From The Otherkin Community
The term “Otherkin” is poorly defined, even within the community itself. It has come to represent a very wide variety of things, the details of which are debated. Many Otherkin consider the term to represent an individual that has either lived a past life that was non-human or currently lives in a non-human body (they feel that some part of them, physical or otherwise, is not human). Others broaden the definition to include anyone that has lived a past life, including humans. Therefore, the definition of “Otherkin” includes aliens, “mythological” beings, or anything else that is not native to Earth. The term Otherkin can also be used to relate to an Earth animal (this subgroup is known as “Therian”). Animals themselves are sometimes considered to be Otherkin under various circumstances.
Otherkin, though they may inhabit a human body, believe that their consciousness / soul is that of a being not native to Earth. These often include races mentioned in various mythologies, including Dragons, Fae, Elves, Vampires, and other popular races. Though in a human body, Otherkin generally exhibit certain traits of their race in their behavior. For example, an Otherkin wolf may spend much of their time around wolves, or even act like one to the extent their human body allows.
Otherkin are commonly seen as depressed, or feel like they do not fit in. Certain Otherkin do not develop socially as a normal human would, and may avoid people all together (with the exception of other Otherkin). Note that that statement does not apply to all Otherkin. This is because Otherkin are used to, generally, a completely different culture, and a completely different body for that matter. It takes time to adjust. This is comparable to removing a child who has had time to develop within a certain culture (let's say, around the age of 10), and moving him/her to a completely different culture. You will notice similar effects.
Due to the above statement, identifying as Otherkin is often seen as a form of escapism. Among otherkin communities, it is often difficult to determine what individuals identify as Otherkin because they have actually studied themselves, or if they identify as such simply to "feel special" or escape their current situation.
Otherkin also tend to fear being accepted within human culture. This fear to express oneself contributes to their distance from the rest of humanity. Though certain Otherkin are accepted among their peers, many are ridiculed for simply being different. Awakening Otherkin still living with their parents also fear acceptance from their own family.
Due to the pressure placed upon them by society, Otherkin tend to seek out other methods of expression, or safe havens they can go to. Often as children, this includes games and stories that they can relate to. Once they grow and awaken, this leans more toward chatting with other Otherkin online (this generally occurs online due to the easy anonymity).
The term "Awakening" is applied to any Otherkin that has begun recalling their Pastlives and/or Abilities. This process generally begins during puberty, and progresses from that point on. The process of awakening often leads to emotional problems that can be confused with Bipolar Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder, among others. The reason for this can be a number of things, stemming from confusion, to fear, to past emotions from memories.
See Awakening for more information.
Due to their obscure beliefs and odd behavior, Otherkin have not received a very positive response from outside communities. Their actions and behavior, perhaps the most obscure, are often treated as disorders. One such disorder is Clinical Lycanthropy, which is the belief that one can be turned into an animal. However, note that Otherkin tend not to believe that they will be "turned into" animals. They recognize that they are within human bodies. Their belief is that their consciousness/soul is that of another race. Also note that there are many Otherkin that do not believe they are animals. This is one example of a misconception that leads to ridicule of Otherkin.
There are a couple of misconceptions about Otherkin that this article seeks to clarify.
Therianthropy is the belief that one is either part or entirely animal. Examples of Therans in mythology include the Centaur, Horus, and other similar races. Otherkin Therans tend to share beliefs of other Otherkin in that they are physically human. However, a common misconception is that all Otherkin are Therans. Theranthropy is a sub-category of Otherkin. Therians are Otherkin, however Otherkin are not necessarily Therians.
"Furries" are people who dress up as animals and roleplay - very different than Otherkin. Please see the above descriptions for more information on Otherkin.