Forward by SphynxCat:
Earlier versions of the Black Veil have not been on my site because
they reminded me FAR too much of the "traditions" as written
in the role-playing game handbooks for Vampire: The Masquerade - the
first version I saw (around 1998-ish) looked like a direct rip-off to
me - and because of their inherent association in many people's minds
with lifestylers, the "vampire aesthetic", and role-players,
and not the real vampire community.
I have always felt the basic PRINCIPLES were worthwhile strictly
as moral guidelines for conduct - not as actual "rules", or
laws to be "enforced" - but not phrased in the way the earlier
revisions were written. Some people enjoy the, ah, style of clothing
(or lack thereof) for the "vampire aesthetic", and any associated
politics that seems to always be around (which the earlier revisions
seemed to inspire), but I'm not one of them. This revision is far enough
away from the V:TM-style original, and nowhere near as pretentious,
that I no longer object to it being on my site.
Do I feel these are entirely necessary? No.
Anyone with ethics doesn't need someone else's moral compass.
As with any reasonable set of "guidelines for conduct", anyone
with enough common sense inherently follows most of these principles
already, with no need to say they're adhering to them or to even know
they exist. :)
Forward by Michelle Belanger:
The Black Veil is a set of ethical guidelines designed to serve as a moral
compass for the vampire community. The original Black Veil was written by
Father Sebastian Todd for the Sanguinarium. Subsequent revisions were made
by Michelle Belanger in the fall of 2000 and later in 2003. As there is such
diversity within the vampire community, the Black Veil has been the focus
of much debate and controversy. Many who first encounter the document assume
that it is intended as a strictly enforced set of rules. Others question the
applicability of any set of guidelines to the community as a whole. Finally,
there is the issue of the first published version of the Black Veil, which
many felt owed a great deal of inspiration to the "Traditions" of
the role-playing game, Vampire: the Masquerade.
The Black Veil as it stands now is purely a set of guidelines and moral suggestions.
While it still serves as the backbone for the Sanguinarium and the new Order
of the Strigoi Vii, it has also been adopted by numerous groups and individuals
who share no affiliation whatsoever with either of these groups.
The very first version of the Veil appears in the 1998-1999 edition of the
Vampyre Almanac and reads:
The central philosophy of the "Black Veil"
revolves around 1) hospitality 2) unity of the family 3) prevention of negative
media exploitation and fundamentalist attacks 4) maintaining the mystique
of the vampyre aesthetic 5) inspiring chivalry & honor.
A subsequent version published on the Internet was reminiscent of the seven
Traditions of the Masquerade. These rules were followed by the fictitious
secret society of vampires supposed to exist within and throughout the modern
world as depicted by the authors of Vampire: the Masquerade. (Mike Rhein-Hagen,
This first version was unacceptable not only because of the issues of possible
plagiarism raised by others in the community, but also because the perception
that these rules intended for the real vampire community had been drawn from
a role playing game seriously trivialized the legitimacy of that community.
Subsequently, Michelle Belanger got involved and requested permission to revise
the Black Veil in order to increase its legitimacy and appeal. The resulting
Thirteen Rules of Community, released in the fall of 2000, were clearly removed
from any RPG influence and tailored more to the needs of the community at
At Endless Night in October of 2003, a meeting between representatives of
the Vampire Church, Bloodlines, the Sanguinarium, and individuals from many
other independent organizations gave rise to a second revision of the Black
Veil. This version was released a few weeks later. Trimmed down from thirteen
and back to seven rules, the new Black Veil was streamlined to remove pretentious
and overly "Goth" language to once again increase its appeal to
the continuously evolving greater community. The main idea behind this final
revision was to express, in plain and simple language, the ethics already
innately valued by the majority of that community.
As it stands now, the Black Veil is intended as a set of guidelines only.
There is no obligation on the part of anyone within the vampire community
to strictly follow these rules, and there is certainly no way to enforce them.
However, as these guidelines were an attempt to give voice to the unspoken
rules generally followed by everyone anyway, we feel that they adequately
reflect the values upheld by many individuals within the community. At the
core, they are simply common sense rules of behavior based upon respect for
oneself and for others.
Beyond expressing the values held by a majority of the community, the main
function of the Black Veil is to provide a widely publicized ethical code
that the media can see when issues arise that might reflect poorly upon our
community. When someone commits rape, assault, or murder and attempts to tie
this to vampires or vampirism, we merely have to point to the tenets of the
Black Veil to show that such behavior is not condoned by our community and
that those who commit such crimes are acting well beyond the bounds of what
we consider acceptable. In this, the Black Veil exists more for our own protection
than anything else, and its continued existence insures that those outside
of our community have a more positive view of who we are, what we do, and
why we do it.
Here is the most current version of
the Black Veil (2.0) endorsed by Michelle Belanger/House Kheperu:
Respect yourself and present yourself so that others also respect you. Take
care in revealing your nature. Explain what you are, not to shock, but to teach
and to inform. Do not flaunt what you are, and know that whether you want them
to or not, your actions will reflect upon the rest of the community.
Share your nature only with those with the wisdom to understand and accept
it, and learn to recognize these people.
Among us, there are many different practices and many points of view. No single
one of us has all the answers to who and what we are. Respect each person's
individual choices and beliefs. Learn about them and share what you know. Our
diversity is our strength, and we should not allow misunderstanding to weaken
Find the path that is right for you and uphold this freedom for others.
Do not allow your darkness to consume you. You are more than just your hunger,
and you can exercise conscious control. Do not be reckless. Always act with
a mind toward safety. Never feed because you think this makes you powerful;
feed because this is what you must do.
Be true to your nature, but never use it as an excuse to endanger those around
Give respect to those who have earned it. Anyone can claim a title, but a true
leader will prove him or herself through dedication, hard work, and great deeds.
Even so, leaders should be guides and not dictators. Look to them as examples,
but always decide for yourself what you must do.
Respect the person, not the position, and understand that your choices are
always your own.
Know that there are repercussions to every action, and that you alone are responsible
for your decisions. Educate yourself about risky behaviors, then always act
with wisdom and common sense. Do not allow others to abuse you, but also, do
not selfishly abuse.
Respect the rights of others and treat them as you would be treated.
Feeding should occur between consenting adults. Allow donors to make an informed
decision before they give of themselves to you. Do not take rapaciously from
others, but seek to have an exchange that is pleasant and beneficial for all.
Respect the life that you feed upon and do not abuse those who provide for
Reach out to others in your community. Exchange ideas, information, and support.
Be hospitable to others, and appreciate hospitality when it is extended to you.
Do not engage in illegal activity, for this can endanger us all.
Seek to nurture our community and support all those who do the same.
Originally written by Father Sebastian Todd circa 1998 and revised by Michelle
Belanger in 2000 & 2003
Note: a copy of the most current Black Veil (BV v 2.0) appears in the back
of the book The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work
by Michelle Belanger.
This article is presented as part of an ongoing
effort to present other views outside of, as well as within, the online
vampire community. As such, the views and attitudes contained in this
article are entirely those of the author(s), and may not necessarily
be shared by SphynxCatVP. The webmaster is not under obligation to update
or otherwise keep current the contents of this article. Most
importantly, only you can decide for yourself whether this article or
any of the author(s) other views are useful or applicable to you - use
your own reasoning and judgment.