It seems like no matter what subculture you’re a part of, there’s always somebody who’s supposedly stranger. Lots of folks think Otherkin are pretty weird – but even some Otherkin think that Mediakin (a.k.a. Otakukin or Otakin) are beyond unusual.
Mediakin are people who identify as/with characters from modern fiction, particularly (though not limited to) anime/manga and video games. Just as someone who is Otherkin may believe they were an elf or a dragon, wolf or angel, in another life, so Mediakin believe that a past/alternate life was spent as a person popularized through modern pop culture. They may see something quite familiar about the storyline in an anime or manga, but will also generally provide history beyond that. Mediakin may identify with a specific character, or simply the setting presented.
I’m sure some of you are thinking “Oh, lovely-they’re all insane!” right about now. Believe me, you’re not alone. After all, isn’t pop culture purely the creation of a human mind? Isn’t it impossible to have a past life as a character that was created after your birth?
I tend to give more leeway to the possibility of Mediakin. (Then again, I’ve been known to think in unconventional directions!) I don’t think the idea is wholly impossible, though I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of linear reincarnation. Let me start with two beliefs.
Lupa’s Belief #1: Pop culture entities can exist independent of their “creators”. In older cultures, fiction and mythology were kept separate; however, I believe that the processes for recording both are the same, though the intent differs. Pop culture is modern mythology; since mainstream America in particular lacks a cohesive cultural mythology, pop culture is about the closest we have. Belief = power, and all entities–gods, spirits, pop culture beings, etc.–rely to an extent on belief in order to have any connection to this realm of existence. It doesn’t mean they have to have that belief to exist, but the belief is the core of connection between them and us. I have worked successfully with San from Mononoke Hime as a huntress goddess in a similar manner to that which I’ve used working with Artemis in the Greek pantheon. From my own perspective and experience, San is no less real than Artemis, though I don’t see them as one and the same. In fact, in some ways San is more relevant to me because her story is contemporary to this life, rather than having been recorded by a culture thousands of years ago, with a very different set of values.
Lupa’s Belief #2: It is *possible* that people who talk about Otherkin and/or Mediakin in terms of reincarnation, soulbonding, psychology, and/or metaphor are all talking about the same phenomenon but interpreting it in different ways. This is why I don’t assume that we all “became” Otherkin in the same manner. I think it’s very possible that people experiencing past lives, and people experiencing very vivid journeys through the Collective Unconscious/personal unconscious/whathaveyou, are going through the same thing, except that the former group explains it *externally*, while the latter explains it *internally*. Because the experience is very vivid, the first assumption may be that it’s reincarnation, and that the person literally experienced those events and sensations at a different literal point in space/time. The question is whether space/time stops where the brain begins, or whether the microcosm and macrocosm are much more intimately linked than often assumed.
To elaborate further:
Three people experience a vision of being a wolf. Both can “feel” the sensations of having a lupine body, right down to noticing the different center of gravity, and seeing the muzzles before their faces. The experience is every bit as “real” in their minds as something that they experience in waking, physical reality. Subsequent meditations bring further episodes, including hunting deer, whelping pups, and other lupine activities.
Person #1 says this is proof of reincarnation and that they were a wolf in a previous life. S/he points to the subsequent memories as revealing a more complete picture of that life.
Person #2 says that they drew on the memories of a spirit/soul that was once (or may currently be) a wolf that are a part of a version of the Collective Unconscious that isn’t limited to humans. Later connections to that particular set of memories give a more complete view of tht wolf’s life.
Person #3 says that they got in touch with their own unconscious mind and brought certain parts of their psyche to the surface. The imagery that this part of their mind chose to reveal itself as was lupine in nature, because the person’s previous experiences with wolves and depictions thereof closely matched this part of themselves.
So who’s most right? Personally, I consider all three of the above explanations to be quite possible for my own therianthropy, and have evidence for and against each. I think, though, that we can also apply the same basic ideas to any Otherkin or Mediakin–how do you prove whether your experiences and memories were external or internal?
In my own case, I’m not Mediakin. *However*, I resonate very strongly with San. If I were to meditate on the parts of her life that I do know about via Miyazaki’s movie, and came up with more of the story experienced through a first person perspective, would that mean that I was experiencing my own memories? Or that I was channelling San? Or that I have a very fertile imagination and should start writing fan fic?
But the same also goes for that within me which is lupine in nature. When I meditate on my wolf-self and get first-hand visions, do I chalk it up to past life memory, connection to my primary totem (which, to me, embodies archetypal wolf energy), or simply that part of my psychology is wired more lupine than human?
Maybe we’re all talking about the same thing using different words. Maybe not. Maybe the Multiverse works in strange ways, offers multiple avenues for reaching the same destination, and has a sense of humor. *This* is why it’s so important to question yourself, no matter what you believe, because there’s never just one possibility–and the Multiverse is such that it generally offers up evidence for any possibility to be supported.
Also, in order to be Otherkin one must actively identify as Other. I know of pagans who claim to have had past lives as nonhuman animals, but who do not identify as Otherkin. The nonhuman lives have no actual effect on who they are now. Part of being Otherkin, IMO, is acknowledging the influence that the Other has on you, and making it a part of this life (without letting it overwhelm who you are in this life). Perhaps the only difference between me being someone who resonates strongly with San, and someone who *is* San via the concept of Mediakin, is that I do not actively identify myself *as* San.
My suggestion, if you want more information on Mediakin besides this article, is to check out From Fiction by saevitia snape . The author has outlined a lot of the basic why’s and how’s of Mediakin in an understandable, nonflaky manner.