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o t h e r k i n s u r v e y
These are questions from Lupa's survey which she used to write A Field Guide to Otherkin. I sent these to her in February 2006. Therefore, not everything in it is exactly what I think now; take with grain of salt. I've edited out the questions which were merely demographic in nature.
What type(s) of Otherkin do you identify as? (ie, dragon, elf, faerie, vampire, therianthrope, etc.) What are the physical/etc. characteristics unique to your race/species, and to you as an individual? Does your present body reflect any of these traits? Do you ever experience phantom limbs correlating to your Otherkin self(s)?
Primarily sidhe, secondarily celestial (as in star-being, not as in angelic). Sidhe doesn't have a lot of unique characteristics (one of the things that confuses us with elves and faery), being in the general class of "humanoid", although mostly non-solid. We have a particular radiance that faery may not and elves generally do not have. I am very uncertain about whether we had wings, although my current body appears to have a set (etheric, that is) and I occasionally experience them as "phantom limbs". In this body, at least, I also seem to have an extra (or at least separate) "chakra" which I refer to as "my star", and is a focus of glamour in the body. (I was somewhat surprised when Dan O'Dea, whom I've known online for a long time and respect greatly in matters of sidhe/elven experience, verified that such a thing existed in sidhe and that it wasn't just me, that he and other sidhe had them too.)
The celestial is, well, extremely large. I mean, like, star to star-cluster or possibly galaxy-sized for the large ones (perhaps those are a collective of some kind - I've been re-thinking this some recently, but haven't come to any real conclusions). Insubstantial, often shapeless. I don't think I have any physical traits that reflect this, but then how could one?
What do you consider to be the origin of your Otherkin side(s)? (ie, past life/reincarnation, personification of a personality aspect, etc.) In other words, where did your Otherkin self/selves come from?
Essentially reincarnation, but it's not quite as clear as "I was in that body and now I'm in this one", partly because of the non-solid-body nature of my primary identifications. More like that essence is now in this body, or something.
How does being Otherkin affect your spiritual/religious life? Do you practice magic(k) at all, and if so, is being Otherkin a factor in that?
It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable with standard human religions. Paganism fits the best, as it does for many kin, but there are still some parts that I wonder about. For example, gods: these are human myths, so are they humans' gods? Might some of them be more universal than that (for example, a whole-Earth goddess (vs local land goddess) is likely to be to be the same all over, no matter who you are; or a star-goddess would have to be pretty darn universal, I should think), thus appropriate for non-humans to also relate to?
Ritual forms - there is something about standard human ritual that grates a number of kin, and I'm one of them. I find better comfort in "traditional witchcraft" (that is, recreationist, neo-traditional, not traditionalist British Wicca) because of its earthier, wilder forms, but I am still trying to craft a syncretic path that involves elements of that while being specifically "otherkin" or "sidhe" in nature. (that is, I want to bring forward what my spiritual practices would have been as sidhe; I don't as yet have any specific memories of them.)
As far as magic specifically, yes, I think it does affect my style. I actually do very little magic for the standard purposes like getting money. Mostly I do "enchantment", which I think of as a fey twist on "charging", and energetic/magical practices that have to do with personal development and communication with the Otherworld.
If you have practiced magic(k), have you ever participated in glamourbombing? What sorts of tools did you use?
Yes, I have done glamourbombing, but I have never thought of that as "practicing magic". I suppose there is a magical element because (IMO/IME) it involves a glamour "payload", that is, if you used an item it should be enchanted. The question about tools doesn't make a lot of sense to me - my computer and printer? A costume? I mean...
Have you ever questioned your sanity? Has anyone else ever questioned your sanity? How do you deal with either/both situations? Have you ever received therapy, voluntary or involuntary, due to being Otherkin?
Questioned my own: Occasionally, but considering that I am very functional even by mainstream society standards (e.g. full time job, bought a new car, no debts, good health, etc), not very often or very hard. Others: Hmm, not outright, that I can recall. Therapy: No.
How "uncloseted" are you about being Otherkin? Who knows, who doesn't and why? If you've told people, what was their reaction? Did it change over time?
I maintain a "need to know" policy. I don't bring it up in places where it's not necessary information. This means that my parents don't know, I don't mention it on pagan lists or on rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc, people at work don't know, etc. As for why? I just don't want to get into it. I guess there might be some people whose reactions would be neutral but I'm sure that my mother's, for example, would not. So basically, by and large the only people who know are other otherkin. A few of my other friends know probably through reading my website. I don't exactly hide it (it's easy enough to figure out) but I don't wear it on my sleeve either.
Do you know any other Otherkin, in person and/or online? What's your impression of the Otherkin community, both locally and more widespread? Have you been to any Otherkin gatherings?
Yes, tons of them. I've been involved in lists since spring/summer 1998 and have been going to gathers since WtT 2 in 1999 (I've been to 14 events total, between WtT, KN, Dancing the Endless Dream, and Hollow Hills, plus minimeets). My impression of the local community has been mostly "non-existence". :P This isn't literally true, but the population certainly seems to be much less dense than it is back in the NY/PA/DC area or in the Toronto area, for whatever reason.
In terms of "personality", my impression now is different than it was back in the late 90s. Something has changed. Back in the day (that is, "the day" in my own personal timeline) you did have some pretty whacked-out people, but everyone had an intensity and a sincerity that IMO is born of having "awakened" on their own, before finding others online. (Myself not included, I should note.) Over the years there has been not only growth but dilution. We seem to have said most everything that can be said online and there's a general feeling of lack of magic (or of spirit-power) and "so what?"-ness.
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