When you hear the word vampire, what do you think of? Ravenous blood suckers who morph in to bats, are allergic to garlic, and sleep in coffins as presented in early fiction novels? Or how about super-strength, romantic vampires who are supposed to resemble Greek gods when in the sun light? What if I told you that there might be one in this very class, sitting amongst you, on a sunny day, doing work and schooling, associating with the rest of you like a normal human? What if by some bizarre chance, you could be one, and just not know it?
In the early 1990’s, a small group of people, now known as the Azralim, met with similar thoughts and backgrounds of vampirism, and formed something known today as the Sanguinarium. The Sanguinarium started off in a small New York City night club called ‘Mother’, where they attempted to promote their philosophies and traditions. Every Thursday for many years, ‘Mother’ would welcome the Sanguinarium, eventually leading to the establishment of the vampire community. During this developmental stage, the teachings of the Sanguinarium, known as Strigoi Vii, were tested and developed.
Strigoi Vii, which translates from Romanian to mean “living vampire”, is a set of teachings and traditions which is wrapped around a philosophy which explores the vampiric condition as a spiritual path, magickal art, and personal experience. The term Strigoi Vii was formed as a more subtle term, as one of the founders, Father Sebastian, thought that calling themselves “vampires” or “real vampires” was too cliché. They chose the term vampire because there is no real explanation or word for what they essentially are, so they chose the closest thing that follows. Father Sebastian is one of the primary founders of Strigoi Vii, along with Michelle Belanger.
Father Sebastian was born and raised in San Diego, California and has been involved in the vampire subculture as a fangsmith, author, publisher, webmaster, and event coordinator in the gothic, fetish and vampire scene since 1992, among other things. Though Sebastian founded Strigoi Vii in New York City, he currently resides in Europe in hope to pursue a different perspective, while coordinating events, fangsmithing, and building his publishing press Rakasha Books. His main goal is to promote Strigoi Vii as a uniting “language and philosophy” for members of the vampire subculture.
Michelle Belanger is an expert on psychic vampirism and the modern vampire archetype. She has written and published many books which can be found in book stores including Barnes & Noble and Borders, her most famous book being The Psychic Vampire Codex. A self-professed vampire, she has appeared on multiple documentaries and interviews with shows like XYTV’s British documentary “American Vampires,” Cleveland’s Morning Exchange, and more recently on Essential Entertainment’s “Night Bites: Women and Their Vampires.” Trained in Reiki and Shamanism, Michelle is also a natural spirit medium, meaning she can meditate and focus her energy in to astral travel to contact spirits that have passed on.
Though they do have some sort of central belief system, Strigoi Vii is not a religion or occult, it is not a gang and it is not a group of role-players looking for attention. Their primary focus is to attain equilibrium of things, i.e. light and dark, good and evil, mundane and vampiric, etc… There is no one specific religion that is accepted, because Strigoi Vii is not a religion, more or less a path. They accept all religions from Christian, Wiccan, Buddhist, to Satanic. Though it is not forced upon, another primary aspect of Strigoi Vii is the belief in reincarnation, and that their vampirism will carry over from life to life. This is mainly because the Strigoi Vii do not believe that vampirism is a physical trait, but a spiritual and astral one.
The Strigoi Vii are not attention seekers, they are quite the opposite. Their goal is not to scare people or seem cooler and more unique than the average human. To help their members understand this, they have set a sort of guideline known as The Black Veil, or the thirteen rules of the community. These rules include things pertaining to discretion, diversity, safety, control, elders, donors, territories, and family. Though The Black Veil is only a set of guidelines, many households set these as rules, and if broken will result in exile from the coven and sometimes, if harsh enough, even the community. All of these things help keep the community under the radar from the media and attracting too much attention, though people like Sebastian and Belanger have both taken it to a whole other level.
At this point, you must be asking, “What would make someone a Strigoi Vii, and how could they not know of such a thing?” Vampirism lays dormant in many people for a majority of their lifetimes; some may have it in them their entire life, but will never awaken to that spirit. There are three ways somebody can awaken; from birth, known as Klavasi; after puberty, known as Latent; or from the help of others, known as Ardetha. A common misconception from Ardetha is that people can be made in to a vampire; this is entirely incorrect. I will break the thought process right now by saying there is no way you can drink the blood of others or have sex with a claimed vampire and gain their abilities. Ardetha is something that lays dormant in someone, and someone from the Strigoi Vii community can sense it in them and helps them to find their true selves. This person usually becomes something known as an Adra, or mentor, to the newly awakened Strigoi Vii. This awakening is basically a modification of your Solar Plexus chakra, requiring it to need a higher intake of pranic energy.
Within the Strigoi Vii community there are many households, or covens. These covens are not all particularly the same; they share a common background, but may have different standards and beliefs. Each coven has their own name and glyph to represent them. Some of the most widely known being House Kheperu, Clan Sabertooth, House Sahjaza, House of the Dreaming, and House Eclipse. Though they all have different values and practices, their intentions are the same.
Most covens are divided in to a caste system; this is to help balance the role in rituals and other things that the household must accomplish. These castes usually come in a set of three, the Ramkht (priest), the Mradu (warrior), and the Kitra (counselor). They each have a level of difficulty and focus, but none should ever be considered more important than the other. The Ramkht’s main focus is being a mentor and having a high ability to manipulate and create energy for ritual. The Mradu is the best caste for a Strigoi Vii who has troubles with energy manipulation, mainly because they are supposed to be the strong ones who ground this energy and are uneasily affected by it. The Kitra are the sensual ones within the coven, their primary goal is to make sure everyone is doing well and be there when they need something; their primary goal in ritual is to circulate energy. You do not have to generalize yourself in to any specific caste to be considered vampiric, but it is generally helpful when in a coven. Most covens will require, after a certain amount of time of joining, that the vampire choses which caste he or she would like to be in. Some have trouble deciding, but are good with all three, so they remain a backup in ritual for when they run low on one certain caste.
A Strigoi Vii’s true goal is to develop something known as The Inner Dragon, the deeper or higher self, manifesting in the reptilian part of the brain, which controls basic motor functions such as remembering to breathe. To find one’s inner dragon takes much practice through meditation, recognition and a balance of Maiiah. Maiiah is the Hindu word for “Great Illusion”, and is basically a balance of both one’s physical and subtle body.
You must be asking yourself, “They call themselves vampires, how do they feed?” Many Covens have actually banned feeding via bloodletting because of the high safety risks invovled. Though they call themselves vampires, they are not immortal or less prone to diseases than any other normal person, and ingesting blood is just as dangerous as unprotected sex. So what other ways are there to feed? A majority of Strigoii Vii will tell you they are psychic vampires, or vampires who feed on the non-visible energy which we live off of. This is one way to feed, but there are many other ways, including emotional, sexual, and ambient, or feeding from the excess energy left from large crowds of people. Strigoi Vii are not greedy or bottom-feeders. They only take what they need and are very formal about their exchanges, usually having specified donors for their certain needs. These donors are people who understand the concept of vampirism and help feed the vampire, either through blood or other sources of energy. They do not feed from children, elderly, or people who are mentally or physically ill. These donors can be for blood, sex, or just basic energy. Safety precautions are a must for any sort of donor/vampire relationship. They will always use clean razors or syringes, and test their donors frequently for both physical and mental diseases. Any sort of ritualized vampiric feeding in the Strigoi Vii community is known as ‘communion’.
There is no true way to tell if someone is vampiric or carries the trait, it is more of an instinctual feeling that is sensed between two vampires. There is no test that may be conducted to tell if someone truly is. There is no mutation of the blood, though there are many who claim to be anemic. They do not have super strength, though there is a process which they can do which includes focusing their energy on a certain task to help them perform better physically. They are not immortal, though many Strigoi Vii do believe in reincarnation, or immortality of the soul. They do not burst in to flames when they are touched by sun light, though because the sun is such a powerful source of energy, it is common for Strigoi Vii to get harsh sun burns or even sick from too much sun exposure. They do not sleep in coffins, or at least most don’t, it’s just not comfortable. There is no physical deformity to spot a Strigoi Vii because they do not grow long fangs, they do have a reflection, and they don’t have abnormal eyes that resemble a wolf’s. They are what some consider being the perfect predator; they blend with their prey.
Strigoi Vii is something all around us, like air, though it is not seen or noticed, it is still there. They are your neighbors, your grocery store cashiers, your doctors; there have even been self-proclaimed vampires who have run for senator. Being a Strigoi Vii does not mean you have to dress up with fangs and contacts to be considered one, they come in all colors, nationalities, styles, and groups. The last thing the Sanguinarium wants to do is scare people, and that’s why things are taken so slowly; people fear what they do not understand or cannot explain. But they are working on getting themselves more well-known, with all the TV shows and books coming out about them, Strigoi Vii will soon become a commonly accepted belief system in the nation and even the world.
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