Ain’t no problem homie.
Otherkin uses the concept from Totemism because of how similar they are when it comes to spiritual beliefs.
From what I understand, the Native Americans believe that their spirits is guided by a non-human being and they have a kin relationship with that spirit. The spirits can vary from any animal like a fox, wolf, rabbit, etc. This being is often called a totem.
Because of this they feel connected with this being, so eventually the persons spirit becomes their guide. In which many Natives and others identify with (which is why it’s often referred to as “spirit animal”)
This is where Otherkin comes in play.
Many people say that their kin with wolves, dragons and all that and claim that they’re not human, they’re Otherkin. That their spirit is *Insert animal/deity/person* and it’s who they identify and have a connection with. This is awfully similar to Totemism.
It doesn’t help when many try to use Native American beliefs as back up :/
I don’t have a problem with Totemism, that you have a spirit animal or anything similar. It’s a belief.
But when you’re running around saying that you were never human, acting as your supposed “kin” and start attacking others out of no where, it gets out of hand and taken to the extreme.
Hope this answered your question Anon!
I don’t think I have the necessary insight to argue this, so. @hallowedbone, @who-is-page, and @necrophagist– if any of you can explain why otherkinity =/= Native American spiritualism and all that jazz?
For one thing, there isn’t some collective one size fits all Native belief in spirit animals. iirc they’re a very specific set of practices belonging to certain tribes, and closely guarded. Saying “it’s a Native thing” is ignorant. Unless you are Native and part of a tribe that experiences spirit animals, you know fuck all about them. End of story.
Tutelary animal guides exist outside of those groups, secondly. I’m Celtic Irish and Korean, and both sides of my family have animal guides. How much they resemble Native American tribe practices I cannot say, but they’re there. My family’s “totem”, to borrow the vernacular, is the Phoenix. In discussion with some of my siblings and a spiritual elder, I might also be in communication with the bearded vulture. Highly likely in fact, but I take my time with these things.
These are SEPARATE ENTITIES, not kintypes. I don’t have a dragon spirit guide, I am a dragon, guided by the Phoenix and evidently this vulture. They heavily impact my identity, but they are not ME. My soul is a dragon, is an Arrancar, is a hanyou – whatever. That’s not the same as being linked to outside entities, and this isn’t that hard to understand.
Don’t speak for or over indigenous people and our spiritualities. We didn’t ask. Otherkin aren’t a problem for us, and some of us fall under that label as is.
pinging @jeshire-katt , too.
Yea, a kintype isn’t a totem. A totem isn’t a species identity, and their significance varies between cultures because as @hallowedbone said, what people call “native culture” is actually the many of different cultures and nations that existed before Europeans colonized North America, and not all of them practiced totemism. We aren’t just one people and it helps when you try to stick up for us to look into who something is appropriated from and why it is significant and shouldn’t be appropriated. I would especially do this if you heard it’s wrong on tumblr.. or heard it’s ok in spiritualist groups that consist only of people without any strong native heritage, lol.
FWIW, that also includes when people bring up Native cultures and traditions in otherkin communities but honestly, I’ve hardly ever seen it there. Sometimes, once in a blue moon, but not very often, and it seems like it’s looked down on in most places and seen as an asshole thing to do, which… good. Anyways.
In Ojibwa culture as an example (who’s language the word is derived from, the word “ototeman” which meant “brother-sister kin”), totems defined a number of clans (”doodem”). People within these clans often had a shared ancestor, were thought to have traits representative of the animal that symbolized their clan, and it was also used for things like splitting up labor, as these clans often lived near/in habitats that suited their animal.
And in all other cultures I’ve researched about this specifically, none of them have actually mentioned someone in themselves believing they are literally their totem, whatever it meant in their specific culture. Usually it’s a guide, something to do with lineage, or was something to aspire to be like. If there were spiritual practices involving nonhuman identities, involuntary or not, I haven’t heard of them yet (but would be very interested of hearing about them!).
Otherkin, on the other hand, personally believe they are nonphysically nonhuman, whether it be by reincarnation (often across universes in the case of spiritual fictionkin and non-therian otherkin), by spiritual mixup, or without any spirituality at all (ie, a quirk of the brain that doesn’t require any pathologizing and doesn’t disrupt one’s life). A key factor is too that it’s involuntary, so whether or not someone tried to claim stuff they have no right too (which as I said, looks to be rare, and thank fuck for that), they’d still identify as the thing. Our communities started up in the 50′s with elves meeting up in pagan circles (including tolkien elves, so fictionkion have also been around as long as the rest of the community), and then other people who weren’t elves came too because there was finally other people to relate to and share experiences with.
Oh, and therians are people who identify as earthly animals, which is a subset of otherkin with it’s own communities that I haven’t personally been into because.. I’m not a therian. So I may very well be wrong about people using native beliefs to fluff themselves up as more-valid-then-thou, or whatever.
I am beginning to hate the words “I’m genuinely asking”. It almost always means its going to be followed up by hater discourse.