The Otherkin Subculture: An interview in four parts
Had you heard of otherkin before reading this hub?
What exactly are "otherkin"?
The term "otherkin" is shared by a wide spectrum of people who have at least one thing in common: though they have human bodies, they believe their souls to be anything but. Depending on the individual, this is believed to the result of reincarnation, a spiritual connection with a specific creature, psychology, or the belief that their Creator intended them to have a human body and the soul of another creature. Some also believe their family line contained a creature at some point (a bear or wolf, for example), which resulted in the person in question exhibiting what they believe are traits of that animal.
Before we go any farther, it's important to make it clear that there are many different varieties of otherkin out there. And within each of those varieties, there are subgroups with their own subdivisions. Though somebody may describe themselves as a certain type of otherkin, their personal beliefs may differ from that of the group.
According to Otherkin.net, a website whose members are spread across the globe, "otherkin" is not a proper noun, but rather an adjective. You can't be an Otherkin, but you can be described as otherkin.
The site goes on to explain that "while mythological species (elves, satyrs, fairies, dragons, and so on) are widely accepted as being included under the term 'Otherkin', many people in the community prefer to include aliens, vampires, therianthropes, furries, extraterrestrial humans, and other nonhuman races." Essentially, otherkin can have connections with nearly any non-human creature or species.
Common terminology you'll hear while discussing otherkin
Having more than one "kin type" or connection to more than one species.
Short for "therianthrope" or one who has a connection with an animal that lives or has lived on Earth. This term is often used interchangeably with "otherkin."
The realization that one is not entirely human.
he belief that after death, one may return to the earth to begin a new life, possibly in a different physical form.
A change of one's frame of mind from human to that of an animal.
Having a deep connection with a fictional character.
On January 2, 2015, I posted a message on Tumblr asking for a message from anyone who considered themselves otherkin and who were interested in speaking to me about it for this hub. From there, four individuals stepped forward, agreeing to email me at their preferred degree of anonymity.
INTERVIEW #1: Evan
Ana: Which country are you from?
Evan: I'm from Canada!
Ana: And do you mind if I ask your general age?
Evan: I'm an older teenager.
Ana: Are you still in school or have you begun working?
Evan: I'm in my technical last year of highshool, but will be going back for another year. I haven't been able to find a job despite looking.
Ana: Which specific type of Otherkin do you identify as?
Evan: I am a polykin, meaning I have many kintypes. The way I experience being kin ranges from believing I am a reincarnation of an animal/character to a deep deep personal connection to the animal/character. I feel a connection to Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: FiM seasons 1-4 and Equestria Girls.
I am also fictionkin with Harry Potter, but not canon and this connection is a little more difficult to define in simple terms like ''fictionkin'' as I believe I was reincarnated as Harry Potter multiple times and lived very different but very similar lives. This belief ties in with the multiverse theory that anything can exist anywhere at any one time and that ''souls'' (if you believe in them) can cross over universes into other bodies once they have learned their lesson. I felt the need to add this as is is both separate and the same from my other fictionkin identity.
Ana: Would the term "fictionkin" apply to you?
Evan: Yes, I feel the term fictionkin apples to me.
Ana: When did you first realize you are otherkin?
Evan: I first realized I was otherkin, or that I had these beliefs, at a very young age. Around 7 I started to believe I was reincarnated from an animal but never really knew what kind, from there it grew and once I learned the term otherkin I felt an immediate connection to it.
Ana: You said you believe in the existence of souls. Is there a particular religion you follow or identify with?
Evan: I don't follow or identify with any specific religion but I do believe in a higher power.
"The way I experience being kin ranges from believing I am a reincarnation of an animal/character to a deep deep personal connection to the animal/character."— Evan
Ana: What kind of impact has being otherkin had on your life?
Evan: I feel being otherkin has had a very positive impact on my life. It's helped me find close friends who also hold my beliefs and also helps explain what I believe to be memories from my lives as Harry Potter.
Ana: Have you told anyone in your life about being otherkin?
Evan: Most of my friends know, both online and offline but I have not mentioned the specific word otherkin to my family. My mother, however, does know I believe I was reincarnated. I've just never brought up the term "otherkin" with her.
Ana: Are you a member of any online communities?
Evan: The only online community I'm part of where I am openly otherkin is Tumblr, I used to frequent the otherkin tags before they became filled with hate and found some of my friends that way. Other otherkin friends I found through transkids4transkids.tumblr.com and their otherkin tag. As well as one friend offline who discovered they were otherkin then I opened them up to the option. I think most of my otherkin friends and I are just that; friends that bonded over a specific part of our identities.
Ana: Are you transgender, too?
Evan: Yes, I am genderflux!
Ana: I've seen several people posting drawings of their "kinselves" online. Do you have any pictures of yourself as any your otherkin identities?
Evan: I used to, but my identity has changed a lot and with it how I understand my kin-ness. So other then the fanart done of my fictionkin selves, no, there is no art done by me of me.
Ana: I've read that some otherkin experience "mental shifts" where their frame of mind slips into that of the species or specific creature or character they're connected to. Have you ever experienced this?
Evan: Yes I have experienced this multiple times. Although it has always been into the mindset of Harry Potter, I however believe for me this is a coping method in stressful situations instead of an every day occurrence.
Evan has provided a link to his Tumblr page:
- stims loudly
Hi my names Evan but you can call me anything, really. I'm otherkin, genderflux, and use xe/xem/xyr pronouns. All other info can be found on my about page, have fun!!!
INTERVIEW #2: Anonymous
The person interviewed has elected to remain anonymous.
Ana: Which country are you from? And do you mind if I ask your general age?
Anonymous: I'm from Europe, but I'd rather not be more specific. I'm in my mid twenties, which means I'm rather late to awaken.
Ana: What is the general age otherkin awaken?
Anonymous: The general consensus is that it most often happens sometime during puberty.
Ana: Which specific type of otherkin do you identify as?
Anonymous: I am a therian- that is, I identify as an animal that lives or has lived on earth. I am a bird, but I'm unsure which one as of now.
Ana: When did you first realize you were otherkin?
Anonymous: What pushed it was that I started experiencing astral limbs. They're like phantom limbs in that you feel limbs that are not there, with the difference that they've also never been there. In my case, that was wings. It's so far the only kind of astral limb I felt, though.
Ana: Have you told anyone in your life about being otherkin?
Anonymous: No, and I don't think I will anytime soon, if ever.
Ana: Is there a way you express yourself as an otherkin in your daily life?
Anonymous: I go birdwatching, which I have started after (and because of) awakening, but as far as voluntary expressions go, that's about it.
Ana: Are there any involuntary expressions you experience?
Anonymous: I'd rather not talk too much about that, I'm afraid. My apologies.
Ana: Not a problem. Looking back, were there any clues when you were younger that you were otherkin?
Anonymous: Many of my involuntary therian traits have shown from an early age or in some cases were even stronger back then. My awakening wasn't that I started showing traits, it's that I connected the dots.
What pushed it was that I started experiencing astral limbs. They're like phantom limbs in that you feel limbs that are not there, with the difference that they've also never been there. In my case, that was wings.— Anonymous
Ana: Other than birdwatching, what are your hobbies? And do you mind if I ask which field of work you're in?
Anonymous: Reading, mostly. I also like cooking. As for my field of work, it's IT-related.
Ana: Has awakening as otherkin had a positive or negative impact on your life?
Anonymous: It didn't have too much of a direct impact, truth be told. It helped me make sense of myself and feel better about some of my traits, but ultimately it isn't going to help me with the problems I have in life. I still need to work on them.
Ana: What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have about otherkin?
Anonymous: Hmm... probably that we believe we're physically nonhuman, that we're furries who took it too far, that being otherkin means having a connection WITH something nonhuman rather than identifying AS it or that we all play pretend/have a mental illness.
Ana: What's the one thing you wish the general public knew about otherkin?
Anonymous: I don't know. Probably the correct definition, but truth be told, I don't see any huge particular need for everyone to know about the concept. For me, it's a spiritual belief, a private thing, and I don't feel any particular need to inform everyone about, for example, tarot either.
Ana: Do you mind if I ask which religion you associate with, if any?
Anonymous: I'm agnostic with a handful of loosely connected spiritual beliefs.
Ana: Are you familiar with "objectkin" and "fictionkin"? What is your opinion of them?
Anonymous: Yes, I am. I am of the opinion that both groups are plagued by trolls, fakers and misguided people (say, someone who really likes a character and thinks that counts as fictionkin). As for my personal opinion of how valid it is? I don't know. I'll say I don't understand it, but condemning everything you don't understand is foolish in my opinion.
For me, it's a spiritual belief, a private thing, and I don't feel any particular need to inform everyone about, for example, tarot either.— Anonymous
Ana: Though there isn't anyone in your life you've told about being otherkin, are you a part of an online community or other group of any sort?
Anonymous: Yes, I am a member of several otherkin-related forums.
Ana: I've seen quite a few people in online communities drawing pictures of their "kinselves." Do you have a picture? What do you look like?
Anonymous: I'm not good at drawing at all, so any such endeavour is ultimately doomed to fail. Either way, I don't even know my exact species- so no, I don't know what my kinself looked like.
Ana: Where did you first hear the term "otherkin"?
Anonymous: I don't exactly remember. I knew the term long before I actually looked into it, but I don't know when I first heard it anymore.
Ana: I've read that some otherkin experience "mental shifts" where their frame of mind slips into that of the species or specific creature they're connected to. Have you ever experienced this?
Anonymous: Yes, under specific circumstances it does happen to me.
INTERVIEW #3: Alacri
Ana: Which country are you from?
Alacri: I'm from the US, specifically PA.
Ana: Do you mind if I ask your general age?
Alacri: Age-wise, I'm 16, although I've identified as otherkin since I found the word, when I was 11. It just put a name to how I'd been feeling for my entire life.
Ana: Which type of otherkin to you identify as?
Alacri: I'm foxkin, which also count as me being a fox therian.
Ana: You said learning the word "otherkin" put a name to how you'd felt all along. How was it you'd felt?
Alacri: It was an odd kind of mismatch of my instincts versus my mind. As silly as it sounds, I would bark or growl in response to some things, I would play pretend games where I was a canine much longer than my peers (and had an interest in continuing to play them even when I got older) and I found myself actively seeking games where I could role play as a canine. I felt oddly drawn to and, in a way, related to them.
Alacri has provided a link to his Tumblr page:
- Welcome home.
Hello! My name is Alacri and I'm a fox with a blog and too much time on her hands. Check my about!
INTERVIEW #4: Nell
Ana: Which country do you come from?
Nell: I hail from the midwestern/Southern United States and have lived in the same state my entire life, aside for three months.
Ana: Would you mind if I ask your general age?
Nell: I'm in my 20's.
Ana: And would you mind if I ask which field of work you're in?
Nell: My last job was in food service. I'm currently unemployed, as I needed to get some health stuff sorted out. I'm hoping to get a job in retail, or possibly food service again.
Ana: Which type of otherkin do you identify as?
Nell: I am a demonkin, specifically a shard of the King Belial. This means I was made from this, that and a bit of his soul to serve a purpose for him. I hecked that up, actually. Pretty... pretty badly. Honestly, the only reason I still exist is because I hecked it up so damn violently that he was curious how exactly I managed to do it. I'm basically kept around as a point of interest and more or less allowed control over my own life and faculties because my choices amuse him. On occasion, he uses me to gather information via some odd and likely cruel experiment. Influences in my life, small bits of control over my form. More often than not, he lets me be and tolerates my offerings and somewhat obsessive thankfulness very well.
Ana: That's fascinating. I've heard some people use the term "awakening" in reference to when they realized they were otherkin. When did you have this experience? And out of curiosity, may I ask what that purpose was?
Nell: I never had an awakening, per say! I've simply always felt this way. I used to make a lot of jokes. A friend decided I was a vampire when we were wee babes. My awakening, if you will, was simply me realizing that my beliefs classified me as otherkin. In all honesty, the process of figuring this out has gone similarly (not the same) to figuring out I was male. Otherkin is not related to gender in the slightest, for the record. A lot of what I know, I know through talking with entities, about my past lives. Meditation has revealed a few things.
My original purpose was to remain an angel and kinda be an undercover spy though f*ck if I know how that'd work. Dude's a wee bit mad. He's the Angel of Hostility and the King of Lies. He works for both Yaweh and Lucifer, technically, but his agenda is entirely his own. So he stationed me upstairs some several centuries ago, and I basically said f*ck it and stabbed a throne in the face after a long bout of planning because I wasn't falling quickly enough.
Ana: You mentioned you meditate. As a demonkin, is there a religion you identify with?
Nell: Yes, I do have a religion, somewhat. I'm and eclectic pagan, with demonolator tendencies. My code of ethics is my own, which is not as ominous as it sounds and I'm pretty aggressive about being a good person. I'm a devotee of Vepar, who's a great duke in the Ars Goetia.
Ana: Would you mind elaborating on "demonolator" and who "Vepar" is?
Nell: Yep yep! A demonolator is one who worships demons. I dunno that I do much worship, but I do pray to her. Vepar is the 42nd spirit of the Ars Goetia, a book in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Her realms encompass the sea aspects and lots of things dealing with rot, death, and disease. Originally, she guided armour laden ships through storms and festered the wounds of the enemies of her summoners with worms. She's grown considerably since then.
My code of ethics is my own, which is not as ominous as it sounds, and I'm pretty aggressive about being a good person.— Nell
Ana: When you say that you didn't have an awakening and "always felt this way," which way do you mean? What signs led you to believe you were different from the other humans around you?
Nell: The fact that I'm different from other humans has always been plainly and violently obvious to both me and the other humans around me. Stranger still, I revelled in my strangeness. I have a very hard time comprehending a lot of common human behaviors, and I had very few friends growing up. I've always been able to see things others can't. I've always had a morbid interest in death and monsters. I had my first suicide plan at six and began lusting after my own death at ten. When younger, I was happiest when running around outside, pretending to be some huge monster.
My sister and I had a game called "werewolf tag" in which one of us was a werewolf and the other was a villager. The villager had to flee, or they got the sh*t tackled out of them and then bit until they screamed.
In kindergarten, my sole friend and I organized wars on the playground. We armed our legions with thorned sticks and posted sentinels to keep the teachers from putting us in time out.
I blatantly refused in any pretend game to be a human. At ten years old, I was told I was a vampire. I found this exciting and went with it, though it did not feel right. That group of friends explained to me everything I'd been hiding from at night. They also explained the soothing humming and warm hands that weren't there. With them, I learned about worlds outside of our own and within it. I pieced together myself. I was second in command, our leaders favourite. My authority was not questioned, and I was feared.
Cindy, [a friend from the old group], sprayed holy water on me, hoping to drive off a possession she assumed was happening based on my descriptions. What actually happened was my skin burned and went red. Following Yaweh was never appealing. Churches made me feel uneasy, at best, and sick now.
I spent my middle school years spewing death threats so vile they'd make Satan's a****** clench. I never got in trouble. The fear continued until I eventually dropped out in favor of online school.
My body abhors being awake in the day light. It fights me continuously on normal sleep patterns. My cycle, when unmedicated, is 24 hours awake, 12 asleep.
I've always been very, very different. I have never honestly belonged anywhere on this planet. I got my first glimpse of home through a vision sent by Belial and I spent the next three days crying.
I've always been very, very different. I have never honestly belonged anywhere on this planet.— Nell
Ana: Have you told anyone in your life about being otherkin?
Nell: Lots of people know I'm otherkin. My sister does. I met my girlfriend because she's otherkin. Many, if not all of my friends know. I told my parents, but they've likely forgotten. I neglected to mention it to my coworkers, when I had them.
Ana: Do you ever experience "mental shifts"?
Nell: Ah, once, possibly, but that was induced by another demon. There are times when I feel things more, I suppose, but they don't effect much. I get mildly grumpy because I never seem to be holding a steak or flying when it happens for some strange reason.
Ana: What do you think is the biggest misconception about otherkin?
Nell: Probably that it's somehow a gender. Or that it's a mental illness.
Nell has provided a link to his Tumblr page:
- The Liar-King's Pride
I am Nell. It's a pleasure. Information and navigation can be found to your right. Commission and reading information is the odd link out.