One piece of advice you'll see frequently around here (and any other serious otherkin community, for that matter) is to question yourself. It is the nature of otherkin to never be entirely certain of our identities. It is often the case that there is always something new to learn about ourselves, given the means to do so. That's why we have our lovely grilling forum, and why we'll sometimes ask difficult questions of people who are new to the site: to help each other learn, and grow. It is this questioning that gives our identities meaning.
But there isn't always going to be someone who wants to grill you, and they're not always going to ask the right questions.
That is why I've made this. It's a big old list of every single otherkin-related question I could think of.
I want to make this clear: this isn't a test! This is a resource. Feel free to just pick out a single question to answer if it happens to pique your interest, or just complete one section. Don't worry if you can't answer everything. These questions are hard - that's the whole point! This is especially true if you are recently awakened. Truly understanding an otherkin identity often takes years. In fact, some of us have been at this for years and have still only scratched the surface. Don't rush to find yourself; it's a journey that takes time, and will likely never truly end.
With that said... here you go. Have fun!
What is your kintype/s?
What methods did you use to discover your kintype?
How long did it take you to figure out your kintype?
Have you ever misidentified your kintype? If so, what did you mistake it for, and why do you think this was?
How sure are you that you are right about your kintype? Do you ever have doubts?
Overall, do you like your kintype? Dislike it? Have no opinion either way?
List five things you like about your kintype.
List five things you dislike about your kintype.
If you could, would you change your kintype? If so, what would you rather be?
Are you content with your kintype? How long did it take you to accept this part of your identity?
To what extent do you see yourself as (non-physically) non-human?
What experiences and feelings led you identify as your kintype, rather than with it?
At what age did you awaken? How long ago was this?
Do you believe something specific triggered your awakening?
How long did your awakening last? Was it a sudden realisation, or did it take time?
What did your awakening involve? How did it happen?
How did you feel during your awakening? What was it like for you emotionally?
Did you know about otherkin/therians prior to your awakening? If so, do you think this could have affected you or played some part in triggering your awakening?
Do you believe you have always identified as non-human, even prior to your awakening?
Did you experience shifts and/or feelings of being non-human prior to your awakening?
Do you experience mental shifts? (If no, skip to question 22).
Describe how your mental shifts feel.
How often do you mentally shift? How intense/vivid are these shifts?
Do you enjoy mental shifting, or not?
What is your favourite part about mentally shifting?
What is your least favourite part about mentally shifting?
Do you experience involuntary mental shifts? If so, in what situations do these occur?
Do you experience voluntary mental shifts? If so, how do you do this?
Describe the first mental shift you remember having.
Do you experience phantom shifts? (If no, skip to question 23.)
Describe how your phantom shifts feel.
How often do you phantom shift? How intense/vivid are these shifts?
Do you enjoy phantom shifting, or not?
What is your favourite part about phantom shifting?
What is your least favourite part about phantom shifting?
Do you experience involuntary phantom shifts? If so, in what situations do these occur?
Do you experience voluntary phantom shifts? If so, how do you do this?
Describe the first phantom shift you remember having.
Do you experience dream shifts? (If no, skip to question 24).
When you dream shift, do the dreams differ from your typical dreams? In what ways?
How often do you dream shift?
Do you dream shift during lucid or non-lucid dreams, or both?
Describe the first dream shift you remember having.
Have you ever experienced a sensory shift? If so, how did this feel?
Have you ever experienced a spiritual or aural shift? If so, how did this feel? How did you know?
If you believe in and practice astral projection, do you take the form of your kintype?
Do you experience cameo shifts? (If no, skip to question 28).
How often do you experience cameo shifts?
Are these cameo shifts in the form of mental, phantom, dream or other shifts?
How intense/vivid are your cameo shifts?
Are there specific creatures or entities which you are more likely to cameo shift as?
If your cameo shifts are as a specific creature/entity, what makes you feel it is not a kintype?
What feelings differentiate your cameo shifts from shifts into your kintype, if any?
Are your cameo shifts voluntary, involuntary or both?
Do you enjoy cameo shifting, or not?
Why do you believe you identify as non-human?
If you believe you identify as non-human for spiritual reasons; (if not, skip to question 30)
What feelings and experiences have led you to believe your identity is spiritual in nature?
Do you believe you had a past life as your kintype, have the soul of your kintype, or something else?
Have you ever experienced flashbacks or memories of existence before your current life?
If yes, how do these memories differ from normal dreams/daydreams?
How do you believe you have ended up here, as a human? Do you think it was a choice?
Do you believe you are here for a reason? If so, what do you think that reason is?
Have your experiences as otherkin affected your other religious and spiritual beliefs, or lack of such beliefs? If so, how?
Have you ever seriously considered that your identity may be psychological or neurological in nature? If not, why not? If so, what about it makes you believe it is spiritual instead?
If you believe you identify as non-human for psychological or neurological reasons; (if not, skip to question 31)
What feelings and experiences have led you to believe your identity is psychological or neurological in nature?
Do you believe a specific event has led to you developing a non-human identity, or that you were always this way?
Why do you believe your kintype is what it is?
Where do you believe the knowledge that is required to maintain a non-human identity (such as the feelings of mental and phantom shifts) is sourced from?
Do you have any fabricated "memories" of being your kintype? If so, why do you think this is?
Have your experiences as otherkin affected your other religious and spiritual beliefs, or lack of such beliefs? If so, how?
Have you ever seriously considered that your identity may be spiritual in nature? If not, why not? If so, what about it makes you believe it is psychological or neurological instead?
How did you first find the otherkin community? Was it before or after you awakened?
Do you believe being part of the community has had any impact on your identity?
Do you believe you would know as much about yourself as you do now, if it weren't for the community?
What is your favourite part about the online otherkin community?
What is your least favourite part about the online otherkin community?
Overall, have your experiences in the community been positive or negative?
If you were asked to give advice to newly-awakened otherkin, what would you say?
Effects on life
How big of an effect do you believe your otherkin identity has on your life?
Are you ever inconvenienced by your identity as non-human?
Do you ever feel "homesick" for the habitat or lifestyle of your kintype? If so, how do you deal with this?
Do you ever experience species dysphoria? If so, how does this feel, and how do you deal with it?
Are there any locations that make you feel more or less connected to your kintype? Why?
Are there any activities that make you feel more or less connected to your kintype? Why?
Do you believe your identity as a non-human has affected your interests or career path?
Do you believe your non-human identity has affected your personality? Why, or why not?
Do you believe your non-human identity has affected your "moral compass" in any way?
Do you have any unusual behaviours or quirks that you attribute to your kintype?
Do you have any unusual instinctual reactions or fears that you attribute to your kintype?
If given a choice, would you rather everybody know about your non-human identity, or nobody?
Do you feel it is important for friends/family to know about your non-human identity? Why, or why not?
How do you express your non-human identity externally (if you do at all)?
How open are you about your non-human identity in general?
Would you ever consider modifying your body to more resemble your kintype (i.e. tattoos, piercings, etc.)?
Overall, do you feel that having a non-human identity has been a positive, negative or neutral experience?
Have you ever tried to deny, bury or ignore your non-human identity? If so, why?
If given the choice to permanently, physically change into the form of your kintype, would you? Why, or why not?
What's your favourite thing to do while shifted?
What's your favourite thing to eat or drink while shifted?
Have you ever done something silly while shifted, only realising after the shift has subsided?
If you see something scary while mentally shifted, how do/would you react?
Ever had any embarrassing moments related to your kintype? C'mon, out with it!
All otherkin have suddenly gained the ability to physically shift! What's the first thing you do?
...And what's the second thing?
What would a normal day be like for you if you could physically shift?
Firstly, for those who don't know the term 'fictotype', which I use quite often -
Kinmunity Definiton - Similar to "kintype". The term "fictotype" refers to the particular type of being a fictionkin identifies as. This term is especially used for fictionkin who identify as human characters, as the term "kintype" does not apply; otherkin must be non-human identities.
This started off as an initial 'do you just relate to them or not' article, then just devolved into a bit of everything.
As I've seen around here and other sites for a while, it is easy to mistake a connection with a character/species as an identity as that character/species. In fact I would say the most common question I've seen asked on character-specific fictionkin intros is 'How do you know you aren't just relating with the character, as opposed to identifying as them?'.
Connecting with something can range from a complete love of a character to going as far as roleplay and making up 'headcanon' ideas/theories. Since characters are made to be related to, it is often how quickly people with new fictotypes seem to crop up, and also seem to come in "waves" when a piece of popular media comes out.
Below is an explanation on one of the lesser-known terms used in the fictionkin community - Fictionflicker - that is a temporary alternative to being fictionkin and fiction-hearted, and is often seen as more than just a cameo shift.
On the Fictionkin.com forum (one of the main fictionkin sites) as a definition for 'fictionflicker' - " A nebulous experience of shifting through identities as fictional characters and/or temporarily “becoming” a fictional character and the shift in identity and perception this may involve, with or without the experience of memories or past-life leanings if such beliefs apply to the person. This could be likened to a “temporary kintype” that comes and goes. " (Definiton from - http://fictionkin.com/glossary-of-common-terms/).
This is closely touched on from the description of a fictionflicker LiveJournal site (http://fictionflickers.livejournal.com/profile), and varied at the last few sentences to include - " If you've ever felt yourself "imprinted on" by a fictional identity, if you've ever spent a day or a week feeling like a character, if you've ever momentarily expected to see a different, yet familiar, face in the mirror -- if you've ever felt flickers of fiction in your identity -- this may be a helpful, or at the very least interesting, community. "
Fictionflicking is listed differently on InCanon (a smaller fictionkin forum which was discontinued in late 2016) as " a temporary shift, where a fictional character may appear for a brief or temporary amount of time (generally caused by circumstance). May be related/similar to soulbonds in some cases. " (Definition from - http://incanon.tumblr.com/post/148947330579/what-is-a-fictionflicker).
With the InCanon definition - the definition does not go into whether this is seen as a personal identity, just a glorified/extended cameo shift, or in fact related to living character/soulbonds.
With the Fictionkin.com definition - this can also be seen by some as 'experience taking' which isn't just fictionkin-related, but also doesn't explain how a fictionflicker is different to a long-lasting identity aside from being 'temporary'.
So it seems that there is no 'steady' definition, but the Fictionkin.com definition is the one you are most likely to see around due to the size of the site and its members.
With fictionflicking, the fact that these can apparently last a while can often throw an identity into question, similar to a cameo shift, and can often stay even after you disconnect from your source material and any associated media, which is often used as a way of 'confirming' an identity as opposed to the identity only coming into focus when the media is found/accessed.
When you step away from any source material or associated media, see if your sense of identity fades away or persists through the times. If it fades away completely, chances are it was a fictionflicker, if it persists then more stock would be in the idea of this identity being genuine.
In games where you can customize the playable character, this falls into more of a gray area, as you could always run the risk of unconsciously pouring yourself into said character. This may require extra questioning in order to get to the bottom of 'is it an identity, or is it just because they are modeled after myself?'
Questioning might not be the easiest at times, especially if you're like me and want to pick your identity to pieces... I could say that it's much easier to ask questions on a fictionkin forum than an Otherkin one, but sometimes the questions remain the same throughout the communities, give or take the different identities. And of course, you get 'fluff' in both communities, but fictionkin seem to get grilled harder due to it.
So, what do you question? Where do you start?
That seems to be it right there.
- As said before, taking time away from any source material or media connected to the identity in question can help immensely as to whether it's just a 'trend' or not. The sense of identity may fade away to nothing, or it may persist through the times you're away from the source material. Although at times it may be dampened down to such a low level that it doesn't feel like it is there, but chances are there will still be a feeling of a different identity, or other signs.
- In slight contradiction, returning to said source material may also reinforce the feeling of identity in regards to the feelings of deja vu or 'instinctual' reactions to events and/or other characters. Most people run the trial of leaving their source material for a few months/years, and then returning, in order to attempt to rule out anything false.
- Think of how you felt before you found your source material, even though the majority of the time everything seems to 'click together' after finding said material, some claim to experience shifts, memories, and/or a sense of identity before they find their source material.
- Similar to Otherkin/Therians, the more fictotypes you claim to have, the less you're likely to be believed. The saving grace is how much detail you can give in explaining your identity for every fictotype, and not just going off something like 'oh I just feel a connection to them'. The same question may even be asked a few times, just styled differently, or maybe in a different approach than the run-of-the-mill wording.
- One way in order to question would be to document everything - every shift, every memory, every instance of even childhood that might have a chance of lining up with the identity in question. Document it, and then question why it's that way, if it could be something else, see if it's a reoccurring factor.
As with any Otherkin/therian, some fictionkin don't have memories, or might not shift, or might not experience home/'canon'-sickness or a sense of instant familiarity. As with the other communities, it isn't a requirement, but due to the nature of fictionkin (character-specific or not, spiritual or psychological or a mix), it is usually put under more interrogation. And yes it can put some people off if you can't answer it 'correctly'.
In contrast, saying you're '100% sure and don't doubt anything at all' may get you a few odd looks. Because that could mean that you blindly accept it without questioning and discovering more of yourself.
Long story short, a lot of questioning techniques used by Otherkin/Therians can often be used for fictionkin, just with a few minor tweaks.
My name is Gryff, and I'm a fauntaur. And I'm guessing your first thought was, "neither of those are real words." It's true, I made both of them up. Gryff is a nickname I've used for a very long time. But more importantly, "fauntaur" is what I call my kin type. I had to make up that word, because I can't quite pin it down. I'm writing this for people like me, who don't exactly know what their kin type is, and want to find out. It's for people who truly know they are otherkin, but don't know much beyond that. When it comes to spending time in the kin community without being able to figure yourself out, I'm pretty much the expert. As people who know me are tired of hearing, I've been at this for 16 years or so.
There has never been a point when I was 100% certain about my kin type. And in such a situation you might feel, reading what people say on the forums, that you're alone. You might feel like you can't really be kin, because if you were you would have figured more of it out by now. But don't worry about that. I know it isn't really helpful to say this, but it's ok to not know; it takes a long time to figure out. It's also frustrating, annoying, and sometimes even depressing to not know what you are. The good news is, there are things you can do to at least get closer to the answer. These are methods that have worked well for me, and I hope they work for you as well.
If you ask somebody how to figure out your kin type, the first thing they will tell you is that you should meditate. And even if you don't think you're able to do so, try it anyway. Meditation takes so many forms. Try solo meditations, walking meditation, general guided meditations, and guided meditations with a specific purpose. Even if you don't get much from it, when you find the method that works best for you, you may find more than you expected.
There are other common methods out there as well, but you can find them anywhere. If those things work for you, great. If they don't, though, I've found other things to be helpful. These are the kinds of things that some will tell you to avoid, as they can lead to false positives, but sometimes you don't have a choice. These methods are for those of us who have tried the traditional methods already, for quite a while in some cases, and just can’t get any traction.
Hopefully by the time you reach this point you already have at least a vague idea of what you are. One thing I've found to be helpful is research. Try to figure out what jibes with the ideas you already have. If you find the right thing, it may click. For example: for a while I've been reasonably sure that my kin type has the top half of a human and the bottom half of either a goat (i.e. a satyr/faun) or a horse (i.e. a centaur). Researching those two things didn't help much. But then I started reading about the mythical forebear of satyrs, the god Pan. That clicked immediately. Granted, a click isn't much; that's certainly not enough for me to say that I'm definitely a satyr/faun. But it's a step in the right direction at least. Research everything that even remotely connects to what you think you are. You never know which branch will lead you to what you need to know.
Another thing I've found useful is just throwing yourself behind a theory for a day or two and seeing what feels right. Keep in mind this isn't about "trying on" different kin types on a whim, it's about seeing whether a theory feels right. For example, my demon theory came pretty much out of nowhere. But for a couple of days, calling myself a demon felt more right than calling myself a centaur ever did. Again, it's not a lot to go on, but it's progress. The key is to be careful to not let yourself get too used to the idea when you’re trying this. Remember that it’s a trial. Make sure you limit the length of the trial, because if you go for too long, you might just end up convincing yourself that it’s true because you’re used to it. So just try it for a few days, and see how it feels. Maybe it just doesn’t sit right, and you know to try something else. But if it does feel right, it’s another avenue to explore.
The next thing I'd recommend is taking what your research has told you about a species and see if it fits. Everyone here will tell you, quite rightly, that having traits similar to a creature does not make that your kin type. A lot of people would suggest not even thinking about that at all, but if you've reached this point, there may not be much choice. My example for this one is particularly tenuous: I'm sort of entranced by music. When a song I like is playing, regardless of where I am, I can't help but sing it, for example. This I've considered may be related to the connection between fauns/satyrs and music. Of all of the things I've talked about here, this is the one my peers would most likely take issue with. And again, it is extremely tenuous. But even that is better than nothing.
Once you've done all of this, you might have a reasonably solid idea of what your kin type might be. You won't know for sure, but at least you'll hopefully be a bit more comfortable with your theory. But if, like me, you still aren't sure, you need to go to the final step: just be you. If you trust anything I say, knowing more or less what my kin type is, you must at least be open to the possibilities of mythic kin. And, especially if you believe they're the same thing (I don't), you are probably open to the idea of fiction kin. Fiction and mythology are vast and endless. Beyond that, some believe there are other universes, filled with creatures we've never imagined. Maybe you don't know what your kin type is because it's something you've never heard of before. Maybe it's one of a kind.
If you're like me, that isn't a very satisfying conclusion. After all, you want to be able to say that you are something, and don't want to feel like the (potential) answer you found isn't really an answer at all. This ties back to a question you've probably been asking since the beginning of this: what is a fauntaur? A fauntaur is a creature whose top half is that of a human and whose bottom half is either a two legged goat, four legged goat, or a four legged horse. It may also be a demon of sorts, depending on how you define such things. Most likely it is at least something akin to a demon and has two goat legs and spiral horns. In other words, it's short hand for what I more or less believe about my kin type. And having that name to call yourself makes a bigger difference than one would think. It's the difference between not knowing what you are and knowing what you are. It makes conversation easier. Most importantly it fills a void, and thus makes your search feel less urgent. As such, it helps you take your time. Because that’s what you need: time. It takes ages to figure these things out. And having a working theory of what you are makes that easier. Just, again, remember the difference between a theory and certainty.
These are things that have been very helpful for me, and I hope they can help you as well. One size definitely doesn't fit all, and none of these ideas are substitutes for the usual methods of figuring things out. They're the emergency tools. Above all else, don't rush to figure out your kin type. Let it be uncomfortable and take your time. Even the things I'm recommending work best if you at least have a foundation to start from.
Some people will tell you, should you use these ideas, that you're doing it wrong or that you're not taking things seriously. Don't worry about that. This is your life and your experience. Keeping our peers on the right track is important, but not everyone has the same right track. Stay on yours and you'll reach the station soon enough.
People are susceptible to suggestions. Sometimes, to fit inside a group, the individual is able to change some inner concepts or even themselves (partially or fully) to be similar to the others. With the otherkin community, it's not different: people who did not completely fit in the definitions used the terms even then and when asked what otherkin is the reply was a different definition where they fit; with some time, the original meaning of the word starts getting lost: this reflects in the processes used to identify a kintype and the otherkin identity itself.
A kintype isn't having shifts
There are lots of types of shifs; the intensity, nature and perception of them varies a lot, but they all can be cameo shifts. Some members of the community experiences more shifts that doesn't match their kintype, so, by analogy, anyone's shifts have some chance of not matching with their kintype and then is not a good kintype indicator.
A kintype isn't having a past life
A past life can mean to someone that they have a non-human soul and etc, but it only can be considered a kintype as it becomes a non-physical description of them in the present. An isolated past life that happened in the past, ended in the past and has no impact in the present means nothing and could perfectly be forgotten to remember something more useful.
A kintype isn't liking something strongly
That's called obsession. Once one develop an obsession over something, they start having the desire of learning, collecting and telling people about their findings; the object of the obsession can mean something for them, but they should let the obsession aside rationally analyse if it really is a kintype. If it is something that became some sort of style, fashion, the tendency of the moment, extra caution is required.
A kintype isn't a connection with something or something separate from the individual
A simple connection with something can be confused as kintype because it is a bridge that can be done uniting someone to something non-human; the difference is that the otherkin doesn't know exactly where their kintypes begins or ends, as the overlap is so big that it makes difficult to know.
What is a kintype?
A kintype represents the individual; if polykin or polytherian, then the kintypes together represent the individual. It is a way to describe the non-physical self, as in behaviors the individual have that weren't teached by anyone, instincts that follow some pattern, personal hobbies and likings; in other words, a kintype is a description of the individual by the individual. By this reason, aesthetic details are irrelevant; the color of the fur can be used as example: most likely won't have any importance to describe who the individual is.
A perusal at any bookstore or even a quick search on the internet reveals a plethora of material about angels: myths, references, new-age channeler contacts, movies, and books. Many relate feel-good spiritual stories of encounters, or instead list scores and scores of information regarding choruses and types, along with gathered details into large tomes and encyclopedias of holy names. These are all easily found – and yet may leave the reader still wondering a fundamental question.
What is an angel?
There are no easy answers; as with most things relating to spiritual matters, there are a wide variety of beliefs and interpretations. Ask three metaphysical students what an angel is – and get at least five distinct answers.
As such what can be offered is opinion, theory, and conjecture based upon personal and related experience mixed with attempts to correlate the same materials and ideas that are nowadays so readily available. No single explanation or revelation can be considered the full authoritative description - each reader must, in the end, decide for themselves. References to Kabbalah in this article are used to help provide a framework of thought – though the depth and complexity of Kabbalah concepts are (way) beyond its scope. Thus the repetitive application of the flow of the Sefiroth through the Tree to the various layers of reality is not described so as to keep it (somewhat) simple.
Furthermore, any discussion of angels must by necessity touch on 'God' – a Creator awareness who either is the Source of All or the self-aware portion thereof – the Mind of All, God as the ‘I AM’ part of the All.
To understand angels it is first important to understand the notion of the Abstract. We are used to dealing with physical reality and the concrete solidity upon which it exists. But the realms of spirit are not so fixed – indeed they are fluid, like dreams, where what is perceived by one practitioner may not be the same as how it is perceived by another. This is due to the filters of our own perceptions in trying to turn the spiritual realms into something we can understand with our minds – and something we can picture in our thoughts, our imaginations, and our memories.
Putting aside the definitions of perception and awareness, as attempting to define those would take at the very least an article in and of themselves, let us instead focus on the notion of a thought, or an idea.
What is the nature of an idea?
A question common to philosophers and thinkers is as follows: are the truths and logic of mathematics created or discovered by the mathematicians? Did they exist prior to their logics being worked out in detail? Does the structure of mathematics, founded upon specific axioms, exist as an idea unto itself – something which mankind finally realized the truths thereof but which was always there?
Consider all our own actions – and our dreams. Before we act, we have an idea of that action – a driving intent or vision of what we are about to do. When we build, when we create, when we express our love or our anger – the ideas for everything exist in our minds first. Then those ideas are acted upon, or we choose to not act.
Larger and more complex projects and edifices are designed – in the thoughts of architects or strategists, appearing perhaps first as a dream or vision of what is desired, then that dream is broken down into pieces, each examined individually until it is understood, and then again into smaller pieces until finally enough is designed and comprehended that each small piece may be put into action. The supplies are gathered. The foundation is dug first, and then poured. The scaffolding and support pillars are built. Plumbing and walls are raised, roofs enclose, windows installed. But without the ideas, without the plans, nothing would have been created. The vision – and comprehension of that vision – needed to be had first. Can those ideas be said to have in essence an independent existence of their own? What would such an existence imply?
The Mind of God
The Kabbalah, developed by merging concepts from Judaism with Greek philosophy to connect the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle with YHVH of the Torah, details the ten Sefirot from which the undifferentiated divine source filters down the Tree of Life, becoming more defined and realized until reaching the bottom and the physical manifest world. In essence the Tree of Life could be considered a mapping detailing the progression of the thoughts and ideas of God as they filter from the highest realms to the lowest.
Let us examine this for a moment. Starting off in Kether at the top of the Tree, the thoughts of God are undifferentiated and exist more as potential than substance, which begin to gain further and further definition as they flow down the Tree, channeling all the way down to Yesod – the Sefirot associated with dreams - before reaching a level of manifestation, called Malkuth. The infinite and unknowable is channeled, defined, and refined through each subsequent layer until the result is the universe as we see, perceive, and act within every day.
What are God’s thoughts? In this structure everything we know and understand is a thought of God – a thought of the All, the IS. The entire Tree of Life is both the ideas and actions of God, ideas manifesting into action, thoughts becoming creation. And in the act of creation, the learning by the process of doing shines further knowledge back up the Tree returning it to God. An architect does not design the Taj Mahal as their first project – rather they learn first with simpler structures, gaining knowledge and further understanding with each more complex building they design and build, letting their experiences grow upon themselves until grander and larger systems and amazing edifices may be built.
But where did it all start from? What were the first thoughts of God?
One of God's names reveals this: I AM. That first moment of awareness of existence from within the primal chaos of the ALL, when the idea of being formed out of that chaos – and in so doing – recognized itself as existing. The first perception, and therefore the first Light that shone in the undifferentiated darkness of the primal chaos. “And God said ‘Let there be Light’.”
And in that first thought of “I AM” reverberated the consequence, for if there is that which God IS, then there comes a question of what is NOT God? The first notion of separation, of division – of judgment occurred.
The first three Sefirot reflect and describe this sequence. Kether is the highest Sefirot, and is the ultimate divine intent – the intent to exist. Chochmah describes the potential of thought, undifferentiated perception of what might be. Binah then acts as judgment on the undifferentiated perception of Chochmah, separating and dividing into understanding that may then be applied.
From this beginning it is easy to see that many other thoughts would rapidly follow. “I AM“, “I perceive that I am”, “I wish to preserve that I am”, “This is what I am, this is what I am not”, “I wish to understand all that I am”, “I wish to become more than I am”, and so on.
The Thoughts Of God
In the Judeo-Christian mythic lore, the first angel created by God is often thought to have been Lucifer Morningstar, the Lightbringer. To shine a light upon something is to then perceive it, and that was Lucifer’s purpose – to be the bringer of the Light of God. In God’s first perception of their own existence, so was Lucifer (also known as 'Helel' and many other names) created.
The idea of perception, and the first act of perception, created the first angel.
For the first angel was God’s first thought filled with God’s first intent. A thought applied with divine will.
As more and more thoughts followed, more and more angels were thereby created.
Ideas grow, build on other ideas, concepts become larger and more complex, and so did the angels themselves. The Tree of Life filled out, the very thoughts and ideas of God spreading forth and taking form, pushing towards manifestation and embodied action via the unbending intent of God. When we think of the process of designing and manifesting the architecture for a single building, then expand that notion to a block of buildings, and then again into a city, a collection of cities, a nation, a world, a solar system, all the way to the billions and billions of galaxies – our human minds can only grasp so much. But for Creation to exist, all the ideas and thoughts had to grow and develop, and be intended and filtered down the Tree of Life until finally coalescing into coherent being. Considering that Time itself is just another thought of God, all of this happened outside of Time as we understand it in a singular explosive moment from our perspective within Creation.
And each and every idea and thought which spilled forth from the divine will and mind could be considered an angel.
As an abstraction, then, we can understand what an angel is. But how do we get angels that can think, can act, and seemingly have individuality?
The answer is actually simpler than it first appears. Consider what drives the thoughts of God to filter down the Tree, to divide and connect, to form the very web of Creation – God’s Intent and unbending Will.
That driving force, when seemingly divided (and yet at the same time still united), forms patterns of thoughts. Those patterns develop and grow, fulfilling their purposes. And in so doing appear to act independently, while also as a perfect group.
But we have all heard or read the phrase, “As Above, So Below”, which is an apt description of many reflections within the Tree of Life and its very structure. Just as God became aware of their own existence, and developed the judgment to recognize their own boundaries, so too did their thoughts reflect that awareness and judgment. God's own thoughts, the angels, developed their own self-awareness, and as those patterns become more complex with more and more divisions and connections the further down the Tree they flowed inexorably towards manifestation, that individuality would become more and more pronounced.
Our own thoughts do not remain solitary and isolated. An original idea develops, it grows – expanding and shaping itself as it is further understood and interacts with other concepts. So too did even the original ideas, those first angels who struggled as the direct action of God’s own intent pushing to exist and remain coherent as a singular awareness, even as self-examination spawned division within. Below a certain layer of this tapestry of abstract pushing forth into solidity, egos can coalesce and form – perhaps even as masks or translation mediums through which the higher abstract can interact with the lower levels.
So then can we understand angels as individuals, as having unique personalities, and their own purposes – albeit very complex ones from some perspectives, yet perhaps simple at the same time. Take the idea for compassion as an example. Compassion has many facets, many properties. Compassion interacts with other ideas in complicated ways, resulting in an infinite number of possible resolutions. And yet, the concept is simple at its core – love in action, love made manifest by intent.
An angel’s pattern is formed from the originating thought (complex as it may have become) and filled with the channeled divine intent.
Thrones and Principalities
A plethora of material has been written trying to describe the divisions of the Host of God’s angels. Choruses have been given names, realms of authority and purpose detailed, in very complex schemas. Seraphim, Kerubim, Ophanim – these are examples of classifications of angels by type and appearance. Thrones, Powers, Principalities, Dominions – these are classifications of areas of authority. The reader can easily find such categories and classifications on Wikipedia as well as many web sites out on the internet.
From our perspective here in the physical and in our dreams which can just touch the higher domains of thoughts – we see only a glimpse of the full Tree and the layers of realms above. Our minds cannot comprehend the higher layers without great difficulty, for the abstract at those layers is less differentiated, more ‘pure’ – and our own notion of our individuality, our own egos, are greatly challenged by touching such realms of thought and being.
Just as for the various types of angels, each has its purpose – and its level or layer to which it belongs and within which it can act and be.
Many visionaries have described temple doors guarded by great and powerful angels standing at the thresholds appearing in numerous different ways. Those guardians are themselves ideas – the notion of that boundary, a reflection of the difference of energies and concepts between one side and the other. To be worthy to cross that threshold, to enter such temples – is to have the capacity to connect to and interact with ideas at that level of being. Angels from the lower layers do not all have the capacity to interact with angels at the higher levels without losing the coherency of their own structures. When you consider that at the higher levels the potency of the intent and divine will rises as well, unless an angel’s pattern can remain coherent when even more of that power flows through it, going higher is not always a good thing to attempt. Kabbalah lore has their own cautionary tales of rabbis who reached too high before they were ready or able and either died or were driven mad as a result.
Furthermore, gaining an individual ego has its own difficulties and issues to be learned from. With ego, and with the further distance from the pure thoughts of God, begins the development of choice. It is at the lower levels that the ideas’ coherency becomes more solid, the distinctiveness of its intent more separate from the others and not awash in the unification of the higher realms. With such distinctness, such ego formation, the patterns of thought act on their own according to their own intent and structure. But the ego and awareness of the self can influence the internal intent as the ability to choose how to act emerges. And with choice comes the potential to act against one’s own pattern. Such potential can lead to an angel Falling from grace. But for now consider this as well: as ideas become more and more differentiated, how does one determine which ideas are ‘better’ or ‘stronger’? We as humans have debates within our own minds all the time – what happens when God has an internal debate, their ideas clashing with each other? Angels could be perceived as debating each other, fighting – or even going to war as a direct expression of the clash of ideas.
There are also angels whose beings and patterns stretch throughout the Tree of Life – their core purposes at the top reaching downward and remaining coherent all the way throughout the Tree. Straddling layers without ego into those with ego and individuality, these angels are unifying patterns that help guide the whole. These, it would seem, could very well be the Archangels who are known to be able to ‘Stand before the Throne of God’. Traditionally there have been seven such Archangels. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, and many others have been named as such. And Lucifer before he Fell from grace.
Core purposes at the top also may have many fingers and slivers of energies reaching downward – becoming embodied with many separate and distinct egos, and yet each at their core sharing the same pattern of energies.
So how does this correlate to the more traditional experiences of visiting a city of angels, gleaming in silver, gold, and light – where angels fly on feathered wings from building to building, and working ceaselessly to tend to Creation?
Just as an architect creates plans and detailed drawings of what they wish to build before engaging in the actual construction, so too did God and their thoughts plan and work. As fixed as a dream, built by the very angels themselves as driven by the divine Will, the city was forged as a place where the angels could work, meet, engage, discuss, and plan how best to carry out their duties as driven by their natures, ideas, and intents. Also a place where knowledge gained from experience could be gathered and understood – and thereby increase the knowledge held by God.
Such a city would itself have layers of energy and patterns, with different kinds of thoughts, different bands and groups of angels assigned to those layers to carry out tasks appropriate to their own energy and patterns of thoughts and being. At the lower levels where the ideas of sight, sound, touch, taste, and feeling have become coherent – angels would move and relate through the fabric of such perceptions as they themselves would be more attuned to existence within the physical at the bottom (Malkuth). Those levels more realized and coherent to our perception would appear to us much akin to dream-realms resonating with the Sefirot of Yesod – the coherent dreams bordering on the physical, reflecting and echoing into the manifest. These are layers we can perceive and relate to most easily and still remain functional as beings within the physical.
The actual divisions and categorical existence that angels embody and inhabit throughout the abstract layers is not a simple one to describe in terms that we can easily understand from our perceptions here. We see and comprehend only such a small fraction of what IS. Metaphorical toolkits like the Tree of Life concepts are useful and if nothing else help illuminate possible ways of understanding the abstract. Given the difficulties of translating such higher concepts into ideas which we as manifest humans with human brains can understand, it would also be expected that different people would see these realms and beings quite differently. The important essences are the cores – the key concepts within the mythos and story of whatever we perceive. And with the helpful guidance of angels friendly to us (or our own spirits!), perhaps we can see further – and come to understand just that much more of the Mind of God.
There are no easy answers; as with most things relating to spiritual matters, there are a wide variety of beliefs and interpretations. Ask three metaphysical students what an angel is – and get at least five distinct answers.
Multiplicity is a very complex situation for anyone involved and it can get very confusing to those who don’t know what they’re looking at. This is a very basic guide to understanding Plurals.
So what is Multiplicity?
Multiplicity is the state in which a person shares their body with another being/soul/headmate etc. There are many names for what people call those beings that they share their body with. Usually, in the kin communities you will see the term headmate. You may also see alter/spirit/soul and other names that are unique to that particular system. An umbrella term for those with Multiplicity is Plurals. However, you may see that Plurals and Multiples are used in the same context.
How long has it been around?
Multiplicity has been around for longer than the otherkin community. There are cases of demon possessions in history those scientists now believe are earlier cases of Multiplicity. In the 18th century more detailed accounts began appearing. There was a case of a woman who suffered amnesia with a split personality all the way back in 1646 written by Paracelsus but it wasn’t until 1791 that an account was written in great detail by Gmelin. Ever since then, the only known account of multiplicity has been a disorder called Multiple Personality Disorder but now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder. It wasn’t until rather recently did the term Natural Multiplicity or Natural Plural occur in Western Society and is not exactly accepted by a large number of psychologists. There are many people trying to push for non-trauma based Plurals to be recognized but at the moment, it is simply a thing such as otherkin.
What does it mean to be a Plural?
Anyone with more than one person sharing the body is considered a Plural and there are terms under it that describe the type of plural they can be.
What are the different types?
There is a multiple system, which you see many people call themselves. The headmates are distinct, separate beings with their own personalities and thoughts. Usually it incorporates the headmates sharing time in the front and cooperating with each other.
There is a median system. These plurals are in between singlet and plurals. They share their body with fragments of themselves i.e. past lives or emotions personified. There is usually one sole fronter and the headmates are not always as distinct as with a multiple.
There is a gateway system. It is believed these plurals have a headspace in another dimension/plane/reality and the headmates use the body as a gateway to interact with the world. These tend to have a very large number of headmates that come and go as they please.
What are some troubles a plural may deal with?
There are moments a Plural may have difficulties, especially if communication is not established. They can suffer time loss. They can deal with dissociation at times. If a headmate is in distress or upset about something it may influence the rest of the system and cause the person in front to act a little differently than they wanted to. For example, if a headmate is very angry about something it can cause the one in front to grow angry too even though nothing has happened to make the fronter angry. This occurs more with those who do not have good communications with their headmates. Communication is the key to a healthy system.
How should one treat a Plural?
Well, the worst way to address a Plural would be to act as if they have some kind of disease or disorder. Even if the Plural is trauma based, there is no reason to treat them any differently than you would someone else. If you are unsure of who is fronting, do not feel as if you cannot ask them. Plurals understand that it can be confusing for people talking to them and so they do try and make it easy for everyone to know but sometimes, they can forget and at this point it is perfectly okay for you to ask who is fronting. If you find that the Plural gets upset when you ask, well then that person has a few more issues than they would like to admit. It should not be a problem for them to say who is out. To Plurals, it would be the equivalent of someone asking us if we happen to have the time. If they do happen to get upset, for whatever reason, it may be best to just take a step back and give them a moment to breath, just as you would with anyone who was upset.
You said something about natural Plurals; what are those?
A Plural can be one of three things. There are trauma based Plurals. These are those who are more likely associated with Dissociative Identity Disorder. These Plurals were not born this way. They suffered from some kind of trauma at a young age that caused their mind to form these ‘masks’ that the person could hide behind until the trauma passed. These are typically called alters and they don’t always find their way to the kin communities. You have natural Plurals which are Plurals who didn’t have to suffer any trauma to become the way they are. Usually they are born that way or later develop it through the use of a tulpa or walk-ins. Then there are your mixed Plurals. These Plurals may start with trauma based headmates and develop headmates later on that are not born from trauma such as walk-ins or tulpas. It can also work in reverse where a natural Plural gets headmates based off trauma or stress.
When do headmates develop or are discovered?
This can also happen at any time. Once one develops multiplicity, there is a possibility of the system growing larger for no real reason or from stress of everyday life. A headmate could develop simply because of a new job that none of the other headmates are good at. The role becomes open and the headmate appears to fill it. However, it is usually unrealistic for a system to develop a large number of headmates in a very short period of time. It can happen with trauma based Plurals but it is usually only one or two discovered at a time. However these headmates did not develop then. They have been there for a while and they are only now discovering them. This is acceptable. However, if one discovers a large number of headmates, usually starting at four or five and increasing in numbers within a short period i.e. a week, it is usually not a good sign. If they are indeed discovering these headmates at the same time than it could show an underline problem that they have yet to discover. Headmates may also take a very long time to develop (in the case of tulpas) or can happen suddenly.
If you wish to look up more terms on Multplicity a good source is Plurality Resource. There you can find a glossary with basic terms and links to other glossaries as well.
Also available in PDF format
1 Main available definitions
*when this article was originally written (September’s end, 2016)
According Wikia’s Otherkin Wiki,
A polymorph is an energy being without a set form, capable of shifting/mimicking any other form or energy they desire.
Polymorphs often believe themselves to be a certain kintype/theriotype but later feel like that kintype/theriotype is inaccurate and move on to another, as their kintype is a being of constantly changing form.
One of the problems of that definition is that energy is not a well-defined term that can be interpreted in many ways, it’s not trivial to give an example of it. Energy, in physics, is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms; in psychology, its idea comes from theories and models of a postulated unconscious mental functioning on a level between biology and consciousness; under esotercism, the term energy is used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine to refer to a variety of phenomena, where under some aspects it can be compared to other concepts such as “life force” and “élan vital”.
Another problem of that definition is that it is too generic on how it is not having a set form and focus on the previous misidentifications as major indicator of that identity.
According Shiro’s article in Kinmunity,
A polymorph is an energy being with no set form. Instead, the polymorph can take on multiple forms. This term is also sometimes used to refer to an individual with multiple kintypes.
The last sentence refers to polykin, a different concept. This definition also uses energy and is also generic, being subject of all disadvantages pointed to the previous one.
2 Describing the kintype
A polymorph is a being with the freedom to choose which form it’ll have. A clear definition of what will shapeshift into is required to assume that shape, being that definition acquired via observation (with or without interaction), creation or even combining two or more existing definitions into one thing; for the observation, it’s not required focusing, but it can not “spontaneously happen” for some specific things. Those shapeshifts of the kintype can be perceived in many ways - except shapeshifting in real life (here goes the exception of the exception: exists psychological phenomena that can give someone the illusion that they shapeshifted for some moments in real life). Polymorphs can have their preferred forms.
Usually, a polymorph can end up copying other’s kintype by “mirroring”, be that action voluntary or not - assuming good faith, most aren’t intentional. That can reflect in a always-growing kintype list, in a always-changing kintype or in an unsure identity. This shouldn’t be your guideline while you are new to the concept or if it is your initial interactions with the otherkin community as a whole.
Polymorphs are commonly described as energy beings; this word (energy) is usually used in its esoteric meaning in that sentence. That impacts polymorphs in the way they see themselves: they aren’t any of their shapes, but a vital force that is able to assume other shapes and mimic their surroundings. It wasn’t found a consensus about the true form of a polymorph, but is known that none is the right one.
How a polymorph sees their own shifting mechanism varies in description and analogies, but they seems to converge in some sort of unconscious pressure to “mirror” their surroundings and in a way to create a “catalog of forms” to change back to a previous form later[10,11] - how a polymorph consciously becomes a form (what they internally do to change their form) is unclear, but one wrote that personality, speech and energy vibe adjustments gets done without thinking.
By above mentioned characteristics, polymorphs ends up being highly sociable for looking similar the majority and easily becomes part of the group; however sociability is not an exclusive feature of a polymorph and can be developed by other ways. That usual sociability is achieved by displaying similar experiences, similar interests, and in an unique way where individuality is still somehow kept and uncanny valley isn’t reached.
2.1 Differences between... 2.1.1 Empathy and polymorphism
Empathy is restricted to an emotional level, feeling the emotions the other is also feeling. “Mirroring” can have some aspects of empathy, but a polymorph can choose to not “mirror” and keep their form. Polymorphs goes beyond emotional level and can give them sensations that would be felt exclusively by other beings.
2.1.2 Changelings and polymorphs
Changelings (from Star Trek series), according Wikia’s Memory Alpha Wiki,
In its natural state, a Changeling’s body was a formless gelatinous mass, to which it had to revert every eighteen hours (Odo’s example) in order to regenerate.
Changelings could take virtually any corporeal form, ranging from humanoid aliens to fog to reflective surfaces. They did not seem to be able to exist as or change to forms of energy.
That differs from polymorphs when you consider that Star Trek’s changelings have an original shape and can’t change to forms of energy, when polymorphs don’t have an original shape, can shift to any they want if it is enoughly defined to the shapeshifter and don’t need a “time to regenerate”.
2.1.3 Shapeshifters and polymorphs
Every polymorph is a shapeshifter, but not every shapeshifter is a polymorph: shapeshifters usually have a reduced set of forms they can turn into, where that set for polymorphs is virtually unlimited.
2.1.4 Polykin and polymorphs
Polykin is an otherkin that have many kintypes, where that “many” is countable. Polymorph is a single kintype that has an unlimited set of shapes they can assume.
3 Final considerations of the author
Polymorph is a complex kintype that should be better defined. Even after this article, there’s a lot of aspects to cover and a lot of experiences to be documented.
I hope this article helped you understanding what a polymorph is, its characteristics and to know the difference from similar-looking concepts that can look being the same thing in a first moment.
The otherkin community is perhaps one of the most bewildering subcultures you’ll find on the internet today. There are many articles about otherkin on the internet today, but very few that accurately explain what the concept is to those who are unfamiliar with the community. The purpose of this article is to provide a basic overview of the otherkin community that is understandable by both people who are curious and people who have never heard of the community before.
So, what exactly does "otherkin" mean?
This question is not as easy to answer as it sounds. If you ask ten different people who identify as otherkin what it means, you'll likely get twenty five or so different answers. We have developed a standardized definition that we use on Kinmunity that we feel most would agree with:
Otherkin are people who identify either partially or wholly as one or more non-human beings, entities, or concepts in a psychological or spiritual manner.
While we feel our standardized definition would fit most cases of individuals who identify as otherkin; it is by no means an "official" definition of the word "otherkin" and what the otherkin experience entails.
A brief history lesson...
The practice of identifying spiritually or psychologically as "other than human" has existed for a very long time, some would say as early (or earlier) as 3100 BC. Others would say the Native Americans developed the concept. Because this is not something that is easy to track or prove, we're simply going to focus on the modern online community for the purposes of this article.
The modern otherkin community as you'll normally find it online is actually a merging of two distinct communities; the therianthropy community, and the otherkin community.
The Otherkin Community
The earliest known manifestation of the otherkin community on the internet was formed in March 1990 as "The Elfinkind Digest" by R'ykandar Korra'ti. It was an online mailing list created for those who identified as elves. Eventually, those who identified as beings other than elves began participating in the list. A list member called Torin began referring to these members as "otherkin". The term "otherkin" implied "other than elf", as the newsgroup was primarily developed for elves.
The Therianthropy Community
The therianthropy community actually developed independently from the elven and otherkin communities.
It was born on Usenet in 1994 on the newsgroups Alt.Horror.Werewolves. Individuals who identified as wolves were using the terms "were" and "lycanthrope" to identify themselves, and the term "therianthrope" eventually became used as a more general term that applies to all animals.
The merge, well, sort of!
The otherkin and therianthropy communities developed independently of each other, and for much of their history were considered separate and independent communities (although with much overlap). The term "otherkin" was originally used to describe those who identified as mythical creatures, where the term "therian" was used to describe individuals who identified as creatures who currently or once walked the earth. In the late 2000s, online forums (such as Wulf Howl) and social media platforms such as Tumblr started forming communities that united the concepts of otherkin and therianthropy under one umbrella term of "otherkin". There are many within the community who still see strict lines of separation between the communities, and who reject the "otherkin as an umbrella term" concept. However, the vast majority of the community welcomed the integration.
Spiritual v. Psychological
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to identification as otherkin. Identification due to spiritual beliefs, and identification due to psychological or neurological factors. Kinmunity actually has two great articles which explain both in depth, which will be linked below:
Introductory Guide to Psychological Otherkinity
Introductory Guide to Spiritual Otherkinity
Misconceptions and what the otherkin community is NOT...
It is human nature to reject or even attack things that are strange or different. There are a variety of misconceptions propagating on the internet regarding the otherkin community, and there are a good amount of internet trolls who intentionally propagate misinformation to make the community appear as something that it is not. Below, are a few debunked misconceptions that many may have regarding the community.
"The otherkin community is part of the furry fandom."
Although there is some overlap within the two communities, the otherkin community is entirely separate from the furry fandom. The furry fandom consists of people who are fans of anthropomorphic animals and artwork. Furries generally do not identify as their fursonas.
"Otherkin are mentally ill!"
A mental disorder (also called a mental illness, or psychiatric disorder) is a diagnosis, most often by a psychiatrist, of a behavioral or mental pattern that may cause suffering or a poor ability to function in life.
Identifying as otherkin is not, by itself, mental illness.
Identifying as otherkin is not, by itself, unhealthy.
Identifying as otherkin is not, by itself, a delusion.
"Otherkin think they're oppressed!"
This is a common misconception propagated by troll blogs on Tumblr, and by those new to the concept of otherkin. The vast majority of those in the otherkin community do not feel that otherkin are an oppressed group. Although there are individuals who are harassed because of their identity as otherkin, it does not meet the definition for systematic oppression. Young people within the community often confuse being bullied with being oppressed, which also further propagates this misconception. Repeat after me: "Otherkin are not an oppressed group."
"Otherkin think that they're physically non-human or that they can physically shift!"
99.9% of us know that we're physically human and that we cannot change that. We have jobs, we use computers, we do things that non-humans physically couldn't do. Individuals who believe that they're physically non-human or that they have the ability to physically shift are suffering from delusions.
"Otherkin use noun-self pronouns and invalidate the experiences the LGBTQ+ community!"
This is yet another misconception propagated by troll blogs and undereducated minors. The vast majority of the otherkin community feels that noun-self pronouns are ridiculous, and that they go against all established rules of grammar. Although we have our own experiences that we would argue are equally valid, we are not a part of the LGBTQ+ community. By definition, an experience is different from person to person, therefore we do not believe it is possible to validate nor invalidate an experience.
"Otherkin is a coping mechanism for trauma or mental illness."
The majority of the otherkin community frowns upon using the term "otherkin" when referring to identification solely as a coping mechanism. Instead, the term coping link is used in this case. We've got an article on coping links here.
What the otherkin community IS...
The otherkin community is a community of people who identify either partially or wholly as one or more non-human beings, entities, or concepts in a psychological or spiritual manner.
The otherkin community is diverse and includes individuals from various walks of life. It includes people of all ages, genders, and professions.
The otherkin community is an environment where critical thinking skills, logic, and an inquisitive mind are cherished.
Terminology and Lexicon
A guide to shifts
AnOtherWiki - Otherkin
AnOtherWiki - Therians
Tumblr - JustAnOtherkin - An FAQ on Otherkin for the Perplexed Observer
Let’s begin this article with the subject and point: Dragons are an open ended subject, so what defines a dragon can vary from person to person. There is no ‘true’ dragon and this is important to remember in the dragonkin community.
1. What is a Dragon?
What is a dragon? Well, according to the common definition, a dragon is defined as:
a mythical monster like a giant reptile. In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.
‘A dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled or fire-spewing and with serpentine, reptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around world.’
So according to this generic Internet definition and Wikipedia, a dragon is merely a giant reptile found in mythology, with European dragons (let’s call them Western) and Eastern dragons differing tremendously. They may also breathe fire, have avian traits, and feature in cultures outside of Western and Eastern, with other notable ‘dragons’ being things like lindworms, and amphipteres.
What defines a true dragon often differs between people you ask. Some may consider the true dragons to be the Western fire breathing monsters, or the gentle, serpentine Eastern dragons, or both. Within my experience, dragons are a very open ended concept with many different interpretations, so I am reluctant to state what is ‘true’ and what is not.
I consider the ‘common’ dragons to be ones that have four legs, two wings, reptilian or avian traits, and serpentine necks and tails. The front legs may be functional as arms and the dragon may be bipedal, or the dragon walks on all fours. Some may also think of ‘wyverns’, a subject of much debate on whether they are true dragons. If you wanted my opinion, wyverns, lindworms, and amphipteres do count as dragons.
I see the wyvern debate as very much a pointless one. As dragons are such an open ended concept, I do not believe there to be one ‘true’ image of a dragon. Common yes, but not ‘true’. Wyverns are often simply dragons without arms, or wings in place of arms. Some portray them as venomous, with barbed tails, even mixing in traits from a basilisk. (which also vary in portrayal)
Some may also consider a dragon to only be a reptilian creature from mythology with wings specifically. Flight and wings is very much a common feature of dragons, but not all dragons may have them. Lindworms are wingless, and most Eastern dragons are portrayed as flying without wings, most likely by magic.
In short, what defines a dragon is very much built upon many cultures and mythological stories, as well as modern media’s portrayal, which varies greatly. In my eyes, there is no one ‘true’ dragon. This comes into great consideration when observing dragonkin; dragonkin often follow the anatomical and mythological ‘rules’ of dragons, but no two dragonkin are the same. Some may consider themselves wyvern-like or more serpentine, or feathered in appearance, but still consider themselves a dragon. This is merely up to personal experience and choice.
2. How I See Dragons.
This part will be short and heavily based on my own observations and opinions. If you find this irrelevant, please skip to the next section.
I consider dragons to be many different things but my view of them as a concept is heavily influenced by the modern media’s portrayal of popular draconic characters. I acknowledge that mythos comes before and has more power over media, but all of my exposure to dragons has been through modern culture. Books, television shows, movies, and video games have all influenced how I view dragons.
I do not view dragons as purely mindless, demonic, fire-breathing monsters who eat people and burn down villages. A dragon can have varying degrees of intelligent or self-awareness, but they are not all primal bringers of destruction. Perhaps it is my own self injecting anthropomorphism or human traits into the concept of the dragon but this is truly how I see things.
This brings us to the fun subject of stereotypes. Especially when considering dragonkin, a dragon’s personality, attitude, and nature will vary. Some dragons love shiny objects, like me, some do not care for them. Some dragons prefer meat, some dragons will eat anything. Some dragons like fire, some are drawn to water, some live in ice, and so on. This is purely up to the person to decide for themselves and dictating such matters comes across as arrogant in my mind.
Dragons are very ‘humanized’ beings in how I see them. The animalistic, primal side is forgotten in favor of the more human traits. As I’ve said before, of course mythos is important and comes before media, but media has a huge part in how many see dragons today. Some are monstrous villains of grand adventure, some are loyal companions and friends and everything in between. I feel both mythological and modern portrayals are acceptable, as dragons are again, a very open ended concept. It is up to the person’s own experiences to decide this.
I love dragons. I was brought up with dragons as the brave heroes, the loyal guardians, the heralds of good luck and symbols of fortune and power. Of course I understand that this is not how dragons were originally portrayed in most cultures, but I wasn’t exposed to traditional tales for years. This could be called bias and it probably is, but plays an important role in how I see myself.
3. Modern Dragons.
This will contain musings and observations about two famous dragons, specifically from mainstream and modern media. These two dragons are specifically listed due to my knowledge of them, and I know I have missed many other famous dragons.
Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon, movie)
Toothless wins, claws down (get it?) as my favourite fictional dragon. He is both endearing and ferocious, and beautifully designed. His species is that of the Night Fury, a type of dragon shrouded in mystery and fear.
I adore his portrayal for many reasons, the biggest one being his relationship with Hiccup. I have seen discord regarding the portrayals of dragons as pets or simply as accessories for their human riders or companions. I feel Toothless takes this worry and blasts it out of the sky.
His friendship with Hiccup is very much a two-way street of mutual respect, forged through hardship and kindness. Hiccup even tries to give Toothless back his freedom in Gift of the Night Fury, to which Toothless refuses to leave due to their bond.
HTTYD takes dragons and portrays them in many different ways. For one, not all of them breathe fire. Toothless specifically shoots plasma. He also lacks the horns and large fangs of a ‘typical’ dragon. He is very similar to a cat in appearance and physical mannerisms, which adds to his charm as a character. He is a great example of why there is no ‘true’ kind of dragon.
Saphira (Inheritance Cycle/Eragon, book series)
Saphira is a dragon from the Inheritance Cycle. She may not be a favourite of mine, but I still like her as a character and as a dragon. She also shares a relationship with her human rider, but unlike Hiccup and Toothless, is ‘bound’ to him by destiny. All dragons in this universe are a generic species, and bound to a rider. They hatch specifically for a person and are bound to them for life.
I dislike this portrayal for the reason that it seems… very arbitrary that dragons are bound to their riders. The way the books were written also gives much more focus to the riders and human characters, than the dragons. I will however, give credit for the few unique ideas that Christopher Paolini applies to his dragons.
For one thing, they share a mental connection to their humans and can communicate via thoughts to their riders and others when close enough. They share feelings and emotions as well. And when a dragon dies, its soul and mind can either fade away or live on inside a jewel called an Eldunari.
Despite being very typical in appearance, breathing fire as well, I do enjoy the dragons from the Inheritance Cycle for their few unique ideas. Even if a dragon looks typical, it can still be very much a unique creature.
4. Relation to Otherkin.
So why did I just spend several longwinded paragraphs talking about the concept and portrayals of dragons? The reason is that there is no ‘true’ dragon, just as there is no ‘true’ sea serpent, griffon, or any other mythological creature. There is no definitive, one hundred percent truth that any dragonkin has to follow. Wyverns need not be discouraged and other atypical dragons need not be confused.
It is up to you to decide who you are, what you are, how you may have looked, or what being draconic means to you. Of course others can help guide you and educate you on these matters, but your identity is up to you, in your hands alone.
Draconic portrayals in both myth and media are of equal importance, and can exist together in harmony. No specific portrayal needs to dominate the other or be cast aside in favor of the other.
The term "copinglink" (c'link for short) was coined fairly recently by Who-is-Page, a member of the Tumblr otherkin community. The term is officially defined as such:
A non-human identity (or in some cases, relation) which is consciously created. The creator is able to change and pick who/what they identify as/with as need dictates. This identity can be created by anyone, and thus, is not dictated by one’s mental health.
A consciously created coping mechanism which centers around knowingly, willingly, and actively identifying as (or in some cases, with) the user’s choice of a non-human entity.
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.
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.