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Otherkinity is characterized by identifying as non-human on a deeply personal and integral level in a non-physical sense. Most Otherkin generally share the same kinds of basic experiences. It is not so much the “what” of our experiences that makes all Otherkin different, but the “why”. For spiritual Otherkin, this “why” is answered by one’s personal spiritual beliefs.
Otherkinity and Religion
Personal spiritual beliefs may be a part of one’s personal religion or they may not be. Otherkinity in itself is not a religious belief. There is no religion that specifically mentions identifying as non-human in one’s current life as a physical human being. This is not to be confused with the widespread beliefs about reincarnation, as one can still believe in reincarnation and experience past lives, including non-human past lives, without identifying as non-human now.
Otherkinity, Spirit Animals, and Totems
It is important to make a distinction between these three ideas. Although similar, they are all fundamentally different, but similar enough to be confusing for many.
Otherkinity, as stated above, is characterized by identifying as non-human. This identity is an integral part of the individual, and therefore cannot be seen as separate from the individual.
A Spirit Animal or Spiritual Guide is a spiritual entity that is typically seen as one’s personal guide in life or spiritual matters. This entity is seen as a separate entity from the individual. Therefore, a spirit animal or spiritual guide is not one’s kintype.
A Totem is a non-human creature that is used to represent an individual or a group of individuals, such as a family or clan. For example, the country of Wales uses a red dragon to represent their nation. A totem animal is not an integral part of one’s identity, and is therefore not a kintype.
Finding Reliable and Relevant Resources
There are tons and tons of resources and ideas regarding personal spiritual beliefs and practices that are available on the web today. Not all of these guides and practices are plausible, healthy, or safe, and many of them are either not relevant or may even be misleading when it comes to spiritual Otherkinity. Here are some tips on what to be wary of when looking at spiritual resources, and what to avoid.
Avoid resources that claim the impossible. Many spiritual guides claim to be able to teach you to achieve feats that may be considered miraculous or outside of the realm of human possibility. But if it sounds too good to be true, then avoid it. Namely, avoid resources that claim to be able to teach you or guide you in physical shifting. Physical shifting is highly implausible given what we know about physics and the human body. Even magic wouldn’t be able to make it possible.
Avoid resources that claim to be able to teach you how to “become Otherkin”. Otherkinity is an integral part of one’s identity, and therefore one can never “become Otherkin” through magical means.
Be wary of resources that claim to be able to cause you to awaken. Remember that awakening is just the slow gradual process of discovering that you identify as non-human and discovering your kintype. The same goes for guides or techniques that claim to be able to “find your kintype”. Finding your specific kintype is normally a slow process of gradual self-discovery and research. There are no magical means for speeding up the process.
Finally, be wary of groups or individuals who claim to be able to “read” your kintype or who try to tell you what your kintype should be. Otherkinity is a part of who you are. No-one, not even other people who are Otherkin, can tell you whether you are ‘kin or not or what your kintype is. Only you know what your internal experiences feel like, therefore only you can decide for yourself whether you are Otherkin or not, or what your kintype is.
Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, and Meditation
What these three techniques have in common is that they are all altered states of mind commonly used by Otherkin as tools for self-discovery and exploration. While practicing these techniques it is important to remember to keep a level head about what one experiences through them because they are states in which the mind is altered, and therefore heavily subject to the user’s thoughts and desires. This is especially true with lucid dreaming and astral projection, since the user has control over the dream or the astral plane.
These practices are often used by Otherkin to aid their experience, whether it is for self-discovery or just for relaxation or the joy of the experience. However, because these experiences are heavily influenced by the subconscious thoughts and desires of the user, they are not a solid foundation to base one’s identity upon. Dreaming that you are a fox is not enough to make you a fox therian, and so on. Granted, Otherkin do certainly experiences dreams in which they are their kintype, but it is not the entire basis of their identity. Dreams in and of themselves are just a result of the brain processing memories while one is asleep. Dreams are highly symbolic representations of the dreamer’s subconscious thoughts. Therefore, always take things experienced in dreams with heavy skepticism.