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The Conundrum of “Ethical Vampyrism”

The Conundrum of “Ethical Vampyrism”

The Conundrum of “Ethical Vampyrism”

 

The constant projection of the idea of “ethical vampyrism” brings with it this narrative that vampyres are “ethical” by nature and that’s… a difficult topic.

 

It’s irresponsible to pretend Vampyres are by default wholesome and ethical. That’s far from the truth. It’s also not right to say the opposite either.

Vampyric ethics are malleable, fluctuating constructs that are unable to be pinned down in a way that is easily explainable. Each Vampyre has their own upbringing, experiences, beliefs, and traumas that construct their personal ethical codes. Couple that with the varying ethical codes of organized vampyres, ethics are not a universally agreed upon construct at all anymore. There was once the 13 Black Veils that most agreed on, but nowadays, not so much.

Vampyres are predators. That’s one thing most of us agree on. This predatory nature comes out in many ways and there are varying degrees of what Vampyres will and won’t do that goes against the grain of normal expected ethics of the general population. Each individual Vampyre is left to interpret what is and isn’t okay on their own, and this often comes with personal contradictions that the vampyre may not be aware of until periods of shadow work are done.

In my experience, Vampyres are liminal creatures. We exist in the in between space of many things. Mostly human, sort of not.. kind of inbetween? Our Magick is often “grey” or existing in the spaces between organized traditions. We’re always growing, always evolving, always learning new things and trashing old views. We’re forever in a state of transformation… and I believe our ethics are often similar. We’re always learning lessons from the things we experience, the losses we grieve, the things we see others have to endure. We see both sides of the coin, we see the practical with the magickal, and we let the details guide our choices and understandings. To be honest, anyone with a decent grasp of the world and a high enough level of intelligence is like this. It’s certainly not Vampyre specific… but from where I sit, I both see and experience this cyclical growth happening often at a rapid pace. When that rapid pace declines, we often feel out of sorts. Witches go through the same thing. Our passion for our nature and practice wanes and we can begin to question whether or not we really are witches or vampyres when there’s a lull in that intensity. It’s so much a part of our being and what we strive for that when it wanes it feels unnatural.

But when it comes to the ethics of Vampyres, the reality is, many of them have a very skewed sense of ethics.

Do I automatically treat all vampyres as if they’re ethically immoral? No, but in my head I think they are until they show me otherwise. It’s not even about “showing me otherwise” but it’s about showing me in what ways your predatory nature expresses itself and whether I see it as a safe way to expose myself to or way that exudes integrity. I will anticipate your red flags based on the energy you present. Is that how normal people think it’s ethically right to think about others? No. Do I give a shit? Also no…

“Sizing up” those around you and using situational awareness are very simple and vital skills and they’re an important part of a vampyre’s repertoire. Vampyres have a unique relationship with energy and intuition and there’s nothing wrong with using those skills to make judgement calls when necessary. Many “normal” people would see this as hypercritical, not giving people a chance, or even invasive. People in public safety occupations or those who have enough experience with people knows this is a necessary survival skill.

The reality is, predators are gonna do predator shit. How they express their predatory nature is what you need to pay attention to. What part of them is actually predatory? What feeds their ego? What makes them happy? How do they talk about others? Does what they say about others change based on who’s around? Do they put themselves on a pedestal to get praise? At whose expense? Who do they position themselves around and why? How royal do they pretend to be when they are in front of you vs online? How do they treat people who they stand to gain nothing from. What is the ratio between how loud they are and how much they actually know about what they’re being loud about?

Observing the answers to all of these questions can help you judge a person’s ethics.

Observing what you see and evaluating between the lines of the things they say is the best way to gauge the type of person they are. Talk is cheap, but subtext is a major clue into how one operates.

Most vampyres are opportunistic, cunning, and self serving. These are all traits that are demonized in the modern world. Yet traits that almost every successful person ever has exploited. Does it make the Vampyre unethical to take advantage of opportunity that arises? Is it still unethical if that opportunity was better suited for someone else? Does a predator let another being gain footing over the predator because the other party “deserved it more?” It’s a self serving plan to work to be promoted over someone else in your field. Does that make you a bad person? If you use a little magick to give yourself an advantage and maybe give your competition a disadvantage, is your cunning magick unethical? Depends on who you ask… but many vampyres don’t give a damn.

As you read this plan to do magick to give yourself an advantage over your competition, did you side with it being unethical or would you be okay with doing the same? Is it a fair use of your power to give yourself an advantage? Sure, why the hell not? What if you switch places with your competition and instead they did magick to get advantage over you? Is it suddenly worse now that it’s done against you or is all fair in love and war? To those who are predator minded, it doesn’t matter, all is fair in love and war… and to many Vampyres, their personal code of ethics can leave a trail of destruction behind them to suit their needs. It’s smart to maneuver through the VC knowing that people will move in unscrupulous ways to get what they want. This is why the older members of the community are so closed off and guarded.

 

The biggest problem with ethics in the VC is people play them like a game.

Many in the Vampyre Community preach loyalty, chivalry, honesty, and togetherness… but behind the social media facade they preach, they are nothing like the wholesome leader images they project for the general public. In fact, they often act in a completely contradictory fashion.

You see it in every scene and subculture. Every scene has a social hierarchy that is climbed through by various means. You see it in party scenes with club kids & the djs/performers/promoters, you see it in kink scenes, you see it in all sorts of various cliques. Vampyres just had the audacity to define and add royal titles to the varying levels of social hierarchy and made a real life LARP out of rising and falling in those ranks. It is what it is. That’s the reality of a lot of the community and people can reject it all they want, but it’s an ingrained social construct in some areas that you may or may not have to interact with to some degree, depending on how deep into the Vampyre Community you choose to go. We can rationalize it as emulating fraternal orders, coven degree systems, or whatever else and that’s definitely part of the story… but the VC in the post 1990s world has always had roleplay aspects and people will play the game at your expense if you let them.

 

Integrity is the key in my eyes.

The problem with the Vampyre Community is that many people use their predatory nature as an excuse to have no integrity. A person of integrity is a rare bird and they’re the ones you keep around. Integrous people are honest, consistent, and uncompromising when it comes to the morals they stand on. It is the antithesis of hypocrisy and duplicitous behavior. Having integrity and a strong personal moral code doesn’t mean adhering to an expected moral code, but it is about having a deep understanding of your own principles and sticking by them. They do often include values that would be seen as morally upright to the masses. Truthfulness, earnestness of your actions. People of integrity are the type that won’t cheat, lie, or steal from you. They aren’t setting out to hurt you or fuck you over to get ahead. This moral uprightness doesn’t mean they don’t also deal in corrupt behavior for personal gain, but integrity means you do it like Robin Hood, not like the rich Prince who taxes the poor.

This doesn’t mean our personal morals never fluctuate, quite the opposite. But our fundamental values are often steadfast. What we will or will not do at our most basic survival states are what our fundamental values are. What we’re capable of when we’re desperate, what we’ll do when our inhibitions are low from intoxication… People of true integrity will remain honest, consistent, and will survive in places of hardship with as little collateral damage as possible. (or try their best to do so at least, it’s not 100% fool proof).

People with little integrity will push aside their moral standing easily for personal gain. They’ll compromise what they believe easily when things get mildly difficult. They’re the ones who will turn a blind eye to abuse if the abuser is giving them clout. They’re the ones who will exploit or even abuse you if they find the opportunity to do so. This predilection towards abuse and harm often comes out tenfold when they’re intoxicated. They’re the ones who will take the money of problematic people and keep them around regardless of the fact that they know they’re problematic. Some claim this kind of turning a blind eye is about survival, and I leave room for that possibility. But more often than not, it’s convenient to keep these lines of cashflow or clout open despite the ethical issues that arise from dealing with unsafe people and exposing your community or fanbase to these unsafe people. More often than not, people who choose to turn a blind eye to these behaviors are doing it for unfortunately low amounts of clout and money. You have to watch out for these types, because if their price to turn a blind eye to problematic people is so low… what’s their price to turn against you? I tend not to stick around to find out.

The moral of the story is that ethics are a wide net in the Vampyre Community

It’s not off base to recognize that dealing with individuals in the Vampyre Community can be unsafe. It’s just reality. Ask anyone with any amount of time spent within this community and they’ll either have personal trauma or have witnessed someone else’s personal trauma that was given to them at the hands of someone who was supposed to be a trusted leader or guide within the Vampyre Community.

I’m not writing this to scare you. There’s a great amount of incredible people in the VC and lots of amazing things to learn and experience… but this isn’t a safe, love & light, kumbaya community by a long shot… and people should know that and be prepared for that when they explore this life.

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About The Author

☥Jessica O'Mallie-Corvidae

Jessica Corvidae is an artist, writer, creator, teacher, and full time Vampyre Witch. Her uniquely practical Pagan approach to Vampyre Witchcraft and her longstanding leadership within the Vampyre Community has piqued the interests of audiences across the globe. Jessica’s no-nonsense attitude and low tolerance for bullshit has gained not only the attention, but the friendship and loyalty of many along the way.

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