THE PSYCHIC VAMPIRE CODEX
A MANUAL OF MAGICK AND ENERGY WORK
By MICHELLE A. BELANGER
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC Copyright © 2004 Michelle A. Belanger
All rights reserved.
METAPHYSICS AND VAMPIRISM
Vampires have titillated our imaginations since Lord Byron imported the concept to English literature almost two hundred years ago. Prior to that, vampires were creatures of myth and folklore, ravenous night demons who gave form to that fear that the living hold for the dead. Folkloric vampires were vile and unlovely creatures, but through Byron's writings and the writings of his contemporaries, a more romanticized ideal emerged. Through these writings, the vampire became more human than monster, more archetype than myth.
The notion of the living dead has lost its horror in our scientific age. However, the figure of the vampire and the concepts it represents have become firmly entrenched in the popular imagination. Vampires went from literature to the stage, from the stage to the cinema, and from the cinema to more modern mediums of expression such as the Internet and computer games. They have served as the inspiration for music, as mascots for breakfast cereals, and even as well-known characters on children's television shows.
A little over two centuries ago, the word "vampire" was barely known in the English language. Now, CEOs who line their pockets with the money of those beneath them can be likened to vampires in the press. A woman who preys sexually on men is often known as a "vamp," and in the nineties there was even a lipstick color with that name that intended to evoke that same devilish allure. As the archetype has integrated itself into popular culture, "vampire" has come to mean anyone who preys upon others to sate their own needs.
While the vampires of fiction and folklore are admittedly not real, many occult and metaphysical works have been devoted to a different type of vampire. The "psychic vampire" is a person who preys upon the life energies of others. Psychic vampires are not believed to be undead, but are mortal people whose need for energy metaphorically connects them to the life-stealing predators of myth.
Dion Fortune, analytic psychologist and member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, was one of the first to write openly on the topic of psychic vampirism. In her seminal work, Psychic Self-Defense, she discusses some attacks from an astral entity that preyed upon the vital energy of its victims. She likened this "astral vampire" to the vampires of myth, suggesting that it was the remnant of a powerful magickal worker who had refused to succumb to the Second Death, or death of the subtle body. Later in the same work, Fortune discusses unintentional psychic vampires: individuals who prey upon the emotional or vital energies of their partners, eventually weakening the partner to a point where sickness or even death could result.
That was almost a century ago. In keeping with Fortune's writings, most metaphysicians approach psychic vampires as something to be defended against. Most books on the topic suggest that the majority of psychic vampires are unaware of their condition and that they feed upon energy unintentionally. It is generally assumed that if a psychic vampire were to become aware of what they were doing, they would choose not to do it. It is further assumed that the need for energy arises from some physical or metaphysical weakness, which, once properly addressed, would bring the vampirism to an end.
A few rare books, such as Konstantinos's Vampires: The Occult Truth, mention intentional psychic vampires. These are individuals who are aware of what they are and who take energy consciously. In general, it is assumed that this is a learned technique and not a behavior arising from a legitimate need. While Konstantinos's book does feature some letters written by psychic vampires themselves, no book on the market addresses the issue of psychic vampirism completely from the vampire's perspective. Yet it is impossible for an outsider to accurately portray such a way of being.
A thriving community of self-aware psychic vampires exists hidden beneath our mainstream culture. Many of these people refer to themselves as "vampyres," using the alternate spelling to differentiate themselves from the vampires of folklore and myth. This vampire subculture is rich and diverse, and its members have the most reliable information about their experiences. Unfortunately, their voices are rarely heard.
CONFUSION AND SECRECY
There are a number of reasons why psychic vampires are not forthcoming about their experiences. First among these is the fact that not all vampires adequately understand what they are. Because the capacity for psychic vampirism is inborn, most psychic vampires function intuitively. While they may be conscious that they are taking energy, they do not always fully comprehend how or why. Many psychic vampires do not even have a word for themselves until they encounter descriptions in books such as those on psychic self-defense.
Many psychic vampires are also hesitant to speak openly about themselves for fear of being judged. Throughout almost all of the available literature, psychic vampirism is depicted at best as an affliction and at worst as a conscious choice to victimize others. As a result, many Pagans, Wiccans, and other metaphysical practitioners see psychic vampires as a scourge to be protected against, and their opinions on the matter are strongly emotional. It is easier for most to live in silence than to fight such firmly established prejudice.
Further, some vampires have bought into the negative portrayal so typical of the self-defense literature. Many of them feel ashamed of what they are and what this requires them to do. Still others embrace the negativity so completely that they make a self-conscious attempt to be dark and "evil." These people dive head-first into the archetype of the vampire—cape, fangs, and all—in a confused attempt to reconcile themselves with their natures. Neither approach makes such individuals willing to discuss what they are with outsiders.
Finally, there is the fact that many psychic vampires have conflicting interpretations of what they are and what this means. Although there have been attempts to come to a consensus within the community, there are too many voices competing for attention. The resulting cacophony of definitions, theories, and beliefs insures that very little ever gets officially communicated to anyone outside of these debates.
THROUGH VAMPIRE EYES
Psychic vampirism, on the surface, seems pretty cut and dried. Psychic vampires are people who take energy. Some of them do this consciously; some of them do it unawares. However, it is only from an outside perspective that this simplicity can be maintained. Among the psychic vampires themselves, there are many different reasons for vampirism and many different interpretations of how it is expressed.
First of all, psychic vampires have many different explanations for why they need to feed. Some believe that they feed as a result of a physical or spiritual ailment that has reduced their own vitality. In such cases, the need for outside energy arises either because the vampire's own system does not produce enough vital energy to sustain itself or it "leaks" energy, using the energy it does have inefficiently.
Some psychic vampires believe that they require outside energy because they effectively have a higher spiritual metabolism. They produce vital energy without a problem, but for some reason they very quickly use up a great deal of it. Often the vital energy is being burned at a faster rate to fuel psychic abilities, although this is not always the case. Because their systems use up energy faster than it can be produced, the difference must be made up by taking energy from others.
Some psychic vampires believe that they have an imperfect connection to the universal sources of energy that fuel ordinary people. This can take one of two forms. Either the vampire's connection to the sources is completely cut off or they process this energy in a limited or inefficient way. Usually these problems arise as a result of permanent damage or alterations to the portions of the subtle body that are connected to these sources of energy and to those that process outside energies for use as vital energy. Weaknesses or blockages in the chakras can have the same effect.
Some vampires believe that they are disconnected from certain sources of energy because these sources of energy are foreign to them. Vampires from this school of thought believe that their spiritual point of origin is elsewhere, and for some reason they have had difficulty integrating here. Many of these individuals are not cut off from all forms of energy but are limited to a specific narrow range. Some even purport to have an "allergy" to certain energies that, although they are sustaining to others, can actually cause them harm.
Finally, still other psychic vampires see their condition as the result of a mutation or some other genetic inheritance. A small and somewhat radical portion of the community maintains it is the result of a virus. Most discount this theory, as nearly everyone in the know agrees that psychic vampirism is something you either have or you don't; you cannot be made into a psychic vampire, nor can you "catch" psychic vampirism from being fed upon. It may seem as if some people "become" psychic vampires, but these individuals are actually awakening to a condition that has been latent within them all along.
VAMPIRES AND ENERGY
All beings, vampiric or otherwise, engage in a constant exchange of energy with their environment. For the most part, this exchange is unconscious, and it is as instinctive as breathing. Energy exchange is part of the natural flow of the Universe, and it serves to connect all living things. Any being that is cut off completely from all energetic sources will suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Certain magickal or metaphysical techniques can help people become aware of their relation to energy, and some of these ultimately allow them to consciously participate in energy exchange. Taking an active role in energy exchange is beneficial both physically and mentally for any being. Magickal workers, martial artists, and others who channel their energy into extraordinary acts can learn to consciously draw energy from their environment in order to support their activities. So what makes a vampire unique?
Among psychic vampires, it is agreed that their nature is defined by need. While all beings exchange energy with their environment, there is a certain equilibrium that is nevertheless maintained. The draw of an ordinary person is constant and low level, barely noticeable to him- or herself or anyone else. Furthermore, ordinary people give as well as take energy, and there is rarely a huge disparity between the amount given off and the amount taken in.
Psychic vampires require enough energy that they must take significant amounts of it in. The drain this generates is very noticeable, and there is a distinct disparity between energy intake and outflow. The powerful draw possessed by most psychic vampires has inspired some magickal workers to describe them as energetic "black holes."
Even those vampires who are unconscious of their role in energy exchange nevertheless actively reach out and take additional energy from those around them. This is not a once-in-a-while thing but occurs quite regularly. Awakened vampires report that they feed on a weekly basis, consciously taking a significant amount of energy from outside sources. Some feed biweekly, while others have such a significant need that they must actively feed every day. Although frequency varies from individual to individual, any psychic vampire who is prevented from taking in more energy than he expends will rapidly suffer a loss of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Not everyone who takes in more energy than they give out is a true vampire, however. Many people can wear themselves out through illness or overwork and consequently exhibit vampiric tendencies. This increase in energetic need is only temporary, however. Once the individual's system has regained its state of equilibrium, energy intake and outflow will become balanced once more. A true vampire requires a regular and significant intake of energy regardless of the stresses on his or her system. The need is constant, not temporary, and simple rest or healing will not suffice to "cure" vampirism.
SOURCES OF ENERGY
There is a school of thought that maintains that psychic vampires can draw upon any form of energy, including natural, elemental, and celestial sources, in order to fulfill their need. In my opinion, this is not entirely true. The word vampyre has been adopted by a community of people for a reason, and this is because there is a certain amount of resonance between what they experience and what they understand a vampire to be. In the myths and folklore, vampires feed upon life, as symbolized through the potent image of blood. Modern-day vampires define themselves as such because they, too, have a need to take the vital life force from others.
Excerpted from THE PSYCHIC VAMPIRE CODEX by MICHELLE A. BELANGER. Copyright © 2004 Michelle A. Belanger. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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