Useful Notes: Otherkin
Welcome to the world of Otherkin, a particularly odd subculture that has recently gained some attention online. There are several variations on the Otherkin phenomenon, but at it's most basic level it can defined as individuals with an overwhelming sense of having the wrong species. What species the the Otherkin do feel like can range from any ordinary animal to dragons, elves, angels, demons, vampires, lycanthropes and basically every fantastic being under the sun you've ever heard of and a considerable number that you haven't. In some cases, the otherkin claim that their experience is similar to that of transgender people in that they are born in a body that doesn't match with the way they feel spiritually/intellectually. While some strains of Otherkin do claim their connection to animals is a spiritual one, typically most of the aforementioned animals will be an animal that's currently popular. Contrary to popular belief, Otherkin is not directly tied to the Furry Fandom. There are Otherkin who are not furries, and vice-versa, and while there are Otherkin furries, it is not a requirement for either group to belong to the other. Many in the Otherkin community tend to dislike furries for "fooling around", and many furries tend to dislike Otherkin for "taking things too seriously." A subgroup of Otherkin is therianthropy. This belief is similar, but limits itself to real animals (though that doesn't stop some Dragon-kin from considering themselves Therians because there totally could be a real animal that is just like their particular dragon on some other planet or alternate universe or whatever.) Some therians prefer to be disassociated with Otherkin because of the "fluff" the latter group has (not always unjustifiably) associated with it. However, most at least agree that the two groups are very similar, and many simply use Otherkin as a blanket term. Another subgroup would be vampires/vampyres and Fae. These usually have no connection to Furry Fandom at all (and associating them with such may be a Berserk Button) because they generally have little or nothing to do with animal motifs. They can also range from people who fully believe themselves to be human but are simply roleplaying, to people who believe that vampire or faerie mythology had a grain of truth to it and that the spiritual archetype describes their feelings/drives/emotions/physical needs, to people who actually believe they are vampires or faeries. For some this can be a part of religion as well (there is an entire subgroup in Neo-Paganism devoted to faerie magick). The vampire/vampyre subgroup also has a split: those who actually consume blood, and those who believe that Life Energy is real in some form or another and consume it. That said, neither (except for the rare Serial Killer - which almost anyone active in the subculture will reject as a representative) generally believe in harming human beings for this - most of the "blood" type either engage in consensual bloodplay or consume animal blood/meat, and most of the "energy" type see themselves as "feeding" by simply being around other people or by sex. Yet another non-animal, non-furry subgroup are the "celestials/angels" and "demons/daemons/chaos entities." Again, these can range from people who are simply roleplaying, to those who believe that mythological and religious stories of spiritual entities have a grain of truth that describes their lived experience, to people who actually believe they are such a being or have invited such a being into themselves. These have had actual varying degrees of acceptance in some recognized religious and mythological systems (some forms of paganism and Neo-Paganism embrace and play with the concepts, while some forms of Christianity believe the concepts are real but evil and to be rejected) Due to this, they are actually the most "mainstream" of otherkin and may not even see themselves as part of the "otherkin" community per se - simply as strong believers in a concept of their religion. Two somewhat connected but different concepts, one more tied to reincarnation and the other a variant on the "spiritual being" variant above in a form of reincarnation, are the "old soul" and the "walk-in." Unlike Otherkin, in both cases, one of these can be (and most often is) considered to be a human being, though occasionally these are seen as gods/goddesses/angels/demons/etcetera as per the "spiritual being" variant of otherkin.
- In the "old soul" variant, someone is seen as to have been reincarnated in one of the truest senses of the word - to either wholly or partially be the return of someone who has died and/or the human form of a god/goddess/etc, reborn as a newborn child. There are provisions in some existing world religions for this: it was present in ancient Greek religion, it is still present some sects of Buddhism and Hinduism, and it could even be argued that even Christianity featured it in the case of Jesus (after all, what soul would be older than that of God?). Therefore, while it is loosely tied to otherkin and shares similar roots mythologically (and some people who consider themselves one of these will identify as otherkin) it is a fairly mainstream religious concept, at least when expressed in certain ways.
- In the "walk-in" variant, someone is seen to have become a Real Life Willing Channeler or Wetware Body at any point in their life for any of the above (whether dead human or animal or spiritual being). This is very similar to Otherkin, except it can and often does include humans as well as/instead of animals or spiritual beings. It's also an element of some mainstream religions (generally animist, pagan, and neopagan belief systems, and some forms of Christianity believe it exists but also believe it must be exorcised.). It also tends to be shared rather than a singular personality (e.g. two or more "souls" sharing one body, or the body being controlled by one soul who lets the others in as "guests"), though some people claiming the experience have claimed to have become their walk-in entirely, or have integrated due to viewing their experience as a result of trauma.