Castes, Orders & Rankings
For the most part, the publicly visible or general Vampyre community is fiercely independent and almost solitary in its individualistic expression. In times of trouble facing the whole or broader parts of the community, most members or participants will close ranks and show support as Vampyres or Kin or Otherkin to the plight of others in need. Examples of this can bee seen in the care packages and cash donations made by individuals and groups in the international VC to the Japanese VC during the aftermath of the recent earthquakes there.
Indeed, in modern times, Vampyres do not generally react well to being classified, or having classification thrust upon them by others. Even in the form of self-identification, it is a known tenet of the VC that nobody can tell someone they are vampyric – it is up to the individual to come to that conclusion on their own and to self-identify for their own personal reasons and based upon their own experience.
For the most part, while fiercely competitive, most Vampyres regard themselves as being superior to other Vampyres (and just about anyone else too) but at the same time, equals in any group situation. Community leaders are given their due.
Within some Vampyre Groups, specifically the Kherete or Kheprian religious path, PSI (psychic) Vampyres are organized into different “castes” or groups according to their abilities or vampiric nature or psychic talents. These castes define how the individual is utilized within the circle, and also how they interact within that type of community. Kheprian castes include that of “Warrior”, “Counselor” and “Priest”.
General Rankings Within the Broader VC:
The basic building block of the Vampyre community is the group, whether it is a Coven, a House, or an Order or a Temple – and regardless of whether the group is secular, social or a religious or spiritual entity, these will usually have some kind of social hierarchy or internal order. Most known groups appear to adopt a democratic format in electing leaders or deciding issues, but many adhere to older traditions as well.
Broadly speaking, there are certain commonalities which transcend diversity, and tend to reflect across the community in how new members are distinguished from long-time members, novices and elders, or by what function they perform in the group or community in general. Below is a brief explanation of the more popular terms.
What Is A Fledgling Vampyre?
In simple terms, a Fledgling is a recently awakened Vampyre with little experience, who is apprenticed to a Mentor or elder, more experienced Vampyre who takes it upon themselves to teach them what they need to know about their nature and how to survive. In web-wide lexicons, Fledglings are also known by the terms “Childe”, “Progeny” and “Yearling”.
The Fledgling is not a servant or slave to the Mentor within their group, but is duty-bound by their agreement with them to learn as much as they can about their nature and Vampyre culture from them. When a Fledgling has been with their Mentor for a set period, mostly a year, they are known as a Yearling and the apprentice is inducted into the House or community as an equal member at a ritual or ceremony.
What Is A Calmae?
A Calmae is an adult of the community, a more experienced Vampyre above the level of Fledgling and Yearling, and these days considered to be below the level of Elder while carrying many of the duties and responsibilities of Elders in organized structured groups. In some social groupings, the title of Calmae has replaced that of “Elder”. A Calmae is considered to be one who knows all they need to know to function effectively within the community and without, and who bears some office in the community, and who is able to conduct themselves responsibly.
What Is An Adra/Mentor?
“Adra” is a term that appears to have originated in the Sanguinarium or OSV religious circle, where Vampyrism is viewed as being spiritual or religious, but it is in general use within the community as well. An Adra is a more experienced Vampyre, recognized as a form of community Elder. Seekers, fledglings, or newbie’s cannot be considered teachers of any sort. An Adra is one who consents to be a Mentor or sponsor to a Fledgling Vampyre. This is typically one who takes a younger, awakening Vampyre under their guidance to teach them all they should know about their nature as Vampyres, Vampyre laws and etiquette – and how to interact with Mundanes, Donors and other Vampyres.
Within the community, the Mentor remains responsible for the actions of the Fledgling for the period which the Fledgling is under their tutelage. When this period ends, usually after one year, the Fledgling becomes a full member of the community.
What Is A Swan?
“Swan” is a Vampyre Community term to describe a non-vampyre who is aware of the existence of Vampyres. Swans are color-coded according to how they interact with the VC.
What Is A White Swan?
White Swans are people who may or may not move in Vampyre circles, who are aware of Vampyres, but who are hostile or intolerant of us or our culture.
What Is A Black Swan?
Black Swans are individuals who are not Vampyre but who are close to one or more Vampyres and are often supporters of the community. This does not necessarily imply that they are Donors, but means that although they may participate in Community events, show support in society and show interest in us, they do not necessarily make any sacrifice to sustain us.
Black Swans are further classified according to how they donate, that is, if they donate. Crimson Swans donate to sanguine Vampyres, Crystal Swans to PSI Vampyres, Amber Swans to both or either.
What Is A Donor?
Donors are Shinai who willingly feed and sustain one or more Vampyres with their essence – their blood or prana (life force). Some Vampyres also act as Donors to other Vampyres. Donors are not often referred to directly as Shinai, but rather as Donors, Swans, or by a combination of other colors which may denote what kind of Donor they are. Donors are highly prized, appreciated and greatly respected members of the Vampyre Community. The international Vampyre Community has various annual days of Appreciation for Donors.
Most typically Donors or Shinai do not tend to interact with the broader VC, but there are exceptions where some Donors have risen to positions of great respect in the international community, such as Cheri LBW.
What Is Kin?
“Kin” or “Kindred” is a term used by Vampyres to describe themselves and other Vampyres. It has largely fallen by the wayside due to its later widespread usage in vampcentric role playing games, and by role-players. Given that it predates any role-playing games, many Vampyres still do not want to sound like role-players, and this is sometimes at the expense of the richness and uniqueness of Vampyre culture.
What Is Otherkin?
Otherkin is a term used quite widely in the occult community of the Western world. In non-Vampyre circles it is used to describe those who identify as witches and other practitioners of magickal arts, therians, lycans and weres (shape-shifters), elves, faye, etc – and sometimes even Vampyres.
In the Vampyre Community it is applied to describe all other groups aside from ourselves, excluding Mundanes. Vampyres are “Kin” and everyone else in the Vampyre community, including donors, swans etc, is Otherkin. Those outside our community are labeled “Mundane” in some places, or “Shinai”.
In Vampyre society and in our Groups – and especially in South Africa, one will often encounter a mix of both Kin and Otherkin.
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