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As a group, the Otherkin are loosely-affiliated, acephalous, and eschew doctrine; thus they have little in the way organisation and have very few formal authority structures Kirby It does not constitute a religion , but metaphysical terminology and a spiritual worldview is typically used to parse Otherkin identities, making the group, in large part, a religious movement.

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Though real-life gatherings are extremely rare, the online community provides a truly communal aspect in that it is entirely responsible for the production and dissemination of the vocabulary, central ideas, texts and imagery of the movement. The design and adoption of a symbol such as the heptagram, a seven-pointed star often referred to as an Elven or Fairy Star pictured , is another element that can encourage group cohesion.

The community uses a number of digital platforms to communicate, debate, and generate content, with common examples being forums, tumblr accounts, Facebook groups, and personal web pages, all with varying degrees of inclusivity and privacy. Moderators, whether individuals or teams, will decide these boundaries in accordance with their own interests and the purpose of the website.

But, as the academy, the mainstream media, and the general public become increasingly exposed to Otherkin ideas, the Otherkin are, more than ever before, taking efforts to consolidate and guard their group identity and reputation, a potential source of tensions discussed in the next section. The predominant challenge faced by the Otherkin community can be categorised as one of authenticity. Individuals from inside and outside of the community have contested the validity of the beliefs of singular Otherkin and the movement generally, on a number of grounds.

Otherkin have been the subject of several pieces in the Western media that, despite the level of acceptance aimed at by the author or journalist, invariably provoke responses of umbrage, incredulity, and revilement from the audience. The questioning of which beliefs are acceptable, believable, and valid comes from within the Otherkin community as well. Therefore, any text can become a reference for understanding an Otherkin identity.

However, the degree of credibility commonly afforded to these texts is markedly different depending on their historicity and origin. Members who are considered young, and those with a supposedly faddish or fannish interest in related media rather than a sincere engagement with other-than-human being, are likewise subject to scrutiny.

Otherkin Are People Too; They Just Identify as Nonhuman

Subsequently, those with more fringe ideas or identities can find themselves isolated from the core community Getzler ; Robertson The medical community acknowledges a range of personality disorders and delusional misidentification syndromes, such as clinical lycanthropy, the mental and behavioural state of believing one is a wolf Blom , that present symptoms that may be seen as similar to descriptions of Otherkin phenomenology.

Indeed, there are those within the community who believe their otherness to have a psychological or neurological cause, and also those who are comfortable with the notion that they possess multiple identities in a way not dissimilar to that which would be regarded in traditional medicine as being indicative of a mental illness.

The author would recommend the meticulously researched Otherkin Timeline by Orion Scribner for a more detailed look at the historical development of this group. Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon , revised and expanded edition.

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New York: Penguin. Belanger, Michelle. The Vampire Codex: Internet Edition. Blom, Jan Dirk. Campbell, Colin. London: SCM. Crisses et al. Cusack, Carole. Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith. Surrey: Ashgate. Davidsen, Markus Altena. Leiden: Brill. Getzler, Melanie. Keyworth, David. Kirby, Danielle. Sheffield: Equinox. Sydney: Sydney University Press. Laycock, Joseph. California: University of California Press.

Montgomery, Ruth. Partridge, Christopher.

‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’

The Re-Enchantment of the West, Volume 1. Robertson, Venetia. Scribner, Orion. Steiger, Brad.

8 Forgotten Otherkin

New York: Harcourt. Virtue, Doreen. USA: Hay House. Zeller, Benjamin.

Translations English. Fortune, Dion. Psychic Self-Defense.

More From Thought Catalog

San Francisco: Weiser. Vampires Today. The oldest Internet resource for otherkin is the Elfinkind Digest , a mailing list started in by a student at the University of Kentucky for "elves and interested observers". On 6 February , a document titled the "Elven Nation Manifesto" was posted to Usenet, including the groups alt. Rich Dansky who worked on the development of Changeling: The Dreaming said that after the game's release the darkfae-l listserv had "a rampaging debate Outside viewers may have varying opinions about people who identify as otherkin, ranging from considering them animal—human relationship pioneers to being psychologically dysfunctional.

Otherkin have been called one of the world's most bizarre subcultures , [19] and a religious movement and a "quasi-religion" [8] that "in some of its forms, largely only exists on the [Internet]". Laycock argues that the otherkin community serves existential and social functions commonly associated with religion, and regards it as an alternative nomos that sustains alternate ontologies. It has also been said that they represent a widespread dissatisfaction with the modern world, and that they have taken fairy lore out of its social context. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A Field Guide to Otherkin. Immanion Press. Weiser Books. Llewellyn Worldwide. Career Press. The Village Voice. New York.

Things You've Always Wondered About Otherkin

In Christopher Deacy; Elisabeth Arweck ed. Ashgate Publishing. In Frances Di Lauro ed.

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