Vampire Ritual Book, © by Michelle Belanger, , at sacred-texts.com. Material can be reproduced for personal use on an individual basis in private spellbooks, books of shadows, and the like. Reproduction for distribution in any media or format is not allowed. To reprint material that appears in this book in a book, magazine, or website, please contact the author at the official House Kheperu website. For more information, consult www.kheperu.org
Ritual is most often associated with gods and with religion. When Wiccans perform ritual, they are invoking the Goddess and her consort, the God, bringing their presence down into the sacred space. When Catholics perform ritual, they are calling their God to be present at the ceremony, in the form of the Eucharist. However, ritual itself can be independent of specific gods or even specific religious practices. In this respect, ritual is a tool used to achieve a heightened state of consciousness, awareness, and focus, especially in a group setting.
Ritual is often performed with an expressed purpose such as to reaffirm the bonds shared by a community, to celebrate a particular time of the year, or to acknowledge an individual's rite of passage. Rituals can be constructed for extremely specific goals, and these will vary depending upon the group, the individual, and the situation. The heightened state that ritual inspires in the participants enables them to raise energy, harness it, and direct it toward a unified goal.
An additional purpose of ritual is to build a temporary or permanent structure of energy known as sacred space. Within the confines of sacred space, ordinary reality is heightened and refined so that it may come more completely into contact with the realm of spirit. Ritual establishes sacred space as a crossing-over point between the spiritual and the mundane so that the participants can move beyond the confines of ordinary reality.
Ritual often utilizes hand gestures, drama, music, the spoken word, and objects that appeal to all the senses. The use of candles and incense is common, as is the use of specific ritual clothes. These all serve as tools that establish focus and move awareness from ordinary reality to a more elevated frame of mind.
Ritual balances the sacred and the mundane, integrating body and spirit for all who participate. The elevated state of ritual is very energetically healthy and it provides an atmosphere that induces clarity, focus, and refined awareness. Ritual can also facilitate contact and integration with your Higher Self and for this reason can be very enlightening and empowering.
Sacred space improves the quality of energy in an area, and maintaining a constant presence of sacred space creates a cascade affect that heightens and refines the energy in a widespread location. For these reasons, it is very helpful to integrate some aspect of ritual into your regular routine. It does not matter what form the ritual takes or even if it is an active expression of religious sentiment. How you choose to express and perform ritual will be unique to you and your particular interests and needs. As long as your ritual work is a striving toward something finer than ordinary reality, it will ultimately benefit and enrich you.
The rituals of the vampire community have grown into a unique tradition all their own. Often separate from rituals invoking gods or goddesses, the rituals of the vampire community are typically focused on reaffirming the bonds of that community and evoking the power of the individual.
Great emphasis is placed on individuality in the vampire community, so there are no absolutes to ritual. Intent is everything. Dress, symbols, and tools vary from group to group and even ritual to ritual. The format of ritual also varies according to group. Not only is ritual form often customized according to the needs of each different group, vampires typically change their ritual format from ritual to ritual, maintaining a level of spontaneity that engages all involved, making each ritual a special and personal instance of divine play.
The design of vampire rituals is often syncretic, integrating elements from a variety of other systems and adding concepts relevant to vampires. Pagan and Wiccan rituals can serve as inspiration, but vampires will feel free to draw material from the rituals of ancient Egypt, from Hinduism, Persian traditions, Japanese Shinto, shamanism, and even LaVeyan Satanism. As long as the symbols and ritual activities speak on a meaningful level to those involved in the ritual, vampires feel free to innovate and explore a myriad of ritual expressions.
Although vampires have borrowed the basic structure of the Pagan Wheel of the Year, most vampire traditions play down the connection to nature. While many Pagan rituals take place in natural settings and out of doors, vampire rituals often occur indoors. The vast majority of vampires live in urban settings, and some people have suggested that vampirism itself is an urban phenomenon, a response to the citys lack of sources of natural energy. Whether people tend to be vampiric because their environment is lacking in natural sources of energy is a matter of debate. However, the fact remains that most vampires are city-dwellers. Not only do vampire rituals typically take place inside, it is not uncommon for vampire rituals to occur at night clubs or other social events, tucked in among the bands and other performers. Possibly as a result of this, vampire ritual often has a very theatrical element to it, with the participants dressing in Gothic finery in honor of the event.
In addition to a certain flair for the dramatic, vampire rituals tend to place a strong emphasis on energy and the energetic structure of sacred space. The sacred space in a vampire ritual is typically set up through a series of actions that are often delegated to three separate individuals or groups. First, the space is cleared energetically and the boundaries of the circle are established. After this, new energy is raised in the space, infused with raw, creative potential. Finally, the energy is harnessed and shaped into a spiritual temple. Every person present in the sacred space is seen as being a part of that temple, contributing some vital aspect to its structure.
Especially when a vampire ritual is being performed for an audience, the individuals involved in creating sacred space will use words, gestures, tools, and other ritual actions to demonstrate their work. However, these things are not seen as ends to themselves but as methods of focus. Each activity is accomplished by intent alone. For some groups, no outward action may occur to mark each step. Even though items are approached in terms of symbol only, there are still some significant meanings attached to colors and objects. Colors that will occur again and again in vampire ritual items and ritual clothes are:
black (shadows, hidden knowledge)
purple (wisdom, magickal power)
silver (psychic energy, the moon)
red (life-force, blood)
Once the space is prepared, participants will typically file into the space and form a circle. They often hold hands, sharing energy around the circle before beginning anything else. The sharing of energy is very important within the vampire tradition, and it is not uncommon for vampires to greet one another by touching energy or presenting their energy, unshielded, to be touched. This is a gesture of trust and it is also a way of connecting beyond words and beyond the facades so many people tend to keep up. Since vampires are uniquely tuned to this type of energy, it feels natural and right to open ones energy to companions in this way.
Vampire ritual is run by at least one priest. Gender is inconsequential. The priest often operates within the circle and may have one or two assistants. These assistants are often representatives of the different castes, a concept we will delve into in more detail in the next chapter. Although vampires do not often keep altars, a table is often kept in the center of the circle simply to hold any books or ritual tools that might be used during the course of the ritual. As there is such a heavy focus on energy and intent, vampire rituals do not require the use of ritual tools. The individual is seen as his or her own tool, and all ritual actions can be accomplished through an extension of energy or a focusing of intent. However, going back to the dramatic aspect of ritual, some groups do choose to use items simply for the aesthetic or theatrical qualities they bring to the ritual. These items can change from group to group and even from ritual to ritual.
After the sharing of energy, most rituals are opened with a statement or charge that expresses the sacred identity of the group. Specific deities are very rarely invoked. Even when they are specifically called upon, deities are still often seen in terms of symbol and archetype rather than as objectively real beings. If deities are called upon, they are almost always dark gods and goddesses with chthonic associations or associations with magick and forbidden wisdom. Some of the most common beings names are Lilith, Set, and Lucifer in his guise as Lightbringer.
This symbolic approach to deity arises because most vampires see the real "deity" at work in ritual as the individual. Thou art god, thou art goddess, is taken very literally in this system, and each individual reverences his or her own divine spark. Because of this, vampire ritual is less a "drawing down" and more a "drawing out" -- the power of the ceremony comes from invoking the divinity within each participant.
Vampires most commonly gather for ritual for social reasons. Vampire rituals honor some aspect of the community, such as a rite of passage, or celebrate a specific holiday. Group ritual among vampires is very rarely used to accomplish magickal effects. Magickal rituals are almost always solitary affairs.
Raising energy and sharing it within the group is both a main function and a main goal of vampiric ritual. Creating sacred space, where spirit and divinity are more keenly felt, is also both a function and a goal of vampire ritual. A vampire ritual has been successful if the participants come away more aware of their energy and the way that energy connects all of them and if the participants come away with a heightened awareness of their immortal Selves that divine spark that is their inner divinity.
Other concepts and symbols relevant to vampires that might be encountered in vampire ritual:
Spiritual immortality and rebirth
Life-force, manifested as either prana or blood
Energetic connection and exchange between individuals
Affinity with night, darkness, and shadows
Rapport with spirits, mainly spirits of the dead
Death as change
Ankhs as symbols of life and eternity
Skulls, skeletons, or coffins as symbols of power/triumph over death
Ancient, hidden, or forbidden knowledge
Exceeding human limitations/becoming more than human
Ancient Egypt is often revered and drawn upon for inspiration because of its antiquity, its reverence for death and personal immortality, and its mythic connection with forgotten wisdom. In addition to this, the Watcher Angel and Enochian myths often hold significance among vampires. This is largely because of the notion that more-than-human beings at some point in the distant past made a conscious choice to become flesh. Adding to the potent allure of this mythos is the forbidden knowledge possessed by the Watchers, which was then passed on to humanity against the will of the gods. The Promethian aspect of this cycle of myths is also a strong part of the allure the figure of Lucifer holds for many vampires.