Introducing the Totum Lex Vampyrica

(Originally posted September , 2010) Over the past week or so, I have been contemplating the “Black Veil” and asking for comments on its value. To those who are new to the Community, or to accepting Vampyrism as a reality, the Black Veil is a set of guidelines and laws laid down for the real Vampyre community by Michelle Belanger (House Keperhu) and Father Sebastian (The Sanguinarium, Order Strigoi Vii) as far back as 1998. Since then it has gone through numerous revisions, with varying degrees of popularity (or unpopularity) – but it is still basically only adhered to by these two groups and some of their affiliates – and is widely criticized in the broader Vampyre community.
Many view the Black Veil as hypocritical and full of shortcomings. Some disavow it altogether, preferring to use their own discretion or their own in-house rules. I too can see the flaws in the Black Veil, flaws which mark it as quasi-religious and coming across as a little “life-styler-ish”, “preachy” and condescending. But of course it is – it was designed basically for use within what is essentially a neo-pagan religious Vampyre cult context, so it is bound to convey some of those religious overtones and “cultiness”, isn’t it?Also, in the Black Veil, I see a stark absence of practical information about what it is to be a real Vampyre, which I have tried to include in this draft. I wish I had access to something like this when I awakened. One simple canonical item including basic information saying “Congratulations, you’re a Vampyre… now what?” and then listing some basic do’s and don’ts.

Most of us in the community are not exactly keen on rules (me either), especially when they are rules set by other people. In fact, I tend to be a bit of a rebel myself and I’ve always gone under the personal motto of “There’s an exception to every rule – and I’m it.”

Perhaps such community rules make more sense when presented as guidelines, or a code of ethics set by and agreed upon by the community? In any case, without an actual authority to enforce such laws, they remain laws in name only and have the effect of nothing more then recommendations or guidelines. I’m sure you can see that even if they are accepted by the community in general, they would have little more effect to the community than do the pirate laws in “Pirates of the Caribbean” – where everyone follows them where it suits them – and dismisses them as “they’re only guidelines anyway” when it doesn’t.

Please people, the only places these laws can be enforced is within a House or Coven context, where membership and participation rest upon complying with a set of house rules or guidelines.

We who have been awakened for some time now, might see lots of common sense and “duh” factors in the Black Veil – and in this set of laws too – but think about the newbies who awaken today or tomorrow and don’t know fresca about being a vamp, know any vamps IRL, or have the faintest clue how to conduct themselves safely or in a way most of us find acceptable? What about the dangers to our community posed by rogue Vampyres hurting their donors, or making public displays of their feeding habits? Pretty soon conservative and religious groups would start openly campaigning against us. Those of us living in dangerous parts of the world (In South Africa for example, people suspected of being witches are routinely murdered in rural areas) know what I’m talking about. If exposed in negative ways, persecution would flare up and our community would have to move underground again.

The following is a draft of a system of values/laws/guidelines. As it is a draft at this stage, it is open to commentary. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions or ask questions. This draft is expected to be used by House Valur as it’s creed and House Law when finalized, and made available to other groups or individuals to use as needed, unaltered. (Please note the copyright.)

The Totum Lex Vampyrica (Whole Vampyric Law) also to be known as: Lex Pro Lamia Populus (Law for the Vampyre Nation).

The Whole Of The Law:

Laws of Nature
Laws of Disclosure
Laws of Community
Laws of the Need
Laws of the Blood
Laws of the Essence
Laws of the Embrace
Laws of the Swan
Laws of Otherkin

LAWS OF NATURE:

1) OF THE LIFE: Vampyres are real living beings, not creatures of myth and folklore bound by symbols nor rituals of religion. We are born, we live, and we die like any other living thing. We have no special abilities marking us which Mundanes cannot master for themselves, should they wish it.

2) OF THE BLOOD: Vampyres have unique needs which define us as Vampyres, being the NEED to supplement our energy or prana in order to remain healthy. There are different ways to feed, being called PSI, Psionic, Psychic or Sanguine, but we are all of the blood, we are all Vampyres. Be advised there are others who can feed as we do, but they do it for different reasons, be it religious practice or magick, or fetishism. We are defined as Vampyres by our inherent NEED to feed, without which we will suffer ill health.

3) OF THE HEART: What we are is not a religion, even though there are some religions specifically for Vampyres. Being Vampyre, our need to feed and all other advantages and disadvantages flowing from this need – is what defines us as Vampyres, regardless of what our individual faiths, beliefs or value systems.

4) OF THE WORLD: Some believe that Vampyres are predators at the top of the food chain, looking down on all living things upon this Earth – but even if that is so, it also means that we are evolved enough to choose to live in harmony with those who surround us. We are born of Vampyres, and also from Mundanes and Otherkin, which marks us as human as anyone else, and no better, nor worse.

LAWS OF DISCLOSURE:

1) KEEP THE SECRET – There are places in the world where we face danger for what we are, and unwise or accidental disclosure could endanger our lives. Our greatest protection from persecution by Mundanes and those who do not care to understand, is the fact that they truly do not believe we exist. We have nothing to prove to them that will not expose us to them. We know what they are, and what we are – that they do not is to our benefit.

2) WEAR THE MASK – We as Vampyres are a part of this world and must live, work and share it with Mundanes in the midst of their society, whether they know about us, or not. Live life as you will, but in order to not expose our existence to the Mundane world in a way that draws negative attention and endangers us all.

3) HONOR THE LAWS OF THE LAND in which you find yourself, so that you will not expose our existence to Mundanes through violating Mundane law or endangering the lives of others. Being Vampyre does not elevate us above Mundanes or Otherkin, nor does it give us grant to abuse them.

LAWS OF COMMUNITY:

1) HONOR THE LAWS OF THE COMMUNITY in which you find yourself, so that you will not bring disrepute to yourself, or your Coven, House, or Community, should you belong. Do this as far as possible – except if this endangers your own life, or the lives of others.

2) SHOW APPROPRIATE RESPECT AND HOSPITALITY TO VISITORS FROM OTHER TERRITORIES – and show them your ways and laws – but allow them the freedom and respect to follow theirs so that you will not bring disrepute to your Coven, House, or the Community. Do this as far as possible – except if their actions endanger your own life, or the lives of others.

3) COMMUNITY FIRST – Vampyre Havens, Covens, and Houses are Vampyre places of safety first and foremost, therefore our laws and needs must take precedence over those of others among us. However these needs must be balanced with the wellbeing of the whole community as these are a part of our community and our extended family.

4) KEEP INTERNAL DISPUTES INTERNAL – within the Coven, House or Community, do not take them into the Mundane world or into public spaces where they can boil over out of control and harm our Community. Settle disputes quietly and discreetly.

5) DISPLAY A UNIFIED FRONT – other Vampyres outside our immediate community are our kindred, before the Mundane world, which is outside ours. As far as possible, present a stable and unified face to the outside world, even if it hides or obscures cracks in our relations with them.

6) EDUCATE OTHERKIN FRIENDS AND ALLIES WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY – Where Mundanes, donors, and Otherkin mingle within our community and do not understand our ways, we should make the effort to educate them, teach them control and discretion, and make certain that they respect our ways, so that we can respect theirs.

7) RESPECT DIVERSITY – no single person or philosophy holds all the answers. There are many paths in life. Being Vampyre is not a religion to be argued over, it is a state of being, a fact of our existence. Arguments over deities and belief systems are as pointless and improvable as arguing with Mundanes over our own existence. Like Mundane society, Vampyre society is diverse and mutual respect is essential for cohesion and strength, the glue that binds us together.

8 ) CHOOSE THOSE WHO ENTER THE COMMUNITY WELL – living among Vampyres is not something everyone can deal with. Show restraint and care in choosing who to bring into the Community. Those who are immature, mentally or emotionally unstable, selfish and manipulative, have no place among us. They are dangerous and unreliable and may betray us in future. Whether Swans, donors, Otherkin or newly awakened – their actions, and their behavior in the community will reflect on you.

LAWS OF THE NEED (FEEDING LAW):

Preamble: This speaks of feeding in the context of both Blood and Essence. Ethical feeding applies across the board. There are kinds of feeding, particularly in terms of PSI feeding, which harm no living thing (elemental, ambient, environmental), but there are also those who feed from living creatures and from Human blood and energy, in which case the following ethics should apply. In either case, common sense in terms of what we do and where or how we do it – and the question “does it cause harm?” should apply.

1) CONTROL YOUR DARKNESS – we are more than the Beast. While we are creatures of both darkness and light, we cannot allow our nature to control us. The Beast may be stronger in some than in others, but it must not be allowed to cloud our judgment or to influence our actions to the point where it endangers lives, or our community. We are more than this.

2) NEVER TAKE BY FORCE THAT WHICH IS NOT GIVEN WILLINGLY – Never cause willful harm to donors, and those who sustain and support us. At best, this will result in donors unwilling to trust another Vampyre – at worst they will report the abuse to Mundane authorities.

3) RESPECT THOSE WHO SUSTAIN AND FEED US – show them kindness. Without those who offer their essence to us, we would be in dire need. We cannot help being in need of what they offer, and these donors sustain us. For this great service, which they undertake at their own personal risk, they deserve to be respected and appreciated. They are not to be manipulated or drained of more than what they offer us of their own free will.

4) CHOOSE WISELY TO WHOM YOU WILL DISCLOSE YOUR VAMPYRIC NATURE – when you disclose to a donor, choose donors who will be discrete about what passes between you and about what you are. Do not disclose to once-off donors, and especially not solely in order to feed. What we are is our own business, and not the business of other than those who enter our community to sustain us, and whom you can trust with your life – and their discretion.

LAWS OF THE BLOOD (SANGUINE LAW):

Preamble: This speaks of feeding in the context of the Blood. Common sense in terms of what we do and where or how we do it – and the question “does it cause harm?” should apply.

1) NEVER FEED OFF CHILDREN, THE OLD, THE SICK OR WEAK – Children are innocents unable to comprehend what you would need of them, making them unwilling. The old, sick and weak have little enough energy for themselves, and taking from them would do them more harm than a young, healthy donor. Old and sick people also take longer to heal and to replace that which they have lost.
2) FEED SAFELY – Do not drink from unsafe donors – ensure donors provide proof of their safe status. Unsafe feeding endangers your own health and the health of the community.

3) FEED DISCREETLY – careless behavior, thoughtless feeding habits and public communion attracts unnecessary attention from those who would persecute us, and risks exposing us all. Feed in private as far as is possible.

4) DO NOT DISCLOSE YOUR VAMPYRIC NATURE – to once-off donors, and especially not solely in order to feed. Use instead subterfuge or claims of haematophilia as pretense.

LAWS OF THE ESSENCE:

Preamble: This speaks of feeding in the context of ethical PSI feeding. There are kinds of feeding which harm no living thing (elemental, ambient, environmental), but there are also those who need to feed from living creatures and even from Human energy. Personal ethics, nature of feeding and circumstances affect the ethics of this matter. Unlike Sanguine feeding, there is little tangible proof to be used against unethical PSI feeding. Since the nature of energy Vampyres is also that of healing, and PSI Vampyres can also give energy, it is difficult to set clear boundaries for this form of feeding other than determining what is harmful, and not pursuing a course which will result in harm.

1) NEVER TAKE BY FORCE THAT WHICH IS NOT GIVEN WILLINGLY – Never cause willful harm to donors, and those who sustain and support us. Taking energy from someone against their will, even if they are unaware of it is unethical, and taking so much as to leave them weakened is harmful to them.

2) DO NOT FEED OFF CHILDREN, THE OLD, THE SICK OR WEAK – unless this is in the act of assistance or healing. The old, sick and weak have little enough energy for themselves. (This refers to a PSI-energy exchange with such people, where positive healing energy is given in exchange for negative energy for the Vampyre to feed upon.) As in Sanguine feeding, common sense in terms of what we do and where or how we do it – and the question “does it cause harm?” should apply.

3) FEED SAFELY – If you insist on un-ethical PSI-feeding, be aware that there are Otherkin in the world who can sense your actions, and who may retaliate. Vampyres are not alone in having abilities, and those who can sense your actions and act against you, may become hostile to all Vampyres through your actions and lack of ethics.

4) FEED DISCREETLY – careless behavior, thoughtless feeding habits and public communion attracts unnecessary attention from those who would persecute us, and risks exposing us all. Feed as unobtrusively as possible.

LAWS OF THE EMBRACE (Assisted Awakening):

Preamble: This speaks of Latents as in unawakened Vampyres, identified by their Beacon. This usage of the term Embrace implies assisting Latents in their Awakening, and describes everything within the range of simple mentoring to the highly controversial subject of Turning – which some believe is possible, and others not. This Paragraph is intended to serve both schools of thought on the matter.

1) NEVER AWAKEN LATENTS UNWORTHY OF THE EMBRACE – the insane, mentally ill, emotionally unstable, violent, untrustworthy and indiscreet. Neither those who have badly broken Mundane laws and are fugitive. They will be as much a danger to our community as they are to themselves. They are better off dwelling in ignorance – as are we, for sparing ourselves the burden of their unpredictable nature.

2) CHOOSE CAREFULLY THOSE WHOM YOU WILL EMBRACE – they are to be entrusted with the Secret as are you, they must be able to bear it and keep it responsibly and honorably. Their lives and actions in and out of the community will always reflect upon you.

3) A MENTOR (ADRA) IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR PROGENY – for at least while they remain Fledgling – which is fully (and no less than) a year after Awakening – but this period of apprenticeship may be extended by mutual agreement (Pacta), as dictated by circumstances. An Adra should undertake to educate the Fledgling about matters pertaining to Vampyrism and the community during this period, and assist them in any reasonable way possible to become a worthy and honorable member of their community. An Ardra’s responsibility ends at the Yearling ceremony/ritual (held either at the end of the Fledgling’s first year after Awakening, or at a later time agreed upon in their Pacta) where the Fledgling “comes of age” and is introduced to their House or community as a full, equal member by their Vampyre name.

LAWS OF THE SWAN:

Preamble: This speaks of Swans, mostly in the sense of Black, Amber and Crystal Swans (who are donors), but also includes those who are not donors, but form a valued and integral part of the House or community.

1) RESPECT OTHERS: the right for Vampyres and Otherkin to exist, and to co-exist among Mundanes, as well as the need of Vampyres to feed in the way they do, whether PSI or Sanguine, and the right for Donors to choose freely to feed them.

2) RESPECT YOURSELF: and your own right to exist among Vampyres and Otherkin – you are no lesser being simply because you are neither of these. You are a Swan, an essential and cherished part of the Community.

3) SEE TO YOUR OWN NEEDS: If you are a Donor, weigh your own needs and health with the needs and health of a Vampyre to feed from you, and in such cases, always put your own health first. A Vampyre cannot always tell if you are too weak or sick to feed without doing you harm.

4) BE SAFE: Get tested regularly if you are a Sanguine or Tantric Donor. Bear in mind there are other diseases of the blood besides HIV which can infect a whole community if undetected, and unsafe feeding practices occur.

5) KEEP THE SECRET: Be discreet – as a Donor, your Vampyre, and if not, the Community depend on your discretion for their survival. Do not flaunt or brag to strangers or outsiders about what you or your Vampyre are, or what passes between you in Communion. Swans can be a target for vigilantes and prejudice just as easily as Vampyres.

6) REPORT ABUSE: To the relevant authorities, whether inside or outside the community. Use your own judgment to gage the degree of the offense and what actions will be required to set things right. Try to resolve matters within the Community in order to keep the Secret, or if externally, to do so while divulging as little as possible that does not have bearing to the matter.

LAWS OF OTHERKIN:

Preamble: This speaks of Otherkin, such as weres, therians or other supernatural or magckal individuals who are a valued part of the House or Community.

1) RESPECT OTHERS: the right for Vampyres to exist, and to co-exist among Mundanes, as well as the need of Vampyres to feed in the way they do, whether PSI or Sanguine, and the right for Donors to choose freely to feed them.

2) RESPECT YOURSELF: and your own right to exist among Vampyres you are no lesser being simply because you are not of the blood. You are Otherkin, and are an essential and cherished part of the Community.

3) KEEP THE SECRET: Be discreet – the Community depends on your discretion for their survival. Do not flaunt or brag to strangers or outsiders about what you are, or what passes within the Community or House. Otherkin can be a target for vigilantes and prejudice just as easily as Vampyres.

4) REPORT ABUSE: To the relevant authorities, whether inside or outside the community. Use your own judgment to gage the degree of the offense and what actions will be required to set things right. Try to resolve matters within the Community in order to keep the Secret, or if externally, to do so while divulging as little as possible that does not have bearing to the matter.

© Octarine Valur, House Valur 2010 – present.

This post may be updated from time to time as the TLV draft is revised. Refer to the “About page” for an updated version.

If your group is interested in commenting or contributing to this draft, please feel free to contact me at octarinevalur@gmail.com.

Val

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