By Light Unseen

Vampyre Lifestylers

Individuals who dress in exotic vampire-like costumes (capes, anachronistic clothes and hairstyles, baroque and macabre jewelry, pale makeup with heavy black accents), decorate their homes in dark Victorian (or funeral parlor) gloom, assume prosthetic fangs and colored contact lenses, and in other ways imitate the Modern Vampire Myth, are sometimes called Vampyre Lifestylers. The term is most likely borrowed from "lifestyler Goth," which denotes people who are so serious about being Goth that they dress and act the part at all times and in all areas of life, as well as for clubbing or concerts. Many Vampyre Lifestylers are also Goth, and many are role-playing gamers. However, Vampyre Lifestylers are distinct from Vampire Fans. They take their vampiric presentation very seriously. They tend to regard vampirism as a state of mind, or a way of existence, rather than a specific tendency to "vampirize" others by "feeding" on them.

For Vampyre Lifestylers, the image of the vampire is a metaphor for qualities they wish to manifest through emulation (which is classic imitative magic, after all). These qualities, based on the Modern Vampire Myth, include unearthly beauty, detachment, a long view of history and the future (if not immortality), an elegance of personal style, loyalty to a "clan" or "tribe" of "special" others like oneself, an acceptance if not a full embrace of death as a fact of life, individuality against social pressure to conform, and so on.

Vampyre Lifestylers rarely if ever advocate predation upon others, although they may speak disparagingly of "human cattle" or "mortals" when they're socializing in full bloom. As a general rule, unless a Lifestyler is also a Sanguinarian (which is quite possible) or blood fetishist, he or she only dabbles in blood-drinking (or blood-tasting, more accurately) for the minor thrill and for the additional authenticity it lends to the vampire image. Some Vampyre Lifestylers form cooperative group households or "families" in order to live out the ideal of the "vampire clan" or extended family of "sires" and "fledglings" that is found in vampire games and fiction.

Vampyre Lifestylers may or may not be bona fide vampiric people. Some vampiric people choose to become full-blown Lifestylers as a way of expressing their inner nature, but being a Lifestyler does not prove or invalidate the inner condition. The well-known personality Catrina Coffin might be one example--Catrina's home full of macabre gimcracks, the coffin she sleeps in and the hearse she drives have been featured on several television documentaries, but she describes blood-craving and other characteristics that are typical of Sanguinarians, as well.

Based on their own published writing and statements over the years, The Sanguinarium (or Ordo Strigoi Vii) originated as a social, club-oriented Lifestyle organization that treated "vampirism" purely as a metaphor. Gradually their published statements shifted more toward a focus on "psychic vampirism," although their symbology (including blood and cutting implements) continues to suggest, even romanticize, blood drinking. In a similar fashion, some of the many "houses" and other groups that have proliferated since the turn of the millennium also seem strongly oriented toward "Lifestyling," with an emphasis on elaborate hierarchies, "Courts," titles, specialized vocabularies and carefully defined roles. In other cases, the groups are more like Pagan covens or magickal orders, or are primarily social in nature.

The Black Veil, a widely distributed proposed code of conduct for vampiric people that originated with the Sanguinarium and has gone through several revisions, derives from the Lifestyle mystique.

For more information about Vampyre Lifestylers, including four evolving versions of The Black Veil with commentaries, see an excellent collection of articles on for Real Vampires.

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