The Reincarnation Theory Of Otherkin

The Reincarnation Theory Of Otherkin

Author:   Lupa   

Otherkin are a pretty controversial group of people, even within the relatively tolerant realms of NeoPaganism. While we live within the same world as everyone else, working and/or going to school, building and maintaining a variety of relationships, paying the bills, and otherwise leading completely mundane existences, we have other aspects to our personal realities that aren’t quite so everyday. We know/believe that there’s something not quite human about us and we can spend this entire lifetime figuring out just who we’ve been and who we are now.

Some identify as nonhuman, relatively humanoid species such as elves and faeries; others believe there is something of the dragon, gryphon or sea serpent about them; and still others identify strongly with animals native to this plane, well beyond the totemic bond. Yes, it can be a bit of a brain-breaker to try to resolve the conflict between what’s commonly divided into “fantasy” and “reality.” That’s why most `kin spend time trying to figure out just why it is we feel that we’re different in a such a….er…different manner.

One of the most common explanations for being Otherkin is reincarnation. This necessitates a belief in a soul, of course, and the belief that the soul is not species-specific. While some people say that once a(n) (insert species here), always a(n) (insert species here), others maintain that the soul is itself neutral and can be incarnated into any body possible.

Neutral as the soul may be, it still tends to carry material with it from life to life, depending on how strongly the experiences of each life imprinted on it. Some souls are better at keeping their egos intact through each death-birth process than others; this is perhaps why some people have thorough recollections of their previous existences while others have just a few tidbits here and there. It just so happens that for a few people the memories that imprint strongly don’t come from this particular Earth-reality.

It’s debatable whether these lives occurred on alternate Earths or physically different planets entirely. Some Otherkin seem to have a really good idea of where they come from, even being able to pinpoint galaxies or individual stars that correlate to our Sol. I’ve also heard people claim the idea that our world and numerous others inhabit the same basic place, but are layered according to energy resonance (think physical vs. astral plane).

It’d be easy to accuse Otherkin of simply being entirely too imaginative. After all, aren’t elves and such meant to be in the realms of fantasy fiction or, at best, the spirit plane? This is where belief comes into play. Even the most solid cases of reincarnation can’t be thoroughly proven, and sometimes we do have to go on faith to an extent. Consistency seems to be the key to a more likely story. Repeated past life regressions that continually bring up the same people, places, themes and identities are a lot easier to argue for than a single wishful thought that the bearer is afraid to test for fear of being wrong. Some Otherkin, particularly among elves, report shared memories with others, including incidents where the two (or more) parties had not previously communicated with each other on the subject.

The truly skeptical can argue against this all day long—what if one or more people were just saying “Yeah, I remember that,” to go along with the crowd? What if it’s a group delusion? What if? What if?

It’s important to stringently question ourselves and not blindly accept whatever comes our way that looks pretty. Yet if we chase away belief entirely we shut ourselves off from a lot of potentially positive developments in our lives. After all, belief is the basis of spirituality and magic, and Gods know that enough Pagans, Otherkin and otherwise, desire or even need these things in our lives. So while we’ll acknowledge the words of the skeptics and keep close watch on ourselves to make sure we don’t convince ourselves that pixie ‘kin really can fly, we will allow ourselves some belief to explore our possible pasts.

As to why we ended up here, there are a number of possibilities:

Because we needed to learn something about being human. Many reincarnationists believe that we enter into the lives that we do in order to learn a specific lesson. There are quite possibly lessons that only the unique experience of being human can teach. Perhaps some `kin are here to better understand humanity so that they can therefore adopt certain human behaviors. Maybe Earth today has a balance of creation and destruction, Nature and technology, that is unique in the Multiverse. Perhaps some of us came here from someplace better as punishment/rehabilitation for some wrongdoing; or maybe from somewhere worse so we can get a breather (after all, this place certainly isn’t all bad!) Just as a soul may be born as a cougar to learn to be more aggressive or a way to learn patience, the experience of being human might be how some souls learn what to do—or not do—with modern technology, or our particular blend of sex and love, or whatever else it is that makes us human.

Because this world needs our help. Let’s face it—to a lot of folk in the magical and Otherkin subcultures, this place is in trouble. The environment is constantly under siege, millions of humans live in poverty-stricken, war-torn areas, disease is rampant and some days it just seems like the whole biosystem is about to collapse under the pressure. There are Otherkin who feel they came here with the purpose of alleviating some of the pain. There’s the theory that other sentient places in the Multiverse are well aware of us and want to try to help us, if for no other reason than to keep us from destroying everything around us. So souls come from these places in order to help out what is seen as a state of emergency. Take the concept of thinking globally, and expand it across the Multiverse. Predictably many of the Otherkin under this heading dedicate themselves to social, political, spiritual and related causes meant to make a positive impact.

Because we walked in. Walk-ins are a unique group among Otherkin; they’re not really so much a category as another explanation. A walk-in is a soul that enters a body well after birth. In some cases this happens at a point when the original soul abandons it (often at a time of great physical/emotional/etc. trauma, though this is not always the case). Other times the walk-in soul shares the body with the original soul. The souls involved may all have had nothing but human lives, but they show up in the `kin community commonly because it’s a safe haven for them to be open about who and what they are. Walk-ins may come in with a purpose, or simply with a curious desire to have a body again but not wanting or being able to enter a newborn body.

Oops. Species dysphoria does occasionally occur among Otherkin. This means that there are those who fully believe they were born into the completely wrong body. I’ve seen this most commonly among therianthropes—those who identify as nonhuman, Earth-native animals—but it happens in other groups as well. Stories vary as to why the soul ended up in the wrong body, ranging from “Well, I thought I was headed into a fox kit, but I guess I missed” to “I’m here against my will because of something I did in another life” (see the first theory listed above).

I dunno. You tell me. There are plenty of Otherkin who have absolutely no idea how they got here. While some do search for answers, many just shrug, chalk it up to unknown forces and go on with their lives.

Again, it’s entirely possible that we’re all just over-imaginative or even delusional; but then again, the same could arguably be said for anyone who claims to believe in reincarnation, spirits or magic. No doubt there are probably plenty who claim the Otherkin label who probably do need to do a lot more seeking before they come to this conclusion; after all, when you don’t feel you fit into this world, escapism can become an extreme behavior in a tiny fraction of individuals. Needless to say, there are thousands of people in this world who are Otherkin, who identify as such and who live perfectly functional, happy lives with no ill effects from their identities. The theory of reincarnation offers many of us a way to explain this feeling of being Other, so we can find peace with ourselves in our entirety.

Coven Life: The Tie That Binds

Coven Life: The Tie That Binds

Author: Aconite Caotix

I’m sure that many people wonder what it is like to be in a coven. To some, it is their goal to find that special group of people that you can share your magickal journey with and have that bond of love and trust that only seems to be in such a tight knit group of people. This essay is to serve as a warning to those that feel that they NEED to be in a coven, grove, or circle to further themselves spiritually. Yes, there are many lessons to learn in such a group, but they might not all be ones that you want to learn the way they are taught to you.

When I first came to Wicca, I was what you might call a “lost soul”. I was seeing a counselor for depression, and one of the things that we came up with that was leading to my depression was a lack of belonging to any spiritual group. I was your typical “seeker”, and ripe for anyone to pick. So I met a very charismatic gentleman at a Pagan Meetup, and he said that he was starting a coven. My eyes lit up when he said the word. It was the very reason I was there! But you know the saying, “Be careful what you wish for…”

Things were great the first few years. I was getting the teaching that I had always wanted, and even though there was a lot of work on my part involved, I believed that it was all worth the effort, and that I was serving the gods. I’m not going to go into my whole history with the coven, but I will get right to the point of this essay and that is that the leaders of the coven were not all that they originally seemed to be. What seemed to be a nice, nurturing, couple turned out to be people that were selfish, dishonest, and willing to do whatever they had to and use whoever they had to in order to get what they wanted or feel that they deserved out of life.

For the whole ten years of my time with them, I was a servant. Sure, they called me their friend, and even went so far as to call me family, but I was to them whatever they needed me to be for their own purposes at the time. When the High Priest was lonely for company, I was his best friend. When they needed money, I was family. When they needed someone to move furniture, I was the subordinate doing their part to help their elders. They even coerced me into getting a cell phone JUST so they could get a hold of me whenever they needed to.

Now some of you might be reading this and think, “Hold on! You weren’t in a coven, you were in a cult!” Well, you would be wrong, but not completely. If you have read Bonewitz’s or other lists on what to look out for in a group that could classify it as a cult, you could find elements of a cult-like group in the coven I was in, but I don’t think I was ever strictly in a cult. But I would like to strongly suggest that if you don’t get anything else out of this essay, that you take away a caution when building the kind of bond a coven fosters with ANYONE.

Yes, it is a very romantic notion to be that close with a group of people, and to have that support network in your life, but if you are not careful, you can get into a situation where the support only really flows one way, and it is REALLY hard to see that is happening when you are right in the middle of it, filled with notions of “family”, “perfect love and perfect trust”, and “hierarchical tradition”. You can easily be duped into thinking that all the things that are being demanded of you are legitimate, no matter how outrageous they may seem to someone on the outside.

The coven setting can create the perfect storm for egos to be fed, “us vs. them” alliances to be formed, and where “tradition” can easily trump common sense. You feel that you owe your allegiance to those that have worked so hard to put the group together. And it is usually an allegiance that is required unconditionally. They SAY that you are there of your own free will, but how free is your will when you are doing things for people because you feel you have to? Because you feel bound by some mystical sense of accountability to the leader of the group. It is this kind of command that turns coven members into minions.

When three separate groups of parents of members of our group thought that the leaders were controlling and egotistical after meeting them for just a short time, then you think that would have opened my eyes to the fact that something was unhealthy in the relationship. But the bond they created was so strong that I did not see it right away. It was only after 10 years of doing practically nothing but my job and my coven life that I realized I had gotten in “too deep”.

There were other factors to my leaving as well. The most damaging one was that my wife and I actually LIVED with the coven leaders for about a year. (I know you are thinking that “c” word again.) Luckily for me, though, it was during this time that we got to see their true colors, and the lengths they were willing to go to secure their own comfort and well being, anyone else’s be damned. They would claim to others that we were “helping each other out”, when it was really them that needed OUR financial assistance. They took advantage of our good natures and drained us for every penny they could, but still thought we owed them more when we finally managed to get out of there and get our own place. We even almost bought a house with them! I thank the gods every day that we did not, because it would have been doubly hard to leave then, but at the time we were fully committed to them. They, however, were only committed to themselves.

So please take this caution to heart. You may think that a coven is the only way to get the spiritual experience and teaching that you feel you need in your life, as did my wife, many others, and I. And there are some lessons that you will probably only learn is such a setting. However, joining a coven is a possible trap. While it may not exactly fit the description of a cult to a tee, there are elements of such groups built into the structure of most covens. Someone who has been intimately involved in such a group for ten years has warned you. And while I don’t completely regret it, there is a lot to life that I missed out on during that time because of my allegiance to the group and its leaders.

There are other ways to get spiritual teachings and camaraderie. Public gatherings are great ways to meet others of like mind and spirit without the trappings of “belonging” to anyone. A lot of local new age stores have some kind of classes going on regularly. But another note of caution here: some of these classes are taught by leaders such as the ones I had, and they can use these classes as a way to recruit people into their group. And if you do find yourself in that first interview with the leaders of a coven, try your best to find out what kind of people you are talking to. Ask to see their bylaws. If they give the leaders “supreme authority” and equate them with the gods themselves, then enter at YOUR OWN RISK! Because you could find yourself tied to them in a way you never thought you would be to anyone for any reason.

And it is a tough bind to break.