Disclaimer: This article is written from a New York-centric point of view. Your mileage may vary.
Update, 20 Dec 2018: After a recent meeting with some high-ranking Elders of the Halo, I have come to realize that much of my anger has been unfairly targeted and misdirected concerning the state of the Society in recent years. I have come to find that I have more in common with certain individuals and seek similar goals, and as such no longer espouse many of the views I once held towards the Elders and the Halo itself. While things are far from perfect, I am giving faith a chance and placing trust within those who seek to affect change within the Society. As a result, major edits will be made to certain articles in the coming weeks to reflect my current view on local community affairs without detracting from the original message the articles in question intended to convey. Any inquiries or concerns should be communicated to me via my social media, easily accessible from the blog header.
The word “intifada” is an Arabic term roughly meaning “to shudder,” “tremor,” or “shivering.” More precisely, it implies a physical action such as shaking dirt from one’s shoes.
In popular usage, it refers to civil uprisings against political corruption or oppression, and as such is often rendered into English as “uprising,” “resistance,” or “insurrection.” In contemporary contexts, such as referring to the occupation of Palestine by Zionists, the term implies attempts to “shake off” the occupiers—particularly from the West Bank and Gaza Strip—namely during the First (1987-1993) and Second (2000-2005) Intifadas.
In essence, an intifada is a non-violent, but not necessarily passive, resistance against a perceived threat.
But how does this relate to Vampyres?
I’ve been involved with the Gotham Halo community since about the spring of 2016. When I think of the personal spiritual and metaphysical strides I’ve made since then, I’m astonished. How I’ve evolved in my practices, in my studies, I’m quite amazed. I didn’t have my Adras to guide me then. I was alone. I was living with strangers I had apparently known in a past life, and my relationship with the woman who had saved my life was failing—but that’s a story for another time. In three years, I’ve gone from an illiterate “medical sanguivore” to a Strigoi Vii adept and I’m quite proud of that.
When I first ventured into this community I now call home, I knew nothing of the region’s rich history. The culture and traditions which I now hold so dear were things of the past, confined to books I might have never seen or held. I also didn’t see just how much drama and strife went on within the community. I wasn’t aware of the decades-old blood feuds, the bruised egos. When I attended my first Gotham Halo open forum—ironically called “Sanctuary” at the time—I had no idea that I was sitting in a room full of people who have hated each other since the Clinton era.
And what about now? I say things have gotten worse.
The ragtag role-play cult of anti-Sabretooth historical negationists hailing from New Orleans has repeatedly made attempts to encroach upon the Gotham Halo, reportedly against the wishes of the accepted reigning sovereign, Father Vincent Orion. Within the last decade, cultural values and ideals have fallen by the wayside. Gotham was apparently never a perfect community, but today she truly is a shadow of her former self. Vampyric traditions and practice are neglected and instead irresponsible hedonism and parasitic behavior are the law of the land, swaying the community in the destructive direction it now takes.
The Birth of a Vampatriot
I suppose many might be surprised to find that I did not learn the Art of Vampyrism from within the Gotham Halo or the old texts of the Sanguinarium, but took my first steps as a Vampyre upon the Path of the Sinister Tradition, whose teachings have gone on to inspire such fascinating groups as the Drakon Covenant and the Tempel ov Blood. That was in late 2016; before that, it was irresponsible sanguine feeding and a PDF copy of Michelle Belanger’s Vampire Codex. So while I may have been considered a feeder from the time of my Awakening over the summer of 2015 onwards, I did not truly become a Vampyre until 2016, when I was truly initiated into Vampyrism. To be quite honest, I personally feel I didn’t truly get it until recently. I know my Adra, Lord Shaolin MacPhee, would agree.
I strongly believe that the definition of a true Vampyre is one who possesses that Black Flame, that Promethean spark; who is a student of the occult, a night witch of the Vampyrecrafte; who feeds equally upon both the blood and the subtle energy of humans; who is a learned man or woman of the world, and who cultures themselves. While I learned much during my experimentation with the Sinister Tradition, I still felt as though something was missing, even with this unholy power and strength.
What was missing was culture, because without culture, we are just another animal.
The rise of the idorsia-stricken Discordants known as Blood Nations (“Unity Project”) last year inspired within me a sort of “nationalist” streak, though Unity was less a threat than a nuisance then as it is at the time of this writing. I made World War II-esque propaganda posters featuring the Resurrection ankh, preaching “Ten thousand years to the Gotham Halo!”
Except… what was I really praising?
The problem was that I wasn’t really quite sure. The community, as I had come to know it, was nothing more than drama and sham politics, ascended club kids and vampire role-players one-upping each other endlessly. What was I so proud of, exactly?
Well, around this time, I had come upon the first of no-good prospective Sires, but this one had a brain! (At least, I thought so at first.) And better than that, a library! I had come to find him through Lord Shaolin, and after
exchanging a handful of illicit photographs and several months of explosive foreplay getting to know him on a deeply personal level, I had the opportunity to carouse through his collection of Sabretooth and Sanguinarium publications. Indeed, I believe this is where my adoration for the Sanguinarium had come from.
For what was likely the first time, I was introduced to the idea of Vampyres having a unique and beautiful culture unto themselves, built here on the paved streets of Gotham Halo. I was inspired by the rituals and the history, and I was particularly caught on the idea of the Triumvirate—the seductive Kitra concubines, the mighty Mradu warriors and the priestly Ramkht sangomancers. I obviously came to identify most with the otherworldly Ramkht; I am hoping to get a tattoo of the caste sigil some time soon.
As you might have guessed, this love affair didn’t last long, since the bastard was almost as emotionally abusive and manipulative as my ex, if not more so. Once my usefulness had run out, I was dropped like a daytime soap… but I had my inspiration, and my source of regional pride.
After learning about the Ordo Strigoi Vii and the golden age of the Sanguinarium, I was taken. I finally realized what was missing from this disgrace of a “community”—culture! This beautiful and incomparable culture was what we needed! Visions of this belle epoque danced in my head for months as I helplessly dove head-first into the history and traditions of my Nation and my Sanguine forebears.
Months passed and my Dayside struggles interfered more and more with my studies, yet I found myself with even more access to the old texts of the Sanguinarium, each of which was beautiful and special in its own way. They came with guidelines of how Houses should be built and maintained, how one should ascend from jahira (dedicant) to calmae (initiate) and beyond. They instructed how political functions like quorums, moots and quabals ought to be operated. I even had for myself an original Strigoi Vii ankh, which I would later consecrate with a red stone. I would learn useful terms like asarai (etheric parasites), discordant (individuals who work against the Sanguine Legacy) and gaja (vampire role-players), the three main enemies of peace. But I was so lost in my own romanticized view of history that it had never occurred to me that nothing played out as I envisioned it.
To this day, I’m still bitter about it. The knowledge, the blueprints were all there! How could anyone mess this up? How could anyone with even the slightest degree of common sense not appreciate what an amazing and inspirational culture this could have been? Hell, I wasn’t even there and I appreciate it! I saw its usefulness while others only saw a man in a cowboy hat and a pointless grudge that should have died ten years ago.
Seriously, what the hell?
V is for
The general consensus among the people I spoke to seemed to revolve around blaming Sebastiaan Sabretooth for the fall of the Sanguine era. That seems to be the go-to excuse for any community issue, actually. And while the man has had his faults, I don’t see realistically how one man could bring down his own empire. They say money got in the way, or greed, or vice, or fame, and even those are still too simple reasons. It sounds like an excuse—a poor one, at that. And even if the man was at some fault, why let him keep the rest of us from perpetuating that culture and moving forward? It’s rather aggravating to think about.
But instead of focusing on one person’s alleged fuck-up a thousand years ago, I decided to retreat further inward, to pore over every single page of every single publication. Before long, I crafted something of a “Sanguinarium exegesis,” if you will. I sat and contemplated what could have went wrong, and what could have been done right.
Father Sebastiaan himself has done something similar with his latest publications, the Black Veils series. Desperate as I was to breathe some culture and decency back into this diseased “vampire” community, I recall how he gave preview copies to those he felt had the potential to go somewhere with these “Veils.” Before long, he ended up gifting copies to just about anyone in Gotham, just to see what would happen.
I personally have read through the Veils, and I find many of them utterly fascinating. They’re presented in an encyclopedia format so simple, a chimpanzee could understand it. (So what’s your excuse?) I don’t agree with all of them; indeed, Sebastiaan warned me of this when he first preached the book to me, obviously aware of my inborn radical elitism. If there is a single publication out right now that has even the slightest chance of breathing back any culture into the broader vampire community, it would be this one. Sebastiaan even teased my intolerance for gaja, questioning me whether I would reject a learned, intellectual gaja simply on the basis of our Blood.
Lord knows that’s a difficult question to answer.
If we look for historical precedents to figure out why the Gotham Halo has fallen as it has, what would we find? I first rather ignorantly cast the blame upon the gaja themselves, scapegoating them as be the cause of all modern woes. It was them who drove our great nation into the ground, I thought! Thosee mongrels with their ridiculous scene and all their hedonistic, counter-productive drivel! But truthfully, the gaja tribe are a backward and ignorant sect, incapable of doing anything cultured or displaying any high intellect. They alone could not destroy this community. Perhaps, then, the blame lies with the gaja sympathizers, those “defenders of the fang” who endlessly oppose me, crying out, “Let the poseurs have their ‘scene!’ ” Bah. These Vampyre Templars typically don’t view the gaja as equals, more like animals in a petting zoo, and allow them to congregate simply to provide more feeding grounds. How noble. Perhaps it was those fellows allowing the cattle to run free unrestrained which led to parties and raves becoming more important than high Vampyric culture and values.
The rhetoric of a hierarchy proposing Vampyres on top and humans beneath seems unpalatable to the majority for the broadest variety of reasons. In no particular order, some reasons that come to mind are:
· The costumed “glam-pires” to whom “vampirism” was a fashion statement or fetish—the gaja—would not submit to another person on the basis of some perceived divine Blood right, because their ignorant monkey minds and deteriorated senses were not capable of distinguishing a true Vampyre from another gaja like themselves.
· Some actual Vampyres were (and are today), as mentioned, gaja sympathizers, content with their feeding partners; Black Swans; blood dolls, etc.; and did not see the need to participate in such a feudal form of society where all men were not created equal according to their Blood. These sympathizers are content in letting the gaja have their “scene” and their sticky little fetish parties not only because they provide ample feeding grounds, but on the basis of some human morality like “Live and let live.” Some Sanguines, however, do view their food as equals, leading up to…
· At the time that the Sanguinarium began stitching together its long tapestry in regards to community standards and behavior, countless Houses and Families had already sprung up; indeed, the main reason the Sanguinarium was created was to act as an umbrella, a sort of Vampyre Connection to unite all Sabretooth families into one network. Meaning, these various Houses and Tribes had already decided for themselves what a “vampire” was and was not, that self-proclaimed “Elders” did not have to be true Vampyres in order to tout a status and simply needed any number of multi-colored beads that any idiot-savant could procure from Avon magazine. Entire Families were composed of lifestylers; those that had Vampyres in their ranks, even as Elders, still possessed gaja within their Houses and treated them as equals. The gaja had intermingled so deeply into Vampyre society that many already believed themselves to be what they were not, all due to the Marxist egalitarianism of the original (and current) Sabretooth Clan.
So it can be said that the rampant and unrestrained hedonism of the empowered gaja was one reason why the “scene” overtook “the society.” The never-ending parties and fetish events eventually overshadowed the importance of Sanguine cultural values, ideals, traditions and history. Is it any wonder I hold such a resentment for vampire lifestylers and other pretenders?
Squaring the Circle
There is nowhere in New York City where one can go to be taught the Vampyre Path. There are no libraries or temples or “universities” which one can go to be educated on Sanguine history, culture or traditions.
How did I amass the sheer amount of knowledge I now possess without these things? Trial and error, personal testimony, and borrowing or even stealing books, both physical and digital, from wherever I could. I regret not a thing, because the current state of affairs that is now in place is the hand behind the systematic rape and theft of Sanguine culture and history from those young Vampyres like myself who were not physically present during the times that such history was being made.
What does any of this have to do with any kind of rebellion, however, violent or non-violent?
It’s a simple matter of protest. Methods of protest include this very blog, as well as the long threads of conversation spawned in the comments section of my ever-present Facebook rants.
The Vampyre Intifada begins with simply stating what we would like to see for a true and honorable Vampyre society, what we ought to have if we want to call ourselves true, self-respecting Vampyres, and going out and creating it ourselves!
There is, here in New York City, a generation of Vampyres. They know no Elders, they know no truths. Many fall into traps of blood fetishism, devil worship and black makeup because they do not know their own history or their own culture. They have been denied the Traditions by people to whom dignified things such as culture and values are abstract concepts that do not fit into a condom or go up a nostril. They have no knowledge of Houses or Courts. They have no knowledge of Orders. They are neglected, wandering, near-stateless entities searching for their inner spark, their Black Flame. Those who do know of this fallen Gotham Halo avoid it like plague, disturbed by the parade of garish mockeries of the Path, the meat-sacks bursting at the seams of their corsets, bloodshot eyes hidden by red Sharingan contacts.
What will the Keepers of the Blood of the last generation leave their children to inherit? What even have they left for the man they proclaim as King, to whom they have left not a nation but a lunatic asylum?
If we cannot ask for what it is that we want, we must take it. We must recover the culture, ideals and Sanguine values the Old Guard rejects in their toxic hedonism and hypocrisy. We must reclaim the good name of the Halo from those who have disgraced it. We must set an example to the aging generation that has failed us time and again, that this is what a Vampyre society ought to look like.
This is the rallying cry of the Vampyre Intifada! Take back our sigils, our ankhs, our history!
It is your culture—Reclaim it!
In the Blood,
The Transformatorium, Gotham Halo, New York, USA