Otherkin Blogging Day 6–Kintype(s): Facts and fiction

This is really vague, so I’m going to assume it’s about stereotypes and truths about each of my kintypes so here goes:

Wolves.

Probably my biggest pet peeve is seeing wolfaboos and the Wolfie Blackheart crowd forming “packs” with Greek alphabet ranks (alphas, betas, omegas, etc) because that was LONG disproven as a structure of wolf packs in the wild. See here. Wolves live in family units, and the “alphas” are simply the mother and father. There is a complex hierarchy, but the Greek alphabet thing needs to die.

The myth of the “lone wolf” irks me a bit, too. A wolf on it’s own for too long will eventually starve as it’s hard enough for a whole pack working together to make a kill, let alone a single wolf. Dispersal wolves are more than likely what people are referring to when they talk about “lone wolves” and they’re simply adult wolves who have reached sexual maturity and gone off in search of a mate to begin their own family. Most often they scavenge until they find their mate, and then they work together to hunt until their pups grow up and give further support.

Now, Cheshire is actually a very interesting one to talk about for me.

The Cheshire Cat is thought by most people to be an invention of Charles Dodgeson’s (AKA Lewis Carroll) in his book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. However, it seems that the term “grinning like a Cheshire cat” existed at least 70 years prior to the popularization of it in the famous book and was first mentioned in Peter Pindar’sĀ Pair of Lyric Epistles published in 1792. The term “to grin like a Cheshire Cat” has several possible origins, my favorite being the possible influence of carvings of grinning cats outside churches Dodgeson may have frequented–most notably St. Wilfrid’s, which was in a village adjacent to his birthplace in Daresbury, Cheshire.

One of the cat carvings from St. Wilfrid’s Church

Some of the other possible explanations include it being a reference to a specific kind of cheese made in Cheshire that was carved to look like a grinning cat, that it’s a reference to the heraldic Lions of England on the arms of the first Earl of Chester, or that it may have come from wonky-looking inn signs depicting lions (rather poorly) which were sometimes referred to as cats.

No one has pinned it down exactly, but it all makes for a history as fascinating and mysterious as the beast itself, for sure!

Otherkin Blogging Day 5–Identity: Doubts

Awwwww shit.

Of course I have doubts. I’ve always had doubts.

Especially because I’m dumb and insecure and know that Loki knows more about me than I do sometimes and would probably know if I was for realz a wolf in some past life or if I’m actually a shapeshifter or some nonsense. And I worry that He’s like “Nah son, you’re just some human dude. Get your head outta tha clouds.”

But I back up my awkward spiritual doubts with the idea that even if it’s not something I am spiritually, then I have this identification for some psychological reason. For whatever reasons, be it my being raised around canines and picking up their behaviors or maybe identifying the way that I do gives me some sort of comfort after years of abuse, these identities are here and have never left. And I hold them as dear to me and deeply personal. I have enough proof for myself that my identities are real in some way. And that’s all that really matters.

Otherkin Blogging Day 4–Identity: Other aspects of your identity (in addition to/besides your otherkin identity)

Besides being therian/kin, I’ve got a lot of other really important aspects to my identity. So, I’ll list them all and go more in-depth as needed. Hold on tight!

I’m transgender (FTM), pagan, an artist and poet, a costumer, goth (like the 80’s new wave sort), polyamorous, and kinky. I’m the little boy to my partner, dom, and Daddy, who goes by Scar. I’m one of Loki’s spouses. I’m a psychology student. I’m an aspiring author. I’m a gamer, a Trekkie (seen most of TOS, all of TNG, all of DS9, some of Voyageur, and all the movies at LEAST once. I also met William Shatner and got Brent Spiner’s autograph), and a frequenter of conventions.

I’m lots of things. šŸ˜„

Otherkin Blogging Day 3–Identity: How/why you are otherkin

I tend to take a combination of a spiritual and psychological stance in regards to my therian and kin identities.

Most folks know that I’m a baby spirit worker, and I spend some time being aware of the astral. So my shapeshifting there, comments made by Loki, and astral dreams I’ve had all contribute to my pile of personal evidence for the validity of my claims. Emphasizing personal, because it really doesn’t count for shit as evidence to anyone but me.

I also feel a deep spiritual connection to my therio-/kintypes that pushes me to search for spiritual explanations.

However, as one pursuing psychology and in possession of critical thinking skills and rational thought, I also totally accept the possibility that I could identify this way due to a neurological difference, or through childhood influences, or as a means of self-empowerment. None of these mean my identity is invalid. They just mean I percieve myself on an internal, personal level differently than other, and if this helps me and hurts no one else, then it shouldn’t be an issue.

Otherkin Blogging Day 2–Identity: History/development

Here comes the fun part.

Aight kiddies, gather ’round and let Uncle Christoph tell ya bout how he figured out he’s a loony wolf and grinning riddle kitty.

When I was little, I always played “dog” games. And whenever my friends and I got together to play those silly wolf pack games that kids do, I always kinda took it more seriously than the rest of them. Wolves were Important Creatures and it was upsetting to me when the others didn’t act like real wolves, because that’s what I thought we were doing. When I howled, it would always trigger shifts in me, though I didn’t know it at the time.

I could go on about silly childhood things, but I wanna fast forward to the meat of my therian experience, which began around Feb 2006 when I first found the term “therian.” I knew immediately that what these people were describing as therianthropy was what I had experienced pretty much my whole life. I had felt phantom limbs and had mental shifts and the whole nine yards. So I coined myself a grey wolf therian and launched into the FLUFFIEST TRAINWRECK OF MIDDLE SCHOOL WOLFABOO HORROR THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.

I appointed myself “alpha” of a pack of my friends and we convinced ourselves that we were gonna P-shift and save the world from the second coming of the Elenari’s Corruption and it was….

It was bad. šŸ˜„ I cringe at the journal entries I still have from those times.

But after that ended in my freshman year of highschool, my interest in therianthropy went mostly dormant. I didn’t pay attention to it at all. If I weren’t a therian, this would’ve been me growing out of a phase entirely.

But the thing is, while I didn’t pay attention to it, wolf was still there. Always there. Integrated into my base personality and actions and instincts. (I’m a suntherian, so it makes sense.) And after a few years, I was prompted to re-examine and question if I still thought I was a therian.

And after outside consultation, a number of soul readings from people who had no knowledge of my wolf identity, and a bit of soul-searching, I decided that yes, I was still a wolf therian.

It stayed with me through all these years no matter what happened or what stance I took on it. And that’s proof enough to me that it exists in some way.

As for Cheshire, that was a recent development because I was 1. Reluctant to explore the possibility of polymorph as a second therio-/kintype for a long time, and when I did I was 2. Resistant to the nagging thoughts I had of being a Cheshire because I didn’t want to be fictionkin.

But in all honesty, I’ve had an idea that I’m some sort of shapeshifter for a long time, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Especially considering that I have had an intense connection to and identification with the Alice mythos for a long time. It always resonated with me on a really deep level and I could never pinpoint exactly why–and trust me I psychoanalyzed the hell out of it.

But when I went looking for a specific explanation for my polymorph identity, it came up again that Cheshire was a possibility, and it was then that I kinda had to…suck it up and accept that my answer was staring me in the face. The only reason I hadn’t accepted it as a possibility was because I didn’t WANT to be fictionkin.

Now, it could technically be argued that Cheshire doesn’t have to fall under fictionkin since the term and idea of a Cheshire Cat was around at least 100 years before Lewis Carroll (AKA Charles Dodgson) popularized it in his books, but that’s a discussion for another blog post.

So there ya have it.

Thats how I came to identify as a wolf and grinning cat. And I don’t take myself seriously about either identity at all. šŸ˜„

Well, Damn–Or: How I Stopped Being Butthurt About Fictionkin and PC Paganism

Whoa there.

Loaded title, amirite? What in all the nine worlds am I writing about here? Lemme asplain you a thing:

I’ve been a pagan for about 7 years, and a member of the therian and otherkin communities for about 8. And in that time, I’ve done a lot of introspection and learned a lot about both topics. I’ve always known myself to be a melanistic grey wolf therian, and have fiddled around with and questioned this idea a lot in the 8 years that I’ve identified as such. There were many times where I felt cameo shifts–especially feline ones–and questioned if I had a second theriotype or if I could be a polymorph of some sort, but until recently, I never explored that much, and always stuck to the idea of being wolf.

Regarding paganism, I’ve evolved and changed paths and moved beyond biases many times in the short time (7 years is really nothing) that I’ve been pagan. And while I changed, I feel like the pagan community as a whole has, as well.

Flash forward to more recent times: Pop culture paganism is not a new concept, but it’s one that has gained a lot more recognition as of late, and a lot of people are asking questions and playing with ideas about why pop culture paganism is a thing and where these entities may come from.

When I first started learning about it, I mostly smiled and nodded, but decided it wasn’t for me because–

Why?

In all honestly, it was mostly because I was squicked by the idea of working with beings that “didn’t exist.” We made them up, right? So how could this be a valid path?

Eventually, though, I saw enough rational explanations for it and eased my way into things when Cecil Palmer decided to make an appearance–however brief–into my life. I reasoned that even if there was no ACTUAL Cecil Palmer, then it could be entities taking on the guises of characters we know in an attempt to communicate with us. However I could make it palatable to myself.

Even after this, I was reluctant to work with certain entities. I acknowledged that Marvel!Loki, for example, was an entity, but refused to work with Him because I was stubborn and essentially wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalalala can’t hear you!” in regards to Him. I didn’t want to think about where He came from or what it meant for the rest of my practice.

Eventually He got tired of that and forced me to acknowledge Him and stop being butthurt about it. Because honestly, that’s what was going on. I didn’t want pop culture theories to come in and ruin my nice, neat ideas of deities being deities always and we didn’t invent them and there’s no possible way that we could come up with new ones. It threw a wrench in my comfortable thinking and I didn’t like it.

But of course the gods don’t settle for that and will ALWAYS find ways to upset comfortable thinking. And once I accepted that I had to step out of my comfort zone a bit, I realized that I was choosing to be ignorant by not doing so.

Likewise, I’ve had the same evolution with fictionkin, although I feel I was far more justified in being resistant to them.

My first view of fictionkin came from Tumblr, which we already know is a recipe for disaster as Tumblr is probably the worst example of everything.

Because Tumblr seems to totally ignore the fact that Otherkin has had a set definition of “Identifies as X nonhuman species on a spiritual and/or psychological level” for 24 years and has instead declared that it means “To have a strong connection with X” (which would essentially render the term otherkin useless, because by that definition, EVERYONE is some kind of kin), countless pubescent bloggers have declared themselves all manner of kin and fictionkin without stopping to research OFF of their beloved blogging site, or even question why they feel the need to identify how they do. And I specifically point out the pubescent ones because anyone who has passed puberty and looked back on it cringes at their state of flux and knows that they tried on a lot of labels before they found the ones that fit. And so it’s very easy to dismiss these people as going through a phase (imho I think most of them are), and by extension, to dismiss the whole phenomenon as a phase.

So with all this, I had a good reason to dismiss fictionkin entirely.

Until I found some on the Wulf Howl forums that actually seemed to have questioned themselves and found good answers for why they identified as they did.

When that happened, I no longer had an excuse to ignore them entirely. And in truth, it allowed me to ask myself a question that I had previously felt too afraid to ask–Could I be one of these folks?

Going back to my mention of cameo shifts, I’ve long held the idea that I may be some sort of polymorph in the back of my head. It wasn’t until a few months ago that this came up again and I decided to really really look into it. For these past several months, I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s a kin thing or just a…thing, that I happen to be a polymorph. When I decided finally that I felt it could be called a kin thing, I had to figure out where it came from and what sort of polymorph I was, exactly. It was very important to me to figure out exactly what caused me to be that way, so I looked up all sorts of shapeshifting races and species. I cycled through the possibilities of alien, fae, demon, and many others–all to no avail, really. None of them felt quite right. So when I posted on the Wulf Howl forums recently asking for suggestions, something came up that made me do a double take.

Cheshire Cat.

It was the first suggestion, and honestly something I had jokingly considered myself several times.

I’ve had a deep love of and identification with the Alice in Wonderland stories and mythos for a long, long time. I could never pinpoint exactly why I loved them so much, but they always resonated with me and I surrounded myself with imagery from them and prided myself on my knowledge of the original tales. American McGee’s re-imaginings are my favorite besides the original tale and have also been with me for most of my life. I collected a huge playlist of songs related to the mythos and listened to every bit of the soundtracks from both of American McGee’s games.

I never knew what it was, but I felt absolutely at home in Wonderland.

And of course I psychoanalyzed the hell out of it: Lost girl, world in her mind, has to rescue herself, etc etc. But none of it ever really got to the heart of why I loved it so much.

So when it came up again that I might be Cheshire kin, I froze. And groaned loudly, because “Oh gods no. Not this again. I don’t WANT to be fictionkin!”

Those were the words that came from my mouth. Not “Oh no that’s silly, I’m not fictionkin and have never felt that way.” or even anything to that effect.

No, it was that I didn’t WANT to be fictionkin.

But I honestly knew that whatever I was looking for was right in front of my face. And when I thought about it, it fit. It fit like a silk glove tailor-made for my hands. It explained my constant feline cameo shifts, my deep identification with Wonderland, and my shape-shifting and tendency toward chaos. And so I gave up fighting the idea. I had found what I was looking for.

“Okay. So I’m a Cheshire Cat? Where the fuck does that come from?”

That was a very important question, and THAT is where I feel there’s a crossroads between legitimate fictionkin identity and PC paganism: Where does it come from?

It’s something I think should definitely be explored by those who number themselves among both groups. There are a lot of different explanations floating around for both, and I think it would be really nifty to see people discussing them in tandem, because there’s a really obvious connection.

Personally, I feel like my own fictionkin identity is either because I am actually, on some nonphysical level, a Cheshire Cat, and there’s a bunch of different possibilities as to how that is a thing. OR maybe I’m some sort of shapeshifter on a nonphysical level and I’m simply most comfortable identifying as a Cheshire. OR it’s purely psychological and an identity I’ve adopted for comfort.

And all three are totally valid.

And they also apply to PC paganism in that it could be that these entities really exist for some reason and it’s up to us to figure out how and why, OR they could be other beings adopting these guises to reach out to us, OR it could be a way of connecting with an archetype through that character.

Hell, it could be a combo of all three possibilities.

Where I’m going with this is that once everyone can accept that these are legitimate experiences and overcome personal bias about them, we can come together at this nifty crossroads and discuss where both of these things may come from and how they’re interrelated. And I think it’s a discussion that would open a lot of doors and bring us to interesting conclusions.

So I dunno about you all, but I plan on seeing where this goes and thinking about how the two things are interrelated. And I’d love to hear the opinions and musings of others on the same topic. So please feel free to comment and share and think about this. Discuss it in a polite and rational manner. Where do fictionkin and PC paganism come from, and how do they relate to eachother? How can they fit together and how do they fit together already? Is it a “woo” thing with explanations found in alternate reality theories, or is it a psychological identification and manner of reaching out to shared human archetypes?

These are conversations that I think we need to be having.