Posted by: Nyxks | November 14, 2007

A Field Guide to Otherkin

A Field Guide to Otherkin
By Lupa © 2007
Megalithic Books
ISBN 978-1-905713-07-3
312 pages
Paperback
$21.99 (U.S.)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

Do you believe in Otherkin? Do you even know what Otherkin are? In fairness I have to admit that I knew almost nothing about the topic before reading this work by Lupa. Simply put (far too simply) Otherkin identify on at least some level as some variety of life other than human – some form of earthly animal, dragon, elf, etc.

As I read this book I found myself questioning my beliefs throughout. Starting out, I had severe doubts, even given my strong leanings toward affinities with felines and dragons. Further in, I doubted my doubts. As I read through the book I found myself, repeatedly, asking “Does Lupa really believe this, or is it an act?” In reality, I can’t answer that definitively for more than one reason. There is the fact that I don’t know Lupa personally. A few emails do not a relationship make. Then there is the fact that I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the belief in Otherkin. I don’t THINK I know any ‘kin personally, but there is always that possibility.

This book is designed a s a guide on several levels. First, and foremost, it is a guide to dealing with the personal beliefs and feelings of the reader. Lupa realizes that validity of belief can ONLY be judged from the inside. As an example, I am not in a position to judge the validity of the beliefs of Pope Benedict XVI (simply as an example). I can judge his behavior against the standards of his church and community, but as for his personal beliefs – I’m not him, so I can’t say.

Secondarily, it is a basic guide to the types of Otherkin out there. In Lupa’s case, she bases this on the results (primarily) of a survey she distributed. She is honest enough to admit that the response to the survey was quite limited (far less than 1,000) and may not be representative of the Otherkin community-at-large.

In these two functions of a guidebook she succeeds nicely. She offers guidance for the reader to find their own level of belief and happiness while leading through the tangled path to acceptance.

As one of the first books to be available to the public on this topic A Field Guide to Otherkin will be subject to a more thorough examination than might be given to later books on the topic, simply based on the uniqueness of the book and topic.

Did reading this make things clearer for me? It certainly did. Did it raise other questions and doubts? It absolutely did. Was it a worthwhile book to read? Beyond any doubt it fulfilled the desire of the author to bring the subject forward so that the topic could be discussed further. It carefully presents both sides of the discussion and encourage interaction.

While it won’t appeal to everyone, you may find yourself amazed at the questions it raises. Read it and decide for yourself.

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