The following is just my opinion, and should be taken as such. I don't expect everyone to agree with all of this, but do hope you will read with an open mind and think about what I have to say.
1) What exactly does the term otherkin mean?
The term otherkin refers to someone who thinks they have a non-human soul, or a non-human body. I believe that thinking is incorrect though, and see the term merely as a label that is needed by the physical brain to understand things (I shall explain further later).
Some common otherkin labels are; Vampire, Were, Dragon, Elf, Demon, and Angel (There are many more people use).
I did once, want to use one of these labels. At first I thought Vampire would fit. Some people were calling me that, but after awhile, it just didn't feel right. So I continued my search. Someone mentioned Nephilim to me, while the label Angel seemed possible. But none of them ever felt right, and as I became more spiritually opened, it felt like my soul took offense to being stuck with a simplistic label created by the physical brain.
More about this later.
2) Some say they don't have human bodies?
Yes, some do. Some point to rare disorders or diseases they may have as proof they aren't human. Some point to genetic aberrations and/or mutations as proof of not being human. Why? Maybe because the term human feels too limiting for what they feel inside. Maybe they can't get over the fact that they are physically like the rest of the human race. Or in the case of someone having a rare disorder/disease, genetic aberrations, or mutation, wouldn't he or she feel better if he or she decided it wasn't just a fluke, and that it meant something more?
3) So what about the non-human soul thing?
I don't believe there is a difference between souls in terms of human and non-human. I believe a soul is just a soul. What makes them different though, is the amount and kind of experiences the souls have had.
There are different kinds of experiences they can have. They can be here on the physical plane, in a physical body. Not just a human body, I do believe a long time ago, maybe even before humans existed, there were other kinds of sentient life forms. Maybe not on this planet, but they were somewhere. There could still be some that exist now on other planets as well. The soul takes one of these bodies to come here and experience and learn. Some souls have had more experiences here than other souls. Some have had more experiences in human life forms than others, and some have had more experiences in non-human life forms than others. And these different levels and kinds of experiences does affect how the soul grows and develops.
The other way the soul can experience is in the non-physical world, which is a place where there is a limit to the amount it can experience and learn from. Having this physical world to come to, helps lift that limit.
As the soul learns and experiences more things, the knowledge it gains and it's experiences can shape and help develop it. It can grow and become something that seems entirely different than before it had learned or experienced as much. But does that make it something different? No.
A very crude physical world example would be two people named Jack and Bill, who are twins. Jack grows up to be a professional athlete, while Bill decides to go into accounting. Jack has taken the title, Professional Athlete for his current role in the world.. While Bill has taken the title Accountant for his current role in the world. Does that change who they are? No. Though Jack may appear more physically fit than Bill, they are still Jack and Bill, twin brothers. The titles they have taken does not change who they are. The titles are just labels put on the knowledge they have gained and what they have experienced.
These labels though, as with otherkin labels put on the soul, can be limiting to it's growth (More on this later).
4) But I am a so and so, because I need to do so and so!
For example, you might be saying right now, "but I am a vampire, because I need to drain energy!"
But are you really? Perhaps at this point in your soul's development it just needs to take energy from outside sources. Having a need to take energy is just a characteristic of your soul. It doesn't make you a vampire.
That's what I'm trying to get at. Grouping together characteristics of yourself and your soul, and labeling them, doesn't make you that label. It's just our physical brain's need for understanding those, that cause that.
5) What's this stuff about our physical brain needing labels?
This goes along with how our physical brain's work and how we are raised . As we grow up, everything is given a label. Dog and cat. Tree and Bush. Air and Water. When we go into middle and high school, we get labels for people; Geek, Nerd, Jock, Prep, Goth, etc. Labels put on other kids by other kids based on perceived characteristics. Do these labels explain who these kids are? Not even close.
Now when it comes to the spiritual world and soul, the physical brain needs to label things to help understand them. This can help someone understand too, but puts up walls and limits to one's ability to grow spiritually in this life. What do I mean? Well going back to my crude physical example with Jack and Bill, if Jack believed his label of Professional Athlete was all that he was, then he wouldn't have much else to look forward to in life. What does he do when he is done with the game? Continue to play in minor league or recreational leagues? Why can't he learn new skills, go back to college, get a degree in something else? Why can't he expand his opportunities? Why can't he get a job in another field? The answer to those can't is he can. He may have the label Professional Athlete stuck to him for some time, but if he allowed that to define who he was, he'd find his life very limited outside of the sport.
The same goes for Bill. He has the label Accountant, but that's not all he does. What about hobbies? Maybe he likes to paint? Maybe he writes poems or songs? Going with the strict label of Accountant, he shouldn't be doing anything else, but help with the bills. And what if he gets bored with being an Accountant, and wants to become a painter? Then what happens? If he quits his job and becomes a painter, his new label is Painter. What's changed about him? Nothing, he just learned a new skill, and decided to specialize in it.
Returning to the spiritual. If you label your soul as Vampire, Were, Elf, Dragon, etc, you are basically saying to it, anything else you want to learn in this life or anything else you have learned that doesn't fit this label, doesn't belong and shouldn't be learned, or should be blocked out. Now, to me, that doesn't sound very helpful to the learning and growing process. To help yourself grow at the spiritual level, you need to remove all of those limits and labels you put on your soul. Just let it be. Let it exist. It doesn't need a class, role, race, etc.
Might be a hard concept to grasp with a physical based way of thinking, but if you can move beyond that, it'll click.
Though, in all fairness, I will say it's alright to search and maybe even take a label for yourself, while you are first starting to open up spiritually or first accepting your spiritual side if you've been more open since birth. It's normal to do so, but you need to remember that label doesn't define you, and when you feel ready, toss it aside and move beyond it.
6) Got a personal experience story about that?
Yes I do. As I said, at first I did search for a label, and for awhile decided I was a vampire. Mainly because that was what I was told. Anyway, as time went on, I decided against vampire and wasn't finding any labels that would fit me, then something just clicked. Why do I need a label in the first place? I didn't.
Now, when I go into the subject of otherkin labels, or hear other people explaining how they put otherkin labels on their souls, it almost makes me cringe at a spiritually level. It's very much like nails on a black board for my spiritually self. Why? Because it doesn't want to be limited by the physical side of me. It wants to expand and grow, without limit. Putting on one of those otherkin labels, could very well add some.
7) What are some of these characteristics you speak of?
That can actually vary, depending on the individual. As said before, a need for energy outside one's self usually gets taken as a Vampire thing. A strong sense of needing to protect people can be taken as an Angel thing. A love of the woods and nature can be seen as an Elf or Fae thing. And so on. Don't want to bore you with a long list.
Usually someone takes certain traits, feeling, and characteristics that they find in his or herself, then looks for a mythical creature that can be applied to those traits, feelings, and characteristics. Though, since otherkin labels aren't a new thing, there are websites out there, that try to define each label. So depending on the source, the defining traits, feelings, and characteristics of each label, may be slightly different.
8) What about mixed otherkin?
This happens when someone can't find a label that fits well enough for them, so they take more than one. For example, someone feels they have some of the things that would make them an Angel, but they also find they have some of the things that go with vampires. Since neither seems to fit completely, they decide they are a Vampire/Angel otherkin.
Though, some people take it a step further, and will take three, four, or more labels. Just because they can't find one that fits, and they want everything labeled (of course, they may have other reasons for needing the labels).
9) Are there any other reasons for taking these labels?
Yes there are. One is a strong connection to a past life, that may or may not have been human. It could have been something similar to a mythical creature. Could be something that looked a little like a dragon, or maybe an Angel, Fae or Elf. Feeling the stronger connection, can make them feel more out of place in this world. Make them feel not human. So they go searching, and find a label that fits what they are picking up from that past life.
And it is entirely possible they have characteristics as mentioned above, or those characteristics sometimes can come from that life. Well, the soul did grow and expand in that life, so that life would have had an affect on the soul.
10) What about phantom limbs?
Some people do claim to feel limbs that aren't there, true. Could be wings, could be claws, a tail, horns, etc.
As mentioned with past lives, perhaps someone had a past life, in which he or she had wings, and he or she is feeling a stronger connection to that life. So, he or she feels the wings he or she use to have, and decide it must mean he or she is an otherkin. Perhaps Demon or Angel, depending on the other feelings and traits he or she feels.
Or, the astral body or astral self, can have wings if it wants too. It can look however it wants to look (it can change too), and someone more in touch with their spiritual side, may feel his or hers astral self's wings. With that feeling, he or she may feel that it means he or she needs to place an otherkin label on him or herself. And of course, the astral body or self could have claws, a trail, horns, or whatever.
11) Any other reasons someone would claim an otherkin label?
Yes, but I don't claim to know them all. Everyone is different, and I can't read minds, but I can mention some more common ones.
The person grew up loving fantasy. Reading books, watching movies, or whatever. And maybe he or she is a social outcast or feels like he or she doesn't fit in, so he or she decides to say he or she is an Elf, Vampire, etc, to give him or herself a reason for not fitting in. Makes him or her feel better.
Or someone has low self-esteem. Doesn't feel good about him or herself, and uses one of these labels to feel better. Makes him or her feel special, more important.
Another possible reason is that the person is just insane.
There may not always be just one reason, there may be a mixture of reasons. We are complex individuals.
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