I have mentioned, I believe, that I derived some inspiration for this blog from John Michael Greer’s excellent book Monsters: An Investigators Guide to Magical Beings. I had already encountered many of the teachings in this book in other magical sources but Mr. Greer does an excellent job of binding things together into a cohesive book that should be on the bookshelf (or in the Kindle) of anyone with an interest in the paranormal.
The book is formed into several chapters, each of which deals with a monster of legend (although Greer’s definition of a monster throws a pretty wide net). Given that there is so much interest in vampires these days (although they seem to be falling behind zombies in popularity), I thought I might bring forth some genuine information on vampires to dispel all the dreck floating around popular culture and cyberspace. There is nothing at all sexy or appealing about this most destructive of monsters.
First though, we have to refine our terms. A vampire is a very specific type of entity. While it is true that there are spirits of varying sorts that will suck the life out of you if allowed, these are not vampires. Vampires are not living human beings of any sort, no matter how odd their predilections. I’ve known some people who certainly seemed to have a gift for sucking the energy out of a room and I understand that there are people who believe that they derive needed sustenance from the energy of others (and perhaps even their blood). As long as they are not bothering me, I tend to live and let live.
So, if a vampire is not a spirit and it is not a live human being, what in the world is it. The thing that you must understand about vampires is that they were once living, breathing people. They have died but, like some ghosts, they have not passed over. They have instead chosen to inhabit what modern magicians call the etheric body. As I have noted before, this is the energetic structure closest to the physical and basically serves as the energetic lattice upon which your physical body hangs. When the physical body ceases to function, one has experienced the First Death. When the etheric body loosens and loses coherence, normally within 24 to 48 hours, then one has experienced the Second Death. At this point, if it has not done so, what is left of the soul complex passes into the Otherworld and things become final.
What the vampire has learned to do is avoid the Second Death by constructing what Greer calls an etheric revenant. Dion Fortune in her book The Secrets of Doctor John Taverner gives a fictional but fairly accurate description of an actual vampire.
Now, the good news is that vampires are extremely rare these days, particularly here in the US. The reason for this is quite simple. The vast majority of people who die in this country are either embalmed and buried or cremated. Remember all those Egyptian mummies? Those bodies were preserved in such a way that the etheric body (which they called the ka, I believe) was able to hang around and enjoy all the funerary offerings provided by ka priests during that time. If the body of a person is embalmed or cremated then the “anchor” to which the etheric body is seeking to cling is destroyed and the etheric body begins to lose form almost immediately.
Three things have to happen in order for a vampire to be created:
1) The person who dies has to have the knowledge of how to create the etheric revenant and most likely has to have engaged in practices to strengthen and condense the etheric body before death of the physical occurs.
2) The physical body has to be treated in a manner similar to the way the Egyptians treated their dead – no embalming with harsh toxic chemicals, no cremation and protection of the body so that the etheric revenant can continue its connection with it. Think of Egyptian tombs and the mound burials of Europe.
3) Should these first two hurdles be overcome, the revenant then has to have a fresh supply of etheric energy to keep itself fed and thus a vampire is born. This quickly becomes a problem for the vampire since it has to stay fairly close to its body but it also has to seek out and ingest large amounts of etheric energy. This sort of feeding will cause severe illness in most and may even cause death in the weak constitution. Even the dim witted will eventually figure out what is going on and destroy the vampire’s body or take counter measures which prevent the vampire from feeding.
As you can imagine, given laws for disposal of bodies in this country, there are not going to be a lot of vampires running around the US. This is a good thing since our law enforcement officials tend to frown on some of the more traditional methods for dealing with a vampire’s body – cremation, decapitation, staking, Yes, the sorts of things that you see in the movies actually work for stopping a vampire since the destruction of the body destroys the anchor holding the etheric revenant on our plane.
I hope to goodness that none of my readers ever find themselves in the situation of having to deal with a vampire but, if you should suspect that an etheric revenant is haunting the area, you can remove yourself from harm’s way by the use of a combination of natural and ritual magic. The old horror movie bane of vampires, garlic, actually is an effective etheric repellent. Also, banishing rituals which establish a clear zone of protection should be of great help.
It is, of course, true that sometimes the best defense is a good offense but I do not recommend digging up bodies and cremating them, even though that is the only sure remedy for a vampire. If you have located the grave of a vampire (you might use scrying, divination, dowsing, astral or etheric projection, remote viewing), you might visit there in the daytime, drive pure iron nails into the ground all over and around the grave and leave a nice wreath of flowers with several garlic cloves interspersed to keep the revenant in the ground. Eventually, it will starve and undergo the Second Death but I suspect you would have to be diligent about the practice for a while to keep the damned thing from rising.