Astral Vampires and the Second Death
Written by: Michelle Belanger
In "Vampires: the Occult Truth" writer Konstantinos talks about two stages of death and how they relate to astral vampirism. According to Konstantinos, there is the first death, which is the death of the physical body. Some time after the physical body dies, enough spiritual energy dissipates that the subtle body, which he terms the astral shell, also dies. According to Konstantinos, it is only after the astral shell "dies" that the soul if then released to move on to another incarnation.", "Again, according to Konstantinos, an astral vampire comes about when a person is somehow able to avoid the ""second death"". This requires a phenomenal effort of will, and of course awareness of what is going on through the process of dying and in the time immediately afterwards. This interpretation explains the energy needs of an astral vampire -- because once the physical body is dead, there is no more life energy being generated in order to sustain the astral shell. Thus, with nothing left to support it, the astral shell must go about stealing the life energies of others.
Konstantinos gets his concept of the "second death" from earlier occult writer Dion Fortune. Fortune, a product of the Golden Dawn and a successful psycho-analyst in her day, produced a book entitled "Psychic Self-Defense". It's still in print today and can be purchased on Amazon.com if anyone's interested.
Fortune has a very small section in her book on astral vampires. According to Fortune, astral vampires are the spiritual remnants of very powerful magicians. When the magickal worker felt death impending, he struggled to overcome the so-called second death, the death of his astral body, and succeeded. The reasoning for this is that he was so attached to this life he refused, through a concerted effort of will, not to move on.
Not alive, not precisely dead, and only able to move in the subtle reality, the magickal worker must feed upon the spiritual energy of others to perpetuate his existence. If he doesn't feed, his astral body will continue the process of decay and release his spirit to its next incarnation, which, it is implied, is probably going to be a nasty one since the magickal worker even dared attempt this astral hanging-on in the first place.
According to Fortune, only truly evil individuals even attempt such an operation. She further suggests that the process of becoming an astral vampire is so traumatic and alienating that no one who attempts it survives with their sanity intact. They become nothing less than ravening, astral monsters.
This information is conveyed in about 3 pages of text in her book. Fortune goes on to describe one or two cases where someone she knew was being attacked by an astral vampire. This leads into a brief discussion of psychic vampires (which for Fortune were more what we would consider "emotional" vampires today) and that then leads into the actual topic of her book -- how to defend against the attacks of these beings.
Now, I don't necessarily agree with all of Fortune's concepts (not to mention Konstantinos' interpretations of Fortune's concepts). I agree that astral vampires exist, but they're not universally evil, and I don't necessarily think all of them came about through the kind of black magick Fortune implies. But it's important, when reading Konstantionos' book, to see it in context with Fortune's own beliefs, as he lifted quite a bit of material directly from her.
To be perfectly honest, I don't really like Konstantinos' work. He presents a very negative view of us, and that view is often misleading. When he wrote that book, he had an agenda: tell the word about the evil of psychic predators (re: vampires) and give advice on how to protect against them. Clearly, the book wasn't written for our community -- it's geared more toward the people who believe that we're out there but who feel all we do is attack and prey upon unwilling victims in a negative and devastating way.
My personal take on astral vampires is that they are just like living vampires -- but without a body. Since I believe that vampirism is a condition of the soul that is carried from incarnation to incarnation, it follows that when between incarnations, the soul is still vampiric. I do not think that the connection to life energy is limited to the physical body. Actually, quite contrarily, I don't think the connection is located in the physical body at all but actually is subtle in nature and thus is located on the subtle body / soul.
Finally, I don't think that the subtle body degrades at death -- what Fortune describes sounds almost like the astral shell decomposes, and I've never experienced anything like this at all. It's simply that the connection between the physical body and the subtle body is broken at death, and the subtle body is freed from its attachment to the physical form. But my views on the subtle reality, death, and the soul are very in keeping with the Tibetan Bardo, and I've never resonated completely with the Golden Dawn / ceremonial magick way of looking at things.