Otherkin Directory 2.0

As some of you may have already noticed, there has been a major update to the Otherkin Directory.  In all honesty, the old plugin we had been using to power the directory finally crapped itself beyond my ability to repair.  So I set out in search of a new plugin we could use, and found the very impressive Ultimate Member plugin for WordPress.  I’m still learning everything that it can do, but I think the new directory looks amazing and will serve us well.  The profiles it provides already give users more information than the old one, even some rudimentary integration with the forum to display a user’s recent forum posts.  It even provides privacy settings to opt out of being included in the directory and to hide one’s profile entirely.

The catch, of course, is that everyone who wishes to be included in the directory needs to go edit their profile and upload a cover photo.  If your account doesn’t have a cover photo (not just an avatar) you won’t appear in the directory even if you previously did.  I set it up this way so that no one, new or old, would accidentally be included in the directory against their wishes — it requires explicit action on your part to opt-in.

Till We Meet Again

In our communities, as otherkin and therians and vampires, much of our interaction takes place online. To the point that the vampire community has even coined the phrase OVC, or, “Online Vampire Community” to refer to that portion of things.

This document, however, is about taking our community off the screen and into the real world. It is, simply put, a guide to meetups, mini-gathers, gatherings, howls, and conventions. It is intended to cover the questions of how-to, how-not-to, and what these events are like for both the person or people organizing them and those simply attending.

This guide was last updated on Tuesday, 13th September, 2016.  Please feel free to suggest any additions, corrections, questions, or changes in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Read more“Till We Meet Again”

Shifting Gears

The other day I was browsing some occult blogs and came across an article by Nick Farrell which suggested that one must have a teacher from an existing occult school in order to do more than “play at magic”.  This is a fairly common belief among the members of magical lodges and similar occult orders.

Is it actually true, though?  I really haven’t found it to be the case.  I’ve never taken any form of formal instruction in magic or occult subjects.  The closest I’ve come is attending a few workshops, of not more than a few hours each, over the years.  Yet I have had no trouble producing results with my magic.  Results sufficiently clear and convincing to persuade a long-time skeptic.

On one level the discussion itself amuses me.  Eclecticism, as opposed to following a formal system of magic as compiled by a magical order, is supposed to be a major sign of playing at magic.  Yet occult groups which employ a modified Jewish Kaballa, the imagery of Egyptian deities, and Sanscrit tattvas among other culturally disparate elements to formulate their tradition are seen as completely legitimate?

But on another, I see it as an attempt to de-legitimize those who don’t follow a set list of traditions that the author approves of.  This is particularly obvious when reading the author’s opinion of those who employ the “spirit pot” technique employed by several Afro-Caribbean traditions for working with Goetic demons.  In Farrell’s words “Think about it, how can you stuff the concept of lust into a peanut butter jar?”  Yet, removing the arrogant hyperbole regarding the technique, that is exactly what Solomon was supposed to have done with the 72 demons of the Ars Goetia and their legions – imprisoned them in a vessel of brass and bound them to do his bidding.

But can you learn on your own?

Three weeks ago my car broke down on a trip to visit friends in another state.  I made it back home, but the only vehicle available to me was a manual transmission.  While I had been driving for 13 years, I had never driven a stick shift.  And there wasn’t anyone available to teach me.  In order to meet professional obligations in my life, I had to drive that vehicle.  I had no choice.  So I got online and found some websites giving an explanation of how to drive stick.  Then I got in the car, and I drove.

It was rough at first.  I stalled at traffic lights and stop signs several times.  Once, I ground the gears a little by not quite fully depressing the clutch before trying to shift.  But with a little practice, I got the hang of shifting gears and working the gas and the clutch at the same time.  By the end of the week, when I finally drove with someone who could give me practical advice on driving stick, the only things he suggested were that I might want to stay in a lower gear a little longer than I had been, and that I should give it a bit more gas when moving forward from a stop.

If one can learn to drive stick effectively from spending ten minutes reading a couple of web pages, I think it’s quite possible to learn magic from the plethora of books and web pages available on that subject.  All it really takes is the will to do so.  And the proof is simply doing it.

Because, when it comes right down to it, there’s one thing and one thing only that marks the difference between someone “playing at magic” and someone working magic:  results.  If your techniques are producing real results in the world around you, you’re working magic.  If not, you’re playing at it.  That’s as true of those with teachers and involved in established magical traditions as it is of those working outside of them and teaching themselves.

So… which one are you?