The seventh chapter of Dion Fortune's Psychic Self-Defense is entitled “The Pathology of Non-Human Contacts.” In it, she makes some astounding claims; but then, this is hardly unexpected since when Fortune's discussions veer off into the unknown, they take on a fantastic veneer. The book is less about how to defend yourself psychically, as it is a warning about what to look out for and selections of stories about Things That Go Bump in the Night: Ghosts, psychic vampires, sodomite-drug-taking-drug-dealing Black Magicians, and “Evil Tibetan Buddha statues.”
In any event, the seventh chapter contains some points that I wished to raise. In it, she writes:
“There are many of us who have met people who might well be described as non-human, soulless, in that the ordinary human motives are not operative with them, nor do the ordinary human feelings prompt or inhibit them, We cannot but love them, for they have great charm, but we cannot but dread them as well, for they spread an infinitude of suffering around them...” (p.79)
“At the moment of sexual union a psychic vortex is formed resembling a waterspout, a funnel-shaped swirling that towers up into other dimension. As body after body engages, the vortex goes up to the planes. In all cases the physical, etheric, and astral bodies are involved; the vortex therefore always reaches as far as the astral plan; a soul upon the astral plane may be drawn into this vortex if it is ripe for incarnation, and thus enter the sphere of the parents. If the vortex extends higher than the astral plane, souls of a different type may enter this sphere, but such extension is rare, and therefore it is said that man is born of desire, for few are born of anything else.
But this vortex may not only extend vertically up the planes (speaking metaphorically), but it may also, under certain conditions, be deflected, as it were, out of the normal human line of evolution, so that its open end extends into the sphere of evolution of another type of life. Under such circumstances it is theoretically possible for a being of parallel evolution to be drawn into incarnation in a human body. Occultists hold that this occasionally occurs, and explains certain types of non-pathological abnormality which are occasionally met with.
These non-humans are either adored or hated by their human associates. They have a peculiar fascination for certain types of temperament, the types that psychologists the unstable. In these types the subconscious comes very near to the surface, deep calls to deep, and they are instinctively drawn towards the elemental kingdoms.” (p.80-81)
This is not to suggest that every Otherkin that claims “non-human” origin is telling the truth, or such. In some cases, we can probably assume that the desire to be “non-human” is rooted in trauma and the use of a narrative structure of associations to deal and cope with the pain. In other cases, escapism is another possible solution. But Fortune does raise the question of the possibility “non-human”... evolution... in a human body. I remain a deep seated skeptic, but it is one of the things that always comes to mind when I encounter people who complain about Otherkin.
There is also the history of looking for “elementals” in a human body; operations such as this were performed by Jack Parsons at the start of the Babalon working that led to Liber 49 and his Book of the Anti-Christ. Parsons claimed his elemental was Marjorie Cameron, who assuredly lived up to such a label in unexpected ways.
Finally: non-human metempsychosis is, as far as I know, possible in Hinduism and Buddhism, where one might 'fall' from there place in man, or rise – at a new birth – from the animal realms. I don't really know a lot about such theories; I am just, at best, aware that they exist. If this sort of rise/fall dynamic is actually prevalent in such theories, then it would not be uncommon at all for someone to feel drawn to the “animal world.”
While I have met more than a few nutty Otherkin (and psi-vamps, and for that matter, people that claimed to be the Reincarnation of Aleister Crowley or Austin Spare), the less nutty ones that I met years ago convinced me that more and more of the teenagers calling themselves such were, in fact, trying to get to a place to deal with Totemic or Atavistic magic, and that they were engaged in very minor early trance and ecstasis/“Shamanic” experiments. This is not to suggest that such experiments won't drive them nuts, but it's not my place to tell someone what not to do or think.
On this subject, I feel compelled to note that the best discussion with Otherkin I've ever had occurred at Pantheacon, following a group deciding to harass me (for reasons unknown to me) after seeing one of Lupa's presentations on Totems or somesuch. Far from being insane, the three seemed to be pretty grounded – for anyone under 25 years of age, anyway. Compared to the 40-something Witch women I've met that have told me about being crystal healers in Ancient Atlantis, they actually seemed very grounded (at least they didn't insist that I also had an animal soul; the Atlanteans always insist you were there with them. Forgive me for not remembering ever being on the Shores of Atlantis.) They were just convinced that their soul, or some portion of it, was not entirely human.
I don't know. Compared to an ancient land where people ruled the earth with all-powerful Crystal Magickz, and then accidentally blew themselves up or offended the gods or something, this didn't strike me as inconcievable.
That said: every avenue of occult and magical thought has some straight up insane sets of associations and ideas. Tons of folks believe in ancient aliens, that we'll evolve as a race in 2012 (I am a serious skeptic), & etc.
It should also remembered that early magical experiences and ideas will be fundamentally altered at the point when any practitioner reaches the Tower. After the Tower experience, just once, everything seems to be hypothetical at best, and the utter ignorance of the practitioner becomes well known to himself or herself.
To my mind, we all go to the Tower eventually, normally led down a path of our own unique and half-mad delusions. So, no, I don't get concerned all that much about the Delusions of Otherkin. I'm way more concerned with my own and how they impact others.