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[personal profile] frameacloud
The journal Culture and Religion had a special issue on the topic of invented religions and religion-like groups, with articles on topics such as religions based on fiction, fandom, and so on. This includes an article by Danielle Kirby containing several paragraphs about otherkin, in context with some other groups that combine fiction with spirituality.


Steven J. Sutcliffea and Carole M. Cusackb. "Introduction: Making it (all?) up – 'invented religions' and the study of 'religion.'" Culture and Religion Vol 14: 4 (2013), pp. 353-361

Danielle Lee Kirby, "Between Synchromysticism and Paganism: Tracing some metaphysical uses of popular fictions." Culture and Religion Vol 14: 4 (2013), pp. 396-410
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

October: Tulpas are a type of man-made incorporeal entity used in real spiritual practices of Tibetan origin. They resemble an imaginary friend, and sometimes they can be based on fictional characters. However, the metaphysical concepts involved in the practice are taken with utmost seriousness. During the past few months, I've seen some otherkin and therian communities start to include conversations about tulpas. Cryptozoologist Nick Redfern wrote a new article about how tulpas were introduced to the western world, and why they should not be adopted casually. Redfern's article is about a historical event, not current events.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

September 22, North Carolina: A therianthrope named Lunar Flare, 32, hosted a discussion panel called "Therianthropy 101." This was at a Neo-Pagan festival called Pagan Pride Raleigh.


"Workshops." Pagan Pride Raleigh. http://www.cncppd.org/attend/workshops

Lunar Flare, "Therianthropy 101." Pagan Pride Raleigh. http://www.cncppd.org/attend/workshops/therianthropy-101
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

September: The Silver Elves are a family of elf otherkin, formed in the 1970s. They published their second handbook for using Tarot cards. The new book is The Voice of Faerie: Making any Tarot Deck into an Elven Oracle. See their web-site for an excerpt.


The Silver Elves, "The Voice of Faerie: Making Any Tarot Deck Into an Elven Oracle." 2013-09-16. The Silver Elves (blog). http://silverelves.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/the-voice-of-faerie-making-any-tarot-deck-into-an-elven-oracle/

The Silver Elves, "The Voice of Faerie: Making Any Tarot Deck Into an Elven Oracle." 2013-09. Elves in Paradise (personal web-site). http://silverelves.angelfire.com/HAvoicefaerie.html
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

August: An article about otherkin that was recently published in Nova Religio, Joseph Laycock's "'We Are Spirits of Another Sort': Ontological Rebellion and Religious Dimensions of the Otherkin Community," is now available for download as a PDF.

(Thanks to Merticus for this information.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: For this post, as well as for the podcast itself: much about spirituality. Mild ableism. Questions about how being otherkin compares with being transgender. Some additional content warnings for the podcast only: Brief mild adult humor. Brief mentions of drugs. Brief mentions of alcohol.

Summary: A furry podcast interviewed a therian wolf who claims to practice an ancient animal-based faith, and an otherkin dragon who expresses himself through fur-suiting.

August 25: Fur What It’s Worth, a podcast series that is “an introduction and immersion into the furry fandom,” interviewed a therianthrope and an otherkin. In the "Therians & Otherkin" episode, the hosts say they are completely unfamiliar with therianthropy, but somewhat familiar with otherkin. The hosts’ attitudes are respectful, easygoing, interested, and friendly. There’s no transcript, so I’ll summarize the relevant parts of the podcast, using direct quotes whenever possible.

The interview with an therianthrope starts at 8:00 and concludes at 31:41. The therianthrope is Wolf (which is his legal name), 51, is very active in the furry fandom. He attends furry conventions, and is a published author of furry fiction.

Wolf calls himself a therian deist, which he says is an ancient pre-Babylonian (and therefore prehistoric) spiritual faith. He says that in that “faith,” humans are considered the highest animals, and try to learn from animals how to be better humans, by mimicking the virtues of animals. He claims that Catholics called practitioners of this spiritual tradition “lycans.” Wolf says that the biggest misconception about therians is that they are shape-shifters, which he says is a belief of Catholic origin. He says some therians have spiritual connections to animal totems. He says he and a group of other therians are in the process of gathering supplies to build a spiritual retreat for therians “of like faith.” He denies that it’s a temple. He says the faith is based around “breaking the three animal rules: 1) Me first. 2) Pack (family) second. 3) Everyone else.” In therian deism, one tries to “become a better human,” and “better than the animals,” by reversing the order of these rules. He looks at this in context with worship of animal gods and guides around the world.

Wolf mentions that some therians think of themselves as animals in spirit, but otherwise he doesn’t refer to therianthropy as an identity at all, but as a “faith.” The therian faith he describes is not something that I have seen in the therian community. He doesn’t seem to be talking about the same thing as they are at all. I haven’t heard the phrase “therian deist” before, and Googling it (with quotes) only brings up eight results, where it’s used by this same Wolf. Despite Wolf’s claims, it appears that this “ancient faith” is something he invented. The slang “lycans” is a sign that influence from pop fiction is involved. Inventing one’s own spirituality is fine, even with pop culture influences, but when people claim that new spiritualities are ancient, I consider it my duty as a historian to question those claims.

The interview with an otherkin starts at 36:44 and concludes at 1:02:40. This interview is with YuuRyuu, a dragon otherkin. This is YuuRyuu’s second interview on Fur What It’s Worth. YuuRyuu speaks of his dragon self as a “character,” and says he developed his own species of dragon. He’s been very active in the furry fandom for four years.

YuuRyuu gives the usual definitions for otherkin and its difference from therianthropes. When asked to define what otherkin means to him, YuuRyuu said there’s a lot of variety in how people define it. For himself, he explained that when he was a small child, he consciously knew that his reflection in the mirror was him, but subconsciously felt it was wrong. He’d prefer to see a dragon. Wearing a fur-suit (animal costume) of his dragon character makes that possible, which gives him a sense of mental release from the tension of feeling that his reflection is wrong. He’s not aware of any other specific otherkin who use fur-suits that way. For him, being otherkin is “just a quirk in my brain,” not something he can explain. He grew up having “a disconnect between what I looked like and what my brain wanted to see.” He says he’s experienced phantom limbs only after wearing the fur-suit for a while.

The host asks, “Are you a human who has a spirit of a dragon, or are you a dragon?” YuuRyuu replies, “I am a dragon. It is totally mental. I don’t believe in spirits or anything like that.” As such, he hasn’t personally experienced some of the paranormal phenomena that the hosts had heard of as linked with otherkin. He says he’d initially been hesitant to call himself otherkin, saying he was “borderline otherkin. … I don’t want people to think I’m crazy, but I want to be honest with myself.” After deciding to simply call himself otherkin, he hasn’t had any troubling reactions from people about it. He and the hosts agree that one of the good things about the furry community is that it’s so accepting. People in the furry fandom don’t get upset over hearing of one another’s unusual personal quirks.

The hosts ask YuuRyuu how being otherkin compares to being transgender. YuuRyuu says he’s been timid to consider the similarities, not wanting to offend anyone, but he does think the mirror experience is similar. He says he feels more confident about the analogy after reading some points made by a transgender furry interviewee. I recognize his description of Kotaku’s interview with illustrator Egypt Urnash, which I summarized in an earlier Otherkin News article.

Both interviews were conducted gracefully, and their contents were insightful and interesting. Wolf described a unique animal-based faith, and YuuRyuu gave an example of why an otherkin enjoys activities associated with the furry fandom.


Roo and Tugs, “S3 Episode 6 – Therian & Otherkin.” Fur What It’s Worth (blog) 2013-08-25. http://www.furwhatitsworth.com/?p=2029

Roo and Tugs, “Therians & Otherkin.” Fur What It’s Worth (podcast audio) 2013-08-25 (series 3, episode 6). Accessed 2013-08-31.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: mental illness (clinical lycanthropy), violence, religion (Catholicism, exorcism, demonic possession).

July: A cryptozoologist named Malcolm Smith wrote an article about a clinical lycanthropy patient who was last heard of in 1992. The subject is William “Bill” David Ramsey (b. 1943-). Since childhood, Ramsey occasionally had situations in which he believed he was becoming a werewolf, during which he behaved inappropriately and violently, and sometimes had hallucinations. These episodes were so severe that he was sometimes arrested and hospitalized. Ramsey was successfully cured of this problem by an exorcism in 1989. For this reason, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren interpret Ramsey’s condition as demonic possession rather than mental illness. Smith cites from two sources about the Warrens and Ramsey. Michael notes that he could find no information about Ramsey after his interview in 1992.

Here’s some extra context that Smith did not bring up. The below is based on my own research on werewolves and clinical lycanthropy.

Ramsey’s references to moon phases have more similarity to his contemporary pop culture imagery of werewolves than old folklore. His condition had even less resemblance to the behavior of actual wolves. This factor makes it more likely that Ramsey’s beliefs were a mental syndrome rather than a supernatural phenomenon, even if one believes the latter is possible.

I find it odd that Ramsey is not mentioned in the psychological literature on clinical lycanthropy. Perhaps this is only because Ramsey chose not to enter a mental hospital, fearing the stigma. The literature on clinical lycanthropy only talks about people who were admitted to mental hospitals. The lack of formal documentation for this case (aside from the Warrens’ book), and the lack of information about Ramsey after 1992, give me cause to question whether Ramsey’s case might be a complete fabrication.

It’s important to understand that clinical lycanthropy is a psychological syndrome, not a specific mental illness. In the definition of lycanthropy established by Keck, et al., the belief of becoming an animal isn’t connected with any specific mental illnesses. It could happen together with any of them. A person with clinical lycanthropy doesn’t just believe they’re an animal: they really believe they’re physically changing, usually against their will, and they lose control over their behavior.

This case makes me wonder if the scarcity of clinical lycanthropy in psychological literature-- as noted by Keck-- might be because the subjects go to exorcists for help instead of mental hospitals. One of the common features of clinical lycanthropy is that the subject believes that they’re possessed by a demon.


Malcolm Smith, “The English werewolf.” Malcolm’s musings: Anomalies. 2013-07-31. http://malcolmsanomalies.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/the-english-werewolf.html

(Smith primarily cites from this: Ed and Lorraine Warren, Werewolf: A true story of demonic possession. St. Martin’s, 1991.)

Paul E. Keck, et al., “Lycanthropy: Alive and well in the twentieth century.” Psychological Medicine 18 (1988), p. 113-120.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: spirituality, religion.

July: The "Ask Papabear" column of the Furry News Network blog responded to a confused anonymous question about otherkin, therianthropes, and religious doctrine.


Papabear, "What Is the 'True' Definition of Otherkin and Therian?" 2013-07-31. Furry News Network. http://www.furrynewsnetwork.com/2013/07/what-is-the-true-definition-of-otherkin-and-therian/
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Conflict between religion and science.

May: The Creation Museum, a well-funded museum promoting Christian young-earth creationist views on history and biology, located in Petersburg, Kentucky, announced that it will install a new exhibit about dragons. The museum is advertising it with billboards in several cities. The exhibit will be about dragons in global mythology and legend. Young-earth creationists believe that dinosaurs lived alongside humans. The exhibit suggests that old myths about dragons might really be about dinosaurs.

Doubtful News, a skeptical current events blog, expresses dismay about this exhibit for several reasons.

The teaser for the exhibit says that it will contain a great deal of original artwork, including "two large colorful dragons from China." The museum is famous for, among other things, the high quality and professionalism of its artwork. The museum's web-site says the exhibit will open "soon," but another page said it was going to open back on the weekend of May 24-25, so maybe it was postponed?

I'm not aware of any young-earth creationists in the otherkin, therianthrope, or dragon communities. I am aware of a lot of dragon mythology enthusiasts and Christians here, though, so maybe this will be of interest.


idoubtit, "Creation Museum invokes DRAGONS! Ooooh, scary!!!" 2013-06-23. Doubtful News. http://doubtfulnews.com/2013/06/creation-museum-invokes-dragons-ooooh-scary

"Bring forth the dragons!" 2013-05-07. Creation Museum. http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/creation-museum/2013/05/07/bring-forth-the-dragons

"Dragon invasion." Creation Museum. http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/dragon-invasion/

Ken Ham, "'Dragon Invasion' Coming to Creation Museum." 2013-05-15. Creation Museum. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/05/15/dragon-invasion-coming-creation-museum
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: The linked article talks about spirituality at length, and about relationship problems.

Last May: On the Witches' Voice (WitchVox), a Neo-Pagan online news magazine, Rev. Natasha Hiller published an article about Earth Angels such as herself, who "are Angels that are incarnated here on Earth to teach others about love."1 This article adheres closely to the description of Earth Angels used by (and I think invented by) Doreen Virtue, a New Age healer, author of the book Earth Angels. Hiller's article also refers to Virtue's writing.


1. Natasha Hiller, "Earth Angels." 2013-05-19. http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usoh&c=words&id=15158
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Mentions of sexuality and occult spirituality. The linked webpages include some photos of people who are clothed but sexual, and so may be considered not safe for work.

The free alternative newspaper of the Capital Region of New York State, Metroland, recently ran an interview1 with fine artist2 Jason Martin, of Power Animal Systems. Martin performs music while costumed as an human-like wolf in a tight silver space suit, a “sexy spacewolf warrior,”3 one of a trio of such animal-masked performers.

Martin emphasizes that his artwork is a spiritual performance, involving supernatural entities that have appeared to him since his early childhood. In the interview, Martin said of his band, “It spoke to a lot of young people […] People inclined toward alternative lifestyle or ‘queerness’ got it right away. Everytime I put on one of these costumes, it’s not zentai, it’s not cosplay, it’s not furry, it’s not role playing […] It’s channeling entities. They’re real as individuals but also representations of all this encoded information, only a small percentage of which I understand.”4 The performances have more spiritual depth than simply wearing animal costumes for entertainment.

In his artist’s statement, Martin explains that Power Animal Systems “engages species-queer paganistic animism […] rituals, conjuring mysterious energies, removing anthropomorphism from its harmless, cartoon usage and connecting it to less safe, more real, quasi-mythical archetypes with Jungian undertones and erotic juxtapositions.”5 I’ve never encountered the phrase “species-queer” before… Google shows about 2100 results for it, so it’s had some use.

The Power Animal Systems had been booked to perform with Lady Gaga this spring, but that tour was cancelled.6


1. Josh Potter, “Into the third dimension.” 2013-02-28. Metroland. http://metroland.net/2013/02/28/into-the-third-dimension
2. Jason Martin, “Bio.” http://jasonmartinwebsite.com/bio.html
3. Potter.
4. Ibid.
5. Martin.
6. Potter.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warning: Beliefs about the end of the world.

Many people believe that the world will end, suffer a catastrophe, or spiritually change during this month on the 21st, a date selected partially on the basis of a misinterpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers their official explanation of why the world won't end this week. NASA refutes several mistaken astronomical claims made by some believers, claims which the believers sometimes falsely attribute to NASA. NASA says that despite what you may have heard, there will actually be no planetary alignment.

I'm not aware of any groups of otherkin and therianthropes who have publicly announced any expectations or actions for the date of 2012-12-21. If you know of any, please e-mail me as soon as possible so that I can interview the otherkin and therianthropes in question in order to report on it within the week.

- O. Scribner
[identity profile] merticus.livejournal.com

Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions

Announcing a significant academic advancement for the Otherkin Community as well as the Vampire Community.  Unlike 95% of the academic articles/papers written on the topic of "otherkin" or "real vampirism", this work is part of a prestigious published series of books entitled 'Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion' edited by Dr. Adam Possamai of the University of Western Sydney and distributed to hundreds of institutions throughout the world.  The Otherkin Community is discussed on pages 129-140 in an article by Danielle Kirby.  I can't speak to the content of the Otherkin material -- this is something you'd have to consult with Kirby or someone familiar with her past work.  The real Vampire Community is discussed on pages 141-163 by Dr. Joseph Laycock from the viewpoint of identity or cognitive praxis -- not religious institutions as some scholars have argued in the past.  Speaking only from what I've seen of the vampire-specific portion of this text by Laycock (which I hold in the highest regard), I would strongly encourage others to obtain a copy of this book or request that it be carried at your local college or university library.

[identity profile] merticus.livejournal.com
I would contend that this is one of the most important academic papers ever written concerning the sociological and identity aspects of the Otherkin community.  Perspectives from Dan O'Dea, Gerbasi, Hesson, Kirby, Lupa, Mamatas, Nytemuse, Orion Sandstorrm, Sade Wolfkitten, Suscitatio (AVA), Sylvere ap Leanan, Th'Elf, and more are all part of this article.  It's well worth your time to read and I encourage everyone to either purchase a copy or request it from their local college or university library.

If interested, I'd also encourage you to to review Dr. Laycock's 2010 article through Nova Religio; Real Vampires as an Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community which is available at http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1525/nr.2010.14.1.4  Joseph Laycock is the author of Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism Praeger 2009 - http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729

We Are Spirits of Another Sort: Ontological Rebellion and Religious Dimensions of the Otherkin
By Joseph P. Laycock, PhD
Nova Religio - The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
February 2012, Vol. 15, No. 3, Pages 65-90

Purchase Article:  http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1525/nr.2012.15.3.65


Otherkin are individuals who identify as "not entirely human." Scholarship has framed this identity claim as religious because it is frequently supported by a framework of metaphysical beliefs. This article draws on survey data and interviews with Otherkin in order to provide a more thorough treatment of the phenomenon and to assess and qualify the movement's religious dimensions. It is argued that, in addition to having a substantively religious quality, the Otherkin community serves existential and social functions commonly associated with religion. In the final analysis, the Otherkin community is regarded as an alternative nomos--a socially constructed worldview--that sustains alternate ontologies.


Real Vampires as an Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community
By Joseph Laycock
Nova Religio - The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
August 2010, Vol. 14, No. 1, Pages 4–23

Purchase Article:  http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1525/nr.2010.14.1.4


"Real vampires" believe that they must either consume blood or feed on "subtle" energy in order to maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Recent scholarship has analyzed vampirism as a religious movement or as a cluster of "vampire religions." This article argues that vampirism should be viewed foremost as an identity around which social and religious institutions have formed. This model accounts for the mosaic of religious and cultural orientations held by vampires and acknowledges the vampire community's claims that vampirism is not a choice. It also facilitates a functionalist reading of vampire discourse as validating a new category of person.

frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Book cover depicting an elf in a forest.
Trigger warnings: none that I can think of.

January 2012. The Silver Elves are a family of real people who have considered themselves elves since the Seventies, making them some of the earliest known self-proclaimed elven people, along with another group from the Seventies called the Elf Queen’s Daughters. (See the Otherkin Timeline for more information about elves in the Seventies.) This month, the Silver Elves have published an entirely new book reflecting upon their history. The book is Eldafaryn: True Tales of Magic from the Lives of the Silver Elves, which the authors describe as

“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. If you’ve ever wanted to see Elfland from the inside, as the elves view it, here’s your chance.”

As reported on Otherkin News last November, the Silver Elves returned one of their earlier books to print: An Elfin Book of Spirits: Evoking the Beneficent Powers of Faerie, a handbook for a spiritual practice of the authors’ own design.

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: end of world, debunking end of world, cults, suicide; not graphic, but saddening.

Summary: I'm not aware of any groups of otherkin who currently believe the world will end in 2012, but some have previously believed so. Believing that the world will end often leads people to do regrettable things, so I hope that no otherkin will succumb to that dangerous belief.

For the past few years, fears that the world will end on 2012-12-21 have gained increasing mainstream publicity. This prediction is based on a New Age interpretation of a quirk in the ancient Mayan calendar. Anthropologists say this is a misinterpretation of the Maya.1 New Agers claim that planets will align in destructive ways, among other life-threatening astronomical events. However, NASA says that all of the predicted world-ending events are unlikely to happen on that date, or ever, depending on the particular prediction. Read the article on Space.com to see NASA debunk each of the predictions.2

Historically, there have been innumerable end-of-the-world predictions, and every single one has failed, leaving people with the consequences of believing in something that was false. People who prepared by quitting their jobs, selling their homes, and selling all their worldly possessions... they face the consequence of finding themselves impoverished, having needlessly given up all their advantages. People who prepared by committing suicide because they thought time was so short anyway... it turns out they could have lived long lives after all.

I am not aware of any groups of therianthropes, otherkin, or vampires who currently publicly connect their therianthropy, otherkin-ness, or vampirism with fears about 2012 or other end of world predictions, but these concepts have previously been linked together on occasion. An article on Otherkin.net from 2002, "Otherkin behavior patterns,"3 says that there have been some inexperienced otherkin who believed that the world would end, or change so that magic becomes tangibly real, and named 2012 as a likely date. In A Field Guide to Otherkin, Lupa wrote that when people first become aware of magic or of being otherkin, it's common for them to go through a phase in which they believe their actions are crucial in stopping the world from coming to an end, and that she went through such a phase herself.4

We should also remember a group that had no relation to our movement, but which included some beliefs that have some traits in common with our own. The Heaven's Gate cult, famous for committing mass suicide in 1997 to prepare for the end of the world, was led by a couple of people who claimed to be extraterrestrials incarnate in human bodies. They got the idea from earlier New Age books on the topic of extraterrestrial "walk-ins." Also inspired by the concept of "walk-ins," the Heaven's Gate leaders claimed that their followers had the opportunity of moving into newer, better bodies crafted by aliens after their old bodies died. They willingly killed themselves, convinced that this ritual was a way to attain a good life.5 If only they could have had enough skepticism to consider whether their philosophy was untrue, to look at the situation from a completely secular and pragmatic viewpoint, then they would have seen that it made no sense to die an early death. This cautionary tale shows that philosophy and spirituality can be beautiful and inspiring, but can also be dangerous and misleading. Skepticism, rationality, logic, and responsible behavior are all indispensible tools for making wise decisions and keeping ourselves safe.

Gentle reader, if you are one who believes that the world will end within your natural lifetime, I don’t expect that any single article will be enough to change your mind, so I will not try, although others will. You’re entitled to believe in whatever you like. However, for your own safety, and for the safety of your loved ones, please act responsibly. As a cautionary tale, please take a look at this list of over a thousand modern-day people who were harmed by fearing the end of the world.6 If you believe that the world will end, please weigh your judgments with skepticism, for safety’s sake.

If you’re thinking of doing something big as a way to deal with the end of the world, please first pause to consider whether that action would still seem like a wise decision if the world didn’t actually end, and how it would then leave you and your loved ones with the consequences of your big action.

During the coming year, Otherkin News will attempt to collect updates about any groups of otherkin who publicly emerge with beliefs about 2012, although I hope that there will not be any. I will always link such updates with the above warnings, cautionary tales, and pleas for responsible behavior.

- O. Scribner

Sources )
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (Default)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Book cover.

Trigger warnings: occult.

November 17, 2011. The Silver Elves are a family of elf otherkin. They are one of the earliest known groups of otherkin, having considered themselves elves since 1975. The Silver Elves have now returned another of their books to print. The book is An Elfin Book of Spirits: Evoking the Beneficent Powers of Faerie, offering instructions in a spiritual practice of the authors’ own design. From the book's description:

“An Elfin Book of Spirits contains the sigil and description of 360 spirits, one for each degree of the Zodiac, that can be summoned by evocation to help the magician with whatever he or she desires. It also reveals a system for using stones to find a spirit at random, which is what the authors most often do when seeking the aide of a spirit. These are Elfin spirits, so they command the powers and influences of Faerie and in addition to helping the conjuror fulfill his/her Will, they will also ever seek to guide the magician to the fulfillment of her/his Destiny and the progress toward the perfection of his/her True S’elf.”
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: criticism of otherkin.

I thought that I would post a link list like this every month, but the otherkin community has been so creative recently that I find it hard to keep up! Scarcely any time after my previous link list, I’ve already got a long list of new articles and projects. Maybe I should post a link list here on a weekly basis instead of monthly?

New articles introducing otherkin-related concepts

Cladotherianthropy,” by Pantairin, of Chimera. 2011-07.
A cladotherianthrope is one whose animal side is a generalization of all animals within a taxa, such as an entire genus, rather than a species. A very well-written introduction to the definition and history of this concept.

A short history of soulbonding,” by Tatsuya Rokurou, of the Flatlanders.
This article is written with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with multiplicity. In 2001, the first mention of “soulbonding” (mentally communicating with fictional characters). An overview of this concept’s changing relationship with fan-fiction and multiplicity. The development of related concepts of “muses” and of “otakukin.” How the definition of “soulbonding” changed in 2003, and problems with that definition: it assumes that every soulbonding relationship is the same, which is false in actual practice.

New articles criticizing otherkin, and new responses to criticism

Otherkin troll bingo!” by Tsu. 2011-11-12.
A list of the phrases that people most commonly use to discredit otherkin, followed by a list of short responses from an otherkin correcting misconceptions in all of those. Both parts were created by a bird otherkin.

We are not sick and dangerous, for the record,” by an anonymous otherkin. 2011-10-27.
An otherkin described being otherkin to mental health counselors, and they responded positively. They don’t see it as disassociation, schizophrenia, or anything harmful. It just exists, so the responsible thing to do is to deal with it existing as best possible.

The parable of the were-duck,” by Aura Escher. 2011-08-24.
A vampyre criticizes therians for claiming to be animals, saying that therians are not animals in any real way. Escher expresses the opinion that what therians fool themselves into mistaking for their “animal side” is actually something else which is present in all humans, and not an “animal side” at all.

Confessions of a former otherkin,” by BellaDonna Saberhagen. 2011-11-13.
A personal reflection by a Neo-Pagan who once self-described as fairy, describing how inexperienced Neo-Pagans often initially go through a phase of deluding themselves and one another into believing excessively far-fetched things, including that they are dragons, werewolves, angels, or even gods, who will play a part in the end/transformation of the world. Saberhagen advises the reader to take caution with spirituality, and accept being human.

The skeptical otherkin #3: How inappropriate,” by Feathertail. 2011-11-21.
An otherkin asks, how do we determine whether the use of an idea is cultural appropriation?

Articles on what it's like to be a...?

Motionless claws,” by Citrakāyaḥ. 2011-07.
What it’s like to be a cheetah therianthrope.

Certata: From the blue fleet,” by Earth Listener, of Chimera. 2011-11.
What it’s like to be a blue glaucus sea-slug therian.

Tell me what it is like to be a swangirl,” by Tsu. 2011-11-18.
What it’s like to be a swan.

Untitled (swangirl), by Tsu. 2011-09-06.
On how the human and swan sides get along without clashing. On being autistic and otherkin.

Other new articles
People are only visible when they’re encouraged to speak,” by an anonymous author. 2011-11-12.
The otherkin and therian community mostly limits itself to conversation in English. As a result, we hear less or not at all from people in non-English-speaking parts of the world.

From fictionkin to animalkin,” by Mist Weaver, of the Chimeras. 2011-06.
Written by a fictional animal member of a plural system. Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of fiction-kin, therianthropy, and plurality.

More thoughts about monsters,” by Tsu. 2011-10-17.
On the sacredness of that which is seen as different, strange, wrong, unacceptable, or scary. Whether you are a monster or not, you deserve to exist.

Untitled (mythology), by Tsu. 2011-08-28.
On the value of mythology

The upside-down of grounding,” by Child Of The Fae. 2011-11-15.
The metaphysical anatomy of this Fae otherkin differs from the standard metaphysical anatomy of a human. This creates a challenge when performing metaphysical acts such as “grounding.” Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of metaphysical anatomy, otherkin, and grounding.

New foreign-language articles

Otherkin – dziwactwo czy fantastyczny sposób na życie? (Otherkin – a quirk, or a fantastic way to live?),” by Ewelina Czarnecka. 2011-08-29.
(In Polish.) An introduction to otherkin for outsiders. This polite and not sensationalistic article is in a women’s online magazine, We-Dwoje, which is otherwise mostly about fashion and health.

New art

Otherkin comic, by Drakmanka. 2011-11-13. Very nice.

New Podcast

The Pagan Musings podcast is having a show about otherkin, interviewing three otherkin: “Arthur,” Stormcrow, and Lupa.

New projects

The Beyond Awakening blog focuses on exploring otherkin-related topics that have had relatively little written about them. The latest essay prompt is titled “Challenge: Energetic Health.” Meirya asks otherkin to write about how their metaphysical energetic anatomy differs from that which is defined as “normal and healthy” in most literature on the subject.

Waoterlelie is running a survey, and is asking for otherkin to take a Meyers-Briggs personality test, and then send in their results.

New web-sites

Walking Between Worlds, a collection of essays written by two anonymous Vanir elves: one, an otherkin, the other, her spirit companion.

New blogs

The Other Problems, or, Dear Solace: A secrets and advice Tumblr. Anonymously send in your otherkin-related secrets or pleas for advice. The person running this blog is familiar with both psychology and otherkin, and patiently offers very wise advice to any who ask for it.

It Was Never Perfect But It Was Always Right, an otherkin-inspired work of ongoing fiction that has only just begun.

I Want To Go Home: Send in pictures of places that feel like Home, pictures of places for which your otherkin side feels homesick.

Little Otherkin Things And Problems. Short blurbs summarizing small things that are distinct to otherkin experience, whether joyful or sorrowful.

Other new link round-ups, like this one

Link roundup and some news,” by Meirya. 2011-11-26.
Includes some summaries of how the otherkin community has been changing recently.

Non-human blogs, resources, and projects,” by Tsu. 2011-11-26.

Thank you

Thanks to Earth Listener for telling me about several of these new things. Thanks to Tsu and Meirya for also collecting lists of new links on their blogs. When the otherkin community is so wonderfully creative and active, I appreciate any kind of help for keeping up with the fast pace!

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (Stylized green dragon person)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings for this article: blood.

Last February in Ljubljana, Slovenia, a performance artist named Marion Laval-Jeantet of the Art Orienté Objet collective recently did a piece called Que le cheval vive en moi! (Fr. May the Horse Live in Me!) in which she explored a method by which she may transform herself into a centaur or horse.1 She spent time with a live horse. Then, in a Swiss laboratory, she had herself carefully injected with small doses horse blood, specificially “the plasma and a large part of the immunoglobulins,” safely isolated according to advice from the Pasteur Institute.2 Then she walked in digitigrade hoof stilts,3 which resemble the leg extensions designed by Kim Graham a few years ago.4 (I don’t know if they are or not. I haven’t seen anything that tells.) Laval-Jeantet described how the transformation made her feel:

“So, after I tested my body with the neuroendocrine immunoglobulins it was practically impossible for me to sleep for a week and I had extreme and slightly aggressive reactions to stimuli; a slammed door, a tap on the shoulder. As such, I was experiencing the hyper-reactivity of the horse in my flesh. The main aim of the performance to come is to take in a large number of immunoglobulins all together, so that I can feel another way of living rather than just the human. If one goes back to the terminology of the posthuman, to be human outside of the human is, perhaps, to undergo this type of experience, where a man that becomes a human/animal hybrid is finally extra-human. … Perhaps its symbolic and empiric force will enable my (our?) consciousness to open up to an Other sufficiently "other" - to no longer be purely anthropocentric.”5

Laval-Jeantet says that her original plan for this project was to have herself injected with panda blood, so that an endangered animal would be able to live on within her even if the actual pandas went extinct. However, even after several years, she couldn’t find anyone willing to do this for her, so she settled for horse instead.6 Much of Laval-Jeantet’s artwork explores ways to transgress the boundaries between humans and animals, and some of her works were performed primarily for an animal audience, to see how the animals react.

Laval-Jeantet performed a similar piece in 2007, Félinanthropie, in which she wore an innovative cat costume, crouched on all fours, and spent time with a house-cat. Her cat costume included digitigrade leg extensions, an articulated tail, and no other costume elements (no mask). She wanted to not only explore the perceptions of a cat, but also to alter the perceptions of an actual cat as it relearned how to interact with her. She wrote of this piece,

“That’s when the idea occurred to me to become digitigrade. A kind of fantasy where I would be able to jump onto the table in a single leap with paws that were too long... I drew the ‘cat shoes,’ which a prosthetist then made. As soon as I put them on and got used to this strange way of walking, the cats came up to me, sniffed and jumped on me, playing with me in the same way as they played between themselves. The artistic object worked, it had moved my role in the feline, domestic hierarchy.”7

However, I notice that since Laval-Jeantet wears no extensions on her forelegs, her costume increases the difference in length between her arms and legs, making it more difficult to walk on all fours.

Laval-Jeantet has written an article titled “Self-animalité (Self-animality)” about the philosophy behind the transformations in her art, such as posthumanism and shamanism. She describes several of her other pieces, and offers anecdotes about the stories of Mazzeras (shamans who channel the spirits of dead animals to rescue them) who she heard about from her Corsican grandmother. Her article includes photos of some of her pieces, including the cat costume and a close-up on the horse leg extensions. Read it in French or in English.

Sources )

May 2017

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