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So What Is This "Kheperu" Exactly?
By: NyteMuse/Morgan Felidae
It's pretty hard nowadays to go ten feet in the vampire community today without running to the terms "kheperu" or "kheprian", but what do they MEAN? Are you less of a cool person for not knowing? Do they somehow have this big and important meaning that all vampires should be aware of? Not really, though you'd probably be well-served being familiar with them.
House Kheperu is a vampire House that was formed by Michelle Belanger, author of The Psychic Vampire Codex, in 1996. But its history dates back even further, thousands of years, in fact.
In the Beginning...
Before the period that is commonly referred to as Ancient Egypt, there existed a rich culture. In the land that was not-yet-Egypt, in the period the Egyptians refer to as the Sep Tepy, it was the age of temples. The temples were the center of the city, from which the high priest would serve as the voice of his god on earth, to rule and mediate for the people. Into one such temple, at a very young age, was given the boy, Setem-Ansi. The temple he was pledged to was dedicated to wisdom, and he was training to be a priest. However, there was one particular ideal of the temple that he could not abide. The priesthood of the temple believed in reincarnation, but maintained that when the mortal body died, the soul lost all of the details, skills, and knowledge of its previous life before it could reincarnate. Using the knowledge of healing and the subtle body that Setem-Ansi had gained at the temple, he developed a technique wherein he would separate the body from the cord that bound it to the creator, in whose arms the memories were lost. The theory was that the soul would still reincarnate, but it would retain all memories and skills of the prior lives. However, that is not all the alteration managed; that tie to the creator, the universal umbilicus, was also sustaining the body, connecting it to the replenishing energy of the universal source. The disconnection from that source made Setem-Ansi vampiric. Despite the side effects, Setem-Ansi considered the experiment worth it, but the priests of the temple disagreed and declared his actions heretical. Setem-Ansi gathered followers about him and performed additional alterations on them, making them like him, and they took over the temple, making Setem-Ansi the new High Priest.
As Setem-Ansi and his Priests settled into their new lives, they realized their energetic demands were too high on the normal temple concubines, so they developed a second alteration that would allow those altered to provide a better source of energy to the Priests. The Concubines also became vampiric, though not to as high a degree as the Priests. Yet still there was a need to be met, for the Priests, while powerful spiritually, were weak and frail physically, and the Concubines were not trained for defense, so a third alteration was developed to create a Warrior caste of the temple guards.
With a working system finally in place, the Priests continued their experiments, conducting additional alterations and tweaking, trying to perfect their craft (some unauthorized alterations were also done, not quite the same as the originals but somehow related) until the Priests grew arrogant. The temples were destroyed and the Family scattered, yet they still were part of the cycle of reincarnation, so they return, century after century, sometimes finding each other, sometimes living alone, with thousands of years of differences and past conflicts to resolve.
The Modern House Kheperu
Obviously, times have changed. The temples no longer exist, and the dynamics between the castes has evolved and changed over time. The Family has a tendency to incarnate near each other more often than not. Sometimes they regain their memories quickly, other times much later, after new damage may have been done. The times of the past really don't influence the times of the present TOO much, except when it comes to the castes. The castes are not job descriptions, they are descriptions of how a Kheprian's subtle body anatomy works. It is not exactly a choice, at this point, as the alteration was done so many years ago. Kheprians draw on the castes when it comes to relationships (and relating to others), as well as in formal ritual. In pure Kheprians (not so much in unauthorized or informal alterations), the caste can be often identified by examining the subtle body: Priest alterations affect different chakras than Counselors, Counselors look different than Warriors, Warriors look different than Priests, etc.
Additionally, there were instances of hybrid castes, where the alteration done on the person involved having traits of two separate castes, either to make them able to function in multiple positions, or to make them function better in their current one.
And This Means What To Me
Probably not a blessed thing. While The Psychic Vampire Codex was the first serious book about vampirism to reach wide popularity, and the Codex is heavily swayed towards the Kheprian beliefs, the fact remains that vampires who possess the Kheprian alteration really do make up only a very small percentage of the community. It is not a club you can join. Yes, there is a House, and they have taken members who did not have the alteration before, but because their House is such a family environment, they are extremely choosy in their membership applications, sometimes only taking 1 new dedicant every two years.
The Kheprian castes, on the other hand, seem to have a struck a chord with even non-Kheprians, so that vampires all over will be saying "I'm a Priest", "I have Counselor tendences", etc. If you like putting yourself into boxes like that, the notion of castes is not copywritten to House Kheperu. It taps into the greater notion of archetypes, in some aspect. But outside of a Kheprian ritual chamber or House Kheperu itself, the castes really are no more important than a pretty little ribbon. Yes, it can shorten some conversations between folks who are in the know ("I'm having problems with my SO" "What's the problem?" "I'm a Counselor" "Ah, I see"), but identifying with a caste does not define your life path or what you should be doing.
Fitting into a caste does not make you Kheprian, and once you get outside of House Kheperu, the lines between the castes can get blurred. It is possible to have a not-terribly-vampiric, tough person with an ego the size of Jupiter. Some cases of hybrid or crossover alterations did happen back in the day, and non-Kheprian caste identifiers vary from person to person about as much as aura color or dream symbol interpretations.
-NyteMuse/Morgan Felidae (2008)
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Last Updated: January 19 2008 03:49:46