By Michelle Belanger
Most psychic vampires have an instinctive ability to feed over long distances. Long-distance feeding, however, requires a significant expenditure of energy on the part of psychic vampires, who must extend tendrils of their own energy to connect with their target. In addition to the initial expenditure of energy involved in extending this tendril, the distance itself has an impact on the exchange, such that the greater the distance being covered, the more energy is lost along the way. This is why the majority of psychic vampires find long-distant feeding both frustrating and inefficient, as it first requires the vampires to have enough energy to initiate contact, and even after such effort, the pay-off is not worth it in the end.
Feeding directly in a person-to-person exchange provides a much deeper connection, allowing for a more fulfilling and efficient energy exchange. Few vampires can do more than surface feed when feeding over a distance, skimming the most superficial levels of a person’s energy. Deep feeding, a technique that allows psychic vampires to penetrate to the essential core of a person, where the energy is most intense and concentrated, is something that only rare individuals can accomplish over a distance. True deep feeding, which often involves an exchange not just of energy but of thoughts, emotions, and remembered material, almost always occurs solely between two people who are in direct physical contact with one another.
And yet the exception to this is dreamwalking. Through dreamwalking, despite the distance that may separate partners, it is possible to create the same level of connection that one can achieve in direct person-to-person feeding. Connections function just as if the other person was in the same room as the dreamwalker, and little to no energy is lost in the exchange. It is also possible to engage in deep feeding during a dreamwalking session. Dreamwalking, in fact, is one of the few long-distance feeding techniques that regularly allows for deep feeding. And yet such intense exchanges occur during dreamwalking because, on some level, the interactions shared between two people in the dreamspace do not seem distant at all, regardless of how many hundreds of miles may actually separate their slumbering bodies. Some quality of this interaction seems to ignore physical distance entirely, so that proximity is literally all in the mind.
One of the reasons I felt the need to address dreamwalking in the Codex is the fact that psychic vampires are particularly prone to unintentional dreamwalking. Most psychic vampires who are aware of their condition make arrangements with willing donors to provide the energy they need. But when psychic vampires are isolated from people and there are no willing donors, this need cannot be met consciously. When psychic vampires reach a certain level of energetic need, a kind of survival instinct kicks in and the psychic vampire dreamwalks to feed. Typically, the psychic vampire will unconsciously target friends or loved ones, traveling to them in dreams in order to take the vital energy that they so desperately need. Even when psychic vampires have cultivated the ability to consciously direct their dreamwalking, spontaneous dreamwalking can occur, especially if they are starving. If it’s any indication of how difficult it is to control this ability, let me state that I have been dreamwalking since the early 80s, and I still have spontaneous dreamwalking experiences every now and then. Many of these involve dreamwalking to someone in order to feed.
The Challenge of Ethics
In an ideal situation, you should only dreamwalk to someone who has given permission for you to enter their dreams. Psychic vampire or not, randomly popping into someone else’s dreams is invasive and can rightfully be interpreted as a psychic attack. Even if your intention is only to help the target person, get permission first. Even if all you are doing is trying to send healing energies to someone, if this is neither expected nor invited, it can be perceived as an attack.
Where psychic vampires are concerned, the issue of ethics is compounded, because both uninvited dreamwalking and uninvited feeding can be seen as attacks. However, due to the nature of this technique, it may not always be possible to alert someone to the fact that you’re going to target them for a dreamwalk on a specific night. Especially since starving psychic vampires will spontaneously dreamwalk, some serious ethical dilemmas can ensue.
As anyone familiar with the Black Veil knows, ethics are an important concern for me, and one of my primary rules as a psychic vampire is that people who give energy to me must do so knowingly and freely. Dreamwalking randomly and spontaneously prevented me from obtaining the consent so crucial to my personal ethos. Once it was obvious that it was nearly impossible to completely wipe out instances of spontaneous dreamwalking, I arrived at a conscience-salving solution.
I contacted a pool of individuals, most of them living at a distance, who agreed to open their dreams to me whenever the need arose. I made certain they understood that I might not be able to warn them before I dreamwalked to them, but I promised to make every effort to contact them immediately thereafter, if I felt I had dropped in on them in the night. Once I had a handful of people who were amenable to this notion, I focused on them much as one focuses on any intended target prior to a conscious dreamwalk, programming them into my subconscious mind as acceptable targets. The theory was that, if I spontaneously dreamwalked, my subconscious mind would seize upon these people first, thus tapping a pool of willing donors. Thus far, the theory has worked, with only one or two unexpected exceptions.
For psychic vampires who find themselves in a similar situation, I strongly suggest talking to your donors to see whether or not they’re open to the idea of being fed upon in dreams. Just because someone serves as a full-time donor, or prasadi, in the waking world does not mean you should assume they’re okay with donating energy in the dreamspace. Some people are very disturbed by the idea of having their dreams invaded, even by someone they care about. On the other hand, individuals who live too far away to be practical donors might be eager to offer themselves in dreams. You can never predict how a given individual is going to react to the notion, so make a point of communicating before you assume. This goes for pretty much any instance of dreamwalking, but psychic vampires have a greater responsibility to obtain permission than most.