Sunday, September 23, 2018

The wild side

“A Field Guide to Otherkin” seems to be the only book available on the zany youth culture known as Otherkin. The most conspicuous subset of this milieu are the Therians, who claim to be animals. They should not be confused with Furries, who dress like animals but don't claim to actually *be* animals. Therians, curiously, dress like humans. Sometimes, the Phantom roams the streets as an ordinary man! Other kinds of Otherkin include people who claim to be elves, dragons, griffins, vampires, angels or even characters from popular fiction, usually Japanese anime. The author, Lupa, is sympathetic to Otherkin and claims to be a wolf (Lupa means she-wolf in the ancient human tongue of Latin). Lupa's perspective is less overtly subcultural, and centers more on spirituality. There are obvious similarities between the Otherkin concept and certain spiritual or religious notions, including totemism, shamanic “shape shifting” and belief in reincarnation. Judging by her other books, Lupa practices scrying, shamanism and ritual magic. There are also connections between Otherkin and certain modern forms of “spirituality”, more specifically fantasy literature and belief in alien contact. Overall, however, I must say that I'm pretty skeptical towards this phenomenon. It feels more like LARP-ing than Neo-Paganism, and in fact looks like a parody of the latter. That being said, if you absolutely want to know what's up at the wilder sides of the web, this “field guide” is probably a must. A similar book is “Earth Angel Realms” by Doreen Virtue. Although it doesn't deal with Otherkin per se, it does mention similar groups within the New Age milieu. Happy hunting!

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