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Physical Traits?
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Tuesday, 6th July, 2010 - 1:34 pm
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So, where do folks stand on the subject of physical traits and otherkin?  By this, I mean things that are physically different about those who consider themselves otherkin.  Allergies, particularly metal allergies, often get cited as one difference.  Is there any truth to these claims?  What do you guys think?

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Claude

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Tuesday, 6th July, 2010 - 2:43 pm
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Personally I don't think there's anything to this at all. While I do know that different minds can cause certain personalizations in the body they inhabit and imprint, these are minor factors and not at all the types of things you could characterize as 'physical traits'. Because those are just that, physical. And every otherkin person here has left their old body behind in whatever fashion. [EDIT: Just thought of that not applying with those who don't derive their identification from any previous lives. But then, there's still no alternate-species body now.]

There may be certain placebo effects (positive or negative) from thinking something should come up if one's x species, but again only as far as the mind can influence things. Certain nerve reactions, heart rate, those kinds of things. Things that differ between individuals of the same species as well.

Stuff like metal allergies is rubbish to me. To use that example, plenty of humans are allergic to different kinds of metal, and nerves and stress can cause reactions similar to allergies, so if anything did come up, I'd put it down to either a coincidental match of one's current body and the cliché about one's identified species, or a nerve reaction from expecting an averse reaction to those substances.

For as far as I can see, while yes it can be a challenge to accept a new body, more pragmatism and acceptance of one's circumstances and one's current form would become quite a few people in the community.

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Arethinn
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger said:

So, where do folks stand on the subject of physical traits and otherkin?  By this, I mean things that are physically different about those who consider themselves otherkin.  Allergies, particularly metal allergies, often get cited as one difference.  Is there any truth to these claims?  What do you guys think?

Usually I find myself thinking, “And this isn’t within the normal range of human experience… how exactly?” Then again, I think many of the little strangenesses about otherkin are additive: it’s not that any one of them is impossible or really really weird for humans, but that a certain “complex” or “syndrome” tends to build up which gradually leans more and more in some fey direction. I’m thinking mostly of character traits here, I suppose, rather than physical things like pointy ears or extra-fast healing, but those too.

As for metal allergies, if you (general you) are claiming that iron burns you then I want to see marks. (edit: I was assuming that kind of thing, unusual reactions – not how people have skin reactions with certain alloys that leaves a green stain on the skin, or are sensitive to anything but gold or surgical steel and get inflamed piercings. Obviously perfectly normal for sensitive humans, although I suppose it’s one of those things you could take as “one extra bit among everything else.”)

Personally I sometimes get weird with forged iron, and sometimes not, and I haven’t yet determined a pattern. By “get weird” I mean that if I pick it up I get an unpleasant, tingly, aching, shooting-pain sensation in the hand, wrist, and part of the arm, and really I would like to put this down again now please. I haven’t done any double-blind (or even single-blind) tests on this, though, which would be interesting.

(Cast iron is less likely to trigger this response, although once I was at a grocery store whose outdoor garden/patio display included some large, ca. 3 ft tall and over 1 ft diameter I guess, cast iron urns, and it was like walking through some rather unhappy feeling wards.)

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 5:42 pm
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I'm pretty much at the same place as both of you on this: to me, most of it seems rooted in the mind or well within the range of normal human traits.  And don't get me wrong, some of the mental stuff I've seen is very impressive… Tenshi's capacity for alcohol, for example.  (And I'd say that has to be mentally/energetically based rather than physical given that it varies depending on who is front in their system.)

I used to get some discomfort, like Arethinn, around iron shortly after my awakening.  I'm pretty sure at this point it was psychosomatic, though some of it may just be a perception of the energetic qualities of iron: it grounds, and not gently.  Take someone with a high energetic charge, and it can be rather uncomfortable to ground that way if you're not used to it.  I've worked with iron at this point to get more comfortable with it again (or to get over the psychosomatic reaction, depending on your viewpoint) and now it doesn't really bother me, though I still prefer copper for grounding.  So far, most of the “metal allergies” I've seen have been this sort of discomfort, or the standard skin reactions that Arethinn mentioned above that even regular folks get.  No burns, nothing dramatic.  I've seen much more dramatic effects from a sang I know who managed to get sunburned indoors in a museum with few windows, and even that may have a psychosomatic basis.

I also think there's a lot of selection bias in the talk of otherkin having certain traits.  Take elves for instance… a lot of people point to the allergies and various dietary-foo as a common elven trait.  I'm not especially convinced that it is.  Assuming for the moment that it's not psychosomatic (and I know some are… an elven princess with an allergy to cold that was only trotted out when she needed to avoid work springs to mind) what is the actual percentage of elven otherkin with allergies and dietary problems?  Is it all that high, or do they just tend to cluster together and become self-reinforcing?  Personally, I'd be willing to bet that for every elf with an allergy or dietary problem there are at least three that don't have any but don't tend to stand out because they're not talking about it or organizing together the way the ones that do share those problems often do.

At this point, frankly, I'm wary even of attributing psychological traits to one's otherkin species.  I'm not sure I can find a good line for sane evaluation of what traits come from one's species and what traits are just you, if you go down that route.  To take it close to the point of absurdity, do I like burgers because I like burgers, or do I like burgers because I have a draconic side?  Personally, I think I just like burgers, period.  I don't feel the need to justify my mental traits with an otherkin species.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 6:03 pm
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Claude said:

And every otherkin person here has left their old body behind in whatever fashion.

Just wanted to reply to this part separately… some otherkin believe themselves to be physically nonhuman.  They usually claim to be descended from something nonhuman (I see this most often among elves).  I can understanding wanting to believe there's a physical component to what makes us Other, and in at least a few cases it does seem to run in families, but honestly I have a hard time taking the claim seriously.  To the best of my knowledge, no one who makes the claim has ever had their DNA examined for unusual traits, much less been told that they have anomalous DNA.  Plus, if actual interbreeding did take place, then it happened far enough back that at this point the trait would be spread out across enough of the population to be considered a normal part of the human genome, so it may not even be identified through a genetic test unless you had a real idea of what to look for in the first place.  A crackpot author named Nicholas de Vere claims to have a genetic test, but it actually just tests for the genetic marker of specific ancestor groups he already believes to be nonhuman.  So, not much good if you're actually looking for evidence of nonhuman genetics.

All in all, it strikes me as a way of making oneself feel special at the expense of others who supposedly lack a special super-secret magical bloodline.  It's the same kind of stuff you see in older esoteric works… Blavatsky was really big on the idea of “root races” and people having bloodlines connecting them to Atlantis or Lemuria.  You also see it again and again in the Grail Bloodline material, of which de Vere is a sad example.  

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technobushi

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That and there are plenty of non-kin humans with the same allergies or complaints to begin with.  In fact, I'd say that the population of these would be double to kin with the same complaints.

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Claude

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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 6:07 pm
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I agree completely, and a lot of the things you describe (allergies = attention and being special) I only know second-hand from tales, or not at all. But I can see it. It's what people do. (On a scale from 1 to 10, how un-PC is it to say it's a very human way to act? wink)

And I wasn't even aware elves were supposed to have those issues. Now our own elf is fussy with food, but…he's just fussy in general. It's a personality thing. (Our partner system will be able to confirm that. XD) And the actual dietary restrictions we have are independent of front runner, they're just in the body. And very human things. Same with allergies.

 

…then again… I can now declare that we're only allergic against so many chemicals because we have an elf/fake angel/extraterrestrial hominid/whatever. That makes it so much more glamorous and special. Yes. The chemical cosmetics we're allergic against are bad because our elf is in touch with Nature, and the natural cosmetics we're allergic against are because the angel and the space people don't know nature…. now it all makes sense! alien

 

But back to seriousness… in our opinion it's all either psychosomatic or well, thought-up.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 6:36 pm
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technobushi said:

That and there are plenty of non-kin humans with the same allergies or complaints to begin with.  In fact, I'd say that the population of these would be double to kin with the same complaints.

Agreed.  The same goes for the psychological traits too, really.  And if you do start saying (using the absurd example again) that I like burgers because of my dragon side… well, where does that leave the vegetarian dragons?  They are out there.  Do we start claiming they must have been vegetarians in their draconic lives too (like T-Rex before the Fall, they just used those teeth to crack open coconuts wink ), or do we just acknowledge that it really has nothing to do with one's otherkin nature either way?

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Claude

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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 6:57 pm
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We read about the vegetarian dinosaurs! Our Joshua anticipated it even in a joke while starting on a chapter in the book that mentioned it, saying he wanted a vegetarian veliciraptor as a pet. A page or two later, the vegetarian dinos before the fall were introduced, to his great delight.

And on the burger example, it's ironic – of course our own dragonish person is also our elf and would be vegetarian if it was more practical for the body. But of course he's an Asian dragon and thus instantly Buddhist and enlightened. That must be it. wink

 

But yeah. Psychological traits? I can't see it having any truth or relevance, except in self-fulfilling prophecies or an otherkin cliché being built up about species traits and people with such traits flocking there as a result. In any case nothing inherent or objectively connected.

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ViridianElf
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Arethinn said:

Personally I sometimes get weird with forged iron, and sometimes not, and I haven't yet determined a pattern. By “get weird” I mean that if I pick it up I get an unpleasant, tingly, aching, shooting-pain sensation in the hand, wrist, and part of the arm, and really I would like to put this down again now please. I haven't done any double-blind (or even single-blind) tests on this, though, which would be interesting.

(Cast iron is less likely to trigger this response, although once I was at a grocery store whose outdoor garden/patio display included some large, ca. 3 ft tall and over 1 ft diameter I guess, cast iron urns, and it was like walking through some rather unhappy feeling wards.)


 

Same here. I've wondered if it's because iron can hold a magnetic charge and it's actually the magnetism I'm reacting to, and that might affect people's personal energy fields in different ways, perhaps even depending on how a person is feeling at the time.

I also have this reaction to hematite — real hematite, not the fake “Hemalyke” that most jewelry is made up of now. It's subtle but uncomfortable, and not always consistent.

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ViridianElf
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Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 - 11:27 pm
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Claude said:

And on the burger example, it's ironic – of course our own dragonish person is also our elf and would be vegetarian if it was more practical for the body. But of course he's an Asian dragon and thus instantly Buddhist and enlightened. That must be it. wink


 

A former roommate here, another elf, was once presented with a salad of fresh, organic lettuce, herbs and narcissus flowers, all from the garden outside. She turned her nose up at it and hissed that HER people only ate meat and milk. Apparently “meat and milk” meant cheeseburgers and coffee with lots of cream and sugar 😛

Me, I love meat but would've been delighted to receive such a salad!

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Arethinn
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Thursday, 8th July, 2010 - 12:57 am
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ViridianElf said:

Same here. I've wondered if it's because iron can hold a magnetic charge and it's actually the magnetism I'm reacting to, and that might affect people's personal energy fields in different ways, perhaps even depending on how a person is feeling at the time.

I don’t think it’s magnetism, for me anyway. As Jarin mentioned re: grounding, it can yank and redirect energy flows in a way that can be disruptive and uncomfortable. I think this is at least part of what it really is with the folklore that faeries fear iron: it screws around with our magic/glamour, and besides being annoying, for sidhe at least environmental glamour is a “nutritional” requirement: something we wither if deprived of. Iron interfering isn’t quite like being cut off from an oxygen supply, more like starvation, but a starvation you can feel beginning instantly.

I also have this reaction to hematite — real hematite, not the fake “Hemalyke” that most jewelry is made up of now. It's subtle but uncomfortable, and not always consistent.

I’ve never had a problem with hematite. I find it much more gentle and sometimes even pleasant, if grounding’s what I’m in need of. My husband claims he always “blows up” hematite rings and other jewelry, but that could be something about the habits of his motions (exposing the rings to more impact or something), and anyway that’s also a claim one hears from human magic-workers sometimes. If there’s really any connection, I’d say it’s more to do with running high-voltage than being otherkin.

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Claude

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ViridianElf said:


 

A former roommate here, another elf, was once presented with a salad of fresh, organic lettuce, herbs and narcissus flowers, all from the garden outside. She turned her nose up at it and hissed that HER people only ate meat and milk. Apparently “meat and milk” meant cheeseburgers and coffee with lots of cream and sugar 😛

Me, I love meat but would've been delighted to receive such a salad!


 

*laugh* That's great. That salad sounds great, and I love meat, too.

*gasp* All that individualism in taste. Can't be!

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Claude

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I also find it really fascinating what people report about some materials, in a sane framework such as this here. Makes you wonder what it is about it. Personally I love iron, the aesthetics, the feel… wouldn't go so far as to say there's anything spiritual about it, and I don't identify as anything that would have any special connection to any materials, good or bad. But it's interesting how it can be so different between people.

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Ayaka Inu
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I haven't really known any otherkin personally, but I think physical traits could reasonably be a valid occurrence, but it could also be mistaken easily, as a physical trait could also indicate many other things. As an example, I have a dangerous habit of chewing my hands and arms to the point of bleeding and then chewing even more, now that could be an instinct or habit from my first life, or it could be something I have picked up in this one. So in a nutshell, physical traits are quite possible, but it is difficult to define a reason for a physical trait, especially if it is one we don't fully understand ourselves.

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