Trigger warnings: news coverage, phantom limbs, amputation, occult (magic, divination)
Summary: Since last March, I took a vacation from researching for Otherkin News. From time to time, I did bookmark some things that I wanted to write articles about. In short, lately we’ve had: ongoing as well as published academic research of otherkin, wearable cat ears that use brainwave sensors to express your mood, over a dozen new and republished books by the Silver Elves, and a scientific study of a person who had phantom limbs corresponding to body parts that she’d never had.
Phantom limbs: She felt fingers that she’d never had
A study published last February in Neurocase described a woman (“R.N.,” age 57) who had been born with an incomplete right hand. After amputation of this hand at age 18 due to an accident, she developed a “phantom limb:” she felt like her hand was still there. What made this case unusual was that her phantom hand included phantom fingers that she’d never physically had. Her phantom hand was complete with all its fingers.
Initially, her phantom hand felt shortened and painful, but after mirror therapy (a common treatment for phantom limb pain), her phantom hand took on completely normal proportions.
Although this study is not about otherkin or therianthropes, it is of interest to our community. Some otherkin and therianthropes experience phantom sensations of body parts that they’ve never physically had, including tails.
See also: an earlier article on Otherkin News, regarding a study published in the Annals of Neurology about a woman, 64, who developed a supernumerary phantom limb: a third arm.
Community research: Survey of furries, therianthropes, and otherkin
The International Anthropomorphic Research Project conducted their Winter 2012 survey of furries, with questions that included otherkin and therianthrope issues, determining the overlap of the three communities. The survey took place online as well as in person at Anthrocon 2012, a furry convention. The survey opened in 2012-03, and is now closed to further submissions, saying, “A summary of the collected data will be available on this website shortly.”
Innovations in technology: the Necomimi
Neurowear, a company specializing in high-tech fashion, recently released the Necomimi. As described in a previous Otherkin News article, the Necomimi is a headband that includes brainwave sensors and a pair of animatronic cat ears. The sensors detect the wearer’s emotional state, and expresses it by moving the cat ears.
Neurowear released the Necomimi in Japan on 2012-04-28. Neurowear’s official store says that the Necomimi is $99.95 US, but is currently sold out due to overwhelming demand, but they’re taking backorders. Neurowear says they’re planning on releasing new models of the Necomimi with different ear shapes.
Some people have independently created animatronic ears inspired by the Necomimi. On Instructables, a community site where inventors and makers share their ideas, Abetusk tells how to build animatronic cat ears, although these are controlled by a remote, not by EEG.
So far as I know, these inventions were not produced by any participant of the otherkin or therianthrope communities. However, they maybe be of interest to these communities as an example of a way that new technologies can augment the human body.
New published works
New and republished books by the Silver Elves
The Silver Elves, a family of elf people who have been writing about elven issues since the 1970s, and who consider themselves to be part of the otherkin community, have published and republished several books of their writings. During the past few months alone, they’ve released these:
- The Magical Elven Love Letters, Volume 1 (collected essays and poems from 1979 to 2001) and Volume 2 (from the 1990s) have been republished with new covers in 2012-03. They also published Volume 3, which includes writings from the 1990s and from their move to Hawaii in 2008.
- The Book of Elven Runes, a handbook for creating and using an original oracle (not Futhark runes) designed by the Silver Elves, was republished in 2012-05.
- The Elven Book of Changes: A magical interpretation of the I Ching. An elven interpretation of the ancient Chinese oracle. Released 2012-03.
- The Elven Book of Powers: Using the Tarot for magical wish fulfillment. Released 2012-05-24.
- The Elven Book of Dreams: A magical oracle of Faerie. A dream symbol interpretation handbook. Released 2012-04.
- The Book of Elven Magic: The philosophy and enchantments of the Seelie Elves. An elven perspective on spirituality and ceremonial magic. Released 2012-05.
- What an Elf would do: A magical guide to the manners and etiquette of the Faerie Folk. As summarized by the authors, this is a “view of how elves see and interact with the world of the Normal folk as well as with Otherkind of all sorts. It is designed to help the elfin everywhere to move through the often mysterious cultures of mankind with confidence and ease.” Released 2012-06-02.
- Arvyndase (Silverspeech): A short course in the magical language of the Silver Elves. A grammar of a constructed language designed by the Silver Elves. Released 2012-05.
- Caressed by an Elfin Breeze: The poems of Zardoa Silverstar. Approximately 90 poems by Zardoa of the Silver Elves, some from over 30 years ago.
- Eldafaryn: True tales of magic from the lives of the Silver Elves. “a series of vignettes from the lives of the Silver Elves starting in the present and going back and forth through time describing their lives, their magic, their philosophy and their unique view of the world.”
- Magic Talks: Being a correspondence between the Silver Elves and the founders of the Elf Queen’s Daughters. Released 2012-06-02. From the summary provided by the authors: “Magic Talks is a collection of letters between the two sisters who are the founders of the Elf Queen's daughters (in 1973), Arwen and Elanor, and the Silver Elves, Zardoa and Silver Flame. This is the first book in a series of Tulku internet correspondence beginning in November of 2011 and ending in February 2012. Arwen and Elanor are also the original publishers of the ‘Magic Elf Letters’ sent out from the Elf Queen’s daughters. They published three letters a week for about three years. In the early 1979 the Silver Elves carried on these letters calling them “The Magical Elven Love Letters” and continued writing and publishing them for the next 30 years…”
These books by the Silver Elves are important contributions to the history and literature of the otherkin community.
Academic article: Laycock’s “We are spirits of another sort”
A new academic paper all about the otherkin community (and therianthropes as well, under the same word) was published in Nova Religio, a peer-reviewed journal about alternative and new religious movements. The article, “We are spirits of another sort: Ontological rebellion and religious dimensions of the otherkin community,” is by Joseph P. Laycock, Ph.D.
A regular in the vampire community, Merticus, briefly summarized Laycock’s article. Merticus says the article cites the writings of several participants of the otherkin community.
A regular in the therianthrope community, Citrakāyaḥ (a cheetah) read Laycock’s full article, and then thoroughly covered his responses in “A laycat’s review of ‘We are spirits of another sort.’” He says that Laycock emphasizes that the otherkin movement is not a religion, although it is often spiritual, and in some ways resembles a religion.
Media exposure of therianthropes
During 2012-02, the furry news blog, Flayrah, listed several newspaper articles that mentioned therianthropes in addition to furries.
Birds of a Feather: by and for bird-people, created 2012-02. This blog is full of essays about being therianthropes and otherkin who identify as birds. Authors include Acies (an eagle), Akhila (raven, leopard), GreyGhost (gryphon), Meirya (hawk, phoenix), and Tsu (swan). The blog accepts essays submitted by others.
I’ve seen a lot more otherkin-related blogs created recently, especially those hosted on Tumblr.com, but I’ll have to address them in another post.
Due to my hiatus from the otherkin community during the past several months, I’m behind on my reading, and I’ve missed out on a lot. The above list is likely very incomplete. I’m going to need a lot of help filling in all the gaps.
If you or somebody who you know recently created new writing, art, or other creative works about otherkin or therianthropes, then please let me know, so that I can list them here next time. Please feel free to e-mail me about any such new discoveries at any time. That would be very helpful! Thank you!
- O. Scribner