1 pointShifting is an integral part of being otherkin/fictionkin to a large portion of the communities. Though certainly not essential to consider oneself otherkin or fictionkin, you’d be hard pressed to find a place where it isn’t mentioned or discussed in some form. In this article I will attempt to go into detail about the various types of shifts often spoken about in the community, in a bid to educate and inform. Of those listed below, some are widely accepted, others are debatable or even outright denied. Note: Throughout the article you will see some terms with letters in brackets (e.g. (M)ental Shifting). This signifies the shorthand form of the term, in the case of Mental Shifting, this is M-Shifting. Methods of Shifting Voluntary Shifting: Some otherkin/fictionkin are able to voluntarily evoke shifts at will. Often used when one wishes to feel more like their kintype(s) be it in a certain scenario or just because they want to. Involuntary Shifting: The opposite to the above, involuntary shifts can occur for any number of reasons. Some are triggered by certain stimuli or emotions (.e.g a loud noise, a particular aroma, stress, elation), others have no clear cause and just occur out of the blue. Non-Shifting: Not a method of shifting, but most applicable for this section. As briefly mentioned in the introduction, though uncommon, there are a number of otherkin/fictionkin who do not experience shifts of any kind (not including those who consider themselves contherian, discussed later in this article). This doesn’t make them any less worthy of the otherkin/fictionkin labels than those who do shift in the slightest. It’s part and parcel of the many different ways that a non-human identity can manifest itself. There have been instances of those who once frequently shifted but one day find themselves not experiencing them anymore. Though perhaps disconcerting for the person involved, this doesn’t at all make someone “less otherkin”. Types of Shifting (M)ental Shifting: Perhaps one of the first shifts newcomers to the community will see mentioned, it is one of the more common types of shifting in the community. These occur when one takes on the mentality of their kintype(s)/fictotype(s). For example, someone with a canine kintype could feel more inclined to react by growling or barking than a human reaction, or become more preoccupied with chasing/hunting perceived prey. A character specific fictionkin will likely find themselves presenting behaviours and mannerisms far more in line with their fictotype than themselves. For example, wording, movements, reactions. Someone with an avian kintype may feel the urge to take flight when startled, even though they rationally know this is not possible. The actions are usually subconscious and not willed on (unless one who has the ability to voluntarily shifts) and not to be confused with merely "acting". They may not always be voluntary, but they are still normally fully controllable and manageable. (Ph)antom Shifting: Along with mental shifting, phantom shifts are by far the most frequently mentioned in community spaces. They can often tie in with other types of shifting (particularly mental shifts) or even provoke them. Much like the medical term of supernumerary phantom limbs, it is the feeling/sensation of having a limb or other (usually movable) body part which is not physically there or is different to the existing counterpart. Most individuals (bar character specific human fictionkin) have kintypes that do not closely resemble the anatomy of a human body and so it isn't surprising they can feel parts of them that are "no longer there”/are absent but expected. This can happen in two different ways. Sometimes these phantom limbs will overlap parts of the existing body, but feel and "move" much more like the limbs of your kintype(s)/fictotype(s). It may also be uncomfortable if the feeling interferes with other parts of the body. An example of such a case frequently mentioned is when this occurs with the jaw and teeth. In the case of phantom limbs such as wings or a tail, they naturally don't overlap parts of the existing body. They are completely separate from any physical part of your body, but this does not make them feel any weaker or less real when experienced. A common misconception I have seen is that one can actually 'see' their phantom limbs. This is not true outside of anecdotal rare cases of extremely strong phantom shifts (only the shifter would be able to see this much like a controlled hallucination). This goes the same for those who claim others have interacted with, felt or seen their phantom limbs, it is most likely untrue. They are not physical in any way. Side Note: In some parts of the community, particularly Tumblr, the phantom sensations experienced in Phantom Shifting are referred to as astral limbs instead of phantom limbs. This is not to be confused with Astral Shifting, which will be discussed below. (D)ream Shifting: This occurs when one takes on the form of their kintype(s) or fictotype(s) within their dreams (this may be from the beginning of the dream or entail a physical transformation). Though widely accepted as a form of shifting, it is vital to bear in mind that alone dream shifts are not "proof" of one's identity, as from a scientific perspective, dreams are but a product of the mind. Whilst some people do believe dreams have a more spiritual cause, even in these cases caution should be taken and dreams shouldn’t be the sole reasoning. After all someone could dream of being a flying rhinoceros, but that does not make said person a flying rhinoceros-kin no matter how much they dream it if they have no other "evidence" to base it on. Dream shifts should be held with heavy skepticism if still in the phase of discovery, lest one be misled. (Se)nsory Shifting: Heading into lesser mentioned shifts now, sensory shifts may not sound the most extraordinary of claims out there, but there has been debate over them. It occurs when an individual gains the sensory perceptions of their kintype(s)/fictotype(s). For example, someone whose kintype is canine may find themselves to have a better sense of smell than usual. On the contrary, someone whose kintype is a mole may find themselves with reduced eyesight. Bear in mind that sensory shifting can only occur within what is physically possible of the human body and it is far more likely that sensory shifting is due to subconscious focus on the senses in question than it is to be indicative of a supernatural power or a physical anomaly. (Au)ra Shifting: Seldom mentioned in the community, this occurs when one's aura takes on the shape of their kintype(s) or fictotype(s). Due to the nature of auras, this form of shifting depends on personal beliefs. Those who hold spiritual beliefs will be more likely to state they experience aura shifting, but even then it all depends in whether one personally believes in auras or not. For those who believe in auras, it is likely that those who can see or read auras would be able to notice the change and comment upon it. (As)tral Shifting: Like Aura Shifting, this is again dependent on one's belief in the astral plane. Quite self explanatory, this happens when one either voluntarily or involuntarily shifts into their kintype(s) or fictotype(s) in the astral plane, their non-physical astral body taking the shape. Much like Dream Shifting this will most likely be a visible change to the individual and/or others on the astral plane, as it takes place within those realms and is not a product of the physical body changing in any way. (Bi)-Location Shifting: Again, another of the types of shifting dependent on one's belief. The basic idea of Bi-Location shifting is that the spirit leaves the body and travels elsewhere to roam in the form of the individual's kintype(s)/fictotype(s). In that sense, it is most likely a form of OBE experienced, with the exception that the spirit body appears in its nonhuman form and that this takes place in the physical world as opposed to the astral plane. Bear in mind that this type of shifting does not mean one would appear visible to others in the area where their other body is roaming. Although some have claimed that indeed, their bi-located body is also physical and visible to others, no proof has been found of this and such claims should be treated with healthy skepticism. (S)piritual Shifting: Occurs when the spirit/soul shifts into the form of the individual’s kintype(s) or fictotype(s). Again dependent on one’s belief system. For some people, this may be a constant thing, or temporary. Has also been used in some circles as a blanket term for some of the above shifts (Aura, Astral, Bi-Location), which involve at least some aspect of the spirit or soul changing form. (C)ameo Shifting: This kind of shifting can manifest itself in any of the above ways. The key difference is that the individual experiences a shift that is not of their own kintype(s)/fictotype(s) and instead is of another non-human being. These can occur just once, or several times. Some people may experience hundreds of cameo shifts of different species and beings, others may experience cameos of a select few species, some may just experience one or two in their lives, if any. If one infrequently shifts into a particular being, but doesn’t feel they qualify as identifying as said being, then it could easily be a cameo shift. On the contrary, if someone is experiencing extremely frequent cameo shifts, then it may be wise to look deeper into things to see if it is a kintype or in fact is just a common cameo. (B)erserker Shifting: The name originating from the Norse Berserkers, this is perhaps, minus physical shifting, the most contested in this article. Berserker shifting in the context of the otherkin community is considered to be when an individual mentally shifts into their kintype(s), but to a much more extreme level. In such a shift the individual has little to no control over themselves and may do things harmful to themselves or others as a result. There are many people who propose that the term shouldn’t be used and that doing such inadvertently encourages others to behave recklessly or not seek professional help for dangerous behaviours. The general consensus is that if someone is experiencing what they perceive to be a Berserker Shift, then all other potential causes should be ruled out first to ensure there isn't an underlying reason. (P)hysical Shifting: In the vast majority of otherkin and fictionkin circles, anyone claiming they can physically shift will not get a welcoming reception. Physical shifting entails the individual physically changing into their kintype(s)/fictotype(s), much like the werewolves and other shapeshifters of myth. This is impossible for a number of reasons. To physically change into another being would mean the body would have to rewrite genes, change bone structure, move around vital organs (or even create/get rid of some) at an extremely rapid pace. Something that would be unsurvivable biologically, and certainly not possible by the laws of physics. Even if it were magically possible, it would likely be truly agonizing and life threatening to go through the change. With this in mind, always be wary of people who claim to be able to physically shift and stick to the belief that it is not possible until proven otherwise with reliable evidence. There have been plenty of cases of people building up small followings of gullible people to boost their own egos or leech from others. There is no special gene or magical book that can turn you into another creature. Non-Shifting Categories Non-Shifting: See above. (Contherian)thropy: The name derives from the community where the term was first used, but now is used in other areas of the otherkin and fictionkin community outside of therian groups. An individual is a contherian when they do not experience shifts, but instead are in a constant state of shifting for lack of a better term. The levels of non-human/human experiences stay constant and do not fluctuate. (Suntherian)thropy: Also known as Vacillant Therianthropy. Like the former, suntherians are also in a state of being "constantly shifted" but unlike the contherian, experience fluctuations in the strength and severity of these experiences. These may be very slight in difference to drastically different from day to day depending on the individual. It has been described similar to a sliding scale. Originally Written: January 2016. Latest Update: October 2018.
0 pointsIntroduction The term "copinglink" (c'link for short) was coined fairly recently by a member of the Tumblr otherkin community. The term is officially defined as such: Why was this term created? In recent years there has been a rising trend in the idea of using a non-human or fictional identity as a means for coping. The term copinglink was created to replace the term "copingkin", which was a bit of a misnomer since it contained the word "kin" when copinglinkers are generally not seen as falling under the otherkin or fictionkin umbrellas. What is the difference between copinglinks and otherkin? Otherkinity is characterized by being an integral identity as a non-human creature in a non-physical sense. Otherkinity is usually considered to be "innate", or being an identity that is present within someone "from birth", or something that is present in the constitution of one's mind, brain or spirit without having been created consciously or by experience. The only common exception are identities that arise from trauma. In short, otherkin do not choose to experience their identities, nor do they choose their kintypes. Copinglinkers are people who consciously create and choose the nature of their identity in a way that best suits them as a coping mechanism. Because copinglinks are a choice, they do not fit within the definitions of otherkin or fictionkin. Are copinglinks welcome in the Otherkin community? Even though copinglinks do not fall under the otherkin umbrella, it is perfectly fine for non-kin to participate in the otherkin community. Copinglinks and otherkin do share a lot of common ground and that is worth embracing. There is nothing wrong with not being otherkin. You do not need to identify as otherkin in order to be welcome into the community. Final thoughts It is perfectly legitimate to identify as a copinglinker. As long as a coping mechanism is effective in helping the individual deal with their stress and is not harmful or unhealthy, then there is nothing wrong with using it.
0 pointsDefinition On our community, to avoid any confusion, we use a very specific definition when referring to otherkin. While there are many different definitions of what qualifies as otherkin, we apply the following definition: Otherkin as an umbrella term On Kinmunity, we generally use the term 'otherkin' as an umbrella term which applies to otherkin, therianthropes, and fictionkin. We do not use the term to apply to the otherhearted, totems, or other similar concepts. This is because we desire to be a welcoming and all-inclusive community. It is generally considered okay, for example, for a wolf therian to call themselves a "wolfkin", but it is not generally considered appropriate for one to call themselves an "elf therian". There are some grey areas, for example Dragons may refer to themselves as "Dragon Therians" or "Dragon Otherkin" and so forth. Generally speaking, proper use of such terminology is simply learned by participating in the community. Don't worry too much about it! In our community... It is not appropriate to use the term "otherkin" to refer to an identification used solely as a coping mechanism for mental illness. The term "copinglink" is used in this case, and yes, copinglinkers are welcome on Kinmunity! It is not appropriate nor healthy to base your otherkin identity off experiences you had while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. Fictionkin are generally welcomed and accepted into our community with open-arms. We feel it is possible to identify as a fictional character that has distinct characteristics, personality traits, and behavior. It is not acceptable to make claims that you are physically your kintype, that you can physically shift, or that being otherkin gives you special abilities. It is not acceptable to claim an individual or currently living being as a kintype. A healthy dose of skepticism is welcomed and even encouraged. You should expect questions on introduction threads, and so forth. It helps people grow to be challenged and questioned.
-2 pointsDiverse range and beliefs of dragonkin Dragonkin are a very diverse group of individuals each having their own beliefs and experiences relevant to their own draconity. No one dragon will have the same experiences as another, all have some similarity to each other as to be expected but dragons cannot just be meshed into one group there's just so many and there just too different from each other, categorization beyond anything but basic body plans/colors is impossible. When it comes down to it nearly every dragonkin seems to be of their own species some really small, some completely huge, some scaled, some feathered/ have fur (although from what I’ve seen many fall predominantly under the western body plan) each having there own customs/behaviors which I find really interesting many say they're from different planets few say they're from earth I just find that it highlights the sheer diversity that we have and that modern media and mythology doesn't really do a good job at describing the majority besides some generalizations. I myself fit well into one of the dragons described in modern fantasy so it's not all bad some stereotypes I find ridiculous though and I’ll go into that later on in this article. So if your a newly awakened dragon and your not sure what kind of dragon you are I hope the below mythology is helpful. Obviously there are some limits here even with mythological creatures but generally speaking each dragon seems to be different in some way and the chance of you meeting a dragon the same as you if you're not like any specific species described in myths or fantasy is, from what I’ve seen, very uncommon. The point here is, every dragon is different, but all dragons seem to follow the body plans of what is seen in mythology. Basic Mythology In mythology and folklore very broadly speaking dragons are most commonly viewed in three body plans, the western dragons, eastern dragons and the wyverns although there is more than this which I'll list some of. I'll briefly go through some common mythology of these three. Western dragons- also called European dragons due to the origins of the myths are generally speaking described as four legged, having two leathery/bat like wings and a long tail. Most commonly associated with fire-breathing but have been depicted as breathing other things, hoarding riches and living in caves. European dragons are largely depicted as malevolent in legends and mythology most notable would be the legend of St' George and the dragon, although there are some exceptions to this such as the dragon in welsh legends and ouroboros. Eastern dragons- also known as and include Loong, Asian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese dragons, they are dragons from eastern cultures generally seen as serpentine with no wings and 4 legs and represent nature usually more strongly associated with water and are largely revered as benevolent beings of wisdom. There are differences between the cultures in regard to appearance, with Chinese/Korean dragons having four toes, Japanese having three toes and then Imperial dragons been the only ones with five toes. Wyverns- Wyverns are dragons most commonly confused with western as they are similar in appearance, however a wyvern is generally smaller, has only two legs and there front legs are instead replaced with wings with have claws on the end which they use to move around on. The are very often depicted as having a venomous barbed stinger on the end of their tail and been unable to breathe fire like westerns. They may also have a venomous bite also and are most commonly displayed in medieval heraldry. There are considered to be less intelligent than western dragons and often viewed as vicious and malicious creatures. Other dragons/draconic beings- Wyrms- serpentine dragons with no legs or wings, the lambton worm is a common story in English history. Lindworms- A serpent like dragon with two legs and no wings, usually depicted with a venomous bite. Amphipteres- A serpentine dragon with no legs but two wings that are usually depicted as feathery. The Quetzalcoatl is the most famous one from Mexican history. Sea serpents- Serpentine dragons that inhabit the sea, usually depicted with no limbs but sometimes have two or four limbs and fins. Ouroboros- a dragon or snake biting its own tail, symbolizing eternity and the cyclic nature of existence. Hydra- A serpentine dragon seen in Greek and Roman mythology with multiple heads and no wings each time a head was cut off two more would take its place. Hercules was sent to slay the hydra and succeeded. Portrayal in the media and misconceptions Common Stereotypes- Ah stereotypes , everything seem to have them and dragons are no exception I'll just list the most common ones here and go into more detail about some of them further down this article. These include hoarding shiny things usually gold/gems, breathing fire, generally considered stupid and/or evil. Fire breathe is a common one and while not wrong there are a lot of dragons that used other things as breathe weapons such as ice, acid, electricity, water, etc. I didn't use fire myself I used acid though usually you only see breathe weapons other than fire only in modern fantasy or some games rather than the actual media itself. Most shows or movies usually involves some “brave knight” willing to risk there life to kill the dangerous beast and become a “hero” when really you basically just killing an animal to inflate your own ego so I do question who the villain is here myself, and then you have the classic preferring to eat maidens or some nonsense like that (although red dragons do have this listed in there mythology occasionally, over-exaggerated nowadays though). Yes I'm aware this isn't always the case but it is the majority. Intelligence- When it comes to dragon intelligence in the media I’ve noticed that there doesn't seem to that much of a differential from stupid/animalistic and relying solely on instinct to ancient and wise with seemingly human level intelligence I'm talking about western dragons and wyverns here eastern from my knowledge rarely appear in the media as much as these two but are generally depicted as great beings of wisdom and seldom unintelligent. Really dragons in my experience I think fit in-between the two I and I’m sure many others won't claim to be of human level intelligence but I wasn't like an animal nowadays either. I was capable of logical reasoning/thought and problem solving and had my own morals (albeit bad ones) and was aware of choosing everything I wanted to do rather than only following instincts . I also had my own preferences for certain things and behaviors that instinctively did nothing to benefit my survival. I understand the extremes of either end can and do exist though but it's not the general consensus that the media puts out. Malevolence/Benevolence- When it comes to dragons in the media especially in films/TV there are almost always seen as malevolent beings or shown to be “evil” just because there following there natural instincts this bring me back onto intelligence and if there viewed as having the mental capacity to understand good from evil (even if both can be considered subjective anyway) then they are usually on the villainous side or if not depicted as intelligent then just made to look like they are when really they just want to be left alone. Been a malevolent dragon myself I just don't like the way the media handles these things in general it's just too stereotyped especially in regards to how good always triumphs over evil because that's what they think the general population wants to see. I respect that it's not all as clear cut as this and that some are shown to be benevolent (the movie dragonheart was a great example of showing a polar opposite side to the usual western dragons you see) or a mix of both. Modern fantasy games such as dungeons and dragons does a good job of balancing between malevolent and benevolent dragons with the whole chromatic and metallic categorization, the media at large though just warps everything into something it shouldn’t be. This brings me onto the biggest misconceptions that I’ve found. Mainly wyvern body plans- Now this is one of the biggest gripes I have when in comes to modern media and games. They basically shove the body plan of a wyvern onto the qualities of a western dragon and create this fire-breathing non venomous two legged lizard with forearm wings that in reality doesn't really exist in mythology. Popular franchises like the hobbit, harry potter, game of thrones and games like skyrim all use this misrepresentation. Wyverns are dragons yes but a different kind of dragon as you would have read above but whenever the general public thinks of dragons there really thinking of wyverns that have the fire breathing capabilities of western dragons rather than them been separate animals. Personally I think this is just due to the fact that the wyverns body plan can be made to look a lot more menacing than the standard western one and that for cgi/animation purposes it's a lot easier to animate a wyvern as its anatomy resembles that of a bat or other flying animal and so more details can be put into how it moves and flies. Fire-breathing was then just added for good measure and a more public wow factor and then this kind of dragon just sort of stuck. Don't get me wrong I do like these dragons a lot, but it doesn't help the general population get an idea what what dragons actually are and just adds to the confusion of categorizing western dragons and wyverns separately. Granted everything I’ve personally said here can't really be proven and it's just as valid as how the media portrays use and what is in mythology as nothing is scientifically proven so there's always going to be fluctuations in people’s beliefs. I just hope that this has helped any dragons new or old and anyone that's interested in us to realize were very diverse and not really like how the modern world wants you to think.
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