Book Review: A Field Guide to Otherkin

Otherkin are people who have memories of living lives as beings other than human. Being Otherkin can occur multiple ways, as discussed in the first chapter which is dedicated to their “sources” (reincarnation and walk-ins) the psychology of the phenomena, which sets up the book and gives a good working definition.

The middle chapters were the most interesting part of the book, in my opinion. These chapters contain explanations on the different types of Otherkin. Lupa–The author–includes chapters on Therianthropes which are animals that are on earth, Vampires, Elves and Fey, and Mythological Animals. There is also  a chapter on more obscure types of Otherkin; such as Angels, Demons and Kitsune. Her chapter on Therianthropy is much more fleshed out than the other “types” chapters because she herself is a wolf Therianthrope.

There is a group of Otherkin that emerged that is not in the book; God Shards. A group of which I am a part.This group includes those that connect with a specific deity in such a way that while they were not the god in a past life, a large part of their soul is made up with that God’s energy. When I saw they were missing I was a little disappointed. However in the afterward Lupa stated that we may continue to send her filled out surveys and that she isn’t opposed to writing another book.

The book was written and published in 2007 . The content of the book is based on  the 130 survey responses that she received. There is now a large congregation of Otherkin on Tumblr and I feel that if she were to rewrite the book today,  she could receive many more surveys from which to work with. She includes the raw data that she received in the appendix of the book, I just wish that she included graphs, because my brain is not very numbers oriented and I had trouble visualizing the result.

I really enjoyed this book; however, she did lose me at the last two chapters. Her voice changed and it became less interesting. I felt she became wishy-washy and it was frustrating to read. For example the section headers change from: “Definition, Identity and Belief” and “Pop Culture Lycanthropy” to “It’s okay to have your head in the clouds as long as your feet are planted firmly on the ground.” I felt her book of facts devolved into personal opinion and lost its authoritative value.

Lupa felt very strongly that this book was simply an overview and was in no way shape  or form a definitive work, and for that reason she has taken it off the market. On amazon.com the book can be purchased used and starts at $90. On amazon.uk the book used starts at £90. It’s a shame that the book is no longer on the market because I believe it could be very helpful to many ‘kin.

I give this book 4 out of 5 paws.

We were blessed to have Lupa weigh in on our interview.

Lupa’s Note: First of all, thank you for the kind review; I agree with the overall assessment, and I’m glad it’s still getting some traction even now.

It’s been almost eight years since this book was published; it’s been coming up on two years since I had it permanently taken out of print. I went into more detail as to why on my old blog at http://therioshamanism.com/2013/04/02/letting-go-of-therianthropy-for-good/, but here’s the short version:

–I haven’t identified as a therian for a long time now. It took me a while to admit that because so many people looked to me as something of a role model—or at least the person who wrote the book on Otherkin. If I was going to let people down, I wanted to do so gently. Mind you, that doesn’t invalidate other people’s sense of self; it’s just not the paradigm that fits my own relationship with Wolf any more, and hasn’t fit for years.

–The book is flawed. It has errors, the sample size is relatively tiny, it needed better editing, and there are people out there who could write a better book now. This sort of mini-community evolves quickly, and so the Field Guide has been out of date for some time. I am not the person to write a better resource; maybe someone else will step up.

–I’m tired of talking about Otherkin. For years it was all anyone ever wanted to interview me on or ask me about. I’ve long since moved on from the subject; truth be told, I was burned out before I even finished the manuscript. I’ve solo-written four books since then, and have signed a contract for a fifth. I want to talk about what I’m doing now, not the project I worked on the better part of a decade ago. I want to talk about my current work with totems and nature spirituality. I want to talk about my hide and bone artwork, and the cabinets-of-curiosity-themed arts festival I run. I want to talk about the Tarot of Bones, the natural history-themed divination set I’m designing.

If you want to see what I’m up to these days, check outhttp://www.thegreenwolf.com andhttp://www.thetarotofbones.com


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