Being the person that needs to nap after every big meal is so embarrassing. I apologize for being a 1 week old
Actually you are so right.......
Having bought and read it over the last couple of days - hearty yes from me on both, personally. I just posted my thoughts about it here, if you’re interested.
Spending the day wisely.
So is it actually good? Either from a therian or just magical perspective?
So I recently reblogged a post showcasing a book titled Werewolf Magick, by Denny Sargent. I was curious, so I looked up some samples of the book, and then I was intrigued because it looked both interesting and promising (a rare combination for me these days when it comes to witchcraft books; I haven’t actually bought a new witchcraft book in probably years), so I went ahead and stopped by Barnes & Noble’s to check it out.
Long story short, I ate through the entire thing basically in one sitting, and I am fascinated by this book and will most definitely be trying some things from it out and potentially incorporating it into my Craft and/or my spirituality. Wanted to jot my thoughts down, and since this is a journaling blog, here we go. Be aware ahead of time that this is not so much a book review for the benefit of other people as it is a personal journal post about my own thoughts on what’s relevant to me specifically, though it will probably be helpful to anyone wondering if they should look into the book as well.
Some things up front for anyone thinking about buying it:
No, the book is not about physical shapeshifting; that was the first thing I checked for, so I thought I’d get it out of the way.
I wouldn’t by default recommend this book for someone totally, completely new to magic; the author definitely comes at it from the perspective that you already know some basics about magic, and having that under your belt will help you understand it. That being said, if this is the only thing you’re really interested in, you should be able to start with this book, but be ready to have to figure out a couple things as you go along.
Be aware that this book does talk about using sex/masturbation and sexual fluids in magic - it’s not a big focus, and it’s not explicitly detailed or anything at any point, but it’s present, especially in later chapters. If you’re underage and/or uncomfortable with that, this may not be the book for you.
It is very focused on wolves and werewolves, obviously, but I don’t actually think it would be that hard to modify for other species if you so desire.
And now my own loosely organized thoughts, under the cut for the sake of everyone’s dashboard.
The Genetics Thing
Probably the weakest point of this book, and the thing that annoyed me the most, I do wish the author would quit bringing up the genetics thing. He mentions a few times toward the start of the book that “humans share 85% of our DNA with canids and other wolves,” sometimes stating that that “genetic connection” helps with shapeshifting, which, like... a) stop trying to justify your metaphysical stuff with science when the science absolutely does not justify it, you’re just weakening your own credibility, just own up to the fact that it’s purely metaphysical, and b) we also share 50-60% of our DNA with bananas and something like 95% (off the top of my head) with chimps, but I don’t see you suggesting that we should become werebananas or werechimps. At one point there’s also a ritual where one visualizes going back through evolutionary ancestry, ending up at wolves, and I had to stop reading for a second bc like... dude, you understand that we are not in fact directly descended from canids, right?
That aside, as annoying as it is, it’s a pretty minor thing and only comes up a few times. Easily enough ignored.
Wildness, Wyrd, and Way
There’s an entire chapter dedicated to the cosmology and underlying principles behind werewolf magick, and part of that is the idea of Wildness, Wyrd, and Way, the underlying principles of it. Wildness is essentially exactly what it says on the tin, base nature and connection to the earth; Wyrd is the interconnection between all things as “embodied in every ecosystem,” the idea that you are not separate from every other thing; and Way is essentially borrowed from Taoism, understood here as to be without sense of self and to act without “knowing”, as “Fish do not “know” when to spawn, birds do not “know” when to migrate, and wolves do not “know” how to behave in a pack. It is just part of the Way.”
This is... really interesting to me as a set of paradigms, because it’s something that really appeals to me and that feels Right to me. Every time I go on a walk in nature it reminds me how much I need what this book calls Wildness to breathe, I have always believed in the interconnections between things this book calls Wyrd (and even longed for it to be more concrete than it is in this world, as it is in Eywa), and the idea of Way as following instinct and nature appeals to me as well (it reminds me somewhat of the Ways portrayed in Golden Treasure: The Great Green, where each animal has a Way or Good Way that it follows for good or ill, describing its behavior). Wildness, Wyrd, and Way is one of the things I may actually adopt formally, because it’s basically already there under different words, but I like how that set of words encapsulates the concepts.
Wolves and Dragons
So the book is entirely focused on wolves/werewolves, presumably because the author is one - he mentions now and again that people have shapeshifted into other animals as in shamanism, but stays focused on werewolves specifically. That being said, I don’t feel like it will be that hard to transfer the book’s ideas into Dragon instead of Wolf - slightly different noises, which are already instinctive to me and shouldn’t require all that much experimentation, different visualizations, slight changes to the wording, but the principles of werewolf magic should hold regardless of species. (It will probably be somewhat easier for me on account of also being an apex predator with a lot of mythos associated with my species, especially since the social aspects of wolfness aren’t really focused on here (which is a little strange, but makes sense considering most werewolves will be practicing alone rather than with a pack), but I don’t think it would be that difficult for a prey animal or a small predator or what have you to tailor the basic ideas to themselves.)
Wings are... perhaps going to be an issue. Going to have to make sure we don’t do any intensive shapeshifting rituals near any steep drops I could potentially do something stupid over while in the thrall of an intense shapeshift until I know how the rituals in question affect me and whether that would be safe.
Speaking of the shapeshifting rituals, I am really intrigued to see how that’ll go for me. I’ve never really had mental shifts in the way most people who have them describe them; I sometimes slide a little more feral, but I never lose my humanity in the process at all. The shapeshifting in this book is a combination of mental shift, intense visualization, and likely phantom shift; I have never really experienced the former, am relatively good at the latter but usually only in short bursts, and experience the last all the time in great vividity. I will be interested to see what the rituals in this book can induce with a little practice. Regardless, I do think this book has the potential to be very useful for therians and otherkin in connecting to their nonhuman side more and learning how to integrate humanity and nonhumanity.
As a side note, I do also appreciate that he doesn’t use psychoactive substances in his shapeshifting salves and offers alternatives, as someone who isn’t comfortable using those myself.
The Werewolf Gods and Spirits
The book espouses four main gods and spirits, or maybe categories thereof (the author seems to be into the “gods have been called by many names and taken many forms but they’re still the same entity underneath” idea, which I have moved away from, but I get the idea that for general usage, you can kind of tailor these to your beliefs) - the Lord of the Forest (who can be seen as a wild god like Pan, Herne, or Cernunnos, or as his own being), the Moon Goddess (including Selene, Artemis, and Hekate), Gaia/the Earth Mother, and the Wolf Spirit.
For me, these make sense more as their own beings than they do as the potential names he offers for them, since those are their own entities, so I think I will work under that framework for the time being - the Lord of the Forest, the Moon, and the Earth each as embodiments of those concepts. And... the Wolf Spirit.
The Wolf Spirit is kind of explained in two different but related ways in this book. First, it’s explained as a general spirit of wildness, of primal nature, that just takes the form of a wolf - which should reasonably apply to any species of were, one would think. Second, however, it’s explained as the collective power and egregore of all wolves (past, present, and future) - which, I get the vibe that this is more important and that the Lord of the Forest already covers the first part, and this does not, presumably, apply to anyone other than werewolves. There should, however, logically exist such a spirit for any species (and, indeed, the author talks briefly about having interacted with a Bear Spirit as well while under the instruction of a group of shamans).
Herein lies my problem: is there a Dragon Spirit that can reach me here, given that there are no physical dragons in this world? If there is one native to this place, would it be markedly different given that the dragons that exist here are spirit-beings without physical form? If there is a Dragon Spirit of my own world, and my gut tells me it’s a reasonable possibility, would it even be able to hear or reach me here?
I suppose the only way to find out is going to be to reach out and see if something answers. We’ll see how that goes, I guess. I do suspect I’ll have more luck if I can do the Calling the Wolf Spirit ritual in the book out in a park somewhere, but I also suspect I may not get the chance super easily, so we’ll see.
Doubles and Fetches
Not something I personally am interested in doing, but fascinating in the context of nonhumanity: the author talks about evoking your Animalself as a Double, an astral entity, and then being able to invoke it and treat it as a separate being in order to work with it. The author uses this technique to create a Fetch that can then be ridden in astral travel and/or used to protect and do tasks for you, essentially creating a familiar from your own Animalself, but I could easily extrapolate out a similar technique for conversing with your own kintype and learning from it - past knowledge if relevant, present wisdom, subconscious desires. We so often frown on the idea of viewing your kintype as separate from yourself in any way, but I could see this being an extremely useful technique for some people, even if I’m not sure I want to explore it personally - I’d be interested to see any results other people get.
So yeah, that’s my initial thoughts on Werewolf Magick. I will likely keep this blog updated on my adventures with it going forward, given that that is the entire idea of the blog, but I do recommend checking out the book to anyone who’s interested in the idea.
y’know occasionally people reblog giant long discussion posts from me and just tag them “ok”
and I have been so confused about this in the past bc ???? what does that Mean what are you “okay”ing
but today. today I finally went on the blog of someone who did that. and checked that tag on their blog.
it’s short for “otherkin” and I am a dumbass
Is it just me or does anyone else enjoy watching newbies go through the “i have discovered my animal instincts and i am excited to try this out all the fucking time” phase
Because i will never not love when people are like !!! I can growl! I want to growl at that! BITE THINGS!!! I AM GOING TO RIP OUT SOMEONE THROAT AAAAAAAWWWOO!!
I remember when I first discovered therianthropy i would run on all fours every day for the first year (cult abuse but ya know animal time) id growl and snarl at people. Do all kinds of shit. Id lay in bed thinking i’ll never calm down. Im a wild feral animal my insticts are 110% all the time.
Now my instincts are like “yea i have enough food, i have enough water, i am going to sit in someone lap and growl if they dont pet me”
I dont loose control much anymore cause i recognize what makes me loose control in the first place. This side is fully connected to my human side and while its nice i do miss that feeling of growling and getting that sense of euphoria and rush.
I now chase more abstract things, nesting grounds, potential mates, food resources and territory grids, my temperment has been well tempered. I feel like as a werewolf im at a point where its hard to rile me up. If i am something is very wrong. I do like paly fighting and howling but it more so happens less with myself. I often find by myself im trying to be as quiet as possible and practicing hunting.
I just think its neat to see people excited. I want to see that more.
Since you reblogged that Werewolf Magick book and I went to read a sample, it hasn't left my brain. Thank you for sharing this 👀
Oh, I ate through the book almost entirely in one sitting and am currently chewing on a post about it that will be up probably tomorrow morning sometime (probably). It's a fascinating read.
I’m late to this on account of having had a busy day, but Poppy and Cipher pretty much nailed my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps the one thing I would really add is this: if one insists that no one is ever allowed to state that they don’t believe in a given thing, one is functionally insisting that
a) everyone share the same worldview (or at least pretend to), which is effectively forcing people to change their beliefs to suit your own even if that’s not the intent, and
b) everyone has to (pretend to) believe in everything - which isn’t possible unless you don’t mind pretty extreme logical contradictions in your belief system, because some spiritual beliefs directly contradict some other spiritual beliefs and inherently cannot both be true at once.
People who do believe in spiritual explanations have this conversation all the time because of point (b). I don’t believe in the Christian God; that doesn’t mean I can’t respect Christians, understand how and why their God is so important to them and how He affects their worldview, and believe that He is real to them in a meaningful way even if I don’t believe He’s objectively real. At least a couple of my friends don’t believe in past lives; that doesn’t mean they can’t respect that I believe my kintype came from a past life and understand how that affects how I understand my otherkinity. One can believe in and acknowledge the importance of the effects of a thing even if one doesn’t actually believe the thing itself exists in an objective way (see also: the concept of “social constructs” and how they can absolutely have real effects even though the thing itself doesn’t objectively exist and is something we effectively created ourselves).
The only time it’s out of line to state that you don’t believe in something is either a) the example Cipher gave above, where it’s not just “I don’t believe in this” but also “anyone who does is stupid”, or b) when someone is talking about their personal spiritual beliefs and someone else waltzes in specifically to talk about how much they don’t believe in it. I’m sure the latter has happened occasionally, but most of the time when I see something that looks like that, what actually happened is that the original post was misunderstood as being a post about the community as a whole, rather than being a post about that individual specifically - which is a miscommunication, not someone being knowingly rude.
Or, in other words - pretty much anyone who has a(n internally consistent) worldview is going to have to state that they don’t believe in certain things that other people do. That doesn’t mean they’re being rude to those people, it means people are allowed to have differing beliefs about things, and accepting that sometimes that means you’re going to have to have the “so the person you’re talking to doesn’t believe in something you hold very core to your worldview” conversation. And that’s often uncomfortable! But the fact that it’s uncomfortable does not mean it’s bad.
...that was a lot for “one thing,” lmao, sorry. I have a lot of thoughts on the matter and I am not good at being concise, sorry if that was too much.
You cannot say “I don’t believe in spiritual explanations” without saying “I believe spiritual kin are wrong about their beliefs.”
You can say “I don’t believe my experiences are spiritual” or “spiritual explanations aren’t right for me” without implying that you think anyone else is wrong in their beliefs.
Saying you don’t believe in spiritual explanations at all directly says that you believe spiritual kin are mistaken, and you should not be surprised when spiritual kin are annoyed about that.
Imagine if I went around saying: “well, I don’t believe in psychological kin explanations but obviously psychological kin can believe what they want.” That would be perceived as extremely condescending and dismissive!
I don’t believe in the Christian god, but that doesn’t mean I believe Christians are wrong. Christians don’t believe in Odin and Frej but that doesn’t mean they’re being condescending when they tell me so, or when they rationalize that my religious experiences must have non-Asatru explanations. It just means different beliefs and worldviews make sense to us. Nor have I found it dismissive when spiritual ‘kin have rationalized my identity as a spiritual phenomenon that I just interpreted in a non-spiritual way. It’s interfaith dialogue 101. I unfortunately don’t have very many spoons today, but check out this link:
It’s quite Abrahamic, but the principles are universal.
You can absolutely have different convictions without believing that others are wrong.
^^^^ everything I strive to embody when talking with others about both their beliefs and mine. In a way, yes, saying you don’t believe in spiritual explanations does mean that you are saying you think other people’s beliefs are wrong. And that’s ok. It means you have a different belief than someone else, not that you’re the “most valid”. Their own spiritual beliefs imply that they think you are wrong. And once again, that’s ok. Conflicting beliefs are allowed to exist, we are allowed to express them.
Where we need to work is understanding that conflicting beliefs can co-exist and that we can discuss them without arguing. One person can say “I don’t believe in spiritual explanations” in the same conversation as someone who says “my soul is reincarnated from the multiverse”. The appropriate responses here are not to argue over who is right, but to share what you believe and why and perhaps how that affects your worldview.
“I don’t believe in that.” “I do believe.” “That’s cool! What’s that like for you?” “It’s like this…what’s it like for you?”
Where we go wrong is when people say “I don’t believe in spiritual explanations, and anyone that does is stupid and likely just attention-seeking wishkin” or when people say “I don’t believe in psychological explanations, and anyone that does is stupid and likely just attention-seeking wishkin”. When you start to place blame on others for a different belief, then you are wrong. Having and expressing different beliefs is not wrong.
Five items? I'd summon you with one using a ticket to go indoor skydiving xD
cheating, but winning
5 items for the pentagram… A blue scale, a white feather, a gold coin, and a rock covered on one side with moss, all laid atop an empty journal.
Close enough to get my cosmic answering machine; unfortunately for you, despite the blog name (clever pull btw), I am terrible at actual journaling, hence why this blog exists in the first place. Curious where the feather came from
This might not be my place, but while I understand where you’re coming from - I mean, first, I actually have seen a number of spiritual ‘kin say that only spiritual interpretations are “valid” or correct, and psychological ‘kin don’t actually exist - not many, but then, I haven’t seen many psychological ‘kin go about insisting that nobody’s allowed to hold a spiritual interpretation either (“I personally do not believe in spiritual explanations” is not the same as “nobody else is allowed to believe in spiritual explanations either,” just as “I personally believe this comes from a past life” is not the same as “the only valid explanation is that kintypes come from past lives”).
Perhaps more importantly, I would also point out that nowhere in this post was it ever implied that a psychological explanation is more correct than a spiritual one? This post wasn’t even about that; as far as I read it, it’s about pointing out that there’s more similarities than differences between the two, which is kind of the opposite of trying to pit one against the other. I genuinely do not follow the jump from the original post to the “okay but people are assholes to each other about differing beliefs” conversation, or see why those two things are relevant to each other in the slightest, except maybe in the way of “hey, there’s more in common here than there is different, we should focus on that instead of snapping at each other about the explanations”, which does not seem like the direction you were taking it.
What you need to understand is that psychological and spiritual ‘kin start out with fundamentally the same nonhuman/fictional experiences. They reach different conclusions based on their pre-existing worldview, but when you strip the experiences down to their barebones essentials, they have a lot more in common than not. Really, this is how most experiences work. We see, hear, and feel the same thing, we’re subjected to the same stimulus, we just process it differently.
Let me give you an example. My courtee believes in ghosts. I don’t believe in ghost, but I do believe in vætter. My mom doesn’t believe in either. My courtee grew up in a haunted house where they would see shadow people and hear disembodied music at night. They believe it was ghosts. I would’ve believed it to be landvætter. My mom would’ve blamed the wind, the waterpipes, and her own tired mind. We would all have experienced the same thing: Shadows and music at night. But we would process it in wildly different ways based on our worldview and whatever beliefs we already had.
When I awakened as a gnoll it started with phantom limbs, a few not-quite-human instincts, and vague dysphoria. When I realized what I was experiencing seemed gnollish, I started experiencing visions, flashbacks, and memories, and I began to “just know” several things about this life. But I’ve never believed in the multiverse, and I don’t believe that Pathfinder/D&D is actually happening on another planet. It couldn’t be caused by another physical life, because I don’t believe it’s possible for a life like what I’m “recalling” to physically exist. It sure feels like it’s physically real and happening. But it doesn’t make logical sense to me.
The brain is incredibly powerful and mysterious. I’ve personally had periods of frequent auditory hallucinations and when I get migraines they’re usually accompanied by visual disturbances and hallucinations. Other people have reported all kinds of things, conjured by their brains, that no one else could see. It’s not a stretch to imagine that the brain could create a parallel or past life over the course of several years, fueled by the works of fiction.
The base experience is the same regardless of belief. It’s just the conclusion that’s different.
Broadly speaking, I agree with this: for the most part spiritually aligned and psychologically aligned fictionkin do experience the same kinds of things.
The main difference is that while no spiritual fictionkin believes that these experiences can’t be generated by the brain, some psychological fictionkin believe that these experiences can ONLY be generated by the brain, and are not shy about telling people that in their opinion spiritual interpretations are incorrect interpretations of an objective reality.
The brain is powerful and mysterious, however it is important to remember that the world we live in is powerful and mysterious beyond any of our full understanding.
Someone experiencing internally manifesting phenomena such as phantom limbs, unexplained memories and visions, received knowledge without apparent source etc, might me experiencing a purely psychological phenomenon, however it is important to remember that they could also be experiencing an objectively real magical phenomenon that our current science and social understanding of the universe is incapable of quantifying.
Just because a psychological explanation is possible doesn’t mean that a psychological explanation will be objectively correct every time, and there is no way for anyone to prove otherwise.
What you need to understand is that psychological and spiritual 'kin start out with fundamentally the same nonhuman/fictional experiences. They reach different conclusions based on their pre-existing worldview, but when you strip the experiences down to their barebones essentials, they have a lot more in common than not. Really, this is how most experiences work. We see, hear, and feel the same thing, we're subjected to the same stimulus, we just process it differently.
Let me give you an example. My courtee believes in ghosts. I don't believe in ghost, but I do believe in vætter. My mom doesn't believe in either. My courtee grew up in a haunted house where they would see shadow people and hear disembodied music at night. They believe it was ghosts. I would've believed it to be landvætter. My mom would've blamed the wind, the waterpipes, and her own tired mind. We would all have experienced the same thing: Shadows and music at night. But we would process it in wildly different ways based on our worldview and whatever beliefs we already had.
When I awakened as a gnoll it started with phantom limbs, a few not-quite-human instincts, and vague dysphoria. When I realized what I was experiencing seemed gnollish, I started experiencing visions, flashbacks, and memories, and I began to "just know" several things about this life. But I've never believed in the multiverse, and I don't believe that Pathfinder/D&D is actually happening on another planet. It couldn't be caused by another physical life, because I don't believe it's possible for a life like what I'm "recalling" to physically exist. It sure feels like it's physically real and happening. But it doesn't make logical sense to me.
The brain is incredibly powerful and mysterious. I've personally had periods of frequent auditory hallucinations and when I get migraines they're usually accompanied by visual disturbances and hallucinations. Other people have reported all kinds of things, conjured by their brains, that no one else could see. It's not a stretch to imagine that the brain could create a parallel or past life over the course of several years, fueled by the works of fiction.
The base experience is the same regardless of belief. It's just the conclusion that's different.
Going through tumblr and seeing how things are these days from when we were last around in 2018, it's odd to hear how 'kinnie' became such a big term for roleplayers / face claims, and similar community people.
Back that term was split down the middle if people liked it or hated it. Some even leaving servers to start their own just to avoid and stop people from using it. It was just as aggressive as it is for many otherkind folk talking about it today.
We wonder what happened that made it take over almost completely and now we find serious otherkind folk who use kinnies as their genuine term and call others it. We even checked in some old servers and people who used to be so aggressively against it now are using it as a catch all.
It could be just the spaces we were in back then and now, but also it makes us wonder still. It's something odd that came to our mind reading your blog with all the vocab talk so I hope you don't mind the random drop in.
I could theorize, but honestly I just don't have the answers to this one. It is interesting to think about, though!
code anon! i didn't mean like, only emojis, i juet meant something in general ! /nm /clarifying
Understandable! Point stands regardless, I get what you mean.
Can other alterhuman experiences (otherhearted, synpath, etc) include having memories? I experience memories and am trying to figure out if that must mean I'm kin or could be something else.
There’s a term I’ve seen around-- “noema” (plural noemata)-- that describes ideas and thoughts that psychological fictionkin experience similar to memories. I would imagine that the same term and experience can be applied to other non-literal identities such as hearttypes and synpaths. I believe the term was coined by @aestherians
As for your question about whether or not other types of alterhumans beyond kin can experience memories-- realistically you can only say something is a true memory if its something you believe you’ve literally experienced in some way, otherwise its some other kind of perception or understanding.
Noemata are not exclusive to those with psychological beliefs - nor can I really claim to have coined it in good will. I prefer to think of it as more of an appropriation than a coining, since the word was already used in philosophy and rhetoric ^^'
The last definition I came up with for noema was "knowledge about oneself, one's kintype, or the life of one's kintype," but after reading a bunch of stuff on the Fictionkind Dreamwidth and hearing from various alterhumans here on tumblr, I feel like it needs an update. For example, the way Rani describes just knowing certain things about dris hearthome, Pandora, sounds a lot like the way I just know things about my lives as Ɐwhrayɐ and Ben.
I don't know which term to use instead of "kintype" in the definition. "Object of one's alterhuman identity" is a bit of a mouthful. Perhaps something similar to "fictomere" would work - something like identomere, maybe? All this is about self-identification, after all...
I'm getting off tangent. Bottom line, "noema" is an intentionally broad term that can be used by any sort of alterhuman or alterbeing who has any kind of intrinsic knowledge (i.e., knowledge they didn't set out to learn, but somehow just know) about the object of their alterhuman identity.
I still think I covered the grey areas of learning vs knowing in my essay, even if it's all very kincentric https://aestherians.neocities.org/writings/noemata.html
Long Live Coppy Patch
Long Live Coppy! Here’s a patch! For you! Don’t say we don’t spoil you.
2.68″ wide x 4″ tall. Custom woven with a heat seal adhesive on the back. Ready to ship in mid-March.