Hello! My name is Stuart, or Blue, whichever is easier. I am a fallen angel and also 2D from Gorillaz. I also happen to be a system. I discovered my otherkinity (is that a word) back in 2018 during a meditation session. I saw an image of an eye opening and then a bunch of 2D memories. How did you find out about it? I’d love to hear. Also, any other angels here?
Version 1.1 – Updated 2014-05-19
By Orion Scribner
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Under these terms, you have permission to share, print, change, and translate this article,
so long as you only give it out for free, and credit Orion Scribner as the author.
What are otherkin?
Some real people think of themselves as kinds of creatures from mythology. These people call themselves “otherkin.”1 An otherkin has the belief that he is a creature from mythology, such as an elf.2 He says that elf is his true self. It is his identity.3This is real to him. It isn’t a pretend person that he plays in a game.4
Each otherkin makes his own idea of how and why he is an otherkin.5 He is the only one who can find what he is. Many otherkin say their idea of themselves is a personal spiritual belief.6 It is common for an otherkin to say his spirit inside him isn’t human.7 It is also common for an otherkin to say that he wasn’t human in his past life.8 They have the belief that people have one life after another. That is the belief of reincarnation. Some of them find other ways to think of themselves without using any of those beliefs.
They often use reasons from spirituality for their beliefs about themselves. However, this is different from a religion.9 Each otherkin has any religion he wants.10 Many of them have Neo-Pagan religions.11 As a result, many ideas about otherkin have a base in ideas from those religions. People don’t need to have the beliefs of those religions in order to say they are otherkin.
They look like humans. They were born like humans. Many of them say their bodies are human. However, some of them say they have elves in their family history. They say their own bodies are different from human bodies.12
What we know of as otherkin started in the year 1990.13 That year, a group of them on the Internet made the word “otherkin” for themselves.14 (The word “otherkin” comes from two English words: “other,” and “kin,” which is a word for a family.) That group had some roots in a few groups of people from earlier.15Earlier groups called themselves elves. Starting about 1972, the elves sent out writings in mailing lists and in magazines.16 Those elves are the earliest groups we have knowledge of who said they were other than human. If there were people like this in years before that, then I haven’t found writings from them.
Sometimes people use the word “otherkin” for other kinds of people who think of themselves as other than human. For example, animal people. Animal people people call themselves “therianthropes.”17
What are therianthropes?
Therianthropes are real people who think of themselves as animals.18 They believe they have animal selves. These selves aren’t pretend people for games.19 They are more than just their favorite animals.20 Each person finds his own idea of why and how he is an animal. He is the only one who can find whether he is an animal, or what kind. No other person can find out any of this for him.21
The first group of therianthropes started in 1993, in a place on the Internet. The place was made for having talks about werewolf stories. A few people there had a talk about how they had a feeling that they were animals.22 They took up the word “therianthrope” for themselves in 1994.23 (“Therianthrope” was a word for animal people in old stories. The word “therianthrope” comes from two Greek words. Theríon is a word for wild animal. Anthrōpos is a word for person.) Later, the therianthropes met the people who call themselves otherkin.
Therianthropes have the knowledge that their bodies are human.24 Some of them think of it as a spiritual belief to think of themselves as animals.25 They say they have an animal spirit in a human body.26 Some say they had been animals in past lives.27 Although these are spiritual beliefs, it isn’t a religion. That’s because each person has their own beliefs.28
Some therianthropes don’t use spiritual beliefs.29 Instead, they say their minds are like the minds of animals. For them, ideas from psychology are helpful for saying how their minds are different.30
Do they have a mental illness?
It is unusual for a person to have the belief that he is an animal. By itself, that belief isn’t a mental illness. Psychologists say that belief is only unhealthy if a person also has other problems that make worse trouble. One problem is if he has the belief that his body is becoming an animal. Then he might not have clear knowledge of what is real. Another problem is if he also has other mental problems that put him in danger. That could make a bad mix.31 Most therianthropes don’t have those problems.
Some therianthropes and otherkin asked their psychologists about this. Their psychologists said their beliefs were not a sign of mental illness.32 It is acceptable to have some personal beliefs. It is even acceptable if the beliefs are unusual. Beliefs are only a problem when they put somebody in danger, and make somebody too confused about what is true.
Therianthropes and otherkin are real people who think of themselves as other than human.33 Animal people call themselves therianthropes. Otherkin are elves, or other creatures from mythology. Therianthropes and otherkin started as separate groups. These ideas are unusual. However, they are not a mental illness. For many of these people, it is a spiritual belief.
1. Writings that say that otherkin are people who identify as creatures from mythology:
Polydorases, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ v3.0 Beta.” http://astraeasweb.net/plural/cris-otherkinfaq-old.html (dead link, no archive)
Eyovah, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ 3.0 Beta.”
Michelle Belanger, “Dragons & faeries & gnomes oh my! The fascinating world of otherkin.” PagaNet News, vol. 10, iss. 4 (2003). http://web.archive.org/web/20040222145023/http://www.paganet.org:80/pnn/2003/Litha/Feature_Sample1.html (dead link, see the archive from 2004.)
Michelle Belanger, The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work (York Beach, ME: Weiser, 2004), p. 274.
Aeldra Nightwood. “Otherkin.” 2011-01-28. http://divinorum.cz/symposion/otherkin
Wolf in the Shadows. “Otherkin.” 2003-10-07. http://bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1152983
Windrider. “Otherkin.” 2005-01-01. http://everything2.com/title/Otherkin
2. There are therianthropes and otherkin who are women, men, or people of other kinds. Please excuse me for using the word “he.” I had a reason to use that word. I made this article to be easy to translate into other languages. I had to use very simple grammar. That is why I had to use the words “he” and “him.” If I used the words “he or she,” or singular “they,” then automatic translators have difficulty with those. They also have difficulty with unusual words. I found that I couldn’t use other pronouns such as “s/he,” “sie,” or “xe.”
3. Writings that say it is an identity: Windrider.
4. Sources that say this identification isn’t a pretend person in a game:
“FAQ Otherkin Hispano & Noctalium.” n.d. otherkinhispano. http://foroactivo.com/faq?dhtml=no (dead link, no archive)
Kreyas. “What is otherkin?”Circa 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080906191533/http://otherkincoalition.info:80/forum/blog.php/?page_id=7 (dead link, see the archive from 2008.)
Lupa, A field guide to otherkin (Stafford, England: Immanion Press, 2007), p. 27, 108-109.
5. Writings that talk about the individualism of otherkin:
Tirl Windtree, “What are otherkin?” 2003-04-06. http://www.otherkin.net/2016/09/what-are-otherkin/
The Crisses, ed., “Crisses’ Otherkin FAQ v 4.0.1.” 2001-02-08. http://kinhost.org/res/Otherfaq.php
Rialian Ashtae, “Forward,” in Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 15.
6. Writings that say that it is a spirituality, or that say that many otherkin think it is:
Otherkin.net, “On being otherkin.” Otherkin: The Missing Manual. Circa 2001. (dead link, see the archive from 2015)
Polydorases, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ v 3.0 Beta.”
Belanger, p. 274.
7. Writings that say that many otherkin have the belief they are other than human in spirit:
Tirl Windtree, “What are otherkin?”
Wolf in the Shadows.
Adnarel. “What are otherkin, anyway?” http://main.otherkinalliance.org/articles/general-otherkin/what-are-otherkin-anyway/
Reklaw. “Otherkin: A short introduction.”2003-05-23. Kuro5hin (online magazine).http://kuro5hin.org/story/2003/5/22/03514/1997
Belanger, “Dragons …”
Cara Des’tai. “The Internet goes mythic.”Fate (magazine). (2000). http://www.eristic.net/fey/media/fatearticle.php
HumbleLightworker, “Otherkin.” 2002-10-10. http://embracingmystery.org/articles/otherkin-humble.html (dead link, no archive)
Arhúaine. “What are otherkin?” Circa 2000. http://stormpages.com/wolfglade/Arhuaine/otherkinwhat.html (dead link, see thearchive from 2002)
The Crisses, ed., “Otherkin FAQ 4.0.1.”
Lupa, A field guide to otherkin, p. 27, 186.
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.” 2006-10-22. WitchVox (online magazine). http://witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=uswa&c=words&id=11030
8. Writings that say that many otherkin have the belief that they were other than human in a past life:
Tirl Windtree, “What are otherkin?”
Wolf in the Shadows.
Belanger, “Dragons …”
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.”
Lupa, A field guide to otherkin, p. 57-58, 162, 166.
Reverend Kim, “What the heck’s an otherkin?”
Arhúaine. “What are otherkin?”
Adara, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ v 3.0 Beta.”
Ghostshadow, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ v 3.0 Beta.”
Adzia. “Otherkine – kým jsi a kým chceš být? (Otherkin: Who are you and who do you want to be?)” 2009-01-03.http://cavern.cz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=355&Itemid=28
9. Writings that say that “otherkin” is not a religion:
Wolf in the Shadows.
“FAQ Otherkin Hispano & Noctalium.”
Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 214-215.
10. Writings that say that otherkin practice different religions:
“FAQ Otherkin Hispano & Noctalium.”
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.”
Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 211.
11. Writings that say that many otherkin practice Neo-Pagan religions:
Belanger, “Dragons …”
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.”
Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 211.
Arhúaine. “What are otherkin?”
12. The founder of Otherkin.net, Rannirl Windtree, claims to be physically elven, “a human-elven crossbreed.” In “Here and now.” 2002-04. http://www.otherkin.net/2016/09/here-and-now/
The Silver Elves say their genes come from elves. In “Elves and brownies * A letter to Keith Olberman.” 2009-09-15.silverelves.wordpress.com/2009/09/15
Wildelf said that in the 1980s, more people thought of themselves as other than human for physical reasons. In “Various theories and the like…” 2002-03-01. otherkin.livejournal.com/30114.html
Arhúaine said that if a spirit that isn’t human is inside a human body, then that could make it different from the usual human body. In “Physically human?” 2002-04. http://www.otherkin.net/2016/09/physically-human/
Lupa gives some information about some therianthropes and otherkin who say their bodies aren’t human. In A field guide to otherkin, p. 41-42, 66-72, 170, 181-182, 241.
13. Orion Scribner, The Otherkin Timeline.
14. Orion Scribner, The Otherkin Timeline.
15. Orion Scribner, The Otherkin Timeline.
16. Aeona Silversong, “The Elf Queen’s Daughters.” Green Egg 1995 Winter 28:111, p. 29.
17. Writings that use the word “otherkin” for people with animal selves too:
Wolf in the Shadows.
Belanger, “Dragons …”
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.”
18. Writings that say that therianthropes identify as animals:
Wolf VanZandt, “Words and concepts.” http://theriantimeline.com/therianthropy/words_and_concepts
Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 118, 124.
19. Writings that say it isn’t a pretend person for in a game:
Mokele, “So, what’s this ‘therianthropy’ thing?” Circa 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20060203004125/http://www.therianthropy.org:80/mokele/intro.htm (dead link, see thearchive from 2006)
Therian Círculo. “Introdução à Introdução (Introduction to the introduction).” 2008-01-24.
Shifters.org, “Therianthropy-an overview.” http://web.archive.org/web/20010512033309/http://www.shifters.org:80/overview/therianthropy.shtml (dead link, see the archive from 2001)
Jakkal, Shifting FAQ , 1999.
Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 131.
20. Writings that say that it isn’t your favorite animal:
Shifters.org, “Therianthropy-an overview.”
Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?” http://www.wulfhowl.com/therianthrope-definition
ShadowsMyst. “Dispelling the myths.” n.d. http://shadowsden.org/therianmyths.html
21. “Nobody can tell you if you are a therianthrope or not. […] only you know if you’re a therianthrope or not.” Excerpt from Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?” http://www.wulfhowl.com/therianthrope-definition/
22. Polar said, “Sometime in 1993, one of the posters to the [alt.horror.werewolves newsgroup …] stated that he, himself, felt spiritually like he was a werewolf.” In Polar, “Unofficial AHWW Archive.” 1998-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20020210095017/http://www.furnation.com:80/Lobo/forest/uh-ahww.htm (dead link, see the archive from 2000)
Mokele said, “a newsgroup, formed in 1992, called alt.horror.werewolves, which was focused on the discussion of werewolves, in the mythic sense, in movies, books, and assorted other media. […] Over time, there was more and more speculation about the spiritual nature and consequences of the topic, until in 1993 some brave soul took the plunge and said he felt he was a wolf inside, spiritually.” In Mokele, “So, what’s this ‘therianthropy’ thing?”
Therian Círculo. “Introdução à Therian Comunidade (Introduction to the therian community).” 2008-01-25.http://therianbrasil.blogspot.com/2008/01/introduo.html
23. Swiftpaw. “Tracing the Origins of the Term ‘Therianthropy.'” http://otherwonders.com/swiftpaws/therian/old/termtherian.html (dead link, see the archive from 2004)
24. Writings that say that therianthropes have the knowledge that their bodies are human:
Shifters.org, “Therianthropy-an overview.”
Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?”
Ashen-Fox said that having the knowledge that one has a human body is what makes therianthropes different from people having mental illnesses. “Therianthropy is […] a constant state of self-awareness and the belief that while our bodies are 100% human-the souls that we’re born with are entirely different. This is the primary difference between the reality of being a Therian, and fantasy of a clinical disorder. We’re human. […] Our bodies are human, but our minds, souls, et cetera, aren’t.” In Ashen-Fox, “What is therianthropy?” 2009-02. http://deviantart.com/deviation/115731755
Sonne, “Terms and definitions.” Project Shift. http://project-shift.org/terms-definitions
25. Writings that say that some therianthropes have the belief that being a therianthrope is a spirituality: Therianthropes.com, “Therianthropy.”
26. Writings that say that some therianthropes have the belief that they have an animal spirit in a human body:
Jakkal wrote, “These are Weres that believe that […] they are simply the animal within. Basically, they believe that no part of their spirit is human, it is entirely animal, functioning within a human body.” In Jakkal, Shifting FAQ, 1999-12-24. http://web.archive.org/web/20020809034509/http://www.were.net:80/~pinky/shifters.html (dead link, see the archive from 2000)
Shifters.org, “Therianthropy- an overview.”
Tygerwulfe said that a therianthrope is “An animal spirit in a human body.” In Tygerwolfe, “Therianthropy: A personal definition.” http://tygerwolfe.com/?page_id=92
Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?”
Mokele, “So, what’s this ‘therianthropy’ thing?”
Ashen-Fox, “What is therianthropy?”
27. Writings that say that some therianthropes have the belief that they were animals in past lives:
Jakkal, Shifting FAQ, 1999.
Wulfhowl.com said that one of the beliefs that a therianthrope can have is “The belief that you were a certain animal in a past life, which is somehow significant to your current life.” In “What’s therianthropy?”
28. Writings that say that the beliefs of therianthropes are not a religion:
Some of them don’t have a religion at all. Wulfhowl.com said, “Therianthropy is not a religion; in fact, some therianthropes identify as atheist.” In “What’s therianthropy?”
Mokele, “So, what’s this ‘therianthropy’ thing?”
Therian Círculo. “Introdução à Introdução(Introduction to the introduction).”
29. It can be spiritual, but it doesn’t have to be spiritual for everyone. Wulfhowl.com said, “Therianthropy is not necessarily spiritual.” In Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?”
30. Writings that say that some therianthropes have the belief that their mind is like the mind of an animal:
Wulfhowl.com, “What’s therianthropy?”
Quil said, “Therianthropes’ personalities are partially not human; certain instincts and feelings aren’t of the primate type.” In Quil, “Introduction.” 2004-10-14. http://absurdism.org/therianthropy/introshift.html
Wulfhowl.com said that one of the ideas that a therianthrope can have is that “Psychological factors which connect you to an animal (or group of animals).” In “What’s therianthropy?”
Mokele said, “Some therians are atheist, and interpret their self-identification as an animal in terms of psychology (Jung is popular among those that share this worldview, though not the only option).” In Mokele, “So, what’s this ‘therianthropy’ thing?”
31. Paul E. Keck, Harrison G. Pope, James I. Hudson, Susan L. McElroy, and Aaron R. Kulick. “Lycanthropy: Alive and well in the twentieth century.” Psychological Medicine 18 (1988) 113-120.
Keck’s article is about mentally ill people who have the belief that they are animals. Psychology’s current definition of that problem comes from this article.
32. Lupa gives the stories of three people whose psychologists said it is okay to be a therianthrope or otherkin. In Lupa, A Field Guide to Otherkin, p. 261-262.
33. Writings that use similar ways of saying that otherkin are people who identify as other than human:
Tirl Windtree, “What are otherkin?”
Tirl Windtree, “What is an otherkin?”
Wolf in the Shadows, “Otherkin.”
Adnarel, “What are otherkin, anyway?”
Miaren Crow’s Daughter, “What are otherkin?” http://home.otherkin.net/miaren/what.html (dead link, see the archive from 2005)
Kreyas, “What is otherkin?”
Belanger, “Dragons & Faeries & Gnomes Oh My! The Fascinating World of Otherkin.”
Lupa, “Otherkin and the Pagan community.”
Arhuaine. “What are otherkin?”
Starelf, quoted by the Crisses, ed., “Otherkin & Awakening FAQ v 3.0 Beta.”
The Crisses, ed., “Otherkin FAQ v 4.0.1.”
Tocosar Ætlanatra (Dandelion Æ), “Why an Elf? An examination of the tendencies of Otherkin to associate themselves with mythological beings.” 2001-05. http://otherkin.net/2016/09/why-an-elf
Article originally posted on Dreamhart.org.
In our communities, as otherkin and therians and vampires, much of our interaction takes place online. To the point that the vampire community has even coined the phrase OVC, or, “Online Vampire Community” to refer to that portion of things.
This document, however, is about taking our community off the screen and into the real world. It is, simply put, a guide to meetups, mini-gathers, gatherings, howls, and conventions. It is intended to cover the questions of how-to, how-not-to, and what these events are like for both the person or people organizing them and those simply attending.
This guide was last updated on April 10, 2017. Please feel free to suggest any additions, corrections, questions, or changes in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Originally posted on Dreamhart.org.
Why This Document?
Frankly, this document exists because I am generally dissatisfied with the other otherkin FAQs currently in existence. Many have not been updated in any meaningful sense for years, others strike me as woefully incomplete. Worst, most seem to have a penchant for addressing the wrong questions. And I’m not too fond of many of the answers given either. This FAQ is my attempt to address these problems.
While there is overlap between the otherkin community and other communities such as vampires, therians, and starseeds (among others) the details of those additional communities are outside the scope of this FAQ.
This FAQ was last updated on July 24, 2018. Please feel free to suggest any additions, corrections, or changes in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
What Are Otherkin?
That right there is probably the question most people who read this FAQ would like addressed. What are otherkin? I’m sorry to say that you’re probably not going to find a straight answer on this one. That’s not because people don’t want to give you one, but because no one has ever been able to get the members of the otherkin community to agree on a single definition. Oh, many have been proposed over the years but they always seem to leave someone out or else include members of other groups.
One of my favorites is this, from the old Otherkin Resource Center webpage (now defunct):
Main entry: oth•er•kin
1 : one who identifies with various mythological archetype as vehicles of spiritual evolution and self-expression, similar to Native totemism only with a stronger level of self-identification.
2 : someone who believes in reincarnation, and that not all of their reincarnations were as a human.
Another method of defining the term otherkin is to look at the word literally: otherkin are “kin to the other”. I’ve written an extensive essay on that interpretation of the term, which may be found here, though my opinions on the matter have changed in the years since writing that piece.
There are many more definitions, of course. Most of the popular ones can be found in the other FAQs referenced in the Additional Resources section of this FAQ.
Ultimately, however, otherkin are the people who choose to be members of the online otherkin community, the wider otherkin subculture, and/or self-identify as otherkin. That’s the only 100% accurate definition of the word otherkin.
How do I know if I’m Otherkin?
A lot has already been written on this subject in the community, and the related question “What kind of kin am I?” But, quite frankly, I think most of it is bullshit. At best, you’ll be told to do some soul-searching. At the very worst, you’ll be told to look at a checklist of supposedly otherkin traits and see how many you match up against or to get someone to take a look at you on the astral. None of the answers given to this question are all that useful, in my opinion.
My advice? Explore the community. Meet as many otherkin of various types as you can. Get a feel for the ones that seem genuine and clueful. Read what they have to say about themselves, their experiences, their memories. See if anything strikes a chord for you, if anything “resonates”.
If not? No harm, no foul. There’s nothing shameful in not being otherkin, and frankly it may make your life easier if you’re not one. But if something does strike a chord? Ah, that’s where things start getting interesting.
First off, don’t jump to conclusions. Resonance means there’s an affinity there, but it doesn’t tell you a thing about the nature of that affinity. And you can resonate with elements of fiction just as easily as you can resonate with genuine accounts of nonhuman experiences or memories. I resonate strongly with the Minbari of Babylon 5, with the Taelons of Earth Final Conflict, and with the Tayledras of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. All three of these groups are fictional, and I do not believe that I was or am any of them. But each of them has qualities that remind me of my elven life. They resonate with that in me which is elven.
If you find something you resonate with, explore it. Find out more about the group described by that source, and see how much of what you learn continues to resonate. It may be that certain specific things resonate with you, while others do not. For instance, while there are elements of the history, language, and culture of Tulari elves which resonate with me there are many other aspects which feel completely alien. This is to be expected, as my own elven life was not among the Tulari. It was among another group of elves that might be considered a cousin to them on a world called Alorya. Use those feelings to guide you in your own search: resonance to steer you towards things you should look into more deeply, and the feeling of alienness to warn you not to go too far off course.
That’s how you’ll figure out if you’re otherkin, and if so what kind(s) of kin you are. Because when you find the right ones, there won’t be the feeling of alienness. Just more and deeper layers of resonance for you to explore.
That’s my opinion, anyway. If you’d like other perspectives on how to know if you’re otherkin, and how to find out what kind of otherkin you are, there’s a whole section on the subject in the Directory of Otherkin Writings linked to from the Additional Resources section at the bottom of this FAQ.
Where do I find other Otherkin?
If you’re new to the community, this is probably one of your biggest questions. The short answer is: online! The internet is, hands down, the best place to find otherkin. Even if you’re looking for a real-life, face-to-face meeting the internet is probably the best place to arrange it. Below is a non-comprehensive listing of major places to meet otherkin online. More can be found here and here.
KinFrontiers: Originally the “advanced” discussion section for a trio of otherkin-themed lists, this list hosts general otherkin discussions at this point.
Lostkin Project: A mailing list for otherkin who have no memories of nonhuman lives, but who don’t believe this life was their first. Searching for reliable and repeatable methods of Awakening their true selves.
NewKin: The “basic” list from the aforementioned trio. If you’re new to the otherkin community, this is probably where you want to start out. The intermediate/general discussion list is now defunct and KinFrontiers has taken over that role in addition to advanced discussions.
WanderingPaths: My own list, for general otherkin discussions from the very basic to the advanced.
Unfortunately the selection of otherkin mailing lists is not what it once was. At this time, these are the only active general otherkin mailing lists I can recommend. More lists, generally species or region specific, can be found here.
Draconity.org: A long-lived community for otherkin dragons, dating back to 2008.
Dreamhart.org Forums: My own forums, dealing with otherkin and the esoteric. Everyone’s welcome.
Embracing Mystery: Another otherkin and esoteric forum. Fairly long-standing, it’s been around since 2005.
Kinmunity: A new otherkin and therian forum replacing the older WulfHowl forum.
Stars on the Still Waters: A relatively young forum focusing on elven otherkin.
A more comprehensive list can be found here.
Otherkin Dreamwidth Community The main otherkin community on Dreamwidth.org.
Otherkin Livejournal Community The main otherkin community on Livejournal.com.
Otherkin Haven Dreamwidth Community A Dreamwidth community for otherkin which attempts to provide its members with a safe haven, free of drama.
Otherkin News Livejournal Community A Livejournal community which posts regular updates about developments in the community and news which may be of interest to otherkin.
Otherkin Writings Dreamwidth Community A Dreamwidth community hosting writings about otherkin “as an experience and identity”.
A more comprehensive list can be found here.
#Draconity on Draconity An IRC channel affiliated with Draconity.org.
#GryphonGuild on FurNet An IRC channel for those who love gryphons, or are gryphons at heart. Similar to AFD but for gryphon-lovers and gryphon-kin rather than dragon-lovers and dragon-kin.
#Dreamhart on MibbitNet The IRC channel affiliated with Dreamhart.org. Obviously, I’m the channel founder on this one. There’s also a web interface available here. Currently, a scheduled chat takes place every Tuesday from 8pm ET to whenever things break up (generally between 2am and 4am ET), but the channel is available for use at any time and there’s usually at least a few people in it.
#Draconic on SquickMe A fork of the #draconic IRC channel.
#Crossroads on Therian.org General discussion channel for therians.
A more comprehensive list can be found here.
GratuitousNonhumanty: DeviantArt otherkin group with a reasonably active chat.
Otherkin-Deviants: DeviantArt otherkin group with chat.
A more comprehensive list can be found here.
These change frequently. Here is the list of all the public ones I currently know of, but I highly recommend checking Meetup.com yourself for others, as well as the regional mailing lists and community journals. Maybe even consider starting your own.
If you go that route, you may find the advice here and here helpful. Though they’re written for the BDSM community rather than from an otherkin perspective, many of the same concerns apply. These two articles might also be useful for those considering going to a meetup for the first time. Again, they’re written for the BDSM community rather than from an otherkin perspective, but many of the answers would remain the same. And I’ve written my own guide for members of the otherkin, therian, and real-vampire communities, which attempts to cover both perspectives.
If you’d like others in your local area to find you, you may also want to create a profile in Dreamhart.org’s Otherkin Directory.
A Gathering Echo: Annual Texas Based Gather in September.
Summer Gateways: Annual Texas Based Gather in May.
A more comprehensive listing may be found here.
Face to Face
This section is here as a caution. Just because someone is otherkin doesn’t mean they are nice. Just because you remember them from past lives doesn’t mean you know what they’re like in this one. If you decide to meet with an otherkin you met online, or even at a public meetup or gather, please plan for your safety. To the best of my knowledge there are no otherkin-specific articles that have yet been written on this subject but I highly recommend two articles from the BDSM community on the subject of safety when meeting people offline that can be found here and here. The vampire community has also written a good guide here.
Any advice for someone new to the community?
Use discretion when discussing your Otherness.
Basically, don’t shout that you’re otherkin from the rooftops. Your mundane family, and you, may be a lot happier if they don’t know you’re a dragon than if they do. Your coworkers? They probably don’t want to hear about your past life as an elven princess. Same with your classmates, teachers, friends, etc… they don’t necessarily need to know about this aspect of your life. Pick and choose who you tell carefully. Be sure it’s someone who will react well, and be sure you have a solid reason for telling them.
In the same vein, don’t run around online announcing your otherness in non-otherkin venues. The nice people over on wicca.com would probably like to talk about Wicca and not about how you’re one of the Tuatha de Danaan. And people in places like GaiaOnline would probably like to just play their game and not be bothered with other members spiritual beliefs. Would you like to hear the Christian players proselytizing? It’s not nice to non-consensually involve bystanders in your spirituality.
Last, steer clear of the media. I can’t emphasize this enough, steer clear of the media. I don’t care how sympathetic and understanding the reporter sounds, or how big a chance it is to finally get our side of the story told, it *never* actually works out that way. You will get manipulated, you will get misquoted, and the otherkin community will be treated in a manner that is sensationalist rather than serious. Just say no when it comes to participating in any form of media on the basis of your Otherness. And that goes triple for “Reality TV” of any kind. That said, if you absolutely positively cannot avoid giving an interview, here’s some advice on do’s and dont’s from the vampire community, the pagan community, and even the furry community.
You’re still allowed to apply critical thinking.
Finding out you’re otherkin is a pretty jarring experience for one’s worldview. If you never believed in the existence of dragons, it can be a shock to learn that you are one. Because of this, many otherkin completely abandon what they consider to be a mundane worldview in favor of a new, magical one. And sadly, this often means leaving science and rationality at the door.
Because of this, and exacerbated by a general tendency towards being accepting of everyone’s beliefs, there’s a high level of bullshit floating around the otherkin community. I could spend a lot of time listing what I consider to be examples of this but frankly that’s outside the scope of this FAQ. Instead, I’ll just suggest that you not be afraid to apply reason and critical thinking to your own beliefs. See if what you believe or remember is both internally consistent and reasonably consistent with what we know about external reality. Also don’t be afraid to challenge people on the claims they make. Extraordinary claims, such as physical shapeshifting or being an undead/immortal vampire, require extraordinary evidence. Being otherkin doesn’t mean you have to be so open-minded your brains fall out.
Don’t share everything you know about yourself.
Holding some information back is a great way to verify what other people tell you. If you’re comparing past-life memories with someone, hold a few details back. Specific things that you will never share in a public setting. Then, when talking with others who claim to remember the same things, see if they volunteer any of the things you’ve held back without prompting.
Similarly, hold some information back about what you know of your astral form. Then, if someone else takes a look to “verify” things, you can see if they mention the parts you’ve held back and have a much clearer idea of whether they’re really looking at you astrally, or just telling you what you want to hear.
This technique is useful for external verification in many esoteric/spiritual contexts.
Don’t forget about safety.
The community isn’t all fun and games. Like any online community, there are those who are out to manipulate you. To use you. To hurt you. It’s up to you to make sure they don’t get that chance. Mostly, common sense is all you need here but some specific advice can be found in my own articles Warning Signs and Abusive Situations, as well as a vampire community article titled Social Predators, and a vampire community article titled Sociopaths. If you’re planning to join an organization you may also want to evaluate it with the Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame, though the frame is subjective and with many cults you may not have the information to effectively evaluate it until you’re already a member. Another good article on joining groups can be found here.
There were also a few articles linked to in the Face to Face section of this FAQ, on the specific safety concerns that apply when meeting someone from online face to face so you may want to go back and read them if you haven’t already.
It’s also important to stay safe in terms of your health. If you’re having unusual physical symptoms, check with a doctor first before deciding it has a spiritual or metaphysical cause. Not everything is connected with being otherkin. SphynxCat has a very good overview of various health issues and medical concerns for members of the vampire community here, and she also has a good section on safety when feeding on blood here. And links to more information which can be found elsewhere.
Don’t set out to change the world (or the community).
It’s natural to want to contribute, to make a difference. I think everyone feels that way. But if you’re just starting out in the community, you’re probably not in a position to do much to help others. If you have existing areas of expertise, feel free to use them, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ve become an instant expert on otherkin because you happen to be one. Don’t start out trying to create massive community projects, organizations, or the like. Get involved with the ones that are already out there. See what you can add to them by just providing a fresh perspective and another set of eyes. You’ll be a lot more effective that way, and you’ll build credibility with those who are paying attention. And when the time comes for you to give back to the community, and start your own projects and groups, they’ll be much more likely to support you in turn.
Another essay of mine which deals with this topic can be found here.
Don’t let it go to your head.
You’re not immortal. You’re not royalty in this life. You’re not even special, just because you’re otherkin. You’re just different. So don’t let it go to your head. Don’t fall into fantasies about some future date when the veil will fall, magic will become real, and there will be a war between humans and otherkin. Don’t fall into delusions of constant astral battles. Don’t mistake fantasy and wish-fulfillment for resonance. In short? Otherkin are just as human as everyone else. Hold onto that, it keeps you grounded.
It’s worth it.
There are many things about being otherkin, and about being part of the otherkin community, that will drive you crazy. There’ll be days when you wake up and you’ll wish you’d never heard of otherkin, wish you were normal, wish you could just forget about it all. But if you are otherkin, and you hang in there and find those you resonate deeply with, those who really understand you, those you may have known in other lives. If you can find those you can consider your spiritual family, in this life. Then, I promise, it’ll all have been worth it. I know it has been for me.
Otherkin is a collective noun for an assortment of people who have come to the somewhat unorthodox, and possibly quite bizarre, conclusion that they identify themselves as being something other than human. It is also the label used by a number of communities both on and off line. (The distinction between the two is not always drawn and can lead to some confusion).
There are a number of ways people reach this conclusion, and a number of possible explanations for it. On the face of it, it is a remarkably difficult conclusion to reach, not only is the evidence scant at best, but to define yourself as not human requires defining what human means – an exercise which philosophers for millennia have failed to complete.
The following is a brief overview of some of the possible explanations.
1 – Appeal to biology
There are a very few people who claim a biological difference from humans. On the face of it this should be the easiest to prove – the biological requirements for species are fairly well defined. Life is rarely that simple and the existence of a subspecies that can occasionally interbreed with humans is at least somewhat plausible. Those that claim this tend to posit an initial technical, magical or deity intervention for the initial pairing. Thus the most frequent (if such a term can be used for such a small sample) such claims are for some form of elves (generally Tuatha de Danaan or Sidhe – for which there is some support in ancient texts), angels (for which there is some biblical support) or oriental dragons (such as the royal line of Japan claims).
To date, the variations encountered (including those unsupported claims made that were not utterly impossible) have been explainable variations and mutations of homo sapiens and unprovable without extensive DNA testing. (For which, if anyone ever volunteers an appropriate lab, there are a number of volunteers).
Those claiming such tend to expect even less belief from the general populace.
2 – Appeal to spirit
By far the most common explanation from those who fit the definition (even if they don’t claim this specific label) is that whilst their physical forms may be human, their essence, soul or equivalent term is not.
Of those, the majority make their claim based on reincarnation – what they have been in a previous incarnation so strongly affects their current incarnation that they still identify with it. Obviously this requires a belief in reincarnation, and in the transmigration of souls. Both are reasonably common in a number of religions and spiritual beliefs across the world.
The less frequent explanations are “nature of soul” (where one is created as a specific entity, but failed to incarnate as such – sometimes including the “ooops! missed!” theory of incarnation), and “walk-in” (where the original spirit inhabiting a body vacated it for one reason or another – frequently near-death or severe trauma – and a separate entity took over).
Obviously this is a lot harder to prove, especially as the evidence for reincarnation itself is rather sparse (some are documented to varying degrees of veracity, such as the Dali Lama and a number of cultural mythologies). It is also more open to both intentional and unintentional abuse (see below).
People in this category sometimes (but by no means always) show signs of maladaption. The two main symptoms appear to be:
- Problems not dissimilar to trans-gender issues – discomfort with the physical form not because of gender but because of species. This seems to be more common amongst younger people. (Many of the psychological arguments for and against transgender apply here, though for the most part the biological ones do not).
- Phantom limbs – much as an amputee often gets sensation from the missing limb, so do some who claim species that have appendages that humans do not (wings and tails being the main ones). The conventional explanation for amputees is misfiring nerves and obviously this is implausible in this case. That such problems are psychosomatic seems possible, however some do have physically observable side effects that have to be handled (such as back muscle problems from ‘supporting’ wings).
3 – Appeal to psychology
Another explanation posited is that of using the concept of other species as a tool for self exploration. Thus one is not a member of that species, but takes on the traits of that species to learn from it. This could take the form of (at least the westernised distortion of) Totemic belief, or of Jungian Archetypes.
For the most part those using such techniques deliberately know what it is they are doing and do not claim the label. However, there are many people who have not been introduced to the concepts (or have inaccurate information if they have) and if they should find themselves in the position of having a Totem (if such can happen outside the appropriate culture) they may well mistake the effects as them being that creature rather than having an association with that archetype.
4 – Escapism and mental aberration
The vast majority of people on encountering the concept (and a fair proportion of those who subscribe to it) will favour this explanation – it’s certainly the easiest one. Anyone who has actually claimed a label that fits under the ‘otherkin’ category has seriously considered this option (or should have).
The most frequent accusation is that all otherkin are lost in fantasy, they’ve played one too many D&D games and gone over the edge. Personal study seems to indicate this is actually one of the least frequent explanations. Most roleplayers know they are roleplaying, even if they are also otherkin, and roleplaying can be a very useful tool in self exploration.
Escapism from what is seen as an increasingly hostile and unpleasant culture (especially in the United States) is somewhat more plausible and more common. The irony there is that modern society is becoming increasingly magical – in what other era could you speak instantaneously with someone a thousand miles away with a simple ten digit incantation, see images from the past or distant present or rain fiery death from the skies from half a world away? The potential for being one step further than a mythological SCA is certainly there however.
Not being “like them” is a much more common cause, whether “them” is classmates, family, coworkers or everyone you meet. For some it’s perhaps real – otherkin really *are* different. However the relationship is not reciprocal – being different does not make one otherkin. The alienation that many teenagers go through, both as part of normal human development and the social aberration that many high-schools seem to be, can easily have people looking for an explanation. For some it’s that they are the only goth in a conservative area, others have less obvious affiliation, but take a deep interest in dragons and extrapolate.
The other side of that particular coin is looking around you and seeing the many terrible things that humanity is capable of and deciding that you are not like that and thus cannot possibly be human. (ref “behaviours – differentiation by repudiation”).
There are also those for whom it is simply wish fulfillment – is being an elf not so much better than being Joe Smith who flips burgers at McDonalds?
5 – All of the above
Whilst the above explanations are presented as distinct categories, people do not necessarily fall into only one of them. There are those who claim physical differences, and past lives. There are those who are both in therapy for mental health problems and otherkin (and which is cause and which effect is debatable).
In the end, without further evidence, it comes down to a matter of personal belief. As personal beliefs go, it’s relatively harmless.
[The original version of this page is depreciated, but if you really want to read it, or the comments left on it, it can be found h ere]
- Q.Why me?
- A. There are several theories as to what the fae are, and how they came to be here. In some cases, it seems that the spirit or soul of an individual has lived many times, and at one point inhabited the body of one of the fae. Another opinion is that the fae originated Elsewhere, and arrived in this world through constructs known as Gates, which have been sealed. Memories from the fae lifetime (or lifetimes) tend to manifest in dreams or as things you “just know”.
- Q. Does this mean I was switched at birth?
- A. Probably not. Being fae, while it can run in families, is not something generally determined by your birth parents. I was born on a military base with all the security that entails. Depite what my parents might wish, we are genetically related.
- Q. Am I delusional or am I normal?
- A. Not to sound trite, but this depends on your definitions of “delusional” and “normal”. If by “normal” you mean “like everyone else”, then no, you aren’t “normal”, but do you really want to be? I prefer defining “normal” as “being able to function” and “delusional” as “being unable to function.” For example, I believe I am elven. I realize that this isn’t something I should share with the general populace, because it would require too much explanation. For the same reason, I don’t share the fact that I am Pagan with everyone, or the fact that I am a shaman with everyone. I will share it with those that I believe to be accepting. If I were to try and claim “minority benefits” for being elven, they’d probably lock me up. Likewise, if I were to go around in certain outfits on a regular basis, I’d at least get strange looks.
- Q. What do you mean “Awakening”?
- A. There seem to be three major ways that people Awaken that I have experienced. The first is the “gradual or independent Awakening,” in which the Sleeper feels a certain distance from others, possibly proceeding through religious experimentation, until hopefully they find a supporting circle. These people may or may not be fae themselves, and the Sleeper may in fact not fully think of themselves as “fae.” The second is the “alarm clock Awakening.” This occurs when the Sleeper is exposed to group of Awakened fae and their own nature surges to the front. This can take the form of recognizing a shared memory or even recognizing a person they’ve never met before. The third type is the “snooze alarm Awakening.” In this form, the Sleeper has seen evidence of their nature, but is choosing – conciously or unconciously – to ignore it.
- Q. I have a friend that I think is ‘Kin, but sie seems to still be a Sleeper. How should I help hir Awaken?
- A.Best bet is – don’t. It could be that they are worried about the reaction of others, or that it’s just too much for them to deal with at the moment. While the temptation is to beat them over the head with it until they “understand”, that really doesn’t accomplish much – especially if they are afraid that this “elf” thing is a fanatic cult. Telling them to “admit it, you’re one of us” is going to send them screaming into the night. By all means, hang around, and answer questions as best you can, but don’t be concerned if they “don’t get it.”
- Q. Does this mean I’m going to develop weird allergies?
- A. This is an issue that has sparked a lot of debate. Some of my friends say that they have difficulty with iron “due to their nature”. I have never had a problem with iron. I have at least one friend who is a vampire. She has no problem with running water, holy water, loves garlic, and doesn’t mind going out in the sun. It’s entirely possible that some races of fae are susceptible to iron. For those people, the purity of the iron seems to be a factor, as is whether or not it has been worked
- Q. Does this mean I have to act in a certain way?
- A. Probably not, if you haven’t felt the urge to. Seriously. Not all members of a group behave the same way.
- Q. This person I met claims to be a ___. How should I relate to that?
- A. Are you asking how you should relate to hir as a ____ or how you should relate to _____ in general? I for one don’t think that one’s heritage necessarily affects that person’s individual worth. If sie seems like a good person to you, proceed as you would with any other relationship. Just because someone is of the same fae heritage as yourself or someone you like doesn’t mean that you and that person will or have to get along. Just because you don’t like someone of a particular fae heritage doesn’t mean that all people of that heritage are “bad”. I have a few friends who can’t stand each other. I interact with them separately, and they understand that I’m not going to take sides. I personally don’t care if someone is Elenari, Draestari, Listari or Calamari as far as that goes. For one thing, I don’t know precisely what my heritage is. I have clear memories of situations, and I know what “my people’s” lifestyle was, but I don’t have a “clan name” for them. For all I know, my people and their people might be the same, or related. For another, like it or not, some of the memories seem to show that the fae came here from Elsewhere. There’s a couple possible reasons – one, we were exiled or two, we were escaping. I’m discounting rumors of world domination because of the fact that the door “back home” is locked. At any rate, there aren’t that many of us, and very few have organized into groups. Taking all that into consideration, fragmenting ourselves further doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
- Q. I don’t have any memories of a fae life. Does that mean I’m not Otherkin?
- A. Absolutely not. There are many reasons why people don’t remember other lifetimes. One of the simplest is that this may be their first time around. There are plenty of folk who are either first- or only-timers. Another is that you might not be prepared for remembering. I’ve seen some people try to force themselves into remembering, or even to force others to remember, and it frequently ends up either muddying the waters or even uncovering rememberings that are painful or stressful to deal with.
- Q. What about humans?
- A. What about them? Seriously, though, you’ll find that there are a few different schools of thought on how fae relate to non-fae. One is that non-fae are somehow inferior. Another is that “after being Awakened for a while, you find non-fae distasteful”. This makes about as much sense as being superior based on hair color. It’s true that finding a supporting circle among non-fae may be difficult, but it is far from impossible.
- Q. How do I know I’m really ‘Kin? Could I be fooling myself into believing in this?
- A. The fact that you even think about this question shows a healthy attitude. I’ve seen people (both ‘Kin and non-‘Kin) twisting themselves into knots trying to be something they aren’t. One of the better approaches I’ve seen to this question is remembering that words like “elf”, “Otherkin”, “dragon”, etc. are all just labels. As long as a label works for you, then keep it. If you find yourself trying to cram yourself into fitting a label, it isn’t working, and you should probably re-examine why you are trying to keep that label.
How do I tell someone that I’m Otherkin?
First of all, I’m not one that goes for telling everything about me to random people. True, you may find someone who happens to be a friendly ear, but on the flip side, you can end up getting not-so-friendly reactions as well. The first thing to do is figure out why you need to tell this particular person that you are ‘kin. Are they someone that you are/want to be closer to (good friend, SO, family member, potential lover), so that you feel that they have a need to know about your habits, quirks, and beliefs? Are they someone that you feel may be ‘kin?
In many ways, telling someone that you are ‘kin has parallels with admitting that you follow a non-mainstream religion, or have a different lifestyle than others. At one point the term “coming out of the wardrobe” was suggested, referencing C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series. It’s something that not everyone is going to accept, and frankly, not everyone has to know about. For the moment, I’m going to assume that the person that you wish to tell is someone familiar to you as well as of friendly disposition towards you. (Telling someone who doesn’t like you to begin with equals “giving them ammo” in my book.)
First off, pick your environment if you can. You want this to be as non-threatening as possible – you’re about to mess with their preconceptions. Generally I’d recommend someplace with a casual but not necessarily intimate atmosphere. A quiet walk in the park together, a back-of-the-diner booth, the living room after watching a good video…something along those lines. Another possibility is places where the unusual is almost expected. It can be easier to accept a strange statement in a con-suite or at a Ren-Faire than it is to accept it in the local mall. The key is to put both of you at ease.
The next thing is to test the waters – find out how open the person is to the idea of “people who are something other than 100% human”. If it’s someone that you are moderately close to already, quick scans of their bookshelves can give some insight. So can the kinds of movies that they enjoy. A few topics of conversation that also usually give a good sense of the open mind are SETI, reincarnation, possibilities of alternate timelines, the intelligence of dolphins, that sort of thing.
OK, so now the two of you are happily chatting. If the other person has proved to be open-minded about intelligences other than human, or worlds/timelines where other forms of intelligence exist, or the idea of “coming back” in another form, then you are in good shape. If not, then it is probably a Bad Idea (TM) to go further at this time. Even if they are friendly, you might end up with the label of “nice, but a bit of a nut”. The next step is to open the possibility that you personally think that you – in some part – feel that you are not entirely human.
Quick side-note here – I’m not meaning to imply that being ‘kin is the result of non-human genetic material, misrouted reincarnation, or such. Just that being ‘kin implies in itself that you are somewhat “other”. It could be in body, in spirit, or even in mindset, and doesn’t even preclude that in any of these things you may be at least partially human.
It’s generally a good idea to ease into this gradually. It also depends a lot on your particular ‘kin type. Are you someone who has memories of a past life as something other than human? Do you feel as though your soul is that of a dragon (elf, dryad, were, etc), but had to take an available body? Do you just tend to look at things in a way best described as “outsider” or “observer”? Proceed slowly, don’t give them too much to process at a time. It’s a bit of a stretch for even flexible minds. Let them get used to the idea before giving them more detail, but answer the inevitable questions as honestly as you can.
So then Ashran and I got talking about people who aren’t really mundane but aren’t really Awake either. Either they never fully Awoke or were Awake and growing once and slipped into sleepishness; either way, they are acting like they are Awake on the surface, but aren’t really Awake.
Newagers who pay lip service to the things they read but never really live the wonderful “revelations” they talk about are one big example. They are people who are living in the shadow of spiritual growth, talking about theories of growth but never even meditating 5 minutes a day.
Similarly, there are people who are living in other shadows, of Awakening, of living magically, living intentionally, etc. For instance, I can talk about being a magical being all day, but I’m not really a magical being if I’m not living as one, if I’m not acting and living like my intentions shape my reality. If I talk about how magical I am but I never really do anything magical, then I’m only living in the shadow of magic, and not really living the magic.
Just as a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, it seems almost worse to me to live in the shadow of something than not to live in it at all. For one thing, it’s dishonesty to one’s self and to others. Take someone that’s mundane. They are living a mundane life. It may not be my own life choice, but it’s theirs; it’s more honest, in a way, than someone who lives mundanely and sadly thinks it’s magical, or someone who thinks they are being magical or deep or Aware but is really just spewing some cool catch phrases and cliches, or doing what the rest of the Sleepers are doing but with different terminology.
A cell phone, e-mail address and bumper sticker that says “elfy chick” does not make me an elf. OK?
For instance, I’ve listened to stoner friends-of-friends go on about their latest deep discoveries and whatnot. Sometimes they make sense and sometimes they don’t and sometimes they are just full of it. A couple of them really think they are on a path of growth and development when in reality their life hasn’t gone anywhere in 2 years. They are stagnating, but really think they are growing and discovering new things. They are living in the shadow of growth.
Or what about the people who think of themeselves as magical beings whose idea of living magically consists of a few tattoos, some face glitter and talking about how many Dieities / historical figures / Great and Mystical Beings they have talked to / pissed off / been? (How to Be a Hip Mystic: spell everything abnormally and wear lots of face glitter.) Or the people who get all the right tools (day planner with moons and stars, polished brass cauldron, cool black knife, etc.) and say all the cool magyckal phrases and know all the Otherkyn places, but don’t really flow/do/participate in any magic? I knew a guy once who was fascinated by the various correlations between astrology, numerology and Hebrew letters in ceremonial magic but hadn’t ever cast a circle. They are living in the shadow of magic.
And some of them are like a kid who comes up to you with a dead cat and says “Fluffy is just sleeping”. It makes you really sad, and you hate to break it to the child that the cat isn’t sleeping, it’s ceased to be a cat. You know it will make them cry, but isn’t it better than letting that child believe that tomorrow Fluffy will be able to play again? The only problem with people living in the shadow of something is that they don’t want to see that they are stagnating, their magic is decaying, their illusions aren’t real, etc. etc., and some of them get rather nasty when you suggest maybe they look at what they are saying against the reality. Or worse, they suggest the cat really is just sleeping, and really it’s going to wake up Any Time Now or was moving when you weren’t looking.
I think it boils down to living honestly, even if living without is better and healthier in my eyes than pretending to live.
What’s wrong with the otherkin community?
- Its not about discovery anymore. Maybe people feel that they have “discovered everything” and nothing is new.
- There’s a gap between the “elders” and the newbies that is a million miles wide. If someone just awakened, they come looking for answers, and what happens? People tell them. It used to be even the newbies were able to discover themselves among the rest of us, though now it seems there is no time for that. Or maybe it is tedious, since its all been done before. We still have much to learn, but the newness has worn off for most of us. Been awake too long?
- Its not about life anymore. Its about pastlives. Or about pastlife memories. Or about current popularity. I remember when I needed the other darkfae around me for stability and functionality, and that was a focus of the group, among other things. We worked to get ourselves balanced in our new identities, so we could function in this life! Ya, we whined about “going home” just as much as the next person, but that’s wasn’t where we stopped. It was about this life, today, right now! It was about blending our aspects into a smooth whole that was able to walk around in daily life, do daily functions, and succeed while retaining our otherkin selves. It was about life.
- Being otherkin has never made me feel superiour to others, but aparently a lot of people feel this way. How many of these new otherkin people really are otherkin, and not just lost confused people who don’t know and are grabbing at what’s shiney and gonna make them feel better? I am not saying in any way that people are not what they say, I’m just saying the reasons for calling oneself otherkin are getting skewed. In my way of thinking, being darkfae inside puts me not only on a lower level as full humans (since its their world) but puts me at a disadvantage. I would not make myself darkfae, if I’d had the choice. Then again, I am what I am *shrugs* I know what I am. How many people can say that, in our community, and not feel a nag of doubt? How many are just here (in the community) because it is the popular thing to be, its the newest way to be a freak, or because it seems so wonderful and so special? How many really just plain don’t know, and just choose the label because its the easy way out?
I am not accusing anyone of anything at all, I am just accusing the patterns people have set themselves in. Its time we took a good hard look at ourselves, and ask ourselves exactly what we gain from calling ourselves by the labels we chose? I will rethink it myself, maybe I’ll come up with different answers than the last time. The point is, everyone needs to think, and not just grab at something. And I know there are bound to be many who do, whether that something be what they are told, or what is given to them. Its not personal truth if it comes from someone else.
As the community for those who feel they are not entirely human by nature grows, we see more cultural awareness and acceptance grow as well. Information and concepts that only a few years ago were virtually non-existent are now readily available. This fact has many positive and negative aspects.
From the positive side: With information more readily available, those who are searching for answers to their questions can find help much more quickly. With more people growing aware and accepting, those in the community no longer need to feel as outcast as they once might have.
From the negative side: With information more readily available, those who are searching for answers to their questions, no longer need to do as much research and find for themselves what may be their truth. With awareness of the community on the rise, those who are struggling in their own lives may feel a need to turn to a community for a sense of acceptance.
Those who once sought out and researched information, with only the longing of their spirit to guide them, now may find themselves torn between the desire to share and help those who may truly need what information they can provide, and the understanding that sometimes it is the difficulty that proves the spirit. Information that is too easy to acquire, may also be too easy to dismiss. While one who continues to search, simply because they feel a strong need to find themselves, will never forget who they truly are.
By simple fact of the nature of believing one’s self to be other than completely human, open-mindedness can be one of the backbones of the community. However, expecting one to take something at face value is not productive and potentially harmful. As with anything that is beyond general society’s views of normal, those who feel uncomfortable or think they don’t fit into most people’s preconceived notions of normal, will find themselves drawn to a community where they hope to find acceptance and validation. Far too often they may use the open-mindedness and acceptance of a community to avoid confronting issues within themselves.
While public awareness and acceptance of alternate beliefs is vital to developing a tolerant society, it is just as important to recognize that external validation should never be a replacement for understanding who and what you truly are.
Ed: Every so often when talking about becoming aware, someone expresses the opinion that things have become, in some ways, too easy for newcomers to the otherkin scene. At which point someone asks, why should they be hard, what’s wrong with helping others…
It’s not so much that I think things have to be hard. On the contrary, I don’t think they have to be hard at all. What I do think is that some things have to be done for oneself, that they cannot possibly have the same degree of meaning for you if you allow someone else to do them for you.
When I was going through my Awakening, I was the only person I knew who was Sidhe. I had two choices: Decide I was nuts, or reach out. So I reached out, and while I didn’t find anyone “like me”, I found people in the pagan community who were willing to listen and be supportive of my search for my own answers.
They did not, however, blindly accept me without question simply because I said so. They challenged me to think about what I felt, to become aware, to experience myself. They asked me hard questions: Why do you think you are Sidhe? What makes you believe you are something other than human in spirit, and not just using it as an excuse to feel superior?
Why indeed. Naturally I threw the kind of little hissy tempertantrums that many are so very familiar with these days – how dare you question my beliefs, you’re so insensitive, I’m trying to cope with what I am and you just want to tear me down, my truth is my truth for me, yada yada. And then one day one of my friends said to me, “Look, asshole, I’m not trying to tell you I don’t believe. I’m trying to make you think about why you believe, because if you are what you believe you are then you have a whole new perspective to work with and don’t you think you’ll work with it better if you understand it from the inside out?”
Yeah. That changed my perspective radically. I quit trying to be so damned defensive and instead tried to understand it from the heart out instead of from the skin in. Instead of trying to remember who I was, I tried being who I was – and found that remembering came naturally with that. Instead of trying to fit myself into a label that “defined” what I was, I explored what I was and didn’t worry about the labels – and found that there was a resonance with one thing in particular (Sidhe) and a couple of other things more peripherally. That led me to explore the mythologies. But at the same time, the mythologies didn’t define me because the hard questions my friends taught me to ask myself had already helped me define myself. What the mythologies did was enrich the experience and give me a cultural perspective.
I know that not everyone feels the “cultural perspective” thing is relevant or important. And it may not be for some people but it is for me to a degree that makes it hard for me to understand how the cultural perspective thing can be unimportant to someone – because it gives me some overall context for understanding the very way I think and react. Speaking here of incarnate otherkin rather than bloodline otherkin – I tend to believe that the soul has no “race”, and that by this token we are either all “other”, or none of us are. I don’t think there are very many souls who have only incarnated as a single race every time. What I believe sets those of us who identify as “other” off from those who don’t is not that we were once in another lifetime something other than human, but rather that the lifetime(s) we spent as other races so strongly impressed us at the soul level that even with the passage of cycles we still identify with those races more than we do the one we were culturally born into.
I find it difficult to understand how someone can claim to know they are a thing without any effort made to understand themselves from the heart out. If you look at a list of “you may be otherkin if…” and you try to match up what you are to what is on that list, you are trying to understand yourself from the skin in. This is useful only to an extent – it could possibly be a reasonable starting point. But if you want to understand who you are – not who your race is, not who your grandfather is – but who you are regardless of race or origin – you need to understand from the heart out. When you understand who you are from the heart out then the challenges to what you believe don’t threaten you. They become food for thought. And opportunities to understand yourself even better. And then it’s not “hard”, because it’s fresh and fascinating and enjoyable.
I believe the drive to understand oneself is an integral part of being aware of one’s Otherness. One of the things that seems to spark Awakening is the realization that one is not like others, and the desire to understand why. I have run across a few who call themselves Other who say they feel no need to understand ThemSelves, but I question if they are truly feeling the pull of Otherness or simply adopting the cloak because it’s shiny and pretty. How can you even wonder if your soul is Other without a drive to understand what that Otherness is? How can you claim a thing when you do not even want to know what that thing truly is? Being Other is not like being Goth, it’s Not Like you can just decide tomorrow you don’t want to wear this or that color all the time and presto, you aren’ t Other anymore. If that is all being Other is to you, then you aren’t Other. And so when someone comes on a list and says, “I think I’m (fill in the blank), what do you think?” I say to them, “Why do you think that? What makes you believe this? Why do you define yourself as this as opposed to human?” And when I am met with “how dare you question my reality?”, my response is, “I dare because I’m not trying to tell you I *don’t* believe, I’m trying to challenge you to understand why you believe.” So that you can learn who you are from the heart out. Every Otherkin I have met who truly *scans* Otherkin has such a burning hunger to understand why they feel and believe they way they do. That you can be so different and not burn to know why escapes me.
When someone else comes along and says, “naughty, naughty bad Tiernan being so mean and nasty to the poor widdle newbie – here, widdle newbie, you have X color eyes and phantom wings and Y memories, ergo you must be Z, wasn’t that easy?” I wonder how much of that reaction is a true desire to help, and how much is a desire to control, to be thought of admiringly, to be looked up to as a mentor type. It’s like Impressing hatchlings – you can convince yourself you’re very powerful if you have a whole crop of ‘kin who think and believe and perceive exactly the way you do – but how valuable is that experience going to be if someone has spoonfed it to you? And then it’s “go here to this website, go there to that website”. Websites are nice starting points but a true mentor doesn’t ment by pointing someone at a website and saying “go read this list and come back and tell me which one you think applies to you” – that’s goddamn lazy and if you’re too lazy to take the time to listen to what someone says, you have no business trying to mentor them. A true mentor says, “Tell me what you think. Tell me why you think that. Tell me where you heard that….”
A true mentor learns as much as sie teaches, and uses the tools appropriately. You cannot cannot cannot tell someone else what they are – if you do, you are lying to them. Oh, you may be correct – but you are still lying to them because your intent is false. If someone had told me I was Sidhe before I Understood it from the heart out, how much would it have meant? Would I have grown? Would I have learned? No, because I wouldn’t have done the footwork to try and understand why I felt/thought/experienced the way I did. I wouldn’t have come to Understand the culture that so impressed my soul that it continues to resonate thousands of years later, above and beyond any other I lived in. From the heart out.
“Am I ‘Kin?” or some variation of it is a question that is asked quite
frequently on Otherkin lists and boards. The thing is, it can’t be
answered. At least by me or anyone else except the person asking the
question. So it is time to turn the question back instead of answering
it. Are you ‘Kin?
Sure, I realize that there are ‘kin out there who can read your Aura or
energy signature and tell you. But there is a problem with that, they
are working off of their own knowledge base. If they haven’t seen your
kind of ‘kin before, or if you are outside the range of what they have
seen before, they may say “no”. It is also possible that you could be
completely human and just happen to fall far enough out of human range
to read as ‘kin to them.
To really find out if you are otherkin takes searching. No, not on the
internet, inside. You have to reach inside yourself and really look at
yourself. This ,for the most part, is an inner journey. You have the
answers, not me or anyone else. If you are otherkin then it is a PART of
you, but you may be the only person able to find it.
The best others can do to help you is to provide pointers. Show you ways
to search inside yourself, tell you how they found something inside
themselves. We can hold a mirror up to you, but you won’t see anything
unless YOU do the looking, and what we see from our side of the mirror
may not be the truth.
Search the websites, talk on the lists, ask questions. But don’t just
take the data in, question it. Examine it. Play with it. Look at how it
makes you feel, act, or look. How does it resonate within you? Does it
resonate at all? Does it makes sense with your own feelings of what you
are. Don’t take a label that someone gives you unless YOU think it fits.
The important thing here is to THINK. Don’t absorb. Don’t mimic or
mirror anyone else. Take every word that ANYone tells you about being an
otherkin with a grain of salt. It is different for everyone, even among
those who have found common memories. Those experiences are filtered
through YOUR being, not someone else’s.
So…Are you ‘Kin? Go find out.