Otherkin Multiple FAQ Beta - Archive!

Please Note: The Otherkin Multiple FAQ is no longer the most accurate and up-to-date information on otherkin multiples. Please see Multiplicity: The Missing Manual project for the latest information in the community on multiples, otherkin multiples, otherkin hosts, etc.

These are our experiences, and correlations between various people's experiences. Although we list traits which are noticably common amongst certain subtypes of Otherkin, please understand that a trait seems common in the community when about 30% of people eligable for the trait share it. This means that it's impossible to generalize about Otherkin, and Otherkin Multiples are no exception to that rule. This FAQ exists mainly to clear up terminology, create a common language base, and to bring understanding to people who want at least a clue what it might be like to be or know an Otherkin Multiple.

This FAQ might be very confusing if you do not start out with at least a basic understanding of what the Otherkin community is. If you have no idea what the Otherkin community is, we suggest you read the Otherkin FAQ.

This FAQ is presented to clear up terminology and paradigms with regard to the Otherkin Multiple community. Please keep an open mind and understand that even we (the people who experience this reality) regard much of this with a measure of skepticism. There are people who experience and believe in part or all of these things in the community. Tolerance, acceptance, compassion and understanding are steps on the road to enlightenment.

Intro - Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced - Glossary


Upon entering the Otherkin community you might notice that some of the community's most verbose members are individuals in something called a "Host" or a "Multiple".

This can be confusing to understand, and often there are new Multiples coming into the community who have questions about Otherkin multiplicity. Hopefully this FAQ will answer more basic questions, give an idea of what is going on, and familiarize this portion of the community, and the jargon surrounding it.

If there are questions not covered in this FAQ, please feel free to write to the editors, or join the Otherkind-Hosts list (see the subscription page at http://kinhost.org/res/lists/Otherkind-Hosts.php). The editors will seriously consider all submissions for inclusion in future versions of this FAQ.

Is this to be a FAQ for non-multiples or for multiples wanting a better understanding of dealing with their issues?
I think the answer to that is yes on both counts: Some non-multiples (or "singletons" as multiples affectionately refer to people of one-mind, one-body) have a desire to know more than just that "a Host is an Otherkin with many people in their head/body" so the FAQ will be for them. Other people may be realizing they are multiples of one type or another and need help understanding various basic situations and terminology so they can have a basic understanding of the Otherkin Multiple community, which has a portion of its language unique unto itself.
Does this FAQ only apply to multiples who contain otherkin in their system?
It is not limited to multiples with Otherkin in their system, so other multiples and non-multiples may well find it useful. A great deal of multiple terminology and other multiple-specific information have been found helpful amongst Otherkin-Multiples and the reverse may well be true. Non-multiples may find it helpful for a variety of reasons, such as having a better understanding of the multiples in their life, or simply to satify their curiosity.

Beginner Section

This section is for people who have never encountered someone who is "out" about their multiplicity (it's likely that everyone on the planet knows at least one multiple who just doesn't advertise it for one reason or another) and thus have no language or paradigm for dealing with them. It's also for people who are new to the Otherkin community in particular, are curious about multiplicity amongst Otherkin, or whom feel they might also be an Otherkin Multiple.

It's a bit simplistic, but most diagrams are going to be. As a "quick, rough guide, don't take too literally" it seems alright though.

it can be labeled such: "Oversimplified, but recognizable points in Otherkin Multiplicity" :)

I'll make sure that I make it clear that this is an oversimplified view of some of the eccentricities that seem to be common in the community...lol.

Or anything similar that would be helpful.

What is a "singleton"?
"singleton" is the term used for someone who is one-mind, one-body, and pretty much one-personality in their body, ie. most of the world. . It is meant as a neutral identification term, which helps multiples dicusss their differences in comparison to people who are 'singletons' without implying that being a multiple is an abnormal trait.
What is a mask?
If one reads up on Jungian psychology, one finds that having masks is normal for singletons. One does not behave the same at work as one does at home, nor with one's spouse as with one's kids. Doing so could be dangerous. Compartmentalizing one's personality by one's roles and environment is a positive survival trait, and if a person acts inappropriately in an environment or within a role, they might get in trouble. Singletons are automatically considered to have masks for their roles, subtle shifts in personality.
What do you mean by "Aspected"?
People who are Aspected have more clearly defined masks. In the Otherkin community, it might show itself by a person taking on the role of one of their former Otherkin lives. For example, someone who is normally an elf Aspects as (calls up the personality of themself as) a dragon, perhaps from another lifetime, to see what the reactions to a situation would be like to that creature.
Are there Aspected persons in the Otherkin Multiple community?
Yes, there are, and they're very welcome. They share some overlapping experiences and concerns with multiples, without having other concerns and experiences, but we're absoltuely not closed to people coming into our community to share their experiences and ask questions.
What is a "Multiple"?
Persons with much stronger aspecting all the way through out-n-out separate people...ie.: anyone with more than one entity in their body ---make clearer?---
What is an Otherkin Multiple?
This is the broadest category term for people who have many personalities and are Otherkin. Sometimes it's just one Otherkin-identified person in a body which identifies as mainly human, sometimes they are both Otherkin and human identified, and sometimes everyone is Otherkin identified. They don't need to be separate beings; this category includes Hosts, Splits and Aspected folk.
What is a Walk-In?
Walk-Ins are spirits who were added to a body-situation after birth. Often the spirits were exiled from other places, rather than beings who died and are eligible for reincarnation. Often Walk-Ins come to an already abandoned body (ie: comas), or do a body-swap with the body-spirit. If the Walk-In arrives and remains in the body with the body-spirit, it becomes a Hosting situation. Often Walk-Ins who are alone in a new body encounter difficulties coping with the new life situation.
What is a Host?
Hosting occurrs when one has multiple people in their body. What sets them apart for a typical Multiple is that not all of them originate from the body-spirit. The most common situation is where spirits Walk-In, and the end result is that more than one person remain in the body.
What is an Otherkin Host?
This is a Hosting situation where one or more spirits in the body are not human.
If someone remembers many lifetimes, are they a Host?
There is a definite difference between having multiple incarnations and being a Host or a Multiple. The many-incarnated may be able to shift perception between those of their different lives {see Aspecting above}, and maybe even to view a problem from the point of view of several lives at a time, but probably won't argue with him/herself (or even hold philosophical debates or discuss which side of the bed to get up on, etc). An Otherkin Host usually has much more refereeing going on, active disagreement or arguing...or just plain discussion.

Intermediate Section

What types of Multiples are there?
  1. Aspected - used generally to refer to people who can purposefully switch their aspect to suit their moods. Sometimes called "faceted".
    1. Past Life - someone who defines aspects along lines of separate lives (ie: "aspecting along past life lines" or "past-life aspect")
    2. Form - someone who defines aspects along lines of separate physical forms/races
  2. Split - someone who has actually divvied up mental resources into separately-acting persons. These are not people who joined the system from outside the body.
    1. Past Life - someone who has split along lines of separate past-lives (ie. "past-life split")
    2. Form - someone who has split along lines of separate forms
  3. Host-Multiple - a physical entity occupied by one or more persons not genetically linked to the body. (commonly called "Host" for short, but not to be confused with the psychologist's term 'host' for the base personality in a multiple)
    1. Otherkin Host: a Host situation where one or more of the entities in the body are non-human in nature.
    2. Walk-In - Someone who joins the body well after birth...
    3. Analog - same person/s, different reality/dimension/universe
    4. Channeled - person has a hotline into your head...or has found out your phone number...not necessarily resident...temporary guest
    5. Born that way - before or at birth, a bunch of people moved in. A reincarnated group of spirits, for instance.
What is it a headspace, or internal landscape?
The Crisses on Headspace:

We have 19 people. It's like we're all in a room, much like a living room. There are "two" sections of the room with a window at the other end, and back rooms, too. Even a door.

Front is like we're at the window, looking at the world. Normally one person at a time, but more people can look out the window at a time, sometimes, it's kinda odd. But standing shoulder-to-shoulder is kinda crowded, and we can't get quite as close to the window. When we share Front, it's like we're sharing simultaneous but separate point of views on what's going on out the window.

Most of the time, other people are sitting around in the living room, commenting on what's going on out the window. They can see out, if they choose to, by looking around the shoulder of the person/s who are Front, but the people outside probably won't notice them. If they shout really loud people outside the head/body might hear them, but it's easier to just tell the person at the window what we'd like to say, and have them relay it.

When people are weak or having problems, they sit in the other, farther back areas, and don't participate in the general ruckus which is the world-at-large going on outside the window.

Sometimes people disappear from view entirely, going into the kitchen or bedroom ('far' Back), doing whatever they do in my head outside of the perceptions of the others. Sometimes going far Back can be a bad thing, because we lose sight of them, sometimes we worry about them or miss them. Some people just shouldn't be left alone for too long--like the children in our head.

Behind that door in the Back, there are a whole lot of other people we're not really familiar with, who we keep out of the communal headspace because we don't like the house TOO crowded...imagine 19 people always living in your apartment...it's already kinda crowded.

We've been considering upgrading to a newer, larger house :) or maybe a community with multiple buildings ;)


Advanced Section

The advanced section is intended for the multiples themselves, or people who really understand beginner and intermediate sections and still want to know more about how we tick. It's also perhaps wise for the loved ones of multiples to attempt to read and comprehend. It is not necessary to be a multiple to understand this section: it's written from the angle of a general audience who are familiar with the basics of being multiple.

How can I tell who is who?
The best thing to do is ask, and be observant, whether or not you share a body with the person/s in question. If the being is unable to tell you their idenity or name, you should simply observe their mannerisms, voice, choice of words, posture, and so on, and use those as identifying traits so you know when you see the person again. This works from inside the body as well, although thought patterns and emotional states might be observable as well. For outside observers, there will often be sufficient facial expression changes and overt personality traits such that even the face may seem subtly or substantially different from individual to individual. Each person within a Multiple can be vastly different. Some are very adept at telling you their name and all about themself, while others are shy or unable to communicate for various reasons.
What should I do when a resident won't give me a name they'll respond to?
Some people come up with interim names by whatever method they prefer. Some choose a trait of the person and come up with a name based on it (someone who seems always angry may be named Tempest for example). The person may not respond to the name or use it for oneself, but there's not much more you can do. If they eventually identify oneself by a name, you drop the working name, and use the one the resident prefers to respond to.
How can I tell who is thinking what?
In some systems this is very clear, while for others it can be very difficult. Sometimes one can tell by what the resident is thinking in general, because some people think about certain categories of things in specific or have a specific subvocal 'voice', but it's hard to tell some more generic thoughts apart, unless the person can identify themself. Some systems have little co-awareness, and have the exact opposite problem: they can't overhear each other at all.
How do Multiples deal with OBE/OOB (Out of Body Experience, and Out Of Body) experiences?
Some rare Hosts are actively channeling their residents while other residents are quite firmly attatched to the single body for whatever reasons. Residents can go out of body just like singletons do: the body lays down, goes into a trance, the resident learns how to leave the body, and the body stays in a trance state until the traveller's awareness returns to the body. Some residents are free to come and go from the body while others take the body over. They have whatever experiences while the body wanders around doing its thing, return to the body, and have varying amounts of recall (from none to full memories) of what they did outside the body upon their return. This potential loss of memory and possible problems with reinterfacing with the body are reasons many residents don't go out of body often.
When is a person co-located?
Some people simultaneously upkeep lives in two or more realities. While they are walking and breathing and eating here, they are also living lives similarly elsewhere. It's a very rare phenomena in the community, and not limited to Multiples.
What is it that sets a "Host" apart from someone "demonically possessed"?
One major difference lies in the respect that everyone involved has for the situation. A host situation is just that: The other spirits in the body are "guests" and should treat the body and other residents with tremendous respect. Since this doesn't always work out perfectly, Multiples and Hosts often need to establish 'house rules' that can be enforced so that the stability of the system is ensured, and work out a decision making process for the system.
How can one tell the difference between a Otherkin Hosts and an Otherkin Split-Multiple?
It all seems to boil down to differences which are technical at the least. The ways that Splits vs. Host cope with the world, and the way they both act in the eyes of persons outside the system are not much different. The terms basically apply to the fundamental reason for the person being how they are, and to how they work together, their internal structure and resources, etc. It also seems that most Otherkin Multiples may fit more than one category, confusing the entire issue. The more important issue is coping with whatever you are regardless of the labels, while having words to describe your experiences to other people can be vital. If the system is working together, not fighting or arguing too often (or coming up with resolutions when there's a conflict), paying the bills, dotting their i's and crossing their t's and so on, it really doesn't matter. They need to be happy, healthy, and functional as what they are. There are resources for learning to cope without forcing oneself to fit other people's view of normality.
Is it possible to be Split or Aspected AND a Host?
It is possible to be varying types of multiple-phenomena in the same body. In fact, it's possible to be many of the above (ie: someone who walked-in to the body may have 3 different aspects, while someone else might actually have split and now be 2 people--thus making that a system of 4 people, one of whom has 3 aspects.). It can get very complex in a system which shows various types in its indivduals.
Do you ever have to deal with a resident who is not the same gender as your biological body?
Many Multiples deal with some transgendering issues--in other words, most multiples have people in their system whom are not the same gender-identity as the physical gender is. A term called "gender dysphoric" has been coined in the community for people who are dissatisfied with their gender, but whom are not planning to get any operations to correct it. It generally means "there are not enough genders" because 3 are not enough (male, female, androgynous).
How do you deal with uncooperative residents?
With the same patience and understanding that it takes to make any difficult relationship work out, and with the understanding that you may not be able to get away from this person if you wish to, so you have to try extra hard to get along. This is a concern because if a friend does something illegal or unethical other people are not held legally or morally responsible for their actions. If a resident makes the wrong move, everyone in the system tends to suffer the consequences for it.
What kinds of adjustments do Walk-Ins need to make?
Walk-Ins often have a difficult time with language when they come in, and have a hard time interfacing with the body-memories. Some Residents who Walk-In never quite learn the body's native tongue. This can lead to seeming amnesia and other difficulties adjusting to the change.
If you're of 'so many minds' on topics, how can you get anything done?
Each system works out a method for tackling their problems and making up their (group) mind. It can range from anarchy, to a weighted system dependant on people's needs, to a democratic vote, or a committee of people with seniority for whatever reason. In some cases, there are only two people in the committee, which makes this process easier, and in others it's left entirely up to the person who is Front to decide what to do at a given moment.
How much privacy do Residents have?
Systems vary in their privacy levels, some share nearly all knowledge between the Residents, while others lead exceptionally private lives. Becoming a functional system may require at least a nominal level of co-awareness.
What is co-awareness?
Co-awareness is being aware-together, or sharing a portion of awareness. It is the ability to communicate between Residents, share important information with one another, and to maintain a continuous timestream so that all of the system's time is accounted for (see losing time). Being co-aware helps when more than one person wants to share Front as well. Being co-aware doesn't necessarily mean that none of an individual resident's thoughts are their own.
What is a 'peanut gallery'?
Derived from the idiom "comments from the peanut gallery", this is a term coined to talk about the system's random thoughts and comments which don't always have a definite point of origin, or a group of people in the Back whom are not specifically identified. "Someone in the peanut gallery just said 'Yes.'"
How do you enforce responsibility with regard to Residents?
One of the many ways that multiples are very different from singletons is the level of group responsibility to which we're held accountable. If one resident tells off the boss, and the multiple is fired, all the people in the system suffer the consequences of that individual's actions by having lost their income and so on. Thankfully in a normal family situation, if one member of the family is conviced of a crime, they are the only one put in jail. In this case, if a resident does something illegal, the entire body-system may be thrown in jail. For this reason, it's normal for multiples to come up with a method for enforcing what we call 'house rules' amongst all the headmates. This is one important step on the road to leading a functional life. The ways of dealing with infractions will vary, but one example is that problem persons' thoughts or actions may be monitored, and Front may be forcibly taken away if they violate the house rules. Temporarily stripping someone of their ability to Front is usually sufficient, and similar to giving the person jail time or a time out.
Can Residents keep secrets from the rest of the system?
In short, yes, but depending on the levels of co-awareness that might be very difficult to achieve for some Residents, while others might be able to do it all the time. Some people might keep even their existance and identity a secret from the rest of the system.
What happens when a Multiple 'loses time'?
This is where someone in the body takes Front, but either can't or won't share the data about what they do with the main people (or information-pool) in the system. In effect, this causes the person to black out for a period of time, while their body is off doing something mysterious to the people who are normally Front. This can range from harmless to harmful. An example of harmless is when the Front might be reading a book, and not realize they switched, then suddenly come to and find they're on the last page of the book and that 2 hours went by, and they have no recall of the story whatsoever. An example of where this might be harmful is where you're on your way to your house, and then suddenly come to weeks or months later in another country, flat broke, with no clue how you got there. Thankfully very few functional multiples lose time to the extreme degree, and a good number of them never lose time at all, or only in slight ways just like normal folks might (just like someone daydreaming doesn't realize how "quickly" the time flew by). When in its most extreme degree, it's about as harmful as when someone blacks out when drinking: they could have done anything in the lost time. The best cures for this are having and enforcing "house rules", developing coawareness, and having a high level of trust and knowledge of the people in the system.
How do you all relate to one another in your mind?
Some people have something that's called a "headspace" or an internal landscape. There are some common models for an internal landscape's form: perhaps a room, a house, a vacant lot, a spaceship, another planet, a castle, etc. There can be furniture, and various props, areas with specific purposes, and so on. This happens to be a *very* common trait for multiples. The persons who are not in Front tend to interact in their head as though their head is an actual location. The individuals can be walking around, doing stuff in the corner by oneself, or interacting with one another.
What is a "self-map"?
A self-map is usually an attempt by a system to illustrate the interrelationships in their head, or to give a map of their headspace. Sometimes it looks like a map of a landscape, a house or building...sometimes it comes out more like a flowchart or family tree. Or anywhere in between. Essentially it's a diagram of some type attempting to translate social and working relationships between people.
In the field of psychology, they can't make up their mind whether multiples exist--Why should I believe you?
You don't have to believe anything we say. Out of respect for another person's beliefs, it is rude to refute them unless you negotiate a friendly arena for debate and follow rules of courtesy. If a person you know is keeping Kosher, you don't put a slab of porkchop in front of them at dinner. You don't have to accept that this exists, simply accept that we believe it exists. Evidence is almost impossible to procure: try to prove that you think. Prove you have a spirit or a soul. Now you can see why this is difficult to prove.
Why don't you integrate? Isn't that the mainstream way of dealing with multiple personalities?
Not all multiples consider their situation undesirable or to be of severity to necessitate psychological treatment. While it is acceptable in mainstream society to be one person per body, not all people are created as carbon copies of one another, nor is it necessarily desirable to move in that direction. Some multiples accept the way they are as a unique aspect of their being. As long as they are able to cope and function in society, remain law-abiding citizens, and bring home the bacon, it becomes arguable whether it matters if they are one person in the body or many people in the body. If everyone were expected to be a multiple, it probably wouldn't be desirable for singletons to seek out random spirits to invite into their head. For many multiples, the people who share their headspace are family and friends, and have worked very hard on upkeeping their intrapersonal relationships. They have no desire to integrate with their friends and family, and love them the way they are. Some multiples couldn't even figure out who the person would be to integrate into.
Why are you a Multiple?
There is probably no one good reason for that. Some people developed unique strategies to cope with their life. Some people may have been just born that way. Others had a talent for channeling in passing spirits, did so, and it became a permanent arrangement eventually. This answer can't really encompass all the reasons, because each person is unique. The best way to find out how one particular system developed is to ask the people in that system. Maybe they've given it considerable thought.

Glossary of Terms

glossary terms are followed by a brief key, showing our understanding of the origins of the term [p] for psychiatry, [m] for the multiple community, [o] for the otherkin community and [g] for general-use: ie, it can be found used in many areas, and the term is so common it is impossible to determine the source.

Alter [p,m]
It can be assumed that this term is shortened from alter-ego. Individual of a Split personality. Can be used to mean resident as well. Normally used for someone within a Split-Multiple. [Note: term not used in FAQ]
Analog [o]
A being which is from an alternate time stream. The time line diverges in a 'Y' intersection, and an anagolous relationship exists between the beings at the top two points of the 'Y', thus the being on the left is an Analog of the being on the right, and vice versa. This usually only comes into play with interdimensional parallel time streams, and is rather advanced in theory.
Back [p,m]
The state of being out of touch with the body's faculties. A temporary state of solitude or restful period for a resident. A resident or residents who are not interacting with the world. Also "the Back" which refers to a location in the headspace.
Body-Name [o]
The term used to mean "all the entities in this specific body" or any portion thereof. Often the birth name is used with something to define that it is being used as a body-name, such as adding an '&' to the end of the name (shortened from "& company" and pronounced "name-and" eg. Malcolm& (Malcolm-and) or Criss& (Criss-and)). Some folks take on a new name altogether (cf "Dandelion" and "Crisses") to delineate the difference between individuals as opposed to group-entity. Some Multiples do not use a different body-name at all. [Note: term not used in FAQ]
body-spirit [o]
The spirit of the being who was born to the body. Sometimes considered the owner of the body, however when the term is used to talk about an unknown entity which left the body (such is the case in singleton walk-ins), the person has relinquished their claim to body-ownership.
body-split [o]
Splits derived from the body-spirit.
channel [g]
The act of serving (verb) or person who serves (noun) as a conduit/medium for beings to interact with our reality. Usually refers to a temporary situation, but can also refer to the actual advent of a body-spirit or resident-spirit actively calling or inviting other spirits into the body, who then may remain on a more permanent basis.
Exile [o]
The act of being spiritually booted out of one's body (verb) or someone who got booted out of their last body (noun).
Front [p,m]
The individual entity who is interacting with the world (when used as a personal title or name: "Joe is Front." "Front is tired, we're going to sleep now.") . A position of being available to communicate and interact by direct use of the bodily senses and faculties ("Who is Fronting right now?"). A location in the headspace ("Who is in Front?").
gender dysphoric [o]
An entity who is unsatisfied with their physical gender, who does not have traits in alignment with the stereotypes of their genetic gender. Not quite someone who is transgendered, because often a person who is transgendered can tell you which gender they feel they should be. A gender dsyphoric may be someone whose gender identity is not static at any given time. Denotes some level of frustration with genders in general.
Guest [o]
Used as the term for a specific individual who was not born to the body. There is an impermanence implied here, such as a "guest" who is channeled into the body.
headspace [m]
The internal mental or nonordinary landscape within which the residents in a body may interact when not Front.
house rules [o]
A system's internal regulations, whether spoken or unspoken, which determine what behaviors are acceptable for the residents in the system. This helps keep order and make shared responsibility possible.
Host [o]
The group of one or more separate distinct energetic entities who has moved into the body from an outside source. 'Host' also could be seen as a host (as in host of angels) meaning gang, group, military unit, etc. Those whom are 'hosted' are also referred to as residents or sometimes guests. If speaking about an individual as the host, it would probably mean what the psychological term does: the main entity/personality in the system.
Host-Multiple [o]
A Multiple who is a Host. Just yet another confusing term to add to the glossary. Used to clarify the difference between a Multiple who happens to be a Split and a Multiple who happens to be a Host. See Host.
losing time [m]
A blackout, during which the residents-in-general don't know or recall exactly what occurred.
Multiple [g]
For the purposes of this FAQ, Multiple simply means "any physical entity which has more than one person inside of it." By person, it is not important whether they have their own spirit or soul or body: in this case the important part is that they have a separate psyche.
Resident [o]
Any specific being (alter &/or guest) inhabiting a body, whether it was born there or not. Generally denotes that the situation is probably a permanent living situation. Can be used for all types of Multiples.
Singleton [m]
A person who is a single psyche per body: in other words, the commonly accepted normal allotment of people-per-body.
Split [g]
When a spirit, psyche, or soul subdivides into separte possibly complete spirits, psyches or souls. A resident or alter defined or caused by this occurance.
Split-Multiple [o]
A multiple entity comprised (partially or entirely) of splits.
splitting[p], pre-integrated[p], "purpled"[o]
A confusing state where residents are not distinguishable from one another. Resident's thoughtstreams are not easily identified as their own. "Purpled" was coined by Dandelion (body-name for someone in the community) and seems to be sticking. [Not actually used in FAQ]
switchy [p,m]
A manic or confusing state where residents are swapping Front rapidly. [Not actually used in FAQ]
system [m]
The entirety of the entity, it's body and all it's residents, guests and splits, and how they function together as a unit.