The Castes as Spiritual Archetypes
Written by: Michelle Belanger
A lot has been said about the castes that I propose in the Kheprian system. Some people like the idea of the castes right off the bat. They resonate with them, and on a fundamental and often unspoken level, the concepts the castes are based upon make sense to these people. Others, however, really have a tough time identifying with the castes, and many even see the system as needlessly restricting and hierarchical.
Let me try to explain once and for all why I think the castes are important enough to warrant inclusion in the Codex but why I think many people have trouble identifying with them.
First of all, the castes are a part of the Kheprian belief system. Our creation myth (for lack of a better term) ties our origins to an ancient temple. The castes are derived from the social structure within this temple, which included priests, warriors, and temple concubines. According to our belief, a group of individuals within this temple developed a way to alter the energy body so as to aid the soul's ability to retain memory and personality through subsequent incarnations. The side effect of this permanent spiritual alteration was vampirism. Now, if you believe that House Kheperu has its origins in this mythic temple from this mythic time, then you will understand that at the time the caste system was hierarchical. If it was drawn from the social structure of the time, there is no way it could not be. However, our time now is far removed from that time, if indeed that time ever existed. And so it follows that the caste system also is very different from what it was.
Why does the caste system continue to affect us? Those of us who claim to be Kheprians believe that three distinctly different types of alteration were made depending on an individual's intended place within the structure. Priests were altered in such a way that allowed them a greater control over energy manipulation, but it also created in them a greater need for the energy of others. Warriors were altered in such a way as to toughen them to the energy workings of others and to provide them with the ability to turn their energy toward destructive and offensive ends if the need arose. Concubines were altered in such a way that they could give or take energy, cycling it at higher rates in order to sustain the priests and being able to replenish themselves with little effort.
Although the social structure from whence these roles came is no longer in place, who we once were is burned into our very energy bodies. Those of us who were Priests cannot alter the changes that were made then. Thus, we are always going to experience the greater need. Those who were Warriors are always going to have powerful shields and an impressive capacity for turning energy toward destructive ends. And those who were Concubines will find that their energy connects easily with that of others, and they often gravitate toward a giving and supportive role.
Going deeper, if you accept the original premise, those individuals who were selected to be a part of this group that would incarnate as spiritual immortals, were suited to the roles they were expected to fulfill. Thus, those selected to be warriors were warriors already in nature, and the process which locked them into one thread of personality and one unbroken set of memories also locked in this warrior heart. Priests were already leaders and organizers and diplomats, and thus these qualities were locked into the personality that would carry through in subsequent incarnations. Concubines tended to be good companions, skilled lovers, artists and entertainers, and so again, these propensities were locked in and carried from lifetime to lifetime.
The soul is not static. The purpose of the alteration was not to produce something which would not change but to allow an individual to learn and grow from lifetime to lifetime. And so it follows that many of us have expanded our areas of expertise. Priests have not always joined a temple or lived a life of quiet contemplation. They have been born to other roles, often intentionally to learn and expand themselves. The same goes for Warriors and for Counselors. All of us have been many things. We have expanded ourselves; our souls have grown and evolved. As the society that we are born in has changed, the roles we can choose to take up have changed as well.
Yet the original core remains the same, as does the fundamental way in which each of us processes energy. Thus, the caste is important to know. We do not always remember ourselves with perfect clarity. Often, our memories return to us over the course of our early adulthoods, and during this period of awakening, it is helpful to have things that guide us in our exploration of our pasts. Especially because our original caste ties us back to that first, mythic time, it is often very helpful to jog our memories and evoke all of who we are.
When I wrote the sections on the castes and explained the characteristics that generally typify a concubine, warrior, or priest, it was not my intention to re-establish the social structure we once upheld. Some people immediately seized upon this as a hierarchy, but I left that hierarchy behind a long time ago. I simply wanted anyone who might resonate strongly with their particular caste to be exposed to the idea, especially since in this day and age, the idea of a caste is not something many people will be exposed to. If some people had already remembered a little of what they were, then the information on the castes would only jog their memories further. And if the memories still lay dormant within some, then reading those sections and identifying with one caste or with another might help the process of awakening so they might more fully become.
The other thing that I must make very, very clear here is that not all vampires are Kheprians, so the castes are not going to be valid for everyone. There may be as few as two hundred of us. When compared to the greater vampire community in the world today, the number of people for whom this system is valid is very small indeed. Because energy manipulation functions on many basic, universal principles, and the process of vampirising energy is fundamentally the same for everyone, of course many things written in the Codex are going to resonate with a great number of vampires. But the Codex was still mainly written from a Kheprian perspective in order to reach the remaining Kheprians. Those principles that are in common with any kind of energy vampire are going to hold true for everyone. But those things unique to Kheprians, such as the castes, are not going to have a universal appeal.
All I can say at this point is, if the castes in some way help you understand who you are and how you process energy, then they are right for you. If trying to fit yourself into a caste is like Cinderella's step-sister trying to fit her foot into an ill-fitting glass slipper, then don't try cutting off your proverbial toes just to squeeze in! Chances are, you are not a Kheprian, even though you may still accept many of our beliefs and you may still benefit from much of the rest of the Codex. Even if your energy body is in some way altered much like our own, we hardly held the patent to the process. You may have a lot in common with us, but you may still belong to a different group, and thus not everything which holds true for us will hold true for you.
As with everything, seek your own truth. Learn what you can from our teachings. Take what works for you, and leave what doesn't. Regardless of where we come from and what our original intentions may have been, we Kheprians are now interested only in sharing information and helping to assist all those who resonate with the vampire to understand what they really are. We can offer only what we know from our own experiences and memories. Accept that those experiences and memories are necessarily limited to our own perspective. What is right for us may not be right for you, but only you can adequately judge for yourself.