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
Ive found that quite a few members of our community are very leery of ritual. They feel it comes too close to something that has burned them before: religion. Many of the organized religions that exist right now in the Western world are oppressive to the individual. They attempt to take one vision of divinity and make it right for everyone. They attempt to take one style of ritual and make it the only style anyone is exposed to. This style of religion stifles individual spirituality, for spirituality is often something that is intensely personal. One symbol and one set way of doing things does not and cannot suffice for everyone. Each and every one of us has a different path we must follow, and no one but we can say how it should be walked.
Please remember that the rituals here are not intended to become a religion. They are guidelines only, and they have all been written to leave room for individual expressions of spirituality. You do not have to believe in a god or goddess to take part in any of these rituals. You do not have to be properly religious at all: so long as you share a connection to our community, something in these rituals will speak to you.
When it comes down to it, most rituals that are performed publicly are less about religion or spirituality and more about community. Public rituals are intended to bring the community together. They give its members a shared tradition and shared experiences. Spirituality should be a fundamental part of any ritual, but spirituality is more the realm of the individual. The most intense spiritual experiences will still be had by the individual, alone, in moments of personal contemplation. No ritual written in all the world can take the place of spontaneous spiritual experience.
The following rituals are written specifically for the Sanguinarium community. They are rites that celebrate the starting of a household or the blessing of a haven community-oriented actions which impact and generally benefit everyone. These are things that the community should celebrate and recognize together, and they hopefully will become the foundation of a tradition the community will follow in years to come.
Houses are the backbone of the vampire community. Houses are bound together by similar beliefs and practices, and they provide a support structure for members as well as a place to meet donors and others who are sympathetic to our lives.
Most houses are physical groups founded by a number of individuals who live in proximity to one another. Many such Houses often have a physical home that everyone can meet at which serves as the hub for networking, meeting, socializing, and instruction. But Houses are not limited to physical space. Many vampire Houses exist online, hosting message boards and websites where members can meet, network, and find support just as they do in a physical House.
It is a great responsibility to found a House, and running the House takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Its important that everyone remembers that a House exists for the betterment of its members. The fundamental concept that makes Houses work in this community is that there is strength in numbers. Not everyone will want to join a House and not everyone should be expected to, but overall, this small unit of organization can create big things when everyone within the House is working together for both the Houses benefit and the benefit of the overall community.
The following rite is designed to be performed at a Sanguinarium Court or other sizable gathering of vampire groups.
Preparation: This rite is best performed before the entire community. In places where the community is small, everyone gathers in a semi-circle before the officiating priest. At the beginning, the members of the new household stand at the center of the semi-circle, mixed in with everyone else. The new household should prepare ahead of time a piece of parchment with all the members names on it, starting with the elders and going down in rank. Caste and degree can optionally be listed and read off with each persons name. The new household should also have a representation of their house sigil and a brief explanation of what this means. The explanation may be written down or memorized by one of the elders. The members of the house can select a leader to respond for them, or they can each take turns responding to the questions of the priest.
Priest: Everyone. We have gathered this night to witness the birth of a new household within our community. This is a joyous and solemn event that the whole community is called to witness and to share.
Households are spiritual, social, and emotional families. They are the very building blocks of our community, and their diversity makes us strong. The members of a particular household are bound together by common beliefs and a common spiritual path. They share the same symbols, the same loyalties, and the same common goals.
Would the members of the new household please come forward?
(the prospective members come forward out of the crowd)
Priest: You (three, four, etc.,) desire to found your own household. This is not something that can be undertaken lightly. In founding a household you are pledging to the community and to all your prospective members to provide a safe and healthy space for people to learn and to grow. A lot of work is involved in maintaining a household, and every member must contribute to the betterment of the whole. Are you certain you are capable of these things?
Members: We are willing to accept the task.
Priest: Very well. First, to be recognized by the community, your household should have a name. What do you wish to call yourselves?
Members: We are the House of (Name).
Priest: And what sigil have you chosen to represent you?
Members: This is our sigil, the sigil of (name). We have chosen this because it represents, (explanation of sigil), and this suits the ideals of our House.
Priest: And what ideals have you founded this House upon?
Members: These are our beliefs. They are what hold us together: (the fundamental goals and beliefs of the house are briefly explained by the speaker).
Priest: And who are the members of this household?
Members: These are our Elders. They form the backbone of our House: (reads off the names. Any who are present come forward to be recognized by the crowd.). These are the others that make up our House. It is for them that the House exists: (reads off the remaining names of members.)
Priest: Who are the ones who take responsibility for this household? At least three should lead. Step forward.
(The individuals who have founded the House and who are committing themselves to running the House step forward and state their names. If the House has positions like Secretary or Treasurer, each person also names his respective title and position.)
Priest: (Name and Name and Name:) Each of you, independently, could not support this household alone. A single person has many strengths, but also many weaknesses. The opinion of one can be flawed, and with only a single point of view, how can these flaws be seen? Therefore, there must be three, so that no single one of you holds power alone. Decisions that are made for the community must be made together, with all three in accordance. What strengths each of you have will be shared to enrich one another. What weaknesses you suffer will not be suffered alone but supported by the strengths of the remaining two. In this way, you three will become the dynamic balance that will keep this place vital and strong. Are you three willing to lead this house wisely and responsibly?
Administrative Members: We are.
Priest: Very well. Before I give you sanctioning as a household and welcome you into our community, there are certain vows you must swear to us all. These vows are sacred and binding, and if you are found to be in violation of any of them, your position in our community will be taken away. After each vow, all must respond, So do we swear.
Priest: To respect the privacy of our community and to never bring undue attention to us through illegal or objectionable activities.
Administrative Members: So do we swear.
Priest: To respect the rules of community and to teach any new members to abide by these rules.
Administrative Members: So do we swear.
Priest: To guide and teach all those who come to you so that they understand our community and respect our ways.
Administrative Members: So do we swear.
Priest: To respect the other members of our community and never to speak out against them in idle gossip but to voice legitimate complaints in a constructive manner.
Administrative Members: So do we swear.
Priest: And to help contribute to the growth of our community by providing a place where all can come to you to learn and grow and come to understand our ways.
Administrative Members: So do we swear.
(The Priest turns to all in attendance, addressing the other members of the community, heads of other Houses, etc.,)
Priest: The members of House (name) have sworn to us. Does anyone here doubt the sincerity of their words?
(There is a pause in case there is an objection)
Priest: You three: (name and name and name.) I give you my blessings, and I bless the sacred duty you have undertaken. I establish this household, (name of house) in your names, and in the name of our community.
(The Priest holds out his hands above the administrative members, blessing them with energy.)
Priest: May you be strong, even in the face of adversity and hardship. May you be wise, so that your judgment is never clouded by fear or personal desires. And may you be dedicated, so that everything you do, even in your ordinary lives, serves to better you and to better our community.
Now, with my authority as Priest and by the vows you have just taken, I formally recognize you (three, four) as House (name). You are now an official part of our community, with all the privileges and responsibilities which that entails.
All you who are witnesses: I present to you House (name). Give them your blessings. May they be strong and loyal, and may their family serve to enrich us all. In darkness and light.
Blessing a Haven
A haven is any physical place that regularly hosts gatherings of the vampire community. In cities like New York, most havens are nightclubs, but a haven can also be the back room of an occult bookstore or even someones private residence. The important thing about a haven is not its location but what it provides for the community: a place to meet. Havens are places where vampires can gather to speak with one another, relax, celebrate, teach, and let their real faces show. Havens can be devoted to purely social events, but many host a variety of things, blending socializing and fun with workshops, rituals, and other community-related demonstrations. The energy of a haven is important because it helps to provide a safe space that is conducive to honest and unrestrained interaction. Many havens, even those that are essentially just someones living, have names. These names help to further establish the special atmosphere of the haven, lending the space a greater identity that it would normally have.
The following rite is designed to help establish the energy of a haven, and to consecrate it to its purpose of helping the community grow and thrive. The rite is written for a Priest, but as it is a cleansing ritual, it can also be performed by a Warrior (Mradu). Keep this in mind as you read the rite.
This ritual calls for incense to cleanse the space of the haven. Stick incense can be used, but the best effect is achieved with granular incense burned in a censer. If fire codes prevent the use of incense, scented water can be substituted instead.
(The Priest approaches the building to be consecrated. He begins at the main door, standing in the threshold.)
Priest: With darkness and with life, I bless and sanctify this place. May it be purified and cleansed of all disruptive influences. May the dust of the past be cleared away.
(The priest takes five to ten sticks of incense and lights them. When they are smoldering, he blows the fire out, and wafts the smoke around the threshold.)
Priest: With fire do I purify. With air do I cleanse. May all that is harmful be carried away. May all that is stagnant be cleared.
(The priest steps through the threshold and enters the haven.)
Priest: I do name this place (name of haven), and hereby dedicate it to our purposes. May it be a welcoming haven and a safe gathering place for our people. May all who enter come in peace. May joy and pleasure be had by all, and may no petty squabbles mar what nurtures us here.
(Go left and begin moving in a circle around the main floor. Waft the incense smoke up and down the walls. At each pass, repeat the prayer: With fire do I purify. With air do I cleanse. Let the sacred incense smoke clear everything away. When you have made a complete circuit of the main floor, stand in the approximate center of the room. Swirl the incense in a circular motion, wafting the smoke in a spiral toward the ceiling. Ground and center, then draw all the energy of the place into yourself. Transform this to the declared purpose of the haven, sending it all outward into the club, weaving the energy throughout the structure of the building and setting up boundaries between the physical space of the haven and everything beyond that space. Do this for each floor. Pay special attention to windows, sealing these off from hostile influences with incense and energy so that the boundaries of the haven remain firm.)
Priest: (Name of Haven). This is our sacred space, our home, and blessed haven. May no one mar the peacefulness that I establish here now. Let it draw those who need us in. Let it shine as a dark beacon for all who would seek shelter in the shadows of our world. This is our fortress against all who would judge, all who would misunderstand. Let it gather our community to us. Let it make us strong.
By all the powers, ancient and new, by all the spirits, mortal and immortal, I consecrate this place by the name of (name).
In darkness and light, forever.
(You can do a water version of this blessing, sprinkling water around the haven with a freshly cut branch or with your fingers. As an alternate Sanguine rite, the priest can draw a drop of blood from his finger prior to starting the blessing, mix this in with the water as an extra consecration, and bless the haven with both water and blood. Obviously, some wording should be changed for a water version, so instead of sanctifying with fire, the priest sanctifies with water and / or blood, and instead of burning away impurities, use the imagery of washing and cleansing. Warriors often prefer to use a blade for the consecration of the space, and may incorporate blood as well.)
This rite centers around the use of a pomegranate, a special fruit that does not grow in temperate climes. Typically, pomegranates are imported to the US in the autumn and they are rarely available fresh any other time of the year. When you are holding a gathering of your Family in the fall, this isn't a problem, but what about the rest of the year?
Fortunately, pomegranate juice is available year round, and with a little change in the wording, this can be substituted for fresh pomegranates in this ritual.
Although compared to other juices pomegranate can be a little expensive, a bottle of it is still cheaper than most table wines. The main brand of pomegranate juice that's available on American markets is called Pomme, and I've seen it at most grocery stores, though you may have search around a little for it. For example, the Super K-mart where I live keeps it with the specialty fruits and vegetables, and not with the regular juice. If you can't find Pomme in any of your local stores, they do have a website, so you could order it direct.
Pomegranate juice is also the main ingredient in grenadine syrup, so in a pinch, you could mix this with some ginger ale and still have a symbolic drink to share with everyone.
Three readers are selected from the group ahead of time. These can be representatives from each of the castes or simply three individuals who feel called to take part in the ceremony. Prior to beginning, sacred space is set up and the Charge is spoken.
First Reader (Priest):
We are gathered here this night to celebrate this, our ancient Family. As a Family, our paths are many, but we walk together as one. As we progress, we each help one another toward common goals, and we share common experiences along the way.
Second Reader (Warrior):
Though there are times that we may wander, we are tied together by bonds of spirit and of blood. These call us back to one another over and over, regardless the place, regardless the time. We set out together as a Family, and it is as a Family now that we move into the future, celebrating who and what we are each step along the way.
Third Reader (Counselor):
This pomegranate is filled with seeds, each shining like a single drop of blood. In myth, six seeds of such a fruit bound Persephone to the Underworld, requiring that she return again and again. In older myths still, this was the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. To eat of its flesh was to become wise as a god.
The countless seeds enclosed in the pomegranates flesh are like the countless lives enclosed in a single form. Each of us is one who is many. Each of us has traveled the lands of the dead, and yet again and again, we have returned. And each of us has seized knowledge other consider forbidden, so we may walk as more than mortal men.
Let us share these seeds among us, as a symbol of our Family. As the bowl goes 'round, take out three seeds. These represent present, past, and future. Savor them, and as you taste their sweetness, reflect on the mysteries of our family: who we are, where we come from, and where our future may lead.
(the bowl is passed and each participant takes out three seeds. When the bowl comes back to the first person, it is set upon the altar.)
Let us all join hands and reaffirm the bonds of this, our ancient Family:
(the Third Reader then leads everyone in the Family Prayer)
Priest: In darkness and light.