In my time in the community I have seen many common misconceptions younger and newer members have fallen into through confusion and uncertainty. I could perhaps write a huge article on so many of these, but I've decided to settle on just one for this small piece and that is a misconception that has cropped up pretty often.
Many people, especially (but certainly not exclusively) those coming from social media communities such as Tumblr often are seen using the term "astral limbs". Which at first glance makes sense. There is such a thing as astral shifting after all. However, it becomes confusing when you realize that in actuality they are not talking about limbs they experience in astral shifting, but referring to the limbs they feel when experiencing a phantom shift.
And in fact the correct term is "phantom limbs" which really makes sense considering the name for that particular type of shifting is phantom shifting. "Astral limbs" would really only make sense if you were referring to an astral shift where you felt those limbs on your astral body.
Of course, not all individuals caught using the term do so because they genuinely have the terms confused. In fact, more often than not it appears to be because somewhere along the lines they have been told it is wrong to call them "phantom limbs". This is supposedly offensive or a mockery towards amputees and sometimes even stretched to say it cannot be a phantom limb unless you have actually once had that limb on your body. Where this point of view originally came from is unclear, but this is false. A phantom limb is a term that covers any body part one feels that isn't physically there; whether it has once existed there or not. It is true that most commonly in everyday settings it is used in reference to phantom limb syndrome experienced by amputees so understandable where the misconception arose. But this is just one usage.
This causes much frustration for older members of the community who have perhaps heard this numerous times before and have to go through the processes of explaining the differences once again to limit confusion and misunderstandings. This isn't the fault of the individual using the terms wrongly at all, just comes out of misinformation from different parts of the online community. But it certainly would be nice if the confusion and worry about using the correct terms dwindled.
So if you are one of those people who does confuse the terms, or uses it because of what you've been told elsewhere: no matter what anyone says it is not wrong or offensive to use the term "phantom limbs" to describe your experience and no group exclusively owns the term. Although perhaps the fully correct term would be "supernumerary phantom limb", shortening it doesn't make it any less correct. So far there has been little to no research that I am aware of so far that had explored the phenomenon of phantom limb syndrome in relation to otherkin, but if the shoe fits then it fits. As long as people aren't claiming to be on the same level as an amputee or suffer the same struggles, there is no issue.
"Phantom limb" for limbs felt when in a phantom shift, "astral limb" for limbs felt in an astral shift or related shift/experience.
Originally Written in 2016. Briefly revised January 2019.
Edited by AshenFall