By Tony Sokol
It's Halloween season, which means the whole world is on the same page as Daily Offbeat, where every day has at least a little Halloween in it. Vampires are a traditional, perennial seasonal favorite. While most people only know our sanguine friends from the pages of fiction, there is a vast vampire underground in New York.
These vampires don’t lunge out of the shadows and tear out your throat in the dark. That went out in the late nineties when the vampire squatters were forced out of Tompkins Park and into army recruiting stations. These vampires are more seductive, more playful. They dance. The vampire scene started in the clubs long before it spread like a blood-borne virus on the internet. These vampires formed collectives, families that they call Houses. There are vampire houses across the United States, but we’re in New York.
Daily Offbeat spent a late evening with the Matriarch of The House of The Dreaming, Madame X, who spoke exclusively about their ways and what that means.
Madame X is a writer who hosted a show dedicated to spotlighting night-timers in the 90s club scene. Like most night dwellers at the time she was a rogue. The Samurai have a word for that. They call it Ronin. Solitary warriors.
“I was a Ronin for many years. First because of circumstance, as I moved an ocean away from my mentor, and after his death soon to discover that I was surrounded by vampire covens, and houses, I chose to be Ronin yet make a difference,” explained Madame X.
The Ronin lived up to their name in the rigidly forming vampire society. “At that time Ronin abided by no rules and respected no institution. Ronin were what today is best considered a ‘rogue,’ someone who may be nightkind but is outside the society,” said Madame X.
The Vampire Community is broken up into Courts, which “are local organizations that provide facilities for community meanings, projects and even trials, courts are set up generally by three community elders and welcome the participation of all local households.”
“Back in the day, fifteen to twenty years ago, Ronin were not welcome at Court gatherings, nor did they have any interest in participating in any activities with other community members. Ronin were not trusted, because they had no sire, no elder, and no family structure to adhere to.”
“Similarly, Ronin did not trust or respect any organization and refused to bow down to any covenant, doctrine or prince of the city. Ronin had no voting power and were scorned by the community as worthless scoundrels,” Madame X remembered.
“Then along came two Ronin, I was one of them, who helped the local elders set up a local court. And along came other Ronin. Court of the Iron Garden was the first court to accept Ronin in their midst and even distinguish them as elders. Court of Gotham soon followed by offering special distinction to select Ronin as Knights. The same 2 Ronin went on to influence a system where Ronin actually had a representative sit on the council of Elders at the newly founded Court of Lazarus. The movement in the NJ/NY scene soon influenced many other courts throughout the states and beyond,” Madame X explained.
Since then, the Vampire Community has “given rise to the Online Vampire Community (OVC) and Ronin are recognized as part of the greater Vampire Community,” Madame X said.
“House of the Dreaming is a family of Ronin, or solitaires, as such we believe in self-actualization, personal empowerment and the precious value of the Solitaire,” Madame X explained. “Similarly, we believe in the enhanced power of group energy, the nurturing vitality of Family and the dynamic strength of sharing in the Dream. We have chosen to come together here as Family – one Family, one Honor, one Dream; yet we understand each of our hearts has its own special rhythm, each of us has a very specific energy signature, demeanor and drive.”
But House of the Dreaming isn’t just a place for vampires.
“We embrace Vampyres, Therians, Otherkin and wielders of Magick and Mysticism,” Madame X explained. “We are a Spiritual Family. We are not just vamps but also therians, otherkin and wielders of magic and mysticism. We do not run our Family like a corporate organization where the elders are the CEOs.”
The House of The Dreaming was founded “in the year 2000 as a House of Ronin by myself and my Nightkind Brother Vailen Moon with whom I shared European backgrounds in vampiric mysticism and ceremonial magic.”
Most people automatically associate ceremonial magic with left hand path, or black magick, all of which require a specific faith. Madame X says that House Ceremonies at The Dreaming “are specifically crafted to appeal to the devout, the spiritual, the agnostic, as well as the non-religious. Should the celebrant choose to include visualizations of their particular spiritual path they are most welcome to, but such are not necessary requirements.”
“Our Family recognizes respects and values the spiritual diversity of our membership to be a source of strength as we collectively, yet independently, reach out toward enlightened individuality,” she continued.
“We are not for everyone, nor do we have an open door,” said Madame X. “In fact we are very selective and are proud of our exclusive tight-knit membership and low turn-around. Family is forever. Our formula is simple: ‘Come to us not to find yourself, but to better understand yourself.’ Know thyself and the beating of your heart then, come to us to share in our dream.'”
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