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The meme is funny... because it's real.
If you’re a paid Substak subscriber that’s taken a listen to our Taurus Full Moon + Lunar Eclipse TOTEM Tarot Reading, you know that the key theme of this weekend’s lunar event is to redirect our energy, at any cost, back to ourselves and our own, productive projects. This is the only way we’ll be able to spot and receive cool, new opportunities and gifts coming in.
As I was reflecting on this yesterday, a client sent me a hilarious video (above) of the actor that plays Colin Robinson— aka the Energy Vampire— from the What We Do in the Shadows TV show, popping up on local TV stations “in character” as an energy vampire— disguised as a “Master Yo-Yo Expert”. You might recall we first shared some Colin Robinson “Energy Vampire Extraordinaire” clips with you in our Persephone Rising post here on Substack back in September. He’s hilarious. It’s a brilliant character.
And it’s funny because it’s a true account of an energy vampire.
How to spot energy vampires
So, this hilarious clip prompted me to reflect on energy vampires, and what we can do to prepare ourselves in this dynamic and challenging eclipse season.
To start, we need to learn how to easily identify them and not get snake-charmed by their disorienting sorcery. And this isn’t as easy as it sounds: energy vampires don’t always present the way we think they will and are, in fact, quite sophisticated and subtle in their energy-draining machinations:
Killdeer antics: A killdeer is a species of bird that pretends to have a broken limb or other injury in order to distract from its nest. Once, I saw an entire field of killdeers all hobbling around in circles, and went into full ugly crying mode thinking someone had injured hundreds of birds! Needless to say, I called someone and they knew from these birds and we managed to solve the mystery and I learned they were faking it all. It’s an experience that has stayed with me— and offered me crucial insights into the world of energy vampires.
Energy vampires also embrace this killdeer tactic, taking outwardly performative steps to make themselves seem injured, traumatized, vulnerable and otherwise worthy of your pity. But make no mistake about it: this is a strategy to disarm you, then energetically enmesh with you, drain you of your life-force, and make it awkward for you to confront them about any imbalances in the dynamic given their status as “poor so-and-so”. Beware the perpetually-wounded, those that are attached to sad stories about themselves, and those that indulge in their own, awkward self-pity in the company of and at the expense of others (see Colin Robinson clip above for more details).
No sense of humor: I don’t know what the cause is, but energy vampires have literally no sense of humor. Does your potential energy-sucker ever laugh at themselves? Send you a genuinely funny meme? Do they like comedy? Tell jokes? Make light of challenging situations or topics through the use of humor? A sense of humor is really a life skill, enabling people to transmute the inevitable pain and trauma into a cathartic and uplifting release.
If someone can’t ever do this, I’m telling you: red flag. Energy vampires cannot seem to pull themselves out of their downward spiral of low vibrational energies and emotions, so they kind of just hang out down there at the bottom— hoping that you join them in their watery grave.
No give and take: Energy vampires will engage in superficial gestures to seem nice and caring, but if you evaluate your relationship objectively you’ll note it’s woefully out of balance. Has this person ever asked you how you’re doing? Have they ever asked what they can do to help you? Do they respect your boundaries and your time? Has there ever been any measurable reciprocity? Have they thanked you for favors you’ve done? Kindnesses you’ve shown? Acknowledge the positive presence you have in their life?
If not, you may just have an energy vampire on your hands. The key? Don’t listen to their words— observe their behaviors. Energy vampires are sophisticated parasites with sophisticated strategies, and they know what words to say to “seem” nice— all while they’re getting a full all-you-can-eat buffet at the Ponderosa.
Circling the drain: As can be seen with the hilarious energy vampire character of Colin Robinson, there’s a tendency for this archetype to constantly talk in endless loops around the same old problems and anxieties, seemingly unable to get out of the cycle, get into the solution, and keep the plot of life moving. This is common with energy vampires, and they seem to enjoy the feeling of circling the drain on a particular topic— especially when that topic is about the “grave harms” done to them by their parents or exes or the world more broadly.
Take note of how many times over the weeks, months or years you’ve heard the same, “woe is me” phrases verbatim. How attached are they to their negative stories about themselves, their lives, and what the future looks like? Try to remember a time when they genuinely asked for and received advice to solve an issue. Yah, odds are that never happened, because the solution is not the point of the exercise;)
Feelings of dread: If you’ve started to feel anxiety ahead of interacting with someone— however quickly or superficially— they might just be an energy vampire. When you see their email come through, do you tense up and stop breathing for a few seconds? Does your heart start beating faster? Do you ever want to look at what it says, or does the thought of that discovery fill you with dread?
You might be wondering, “why is this person triggering me?” and assume that you are the problem: possibly too sensitive, combative or reactive. But, in reality, you’re likely just looking out for yourself, and your feelings of dread or anxiety are a warning from your nervous system to EJECT out of the proverbial energy vampire plane.
Sometimes, I’ll even have stress dreams ahead of planned interactions with energy vampires, spending the evening’s dreamtime wandering the astral plane desperately looking for my wallet, my ID or my plane ticket. This is dream language that communicates how disempowered, alone and lost this energy vampire makes me feel— and the ID bit is all about the anxiety of losing my sense of self as I’m drained of my life force. Dreams are powerful communications!
Somatic symptoms: In addition to the nervous system dread, you may also be experience tightness in your jaw, hips, shoulders, chest, and back when you think of or interact with this energy vampire. As the book of the same title would indicate, the body does in fact keep the score! So, listen to it.
Do interactions with this individual impact your appetite, sleep schedule, heart rate or digestive functionality? Do you get stress headaches? Do you get a rash or blow a blood vessel in your eye? If you remove yourself from this individual, does your body feel relaxed and relieved? Do you sleep better? Wake up earlier and more refreshed? Have more energy throughout the day? Feel happier and more hopeful? Yep. You might have an energy vampire on your hands.
How to handle an energetic parasite
So, we know some of the ways we can start to identify these energy suckers, but what can we do to extract ourselves or guard our energy bodies? I mean, we can’t exactly fire coworkers or clients at will, and we don’t necessarily get to pick our mother-in-laws, so we may not be able to control the occasional appearance of an energy vampire in our lives.
I’ve collected (below) a few tips and tricks for you to consider implementing as you manage the dynamics with your very own energetic parasite:
Define and maintain all boundaries: Articulate, formalize and clearly communicate your fundamental boundaries in business, relationships and life more broadly. Keep it simple, manageable and sustainable. Make sure you also adhere to these boundaries with your own behavior, strengthening your boundary brand energetically and informing others how you want to be treated in kind. Next trick: reinforce these boundaries consistently.
My #1 energy vampire red line? When someone does not respect my explicit request to not be contacted on a particular medium or during a particular window. Like, I need a break. I told you I needed a break. My nervous system needs a break. And yet, here’s another email because you want to get something “off of your chest”. Ugh. I mean, let it breathe a little, bro.
And, because my ground rules are set ahead of time and consistently enforced, I don’t need to have an argument with myself about whether or not I’m being a bitch or if I’m off the mark or if I should just be nice and feed the energy vampire “this one time”. It’s a system that works— if you work it!
Don't “feed” into pity: Going through personal hardship is never an excuse to be rude, treat others badly, or just constantly take without giving back. Ever. We all have challenges in our lives, and suffering is a natural part of the human condition. So, don’t let energy vampires convince you otherwise;)
And the best news? We can have compassion and empathy for others and give them a bit of grace as they navigate the messy business of being a human person without ever compromising our boundaries.
It’s worth noting: covert narcissists and energy vampires play up the victim thing to the hilt for a reason. It’s a great strategy for making people uncomfortable with telling them “no”, and they capitalize on basic human goodwill for their own nefarious— and destructive— ends.
And remember: energy vampires are bottomless pits. You can throw everything you’ve got at them, sacrifice your career and all of your other relationships and all of your time and energy and they’ll still be complaining, taking and HUNGRY.
Don’t use emotional language: Energy vampires seem to feed off of histrionics and intense emotional reactions, and appear to be emboldened when they get us to crack a bit under the pressure. So, don’t give it to them. Stay calm, cool and collected, and interact with them as though you’re penning a corporate email regarding an HR issue.
It’s also important to not feel compelled to respond to their messages right away. Sometimes, if you maintain a boundary or call them out on something, they’ll immediately dig in harder— attaching themselves to the situation like a really, really strong octopus with emails, texts and voice messages. Give yourself time and space to chill out, write out your point of view, and then remove any and all emotional language— focusing on what objectively occurred and what that means moving forward. Insults, threats and caustic comments might be tempting (trust me, I get it), but they don’t help you extract yourself (and your energy) out of harm’s way.
Cut and clear energy cords: Sometimes, when dealing with an energy vampire, the old ways are the best. Burn some sage. Spray some clearing room spray. Fill a hot bat with salt and slip in. Visualize cutting cords with this person and wish them well and you watch them float away in white or pink light.
Strange paradox: the more gently you handle the cord-cutting, the more effective it will be. This is a kind of energetic jiu-jitsu, one in which you’re really using your opponents’ momentum to simply redirect them away from you with minimal fuss. You can also use smokey quartz and pyrite to clear your energy body and camoflauge yourself so that you can get out alive.
Keep it moving: Odds are, if you’ve had a recent run-in with an energy vampire, they’ve eaten up a lot of your bandwidth and taken more than their fair share of your time, your mental space, and your energy. So, keep it moving. Don’t sit and stew. It’ll never be fair and you’ll likely never get an apology for being a human host to an energetic parasite, so you just gotta keep it moving.
As quickly as possible, focus on productive projects in your life. What’s next on deck? What future events— like birthdays, holidays or anniversaries— can you get excited about? What clients, coworkers and friends do you enjoy spending time with? Maybe ask them out for coffee or dinner and remind yourself of what normal human interaction looks and feels like.
If nothing else, just know this: no, you’re not crazy. And vampires aren’t just for horror movies anymore.
Energy vampires are real, and they’re really good at making everyone else feel all crazy and confused and worried and drained. That’s kind of exactly how they get their food.
So, this eclipse season, don’t be their food!
And check out more of the hilarious character of Colin Robinson for a good, dark-humored laugh:
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