What Is The VC?

What is the Vampyre Community? Upon first hearing the term one might be tempted to think that it means a club or group of people who get together on weekends to have “vampire nights”, perhaps playing Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) games, or perhaps a “cosplay” with friends? Perhaps it might be a society of fans of fictional vampire movie or literary characters? …But no. While it is true that some Vampyres may attend events of that sort, it in no way defines their identity as Vampyres and vampyric people.

The “VC”

The Vampyre Community is a descriptive term for what is essentially a conglomerate of individuals who share similar experiences which have forced them to compare themselves to the archetype of the fictional vampire – that is, an awakening, followed by the need to feed, and the consequences of not feeding – and identifies as a “real” living Vampyre or vampyric person.

While not everyone who interacts with online or offline VC groups identifies as a vampyric person or a Vampyre – there are many reasons why others who interact with the subculture do. Not everyone participates for the same length of time, or frequency, many only do to find out what they feel they need to know, before fading back into the shadows. Not all of them feel drawn to make a long-term commitment to stay, and most certainly only a few may choose to belong to various associated Groups, organizations, clubs, Houses or Covens that exist under the umbrella of the Vampyre Community.

The Vampyre Community is a name applied to the whole of what has been called the “Vampire subculture” in many media articles in recent times, and more recently, in serious scientific studies conducted by scholars and universities on the international stage.

The Vampyre Community is in effect a true subculture, which transcends language, ethnicity, nationality, geography, history, religion, sexuality, gender, race – and some would even say, species.

There is no single description for the Vampyre Community, just as there is no single “Vampyre government” or “one true leader” or any cult-focus, so the VC is neither a cult (in the “satanic panic” hysteria sense), nor is it a religion – although there are various centers of religious interest within the Community that focus specifically on vampyric spirituality. Vampyres, like anyone else, can choose to follow any religious path – and in fact, there are Vampyres within any given religion, because being a vampyric person is not a religion – just as any immutable characteristic is not.

The VC culture spans continents, cultures, religions and ethnicity, and stretches all the way round the world – and while it’s true there aren’t active online vestiges of it in every country on Earth, it is a certainty that wherever there are human beings, there is Vampyre-kind – in whatever form, also.

The Difference Between Nature VS A Religion

As the example provided by nature versus religion – which presents an obvious difference: What people ARE by nature and which religion people choose to follow are two different things. For example, a person with blond hair will always be a person with blond hair, even if they color it with hair products, or shave it all off – regardless of whether they choose to follow a Hindu path, or to convert to Islam. Similarly, a gay person will still always be gay even if they join an evangelicalist Christian church that forces them to undergo torture and brain-washing exercises intended to alter their immutable sexual orientation – even if they wished to change it themselves, for whatever reasons – to “fit in”, or because their religion demands it. But the subjects in both examples could change their religious paths if they desired. Nature is immutable, but religious beliefs are changeable.

There is obviously also a vast difference between WHAT Vampyres and vampyric people ARE, and the subculture OF Vampyres and vampyric people. Likewise, the Vampyre subculture is not a religion in and of itself – since people of all walks of life identify as Vampyres and vampyric people.

A different term for subculture, perhaps a near-synonym, is “SOCIETY”. Mainstream society – that is, Mundane or “Shinai” society has its own norms, guidelines, laws, rituals, practices, ethics, protocols and sets its own general expectations which everyone is expected to know, accept and conform to. Likewise, the Vampyre subculture – VC society – has also.

Vampyre Society

Vampyre society, if situated in an ideal setting and allowed to flourish, is a rich and fascinating thing. It is rich in folklore, and steeped in diverse traditions. Being a diverse community, with individuals drawn from all classes, races, languages, cultures, sexualities, genders, biases, prejudices, and any number of innumerable social settings, Vampyre society is as diverse as Shinai society, and can even be described as a microcosm of the same.

The Difference Between “Nature” + “Society”, And “Lifestyle”

Vampyre society and nature is often compared to what is often laughably called “the vampire lifestyle”, and is often confused with gothic culture. Most Vampyre Community events do tend to have a heavy Gothic flavor. However, not all Goths are Vampyres, and not all Vampyres are Goths.

Surveys conducted within the community have resulted in the finding that while many who move in formal Vampyre circles will dress for certain events and occasions, most of the time they will wear “normal” everyday attire when not interacting at VC events or with VC groups. Arguably, just as many will never “dress up” at all, or even attend VC events. It is a matter of personal taste.

Vampyre society includes real Vampyres, Swans and Donors, and often Otherkin as well. Sometimes there will also be Vampyre lifestylers, who are people who simply enjoy the vampire aesthetic but who do not identify as actual Vampyres – and who may or may not engage in role playing games outside of the VC. While in general VC history, these individuals have been looked down upon and ostracized as “wannabe’s” and even chastised for the confusion the cause both within the VC and in the eyes of outsiders, in recent times they have been fairly welcome within the VC, just as long as the role playing games and ensuing drama remain outside.

The Vampire Lifestyle

Vampyre culture is rich and diverse. The “vampire lifestyle” is about celebrating that rich diversity, and the freedom of expression. It is about sensuality, expression of your inner desires, and embracing your inner self. Vampyres, like anyone else, enjoy attending gatherings with other Vampyres, and those who appreciate them. It would also be remiss to not acknowledge that the “vampire lifestyle” also attracts a large number of “lifestylers” or “cosplayers” who are  neither “Vampyres” nor actually part of the VC. Therefore it is unwise to assume that just because someone is dressed up in Victorian Goth attire, or like Count Yorga, that they are either a vampyric person, or part of the Vampyre Community.

Most Vampyres will not actually dress up like vampires in the movies and just sit around at home pretending to be Count Dracula (or Count Duckula if the fancy takes them) and nor will they go out all decked out as their favorite Gothic vampire movie character when undertaking a quick trip to the mall for example – they will sometimes make an effort and put on a dark outfit, perhaps a cape, maybe a pair of fangs for special occasions, like for Halloween dress-up parties, VC events, conventions etc. The rest of the time real Vampyres tend to dress and look just like everyone else.

This section deals with the “vampire lifestyle”, what sort of music and dress would be expected at VC events including conventions, meet-ups – offering tutorials, and tidbits about music and entertainment etc.

The Lifestyle. What Does It Really Mean? – By FatherIzak (July 6, 2012)

The Look – The Music – The Ways – Being Open: There is a certain aesthetic surrounding and towards Vampyres, the Vampyre Community and the cultural side of it.  An ethereal atmosphere is mostly created around it, at parties, clubs, gatherings and so forth.  It even has a euphoric feeling to it, for some even erotic – but does all this mean that there’s a certain way to do things or one specific lifestyle one must follow when being a Vampyre?  The answer is a simple no.

First off, as we all know, one can’t just become a Vampyre or choose to be one.  You are born one, and then awakened – whether awakened early in one’s life, or later.  One point being, if you did not choose it, it does not mean that you can’t choose what you do with it and how you live it out in your daily life.  Look at our community’s first true celebrity, Don Henrie. He is a good example of someone who likes the whole aesthetic and mystical part of it, keeping in mind his eccentric personality, looking at the way he dresses and expresses himself.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s be honest, that’s not for everybody.  That’s not even mentioning how open he is about his nature.  Coming out the coffin, as some call it, is not always easy and not everyone’s cup of tea (for many reasons).  If you are going to be open about it you have to see how open you can/want to be about it in your life.  Then the rest follows.  Always remember, it’s about being true to who and what you really are.

We are drawn to the darker side of life, intrigued by the night, the moon, and graveyards. We tend to wear darker clothes and listen to darker music.  That doesn’t necessarily mean Goth, although it has a big influence.  There are lots of clothing styles and music genres created for us by others in the community, for many years now and it just keeps growing.  Although I like the stereotypical gothic vampyre look, long leather coats with top hats and canes, I have seen Vampyres wearing colourful shorts and shirts wearing flip-flops.  It’s all about feeling comfortable in what you wear and actually liking it.

In newly awakened Vampyres there sometimes come personal change along with it as they start to understand who and what they really are.  In this case a good point to start at is to research and/or try many different types or clothing/music styles and club scenes.  You will feel which ones attract you more.  This might also help along certain parts of the awakening process as to who and what you as an individual really are.  This makes sense as some see the awakening phase as being “reborn” into a new life.  Chances can even be good that your style might not even change at all.  Who knows?  Some even choose to look like freaks (like Lady Vampire in the photo below left) and others adopt the elegant look. It’s your choice.

  

There are many vampyre/ethral bands providing the global Vampyre community with the most amazing music.  Some have a more electro feel, while others feature stronger guitar riffs and display a classical influence.  There are even Vampyre rappers nowadays.  What I’m implying is that there is music made for by the Vampyre, for the Vampyre in any genre.  Bands like Blutengel and Theatres des Vampires have set high standards in the community for the genre and will stay no.1 for many.

Seeing this type of band perform live is usually quite an experience as they add a lot of acts and décor to enhance the performance.  And each of these bands have their own vampyric feel and style to it, each adding their own overriding theme to it.

Here is a list of a few vampyre bands that’s worth checking out:

Theatres Des Vampires

Blutengel

Lord Vampyr

Gothic Sex

Dead Souls Rising

Fear Cult

PsyBrid (South African – on facebook)

Inkubus Sukkubus

Lestat

Paradoxx

         

– FatherIzak, House of Havoc

Along with the clothing and style, participants of the VC sometimes acquire prosthetic fangs, or get their own teeth extended. The following section deals with this subject.

Getting Fanged

Fangs. In fiction all vampires have them. Well, okay, not all of them – in Twilight we never saw a single fang.  But as real self-identifying Vampyres, we all know if reality was a little more like the movies, we would all have fangs, right? The fact is though, that very few real Vampyres do have fangs, unless they are implants or snap-on items provided by a fang-smith. And those who do have naturally prominent canines certainly don’t have the ability to retract or extend them. So when it comes to fangs, forget what you’ve seen in the movies. For real Vampyres, fangs are cosmetic items – things we wear for gatherings and entertainment.

fangs3

Yes, there are the plastic kiddie-fangs you can find at a party store – you know, the ones with that awkward folded hinge in the middle that are usually too small for adults anyway? Sometimes you find those comical oversize hollow plastic cap fangs you can stick in with dental adhesive, but white plastic doesn’t match the surrounding teeth so well, and looks sooooo faaaaaake.

You’ve seen pictures of fangs made by fang smiths around the world, right? Fangs that make the wearer look like they stepped right out of – well, not Twilight. Those are the ones you want. Trouble is, in South Africa, where do you get fangs like that? The last local fang-smith we knew about went into retirement a few years ago, and to date no news has been forthcoming of any replacement – so it is up to the individual to find their own cosmetic fangs for that Halloween bash or fang party.

  • The site How to make vampire teeth.com provides very detailed step-by-step instructions with an illustrated page per stage on how to make your own fangs in ten “easy” steps. This method is actually closest to how professional fang-smiths around the world do it.

fangs2

  • Wiki How also provides three amusing methods of improvising costume fangs for parties etc, including a less detailed version of the above workshop method.

All material on this site, copyright of Octarine Valur and the Vampyre Culture Center, © 2012 – present.  

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