Octarine Valur

Who is Octarine Valur?

Octarine Valur is the founder of the South African Vampyre Community and of some of the oldest organizations within it, including House Valur, the Vampyre Academy, South African Vampyre News (SAVN) and the South African Vampyre Alliance (SAVA).

Within the international real Vampyre Community, which she first entered online in December 2009, she became known as Octarine Valur (or otherwise, ‘Val’). Val took her first name, ‘Octarine’, from the color of magic in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of sci-fi/fantasy novels. ‘Valur’ is an old Swedish name for a bird of prey.

She founded House Valur in February 2010. As a keen student of history, Val started the Vampyre History Project, a public resource, in 2010. She started the Real Vampire Forum in May 2010, and in May 2011, co-founded the South African Vampyre Alliance (SAVA) which today, for all intents and purposes, “IS” the South African VC. Val also founded SA Vampyre News (SAVN) in June 2011 as a news and information resource to the SA VC. Shortly after that, in July 2011, Val started Vampyre Bytes, a site to showcase fiction, art and creative efforts of the local South African VC.

Octarine has contributed to numerous international intitiatives and efforts of the broader VC over the years, including some that were successful, and others that might be considered not so successful. Of these, the International Vampyre Alliance (IVA), and the Vampi(y)re Judicial Council (VJC) stand out as the most unpopular, though this might be attributed to her learning experiences in dealing with the international community and its internal politics and other dynamics at play within it. At any rate, even some of her “unpopular” contributions appear have had their merits at some time or other, even though they might not have been popular at the time.

Some of Octarine Valur’s more notable contributions to the VC include the Totum Lex Vampyrica (TLV), which was adopted by the SAVA as a set of workable community guidelines for South Africa, as well as being made available to Spanish-speaking countries in translated form by Mistwolf, who has also been very generously translating the Vampyre History Project into Spanish as well for display on his site, Noctalium.

Val also contributed many ideas, suggestions and writings, chief of which was the Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community, which she drafted in collaboration with other members of the OVC in January 2011. In February of 2012, she co-ordinated and contributed the lion’s share of the work that went into the Mintaka Code, a vampyric alphabet and set of glyphs and an underpinning structure which was adopted by the SAVA and introduced into the SA VC.

From 2012 to October 2018, Val held the position of Regent of the SAVA, where she acted as the administrator and “spokesvamp” of the organization. During that time, she also represented the South African VC on international bodies such as the Dark Nations (DN) and the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC).

When she described myself as the founder of the modern South African Vampyre Community, it was not out of hubris or vanity, but it is a simple admission of fact. Before Val came onto the scene, Vampyres in South Africa were a rumor, a sinister superstition hiding in the shadows. Now there is a thriving, active and growing young community, which has a face, a name, and a unique identity of its own.

A Brief History:

(As told by Octarine Valur herself:)

“I awakened at the age of 15 to the things that defined me as ‘different’, and went under the assumption that I was an energy-worker or witch, largely due to the absence of a Vampyre Community in my area. Of course, the thirst and need for blood was what threw me and I had no idea how to deal with it, other than to occasionally consume small quantities of raw meat. I also resorted to biting the inside of my cheeks for small amounts of blood.

Mostly due to my religious upbringing, which placed a large slice of Victorian Christian guilt on my shoulders, I did my best to ignore my nightside until 2009, when my life took on something of a paradigm shift.

For much of my later teenage years and early adult life, I had been fairly sickly and an emotionally needy person who tended to live an introverted insular existence. I tended to frighten off prospective love-interests, and even jeopardized successful long-term relationships through my needy and later, even unstable behavior, which I only later realized was a result of my vampyric nature, and of under-feeding.

In 2006-8 I suffered some serious personal losses, and was technically in a downward spiral. It was then that somehow, I instinctively began energy-feeding, without really knowing what it was I was actually doing. My improvised routine during nightly meditation helped – and almost overnight, my moods stabilized and I attained a healthy physical and mental balance. I became less introverted, and mingled more with people I didn’t know, expanding my circle of friends and acquaintances.

As with many others, web-based research allowed me to realize what I am – and once I had discovered outside sources confirming my suspicions that I was vampyric, and affirming to me the notion that I was not the only one experiencing life as I did, I found it easier to accept myself and my needs, and to embrace my nature secure in the knowledge that I was not ‘imagining things’, or ‘losing my mind’.

I then set about trying to locate others like myself in my area, but was disappointed to realize that while there were some ‘underground’ LHP or occult groups in the country, there was no actual Vampyre Community in the same sense as there is in other countries such as the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Europe. I set myself the goal of growing the VC in South Africa. I am very passionate about the community and about building its character and in helping groups around the world to bond with each other.

Wherever you look on the internet these days, at least on the English-speaking part of the internet, the Vampyre genre appears to be dominated by American sites. Nothing wrong with that of course, but a person could easily be forgiven for thinking that there simply aren’t any other Vampyres in other countries – when nothing could be further from the truth.

The Internet is a tool that has helped us to grow and connect in ways we never before thought possible. Using it, we can become a true international community, and that is what I would like to see us achieve.”

ACHIEVEMENTS:

Below are some of Octarine Valur’s achievements in the context of the Vampyre Community:

February 13, 2010 – Octarine Valur founded House Valur, still the longest-running existing SA VC entity. On this date,  she assumed the title of “Primus” of House Valur.

March 2010 – Octarine Valur began the online blog “The Vampyre History Project” which details all recorded mention of the vampire archetype in media, news, myth, history and culture.

May 5, 2010 – Octarine Valur created an online forum called “Real Vampire Forum” to serve the international real Vampyre community, and to find local South African real Vampyres.

September 5, 2010 – Octarine Valur drafted of a new law of the community for use in the South African context, due to widespread community dissatisfaction with the “Black Veil”.  She posted the draft of “The Totum Lex Vampyrica” (The Whole Vampyric Law) on several forums for comment and refine it based on feedback from the community as diverse as from the UK, USA and Europe. By September 15, the Totum Lex Vampyrica was adopted by House Valur as House Law.

October 12, 2010 – Octarine Valur initiated contact with House of Havoc, another SAVC group, in order to enlist their help in building the local community.

October 20, 2010 – House Valur was recognized within the Vampire Nation Concord (VNC) and Octarine Valur was listed as its official ambassador for the South African VC abroad. This was not to last however, and when the VNC suffered a split, she was among the group of members who split off to form a new organization, the IVA.

October 28, 2010 – Octarine Valur set up The International Vampyre Alliance (IVA) as a closed forum to facilitate debate and co-operation internationally, with Vampyre community groups worldwide being invited to join. She was also listed there as the IVA Ambassador for the Vampyre community in South Africa. The IVA did not succeed long-term, however.

November 07, 2010 – Christian missionary blogger Steve Khanya writes an article mocking the Vampyre subculture from the perspective of someone who knew nothing about it. Octarine Valur took him on with the intention of educating him about the culture. Khanya posted a public apology for his misunderstanding.
December 16, 2010 – Octarine Valur participated in an online debate between Ryan Dube of Top Secret Writers.com and invited members of the OVC, held in the IVA chat room. Other participants included Wraiths, Octarine Valur, EvilVampire, Cheri, Nadia115, Belfazaar Ashantison, Zimmerchild, and RK Coon. Most revealed details about their personal lives to demonstrate that they are contributing members of society and to dispel stereotypes perpetuated by a vampophobic fake profile called Robert Parratore which had been targeting the VC in a series of blog posts and articles on Dube’s site having duped him into believing his propaganda. Ryan Dube makes some revelations about the recent drama around Robert Parratore, in that after initial complaints about the identity of Parratore, he investigated and discovered two more fake profiles belonging to the VC figure behind Parratore, all bearing the same IP address – raising the number to five. During the debate, Dube is surprised that those who participate don’t fit the “all-black-dressing, moody,broody, goth” stereotype he was led to believe they would be. This is widely held as an important step towards seeing us as people and not as a “cult” group. A transcript of the debate remains stored for public view on the IVA forum.
December 21, 2010 – Mistwolf, from the Spanish VC, representing an online community publication called “Noctalium”, asks and obtains permission from House Valur to translate and use the Totum Lex Vampyrica in order to introduce it to Spain and Spanish-speaking south American countries. Permission is also given for the Vampyre History Project to be translated and made available in Spanish.
January 18, 2011 – Octarine Valur drafted “the Vampy(i)re Declaration of Community”, which was released simultaneously on numerous VC websites and forums. Although she received credit as a “co-drafter” alongside Belfazaar Ashantison, Deacon Gray, Wraiths and Zerochan, she did most of the work and they mostly just made suggestions and gave their agreement to the final draft.  The project was inspired in part by 16 year old prodigy Zerochan’s “An Open Letter To The Vampire Community At Large” and “A Hybrid Vampire Manifesto” of earlier that month. The document aims to unite the entire VC, acknowledging the diversity of the Community, but stressing the common needs that define vampiric people, and identifying themselves as real living Human Vampy(i)res. The document also makes specific mention of Donors and their value to the Community. The release was marked by positive reactions from the OVC in general.
March 02, 2011 – in search of local Vampyres, Octarine Valur set up the “Real Vampi(y)res South Africa” group on Facebook to get the SA VC (Vampi(y)re Community talking and growing. Activities included the promotion and discussion of groups, Houses, Vampyre culture, businesses etc which form part of the extended VC and its development, as well as formulating strategies and actions to further this development.
May 11, 2011 – Through House Valur, Octarine Valur  released a proposal to the VC, called “The Vampi(y)re Judicial Council” designed as a working group and mediation council intended to enhance the VC’s self-policing ability without manifesting as a governing body. It received a mixed, spirited reception accompanied by great curiosity and debate right around the clock and right across the OVC, and especially on Facebook. Although she’d taken the lead on this project, it was supported vociferously by other groups and prominent community figures in the background, who soon withdrew, leaving me to take all the questions and also the brunt of the criticism. Val used the criticism to create a second draft of the proposal.

May 18, 2011 – Octarine Valur released the second draft of the Vampi(y)re Judicial Council Charter to the OVC. More debates and general criticism ensued.

May 19, 2011 – Octarine Valur launched the Vampi(y)re Judicial Council official forum.

May 19, 2011 – Parallel to the V.J.C. development issue, discussions surrounding formalization of the South African Vampi(y)re Community began in the Real Vampyres SA Facebook group, with several individuals (including Father Izak, Nereo, Willow KemAset [KemSekhmet Ba-enAset] and Samael Anathan) discussing the formation of new groups in their areas, with the suggested formation of an umbrella body to manage the interests of the entire body, with the suggested name South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA).

May 26, 2011 – Octarine Valur presented the first draft of the new SAVA Constitution on the Real Vampi(y)res South Africa group on Facebook. It is a 40 page document, essentially a modified version of the VJC Charter, also by herself. Group leaders gave it a warm reception, with a few suggested modifications and additions. Work began on the building of three provincial Halos. Member groups at that time included House Valur (EC Halo), House Nereo, House of Havoc (GT Halo), Order of Xeper (WC Halo). The first three Magisters on the High Council were Willow KemAset, Nereo and Octarine Valur. Thus it was on this date that she first assumed the mantle of “Magister”.

June 13, 2011 – Octarine Valur opened the “SA Vampyre News” newsletter blog on WordPress.com and was its only Editor until the website was handed over with the SAVA in October 2018.

June 27, 2011 – Octarine Valur had already posted “An Open Letter To The Pagan Community Of South Africa” to several SA Pagan groups on Facebook in an outreach to Pagans on behalf of the SAVA and the SA Vampyre Community. Vampyres who were also Pagans at that point were increasingly reporting being victimized by non-Vampyre Pagan associates. The outreach was met with overwhelming success, and she was invited to continue writing articles to educate Pagan about the local Vampyre community members among them by Damon Leff, the Editor of Penton (then Penton Pagan Magazine). Her initial letter was re-posted there as the first of several articles in her column at Penton, “THE TRUTH DOESN’T SPARKLE“.

August 27, 2011 – September 19, 2011 – Octarine Valur led the SA Vampyre Community through the hostilities of the period called “the Pagan-Vampyre Dispute” and later “the Pagan-Vampyre Conflict” in matters diplomatic and counter intelligence related.
September 18, 2011 – Octarine Valur proposed a new SAVA policy “The Way Forward”, discussing the lessons learned in the Pagan-Vampyre Dispute, including changes to SAVA security, education policy, financial and membership outlook, and resource development, which was approved by the SAVA High Council.
September 19, 2011 – Octarine Valur engaged in a prolonged discussion with a Pagan group leader, Zeo Frost, via email about the current tensions between NPT and SAVA. In the end, wishes were expressed on both sides for a lasting peace and prevention of any future similar clashes.
September 22, 2011 – An article was published on Penton which Octarine Valur wrote in response to the critical article by Pagan writer Erebos, which had been delayed by the closing of the Pagan-Vampyre Conflict. In it, the bias, hypocrisy and prejudice in Erebos’s article is pointed out and discussed. Erebos acknowledges his mistakes and fades out of Pagan public life and for the most part, peace returns between Pagans and Vampyres in South Africa. Relations begin to improve.
January 13, 2012 – Octarine Valur opened a semi-public open group on Facebook called “Friends of the South African Vampire” as an open meeting place for those drawn to the icon of the vampire, those who enjoy the vampire aesthetic, people who indulge in the vampire lifestyle, people who believe they are vampires, and vampires who believe they are people, to network, discuss and chat about anything relating to vampires and vampirism. The goal of the group was to stimulate growth in the local VC, regardless of whether participants were members of the SAVA. The group membership was diverse.
January 26, 2012 – Octarine Valur created the “The South African Vampyre Culture Center” (SAVCC) information resource on WordPress in order to manage an open, free and public reference to South African Vampyre culture for Vampyres, aficionados, seekers and the newly awakened.
February 10, 2012 – Octarine Valur was very proud to be inducted into the VVC (Voices of the Vampire Community) as a member. She was among the latest international members of the VC to be selected. The US-based body aspires to work in the interests of the Vampyre Community, and to improve networking and relations within the community. She was also the very first South African to represent her community there.
February 24, 2012 – Through the SAVA, Octarine Valur released the Mintaka Code, a set of glyphs and pictograms she designed to be used by the South African Vampyre Community. The symbols used by the SAVA to represent each of the nine Halos are glyphs belonging to this system. The Code includes a basic vampyric alphabet and symbols in order to communicate certain information and messages reasonably securely and unobtrusively.
March 06, 2012 – Octarine Valur released the “Guideline For Magisters And Group Leaders In The SAVA” manual, written and compiled by her. It was intended for use within the SAVA, as well as for use in helping other community founders to avoid the same pitfalls and obstacles experienced in South Africa in building their own communities. It was distributed to new community leaders in the Philippines, Norway, Canada, India, the USA, and South Africa.
March 09, 2012 – Inspired by recent events (the Pagan-Vampyre Conflict, the Iraqi “emo” genocide) Octarine Valur created a community warning system based on a standard threat-assessment model, as adopted by the SAVA. It operates off a scale of 0 to 10, and includes a system which gauges the potential threat of any hostility directed towards the Community. Threat assessment and risk levels are numbered and color-coded, and easy to read guides are distributed within the SAVA.
May 01, 2012 – Enlisting the assistance of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, Sucitatio Enterprises LLC and Merticus, Octarine Valur created and launched “the Vampyre & Vampyric Donor Focus Group Survey (VVDFGS)”, the first to specifically focus on self-identified Vampyres in South Africa.
June 12, 2012 – Following the insurrection within the High Council, during which a Magister attempted to sucede her Halo from the SAVA, changes were instituted by me to prevent the collapse of the SAVA. The High Council of the SAVA recognized Octarine Valur as Founder of the SAVA and of the SA Vampyre Community, and agreed to the creation of the post of Regent of the SAVA, a post created to maintain stability in the organisation and the young community. Henceforth, she took the title of “Regent” of the SAVA.
August 07, 2012 – As leader of the SAVA, Octarine Valur extended a welcome to Weres/Therians interacting with the local Vampyre Community, and made them welcome to interact openly via an article on the SAVN site and also in the Friends group on Facebook.
On this day Octarine Valur also released a statement to clarify the SAVA’s position regarding donors and donor abuse following the publicized outburst regarding donors and donor abuse in the American VC. This helped to defuse the situation in the local community, which had been finding donors hard to come by.
February 05, 2013 – News reached House Valur that the Totum Lex Vampyrica (TLV), the community guideline drafted by the House in 2010, had been in use in some Canadian groups for some time – with positive feedback. The TLV had already been distributed to Spanish-speaking communities in translated form in 2011, and adopted formally in English by the AIVO (Alliance of Indian Vampires & Otherkin) in 2012.
March 14, 2013 – Octarine Valur suggested the formation of the Alternative Religions Forum (A.R.F.) to combat SRA misinformation campaigning, and to set the record straight re the rapid rise in SRA news reporting in South Africa, whereupon she took upon myself the role of facilitator in the ARF. Other contributors included Damon Leff of the SA Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) and Pagan writer Christina Engela, who acted as chief researcher and compiler of the resulting document, “Satanism: The Acid Test”. Other contributors included Pagan personalities Francisco Fumarola, Bronwyn Katzke, and others.
October 17, 2014 – Octarine Valur published a 23 page-long academic article entitled “Sang Castles, Fangtasies And Other Tales” on SAVN.  The article addresses elitist attitudes between Psi and Sang elements of the VC, the intolerance of diversity in the VC and the entire matter viewed within a historical perspective, relying on historical narratives of long-time OVC participants and founders such as Sanguinarius, Vyrdolak, Amy Krieytaz, and Michelle Belanger.
December 05, 2014 – Although the matter had been previously settled via the Pagan-Vampyre Dispute/Conflict in 2011, Lady Morgause Fonteleve’ of the South African Pagan Council generously put up a poll in the SAPC group on FB proposing that the SA VC be incorporated under the collective label of “Paganism” in South Africa. Concerns were voiced from both sides of the issue, but Octarine Valur released a statement underlining the fact that Vampyrism is not a religion, and so while individual Vampyres may identify with Paganism as their religion vampyrism itself will remain an independent subculture.
March 19, 2016 – Octarine Valur was awarded the “Ribbon on the Witches Bouquet” by the SA Pagan Council (SAPC) for activism.
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