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how do you approach the spiritual side of otherkin?


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Hi, i just want to start off by saying sorry for disappearing for half a year, sometimes life gets in the way of things and you don’t have the time or energy to actively contribute to an internet forum.

 

I wanted to come back and try to finally pin down where I fit into surrounding being otherkin. If any of this contradicts what i have said in the past, it is because i have much clearer memory of the past now.

 

To get to the point I have recently had an intense feeling of having had a previous life, in a way that i’ve experienced things that i can’t explain in any other way. This has been somewhat startling as someone who didn’t really believe in that kind of stuff, and would like to believe has a more grounded, factual understanding of the world around me, but these experiences don’t fit into this view.

 

When i joined here in November i came looking for a psychological explanation for why i had some weird experiences around believing i was a cat, however i have come to realize that a psychological explanation will not explain all of what i’m currently feeling.

 

Having a much clearer memory of my childhood and adolescence now i can remember believing in some way that i was a reincarnated cat, and even feeling ghost limbs and such. i also have ADHD and during early middle school i was often bullied for both of these things, which is when i started masking, and feeling like i was a cat was also part of what was masked. fast forward years later and around the time i start to undo the damage done by masking my ADHD my whole life i also joined this forum to try and figure out what this cat-feeling thing is about. I guess that because there was a psychological explanation for my ADHD I thought there must be one for this too but now i am not too sure.

 

I have heard people on this forum talk about having been able to remember memories from past lives and such, and i would like to know how people go about doing this. I would also like to know how to figure out your identity in a spiritual context. I know meditation helps, but true meaningful meditation is something i have only experienced once before and am unsure how to do again. if anyone has some tips regarding that, that would be helpful as well! overall how does one approach trying to figure out past lives and identity in a spiritual context?

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I suppose the first step to understanding your kintype from a spiritual angle would be to fully understand (or to come as close as possible to fully understanding) what you believe in and why. Is it an organized religion, a spiritual/lifestyle philosophy, a pop culture god? Etc. etc. If whatever it is already has a relation to reincarnation, then you can look to that. If it doesn't, then you'll have to figure out how reincarnation could possibly be realistic within the belief system you have claimed.

 

As far as memories go, they aren't really something you can force. Plenty of nonhumans do not have memories, even if they attribute their kintype to a spiritual phenomenon. That said, spending time around your kintype, researching it extensively, and getting to know yourself in general may knock loose some memories you have. Just don't be too disappointed if you find that you don't have very many, or even any at all.

 

My understanding of meditation is that it is very much like a muscle. You need to practice meditation regularly in order to get to some of the mental states others can slip into more easily. The good thing is that even short bouts of what most view as "failed" meditation attempts can provide benefits for mental health and mental clarity, which could also help you figure more out about yourself. My only suggestion is to allow thoughts to pass through you like you are a sieve, without judgment, rather than trying to stop all of your thoughts at once. This also takes practice.

 

I wish you the best of luck on this journey to understand yourself better.

"Wholly wounded, I imitate, I take shape."

polymorphic

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In the past, the otherkin community was mostly concerned with spiritual explanations instead of psychological ones. Ironically, this meant that your requirement of "proof" was much higher than it would be for a psychological kintype. Psychologically, a person can imprint on just about anything, even if that thing makes no rational sense. But from a spiritual perspective, you're basically saying, "I literally was a cat in a past life (or in some other fashion as there are variations on the theme) and it still affects me today." If you literally were a cat and that past life is affecting you now, it becomes more plausible to test what does and does not make sense for a reincarnated cat. It then becomes possible to gain some benefit from the ancient art of grilling.

 

For example, using your profile pic as a guide: If you literally had a moon-shaped mark on your forehead, that would probably count against you. One, because it's not a plausible thing for a normal house cat. Two, because as a cat you'd have no way of seeing your own forehead and little to no interest in your own reflection, and three, because that shape would have no particular meaning to a cat. So even if you somehow had a mark like that, it probably wouldn't have made a big enough impression on you to notice it. It would be far more likely that the moon mark would be a psychological affectation that you added in this life, not something you actually had in that one.

 

(The fact that it is easier to apply grilling techniques to existing and present animals than it is to otherworldly ones sometimes gave therians a sense of superiority over otherkin as far as proving their veracity is concerned. How do you prove what is normal and accurate in terms of a mythical creature? Historical research can help somewhat, but it often falls short.)

 

Meditation can give you leads to follow, and ideas to consider, but it can't give you hard facts or proof. Likewise with memories gained from meditation. You can't trust that they're accurate. You can take something seen in meditation and then examine it, or test it in some way, to get an idea of the level of confidence you can assign to it. That level of confidence will never be 100% unless you're fooling yourself somehow. I'd say that 70% confidence is a darn good rating.

 

What parts of the psychological explanation don't seem to ring true for your experiences? That would be a good place to start examining the concept.

 

So as strange as it sounds, the spiritual explanation is more open to rational examination than the psychological one. You are then comparing your vision with an actual cat rather than just the idea of a cat.

Red Tailed Hawk Therian / Polymorph / Spirit Being / Anthro Hawk / Deitykin

 

Shard of Heru AKA Horus

 

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This is an age-old topic that has been covered in many other threads, this is true, and of this there can be no doubt this will be done yet again as this is a common question. It is really one of the fundamental questions in the nature of existence itself, so allow us to begin by not fixing our minds upon any one thing. If we are open to what can be covered in it, we are liable to learn something, and if we are closed to it, we will learn nothing. It does not matter if it has been taken up before or will be after as that is beside the point.

 

What we should begin with is, is that what is psychic - here to mean what occurs purely in the realm of the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious aspects of the mind - are not too dissimilar from that which takes the place in the spiritual one. Despite this, it is important to note they are not one in the same and to not conflate them; the reason so as to why will be evident soon enough. So it should be first understood that to appreciate the one, deeply, one must appreciate the other. It is easy enough for anyone to discount it and say, "It is all just in my head." and neglect to account for meaningful circumstances which are tangible, observable even, and in return it is far too easy to say just as much, "Clearly all of this has meaning." when something coincidental occurs.

 

Memory is troublesome in this regard but allow me to preface it by saying that no, one cannot conjure up memories by many of the methods purported and proposed. I say this flatly and unabashedly because, definitively, there are answers to things so far as we can demonstrate and most of all, demonstrate in normal people of whom are the standard metric we must compare everything to. This is grievously unpopular but a great number of individuals unfortunately really, truly, unabashedly wish to believe in what seems right rather than is right. To summarize, memories in a physiological sense, so a biopsychological one, do not behave like the imagination at first and are, comparatively stored and recalled rather than generative; one recalls memories, one invents fantasies. It so happens to also be the case that memories are, typically, provoked solely only by stimuli specific to them whereas fantasies are completely mutable. One will not, without extreme reason from an engram, recall something that has happened without some sort of provocation, which can be voluntary recall - such as trying to remember that information in a explicit sense by thinking about it in a specific way - or involuntary recall - such as by being exposed to something such as sensory provocation like a sound or sight.

 

This distinction is critical because an extremely common misconception is that meditation "lets otherkin recall their kin memories". This is false and a fabrication based off of a half-truth. Meditation does not recall memories, meditation simply does not interact with the same portions of the brain, ergo it simply cannot do this, but what it does do is allow one to focus, to comprehend, and to dwell on something by focusing their intentions and thoughts about it. For this to work in the way it is often framed, one needs to have a memory in the first place, or what presents as a memory, and needs to examine that memory - and I do mean really examine it, really scrutinize it, really test it. Because while it is true one can fabricate memories, a popular concept in fiction owing to the elaborate quality of it, there are ways to sort out what is purely inception or not.

 

The most obvious of this is, is that we all have memories of things, and when we recall something, the sensation - the actual feeling of sending information by way of currents through the neural pathways - is distinct; if one tries to remember something, the feeling of trying to remember that is the same because it is the same mechanism being driven forward to do so. A memory which cannot be recalled the same way as any other memory is not a memory, not to be confused with things we have forgotten to remember; it is still there but any number of reasons for it being inaccessible might be possible. The second most obvious to this is, is that a memory cannot contradict object reality. Another greatly unpopular stance to take, unless one accepts states of delusion as normative, this is not possible, and while it is possible for any of us, "other" or perfectly normal person, to remember impossible things such as dreams we must be stringent to compare the supposed information to reality. This happens a great deal with say, eyewitness testimony, in that uncomfortably often witnesses get very obvious, tangible, objective information about a crime - most often a person, most often major facets such as the color of their clothes or a car they saw or time of day - very, very wrong. So when we confront anything that seems to be a memory, we need check it against any other possible information at our disposal; we need cross-reference it and where it conflicts, reject it until we can come up with a functioning hypothesis as to how the two can be continuous. For some this gets into the quantum nature of reality and information as energy, both of which are true, but how to interpret that actuality is highly debatable and we will probably receive little to no better understanding there from science today to the ends of our own lifetimes, if not a hundred or more years at least.

 

Third, a memory should generally be tied to the aforementioned stimuli types unprovoked. A "kin memory", as the community tends to frame them, should be from sort of source that is not actively thinking about it. This is because the generative quality of the mind and the desire, the intent, to have memories is very strong, and the ability to synthesize patterns and information in the past into a framework to fit this in becomes very easy; we take daydreams as relatively real, just as we do in dreaming in sleep, in the context of them as almost always real or real enough because our inhibitions are suspended, the same conceptual way as we take impossible things of fantasy in literature or film as "real" by suspending disbelief. Memories tend not to be relevant, tend not to be important, tend to be seeming sporadic, and in the case of what is at least true to some extent for those who are "therian", should be mostly unremarkable. Those who are animal lived animal lives and thus encountered daily challenges and experiences that, to humans, might be quite exotic but in the context of the natural world are quite common place. Hunting a moose for a wolf is plainly part of being a wolf in winter and while exciting to people - memories of major events of things like these being common reports albeit of suspicious validity - is simply what a wolf does. But moreover, it is not the hunt said wolf would be likely to remember but say, the scent of the moose and the odor of its fear, or the feeling of what ice building up between toes is like, and how it matts into fur. Think to any random sensory memory in one's mind and there is virtually always one sense that stands out most significantly in a memory that is utterly seemingly unimportant and random.

 

If one needs to doubt a memory, then doubt it. Even if there is the faintest shadow of a doubt about its validity, turn to doubting it. Unless one can no less doubt it than any other memory, by testing each and every one the same way, especially by trying to cross-reference what is known with what is experienced, do not capitulate to the urge to address it as real. The alternative, really to be candid about it, is to simply believe everything because once one stops doubting anything of question, one starts believing anything of suspicion.

 

The fourth this the real secret and I will afford oneself and all other readers this: none of it truly matters. While this has become more appreciated with time, the depth of the importance of this I believe is understated. In the spiritual sense, the need for memories is patently irrelevant. They make for some substantiation for beliefs, yes, but these beliefs are not actually substantiated in themselves because none of the doubts are actually answered. Continued, were it even to be answered, what different would it make? Is one's faith in something truly being real contingent on what can be proven or what can be experienced? To have both is wonderful but we cannot always have both. Sometimes one can only go with evidence, sometimes only with faith, and in rare circumstances one births the other and vice versa, or rarer still, both come together.

 

But why should that matter for memories? Lacking memories is no more and no less a sign of validity than anything else. If one wishes to meditate, instead spend the time meditating on why one believes anything, what is believed, how that belief came to be, is it one's own belief or is it something ingrained into oneself through culture and society, is the belief well constructed or does one believe simply because one wants to? Do not go looking for memories, that is a waste of time, as memories seldom provide coherent answers, often creating more questions. Instead, seek to seek the seeking. Thirst for the sake of thirsting, not for the sake of drinking.

 

This sudden pivot should not be a surprise, it was done on purpose, because too many become hung up on the psychological aspects and the meaning of them in their spirituality. Dispense with that kind of assessment because the reality is, most of the time, if not almost always, one is never liable to get those answers. One can pray and meditate and contemplate them endlessly but in the seeking of what is spiritual, their relevance is trivial to how vastly cosmic an exercise one is trying to tap into. It is the equivalent to using a nuclear reactor to boil water to make rice. If those answers come, they come, ask for them and leave the door open, and if or when they arrive, test them with all the force one can muster, but otherwise it is a pointless wandering through the desert asking for a wineskin when what is needed really is water.

 

I hope this lesson and exercise makes sense, perhaps it will.

 

Meditation in itself is also no easy task regardless, it must be dedicated to, and there are a great number of various methods to employing it. This is not to scare oneself off from it or covet it but no one can really "meditate casually", it must be practiced to get meaningful outcomes. Small progress is progress all the same and time should not be a considered factor; there is no rushing meditation or its siblings in contemplation and prayer. One could do centering, where one keeps bringing the focus back to the center by each time the wandering mind sets off in another direction, often by an inner word or thought, or one could do mantras, or simply emptying thoughts, among others. The simplest way is to try it but remember, meditation is not the same as active imagination or passive imagination or journeying or astral travel or visualization any number of other things, even if it often opens up the powers of these much more. Meditation is often a good practice to begin with to put one's mind at easy to be in the proper place to engage in all manners of activity because it calms the mind and allows for clarity, focus. Allow me to emphasize here too these are not methods of recall, rather generation - actual revelatory experiences are absolutely profound and lifechanging, rare beyond measure, the types of things that happen under bodhi trees, to make an allusion here to their scope.

 

So what to do about the spiritual matter? What is then a past life, if anything? It depends upon the lens one examines it and what one believes, experiences, and "knows" as well as "understands" about the metaphysics of the universe. To cite myself, I am not uninitiated to the mechanics of quantum information and the reality that energy and information are synonymous, that matter is slowed down, encoded, tangible energy and information highly orchestrated and arranged, on and on it goes really as I could ramble on about it, but it is the case I use this as a way to check what is said to be true of spiritual matters. Can one truly by faith and prayer and thought alter reality? Physics tell me that is certainly possible, one can skew outcomes by awareness alone, never mind conscious thought, just by problems caused by entanglement, so some part of this must be true. If, in all my time in conservation biology, ecology, mammalogy, physics, and zoology only ever demonstrates an increasingly complex, interwoven, "intelligent" pattern that I can interact with and vice versa, what else can I call that? If everything down to waves and particles have particulars about them that can be said to have functions, the likes of which are not comprehensible, no matter how purposeful, then what? Why?

 

I came to my understanding by trying to put everything into concrete facts, a method one is likely more than well familiar to now, but the further I went down the more it became self-evident that said facts all tied back to liminality and unknowable truths. The more I have tried to interact with it, the more it reacts and interacts to me. This is only one way but it is the only way I can say to know of that "tests" reality first and "judges" it second to make a spiritual conclusion. For myself, I cannot explain in words the difficulty of what it is to run out of answers and that the most intelligent people I know or could consult or study had none, that I had to turn to studying philosophy and religion, spirituality, to expose those answers, and then to find familiar threads.

 

As a result, I suggest this route above all others because it steers clear of engaging in fantasizing and wishful thinking beyond most but it is a highly scholarly pursuit and one just has to accept the ineffable truth is always going to be greater and more complex, infinitely intricate, than oneself. If that is not the One, the Universe, or God, frame it how one will, I can offer no consolation there.

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