Imagine you’re building a house. You’ve been working on it for ages, for years even. And before you, others came and added to it, bit by bit.
How to “call people out” by the Otherkin tag:
Hey, I can understand that. The tumblr otherkin community consists of crazies
and a small handful of paedos
I would like to clarify a few things, before I continue my regular blogging.
First things first, I don’t hate otherkin. I completely believe in...
I’ve seen more posts and heard more about things like barking, growling, howling, etc. in public.
For me, although I may...
You know the ironic thing, Khyle, is that while the wannabees come here wearing masks to try to be different, those of us who are actually outside the considered “norm” end up wearing masks to fit in.
Statement by Memory and Dream in a thread on “Otherkin Overpopulation" on the Embracing Mystery forum on December 14, 2005.
For me, draconity is a state of mind that is functional. It is defined by its use.
If that last bit explained what “state” meant in that sentence, this is going to be about what “mind” and “functional” mean. First, “mind.” Note that draconity is not (and, actually, has never been) a state of body for me. There was a brief period of my life when I thought it might have been, but I was still working things out. Would I like wings? Sure. I want to fly. But do I need them, or need to feel mopey about their absence in this body, to feel that I am a dragon? No. This body is functional for what I need it to be, just as my soul and spirit function as what they are. Do I need to have wings, a tail, in this body to function fully and completely as a dragon? No. Therefore, I realized, why add them on? I don’t need it to function, either in body or in spirit.
Adding something that I really don’t need and can’t use to augment my sense of self is an antithesis of what being a dragon is, for me (yes, there are others. No, I’m not going into them here). Therefore, wings, tails, and other things become paraphernalia to me. They’re neither useful (no matter how hard I try, I can’t fly with fabric wings, or even the current experimental prosthetics) or necessary. If I wore them, I would be setting limits on my being, and defining myself by what I didn’t have.
Isn’t that a silly thing for anyone—dragon, otherkin, or anyone—to do?
How do I know I’m not crazy?
You don’t. :-p
Craziness is also often subjective, and sometimes it can be a lot of fun!
Don’t refrain from expressing yourself just because other people are likely to think you “crazy”. At the same time, though, don’t put yourself in positions where it’s likely you’ll be adversely affected because you do something “draconic” or “crazy”. Being able to express yourself is important, but sometimes that comes at a cost. — It’s up to you how much you’re willing to risk.
Draconity isn’t a mental illness. All the dragons I’ve known who have told therapists about their draconity were told that there is nothing wrong with the belief that you are a dragon so long as it doesn’t stop you from being a functional person.
Ideally, draconity should actually help you in your life, not impede your functioning.
Personally, even though I’m not much of an idealist myself, I do honestly like for people to feel free to express ideas of what they would like to see happen regarding otherkin—realistic or feasible ideas or not. Actually, I like for those ideas to be presented somewhere that they can (and hopefully will be) discussed at length, including getting analytical and critical (preferably constructively critical) feedback—such as about the financial, legal, physical or other feasibility for a given “project”/goal, along with the more realistic perceived “demand” or want for that goal to happen, and when, if ever, that goal could potentially be put into an active project of sorts (even if that would likely be years or decades down the road). Although I didn’t much at all follow the whole discussions on Tumblr about the “otherkin safe houses” and the idea for an ‘otherkin restaurant’, I do remember that at least with the safe-houses concept, the discussion went on for quite awhile and at length, though I don’t know how much of that constructive criticism and analyzing I mentioned actually went on.
I was a part of both discussions, and people were quite rude when I pointed out that the ideas expressed were not feasible and suggested alternatives like starting or attending meetups. I was called “ableist”, culturalist, a dick head, etc in those discussions. Go back and take a look at them sometime:
Expressing grand ideas isn’t an issue, but not being willing to listen to constructive criticism or analyze those ideas vs the real world is one. And that’s not unusual here on tumblr.
The problem, from what I see, isn’t people having those ideas and ideals, nor in them expressing them (whether on Tumblr, ‘kin/therian forums, personal sites, etc.). My concern and issue comes in when some of those people take it upon themselves to “lead by example”, so to speak, before they are ready and knowledgeable or skilled enough to do so, through them trying to actively put the idea on the rails as a current project. Idealism can be good and quite valuable, but it needs to be balanced with realism (as ideas and ideals can, and have been many times before in history, quite valuable to realism). Some people get so caught up in loving the idea of a new concept/potential-goal about ‘kin that they get the equivalent of “rose-colored glasses” and become blindsided so quickly and easily to the fact that they personally, and maybe no one they can manage to come across, is even remotely capable of making that new goal/”dream” a reality yet, if even for a long time.
Depending on what the specific goal is, it can have little to do with how much time someone has spent in the ‘kin/therian communities, as I’ve seen it plenty from people who have spent years, actively and/or lurking on therian/’kin boards and sites and are even fairly knowledgeable about otherkin/therians, as I’ve seen it from newer members, too. It more so has to do with people jumping the gun and trying to set goals and trying to start projects to accomplish something that they personally either do not currently (or may never have) the capability to make a reality, or they don’t already know of anyone who can work with them to make that goal a reality, so they end up caught in their idealism and forget to keep their feet on the ground in the process. This usually results in things seeming to go well on the project at first (maybe there’s a decent amount of people who like the idea and are in favor of it happening, there may even be some other people who say they want to volunteer to help—usually as just “I want to help” but without specifying how they want to help or in what way(s) they even can), and then over days, weeks, maybe months, the whole project fizzles out into nothing.
I personally see it far more frequently from those new to the community, and younger in general, than I do from those who have been around the community for a long time and are physically older. I find this is true because they are at the stage where not only don’t they know much about being nonhuman, but they don’t even know how much they don’t know yet.
I remember it happened two or three years ago on the Werelist for a documentary project that a few therians wanted to get together, with the help of others in the therian community, to make basically our own documentary—preferably before some big-name network decided to do a whole documentary on “otherkin” and “therians” that would probably very likely end up terrible. In that case, two or three people leading it did have better means, skills, and resources available to them to make such a small-scale documentary, however due to various circumstances (including personal ones), the project ceased. Eventually, though, something like it may be picked up again.
I’m not sure that’s an instance of people getting in over their heads with their ideas/projects and more simply the fact that you can’t always plan for everything. Life happens. But if the same project were proposed by a newbie wanting people to send them self-recorded videos for them to splice together into a “documentary”, I’d have to question whether they had the skills and knowledge necessary to accurately represent the community and weed out trolls, roleplayers, etc. Or to make a professional-quality video in the first place from clipped-together webcam videos.
I can’t speak for the otherkin community when it comes to providing more feasible opportunities to positively help out other ‘kin, specific sites/boards, or the ‘kin community in general (online and/or offline), because I do mostly lurking on ‘kin boards and tend toward reading therianthropy related stuff on them, and I’m not very in-the-loop on current politics and goings-on within the ‘kin community. However, I’m more familiar with the therianthropy community online, and I’ve seen that in some places over the years, efforts have been made to help out newer therians in trying to give them more of a ‘voice’ and more of an impact in the therian community than they’d typically think they’d realistically manage to have.
For the most part, no such effort has yet been made in the otherkin community. The otherkin community has a near pathological fear of organization, even to that degree.
Project Shift is, actually, in part one of those things—writings and other contributions are encouraged to be made/submitted by therians, young and old (in physical age and in ‘age spent in the therian community’), “experienced” to whatever extent, even if those contributions seem comparatively ‘small’, like suggesting a question or two that could be added to the Q&A article, or recommending some topics they’d like to see covered in articles on the Project Shift site. People forget how important even those small contributions are (I’m the main content manager on there, and granted, I’m horribly slow at making updates, but I do keep up with submissions and contributions made for the site, and sometimes I would just love for other people to help me come up with other topics, questions, etc. they would like to see on the site so I’m not so stuck in my own head on it time and again =/).
Do you find writings by younger therians are particularly valuable? I know you defended your own early contributions to the therian community in your first post, but I look back on things I wrote in my first year in the community and am amazed by how much my interpretation has changed since then and how little value I find in my early writings save to illustrate how much one’s interpretations of memories and awakening can alter over time when given the benefit of more information and experience. Also, perhaps, as a reminder that having past-life memories, even memories that indicate you’re an “old soul” does not immediately equate to maturity in this life. It takes time, experience, and emotional maturity to properly integrate such memories.
Werelist continues to be in need of someone to help with technical aspects of the site—which has for 4.5 years kept the site from being what it more fully should be and at one time, used to be. Someone like that doesn’t have to have years worth of experience in the therian or ‘kin communities (though they’d have to nevertheless prove themselves trustworthy in ways for us to give them technical back-door access to the site, of course), although a person who has devotion to helping out the therian community, or even that specific site, in a long-term manner, is much preferred.
Proving oneself trustworthy could take years worth of experience in the community, though. Or perhaps I should say, years worth of the community having experience of you. I know I wouldn’t make someone a mod on any of the resources i own without knowing them for years. Back-door technical access, even longer.
People, regardless of their “therian community experience” can contribute writings on Animal Quills over on DreamWidth, and some different sites and boards have their own things in place for how newer or younger therians can help out on the given site/board. I’ll also add: newer people on a board are extremely important to keeping the board alive and active—despite all the complaints by the older members of repeat topics and such, the newer members are a key part of the “life force” that keeps the board going and helps stop that site from falling into the dreadful cycle of “little to no activity = people being disinterested in the forums = more/prolonged lack of activity = repeat”. Heck, maybe something about this should be an article on Project Shift (*I say as a note to myself), because maybe too often the newer therians and ‘kin don’t actually realize how much they actually are already helping and the other ways that are feasibly available to them to help out.
I do agree that newer kin are essential to older boards, but I also understand the reasons for the complaints. There’s only so many times you can tell people “Only you can figure out what kind of otherkin you are, nobody else can tell you that. No, you shouldn’t just blindly trust anyone who claims to be able to see/sense your true form/therioside/etc”. Especially when people don’t listen, don’t want to expend the effort to read the articles they’re referred to, don’t want to ask themselves hard questions about why they identify as x-particular-nonhuman-thing, etc. It gets tiring dealing with that month after month, year after year. Especially when you’re trying to take your own otherness/therianthropy deeper than just the 101 stuff at the same time.
If anything, we should let, even encourage people to ‘dream big’ in the sense of coming up with or just more freely expressing their ideas/ideals about something otherkin related, and encourage positive, constructive critical discussion on such things, while also gently redirecting people toward efforts they can more feasibly make to help out the ‘kin/therian communities. Rather than shutting people down too much by telling them, essentially, that they shouldn’t even be thinking, or at least sharing and discussing, otherkin-related ideals that they don’t have the means to pursue (yet, if ever).
I don’t believe anyone was told they shouldn’t even be thinking, sharing, or discussing those things yet. But they were told the problems with them. Positive, constructive criticism is not always going to be of the “That’s a great idea! You should totally do that!” variety. Sometimes, something really is an awful idea that isn’t remotely feasible. The otherkin safe spaces thread was a good example of that, with ideas like taking over abandoned buildings (later claimed to be poetic and intended for inspiration rather than taken literally though several people did take it literally and wanted to do it or thought those doing so would be “admirable”) or people wanting to design an otherkin community center complete with multiple floors and surrounded by wetlands with no discussion of how to even fund such a thing.
We should try to stray further away from this dichotomy about young/newer ‘kin VS. old/older ‘kin, and strive for something that creates an atmosphere and community of help, support, opportunity to contribute, and so forth, from any/all parties, ages/age-ranges, and experience-in-community levels involved. That, however, doesn’t mean ignoring the typical differences between newer/younger ‘kin (not that physical age and ‘kin/therian communities “age” are always closely associated) and older/’old’ ‘kin—rather that such differences can still be stated and made apparent in ways, without dwelling on or over-emphasizing some kind of (intentional or not) “hierarchy” of sorts between those groups, especially one that does more harm than good.
I don’t think you can avoid such a hierarchy. Even in your version, “acknowledging the typical differences” includes acknowledging that there are things older otherkin can do and speak to better than younger otherkin can. That is a hierarchy, one of experience and ability, even if you don’t “dwell on” it. I don’t think having such a hierarchy does more harm than good, however much it might frustrate younger otherkin who would like to be higher in said hierarchy, it’s simply a meritocracy at work. Distributed leadership. I do think more work should be done to show newer otherkin how to advance in the hierarchy and someday become community leaders/elders/etc themselves. But pretending there isn’t a difference, I don’t see as helpful.
I pretty much agree with these last two paragraphs (although I personally would refrain from using the term “expert” when it comes to otherkin related stuff—it just doesn’t seem like a proper fitting term, even though I get what you are meaning by it).
Here again, I disagree. I think there are people experienced enough with being otherkin, and knowledgeable enough about the experiences shared by the wider community, that they can be said to be experts about otherkin. Especially those who have made a point of studying the community and learning as much about its members, trends, history, etc as they can. Orion Sandstormm is a good example.
You know what, Jarandhel? In the, like, two weeks since the big wave of bullshit about that asshole pedophile, I’ve lost pretty much all respect for you. Seriously, you’re becoming worse by the day.
If you don’t like this community, then FUCK OFF. Stop arguing with it. I don’t entirely approve of some of the brain-on-the-sidewalk “openmindedness”, but it should be a safe place for everyone.
a) I don’t think I’m going to take advice from someone who was thanked by said “asshole pedophile” for defending them, as you were.
b) While I did chime in on the subject of older otherkin vs younger, I was one of the last people to do so after my name had been invoked several times by other posters. I didn’t start this argument, and quite frankly I don’t care what you think of it or my participation in it. I have the same right to post in these tags you do. Or should this only be a “safe space” for younger otherkin who agree with you?
Organizational Des’Tai by Jarandhel.
This essay was written in 2004, when I had been in the community for nearly 5 years. It’s not the essay I would write now, but the general points still stand. Mainly, if I were to re-write this essay today, I would try to make it more accessible for those new to the community who it is aimed at. The title, in particular, would have had meaning to those who were already members of the community at the time but would have been meaningless to the very people the essay was aimed at. But, hindsight is 20/20, and this is said with the benefit of 7 years of experience I have now that I didn’t have then.
Since my name keeps being brought up in this, I should probably comment, huh?
So… older otherkin vs younger. My thoughts.
It’s very hard for younger otherkin to contribute positively to the community in the ways that they would like to.
They do not possess sufficient experience dealing with being other, they do not possess sufficient knowledge of other otherkin, they do not possess sufficient knowledge of our community either in terms of its norms or the resources available within it, and quite often they do not possess sufficient life-experience as an adult human being here on earth.
But a lot of them end up trying to make a difference, even without the skills to do so in a positive way. I did the same during my first year in the community. And, in so doing, ended up co-founding one of the first otherkin cults. Ask some of the older kin, particularly silveth here on tumblr, about HOPE sometime. (Later, HOPE-CORDE and finally Paranexus.) Those who had any involvement with the old MSN Otherkin community may also know what I’m talking about.
On the other hand, I was able to create and moderate the first mailing list (vorgenhunting) where otherkin were able to rationally discuss the subjects of vor’jen, darkfire, Corruption, etc. without it descending into a flamewar as it had every time the subject came up on other lists. Providing a space for that, so that other lists could send discussion of vor’jen there instead of derailing their lists and descending into flamewars, did help the community.
I think part of the problem is that our community doesn’t provide any kind of framework for newer otherkin who want to help, who want to give back to the community. That leads a lot of newer otherkin to try things that are actually outside of their skill-set. Or that attempt to reinvent the wheel. The otherkin spaces thread here on tumblr was a good example of both - most of those contributing to it had little concept of what would actually be involved in creating and maintaining such a space in the real world. Financially, legally, or in terms of building and sustaining a base of otherkin who would make use of it. Much less actually had the means to do so. Meanwhile, they ignored the easier and time-tested mechanisms by which otherkin currently meet and interact with one another in real life: meet-ups and gathers. Excuses for this were made, but the bottom line was that they preferred to fantasize about creating, or having someone else create for them, elaborate safe spaces which would require massive amounts of work and financing to create and maintain rather than exerting the small amount of effort necessary to organize or even attend a local meet-up at an existing restaurant or park.
Are there things that newer/younger otherkin can do for the community? Absolutely. But unfortunately for most new otherkin, they’re not the glamorous things they’d like. Generally, in your first year or two in the community, counseling newly awakened otherkin is a bad idea. Sadly, it’s become more of the norm with the death of certain mailing lists and forums dedicated to helping newly awakening otherkin and the relative inactivity of older otherkin on the NewKin list, but quite frankly younger otherkin don’t have the experience necessary to do so. I think that’s one of the things contributing to tumblr’s accept-anything culture, frankly. Those trying to provide support to others don’t have the experience to recognize probable trolls, roleplayers, those who make up stories or exaggerate in order to seem “more otherkin”, those who get swept up in a fad rather than actual self-discovery, those who are looking into being otherkin when they should be looking into mental help, or those who are engaged in negative behaviors and are using being otherkin as an excuse. Nor, should they recognize them, have they developed any skill with dealing with them.
The truth is, a lot of younger otherkin want to be “older otherkin”, even “community leaders”, before they’re ready for it, and before they’ve spent the time actively involved in our community necessary to earn that. I see that in the insistence that newer otherkin should not be seen as “less” than older otherkin, even though they clearly have less knowledge, less experience, and most of the time less maturity as well simply due to the factor of physical age. I think that desire to become an “elder” or “community leader” is a natural impulse, and I think our community has erred in not providing a clear path for newer otherkin towards earning those roles. But simply trying to take on the role as newer otherkin isn’t doing either you or the community any favors. Nor, I think, would simply telling you that real elders or leaders in our community are the ones giving back to it and helping to build community, because that would completely skirt the skill-set issue.
Instead, here are some thoughts about what younger otherkin *can* do: you can start lists, forums, social networking groups, community journals, even meet-up groups. If you do that, you’ll find more success by trying to fill a niche that hasn’t been addressed yet than by duplicating what is already available. Though if you do any of these things, it’s important not to let it go to your head. Don’t try to give others advice on subjects that you’re not an expert on. If you’re speaking from your own experience, make that clear, but try to have a realistic view of how limited your experience actually is at this stage. And invite some older otherkin as well, who can provide a broader experience. Doesn’t have to be me, roguesareth, or anyone else on tumblr. There are hundreds of older otherkin in the community, there are more than a few that make me look and feel young by comparison. Find one you trust and respect, who you’re sure is knowledgeable. Hell, find a few and compare their experiences and perspectives.
More importantly, participate. Be active on lists, forums, social networking groups, community journals, meet-up groups, gathers, chats, etc. Share what experiences you can, but more importantly listen and ask questions. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. And there’s nothing shameful in taking the time to learn before declaring oneself an expert. In fact, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Yes, as newer otherkin you’re probably going to face some hard questions on lists and forums. You may not be used to that, particularly if your initial experience of the community has been here on tumblr. But the questions you find hard or harsh right now? Actually aren’t hard at all when you’ve taken the time to understand your otherkin nature from the inside out. If you haven’t done so yet, you’re missing out on a lot of what being otherkin really means, and such questions are intended to help you start asking yourself the tough questions that allow you to do that. And most older otherkin aren’t going to take you or your input particularly seriously until you can show that you do have such an understanding. That you have the capacity to bring up treasures from the depths of your being, rather than just wading in the shallows of your otherness.
TL/DR? All opinions aren’t created equal. Experience does matter. And Midian is where the monsters live.
For the people out there who think otherkin is an internet fad, this is essentially a history of otherkin and Therians through the years dating back to the 70’s
For those who don’t want to access it via Google Docs:
Also, I highly recommend one of Orion’s other works, a directory of otherkin writings. It’s the closest thing we have to an assembled index to essays within the community and it gives a pretty good overview of the community’s thoughts on a wide variety of matters:
The thing is….I can kind of see where some therians are coming from by dividing therians up. I don’t, however, agree with the legitimacy claims. However, somebody who *is* Wolf (or whatever animal), through and through, “tastes” differently, energetically or however, you want to describe it, from someone for whom it is relatively new, at least from my perception. I can get a decent sense of how long someone has been aware of their Wolf from how they “taste”, and also how strongly they identify as that. There’s a difference, when it’s someone who knows the subtle language of body position, and who recognizes the energy signature that, for “real” wolves, is overlaid with the sense of smell we’ll never have.
This doesn’t mean that the newly Awakened can’t “read” strongly as their animal. Some people just seem to have a better understanding of being an animal early on. Others take a while, getting cluttered up with legends and lore and the human interpretation of animals, rather than simply *being* that animal. You can identify as a therian for years, and the concept of *being* that animal is still brand new to you when you encounter it.
Humans don’t always understand wolves, and so myths arise. Wolves don’t howl at the moon–the moon only provides better light to hunt by, which means howling to bring the pack together for a hunt. Wolves don’t romanticize solitude–it’s anathema to us. Wolves don’t just take the sick, or old, or young–wolves will eat whatever they can catch. And, depending on the time of year, wolves may subsist entirely on small game, without the dangers of having one’s head split or ribs crushed by an elk’s hoof, or of being gored by an antler.
* I am fascinated with vampires!
Happens every other day. People get actively interested in vampires, pixies, fairies, werewolves, therianthropes, cars, lightbulbs, witchcraft, magick, reading, history, physics… or Formula 1 racing. Based on that alone… really, it doesn’t make you special. It just makes you a person fascinated with vampires.
Plus, it is rather safe to assume that your obsession/fascination/active interest is more geared towards those vampires you find in fiction instead of those you find on these boards.
Let’s face it: We are not all beautiful, seductive, rich or happy; we still have to pay bills, taxes; we still have squabbles with our landlords or parents; we still have to go to school or hold a job or attend university-lectures at ungodly hours in the morning; we have no super-abilities; and most of us are a pretty moody and angry bunch.
In short: Being fascinated/obsessed/etc. with anything doesn’t make you that thing. If you are fascinated by sports cars — do you really think you are or are becoming a Porsche?
If you’re just fascinated with the reality that we so-called real vampires™ face, then you are of course more than welcome to hang around the boards and chat with us. You don’t have to be a vampire in order to do that. Just accept that a fascination with something, as intense it might be, doesn’t turn you into the object of your fascination.
That is just a short little thought. I think a lot of people ignorant about Otherkin, especially teens and those who “want” to become Otherkin think that we are free from human life. Well, we aren’t free from human life. We are a part of it because we just happen to be in human bodies. So because of that, and because we live in human society, we have to deal with human things too. So that means…
Otherkin have to pay bills, put gas in cars, own a home, go to school and work, raise a family (if one desires to do so), deal with idiots, get angry, buy groceries, and do all those little human things that make up human life. But also, us Otherkin have to deal with the bad things such as getting sick, getting in car wrecks, dealing with threats, thefts and other harms, deal with the deaths of loved ones, get depressed and smash their computer when it disobeys. Otherkin do human things too!
How do I know I’m not crazy?
You don’t. :-p
Craziness is also often subjective, and sometimes it can be a lot of fun!
Don’t refrain from expressing yourself just because other people are likely to think you “crazy”. At the same time, though, don’t put yourself in positions where it’s likely you’ll be adversely affected because you do something “draconic” or “crazy”. Being able to express yourself is important, but sometimes that comes at a cost — it’s up to you how much you’re willing to risk.
Draconity isn’t a mental illness. Mental illness is defined by behavioural dysfunction and/or emotional disturbance. Draconity doesn’t necessarily lead to either dysfunctional behaviour or extreme, disturbed emotions, and it isn’t defined by those things either. You can be a calm, happy person, good at your job, with a loving family, and also be a dragon.
Of course, draconity can also be upsetting and difficult. Awakening, confronting traumatic past-life memories, or facing discrimination or taunts can be very upsetting. It’s important not to ignore the real causes of your emotions, just as it’s important to not over-dramatise them.
Some people characterise the belief that you are a dragon as a delusion, which they’d consider a sign of mental disorder. Again, it’s important to have your own functional ideas about the nature of reality, and the nature of your beliefs, to determine whether this “mental disorder” is an actual concern, or just a semantic trick.
All the dragons I’ve known who have told therapists about their draconity were told that there’s nothing wrong with the belief that you are a dragon so long as it doesn’t stop you from being a functional person.
Ideally, exploring draconity should actually help you in your life, not impede your functioning