Otherkin Moderation, A Balanced Viewpoint (2016)
Column: Otherkin and Draconity Advice
Otherkin Moderation, A Balanced View
The concept of otherkinism is a very questionable and subjective belief which although potentially having parallels with some forms of shamanism or animism throughout diverse cultures of the past is still a relatively new term or belief system in it's modern form having only begun (or been revived?) in the last forty years or so of modern history. The overall community is still finding its culture and due to it's subjective, emotional and spiritual nature must be treated both respectfully and rationally by the individual. We live in a world wherein high fantasy is only a click away and psychological and emotional wish fulfillment can easily intermix with fictional narratives to create false assumptions and realities.
It is in this regard that I advocate having a strong personal balance between the rational and spiritual in ones perceived kin beliefs. By all means accept being otherkin and don't allow yourself to be forced to deny it if you have passion or an inner knowing, but likewise be humble enough to accept or reflect upon new evidence or criticisms as they occur. In matters of personal psychology try to maintain a centrist view where for example if one were to wake up with a phantom limb, they could peacefully accept it as either a psychological placebo or a spiritual aura while still having the experience be meaningful and bonding to their perceived belief.
Personally I am somewhat of a pantheist and animist, I believe that spirits are formless and can incarnate as any existing/living body as well as in any place which can sustain life, I also believe that time and space are irrelevant to a spirit. However I also try to my best to approach things rationally and as a human I know that my opinion is subjective and that while I am alive I can only assume or speculate upon the nature of spirits. I also do my best not to underestimate the vulnerabilities of the human brain, how chemicals, hormones and experiences throughout development can affect ones psychology. So I personally see it rational and required of me to walk somewhat of a middle ground. I feel with all my heart that my experiences are spiritual, but I can accept and don't begrudge that I can not prove them or that others may view me as psychologically flawed or confused.
As a result of my own past experiences I somewhat require myself to be agnostic, as I noticed in my past that every time I would let the pendulum of my beliefs swing too far in one direction or in another that I would either become miserable that I wasn't be true to myself or alternatively I would cease to be self critical and would fall into false assumptions. When I settled on a balanced or centrist view of “I will not deny being otherkin but I will also critique my beliefs and be open to criticism because in the end, who knows” that stance kind of helped me to become more secure, I had juggled extremes and personally needed a middle ground.
Though in the end the only real difference between me now and me five years ago is just that I say “I perceive that I was a dragon” rather then say outright that “I was a dragon” It is a little less assertive but doesn't change who I am or what I personally believe. I realize that I may have said in the past that being agnostic on the matter was a desirable mannerism for otherkin, but it is by no means a mandate or tenant. Its just what worked for me. Otherkinism is individualized and everyone should find their own path. If you the reader are self critical and can explain how you came to your conclusions, that is all I am pushing for. I just want others to be more aware of the origins of their conclusions so that they do not just make up a persona and go with it.
Regarding if I would require the same introspection or agnosticism of other faiths, first, again, agnosticism is really a flawed word, my context was seeking a balanced rational for ones beliefs, just an ability to explain how you came to your conclusions and accept criticism if necessary. A typical mainstream faith has certain borders and boundaries built into their system, whereas identifying as otherkin is not like a mainstream religion. Otherkin by its nature has few real barriers, anyone can just claim any identity and if done right everyone will go along with it, because of this our community is particularly susceptible to delusional or escapist members which is why there is a need for more assertive self reflection from individual members within the community, we need to self police.
Sometimes members with obvious psychological issues may take claim to being otherkin while other times younger kin may jump into fantasy mindsets and assume them to be real. As I mentioned in the beginning of this text we are a fairly new (or revived) belief system that has only existed for a few decades, with any luck it is likely that we will continue to grow in the years to come but, if so, then it is likely that our community will increasingly become more noticed as our culture continues to change and evolve.
Considering the free for all nature of otherkin as opposed to more ordered mainstream beliefs I personally feel that a high degree of individual introspection, self awareness and moderation are particularly needed now as at this point in history due to personal identity politics increasingly becoming an issue in the mainstream and the otherkin of select social media groups often creating a poor misconception of our overall community. From my interpretation of present cultural trends I fear that as the years go on it is possible that more antagonistic forces may gradually turn their attention to our communities activities, general culture and beliefs.
Case in point, the amazing atheist was just a youtube channel and if our representatives on Tumblr could not handle that minuscule criticism maturely then what will happen when or if a mainstream personality were to report negatively on us. For the sake of our overall cultural image we can not allow the idea of otherkin to be treated as a game or some deluded cult populated by triggered imbeciles using our belief as a coping method to avoid societal hardships. We must work to take personal responsibility, to better know ourselves and to be able to defend coherently what we believe both to ourselves and to others in a way that does not reflect poorly on us as individuals or on our community as a whole.
We are slowly becoming more noticed and because of this exposure we will be increasingly susceptible to a higher risk of social criticism and will be judged by our worse actors. Therefore I feel it is the ultimate responsibility of each individual kin to determine their own personal spirituality as clearly and rationally as possible in case the day may come that they are ever confronted or called by society to defend their view of being otherkin or to explain the origin of their conclusions. I hope that I didn't come off as too much of a doomsayer, I am just worried that trans species could be the next issue after gender identity politics have ran their natural course and if so, then we had best be ready, and hey, even if it doesn't happen, we are all still better knowing ourselves and having a clear personal understanding of our beliefs regardless.