There was a question just awhile back that I’ve been turning over in the back of my mind: Are there “guidelines” for determining whether someone’s Otherkin? I’ve been taking the question to its extreme: How does one know if *anyone* is a legitimate searcher, no matter what the background?
I would start first from giving my original understanding of the term “otherkin”: Those who believe they have “past” [or current] existences that are other than human. It was supposed to be a blanket term for anyone who fit that criterion. I personally don’t use it, opting for more specific terms, such as Fae, or Sidhe, or Listari. Too, the term just conjures up, at least to me, someone who’s spent too much time in Mum’s basement playing Dungeons and Dragons, insisting that sie simply *must* be royalty or something of similar importance. I don’t know many who use the term….
In any case, I’ve never felt that it is necessary for any one to determine if anyone else is a legitimate searcher. That’s the personal responsibility of each individual. Minds are associative, and all language is metaphor. A word is not the thing, the map is not the territory, and lists such as this exist simply for those on them to draw connection or not.
On a personal note, I have pursued a deep connection with things beyond myself as a spiritual pursuit, drawing from many sources. There are those, of course, within the “Otherkin” community who have chosen to create almost dogmatic constraints on what they think is or is not of them. So what? Let ’em be. It’s not like every other system of belief doesn’t have such folk. Like I said, the map’s not the territory, and there are always going to be people who are so caught up in belief that they have no faith. Those folk make themselves quite obvious, even online, ’cause you see ’em arguing over dogma rather than using various beliefs as metaphor to better understand the “world” and apply it to their day-to-day lives. And they exist in every faith. I’ve seen Xtians, pagans, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans, Otherkin, what have you who are guilty of what I’ve called idolatry–getting so caught up in defining what a tree is that one forgets the forest.
I guess what I’m saying is that I have no room for intolerance from any source, simply because I don’t hold that any one person or group has a lock on the capital-T Truth. I guess I’m a social libertarian who insists on personal responsibility. One just knows if someone else is on that same track sometimes, hence communities such as this one develop.