A Field Guide to Otherkin

From Otherkin Wiki
The cover of A Field Guide to Otherkin

A Field Guide to Otherkin is a book written by Lupa. It was the first book written about otherkin experiences, using survey responses and interviews to get first-hand accounts from otherkin themselves about their identities.[1] The book was published by Megalithica Books,[2] a subset of Immanition Press,[3] in 2007.[2][1] However, it was removed from print in 2013. Copies of the book can still be found secondhand, but, due to its removal from print and a lack of any existing ebook or audio versions, the price has significantly increased from its original $21.99 cost to upwards of $100 per copy as of January 2023.[4][5]

Summary[edit | edit source]

A Field Guide to Otherkin is a book about the beliefs and experiences of otherkin, intended to inform those both inside and outside the community. It uses survey responses, all collected by Lupa, as a source to explore the lives of otherkin. The book offers a look into how otherkin view both themselves and the world around them, and it aims to offer a qualitative perspective rather than a quantitative one by prioritizing anecdotes over statistics.[6]

Removal from print[edit | edit source]

In April of 2013, Lupa announced that she would be removing the book from print in the next month.[1][6] She gave multiple reasons for this, primarily that she no longer identified as a therian. She also believed the work to be low quality and outdated, and ultimately felt tired of the book overshadowing her other work in the media.[1]

Speaking to Dr Devin Proctor in 2016, she gave a more forthright explanation for leaving the community: even at the time of publishing, she was skeptical that one could be literally nonhuman, as opposed to her own view of nonhumanity as "personal mythology". She additionally condemned comparisons between nonhuman identity and gender identity, an action which Proctor described as "emphatically political".[7]

Reception & legacy[edit | edit source]

A Field Guide to Otherkin has been praised for being the first published book about otherkin, as well as how it was written by an author who was, at the time, a part of the otherkin and therian communities.[6] However, multiple aspects of the book have also been criticized.

The book was featured as a case study in the resource So You Want To Run A Community Survey, where the authors noted multiple issues. They observe the survey had a significant Pagan bias, arguing that this contributed to scholars misunderstanding otherkin as a Pagan new religious movement. The survey included 11 responses from minors, who were legally unable to grant their consent to their survey data being used and published due to their ages.[8] The survey was only posted to her blog, resulting in a sample that likely was not representative of the whole community.[8] Additionally, the book contains spelling errors that some may consider unprofessional. Lupa has acknowledged some of these concerns, and these issues contributed to the decision to pull the book out of print.[1]

Orion Scribner's marginalia upon Lupa's A Field Guide to Otherkin collects readers' remarks on the book. In it, Tsu Swanblood and others express the opinion that Lupa diminishes the harassment faced by otherkin.[9]

Despite its flaws and the author's public disapproval of otherkin as an identity, the book is still held in high regard by many otherkin and is considered an important part of its history. It has additionally been referenced in numerous academic studies about the otherkin and therian communities.[9] A Field Guide to Otherkin still stands as by far the most notable book about otherkin today, to the point that Lupa lamented that people feel she "wrote the book" on the topic.[1] The description of the Othercon panel So You Want To Write A Book On Otherkin remarked, "Everyone talks about [...] the “next Field Guide” that the community hopes for".[10]

In their marginalia on the book, Orion Scribner states that the Field Guide is what inspired them to write the Otherkin Timeline.[9]

References[edit | edit source]