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Currents, archetypes/stereotypes, psychological otherkin, memories
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Arethinn
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Monday, 4th April, 2011 - 6:37 pm
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I thought maybe this bore splitting off of the now very-hijacked introduction thread that spawned it, and given a more descriptive post title.

The specific quotes are all Jarin – I seem to be getting the code for “=Jarandhel Dreamsinger” wrong and I thought it’d be easier just to take that all out. bleh.

(nor do I buy into the idea of an abstract “elven current” in the first place but that’s a seperate topic

*shrug* It’s a conception that makes sense to me. You said something a little disdainful further down this post about “well you might as well just be a D&D Monster Manual elf if you don’t try to work out specific memories” and actually, I think being a “generic” elf, a manifestation of “elfness” if you like (although I gather you don’t 😉 ), is a perfectly valid way of going about things. It’s the old argument of balancing memory with here/now. I think memory is good and important but personally I’m more concerned with feel, and I don’t know any other word to put on this than “currents” or “flows” or “streams” of certain kinds of energies, that some people seem to be carried on and show through.

There are tons of things which otherkin as a group would be/are interested in. For years we’ve noted that otherkin tend quite frequently to end up in tech-related jobs. Particularly elves. Should we start saying that working with ubuntu or other varieties of Linux is connected with the “elven current” and hold workshops on that at otherkin gathers?

Perhaps not that directly (although technomagery and working with computer spirits, anyone?). It depends on how the schedule is organized, though. In a more formal setting, “Elves and Linux”, while potentially interesting, is more suited to be a “birds of a feather” (an interest group meeting that is not formally on a schedule) – but then that’s generally an artifact of much larger events, where people want to get together and talk about other interests they simply happen to share which might not be directly related. (e.g. I went to a Star Trek meetup at a Harry Potter convention one time.) But the looser and more informal the overall structure, the more appropriate “off topic” things like that become. There are events which are more “work time, not so much play time” (Dan/Sidhelady’s Texas gathers strike me this way, although there’s downtime as well) and then on the other hand there are ones which are “come hang out with a bunch of ‘kin friends in the woods for a while”, which is more the category Thresholds occupies in my head.

I guess what I’m saying is that my recollections of Thresholds were more environment than any particular concern over what workshops were offered; there was so much else to do and socialize that you could skip them entirely if you were so inclined. Whereas my own poor efforts at gathers depend very much on workshops staying on topic because the sites have been uninteresting and the people tend to be strangers -there’s not that sense of “we already know each other from mailing lists” – so critical mass of people self-entertaining tends not to happen. So it depends on the situation whether workshops being really focused on otherkin is important in and of itself.

Meetups seem to have replaced gatherings

😛 I only wish. My tenure as organizer of the local otherkin meetup was unsatisfying because the most we ever had out at once was five people counting myself. There were a couple of OK outings with a group that was technically vampire-oriented (by that point I was desperate for anything “other”), spreading some into general metaphysical stuff, but the organizer of that moved to Washington and without him there was really no one else in the group I could relate to. I dunno if they collapsed or what. (I don’t like to judge people’s “realness” as a matter of course but my sense from most of them was that they were not “other” at all. There was one who said outright she was a human mage (her word). Everyone is a noob once, obviously, but I could only put up with the cluelessness for so long. Whatever the case I did not seem to have any common ground with them. They didn’t seem interested in “mythicalness”.)

I can’t remember the last time I saw someone new looking to organize a full-on gather or convention anywhere.

Someone popped up on Elfinkind Digest talking about her plans for an “Elvin” convention, full scale type similar to sci-fi cons and the like, but it never materialized. I suppose you could consider Gathering Echo and Summer Gateways to be new, but really Summer Gateways is just the successor to Dancing the Endless Dream and Gathering Echo fits into the pattern you mentioned of a “cousin” gather at a second time of year, run by someone who already does a first one.

Beyond “pointy eared and long lived”, I’m not sure there is an abstract concept of elvenness, much less an archetypal/universal flow of energy having an elven flavor.

It would not need to be universal in the literal sense of “the same throughout the universe”, like gravity. It could be localized to Earth for all I know (when I spoke of “when it manifests here right now, it often comes with these trappings”). That’s all the samples I have, naturally (otherkin elves appearing on Earth).

I’m really not convinced that there’s any single thread that runs through all elves

*shrug* I don’t think I can say anything that will convince you. Again, it makes sense to me (and to Cel and I think Dan FWTW). There is a commonness of something among elves which is not shared in other phenotypes, just as dragons, faery, unicorns etc etc … even though those don’t necessarily all come from the same place either (especially dragons).

I know a number of elves who don’t do well at all in natural settings and need the presence of technology to thrive.

Sure, but I think they are the exception rather than the rule, and generally there is a correlation.

And even among those who do “hug trees and protect the environment” how much of that is a function of being elves, and how much is a function of being liberal and/or neopagan first-world humans?

Not being an elf, I couldn’t tell you even for that tiny sample size. But I was only noting the correlation, as it was pertinent to the question of “is it appropriate or not appropriate to talk about these topics at otherkin/elven gathers?” Whatever the causality involved, I think it can be relevant. (Really, whatever the majority wants to do at a gather is probably fine, although I’ve been in the disappointed minority myself.)

If you think your otherkinness has no basis in reality or metaphysics, that it’s all in your head, what is that if not a delusion?

Psychological != “no basis in reality”! I suppose if someone were to say that outright – “This has no basis in my experience whatsoever and I am just making it up because I feel like it” – that could qualify as delusion (although if they’re doing it consciously, I don’t think that’s “delusion”, just playing around). But this came from inside my head is not the same as unreal. Even if they don’t believe in souls or don’t believe that they are reincarnated, etc. people still can have thoughts and experiences that lead them to wonder about the conclusion that they have a non-human “essence” or “mind” or whatever word you like for subjective experience of existence and consciousness. I cannot grok this really because it is not my own experience, but I think I can understand it intellectually speaking.

This in particular seemed contradictory: “Not exactly “it’s merely this one thing that makes you an elf” but if you are an elf you will have it, and if you are not, you will not.”

I mean that while that “elven note” is a minimum requirement, there’s more to it – a complex or syndrome if you will, like otherkinness in general in fact. Like how you can’t just go down a list of characteristics and check a bunch of things off and bingo, there you are. Otherkin share a good deal of traits with geeks and fantasy fen and outsiders of several stripes, or in this case with hippies and environmentalists, as you note. The link does not necessarily go back the other way – if you like trees you could be an elf. More like if you are an elf, it raises your “risk factor” for liking trees.

I think the point is to work with one’s points of relation with the other, whatever they may be. For some of us, that is the memories. And I’d go so far as to argue that memories allow for some of the deepest exploration of one’s otherness. Without them, it seems too easy to fall into working with one’s otherness as an archetype or worse a stereotype.

That you called stereotypes “worse” (and I agree they can be bad) says to me you mean to say that archetypes are “bad” to begin with. Yet, you say also that for only “some” is their “point of relation with the Other” their memories – what about the rest? They seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place in this schema here!

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reaching for something archetypal or essential and working to manifest that within oneself now, whatever form that takes. It may be based on memories of a specific existence or it may not. Some will never find memories; some have none to find! (first existence) Some may find that their strongest memories are not something they want to associate with and bring forward to here/now and maybe they just want to Be Something Else. If that’s how their majik goes and it seems to be working and real (vs. empty pretending), who am I to say nay?

Without them, how far can you really go with the idea of being other? How can you work with it?

Pretty far I should think! I’ve gotten this far without a lot of specific memories, at least. 😉 Sorry, I just don’t find it hard to imagine someone who’s just OMG so really an elf it flows off them in waves no matter what they might or might not specifically remember. If they know and it comes through them and etc. … memories become almost an accessory.

Hell, at this point I know so many kin locally that just hanging out with friends in the DC/Baltimore/NorthernVA area might as well be a min-gather anymore.

Yeh lucky bastard. 😛 I continue to be jealous of the nexuses there seem to be in DC and Texas – although the one in Kitchener seems to have fallen apart a while back, sadly.

If that site has the spam cleaned out of the kin directory

(OKN, that is) Actually spam? Or do you just mean dead entries with non-working emails/websites?

@Meirya: I like what you were saying about “mythic truth” and how it relates to personal mythology and identity, and the pitfalls of pushing too hard to recover memories. They’re important and valuable — and very easy to fool oneself with! It takes a delicate hand with facilitating and allowing and I’m really very bad at it myself. I have only tiny fragments, partly because of not wanting to accidentally fabricate things in the course of purposely “vision questing”. (A point of clarification may be useful here – I don’t mean manufactured memory that somehow subjectively feels like all my other memories and I somehow managed to “brainwash” myself into it; I mean taking a little hint of something and milking it for more than it’s worth and calling it a memory even though it’s not really the same thing. Although actually I think all my otherkin memories feel a little different than my regular, this-life conscious ones.)

Also I think you and I are coming from the same place on how psychological/neurological cause is potentially valid and not necessarily delusional.

And if the memory is literal rather than symbolic, are you not risking reading into it symbolism which is not actually there by trying to interpret it mythically?

I think what is meant here is not to interpret the memory as though it were a dream, where things actually can represent other things, but rather to give it a mythic place in one’s own experience of self: it cannot be verified as literal history, so it can be used as mythic history.

It’s been more like PTSD flashbacks; associations in daily life tend to trigger memories which are then practically relived.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s substantially more powerful an experience than I’ve ever had. I.e., I don’t know if yours or mine or somewhere in the middle is the more typical experience.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Tuesday, 5th April, 2011 - 4:16 pm
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Arethinn said:

I thought maybe this bore splitting off of the now very-hijacked introduction thread that spawned it, and given a more descriptive post title.

To be fair, the thread's been hijacked for a long time… that was only intended to be MY introduction thread.  Everybody else was supposed to make their own! wink

The specific quotes are all Jarin – I seem to be getting the code for “=Jarandhel Dreamsinger” wrong and I thought it'd be easier just to take that all out. bleh.

No worries, as long as we can figure out who said what, it's all good. alien

*shrug* It's a conception that makes sense to me. You said something a little disdainful further down this post about “well you might as well just be a D&D Monster Manual elf if you don't try to work out specific memories” and actually, I think being a “generic” elf, a manifestation of “elfness” if you like (although I gather you don't 😉 ), is a perfectly valid way of going about things. It's the old argument of balancing memory with here/now. I think memory is good and important but personally I'm more concerned with feel, and I don't know any other word to put on this than “currents” or “flows” or “streams” of certain kinds of energies, that some people seem to be carried on and show through.

As you might imagine, I don't see it that way.  Let's come at it from a different angle for a moment: here and now, we're all undeniably human.  Even if we're something else as well, we are also human.  Now, how does one go about being a “generic human” or a manifestation of “humanity”, even here on a human planet with human bodies?  Humanity is vast, varied, with infinite and completely contradictory expressions.  Unless you have a good, concrete answer for how to manifest the “human current”, I don't see how you can go about approaching your otherness that way.

Perhaps not that directly (although technomagery and working with computer spirits, anyone?).

I would be down with that.  If you can actually relate the tech-stuff you're doing to being otherkin, I'd love to hear about the relation and about how it changes your approach.  My whole complaint with the permaculture workshops has been that they haven't been related back to being otherkin, and they haven't included discussion of changes in approach caused by their otherness.

It depends on how the schedule is organized, though. In a more formal setting, “Elves and Linux”, while potentially interesting, is more suited to be a “birds of a feather” (an interest group meeting that is not formally on a schedule) – but then that's generally an artifact of much larger events, where people want to get together and talk about other interests they simply happen to share which might not be directly related. (e.g. I went to a Star Trek meetup at a Harry Potter convention one time.)

I haven't really done the con-scene, so I haven't seen this kind of interest group meeting take place at a larger gathering.  As you describe it, I don't think I'd have a problem with it since it isn't formally on the schedule as part of the con itself.

But the looser and more informal the overall structure, the more appropriate “off topic” things like that become. There are events which are more “work time, not so much play time” (Dan/Sidhelady's Texas gathers strike me this way, although there's downtime as well) and then on the other hand there are ones which are “come hang out with a bunch of 'kin friends in the woods for a while”, which is more the category Thresholds occupies in my head.

That's certainly what it's become these days, but to my mind that wasn't how it started out.  While the schedule of workshops has never been strictly adhered to, we've always had them and they used to be fairly on-topic.  It's really only since around 2006 that workshops that didn't (or barely) mention otherkin really started taking over, to the point that in 2008 we had 2 people show up who had never heard of otherkin and had no interest in otherkin but who wanted to attend the permaculture workshops.  Again, to my mind, that's a fairly strong sign that things have gone off course and that the event is suffering from scope creep.

I guess what I'm saying is that my recollections of Thresholds were more environment than any particular concern over what workshops were offered; there was so much else to do and socialize that you could skip them entirely if you were so inclined. Whereas my own poor efforts at gathers depend very much on workshops staying on topic because the sites have been uninteresting and the people tend to be strangers -there's not that sense of “we already know each other from mailing lists” – so critical mass of people self-entertaining tends not to happen. So it depends on the situation whether workshops being really focused on otherkin is important in and of itself.

For those of us who already know each other from past thresholds, that may work.  But imagine for a moment if this was your first Thresholds, all over again, and you came to it expecting it to talk about otherkin stuff like you've been talking about on the mailing lists and such, and instead you find… permaculture and yogurt.  Maybe some technical tree climbing and juggling too.  Would you connect with that?  Would you keep coming back?  I heard from not one but several new people at my last couple of Thresholds that they wouldn't be coming back because they didn't find anything to connect with in the gather itself, because the focus wasn't on being otherkin anymore, even though they very much liked the people there and our private conversations and wished to continue them online.

More to come, but I'm about to get off work.  I'll continue my reply once I get home.  (Wish there was a way to just hit save!)

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Arethinn said:

Meetups seem to have replaced gatherings

😛 I only wish. My tenure as organizer of the local otherkin meetup was unsatisfying because the most we ever had out at once was five people counting myself. There were a couple of OK outings with a group that was technically vampire-oriented (by that point I was desperate for anything “other”), spreading some into general metaphysical stuff, but the organizer of that moved to Washington and without him there was really no one else in the group I could relate to. I dunno if they collapsed or what. (I don't like to judge people's “realness” as a matter of course but my sense from most of them was that they were not “other” at all. There was one who said outright she was a human mage (her word). Everyone is a noob once, obviously, but I could only put up with the cluelessness for so long. Whatever the case I did not seem to have any common ground with them. They didn't seem interested in “mythicalness”.)

I just meant in terms of what people seem willing to host.  There are 12 meetup groups on meetup.com last I checked, plus a number of other meetups around the country (world?) not affiliated with meetup.com and not necessarily widely advertised.  Compared to what, 6 full-scale otherkin gathers at this point?

Someone popped up on Elfinkind Digest talking about her plans for an “Elvin” convention, full scale type similar to sci-fi cons and the like, but it never materialized. I suppose you could consider Gathering Echo and Summer Gateways to be new, but really Summer Gateways is just the successor to Dancing the Endless Dream and Gathering Echo fits into the pattern you mentioned of a “cousin” gather at a second time of year, run by someone who already does a first one.

*nods* Yeah, I don't really consider either of them to be a brand new gather.  I know putting on a gather is a lot of work, and not everyone has the time or resources… that's why I haven't started one of my own yet, despite having one vaguely in the initial brainstorming stages for several years now.

It would not need to be universal in the literal sense of “the same throughout the universe”, like gravity. It could be localized to Earth for all I know (when I spoke of “when it manifests here right now, it often comes with these trappings”). That's all the samples I have, naturally (otherkin elves appearing on Earth).

Fair enough.  I'm still not convinced there's any single flow of energy that all, or even most, elves on earth have or are manifestations of.

*shrug* I don't think I can say anything that will convince you. Again, it makes sense to me (and to Cel and I think Dan FWTW). There is a commonness of something among elves which is not shared in other phenotypes, just as dragons, faery, unicorns etc etc … even though those don't necessarily all come from the same place either (especially dragons).

Most likely not, no.  I've given this subject a great deal of thought over the years, and I'm not likely to change my conclusions unless very convincing evidence is presented.  As an Aloryan elf, I feel a greater kinship to the “dark elves” of Alorya, with whom we were at war my entire elven lifetime, than I do with elves from other worlds.  I very much do not feel a commonness connecting us all simply because of our phenotype; where there is commonness between elves, I find it likely to stem from shared history and shared culture, not simply from being elven.  

Sure, but I think they are the exception rather than the rule, and generally there is a correlation.

Correlation is not causation, and I think you run into confirmation bias here.  Especially since elves that are uncomfortable in nature are not the only exception; there are also elves like myself who are quite comfortable in nature but not gung-ho on permaculture.  In fact, I'd venture to say we're in the majority, given what I've seen of discussions on boards dedicated to otherkin elves.

Being extremely generous, perhaps 60 elves in the community are seriously involved in permaculture and related environmentalism.  But there are over 360 people in the community who claim to be elves.  There's a bit of a discrepancy there.

Not being an elf, I couldn't tell you even for that tiny sample size. But I was only noting the correlation, as it was pertinent to the question of “is it appropriate or not appropriate to talk about these topics at otherkin/elven gathers?” Whatever the causality involved, I think it can be relevant.

I think, if one takes correlations like that as a sign that it is appropriate to hold workshops on these topics at otherkin/elven gathers, one would also have to declare a large number of fandoms that elves and otherkin belong to “relevant” on the same grounds.  I know a fair number of Fae-identified individuals who are Harry Potter fans, yourself included.  There's a correlation.  Does that make it relevant?

(Really, whatever the majority wants to do at a gather is probably fine, although I've been in the disappointed minority myself.)

 I don't believe these workshops are being presented because they are what the “majority wants”.  From what I've seen of the process, having offered workshops at Thresholds myself, people declare what workshops they're willing/able to put on this year and the schedule gets filled up with relatively little input by the larger group of attendees.

Psychological != “no basis in reality”! I suppose if someone were to say that outright – “This has no basis in my experience whatsoever and I am just making it up because I feel like it” – that could qualify as delusion (although if they're doing it consciously, I don't think that's “delusion”, just playing around). But this came from inside my head is not the same as unreal. Even if they don't believe in souls or don't believe that they are reincarnated, etc. people still can have thoughts and experiences that lead them to wonder about the conclusion that they have a non-human “essence” or “mind” or whatever word you like for subjective experience of existence and consciousness. I cannot grok this really because it is not my own experience, but I think I can understand it intellectually speaking.

Actually, from what I've seen, the new wave of psychological otherkin are not claiming to have a non-human “essence” or “mind” or similar word.  They are claiming that their wholly human minds are playing tricks on them; indeed, that all the otherkin experience consists of is the mind playing tricks.

I mean that while that “elven note” is a minimum requirement, there's more to it – a complex or syndrome if you will, like otherkinness in general in fact. Like how you can't just go down a list of characteristics and check a bunch of things off and bingo, there you are. Otherkin share a good deal of traits with geeks and fantasy fen and outsiders of several stripes, or in this case with hippies and environmentalists, as you note. The link does not necessarily go back the other way – if you like trees you could be an elf. More like if you are an elf, it raises your “risk factor” for liking trees.

But does it actually?  Are there proportionally more elves in the otherkin community who like trees than non-elven types?  I'd venture to say that most otherkin period like trees, so I don't think you can correlate it specifically to elves.  Most otherkin are also young, relatively tech-savvy, and liberal; this is the case not because they are otherkin, but because the otherkin community is primarily an internet subculture and its demographics reflect those of the internet itself.  Continuing further, most liberals like trees and support the environment.  Ergo, since the community is made up mostly of liberals, most members of the community will like trees.

That you called stereotypes “worse” (and I agree they can be bad) says to me you mean to say that archetypes are “bad” to begin with.

I do think that turning one's race or species into an “archetype” is bad to begin with.  A question I posed to Meirya earlier was: what is the difference between an archetypal native american and a stereotypical one?  I think the main difference in practice tends to be whether the stereotype is positive or negative.  We call the drunken indian image a stereotype, but we hold up the noble savage as an archetype.  We deride the stereotype of the black welfare queen, but hold up the magic negro as an archetype.  But the truth is, both positive and negative stereotypes are still just stereotypes.  The noble savage has no more depth of substance to it than the drunken indian stereotype.  Both are cardboard cutouts pretending to be people, not the people themselves.

I'm also not especially fond of reducing all the gods and goddesses of human history and a myriad of cultures down to the “archetypes” of The God and The Goddess.

Yet, you say also that for only “some” is their “point of relation with the Other” their memories – what about the rest? They seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place in this schema here!

I wouldn't necessarily say so, since this is a community and not a vacuum.  If others are sharing their memories of having been specific types of elves, those without memories can also explore which elven cultures they identify with, rather than being forced to view themselves as “generically elven”.  Sure, there may still be those who are left out who neither have memories nor feel a connection to any known elven culture, but isn't that why we have lists like lostkin in the first place?

I don't think there's anything wrong with reaching for something archetypal or essential and working to manifest that within oneself now, whatever form that takes. It may be based on memories of a specific existence or it may not.

I just see it as a very shallow way of exploring one's otherness.  As I would not relate to Pan or Cernunnos as “The God”, I would not relate to myself as simply “Elf”; I find doing so erases the things that make them unique and truly worth knowing.

Some will never find memories; some have none to find! (first existence)

I find it hard to think of a situation that would cause a first-lifer (if such exist) to be born into a body which does not match their soul.  Personally, I think the root cause of being otherkin is having lived lives that touched us so deeply they leave an imprint in our souls.

Some may find that their strongest memories are not something they want to associate with and bring forward to here/now

Having such memories myself, I would suggest that it's healthier to still explore the memories than to try to ignore them and work on expressing a generic archetype instead.  If you don't like who you were in that life, fine: work on being the person you should have been.  You, personally, not you-as-a-manifestation-of-a-current.

and maybe they just want to Be Something Else. If that's how their majik goes and it seems to be working and real (vs. empty pretending), who am I to say nay?

 If that's what they want, more power to them.  I think I mentioned before that I believe becoming otherkin is possible, and that it is an act of transformative magic.  But as I said then, I think it works better if you try to become something specific rather than trying to embody a generic archetype.  Building a magical identity, from an occult perspective, is more about deciding the various traits you want to embody than it is about deciding you want to be an archetypal/generic “powerful magician”.

Pretty far I should think! I've gotten this far without a lot of specific memories, at least. 😉

And yet, there was a time when you said you identified as otherkin mostly because of your memories and a few other spontaneous things popping up. (Like your reaction to Eyovah's “dragon reiki symbol”… I believe you meant Trueform?)

Sorry, I just don't find it hard to imagine someone who's just OMG so really an elf it flows off them in waves no matter what they might or might not specifically remember.  If they know and it comes through them and etc. … memories become almost an accessory.

I have trouble imagining a *physical* elf who's “just OMG so really an elf it flows off them in waves”.  I don't remember it doing so when I was one, and  I don't find that real humans have their humanity flow off them in waves, however thoroughly convinced they are of it.  As such, I have extreme difficulty imagining an otherkin elf for whom that would be the case.

Yeh lucky bastard. 😛 I continue to be jealous of the nexuses there seem to be in DC and Texas – although the one in Kitchener seems to have fallen apart a while back, sadly.

I think Harrisonburg may be the only place I've lived that doesn't have a nexus of otherkin, and even there I met some very interesting types.  Like my taijutsu instructor, whose hugs remind me of Eyovah and Cel's.

If that site has the spam cleaned out of the kin directory

(OKN, that is) Actually spam? Or do you just mean dead entries with non-working emails/websites?

Actual spam, I'm afraid.  I spidered the site a while back when I was trying to index every active otherkin website on the internet, and there's a large number of links and email addresses that are clearly spam.  As an example, look at the website on this profile:

http://otherkin.net/community/…../4292.html

I think what is meant here is not to interpret the memory as though it were a dream, where things actually can represent other things, but rather to give it a mythic place in one's own experience of self: it cannot be verified as literal history, so it can be used as mythic history.

But in a mythic history, things do represent other things, as in a dream or perhaps more aptly as in allegory.  Look at the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden for illustration; it is a mythic history representing the awakening of humanity to full self-awareness.  How would you use your memories as mythic history without interpreting their mythic symbolism?

I can't speak for anyone else, but that's substantially more powerful an experience than I've ever had. I.e., I don't know if yours or mine or somewhere in the middle is the more typical experience.

Most of the others I discuss memories with have had similar experiences, when they are not actually walk-ins or otherwise experiencing concurrent lifetimes (I don't really know how to term the parallel lives thing Eyovah had going on… polylocation?  It was more than bilocation, anyway.)  And even there, a flashback type recollection is not uncommon; things tend to be somewhat jumbled even if one doesn't have the full-on amnesia of reincarnation.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Actual spam, I'm afraid.  I spidered the site a while back when I was trying to index every active otherkin website on the internet, and there's a large number of links and email addresses that are clearly spam.  As an example, look at the website on this profile:

http://otherkin.net/community/…../4292.html

Btw, just doing a quick visual count using the everyone on one page view of otherkin.net's directory and Opera's Links display feature, I count 16 unmistakable spammers in the listing.  By unmistakable, I mean the links to their website contain terms like “buy ephedra”.  There may be many others who are less obvious about it, and either way it casts doubt on the integrity of the directory as a means of finding real living otherkin to connect with.  It also doesn't include spammers who didn't provide links, like the “dragon” ActiveNRG.

That's not even getting into issues like defunct listings; there are geocities webpages and MSN groups still linked from people's profiles.  Lots of them.  Geocities and MSN Groups shut down entirely two years ago.

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Arethinn
California

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Monday, 25th April, 2011 - 5:11 pm
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Now, how does one go about being a “generic human” or a manifestation of “humanity”, even here on a human planet with human bodies? Humanity is vast, varied, with infinite and completely contradictory expressions.

Exactly. And no single example is most quintessential, yet they all have something in common. I would say in a sense that one can’t help but be a manifestation of Humanity. Perhaps thinking of it in terms of an “oversoul” or “totemism” rather than like an elemental force would help.

My whole complaint with the permaculture workshops has been that they haven’t been related back to being otherkin, and they haven’t included discussion of changes in approach caused by their otherness.

I can see how that would be disappointing.

in 2008 we had 2 people show up who had never heard of otherkin and had no interest in otherkin but who wanted to attend the permaculture workshops. Again, to my mind, that’s a fairly strong sign that things have gone off course and that the event is suffering from scope creep.

Ah, well. Yeah, that sounds like a problem.

Meetups seem to have replaced gatherings … I just meant in terms of what people seem willing to host.

Ah. I’m afraid I may be falling into the category of “unwilling” because I just don’t get a lot of return for my efforts…. people seem less interested in coming to a physical event these days, at least one that is more than a few miles from their home. I’m running uphill against apathy, or something, and to put out the expense and effort and then only have a handful of peopole turn up is disheartening.

Compared to what, 6 full-scale otherkin gathers at this point?

Seven if you count House Kheperu Open House (which isn’t really quite the same focus).

one would also have to declare a large number of fandoms that elves and otherkin belong to “relevant” on the same grounds. I know a fair number of Fae-identified individuals who are Harry Potter fans, yourself included. There’s a correlation. Does that make it relevant?

Possibly. It depends on the group. It sounds like a topic for downtime (since a ‘kin gather isn’t generally large enough for a system of “birds of a feather”-ing). I wouldn’t put a fanfic reading on an official schedule, no. At the last MythiCalia I tried a workshop on depictions of mythical types and magic from fictions and games, what people had found meaningful or applicable to their own lives; potentially Harry Potter could have such material. (That workshop didn’t go down well actually, as it seemed Cel and I were about the only ones who had ever used a description from a book as a shorthand – like Malcolm used to say “like the starlit elves” and such things – or appropriated a bit of lore or a magical system from a game or book and tried it out in real life.) Or what if I told you I have a spirit companion who comes out of the Potter series? That’s not directly on the topic of otherkin, but I could see a discussion on fictional spirit companions being quite appropriate at a gather, since it’s something ‘kin tend to at least be aware of.

From what I’ve seen of the process, having offered workshops at Thresholds myself, people declare what workshops they’re willing/able to put on this year and the schedule gets filled up with relatively little input by the larger group of attendees.

Well, that’s exactly how I schedule my gathers. There’s really no other way to do it, unless you’re suggesting creating a schedule on the fly at the beginning of the event. I’m beholden to what people are willing to present. I might refuse to put something on the schedule because I don’t think it’s appropriate or interesting, of course, but I don’t consult in advance with the attendees as to whether they really want a workshop on X – if someone offers to do something and I like the idea, on it goes. It’s not a group effort. (This is not because I’m a territorial control freak. I wish it were a group effort! But in the past when I’ve tried to consult with everyone I could contact on everything from dates to locations, all I get is a lot of confusing input and/or apathy. It’s a sad fact that I don’t have a group of friends or even just familiar acquaintances who I’m working with to put on a gather together. It makes it not a “community event” really, not in the way that Thresholds is or used to be in any case, and I don’t think there’s any one thing I can do to fix that.)

I find it hard to think of a situation that would cause a first-lifer (if such exist) to be born into a body which does not match their soul.

I can’t offer an explanation for you, but I’ve run into ‘kin who claimed this was the case.

And yet, there was a time when you said you identified as otherkin mostly because of your memories and a few other spontaneous things popping up.

Not to say there are no memory-images there at all, but I certainly don’t have them in great quantity or depth of detail.

(Like your reaction to Eyovah’s “dragon reiki symbol”… I believe you meant Trueform?)

Huh? I don’t remember discussing an experience with that symbol (at least not recently).

I have trouble imagining a *physical* elf who’s “just OMG so really an elf it flows off them in waves”.

That might be a question of not having a good contrast present to compare to, but:

I don’t find that real humans have their humanity flow off them in waves, however thoroughly convinced they are of it.

I guess this is just our differing perceptions, then, because there are certainly humans who give me this feeling. I remember a few times I’ve been at intensives/workshops on certain magical topics and have been struck by how essentially human (at least in my processing) they felt – which is not to say “non-magical”, just that it had that characteristic flavor (and thus was difficult for me to get synched with).

Anyway, I am not very invested in convincing you of all this – it seems we are on different places in our paths and ways of mapping/understanding things and that’s fine.

Liryen
liryen

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Tuesday, 26th April, 2011 - 12:45 pm
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Arethinn said:

I guess this is just our differing perceptions, then, because there are certainly humans who give me this feeling. I remember a few times I’ve been at intensives/workshops on certain magical topics and have been struck by how essentially human (at least in my processing) they felt – which is not to say “non-magical”, just that it had that characteristic flavor (and thus was difficult for me to get synched with).

It’s interesting to me that you say that, because I get that feeling from some people too. Not too often, just every now and again with certain individuals. It always touches me somehow, because that “warmth”, for lack of a better word, is something that I’ve just never felt I have in droves. But wish I had. And then there are others I would classify as almost neither human nor otherkin…

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