– What it means to be a Vampyre

Vampyre Culture, also called the Vampyre Lifestyle or the Vampyre Subculture, is an alternative subculture, meaning it exists as an alternative to – and apart from, yet within – larger society.
Vampyre Culture in its current modern form originated with and is influenced by other alternative subcultures, alternative lifestyles or alternative spiritualities, and is often more closely associated with the Gothic Subculture, as well as with elements of BDSM, Paganism or Satanism respectively.

Although not all vampire-identified groups and not all vampire-identified individuals necessarily consider themselves part of Vampyre Culture, many groups of Vampyres or individual Vampyres follow their own authentic expression of Vampyre Culture.
Vampyre Culture is often that which connects the various communities of vampire-identified people.

Vampyre Culture has its own complex heritage, with its own traditions and authentic lines of transmission.
Prior to the advent of the internet, communities of Vampyres and groups of the Vampyric Heritage were – compared to today’s standards – relatively isolated from each other.
This resulted in several more or less distinct traditions of vampire-identified people arriving to exist side by side in the current modern ‘Vampire Community’ with the turn of the century, each possessing an authentic history, each having an equally legitimate claim to what it means to be a ‘Vampire’, sometimes complementing each other, sometimes contradicting each other.
Today there are multitudes of different Vampyre Houses, Covens and Clan-Families preserving, refining and transmitting their own piece of the Vampyric Heritage.
Black Rose Society itself was founded as a Protectorate-Partner and functions as an Outer Court for House Sauromatos, a traditional Vampyric Household based in Germany.


In Black Rose Society we are dedicated to the study and the discussion of Vampyre Culture from within the perspective of active participation in Vampyre Culture.
We see Vampyre Culture expressed in our own ideas of social organization, in customs, in codes of behaviour, in etiquette, in philosophy, in spirituality, in our symbols, language and terminologies, as well as – to a limited degree – in our aesthetics, style, fashion, music, art, etc.

What makes up Vampyre Culture, and what Vampyre Culture means for us as Vampyres are among the most important questions Black Rose Society is exploring.
According to our patron and sponsor in House Sauromatos there are certain traditions, fundamental ideas and concepts that one might consider to be essential to Vampyre Culture – its character, its values as well as its aesthetics and mystique: Feeding, Naming, Speaking the Language, Wearing Black, Secrecy, Education and Family


For most outsiders and indeed for many Vampyres their interest in Vampyre Society begins and ends with Feeding.
Although our words for and our ideas surrounding the practice of Vampyric Feeding may certainly differ, Vampyres as a category of person are nearly universally defined by the fact that we engage in certain Vampyric acts, or Vampyric behaviour, generally understood as a Vampyric person actively feeding on another person’s life-forces, often in the form of blood.
The varied practices of consensual human blood-drinking between risk-aware adults, or the arts of feeding on life by certain subtle means are the most commonly expressed forms of practised Vampyrism.
This is what we call Feeding.
Our ideas of what it is Vampyres feed on, how and when Vampyres feed, why Vampyres feed, if there is a need for Vampyres to feed, of which nature this need might be and what it means for us as Vampyres will differ from place to place, group to group, individual to individual.
Regardless of the variety of ideas present and expressed in Vampyre Culture, the concept and practice of Vampyric Feeding is central to Vampyre Culture anywhere.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.


Names have power.
At the beginning of one’s journey, one often chooses a dedicated name to be used for any coming interactions within Vampyre Society.
Taking on a new name – a Vampyre name – can be considered an individual rite of passage in Vampyre Culture.
It signifies a dedication or desire to be known and recognized by that name as a part of Vampyre Society.
A Vampyre’s chosen name is often highly meaningful and should reflect one’s personal identity and journey as a Vampyre. Therefore, care should be taken when choosing a name for oneself.
Under certain circumstances, a Vampyre may accept a name chosen by one’s mentor or a person of similar standing.
It is commonly permissible to change one’s chosen name when one has outgrown it.
For some, taking on a new name can mean the freedom of leaving the past behind to begin anew, discovering or re-inventing yourself, to seek out new experiences, to forge new bonds, to choose a new family.
Indeed, when joining a traditional group of Vampyres, one might, in addition, take on the name of the House, Clan, Coven or Family in question, or a name honouring one’s mentor, signifying individual belonging and lineage.
Among traditional groups, one’s naming is often accompanied by certain rites and ceremonies.
While naming customs may differ from place to place, a Vampyre’s chosen name is generally an important expression of one’s Identity as a Vampyre.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.

Speaking the Language

Belonging to Vampyre Culture is distinctly marked by the correct usage of specialized terminologies.
While a complete Vampyric language never reached widespread use in Vampyre Culture, its specialized terminologies are similar to an argot, or cant, a type of secret language which can be employed to protect a group’s spoken or written communication from outsiders, establishing a subculture existing separate but within a larger society.
To learn this secret language present in Vampyre Culture one would commonly access and study word lists, or learn directly from other Vampyres within an established group.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.

Wearing Black

Subtle and elegant, black is the preferred colour of Vampyres according to tradition and suitable for any social occasion or function of Vampyre Society.
To complement a classic black attire, silver jewellery is often preferred by Vampyres, as is the wearing of certain signets and symbols associated with Vampyre Culture.
Traditional groups are known to recommend stricter dress codes depending on various factors – yet, the colour black enjoys almost universal acceptance in Vampyre Culture anywhere.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.


Secrecy and confidentiality are paramount for Vampyres.
From the earliest beginnings of what would become Vampyre Culture, our communities have relied on secrecy and mutual discretion.
It comes with the territory, the deviant nature of our interests and activities, which are largely – and perhaps rightfully – considered to be taboo in larger society.
Originating in traditional codes of silence, the importance of secrecy is near-universally recognized in Vampyre Culture, and it often is among the first lessons to someone introduced to Vampyre Society.
Vampyres must ever take care not to disclose any information that could be in any way construed to threaten other Vampyres, their families, their friends, or themselves.
The same applies to our trusted Black Swans, who know of us and keep our secrets.
Do not seek the attention of the mundane. Especially avoid the sensationalist media like the plague.
Do not misrepresent yourself as speaking for all Vampyres, or for any Vampyre groups you are not sanctioned to represent. When possible, entrust any outside public relations to those with more experience. Protect each other’s personal information. Keep your Vampyre life and mundane life separate.
Do not reveal a person’s mundane name or any other aspects of a person’s mundane identity to anyone without explicit permission. Indeed, it is good etiquette not to inquire about a person’s mundane identity at all within Vampyre Society.
Always keep the secrets entrusted to you personally.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.


With knowledge comes responsibility.
In Vampyre Culture knowledge is traditionally passed on personally – from person to person, from mentor to protégé – forming traceable lines of transmission.
Being of the Vampyric Heritage, it is a Vampyre’s duty and responsibility to share one’s knowledge with others and impart them with the necessary skills to feed responsibly, to instruct them in the language and traditions of Vampyre Culture, and to prepare them to serve as leaders and guides for the next generation of Vampyres, passing on the legacy so that it may endure.
In a traditional mentor-protégé relationship, a mentor is called to protect, to guide and to correct any missteps of their protégé – always leading by example.
For the duration of a traditional mentorship period, a mentor is – to a limited degree – responsible for the behaviour of their protégé.
A good mentor will provide access as well as personal insight by introducing their protégé to relevant texts and resources, teaching them protocol and proper conduct, and inviting them to attend gatherings and social functions with them. A good protégé will demonstrate an eagerness to learn by asking questions and show respect by being attentive and valuing their mentor’s time.
By tradition, it is the mentor’s responsibility to assess whether their protégé has acquired the necessary level of experience, self-control and knowledge to stand on their own and be formally recognized as a member of Vampyre Society. The successful end of a mentorship period will often be marked by certain rites and celebrations, depending on ruling customs.
Vampyre Culture’s distinctly personal approach to the transmission of knowledge often stems from an appreciation of the living Vampyric Heritage and the desire to keep the flame alive by passing it on from one person to another, one generation to the one following.
Our Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
This is part of Vampyre Culture.


Blood is thicker than water.
Vampyres traditionally organize themselves into clannish, close-knit groups of like-minded, kindred spirits.
Traditional Houses, Clans, Covens, or Families of Vampyres often emphasize their familial nature as part of their self-image.
Indeed, traditional groups of Vampyres can at times resemble surrogate families, providing safety, stability and support – a life among your own kind, where other support systems might have failed you.
Someone’s Vampyre Family is a true family of choice, often just as important to the individual as someone’s original family – if not more so.
For these reasons, belonging and loyalty to one’s Vampyre Clan-Family or Vampyre House are valued highly in Vampyre Culture.
Vampyre Houses, or other equivalent traditional groups, form the backbone of Vampyre Culture, and are typically, but not necessarily, headed by one or several influential matriarchal or patriarchal figures, with a close inner circle of Family members and retainers, attracting an outer circle of prospective members and hang-arounds as well as various supporters and sympathizers.
While a certain level of stratification is traditionally upheld, it mainly fulfils a need for stability and security, which is ceremonially reproduced by hierarchy and ritual.
In reality, there is often a striking difference between the formal stratified structure and the informal familial nature of this type of group – even in the most traditional of Vampyre Houses.
Apart from providing their members with a family-like network of support, mutual loyalty and trust, Vampyre Houses, or other equivalent traditional groups, serve Vampyre Society in various other ways.
Depending on the group or organization in question, Vampyre Houses, or other equivalent traditional groups, may be actively involved in the preservation and furthering of knowledge, in structured education and teaching, as well as in organizing events and social functions for their local communities.
While the vast majority of individual Vampyres does not belong to a group following a more traditional model, their ideas and values of Family are deeply embedded in Vampyre Culture in general.
Without the bonds of Family, we are nothing: Loyalty to each other, to Vampyre Society, to Clan and House – honouring the Ancestors, in Life and Death.
All this is part of Vampyre Culture.


In Black Rose Society we customary refer to the utopian ideal of a community envisioned by Vampyre Culture as Vampyre Society.

Vampyre Society is perhaps, above all, a community of shared values.
Vampyres often believe themselves to be in some way different from other people within larger society.
Many Vampyres have experienced or continue to experience alienation due to their unique experiences.
Vampyre Society is a place where all are valued and embraced for who they are, and where to be different is celebrated and cherished.
Vampyre Society is a place where all are largely free from judgement imposed by larger society, heeding only Vampyre-specific codes of behaviour, more appropriate to their way of living.
Vampyre Society is a place of belonging, which – fostered by the personal relationships found in real community, strengthened through facing shared adversity together, and heightened by the very mystique of the vampire archetype – may engender genuine feelings of pride and awaken true solidarity with other members of Vampyre Society.

To make Vampyre Society a lived reality, whenever or wherever possible, at social gatherings, or in any interaction with other Vampyres and Black Swans – this is the meaning of Vampyre Culture.

Black Rose Society