‘‘Since my first post about Unity, I’ve had people write to ask me why I don’t support them. To those people, I say—how the fuck can you?”
Some time ago, I posted an article on my old blog, Arcane Ramblings of a Teenage Vampyre, addressing a few of the hot-button issues surrounding Blood Nations. No, not the street gang, you silly—the blatant Sanguinarium rip-off headed by that cowardly megalomaniac and the two True Blood fetishists from MTV that got its start riding the coattails of a long-dead artist and exploded into a cultish pyramid scheme that seems to be all anyone speaks about anymore. I was never the most trusting individual when it came to large organizations, especially with such corrupt, self-absorbed people as are attached, although I find the dissemination of Agenda 21-style maps and rabid conspiracy theories concerning hostile takeovers to be a bit ridiculous. Likewise, the peacock-strutting interview on J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life didn’t do much to alleviate anyone’s suspicions, combined with an FAQ published with the intention of making anyone who spoke out against Unity’s actions look paranoid or foolish.
Quote: [after addressing concerns over the New Orleans Pokémon Gym Badge Fleur de Sang] “You’re an idiot. Run back to the comfort of your mother’s basement and be a keyboard warrior in your safe space.”
With that kind of rhetoric, it’s no wonder Blood Nations leaves such a foul taste in people’s mouths.
I believe much of Blood Nations’ rhetoric stems from its progenitor’s pigheadedness and delusions of grandeur; he’s always had a reputation of possessing a terrible attitude going back to his NYC days of putting both Tony Montana and vacuum cleaners to shame. To be more specific, I think it stems from the ersatz Electra complex he possesses, being a former Sabretooth and at one time being a highly trusted advisor—almost every action he has taken, so far as this organization is concerned, is the manifestation of the subconscious but insatiable desire to literally be Sebastiaan Sabretooth. An organization seeking to unite Houses, Tribes and Courts; hosting garish and elaborate “coronation ceremonies” and Gothic-themed burlesque parties; crafting a sigil for patrons to (optionally) wear with the actual purpose of generating revenue… Remind you of anybody?
I was too young to be present for the Sanguinarium, but I’m told it was not a huge success, either. To blatantly rip off the concepts of your estranged daddy while simultaneously slandering him has to be the most unabashedly pathetic display I’ve ever seen from a fully-grown, heterosexual man.
At least, I think he’s straight. Acts a little fruity.
Upon Closer Inspection…
For a while, I tried to give Blood Nations a chance. Several chances, actually. Before long, I realized the internal workings of the organization did not truly have the best intentions for the broader so-called “vampire community”—which most actual Vampyres and occultists know is just a shameful clusterfuck of autistic cosplayers, anyway—as it routinely bashes and slanders people, silencing any forms of dissent or criticism.
Although the handful of names that come to mind are not addressed as the “leaders” of the organization, they pretend to take the mantle of the selfless “Elder” whose top priority is
y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ the community and usually preach on their social media about waging some Crusade against something-or-another, without realizing that actual leaders always show genuine respect, cordiality and concern for others. It is wholly irrelevant what fictitious Vampire: the Masquerade titles the leaders of BN claim in their nauseating Game of Thrones role-plays or what undeserved tin crowns they put on their swollen heads. A true leader leads by setting an example for those who follow, not demanding respect or worship while threatening ex-communication. (Which does what, exactly?)
I have either been blocked by, or have myself blocked, most people associated with Blood Nations because I do not have much interest in watching the demise of the broader “vampire” community, however satisfying its death rattles might be. Even with that, I still regularly receive messages, voicemails and screenshots detailing the ludicrous actions of the leaders of BN, its figurehead in particular, bullish and pigheaded charlatan he is. When hit with the slightest criticism, he puffs out his chest, assumes a fraudulent air of superiority and denounces the dissenter, usually rather condescendingly. Being a young Sanguine of only twenty-one, I must admit I sometimes have to remind myself that the so-called “Elders” within the “vampire” community are roughly twice my age. I sometimes feel their antics are more appropriate for those within my own age group, or perhaps better suited to high-schoolers.
One other thing I remember I found particularly contentious was when BN was attempting to pass itself off as some sort of grand vampire cult with a “Matriarch” at its head that they, zombie-like, refer to as the “Mother of All.” In reality, the “matriarch” was an aging dominatrix whose only contributions to society are starting a personality cult of her own comprised of worshipful sycophants who kiss the ground she walks on and attack anyone who questions her grandiose delusions, and pissing on a few people in some old Super-8 porno flicks. According to what I’ve been told by sources both currently and formerly close to her, she would have been a total nobody had it not been for Sebastiaan Sabretooth and a certain playwright who once operated a well-known underground theatre troupe in New York City.
With this post-menopausal, egomaniacal succubus at its helm—whom the leaders of BN allegedly could not tell from a can of paint before 2012—the organization briefly attempted to totally rewrite the history of not only the illustrious Gotham Halo—the former Sanguinarium stronghold and birthplace of the modern vampire subculture—but the entire community itself, with various laughable claims including starting ‘‘the first’’ vampire coven in New York City in 1976 (the story changes every half-decade or so, depending on the publication cited) and even once having attempted to take credit for the creation of Sabretooth Clan. Her personality cult itself—which brands itself as a “Temple” and maintains a foothold both in the U.S. and Brazil—has recently put a book out that I am willing to bet likely perpetuates this novelty of a narrative. I’ll likely bootleg it at some point, dissect it and see if it’s worth the paper it’s printed on. Let’s see how my check looks this week.
Considering that BN got its start by (figuratively!) digging up a dead man and using his Legacy as a springboard into the spotlight, the idea of the organization stooping to the level of historical negationism (remember the blood feud with Fr. Sebastiaan which drives Pighead’s entire existence) should not be too surprising. It only became something of an issue when the cult members began preaching their “Mother of All” nonsense in corners where it was not welcome, including the online “vampire community” havens, where it received about the same warm reception as two Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at your door on a Saturday morning, and the Gotham Halo, where those who have broken bread with both Sabretooth Patriarchs—the Alpha, Father Sebastiaan, and the Omega, Father Vincent Orion—alternately find this fictitious narrative laughable or offensive. I’m sure you can guess which camp I’m in.
Having the extreme pleasure to sit with those who were actually the movers and shakers in history and hearing the facts from their mouths, I don’t really care to attack BN’s malarkey online anymore because I do not particularly believe think this circle-jerk role-play cult is worthy of my time or attention, or that of my few compatriots here in New York City. So long as we know the truth about our Heritage in our own heart of hearts and can share our history and our Legacy with others, I don’t worry much about the propagandist diarrhea that the New Orleans anti-Sabretooth brigade spits out any given day. If there is one thing that concerns me, however, it is how much Blood Nations has recently come to resemble—particularly recently—what we commonly consider to be a cult.
Cause for Concern
Various cult education institutes formulate “checklists” of sorts that help others deduce whether they are dealing with a cult. One sign that sticks out in particular is the notion that the leader is always right. To the leadership of Blood Nations, dissent is never tolerated, and is typically handled with a “#ByeFeliciaBan”. The slightest critique and even positive constructive criticism are all treated as attacks, eerily reminiscent of another cult tendency to feign “persecuted” when questioned. Rather than assuming a submissive and sympathetic image as “persecuted,” however, they instead use condescension and reverse psychology to make the critic seem crazy to even think to speak out against the organization.
I don’t like this kind of behavior. It doesn’t sit well with me. While I’ve attempted to all but distance myself from the so-called “vampire community” in order to pursue actual magickal practice—as well as get my highly-publicized mess of a life together—I can take a break from being bitter and jaded enough to care about certain aspects of the so-called “vampire community,” even if it still is self-preserving.
Organizations that exhibit this kind of behavior endanger all of us, Sanguine, gaja or what-have-you. In the earliest days when the vampire subculture began to coalesce in the basements of metaphysical shoppes and the darkened dance floors of seedy NYC nightclubs, the NYPD—universally considered one of the most draconian police forces in post-Waco America—was alleged to have formed a task force to investigate what they considered to be “cult” activity, persecuting Goths, fetishists, punks, Wiccans, and anyone who identified as a vampire, of the Blood or not. The book Vampires Today by Joseph Laycock details a bit of an “Occult Crimes” [‘‘Cult Awareness’’] task force investigation, and according to anonymous sources within the NYPD, countless Houses, Clans and bloodlines have been chronicled and documented—especially following a well-publicized case of attempted murder in 2000. Various Elders were individually profiled, the Sanguinarium was labeled a “violent, occult-themed street gang,” and file photographs of confiscated Sanguine ankhs were taken. This is no government conspiracy—this is all documented.
They don’t do it maliciously. Humans fear what they do not understand. However, one only needs to review the history of 1980’s America’s “satanic panic” to understand that livelihoods are at stake, and government agencies will jump the gun if they feel that children or other impressionable groups are at risk—just look at Waco. For Blood Nations to behave like a hive-minded cult determined at all costs to be the savior of the vampire subculture from the clutches of evil Dr. Todd draws an unwelcome spotlight upon all of us, regardless of whether or not you are actually attached to this or any organization. Call me paranoid, but knowing people here in Gotham and abroad who have lost their livelihoods, careers, homes and even children due to Vampyric persecution, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
Back to Reality
However, I sometimes debate with myself whether these fears are realistic. Blood Nations lacks the general glamour and appeal of larger, more respectable organizations such as Clan Sabretooth α. Sebastiaan holds too-close ties to the media already, having an FX live stream, a half-dozen college lectures, those abominable Buzzfeed minstrel shows and a partnership with White Wolf Publishing (creators of the Vampire: the Masquerade series and related properties) under his belt. Blood Nations, meanwhile, has two of its members in online tabloids bragging about True Blood-inspired weddings and a whole menagerie of emo ‘tween fantasies only the most debased, inbred role-player or Blood on the Dance Floor fan would be proud of. Sabretooth also has tenure and clout behind their organization, as well as an easily recognizable figurehead, though not without his own (greatly exaggerated) faults. Pighead and his rag-tag band of anti-Legacy Discordants are too ugly, loud and garish to really fit any preconceived poster child image, and with Blood Nations’ tainted reputation already common knowledge, I don’t really see them spreading like a virus as many people have feared, especially after trying to get the broader vampire community to bow down to some retired domme and call her Mama.
As surprising as it might be to come from me, I also think they are the lesser of far too many evils. There’s the kook in Houston who is quite literally running an S&M cult, masquerading as the “Imperator” of a “Court” and stalking various individuals within the online vampire community. There’s another nutcase in Chicago, blacklisted in every city he has ever set foot in, who has started a vampire “coalition” with the aims of being recognized by the broader community.
Interjection: Being fairly frank, in a community of people who pretend to be vampires based on what they see on film and in books, who build this fragile identity and depend on it for their livelihoods, mental illness is bound to be common. Such is the risk in any fringe community, particularly one within the wider occult subculture. The vampire community is a unique animal in that these pathologies are typically encouraged. This is why I personally hold the tenets of the Strigoi Vii in such high regard, with their texts explicitly forbidding minors and the mentally or physically handicapped, individuals who have no place messing around with very risky, very real metaphysical arts.
Whenever I see a person on social media using images from vampire fiction, using fictitious names such as “Lestat,” “Akasha,” “Nosferatu,” “Damon,” “Ventrue,” “Toreador,” or “Malkavia,” or other red-flag behavior that suggests an inability to separate fantasy from reality, I make sure to keep my distance, promptly deleting and blocking when able to. Goths or, in my age group, emos or punks who fetishize the vampire, donning garish makeup and Hot Topic band shirts claiming to be immortal and, in extreme cases, partaking in dangerous and irresponsible blood-letting, are truly the bane of my generation’s existence—especially in a time where we fear our local community might not survive into the next twenty years due to the tremendous age gap that exists between the established citizens of Gotham Halo and the lost Sanguine generation of the new millennium, many of whom are solitary Vampyres, “ronins” of our Blood, interested only in the arcane arts and alienated by the “vampire club scene” that has all but usurped the importance of magickal practice.
While I can’t really suggest what I’d like to see from BN so far as handling these nuisances, I do hope that they at least make an attempt at doing more than drawing up worthless ex-communication documents that do virtually nothing. Come on, Pighead, you goddamned dwarf, use that aggression you so love to flaunt on Facebook.
At this point in time, I can only say what I said last time: sit back, watch, and see what happens. If the gods be so merciful, Blood Nations might come crashing down sooner rather than later, as an organization led by the absolute worst role models the vampire community could offer really has no legs to stand on. This sham of an organization is not our unity, it is not our solidarity, it is not our battlecry, and it has no place in the future of Vampyrekind. Their arrogant, shameful and destructive ways do not represent those of Us who are truly of the Blood of the Vampyric Current.
In the context of history, however, things won’t really be the same after BN crumbles as did all its predecessors. It will still exist in history, and the Legacy it will leave behind will cast a stain upon any and all who deigned to associate with it. The already-disgraced ‘‘vampire community’’ is further tainted by the touch of that bladed Pokémon badge so many have debased themselves by wearing. As for me and my associates, we hold our Sanguine ankhs close to our hearts, honoring our history and our Legacy, the hard work and sacrifice of the Alpha, the Omega and all their children.
We all hope for a brighter future. Out of this epoch of degeneracy and delusion, the goals of the lost Sanguine generation become more imperative—to bring together those who are truly of our Blood so that, through our combined efforts, we can restore honor to our disgraced Legacy, teaching and leading by example, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a new order for all Sanguines to revel in their heritage and finally achieve the unity our forebears failed to attain.
‘‘Perish, my body, ’neath the cold, clear wave of some dark well,
but let no foreign foot pollute the water with its presence here’’
Emperor Kōmei (1831-1867)
Image credit: NASA (public domain)