A while back, I changed the tagline on the splash page. I was trying to make a point. Maybe I was too subtle. (What? The font wasn’t big enough?)
Seriously look for it.
I can’t tell you where it is. Nor can anyone else. I can’t tell you to read this book and it’ll give you all the answers. Books don’t have answers, not real ones. The best books have questions. I can’t tell you ‘talk to this person, they can tell you what you need to know’. They don’t know either.
Time for an uncomfortable truth.
The first one is that no one else knows a damned thing either. Especially they don’t know anything about you. (Except, perhaps that like them, you don’t know squat).
This might seem very defeatist. If no one knows anything, how can you learn? Well, I can’t tell you the answer to that, because like you, I don’t know squat. However if you look at it the right way, it is very liberating. If I don’t know, and you know I don’t know, I can’t manipulate your reality by telling you what it looks like and I can’t manipulate you by telling you what you are. Because you know I don’t know squat and will laugh at me.
Being otherkin is not a religion. There are no sacred texts, there are no leaders, no initiation ceremonies and rarely even any common beliefs. However, it does have some things in common with new religions, before they become wrapped in dogma, liturgy and form, and a few older religions who have clung onto certain aspects of religion. Those forms are Mystery religions. They are mysteries, not because someone with a robe says that certain things cannot be taught to the uninitiated, that outsiders cannot read the holy book. They are mysteries because some things just cannot be taught. The only way to know is to experience it for yourself.
I can’t tell you what you are. I don’t know. I am not you. I cannot experience being you, being all you have been and all you might be. Only you can do that.
The second thing you realise after you accept that you don’t know squat is that you can learn. Everything you do teaches you something. You learn that fire is hot. Sometimes you burn yourselves a few times first. That’s part of the process. It’s alright, because you don’t know squat. Sometimes you can learn things from other people, just remember they don’t know squat either. There are people who walk across burning coals barefoot and are unharmed. They don’t know that fire always burns you, even though people have told them that.
The third thing you realise is that because no one else knows squat either, they can’t validate you. They can’t tell you you are right, because as you already know, they don’t know squat, so how would they know if you are right. This one is harder to deal with. We are raised to put value on other people’s opinions of us. Functioning in a society requires a certain amount of that. There is a difference between respecting another person and letting them define you. It is also liberating.
Which brings us to the realisation that if no one else knows anything about us because they don’t know squat, and I don’t know squat either, the chances are I don’t know anything about me either. So ask yourself, how well do you know yourself. Really. Think about it. How much of what you think, feel and believe is actually what other people think you are, or think you should be? How many of your beliefs are truths, and how many just what you would like them to be? Some of those can be very deep rooted and hard for even the most ardent seeker to see in themselves.
If you’ve gotten this far, let me tell you a story. It’s about myself. I have seen other people say and do similar things, so maybe it is also about you. I wouldn’t know though, I don’t know squat.
I am an elf. I have said that so many times. I have felt that so many times. I experience it. I am an elf.
Actually, I’m not.
I expect a few people who know me are blinking there. Maybe not. I don’t know squat after all.
Over many years I have learned that humans are unpleasent people. They think differently. They hurt each other. They abuse the world they were born into, even though it poisons them to do so. They do not learn, they just inflict their own wounds onto the next generation.
I am an elf. I am not human. NOTNOTNOTNOTNOTNOT!
I spent the last weekend in a place full of humans. They think differently. They hurt each other. Then they appologise. They abuse the world they were born into, because the culture they live in makes it so hard not to. Then they try to change the culture, change themselves. They build, think, feel, love, hate, wound, heal. They try to pass on their gains to the next generation, and the one after that, and the one after that.
They didn’t care that they were different than I. It did not make me a stranger, to be hated or feared. I was welcome to share their food, their land, their sacred spaces.
I am not human, but there is human blood in these veins. I can accept that. It’s alright now.
I am not human.
I do not know what I am.
I am human. I am fae. I am elf. I am demon. I am angel. I am elemental. I am male. I am female. I am balance. I am the inbetween. I am many. I am one. I have lived a thousand lives. I have died a million deaths. I have seen the begining of the universe. I may see the end.
I am unknown.
I am learning.
Of course I could be wrong.
You see, I don’t know squat.