Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Native American Religion (Spirituality)


What do we mean when we speak of Native American religion? Unlike Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, it has no single founder. Unlike Judaism, it is not the ongoing story of a people with a strong sense of their own identity. Neither does it resemble Hinduism, with its ancient and all-inclusive adaptiveness. In a sense, Native American religion does not exist at all: There is no one religious expression common to the 250 distinct Native American peoples still surviving as America moves through the 21st century. And complicating the question even further is the fact that few Native American people today can say for sure how their ancestors worshiped before the onslaught of European immigrations: Too much death lies between the present and pre-Columbian America, too much cultural devastation, too many forced conversions to Christianity. The chain of elders preserving tradition was broken by disease and war. Many contemporary Native Americans interested in knowing their own heritage have found themselves in the peculiar position of needing to consult anthropologists for information.

But anthropology has its own problems. Serious attempts to study Native American culture did not begin until the mid-to-late 19th century, 200-300 years after the first European conquests, and 50-100 years after the beginning of serious western expansion. Many Native American people no longer lived in their sacred homelands, and numbers of eastern tribes had completely disappeared. Even when anthropological studies were undertaken, early reports frequently judged Native Americans by the values of European men, discounting their stores of wisdom, their religious insights, and their different approaches to gender roles. Often, the Native Americans interviewed didn't make anthropologists' jobs any easier: The Wintu of California had a saying that when the white men come, "...we will forget our songs." According to the Lakota, "If it was told to a white man, it is untrue." The Hopi learned early about anthropologists' love of publishing and permanently closed their ceremonials to all but their own people. The list could go on and on.

Anthropologists divide the Native American cultures of North America into seven groups: Eastern Woodlands, Southeastern, Plains, Plateau, Great Basin, Southwestern, and Northwest Coastal. Each of these geographical groupings contains many distinct peoples with only the broadest characteristics in common, each with their own culture and religious beliefs. Any attempt to briefly summarize such a rich variety of peoples -- as this page does -- is going to involve inexact generalizations: It can't be helped. Where space permits, examples appear from different tribal groups, but they do not begin to reflect the diversity of Native American spirituality.

Native American - Myth

What part do sacred stories and history play in Native American religion?

In Native American narratives, one can notice two kinds of time: A time before time, or outside time (mythic time), where things are not as they are here, and historical time, similar in most respects to contemporary life. In mythic time, no barriers exist between the spirit and physical worlds. Earth, animals, plants, and humans understand each others' languages. Spirit beings walk the earth openly and interact with human beings freely, sometimes helping, sometimes harming, sometimes mating with them. Gifted humans may venture into spirit realms -- these persons are often called shamans. Native American creation stories, migration accounts (stories of how a people found its way to the sacred homeland), and stories of culture heroes (those who gather the wisdom and rituals that hold a people together) are stories of mythic time. The winter counts of Plains peoples (pictographic summaries of passing years, each year symbolized by a memorable event) are examples of ordinary history.

Stories of mythic time often have the ability to bring the story's audience into that time -- into the non ordinary time of the spirit world. Storytelling among Native Americans -- when the story is of mythic time -- dissolves boundaries. Reenacting such a story overlaps the worlds even more powerfully, filling the people with the power existing in the original happening. The smoking of the Lakota pipe brings the spirit of its giver (White Buffalo Calf Woman) into their midst, as well as joining the smokers together in familial relationship with all of nature. Among the Iroquois, ritually donning a mask made in the image of the Great Defender, or humpbacked one, (assigned by the Creator to cure sickness) brings his healing power into a sickroom. 

Family: Narrative and ritual are as inseparable in Native American life as spirit and flesh. Much traditional ritual recreates myth, bringing the story's power into everyday life. White Buffalo Calf Woman's pipe is one example. Among the Northwest Coastal peoples, magnificent masked dancers recreate the mythic beginnings of their families, bringing the power of the founding being -- raven, killer whale, etc. -- into their midst.. Among the Huron, an annual ceremony dramatizes and fulfills individuals' significant night-dreams, thus bringing spiritual health to the whole community. The Navajo of the Southwest recreate the stories of the Yei, or Holy People, in their sand paintings, curing illness through the power of the overlapping spirit world.

Native American - Doctrine

How do traditional Native Americans explain their beliefs?

Traditional Native Americans have had little interest in developing what is thought of as religious doctrine. Their participation in nature and spirit does not lend itself easily to standing apart and analyzing. Inherited tradition, spiritual experiences of ordinary people and religious specialists, judgment of the elders, and the welfare of the people all interacted creatively in each generation to shape religious reality. Spirituality was a fluid thing, responding to changes in a variety of circumstances.

Significant dreams and visions played important roles in shaping beliefs. The 19th century movement known as the Ghost Dance, culminating among the Lakota in the massacre at Wounded Knee, originated in the west with one man's vision of the white race's defeat and the buffalo's return. The 19th century Iroquois prophet Handsome Lake almost single-handedly halted the disintegration of his people's religious traditions by his vision led institution of the Iroquois Long house religion. White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared among the Lakota sometime after 1500 and reshaped their whole approach to life.

Traditional Native American religion today has lost much of its fluidity. Like many dispossessed peoples, Native Americans often look on what remains of their original culture as infinitely precious -- too precious to risk losing. In this way, tradition can harden into an inflexible shell of traditionalism, no longer responsive to the people's experiences or to the changes around them. However, as more Native Americans seek to recapture the wisdom of past generations and apply it to their contemporary lives, their traditions will have a greater chance of revival, as well as ongoing transformation. In academic terms, Native American spirituality may be described as panentheism (deity/spirit present in, as well as beyond, everything). Such a world view assumes the existence of Spirit beyond the visible world, but also dwelling in all that is. Words like animism (belief in spirits in natural phenomena, such as trees, rocks, animals, fire) are commonly used to describe Native American religion, but when one neglects to include the broader presence of Spirit beyond physical nature, this explanation is incomplete. The Lakota concept of Wakan Tanka (most frequently translated as Great Spirit) illustrates panentheism well: Wakan Tanka is the Spirit over, under, and throughout all of the physical world, its guiding principle, present in individual phenomena yet not confined to it, not strictly singular nor plural, neither truly personal nor impersonal. Manitou/manitos of the Algonkians is a similar concept.

Native American Society

How Does American Spirituality Work Itself Out In The World?

Each Native American people handed down its own creation narratives and migration accounts, usually telling of creation by benevolent deities/spirits, who placed the people in their sacred homelands. These homelands often contained the site of a group's emergence from the earth in mythic time and were almost always seen as the world center, the most important and powerful site on earth, around which all else revolved -- and where ritual must be performed to be effective. Spiritually speaking, a Native American people's relationship to their homeland was more like that of a tree to the earth than of a European's attachment to his or her property. The various removals that tore Native Americans from their sacred lands truly left them rootless -- in the sense of a tree that is torn in two. Today, Great Basin peoples continue to pursue long-standing disputes with the federal government about its use of their Nevada homelands for military test ranges. The Black Hills of South Dakota, long the sacred homeland of the Lakota, but now teeming with tourist glitz, are the subject of lengthy, unresolved treaty violation suits by the Lakota people. The Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni of the Southwest are among the fortunate ones permitted to retain a core of their ancestral lands, thus enabling their traditions to survive more nearly intact.

There is no one pattern of religious structure in Native America. Remnants of the urban Mississippian priesthood still remained throughout much of the Southeast in the early contact period. In the urban cultures of the Southwest, each sacred society (called kivas by some) had its own ritual leaders or priests. Complex ceremonials and hierarchies characterized both areas. Among the Woodland peoples, a variety of religious practitioners thrived, specializing in various means of influencing the spirit world, healing, and foretelling the future. Some Great Basin groups sought out persons struck by lightning as their religious leaders. Shamans among the California Shasta tended to be the daughters of established female shamans. Among the Plains peoples, ordinary members of the community became spiritual leaders based on personal abilities. Various names describe the non-priestly religious leaders of Native America: medicine man or woman, shaman, diviner, herbalist, conjurer, healer, crystal gazer, and dreamer are only a few. Where one professional responsibility begins and another's ends is often unclear.

At the heart of traditional Native American society is the value placed on the welfare of the group as a whole. Selfless devotion to "the people" characterized almost all Native American groups. Southeastern leaders demonstrated their greatness by how well they cared for their people and how many spoils of war they could accumulate -- in order to give them all away. Willingness to suffer and die was assumed when the safety or survival of the group was at stake. As the future of the tribe, children were treasured and protected. Women were revered as life-bearers and wielded significant power in many councils. (Most Native American societies were matrilineal, tracing the descent of all children through the mother's line, rather than the father's.)

Most groups' names for themselves translate in their own languages as "the people," or "the humans," in contrast to all other groups, who were necessarily somewhat less than human. Small scale warfare with these other groups was an essential part of Native American life, a means of earning glory and respect and of acquiring slaves, possessions, and sometimes adopted family members to increase the group's strength. In pre-contact America, it never approached the levels of European inspired warfare, nor was its primary goal slaughter.

Native American - Ethics

How Do Native Americans Address Right and Wrong

Concepts of right and wrong in traditional Native American societies tend to be attached to actions that either promote or diminish the even flow of life -- the balance -- that must be kept at all times. Human beings have obligations to behave in certain ways toward all other aspects of creation. If these obligations are honored, harmony and balance are preserved. Poor relationships of any kind -- relationships that fail to follow patterns laid down in mythic time -- destroy the balance, whether it is a relationship between human and human, human and spirit, human and animal, or human and plant. The Navajo word hozho points to all of this. Although it is difficult to translate into English, its sense is of balance, harmony, beauty, and completeness. Wrong actions are those that disrupt balance and harmony, jeopardizing the well-being of a people and the cosmos as a whole. The Cherokee, a people who share characteristics of both Woodlands and Southeastern regions, developed a complex system of keeping this balance. In their world, all phenomena belonged to groups of similar beings, each of which had its opposite. Opposing groups must never be associated with each other except with strict controls and ritual limits. Men and women were members of two such groups (masculine and feminine), and their contacts were carefully controlled. Fire and water were another such pair.

A different, crucial kind of balance was achieved among human beings, animals, and plants. According to traditional Cherokee narratives, humankind's irresponsible killing of animals for food and clothing caused great resentment among the animals, who decided to infect humankind with a new disease every time an animal was killed. Plants took pity on the suffering humans and offered themselves, with their wisdom, as cures for the animal plagues. Ever since that time, plants have been allies of the Cherokee, and hunters have taken great care to follow proper rituals to honor the spirits of animals killed in the hunt. Each tribe developed its own unique formulas connecting human behavior to the patterns of the universe. Sometimes the resulting laws were as complex as those of the Mississippian priesthoods in the Southeast. Sometimes they laid subtle ceremonial requirements on the members of exclusive groups, such as the kivas of the Southwest or the warrior societies of the Plains. Sometimes they were simple and unambiguous, almost absorbed with mothers' milk. But in every case, they attempted to align the tribe's actions with spiritual realities perceived in the universe around them.

Native American - Experience

What is the nature of religious experience in Native American religion?

Individual experience of Spirit was central to much of Native American religion, and the vision quest, common to most of the continent, was the most widespread form of such experiences. Within the priestly cultures of the Southeast and Southwest, however, religious guidance was provided by the priests, who also acted as intermediaries between people and Spirit in major festivals. Visions were generally not sought by ordinary people. Some shaman led peoples also limited vision experiences to those called to be shamans, but, in general, non-priestly societies tended to place greater significance on individual encounters with Spirit.

The vision quest was a structured search for personal vision found throughout pre-Columbian Native America and even to some extent in the Southwest and Southeast. In its most basic form, a vision quest involved an individual alone in the wilderness, spending a number of days fasting and seeking spiritual power/vision for life. In most societies, the vision quest was part of a youth's ritual passage into adulthood. In some societies both boys and girls went on vision quests, in others only boys. Often, a young woman's seclusion took place inside a special lodge, rather than in the wilderness. For some groups, the vision quest was solely a ritual of puberty, a rite in which a young person acquired his or her lifelong spirit guardian. Among other peoples, particularly in the Plains, anyone might seek supernatural guidance in a quest at any critical point in life -- or simply quest periodically as a spiritual discipline. The quest held the greatest significance for young men training to be warriors: Without a spirit guardian, no man survived many battles.

The Chickasaw of the Southeastern region required forest fasts of their young men in order for them to receive animal guardians, but the animal received was predetermined by the youth's clan. The young man's male relatives cared for him during his fast, teaching him all he needed to know about his clan spirits, but no vision was sought. Visions were the privilege of religious leaders alone. Among some Northwest Coastal peoples, the search for spirit guardians became highly ritualized. Like the Chickasaw, the guardian received was predetermined by a boy's birth clan or clan by marriage. The youth's isolation in the forest was brief and symbolic, and the spirit possession resulting from it carefully choreographed. Some Plateau and Great Basin tribes, as well as a number from the Eastern Woodlands, considered a vision to be a call to a shaman's vocation. Among the Southwestern pueblos, even though their ceremonial system focused on group experience, placing no significance on acquiring spirit guardians, individuals still sought solitary visions at times, particularly in aid of hunting, healing, and craft design.

All Native American religions involve rituals that gather the community together in common bonds of experience. Among the Iroquois peoples of the Eastern Woodlands, each year in spring and fall, community ceremonies are led by the "false faces," wooden masked impersonators of the spirit who protects the people from disease, to drive all disease away. One of the most significant annual rituals among the Southeastern peoples was the Green Corn Ceremony, in which the people purified themselves, cleaned their houses, fasted and prayed, and offered up the first ears of green corn in the fire, seeking Spirit's blessing for a healthy harvest. The high point of the festival was the relighting of the sacred fire by the religious leader and its distribution to all the community homes. The multi-day ceremonies concluded with a great feast of celebration.

The Sun dance of the Plains peoples varied from place to place, but was generally held in the summer, at a time when help and insight was especially needed from spirit beings; it took place over several days, during which time men (and in some cases women, although separately and with different ritual) danced around a central pole, often staring at the sun, sometimes attached to the pole by thongs through their flesh: They were offering Spirit the only thing that was truly theirs -- their own flesh -- in an attempt to rouse the spirits' pity and secure their help. At the two-day Zuni Shalako ceremonial held each year in late fall, the Zuni people celebrate the spirit beings' (called kachinas, like the Hopi) arrival at Zuni, bringing blessings and rain. All the scattered Zuni people who can come home to Zuni for the all night dancing and feasts.

Although many Native American groups placed great importance on individual spiritual experience, they were never spiritual consumers, nor were such experiences private. All supernatural encounters were evaluated, and accepted or rejected, by the elders of the group. The purpose of such experience was always the strengthening of the individual for good of the people, never simply personal edification.

This article is a first in a series of several.  Please click here for the next article, Native American Prayers.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What is Empathy?

20 topics and questions discussed gathered from various polls and individuals with my evaluation

"Empathy... is not sympathy. Sympathy is a way of reacting to someone who is suffering. Empathy is feeling that suffering as if it were you own. In it's simplest form, it is flinching when someone slams his finger in a door. At it's most sophisticated, it is their pain in your heart."

The word "empathy" is derived from the Greek words "empatheia" meaning "passion" and "pathein" meaning "to experience, suffer". An empath experiences the feelings of others... not merely as a substitution of one's own feelings or a realization of how one would feel in a similar situation. An empath can feel another without even knowing the other's situation. While many people have empathy, the ability to understand another person's feelings implicitly, they are not necessarily empathic. Additionally, the word empathy does not take into account the physiological, instinctual, and/or primal sharing that can occur with empaths. (For example, an empath may experience that pain of another or could have a psi-somatic reaction to another's illness.) For this reason, I draw the distinction between "empathy" and "empathic". Miriam-Webster's on-line dictionary defined "empathic" as "involving, eliciting, characterized by, or based on empathy".

Having drawn a distinction between the psychological term "empathy" and empathic abilities, I'd also like to draw a distinction between empathic abilities and psychic abilities. On the one hand, psychic abilities and empathic abilities are virtually the same, as I believe that they come from the same source and use many of the same systems. On the other hand, psychic abilities again have the common interpretation of dealing with thought energies while empathic abilities are interpreted as dealing with emotional energies. There is a difference between thoughts and feelings. Additionally, I feel how our energies are channeled is the main difference between psychic and empathic abilities.

Psychics tend to channel their energies mainly through the heart chakras and above, while empaths mainly channel their energies through the heart chakra and below. People able to channel through most of all of the chakras easily are both empathic and psychic. "Chakra" is the Sanskrit word for "wheel" and they are the energy vortexes or gates in our bodies.

There are seven major chakras and many "minor" ones, but all are important. We all channel some life energy through all of the chakras, but some chakras are often more "open" than others.

Empaths tend to have their lower chakras open while psychics (channelers and clairvoyants) tend to have their upper chakras open.

Since we are on the topic of words, however, the ideal word to use to describe the abilities I am focusing on would have been "telepathy", which originally mean "far feeling." Unfortunately, the common interpretation of telepathy is thought communication and I feel that this interpretation would be a distraction for most people. I prefer the term "empath" to specifically describe telepaths who pick up emotional, physical and instinctual responses from others.

Question/Topic 1: How often do you feel waves of emotions sweep over you from a source outside of yourself?

Psychics, empaths and vampires can all feel the emotions of others to an extent.

Psychic and empathic abilities fall on the same spectrum and are not mutually exclusive. The more sensitive a psychic, empath or vampire is, the more often they tend to feel the emotions of other beings.

Psychics tend to be more attuned to the positive emotions that they describe as bliss, love, celestial guidance etc. and they tend to enjoy these feelings.

Empaths tend to most sensitive to negative emotions: anger, isolation, sadness and emotional pain. While they can also love to laugh and prefer happy moments, empaths are particularly prone to depression. They feel the pain around them and it can cause sadness within them. Sometimes these waves may be so intense, they may seem to be overwhelming... the empath may experience mood swings that have no overt physical or psychological cause.

Many empaths will describe a feeling of being overwhelmed by these emotions or even feeling smothered by them.

Those who feel positive emotions but can not enjoy them or enjoy negative emotions may be exhibiting vampiric tendencies.

Question/Topic 2: How do you feel about most animals?

Empaths usually have a strong affinity towards all animals, perhaps slightly more so than psychics, but I don't know if there is significance to this yet. Indicating that one can't stand animals, however, is typically non-empathic.

Question /Topic 3: How do animals tend to react to you?

Empaths operate on a lower level than psychics... a level approaching the level of energy that animals sense and appreciate.

Many animals are amazing generous with their energy and empaths often feel very happy and comfortable with animals and vice versa. There tends to be a cooperative link established. I often refer to this ability as the "Gift of St. Francis", as St. Francis of Assisi was an empath with amazing abilities to communicate with animals.

Psychic vampires, however, may experience a complete rejection by animals or feel that animals respond to their psychic commands.

Question /Topic 4: How often do you get the sense that certain people drain (or attempt to drain)?

Albert Einstein's famous equation "E=mc2" tells us that energy is matter and vice versa. I believe that almost everything is basically energy and power. Certain people, whether consciously or not, attempt to drain us of our energy and often they are successful. Psychics, psionic and empathic people are usually quite sensitive to these attempts and the more sensitive one is to the attempt the more often one will feel it occurring. Psychic and strongly psionic people seem to be the best at blocking these attempts, quite probably because people with vampiric tendencies were or are empathic themselves. There may be other reasons why psychics seem to be better able to handle psychic vampires, however, and I would be interested in hearing theories from psychics and even vampires as to why that may be.

Question /Topic 5: Deals with sensuality and touch.

People with vampiric tendencies tend to despise touch unless they are initiating it, yet they also feel they are extremely sensual people.. This is not to say that all people who have difficulty with issues of touch are vampires. Many people who have experienced abuse in their lives also may express some difficulty with people touching them.

Psychics and some empaths tend to enjoy touch as much as or slightly more than the average person.

People with strong empathic abilities, however, tend to be extremely sensual people. They are often very sexual and/or erotic (root chakra is quite strong) and enjoy physical touch a great deal.

Question /Topic 6: Deals with the feelings people have towards certain beings.

Feelings towards werewolves does not seem to have significance for either psychics or empaths. I tend to think that people with vampiric tendencies also do not relate with werewolves, but I'll withhold judgment until after the analysis.

Both empaths and psychics may find themselves fascinated with sprites or faeries, while vampires would probably be repulsed by them.

Empaths are either strongly fascinated by vampires, repulsed by them or both. Psychics are usually repulsed by them and vampires are usually fascinated by them. This choice is a strong flag of abilities because the vampires represent very real vampiric experiences that psychics, empaths and vampires have felt in different ways.

Fascination with angels may be an indication of psychic (clairvoyant and channeling) abilities, while revulsion may be an indication of vampiric tendencies.

Fascination or revulsion of aliens may be a mild indication of psychic abilities.

Question /Topic 7: Do Empaths tend to be very sensuous people?

If you are not ashamed or embarrassed about your body, yes . Logic is not enough to fill the gaps in their understanding of the universe, empaths need to sense and feel. Since strong empaths tend to feel closed in and smothered by the feelings around them, they often prefer peaceful rural settings where they can tune themselves in to nature. Empaths who are very strong often wish they could go back to the simple life of Adam and Eve, running naked in nature feeling the energy flow unencumbered by the insulative qualities of clothing.

Remember that empaths seem to operate mainly through the lower chakras, which are usually covered by clothing which blocks some of the energy flow through these chakras. Since the throat, forehead and crown chakras tend not to be covered most of the time by clothing that restricts energy flows, psychics may not feel this yearning. Some empaths, especially in our society, were brought up in a shameful environment and shame may be a tremendous block for them, and they tend feel very restricted by these feelings. (Shame is one of the more powerful blocks to empathy)

Question /Topic 8:  Deals with common fears.

Empaths tend to be very much in touch with animals, and will probably not fear them.

Empaths and psychics will probably not fear witches or pagan rituals.

Many empaths and psychics believe that they live prior lives including lives in which they were accused of witchcraft or heresy because of their beliefs and abilities, so they tend to have an affinity to witches, if anything. (note: many are witches and followers of other Pagan based paths.)

Fear of vampires may be an indication of psychic and/or empathic abilities for reasons previously stated.

The fear of drowning or being smothered is a very strong indication of empathic abilities and possibly psychic abilities.

Some empaths may feel that they are being smothered by the negative emotions of others.

This feeling may represent itself in our psyche as a fear of drowning, being smothered or even claustrophobia. Additionally, there may be another reason: those empaths and psychic who feel that they lived previous lives as witches may fear drowning and being smothered because the preferred method of execution for those convicted was drowning, suffocation by hanging or suffocation by being crushed with stones. (While some witches were indeed "burned at the stake", most it seems dies by suffocation or drowning.

The fear of heights has no significance for psychics, empaths or vampires.

Question/Topic 9: Pick two colors which energize you the most.

People with vampiric abilities tend to pick "black" and "red"

People with empathic abilities tend to pick "black", "red", "orange", "yellow", "green"

People with psychic abilities tend to pick "green", "blue", "indigo", "violet" and "white"

There may be two reasons for these findings:

1. People commonly associate emotions or ideals with colors. For example, red is often associated with anger or passion. Orange is often associate with warmth and yellow with sunniness and happiness. Green is often associated with health. Blue is associated with calmness (or alternatively with sadness.) Violet is often a symbol of wisdom, regality and psychic awareness. Black is a somber color for some while white is a symbol of celestial purity for others. Given that empaths are very passionate people who enjoy warm feelings but often experience somber feelings, it may be that they are drawn to the colors that remind them of this. Psychics, I believe, tend to desire a sense of calm understanding, wisdom and celestial purity and could be drawn to the colors which represent these ideals.

2. Some of the colors represented are associated with the major chakras of the body. Red is the root chakra located at the base of the spine. Orange is associated with the pelvic chakras just below the waist. Yellow is associated with the solar plexus chakra. Green is said to be the color of the heart chakra. Blue is associated with the throat chakra. Indigo is traditionally said to be the color of the "third eye", located in the middle of the forehead (some say this color is actually violet.) Violet is traditionally said to be the color of the crown chakra on top of the head, however some say this chakra is white, some say it is gold, and some say it contains many colors. (Not being a clairvoyant or a channeler, I personally have difficulty seeing the colors in the chakras.) People may therefore be choosing the colors that correspond to the chakras they feel are most attuned.

Question /Topic 10: Pick one color which you need more of in your life.

For possibly the same reasons stated above, most empaths seem to choose "green", "blue", "indigo", "violet", while most psychics seem to choose "green", "yellow", "orange" or "red". Vampires it seems usually choose "green" which I find interesting because green is associated with the heart chakra, and my belief is that psychic vampires experience difficulties with the heart chakra (the chakra most closely tied to our feelings of caring and wellbeing for others.) Choosing "green" though is not an indication of vampiric abilities since it is often a common choice for both psychics and empaths as well. "Blue" seems to be the most common choice for empaths, either because they seek the calm, peace and cooling effects it has or because it is associated with the throat chakra (which seems to be the weak chakra for many empaths - myself included.)

Question/Topic 11: Pick one color which negatively affects you the most.

This is actually a question of vampiric tendencies. Most people who consciously choose to be vampiric seem to be bothered by the colors "yellow", "green" and to a lesser degree "white". Alone this question is useless, but said in conjunction with other questions, this question can be a decent indication of these tendencies.

Question /Topic 12: Who prefers rural or urban areas.

This question is mostly significant to empaths. Empaths usually prefer the peacefulness of rural places away from the negative emotions that flood them in urban settings. It would seem, though, that if strong empaths prefer rural settings, then preferring an urban setting would be a sign of not being empathic. This is not the case, however, as empaths who are less sensitive may enjoy the flow of energy from crowds and may seek out urban settings to recharge. (These empaths, however, should be wary of recharging by taking energy from others without their explicit permission.)

This habit could lead into psychic vampirism.

Energy exchanges in urban areas can be extreme however, they can also sometimes become a violent maelstrom.

One of the reasons violence tends to occur in urban settings is because of the energy flows that occur there.

Consider the way many people in urban areas live: small apartments with other apartments close on either side as well as above and below. Add to the equation the tremendous amounts of electromagnetic energy from numerous power sources, and unnatural lighting sources such as sodium vapor and florescent bulbs then subtract the natural energies blocked by tall buildings and the natural energies lost due to fewer plants and animals.

Most strong empaths and psychics experience difficulties with extended visits to the city, however, there are a select few who are able to channel those energy flows to their benefit. (These empaths and psychics are usually extremely adept at blocking, shielding and cleansing negativity.)

Question /Topic 13: Which of the following do you feel more drawn towards?

Empaths seem to consider the earth as their domain, while psychics look to the sky. (Many psychics have told me that they love to fly!)

Question/Topic 14: In times of trouble do you rely on feelings from your head, heart, gut?

Empaths tend to say the "gut" (I would say, intuition, inner guidance), psychics tend to say the "head" or "heart".

Question/Topic 15: To get out of a dark mood, who do you usually seek?

Both empaths and psychics tend to say they sought solitude or the company of friends. The most telling answer, though, was the company of people you don't know very well... an answer someone with vampiric tendencies might lean towards. The desire to borrow energy anonymously during times of difficulty is a vampiric trait.

Question /Topic 16: How often do you get "feelings" about other people ?

Both empaths and psychics describe themselves and are described as being very sensitive. Being described as insensitive or overly sensitive, however, may be a sign of vampiric tendencies since others may feeling that the energy exchanges in one's relationships are not on an equal level.

In other words, if others see you as insensitive or overly sensitive, they may feel that you are pulling energy from them or draining them. If you choose to be insensitive as a way of blocking people from draining you (not being vulnerable), there are other effective ways of blocking while maintaining your sensitivity.

Question /Topic 17:

Under revision and will be forthcoming in the near future.

Question /Topic 18:

Under revision and will be forthcoming in the near future.

Question/Topic 19: Describes the energy exchanges between yourself and others.

Psychic and empaths usually seek to keep energy exchanges on an equal level or may choose to give energy to others.

People with vampiric tendencies often pull energy from others.

People who are not sensitive in terms of psychic/empathic abilities tend not to be aware of energy exchanges.

Question/Topic 20: Rate your healing abilities and tendencies.

While vampires may have the ability to heal, their tendency may be to harm.

Empaths and psychics tend to have strong healing abilities. The degree of healing ability may be an excellent indicator of the strength of one's empathic and psychic abilities.

The feelings one has in the chakras helps determine whether one is leaning towards empathic or psychic abilities, and whether one has blocks.