In what is hopefully the final revision of The Black Veil, the fourth version is...interesting... When I first stumbled across it on the site of the Strigoi Vii a few years back, I was rather amused, as I'm sure most of you will be. While this is most definitely not a difficult document to find, I feel that Sangi, of http://www.sanguinarius.org, says it best. Since I entirely agree with her opinions on this matter as would most of you if you decided to do some research on the people involved she has given me permission to copy-and-paste her take on it.
*Without further ado, Sangi's announcement of The Black Veil 4.0 (taken from http://www.sanguinarius.org/articles/black_veil_4.shtml)
'The Black Veil', v.4.0 Plus Commentary
The Black Veil has undergone yet another revision. This time, it seems to be a complete rewrite, abandoning previous versions, and scaling back to only 5 tenets. It's been endorsed by many to lend it legitimacy, though few of the names will probably be recognized outside of the increasingly exclusionary Strigoi Vii. Interestingly, it is now considered by the author to be a trademark of Sabretooth, which is Todd Hoyt's fangmaking business. Maybe the Black Veil has come full circle and is now back to it's vampyre lifestyle origins?
I know that it decries the drinking of blood and those who do so. Keeping in mind that vampires drink blood, blood drinkers have the strongest claim to using the word "vampire"; psychic vampirism entails only the concept of vampirism, no actual blood drinking. Those who are real vampires don't have much choice in the matter, unlike pretenders who enjoy the benefits of a separating their make-believe "nightsides" from their very real "daysides". While I will quite readily and happily allow psi feeders to include themselves as "real vampires", I will NOT allow non-blood-drinking psi feeders who exclude blood feeders from being considered "vampires" to get away with it. If anyone shall be excluded, you can guess it will be those who have a weaker claim to the word "vampire". Especially if they start getting snotty and better-than-thou about things.
And what's with this Zhepr (Xeper) that Todd's been going on about since he started getting buddy-buddy with the Temple of the Vampire (ToV)? They seem to be keeping awful close company these days, each using the other for their own purposes. The downside to this is that Todd is dragging the Sanguinarium (via the Strigoi Vii) -- and by his influence, the vampire community -- ever closer to, putting it bluntly, a negative spiritual pathway. The Black Veil is evolving ever more into a code for a specific spirituality rather than an ethical code for the vampire community. If you support the Black Veil, my recommendation is to specify which version you support.
Sanguinarius and Sanguinarius.org does not support or endorse this version of the Black Veil; in fact, we repudiate it as being unrealistic and anti-vampire. I am including the document here for historical purposes and to compare to other versions. You are free to accept or reject it, as I have. I still endorse the Black Veil, versions 2 ("13 Rules of the Community") and 3 (2003 version scaled back to 7 tenets).
The Black Veil - Strigoi Vii Edition
Revised, February 23rd, 2007
...there are two types of laws; just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws...a just law is a code [that] squares with the moral law...rooted in eternal law and natural law.
- from Letter from Birmingham City Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King
This is the ONLY edition of the Veil endorsed by the original author [Todd Hoyt]; SABRETOOTH and is the foundation of ethics for the Sanguinarium. Previous editions have high merits; however, they have not fully captured or expressed in words how to avoid potential liabilities in the tangible Dayside realities of the mundane world. These realities must be first addressed in order to ensure the security and prosperity of the Family. Those Strigoi Vii or Black Swans who violate these laws within the Family may, at least, face banishment or permanent excommunication. In reality they are betraying themselves by giving up their own opportunity to achieve Zhepr through their own actions.
We Strigoi Vii are socially responsible individuals, and the consequences of Our actions may have various, often negative, repercussions as We become more visible to the Dayside world. Those who proudly bear the Legacy Ankh close to their hearts, be they Strigoi Vii or Black Swan, make the statement that they are upholding the Black Veil. These acts are innate common sense for the responsible members of Our Family. The Black Veil gives us the freedom and foundation to be powerful by avoiding issues that may get in Our way.
TENET I: SECRETS
Secrets protect and bind Us to the foundation of these Laws. Our Mysteries are Our own and those who wish to explore them should seek them out alone, through personal initiative and action. As a sleight of hand magician would employ the principle of "hidden in plain sight," so does the Living vampyre. Honor one's choice of privacy, for example, in regards to their mundane identity, and never disclose any personal information without explicit permission. This law is also extended between vampyres. Let the individual make the choice to reveal even the most basic facts of themselves, such as being Strigoi Vii, their level of initiation, the mundane personal information, etc., to others.
Public discussion of Strigoi Vii and the Mysteries with the media, in public forums, or with those not of the Blood or Black Swan is an obvious violation of this law. At all times speak only for yourself and not for the whole of the Family. Leave that to those select members of the Priesthood who are properly trained in public relations. Never share the contents of the Sanguinomicon with those who have not read Our Mysteries. Let Seekers solve the Mysteries on their own.
TENET II: HONOR MUNDANE LAW
Adherence to the laws of Our local governments, even if We disagree with them, is essential to provide Us the freedom to explore Our Nightside nature. If We disagree with mundane laws, We must strive to be individually and socially responsible enough to change them through mundane legal means. Our Laws are Our own!
TENET III: THE METAPHOR OF BLOOD
Strigoi Vii view Blood as a symbol and metaphor of the subtle life-force, better known as prana, chi or ki. We extend this Blood metaphor also to symbolize the ties of the greater Strigoi Vii Family. We are not wanna-bes, seduced by the Glamour of fiction and Hollywood, who consume physical blood. [Editorial note: I'm sorry, but I have to stop and laugh my fuckin' ass off here! It's the wannabes who DON'T, and the REAL ones who DO. -- Sanguinarius] To satisfy Our spiritual hunger We know other more refined and higher forms of feeding, which We find much more efficient, and which sustain Our Mysteries. This creates a clear avoidance of legal liabilities and health risks such as blood-borne diseases including Hepatitis, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS, etc. Strigoi Vii simply cannot tolerate blood drinking as We, Living vampyres, do not drink physical human blood for the purpose of experiencing Our Mysteries and fueling Zhep'r.
TENET IV: RESPONSIBILITY FOR MINORS
We must honor the need for minors to establish a skeptical, objective, and rational Dayside foundation before exploring and embracing the Nightside. Those who have not reached the age of majority (eighteen in the United States) must not be permitted or encouraged to explore Our Mysteries, participate in ritual, or enter Our Sanctums under any conditions. Thus no minor shall ever be involved in Strigoi Vii, either privately or publicly, until they come of age.
TENET V: CURRENT & QUEST
The Current of Elorath is the "Blood" which is the signature of those of Our Family. The collective duty of all Strigoi Vii is the Quest, which is Our collective duty. We must search out those lost souls with Strigoi Vii potential who are not yet aware of Our Family. However, never force a potential to follow Our way, as vampyres are not rebels, nor are We mindless followers. Always use one of the proven tools of supporting the Quest as to not degrade Our Mysteries. Give the Seeker the hint and let them feel the Calling and come if and when they are ready. Never support or join an organization that opposes the Family Mysteries. Never enter into debates with mundanes or try and convert them or see Our ways, as it is in conflict with the Glamour and a waste of time and energy. Betraying the Quest is not only betraying the Family, it is betraying yourself.
© Copyright 1997-2007 The Sanguinarium, all rights reserved. The Black Veil is a trademark of SABRETOOTH. Permission granted to reproduce in while without modification.
*Sanguinarius wonders how something can be copyrighted before it was even written*