week, GraveYard Press staff spoke with Laurentz Yvann, who is a vocal and well-liked member of the community.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
LY: I don’t actually distinguish between the two as I am adaptable to both modes of feeding…but predominantly, I am a psychic vampire. I am adept at psychometry which makes me essentially a touch telepath…and I am also highly empathic; so I’d say that I find psychic feeding ( line of sight ) and astral feeding the most convenient methods. But my all time favorite is via ceremonial sanguinarian methods which employ the butterfly phlebotomy tools and Waterford chalices. (Yes I’m kind of a crystal snob. LOL )

GYP: I must ask, when you do indulge in a sanguine feeding, is it for the energy or something more (that may not have been defined yet?)
LY: It is reserved for a two fold purpose; the first is to cement permanent and lasting bonds between “kin”… the second reason is for a mutual psychic energy exchange. Yes I did say “psychic” because it is my belief that the blood is merely a physical “witness” that amplifies donor and vampire telepathic rapport and thus facilitates the exchange of vital life force or chi.

GYP: At this point, Laurentz Yvann has asked that I mention something for him: As a Bennuine (member of House Bennu), he holds a monthly Communion Rite in effigy with his fellow Bennuines that mimics Catholic Consecration. This rite serves to meld the House and Member life forces by merging their hearts and minds through symbolism.
GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
LY: I am an American Catholic, catechized in the post Vatican II traditions emphasizing resurrection, triumph over death, self sacrifice, purposeful suffering and life everlasting.

GYP: For those of us not of the Catholic faith, can you differentiate American Catholicism from Roman Catholicism?
LY: Roman Catholics are slavishly devout to the dogma of the church teachings including all their prohibitions. American Catholics are a little more reformed from such strict adherence to the church’s prohibitions. For example, in the American Catholic church, you’ll find splinter groups like Dignity Church who embrace Gay Catholics and you’ll find many pastors turning a blind eye to contraception and remarriage under certain circumstances.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
LY: In the past two years, my attendance has been mildly erratic, but in earnest…I’ve buried 5 beloveds in the past 15 months, and that has shaken my faith a little. But what remains behind of my faith is still what I’d describe as a kind of cosmological gnostic mysticism. (very similar to that of the Essenes)

GYP: I’m sorry to hear about your losses. That’s really rough.

GYP: Can you explain cosmological gnostic mysticism and the Essenes to readers?
LY:  Cosmological gnosticism is by my personal definition the search to see a unifying vivifying creative force that animates and gives varying levels of intelligence to organic cell and tissue systems from simple plant and amoebae all the way up the many phylum to ultimately humanoids. It is an animistic philosophy that recognizes both creationism and evolution seamlessly and implicitly.

The Essences were a Rabbinical group of mystics who sought the Divine in a variety of outwardly ascetic practices and held to the belief that they would receive their souls back after they mortally died. I’m including a definitive link… albeit not a complete one…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes 

Central to my belief system is that (like the Tibetan Monks too) Vampire maintain a hold on their core identity or soul which is immutable and inviolable and immortally eternal. Jesus is purported in John 14:2 to have said…”In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” As a Catholic Vampire I interpret that to mean that there are multiple dimensions of equal physicality and expression in which my soul will extrude into after I leave this current vessel and I will assume another physically expressed body in yet another life-cycle.

Mortal life and death are central themes to my Catholic Vampiric Spirituality Mikyla. Through the lens of my beliefs I view mortal death as a gateway of rebirth… a resurrection of one’s soul, much like that found in the mystery of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. As a Vampire incarnate in humanoid form, I feel that it is my life quest to take and give life energies in accordance with the Divine Order. I also understand human suffering much more intimately now and appreciate it in a gentle and self sacrificial perspective… I see it as a prelude to the Death Angel’s kiss… so to speak prosaically. But in accordance to Divine Order I also believe that personal suffering should be assuaged medically and conciliatorily. Our many sciences of healing allow us to lessen and make bearable the human suffering that accompanies this human condition.

Do I believe that our sciences will evolve to a point where organic life and humanoid life will become virtually physically immortal? Yes, I believe it is entirely within our ken and evolution to achieve virtual organic immortality. But I believe that the soul will still have to slumber after some time in the state of “immortality” to then reawaken refreshed and renewed. So I foresee that the human “vampires” of the future will still “have to go to ground” at different times in their elongated mortal life spans. But I also foresee that even they will eventually opt to leave the body mortal out of sheer weariness and ennui and wise yearning for something far better in other dimensions. This is to me the Divine Order of Creation.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
LY: In all complete honesty, I would have to say that my mystical form of Catholicism has been an indelible part of my psyche ever since early childhood. As a young Catholic child, I was particularly fascinated by the scriptures referring to Jesus’ miracles…most notably his raising Lazarus from death… the reference to Jesus’ curing the woman with the heavy bleeding-whom was cured when she touched the hem of his garment….and of course the scriptural references to Jesus’ mystery of his death and resurrection.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
LY: No…to my reasoning, the surrogacy of the transsubstantiation of water and wine and host into the “Body and Blood” of our resurrected Christ is very much in keeping with both my Catholicism and it’s many pagan origins.

The notion of blood sacrifice goes back to at least Sumerian customs; I suspect even further.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
LY: Every chance I can I use my Catholicism as a quasi religious model to base either my rationale or my ceremonial rituals upon.

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.
Dalton Trumbo

This week, we are talking to community member Belfazaar Ashantison. Zaar, as he might be better known to the majority of the community, has been involved in the Vampire Community, both offline and online, for many years – much longer than this writer. He was one of the first people I met when joining the community – and he is one I have stayed in contact with, through various groups, over those years. One of the few lucky enough to live his life openly, he talks with us this week about his spiritual path.

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?

–Thank you. I am a sanguinary vampire who believes that our condition is a physiological one. I’ve seen too much “evidence” to support this belief.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
BA: I am Vodouisant. A Voodoo practitioner. I am fully initiated in New Orleans style of Voodoo and working on my Haitian initiations through Voodoo Authentica, the shop/family that I’ve joined with and my God Mother, Mama Lola.

GYP: I have heard Voodoo is very similar to Catholicism. Is this because there are revered Saints in both religions, or are there other similarities?
BA: New Orleans style of Voodoo, as with many of the offshoots of Ifa/Vodun traditions, has incorporated Catholicism into its core beliefs… Both of the religions believe that there is only one God. Both also believe that this God uses intermediaries to aid the daily lives of the believers. In Catholicism, you have the Angels and the Saints to contend with. In New Orleans Voodoo, you have the Orisha and Loa…

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
BA: I host regular ceremonies in my home which are open to friends, family, House members and “visiting dignitaries. In Voodoo/Vodou, each house has its own way of doing things, though several similarities in their approach. Such as Ellegua/Papa Legba being saluted first in EVERY ceremony… However, we do come together on the “High Holy Days” which are termed “Fetes”

GYP: I see different spellings of Voodoo, both used here and across the Internet. Is this similar to the Vampire/Vampyre debate, or does each spelling denote a certain path within the religion?
BA: Voodoo tends to be the Americanized version of the spelling and denotes American practitioners and heritage, where Vodou is the Haitian spelling and denotes a Haitian heritage.

Of the offshoots of the original African traditions that came by way of the slave trade through the Caribean, each has its own heritage, system of advancement and stories of the Orisha and Loa…

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
BA: I’ve been a practitioner of Voodoo/Vodou for 15 years but only initiated for 11 years. It is my desire to work my hardest, achieve Houngan status in Haitian Vodou, and truly begin to help those in need…

GYP: What is Houngan status?
BA: Houngan is the Priest of the religion. To make it to this status means a person has dedicated themselves to the service of Spirit… In New Orleans style of Voodoo, I am Houngan though I only say that I am Vodouisant (a practitioner), I am not really going lay claim to it until I have fully initiated in the Haitian traditions with my Godmother, Mama Lola… It is truly my hearts desire to follow this path to its fruition…

GYP: When you say that you want to “truly begin to help those in need”, are you referring to your charitable works via NOVA (New Orleans Vampire Association), or do you mean as a mentor for those interested in following the Voodoo path?
BA: It is in my heart to help people, period… I feel that when I am fully initiated in Haitian Vodou as well as being initiated in New Orleans style Voodoo, it will further that aim and help me focus more on my goals, even with NOVA..

GYP: Have you ever experienced anything that might have shaken your faith, or caused you to doubt?
BA: Not stating this to down Christianity, but when I was a straight forward Christian, I saw things which struck down my faith rather regularly. Since expanding my conscious conception of “God” through my Voodoo/Vodou path, I’ve never once doubted the power behind my faith. “God” is real to me like he has never been before.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
BA: In more than a decade of solid practice, I have yet to run into anything that would be contradictory to the physiological condition of vampirism in the teachings of Voodoo/Vodou.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism? Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
BA: To answer both of these questions, I will simply state what I have stated for several years. My Spiritual Path and my physiological condition do not cross each other’s paths in any other way than they have mutually affected/effected the way in which I draw energy. Because of my metaphysical path, I can hone in on that which the blood contains which I need. Because of my physiological condition, I found better ways to focus the energies I need for my metaphysical path. They have complimented and augmented each other, but other than this, they do NOT cross…

GYP: Finally… We all know there is loads of misinformation on the Internet about any religion that might be considered a “fringe” religion, especially one that is as misunderstood as Voodoo (no doubt, thanks to fiction and the media, much like Vampirism). Do you have any websites that you recommend for those truly interested in learning more about the path, or would you recommend they visit a practitioner?
BA: In all honesty, there is not one website that I would suggest one check out… There ARE, however, books that I would suggest to help the person who is truly interested in learning…

“Jambalaya” by Luisah Teish
“Divine Horsemen” by Maya Deren
“Tell My Horse” by Zora Neale Hurston
“Mama Lola” by Karen McCarthy Brown

These books, especially Louisah’s will give the reader a better view of what Voodoo/Vodou truly is and allow them the chance to decide for themselves whether this path is the correct one for them…

There are a few good CDs out there with Voodoo music on them as well…

“Rhythms of Rapture”
“Angels in the Mirror”
“Bwa Kaymon”

Each carries a bit of knowledge that would be appropriate for the Vodouisant…

Voodoo Authentica endeavors to answer any questions that comes our way… People needing advice or wanting to ask questions about Voodoo or Haitian Vodou can contact us at voodooshop1@cox.net

Here’s a great article reblogged from the South African Vampyre News page. Enjoy!

Hostile Interest – Who’s Watching Us?.

Faith is the force of life.” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828 – 1910).

Around the GraveYard Press, Sundays have become synonymous with the new installment in the Religion and the Vampire series. We enjoy getting to know other members within the expansive Online Vampire Community, especially those we might not interact with regularly (or ever). Despite the fact that religion and spirituality are uniquely personal and individual, often leading to heated arguments when discussed with others, we just cannot stop ourselves. Religion and spirituality drive us. This week, we talk to community member Zero Nightskye.

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
ZN: I am a hybrid vampire, meaning I require both blood and energy.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
ZN: I’m eclectic wiccan.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
ZN: Not exactly. I preform rituals regularly, but I don’t attend any particular service. I’m a solitary.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
ZN: It’s hard to say. I’ve believed many of the tenements of wicca for a long time, and practices similarly. However, I never quite put a name to it, often calling myself spiritual rather than religious. It was only in the past year or so that I actually began putting a name to my beliefs.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
ZN: Occasionally. Many other pagans and wiccans view vampirism as morally wrong because to them, it goes against the rede. The way I see it, without feeding you harm yourself, and then eventually those around you by unconsciously feeding, so feeding responsibly, in my opinion, harms fewer than not feeding would.

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
ZN: Sometimes. I have used blood magick in ritual before because I view it as very powerful.

GYP: Do you believe that working with energy in your religious practices helps you work with energy when you feed?
ZN: Somewhat. I believe that energy working during ritual is the same more or less as regular every-day stuff, except everything is more “amped up” so to speak because it requires a bit more focus on the task at hand.

GYP: Over the years, I have heard of the derision some Pagans and Wiccans feel for Vampires. Do you think this is due to lack of understanding on their part, crazy crimes connected to Vampirism by the media, or that they feel we are truly harming those around us?
ZN: I personally think it’s a mixture of misunderstanding, and a belief that we are dangerous which stems from that. Thing is, vampires, and the very idea of us, scares people. We can tell them that we aren’t really hurting anyone till we’re blue in the face, but the vast majority of people will still have the stereotypical image of us feasting on the towns virgins in their heads. Because of that, and the sheer insanity that gets reported as well as the prevailing prejudices that some people in covens may have, we may get judged long before we get a chance to explain ourselves or convince anyone that were not dangerous. It’s unfortunately far too hard to change most people’s minds when they arent open to being change, and fact is I think a lot of these groups like the idea of having a devil or a scapegoat. Problems in your life, must be a vampire time to break out the binding spells. It’s sad, and kinda pathetic.

An important consequence of freeing oneself from the fear of death is a radical opening to spirituality of a universal and non-denominational type.
– Stanislav Grof

 

I have spent more than ten years in the Online Vampire Community (OVC). In that time, I have seen many people mix together different paths of faith to make one that fit how they truly feel. The majority of these people consider their beliefs to be “Polytheistic”, a belief in more than one God. Personally, this is how I would describe my own beliefs since, while I only worship/revere one God, I believe in them all. But never before have I met someone who really cut to the chase and called it what it is: hodgepodge paganism. And that brings us to our interview with Ezikiel Coy.

Hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I know that religion is a very personal topic, one that many of us are not willing to discuss with others. It is especially difficult to discuss with those outside our respective religious circles as not everyone is open to beliefs other than their own.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
EC: Well, both and neither. I never really was good at labels, sorry. I guess that my feeding can be more Energy based, but that still affects a person physiologically. I guess, if you had to call me anything, I feel that a Psionic/Eros feeder would suit me well enough for now. Though, I have recently come to terms with the fact that “vampire” isn’t really a word that suits me well either. Perhaps we should cover that in a different interview.

GYP: You say that your feeding is energy based, but that you consider yourself “both and neither” sang/psi. Does this mean you occasionally use blood feedings?
EC: What I meant by considering myself neither Psi, nor Sanguine in my practices, was that it seems that me need to “feed” off of the life-force of others is secondary to the energies they freely give me. I am often a counselor, and provide spiritual guidance to others. During this time, an energy connection is established, they give to me, I process and give back a refined product, making it easier for them to be aware and objective about their surroundings. What I do actually feed off of are the intents and programmings of energy, all of the excess that one has built up in their system.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
EC: I studied and practice a mixture of Sumerian and Etruscan pantheons and philosophies. It really doesn’t have a name much more than “hodgepodge paganism.” I am, however, a recognized teacher of spirituality and practice thereof. I have often helped people learn to practice their faith more openly, or express their magic on a more fundamental level. That teaching is also a large part of my spiritual existence.

GYP: You were nine when you learned of the Greco-Roman Deities? While that is not an unusual age to learn about different cultures, it could be seen as young to start on a spiritual journey; at least without parental influence, as evidenced by the Jesus Camps. Were your parents a big influence spiritually?
EC: My parents were very confused and shocked by me reading lists. Everything from the Goetia and the Satanic Bible, to Bucklands Big Book of Witchcraft crossed my hands at least once in those years. Thank the Gods for public libraries.

Bu no, they let me do my own thing, and simply told themselves it was just a phase and that I would come back to church eventually. Hasn’t happened yet.

GYP: What did you learn that prompted you to look in an alternative direction, rather than what some might consider a more traditional direction, such as Christianity?
EC: This is a very interesting question for me, and has to do with my awakening process. My awakening was spawned from a very visceral interaction I had with an entity I had been working to summon for several months. During our time working together, I found myself more drawn into the Occult side of things, and the confirmations I had received from my own experiences was very powerful. You could say that I walked myself into the deep end, really.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
EC: I do, yes. I practice my religious beliefs with offerings to spirits, prayers, and meditations. Exercises that expand my awareness, and writing/study are also parts of accepting and nurturing the Divine nature within/throughout.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
EC: Since I was a child, really. I was about nine when I learned of Greco-roman dieties, and that started my journey to find the Gods of my own pantheon. It wasn’t always this form of practice, mind you- there were several failed incarnations of it before. I think this is just the most stable one, It has lasted for several years now.

GYP: Have you ever experienced anything that might have shaken your faith, or caused you to doubt?
EC: Only in my Faith of humanity. I’ve seen people possessed (helped it along a couple times too), children beaten and hospitalized, heard the confessions of rapists, drug dealers, and adulterers. It’s all just human nature, and trying to find ones place within the Cosmos. Perhaps the only thing that shakes my faith is when there is no coffee. Then it starts getting a little awkward, haha!

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
EC: Certainly not. I came into the world with my own will, and the “Gods,” if they have much say in anything, apparently allowed it to happen. My spiritual needs are as focused on the awareness and preservation of my Essential self as they are about communion with something else beyond my own self.

If the religion I carry was not able to be symbolic of my own life and struggles, it would cease to be a religion, and turn into a plague of errors.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
EC: Only during ritual, really. I don’t feed while invoking Ereskigal, if that’s what you mean (well, outside of ritual…)

*clears throat* To be more accurate- no, and yes. Vampirism is already a part of my religion, in that I give back a portion or offering of myself to the gods, so that they may, in turn, be more present and accounted for in my waking life. No, it is not specifically a vampiric religion where I’m wandering around to various houses trying to get an interview with the Elorath or some such nonsense.
Oddly enough, that Vampiric side is second to my Embodied nature as an aware entity. I mean, how many religions are literally based on the food they eat. Sure, there are strictures and “law” in religion about what should and should not be eaten, but the food isn’t the whole pedantry of the religion.

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
EC: Oh, I’m sorry, I think that I answered this one already, though briefly. Yes, I incorporate all of my aspects into the practice of a True (to me) Religion. It wouldn’t be my path, otherwise.

 

On a final note, I really want to thank Ezikiel – and all of our future and former interview subjects. I am really enjoying getting to know this side of so many community members. Too often we focus on how we differ and let that tear us apart with squabbles over which way is the right way. I honestly believe that all ways are right. While it would be nice to filter out the fakes and the role players and get down to the bones of the matter, I also do not want to minimize anyone’s beliefs. Doing these interviews reminds me how similar we are, despite our differences, and I appreciate that.

We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.
– Kalu Rinphoche

Each week, I struggle to find the perfect quote for the weekly installment in this series. Does it speak to the article, the person we are interviewing? Anything? Then I stumbled upon this quote and I realized this fits everything. Perhaps it is just me, but I believe it is especially fitting for the Vampire Community. There is a reality. We are that reality.

That said, I would like to introduce you to our newest interviewee, Elzie Roze. No, you don’t all like her. Neither do you all like me. I’m 100% OK with this. And so should be everyone within the community. We aren’t here to win a popularity contest. We are here to deal with our common issues, help those who are new to the community, and perhaps one day – find a cause. Nothing more.

GYP: Will you please start us off by explaining your vampirism? Are you sang or psi?
ER: I am a sanguinary vampire.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
ER: I don’t follow any faith. You might call me an agnostic, but I identify myself as a Pantheist and a Rationalist.

Pantheism is a philosophical system that does not believe in an anthropomorphizes god/godess – gods and godesses. It identifies what would be the diety/dieties in religious systems as a way of explaining the infinite totality of all existence (the universe or multi-verses). Pantheistic ideas run through many religions, most especially in Taoism and Buddhism.

Rationalism is a philosophical system that relies on reason (logic and deductive reasoning) as the source for knowledge. For those interested, it is exemplified in the writings of Spinoza, Kant, and Descartes. For me, the bottom line for all of that, from a spiritual point of view, is the ultimate reliance on and faith in ones free-will and self-determination. The moral ideas that accompany this are self-governance, self-responsibility, and the “categorical imperative” — a kind of way of being able to universalize moral choices as a way of checking and balancing their validity.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
ER: Pantheism does not have churches, services, worship or ritual of any kind, so no I don’t.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
ER: I have identified myself with the word Pantheism as the best way to describe my spiritual beliefs for about 3 years. I have been a Rationalist my entire adult life.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
ER: No, since there are no “teachings” for pantheism, there can’t really be a conflict between that and vampirism. Rationalism however does require me to, as I said above, be able to justify “universally” the actions I take to satisfy my needs — could I condone everyone acting in the way I do towards donors, the community, etc.? I would not say that my vampirism is in conflict with my vampirism any more than I would say that Rationalist ethics are in conflict with any other part of my life. The same principals which guide me in the non-vampiric aspects of my life guide me in the vampiric aspects of my life.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
ER: Neither Pantheism nor Rationalism are “religious”, therefore I don’t.

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
ER: Again, no. as a final thought though — I do not see religion, spirituality, or even philosophy as having anything directly to do with vampirism which I think is a physical, not a spiritual, religious, or moral condition.