Part I. OVERVIEW
Welcome newbie to the Vampire Community, or VC for short. We are glad that you dropped by and have taken an interest in our not so little community. Some of you may be young vamplings looking information and guidance, some of you are probably be curious cats wondering what real vampires are like, some may be solitaries who just found out that you are not alone, while some of you probably know a vampire, a friend, family, or lover, and seeking to understand what a vampire is, while some may be just interested in the art and culture. No matter what your purposes are, we decided to compile a newbie guide to help YOU out during this exciting and scary and confusing phase.
WHAT IS THE VC?
As mentioned above, the VC stands for the Vampire Community. The Vampire Community, or the VC, refers to the subculture made up of individuals who are have the need to take in blood or energy and their donors. They also include Otherkin, Weres and Therians, vampire enthusiasts and lifestylers. Some may argue what or who should be included under the definition of Vampire Community and that is one of the many issues you will encounter in your journey into the VC. Some will argue that it should only include Vampires; some will say that Vampires and Donors only, etc. But whatever definition you may adopt or believe in, you can see, that the Vampire Community is vast and chances are you would meet all of the above in your stay.
A lot of Vampire Community activities exist offline of course. Some vampires are strictly offline, some do both offline and online, while some are involved in online activities only. Now, you probably wonder why that is so. As you can see, there are lots of vampires around the world. In places where there are large populations, they usually are able to meet and come together in gatherings and/or form Houses. However, a huge portion of the members of the Vampire Community are solitary, most of them without access to a local community or are unaffiliated. Some divide the VC between online and offline, while some take them as a whole and collectively refer them to the Greater Vampire Community or GVC.
That need for support, understanding, and networking are some of the reasons why vampires come together to form the Vampire Community. And just like you, we were once newbies. Having been where you are now, we hope to be able to guide you and give you an overview of what you need to know, what generally happens in the VC/OVC, what you can expect, and how you can deal.
When you first come into the VC, you will be meeting a lot of terms, but the basic ones are the following:
Currently one of the, if not THE most controversial term within the Community. Funny, we know, considering that this the term under which the Community is labeled and how most find others like them.
The current consensus, albeit loosely, is that vampire refers to those who have a need to take in blood or energy, without which, their health, mental, and and emotional states suffer.
There are different kinds of vampires. We repeat, THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF VAMPIRES. We cannot stress that enough. That is one of the most important principles that you would need to learn and understand this early on. Not every trait and method of feeding experienced by one vampire is always shared by another. The intolerance for these differences is what makes up one of the biggest problems in the VC and we hope that as part of the new generation, you would be able to rise above that.
The most common kinds are the following:
- Sanguinarians/Blood Feeders–they are the ones that need blood.
- Psi Vampires/Energy Feeders–they are the ones that need energy. Depending on what kind of energy they feed on, the different kinds branch of from there, with Eros or Sexual Vampire as one of the least common
- Hybrid Vampires–they are the ones that need both blood and energy.
Despite those differences, Vampires are still basically human. We are not immortal, and are just like your regular folks that have to deal with your day to day problems like bills and what to eat for dinner. Yes, we eat regular food. 😛 Logan South, the Vampire King of Vampire Court of Austin has put up a video called Top 10 Questions for Real Vampires on YouTube that answers some of the most basic questions people have about vampires.
Refers to a person, usually a non-vampyre — who freely volunteers their blood or life energy to be consumed by one or more vampyres. In some circles, they are called swans. The term swan came from Strigoi VII as a fancy term to denote donors but the term have gained wider usage. On the other hand, there are also those that use the term swan to differentiate from regular donors–those who donate out of the goodness of their hearts, and to denote those who have a need to donate.
Whatever term you use, it is not as important as the respect and appreciation you should have for those that freely give of their energy or blood. Without donors, it would be very difficult for vampires to have full and healthy lives.
Refers to the physical and mental changes that a person undergoes in the realization of their vampiric nature. This usually begins around puberty and depending on how the vampire deals with the awakening, it can be a short period or prolonged. Some vampires would claim that awakening is actually a life-long process where the vampire undergoes multiple stages of change as they understand and be more accepting of their vampiric nature.
This refers to the instinctive, predatory, and bestial nature of vampires and therians. The “beast” exists in all humans, however, it is mostly apparent within vampires due to their predatory instinct. It is very destructive and recognizes little to no sense of morality. It is usually characterized with a lack or absence of control.
DANGERS AND SAFETY MEASURES
Now as we mentioned above, you would be meeting different kinds of people in the OVC. Due to the mystique surrounding the predator image of the Vampire, there would be those that would take advantage of this and try to prey on new folks. They may use them, drain them, even try to get them to commit suicide. It is very dangerous and one thing a lot of people fail to address.
There are those that would try to lure in their fold, with promises of knowledge or power, and/or in some cases, immortal life, cause hey, vampires! Folk promising it all but unable to talk about it because its ‘secret’. But they want you to signup into their organization first, without giving you any info about it, or want you to buy a book before you can access their tomes of knowledge…chances are, they are either scammers or trying to do something like a cult. Of course, none of them would be saying that they’re cultists right off but there are a few tells and things to watch out for.
Joe Navarro, M.A., a 25 year veteran of the FBI and is the author of What Every Body is Saying and Dangerous Personalities, have listed the typical traits of the pathological cult leader that you should watch for and which shout caution, get away, run, or avoid if possible:
- He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
- Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
- Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
- Has a sense of entitlement – expecting to be treated special at all times.
- Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.
- Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
- Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
- Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.
- Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.
- Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.
- Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
- Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.
- Has ignored the needs of others, including: biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs.
- Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
- Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic (sic) speech, or by making theatrical entrances.
- Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
- Doesn’t seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.
- Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.
- Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.
- When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.
- Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.”
- Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as “the enemy.”
- Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.
- Believes himself to be omnipotent.
- Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.
- Is superficially charming.
- Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior.
- Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.
- Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.
- Treats others with contempt and arrogance.
- Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.
- The word “I” dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.
- Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly – when he does he acts out with rage.
- Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions.
- Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.
- Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.
- Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks.
- Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.
- Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or outside world.
- Monitors and or restricts contact with family or outsiders.
- Works the least but demands the most.
- Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”
- Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
- Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.
- Sees self as “unstoppable” perhaps has even said so.
- Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.
- Doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself – in fact sees himself as perfection or “blessed.”
- Has taken away the freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life, and liberty of followers.
- Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed. (1)
The list refers to cult members/leaders but they are also applicable to other types of predators as well as abusers. Other tells include manipulating you emotionally and making you feel responsible for their bad behaviors and actions: “You made me do this”. Some would even go so far to pull on your emotional strings to keep you guilty, terrified, and away from seeking help. A lot would use isolation or a combination of isolation and being one of them–emotional hooks, as another strategy.
This is not an exhaustive enumeration and there are some things that you might still need to watch out for, and a lot of them would probably be very subtle but if the person you are dealing with has a good number of characteristics from that list, they are most likely to be bad news and you should get away from them pronto.
If you think that your agency has been or being compromised in any way, then listen to your instincts. Vampire or not, a good person would respect your feelings, give you good and proper information, and allow you to make your own decisions without threats, coercion, subtle or otherwise.
General Safety Measures
In coming into the OVC, it is often best to compartmentalize your identity. Have a separate account for your nightside. Most of the current online interactions are on Facebook and due to the site’s Name Policy, it is best to pick a pseudonym that sounds like real names. It is advisable not to put in your physical address, your contact numbers, and e-mail, or basically anything that stalkers can use to link to your dayside life.
On the other hand, most of you find the Vampire Community on the internet but a lot try to look for locals really quick. Some folks like to pretend that crazy, dangerous and predatory folk aren’t in the VC but that is not true. There are, sometimes even protected by other prominent community members. Always be cautious in offline dealings, phone numbers or addresses. Limit the personal information that you give out.
The old ways seem are still one of the best ways. Meet in public, and bring anything that you could potentially use as a weapon for defense. Bring a friend with you, NEVER go alone! Or to their house or invite them to your house. Establish a check in time with a third friend whom will call the cops if you miss the check in.
What to do when you have encountered a predator or abuser.
We hope that you may never fall to the clutches of one but in case you find yourself in this situation, here are some of the important things you can do:
1. Block the predator. Most social media, like Facebook, have provided a Block/Report function. Use them. Never give out your number outright. If they have your number, most phones have a block function there too. Don’t put all your details on Facebook or give out your email indiscriminately. If you have, you can block them from there too or set all their mails to the spam folder. Some would try to create bogus accounts to continue contacting you. So practice basic internet safety and make yourself and your dayside life inaccessible to strangers as possible.
It is important that they cease to have any more access to you or your life or any information about you as they can use that access to cause you more fear, or to continue jerking your emotions, or cause further harm to you. Don’t feel bad about blocking them, even if they threaten self-harm to make you feel guilty about looking out for your safety. You are not responsible for them or their well-being. You are responsible for YOU. But if you really are that worried, tell them that you would call 911 or the local emergency number to get them help, or send them this link to a list of suicide hotlines. Then hit the block button still. If they legitimately need help, there isn’t much you can do and it would be the professionals and experts who can help them best. If they are predators, that sends the message that they cannot guilt you into becoming a victim.
REMOVE YOURSELF FROM DANGEROUS, POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, AND/OR ABUSIVE SITUATIONS IMMEDIATELY!
2. Save all evidences of the attack, and any past conversations that caused you distress or concern. Those are evidences that you can show to trusted adults or people in authority. In case of further investigations or need to press charges, you have the information to back you up. Screencap them using your phone or computer or copy-paste the conversation including the time stamps and URLs to a document. A lot of smartphones now have screencap apps or functions. If you are using Windows, you can screen cap the conversation by pressing the ‘Print Screen’ key on your keyboard then open the Paint application. Right click on the blank drawing field and click ‘Paste’. You can save them as jpeg or png format.
If you have been hurt, don’t throw away any article of clothing, specially if they contain body fluids, blood or otherwise. Take pictures of your wounds, bruises, and scan or save all pertinent medical records and police records. Personally record what happened, the people involved and the circumstances, ideally immediately after they happened. Be as detailed as you can remember. You would need in case of official investigations and charges.
3. Report to Police Officers and to VC Elders. The Vampire Community doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Members of this subculture still need to follow the laws. If the attack on you constitutes a crime, your local authorities need to know about it. A lot of folks usually try to keep this side of their life hidden, for many reasons. However, that shouldn’t be any reason to keep you from filing the proper charges. If you find yourself under threat, whether physically or psychologically, don’t hesitate 911 or the equivalent local hotline number if you’re not in the United States.
Seek the help of adults you can trust. Show them the screencapped conversations and all evidences you have gathered. Medical staff as SOP also usually contact the police if upon assessment, they have determined that it is necessary. Do not be scared of folks threatening you with their power and influence. More likely than not, most these predators exist on the fringes of the community and not members of good standing. Despite the many differences in the community, safety is always emphasized. Filing charges and protecting yourself is your responsibility.
Aside from reporting to the police, you should also alert fellow members of the VC particularly VC Elders, leaders, or people with influence in the community. This is important as some predators simply move between different locations. With the evidences you have gathered, they would be able to alert the members or leaders in other locations and help with information dissemination to keep the predator from having more victims.As mentioned above, sometimes, some prominent members of the community give protection to troublemakers as they are their own, so if you are going to come forward, make sure to contact also those who are not in the same clique.
Using the definition used in Sanguinarius.org terminology, Elder refers to a prominent member of the vampiric community who is honored and respected for his or her experience, knowledge, willingness to help others, accomplishments and devotion. Elders are often those individuals who have helped establish a community, organize groups, or help network the community.
Basically, they are those who are long-time members of the Vampire Community and have helped build or establish it as you see now. In your stay in the Vampire Community, you would meet some of them, some more active than others.
There are different kinds of Elders. Deacon Gray summed it up as:
1. Organization rank achieved through time, contribution, and administrative task completion, and community recognition
2. Individual standing achieved through significantly long community involvement.
The first one really speaks mostly to Houses, Clans, Courts and Halo’s. In this field it is expected that the member involved has spent enough time, displayed a depth of knowledge and contributed enough effort to be recognized by both their own organization and others.
The second type of Elder speaks not to standing in an organization, but to simply having been around a long time. It becomes accepted that through time, one has gained knowledge and wisdom (though that’s not always true.)(2)
- From Underworld: Viktor and Council of Vampire Elders
What that means is, elders are regular folks like you. We’re not saying that to minimize their contributions and role. Simply, a good portion of you newbies come into the VC heavily influenced by images and ideas from popular culture, e.g. movies and books, and most probably envision Vampire Community Elders similar to that in the image above and it is nowhere near the truth.
There are no governing bodies in the VC. There are prominent members that have some clout within their spheres of influence but none of them are rulers in the same way that fictional vampires, monarchs, or heads of state do. So even if they have the title of an elder, it does not mean that their word is law. And just like being old doesn’t automatically mean one is wise, being a long time community member doesn’t mean that they are automatically folks to look up to.
Nevertheless, there are those who do exceptional work in the community who are also called elders. Although they may not be as vocal or loud, you can usually find them by their work/what they have done such as writings, helping of the community grow, charity work or outreach works on their local communities, etc.
What this means for you, is that you should not be intimidated to approach one. Specially if you’re an awakening vampling who wants serious answers and help. The Vampire Community has come together for mutual help and support and they were composed before of the older generation, some of whom are still around. So you, wanting and needing help, is what the VC is for. Don’t think that you are not worthy, or that the question is probably stupid. They were once like you, and depending on which elder it is, they remember what it was like to be in your place. Those who have chosen to stay and help out are generally open to queries and if they can’t, would direct you to those who can give you the answers you need. Their experience and insight are some of the things that you can rely on as they’ve “seen it all” so to speak.
Bottomline, you have a voice, use it respectfully, but don’t take what someone says as gospel truth because of a title.
ROLE-PLAYERS AND LIFESTYLERS
Ahh, the headaches of many a real vampire…
Some stumbled upon the VC via a direct search however a lot of you have probably found the Real Vampire Community through Role-play groups and communities. This isn’t unusual as a number of lifestyling vamps sometimes dabble into roleplay. As there are some overlaps, this causes confusion.
To clarify, lifestylers are those who live the aesthetics and romance of the fictional vampires. Lifestylers may or may not be vampires but the term usually refers to those who are non-vampires but choose to live like a, well, vampire, and going so far as to sleep in coffins. Real Vampires who dress and act the part usually refer to themselves as traditional vampires.
Depends on your mileage, you may think of it as a form of role-play, but the difference is, these folks do not pretend to be other than who they are, just that their choice of dress, courtly manners, and manner of speaking, usually, reflect that of the Victorian vampire trope. They are normally nice people and with that, most VC members don’t have any problems with them as they don’t hurt the community at all.
Role-players, on the other hand, are those who pretend to be actual vampires…FICTIONAL vampires. During the early 90s, White Wolf released a live action and role-playing game called Vampire: The Masquerade. Role-players have been around prior to that period however, there had been a surge of them due to V:TM. Nevertheless, gathers for plays also attracted some real vampires, and have served as a gateway as to how some vampires met each other during that period.
The problem comes in when some role-players take it too far and come into the community and pretends to be a 500 year old vampire who are darker and more powerful than thou, and presents himself to be the real deal. Worse still if they lose touch with reality and others start believing in him too. Take the famous case of Rod Ferrell for example. He created the character Vesago and claimed to be a 500 year old vampire due to his being obsession with Vampire: The Masquerade. He then proceeded to form a cult called “The Vampire Clan” and eventually proceeded to murder her friend’s parents in their own home. All them thinking they are real vampires(3)
That example is one of the reasons why some members of the VC subculture dislike roleplayers. And in connection to our “Dangers and Safety Measures” section above, some predators and dangerous folk would consciously employ role-playing as a way to find would-be victims. Less serious examples include those who come into real vampire groups and cause disruption by claiming to be 300 years plus or so Count “kiss mah ring finger” Dark-ula, and spreading misinformation.
So if you’re a newbie who came into the OVC as a roleplayer, it is best to clarify from the get-go that you are one. Avoid role-playing on serious topics specially those that discuss vampirism. RP actions like *dances around* however are usually acceptable. The same applies to vampires who are also into role playing. Generally,there’s nothing wrong with role-play as as it is within it’s proper context—to be taken and performed simply as a game, to be done in the proper threads, and/or groups.
Part II. YOUR JOURNEY
Now that you know some of the people and things you would meet, let us begin on your journey. Some things to bring with you to this are, an open mind, manners, an ability to look up information already around, a willingness to actually listen, and a desire to learn. Sure even if you bring all that you may still find some drama or bad apples, but you’ll also find folk willing to help you and answer you as well.
When you come into the VC, it is certain that you already bring with you certain beliefs or pre-conceived notions. As mentioned above, a lot of you that come into the VC have preconceived notions about what a vampire is and should be, mostly because of pop culture. However, when you start your foray into the VC, you’d find that they aren’t quite what you imagined at all! Vampirism is not glamorous like the movies—no sparkles, immortality or eternal youth, invulnerability to bullets or illnesses. Real vampires are still basically human, are not immortal, and can get sick…a LOT. You’d also find that there are different kinds of them, as we mentioned above. You’d find some common traits among the same kinds of vamps as well as uncommon ones. So just because a person has a certain set of experiences, doesn’t mean another vampire would automatically have the exact same experience.
Vampires also have differing beliefs as to the cause of vampirism–metaphysical, or physical, or both. To others it is also a spiritual path; to some, it is merely a physical condition like an illness; to some, it encompasses their whole identity, etc. Vampires also practice different beliefs—from Eastern philosophies, to different sects of Christianity, to Paganism, and atheism. Different cultures and different races. All sharing a need to feed on blood or energy or both, yet no two vampires are exactly the same.
So if you’re an awakening vampire, you also have your own experiences too, and they are as valid as others, as others are to yours. As you come into the VC, it is best to practice tolerance as nobody has all the answers.
Open-mindedness is important however, it doesn’t mean that one should accept everything without an ounce of skepticism. This journey is more about you so it’s also important to take things with a grain of salt. A lot of people want to be told whether they are vampires or not and be spoon fed answers. But the better way to do it is by searching and asking the right questions. The truth is, you can find most of the same answers you are asking with a bit of effort. It shows a true willingness to learn if one does so first, because it would held you ask better questions after. And when you do, don’t be afraid to raise them
As there are different kinds of vampires and donors, you would find that some methods of feeding would work for you, and vice versa. Critical thinking is important in figuring that out. A lot of the older members have experimented on themselves to find their own answers. Feeding alternatives, the effects of not feeding, determining your feeding cycle, etc. You can check them out and see how they would work for you. And as always, we recommend that you be mindful of safety practices when you do.
Critical thinking is also important in determining whether you’d like to be mentored or not, or which mentor you could work with, as well as determining if you want to join a vampire house or not, and if so, which one would be right for you.
your journey is about you
Etiquette, Manners, and Principles
There are different kinds of personalities in the VC. The members have come from almost all walks of of life so you can expect different temperaments across the board. There are bullies, shit stirrers, drama whores, liars, honest folk, aggressive, passive, timid, big hearted, sincere… well you get the point. Most of the active mainstays however have pretty big personalities and you can almost always expect heated discussions and passionate debates on differing viewpoints. As a newb, seeing these would probably be intimidating for you and mistake it as completely problematic, however, that can also be a sign of a thriving community. So don’t shirk back and think you can’t or are too newb to participate. One of the mistakes you can make is not using your own voice.
Be firm but polite. Listen and take in the information from those who have been at it for years. Some may not be like what you are going thru but you should still be respectful. Yes somethings are hard to believe, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t learned anything either. Best bet if you feel heated by someone or a topic… step back. Come back in a few hours with a clear head and less emotionally invested. If you feel you cant work it out with someone or reply respectfully, ignore or block them as a last go to to help keep the peace.
Of course, as you become more involved in the VC, you would see that there are a lot of problems in it that need resolving. It is natural to want to help and propose solutions to problems, however if someone spoke out and said that it has been tried before and failed, listen to advice and actually hear them. A lot of ideas have already been done. Learn what has been tried and why it has failed. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to help make the VC a better place.
You can do that in many ways.
- Learn and grow. The knowledge you will gather is something you would be able to share later on to those who need it.
- Participate. Just because you are new doesn’t mean you can’t help build the community you want. Get involved in community projects; volunteer and/or donate to the many outreach programs by local communities; join in discussions; volley ideas with others; share your self-experiments; USE YOUR VOICE; And above all…
- Be respectful. This goes beyond tolerance. It means recognizing and treating people like people. This encompasses all of the above. It means treasuring your donors for helping you remain healthy and not abusing them.; it means responding politely to another person’s questions even if you heard it before; it means respecting other people’s boundaries; it means standing up against abuse when you see it.
Houses refer to a group of vampires united under a common theme, set of traditions, philosophy / beliefs, sigil and hierarchy/ structure. The purpose of a House or household can range from the merely fraternal, to the spiritual. The number of members in a house or household can be as few as three or number into the hundreds. (4) Other houses are composed of varied folk including donors and otherkin.
Houses usually mentor their members however, most houses tend to be private with knowledge and internal goings on. Its no different than a closed pagan circle or coven in that regard. Now you’d probably be wondering if you need to enter one in order to learn more about feeding practices and develop skills. The answer is, you don’t need to. If you determined that the best way for you to learn is within a established institution, then you may do so. Just know that majority of vampires, donors, and otherkin are not affiliated to any houses and they were able to do well on their own.
Houses aren’t for everyone. In order to determine whether you should join or not, ask yourself what you are looking for.
Are you looking for information? With the advent of internet, it is easier to find information to help you along. There are various vampire websites online as well as Facebook information resource groups where you can read up, and ask questions from various folk. There are also those who would be willing to share information with you, if you truly are serious in seeking them. Unaffiliated folk are usually open to answering questions, as well as House members, however with the latter, there are certain information that are limited to house members only.
Are you looking for social interaction with fellow nightfolk? There are various meetups and vampire events that you can go to and participate in without joining a House. You can also join vampire balls that are thrown each year. Of course there’s also the ubiquitous social media where you can chat and interact with various community folk. You also don’t have to join a House to help with their community projects. However, if you’re seeking a close-knitted interaction or the intimacy of Vampire Covens, then see what kind of structure that particular house has. This is important as some hierarchical structures are prone to abuse. As always, be on the look out for your safety.
In 1979, Isaac Bonewits developed a tool called “Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame” which you can use to determine whether a House/Coven/Organization would be dangerous or not. It was developed to help both amateur and professional observers, including current or would-be members, of various organizations (including religious, occult, psychological or political groups) to determine just how dangerous a given group is liable to be, in comparison with other groups, to the physical and mental health of its members and of other people subject to its influence. It cannot speak to the “spiritual dangers,” if any, that might be involved, for the simple reason that one person’s path to enlightenment or “salvation” is often viewed by another as a path to ignorance or “damnation.” (5)
As we’ve previously discussed in A Question of Etiquette: Courts/Houses/etc., it is also important to check the group’s values to see it would help you see if you would mesh well with the group.
Whether you decide to join a House or not, always remember that your journey is about you, and it is best to seek the path which would help you grow best.
FINDING A MENTOR
So after all of this so far you have researched, asked questions but still feel there is more? Well you can look for a mentor to help guide you along this new chapter and journey in life.
Mentors are those experienced vampires that teaches newly awakened the ropes–from feeding, how to deal with the beast, to how to use abilities and gifts, survive, safety measures, etc. Some experienced donors also teach new donors and the same goes for otherkin.
Mentors can be tricky as not all mentors teach the same way or the same thing. The best way to find one is to determine what you are looking for. Knowing what your learning style is also important in finding a compatible mentor. After that, communicate your intentions out there then go through those who contact you and see if you guys will work well together.
Even though mentors have different teaching styles, the characteristics of a good mentor are uniform. They are the following (7):
- Good listener. A mentor gives their students their full attention. They truly get to know their students in order to help them better.
- A Guide. A good mentor teaches but not force their truths upon their students. They then let the person go their own way and encourage them to seek their own paths.
- Practical. They set up goals, prioritize, follow through and not drop out of thin air. They also teach based on what the students needs to learn.
- Provide insight. As someone who is more experienced, they have also made more mistakes, and thus learned more lessons. These, they pass on to their students for them to avoid the same mistakes, as well as the lessons of good decisions.
- Accessible. A good mentor is knowledgeable but won’t claim to know everything. They also won’t hesitate to be your sounding boards and volley ideas with.
- Criticize Constructively. Not destructively. They point out your weaknesses, and help you improve upon them.
- Supportive. They have the student’s best interests at heart and are encouraging, not damaging. They help out as much as they can but they do not spoon-feed. They will let you learn lessons on your own.
- Specific. They give specific advice on what was done well or could be corrected, what was achieved and the benefits of various actions (8)
- Care. They are interested in your personal development and seeing you succeed.
- Admirable. They are principled and have values worthy of emulation.
Of course, if you’re going to undergo mentorship, you have to do your best to learn well. You should be:
- Diligent and Committed. A good student is willing to put in the time and effort to learn. They are not flaky and are persistent.
- Curious. Basically, they love to learn. They are willing to try different methods and look forward to discovery of new things.
- Responsible. While a good mentor doesn’t spoon feed, the good student is driven and personally invested in their growth. They do not slack off of the tasks given to them and put in the time to practice the skills taught to them.
- A good listener. They absorb the information given to them and apply it. They evaluate what they are learning but do not pretend to know better.
- Determined and Disciplined. They decisive and dedicated to learning. Even after they’ve faced failures, they do not give up easily.
Being new might be intimidating at first, specially if you do not know where or how to start and whom to approach. It’s normal to feel shy at first but as we mentioned above, the community came together for teaching and support. Basically, it came to be for YOU. We hope that this guide helps you in your journey into the GVC and that you have learned a lot to better yourselves. Remember what is in this guide and you will learn from many knowledgable folk. This guide is for you, the new person. Enjoy !
(1) Dangerous Cult Leaders by Joe Navarro, M.A.
(2) What are Elders Anyway? by Deacon Gray
(3) This Brutal Double Murder From The Past Was Committed By ‘Real’ Vampires
(4) Terminology and Lingo from Sanguinarius.org
(5) The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6)
(7) What Makes A Good Mentor