Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Hello, dear readers! We here at the GraveYard Press do hope you are enjoying your beautiful Sunday. Or, whatever day it is, if you happen to be in a different hemisphere. Right, that would be Monday then! This week, we are skipping the quotes and getting straight to our interview with Chuck Henderson. We hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

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?
CH: Good morning. My vampirism seems to be a hybrid of both sang and psi, however I refer to myself as a sang vampire.

GYP: Why do you choose one name over the other? Is it just for the clarity of being able to claim a particular feeding style, or is there a deeper reason?
CH: Personally, I choose sang over psi because it is more inclusive of the energy and life force that blood gives. More commonly I choose “hybrid”. The reasoning is relatively basic but does have deeper meaning in my path of study that I have followed in my youth until present.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
CH: I follow the Ecclectic Wiccan faith; Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic belief systems.

GYP: And what led you to these particular belief systems? Is it an issue of your ancestral background, or did they “speak” to you in a way that others did not?
CH: At 8 years old I sought out a belief system that connected the best with my own personal beliefs. Eclectic Wicca most closely fit my own ideas on how to live my life. My ancestry does play a part in my beliefs; I’ve Native American Shamanism and Irish magick running deeply in my family tree. These two belief systems fit with me perfectly as I am a very nature loving individual.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
CH: I do hold regular services for my Coven, when possible, based on the Sabbats and individual schedules.

GYP: And do you hold a particular position within your coven?
CH: I am the founder of Stonehaven Coven and have held the High Priest position for the past 16 years.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
CH: I have followed the Wiccan faith for sixteen years.

GYP: What, if any, religious path were you raised in?
CH: I was raised in a household that went to church for holidays and funerals only. My mother raised my brothers and myself alone. She always told us different myths from Europe and the U.S. and it made me realize that magick is all around us. I started studying Wicca at 8 years old.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
CH: I feel that the teachings of vampire civility, The Black veil for example, and the Wiccan rede are very similar in direction. One must follow a code of conduct as either Wiccan or Vampire for the community to function and progress. “To harm none” is essential in my practice.

GYP: I personally, and many others within the community, feel that the Black Veil is outdated and unnecessary. It has always been my personal stance that as long as we are following the laws of our respective city/county/state/country then we are doing well as a community. Do you feel that the Black Veil is vital for the community to function and progress, or do you think that we could/should all act as the responsible adults we claim to be and that would work just as well?
CH: I do feel that the Black veil fits contemporary and should still be followed but could use some amending. Following laws based on location should also be considered for common sense and the future of the community as a whole.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
CH: The incorporation of vampirism and Wicca together has made for some potent magick and magickal feedings. With the will of the very life force of the body you can strengthen your intent, your focus, banishment, etc. When you feed you can make it as dear and great as the Great Rite itself.

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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.

When younger, I was thin as a rail. As I’ve grown older, I’ve put on weight. I have continued to love myself in all those roles. Part of my spirituality, I always tell people, is to accept yourself for who you are.

Troy Perry

Acceptance of self can seem elusive. Especially for those of us within the Vampire Community – and even those who choose to live outside the confines of such a loose community that are still vampiric. We are not all lucky enough to be born with that innate understanding of who we are, nor are we lucky enough to all have family members that know and understand to explain it to us. It can be even more elusive for those of us with strong spiritual or religious beliefs. Finding out that you, the real you, is contrary to all your religious beliefs might turn many of us from that religion. Conversely, it can lead us to deny ourselves, which can be unhealthy. Today we are joined by Elizabeth Love.

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?
EL: I am a psi vampire.

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
EL: I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, AKA Mormon

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
EL: yes, I attend church meetings every Sunday.

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
EL: when you say particular path do you mean vampirism or religion? Well if you’re asking about religion I’ve been Mormon all my life, and as for vampirism I’ve been aware that I was different since I can remember. I have been a part of the vampire community for about 5 years now.

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
EL: Yes, considering that if any church leaders found out about my vampirism i would get into huge amounts of trouble and removed from the church.

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
EL: I don’t really know how to answer this question and the last one (GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?). Just that I’ve adapted my beliefs to suit my needs. I take aspects of other religions and beliefs and add them to my own. I like being open minded when it comes to religion and my beliefs. I love to learn and widen my horizon when it comes to knowledge.

GYP: I apologize if my “incorporate religion into vampirism” was a little confusing. What I am wondering, especially as you’re a psi vamp, is if you feed during services.
EL: Yes, on occasion I do feed from others during church services.

GYP: Since you know that your vampirism would get you removed from your Church, I imagine you are very careful who you share it with offline. Have you found any others within your religion that are like you?
EL: I am beyond careful when it comes to sharing what I am with other people. So far I have not found others like myself that are the same religion.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You can’t see the future, yet you know it will come; you can’t see the air, yet you continue to breathe.  – Claire London

For many humans, faith is the strongest motivating factor in their life. As Claire London so eloquently puts it, we all have faith – we have faith in tomorrow; we have faith in the air we breathe. This is especially true for those who identify as Real Vampires, whether they participate within the community or not. We have faith that we are not really crazy; that someday, science will be able to explain why we need this additional something from outside of ourselves. Some within the community even have faith that one day; perhaps soon, there will be a cure for our needs. This series of interviews seeks to learn more about the faith that floats throughout the Vampire Community; each week we will interview a different volunteer. The questions all start off the same. The articles almost all start off the same (as you will note if you compare this article to its predecessor).

Let me preface this interview with the following: I believe that no religious opinion is wrong – for the person who holds that belief. We all walk our path differently, be it as vampire, kin, friend, lover, or believer. Those of us on the GraveYard Press staff are not here to belittle anyone for their beliefs or non-beliefs. What we are interested in here, is just learning more about those within our community. And we want to know how our personal beliefs tie in with the community: how we interact with others, how we approach our needs, and how we incorporate our faith into our needs, or vice versa. We do hope that you will enjoy this series of interviews and tune in as each one is posted…

Our second guest is Jonathan Peebles, https://www.facebook.com/FatherJPvanir

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?
JP: I am a hybrid who feeds any way he can to keep himself healthy

GYP: Thank you! And what faith do you follow?
JP: My personal Faith I call Vampyrian but I follow many Pagan faiths but my faith is very eclectic but there are others who follow a similar path as well as those that follow the same one I do

GYP: Can you tell us about the Temple you mention?JP: I do the founder and Spiritual Father of (Vampyrian) TempleUVUP. We are a United Vampyrian Universal (eclectic) Pagan Temple founded Dec. 18, 2003; though we have members from all over. Our belief is all religions have there basis in truth as well as not and by trying to understand each other we may come closer to the real truth. We believe in Vampyrism as a part of our lives as well as our spirituality and what makes Vampyrism (Vampyrian) a Spiritual condition is that though we are humans OUR SPIRIT OR SOUL is a Vampyr soul.

GYP: Do you attend regular services?
JP: I have Rituals on holidays that my Temple performs and there are writings about it. I have attended many different services from different pats but not regularly

GYP: How long have you followed this particular path?
JP: I have been Vampyrian about 7 years but have been Pagan about 9 or so

GYP: Do you ever feel that your vampiric needs are contrary to the teachings of your religion?
JP: Absolutely not

GYP: Do you incorporate your religion into your vampirism?
JP: Very much so

GYP: Do you incorporate your vampirism into your religion?
JP: Yes I do

GYP: Since those last two questions on the original form are so similar, can you explain how you incorporated the two (religion and vampirism)?
JP: I believe Layla is our dark mother; my personal belief is that Vampyrism is a product of her as well as the Fallen Angels, Demons, or Gods who decided to come to this realm mated with human females who bore Vampyr children; Born, not turned, and we possess a Vampyr spirit. It is unfortunate that too many people see do not want to associate with religions and Spirituality because of certain churches and cults giving Religions and Spiritualities a bad name.

GYP: You say Layla. Do you mean Lilith?

JP: that is one of her names I have found meaning “Born at Night – “Lady of the Night” or “Goddess of the Night”

GYP: What can you tell us about your beliefs? Who/what do you worship? How? What are your traditions? Did you create this belief system? Is it based upon any of the more well-known belief systems?

JP: We are all eclectic in our beliefs but most at least in the Vampyrian path do not worship anything as it takes away from your personal power and offers them your energy. I have found it through studying other beliefs and finding my truth for myself but believe that it wasn’t created but lost over time as where many other Pagan beliefs with the overpowering of the Christian monarchs.