kin 101

I get a lot of questions about this, and as it gains more and more traction, I thought it was important to make an easy to pass around informational carrd that people can refer to whenever they need.Let's start with the basic definition of kinning, and some ways that it is misunderstood.A lot of people are HIGHLY misinformed about what kinning is, they think it's just a coping mechanism, or something people do for comfort and for fun. This is absolutely not true, and highly disrespectful and harmful information to spread around, which is why this carrd was made.

Kinning, What is it?

Kinning is a spiritual belief, based in beliefs of the multiverse theory, the belief that there are infinite universes, and reincarnation.I'm sure for some of you, kinning has already been explained WAY differently than this, and it's been explained as something people do for comfort or for fun. I mentioned previously that this is disrespectful, here's more reasons why:Kinning started out as a spiritual thing, and the way it has evolved has been spiritual for a very long time. The only reason people are saying it's for comfort/for fun is because of tumblr trolls. People got confused and misinformed, and now barely anyone knows the actual truth, which is really upsetting to a lot of people who follow this here is the ACTUAL definition, with context:--
Infinite Universes is a theory and belief that isn't new, or out of the possibilities of reality. There are lots of scientists who have studied this theory and are working to find more information on it every day. It's been around for a long time.
The concept is that there are infinite universes, for every thing you do, there's a universe where you did it differently. It's far beyond our capacity to even imagine or barely conceptualize. Everything you consume, there is a universe where that exists. The outcomes, the different universes, they're all endless. Under this belief, there are universes out there in which things that are considered 'fictional' actually exist as fact. Anything you can think of, there's a universe for. That's what we believe.Now, onto the reincarnation part. Reincarnation is a belief that has been around for centuries, and even reincarnation has scientific studies. Reincarnation/Past lives are very easy to understand and there's lots of other information on them, so I'll pass on explaining all of that. The point is, our energy goes somewhere when we die. People who kin believe that the energy that passes after we die (or our souls), don't know the boundary of one single universe, because why would they? It's energy.What does this mean then? Well, this is the core of kinning:You can have had a past life as a fictional character, or a number of 'fictional' characters or creatures or people.
Those who Kin don't just wake up one day and decide "Oh, I like this character, I must have had a past life as them." Usually there's an extreme awakening of some sort. We get actual memories, we find past loved ones. It's an extremely emotional and personal thing for many of us, and it deserves to be respected just like any other spiritual belief.

Why gatekeep? Kinning isn't that deep

It is not gatekeeping to say that something is disrespectful towards a spiritual belief. Saying someone's spiritual belief isn't that deep is really disrespectful.If you have one half of people taking this seriously, and suffering from real pain from their past life memories, and all of the struggles that come with carrying your past lives on your shoulders, and the other half basically just going "Oh i identify as this character for fun because theyre cool uwu i chose this because it helps me cope"... I'm sure you can see how that's problematic.One is a SPIRITUAL BELIEF, and the other two are hobbies/coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms and hobbies are great, but you shouldn't steal someone's spiritual belief and their terms and community to express yourself like that. It gets even more complicated when people start feeling unsafe in their own community because people don't understand them. This causes so many problems, especially when people think that you can just choose or make up your memories and treat them as headcanons. When people think you can choose those things, it gets really really harmful.I've had to comfort heartbroken friends who thought they found someone from their past life, when it turned out to be a person that was just roleplaying with them. they said kinning was for fun and coping, and that spiritual kin doesn't exist. imagine missing someone so much that it physically hurts, and thinking youre reunited with them, only to find out it's someone playing some silly game with the only terms you have to explain your experience? It doesn't feel good.I had a friend explain this in a really beautiful way, and it would be a shame to make a carrd and not put this in somewhere :"Copinglinkers can't understand the involuntary aspects of otherkinnity. They can't understand waking up from nightmares with tears running down your face from a past life. They can't understand the sudden jabs of memory when the sky just so happens to look a certain way. They can't understand how it's a lot more than just a coping mechanism; in fact, half the time it's something we have to cope with. And then, to invalidate what we experience? And turn around and get offended when we try to educate them, it's very upsetting. 'Coping' kins and roleplayers will never understand how it feels to be in such a heavy shift that you’re sitting on the floor, tears streaming endlessly down your cheeks, begging with whatever higher power will listen to let you go back home, because this current life, the world around you, feels foreign and strange, and you feel like a child again because you just want to go home, to the people you know, the places you’re familiar with. You just want to be back home, but you know you can’t go home, and nothing is ever going to be the same, and it breaks you. They won't understand the nightmares from some of those memories, or the laughter and happy tears when you get a good one. They wont understand how when you look into a canonmate's eyes, for a minute you see who they used to be in their smile. They're not going to understand the finishing of one another's sentences with memories you've both had for years, the flashbacks, or the longing ache that never goes away."

So what do people call themselves if they're not actually kin? Are there replacement terms?

Yes! There are absolutely replacement terms, and they're super cute and easy to use. These terms are NOT kin, under any circumstance unless you want to be disrespectful and keep spreading misinformation. There are plenty of other terms to use instead of kinning, in case you're only just now learning this and you don't want to keep using kin terms because they don't apply to you.copinglink: identifying as a character for coping reasons, it is something you CHOOSE, you choose to id as that character because it makes you feel good and you relate to them, and their trauma. identifying as that character helps you cope with mental illnesses and traumamirrorlink: similar to copinglink, a mirrorlink is for people who dont really id as a character to cope, but mainly just because they see themself in the character a lot, and they mirror the character in a lot of ways. its basically when you just relate enough to id as them, it doesnt have to be for coping, it can just be for fun or because it makes you feel comfy, also known as synpath and otherhearted at times.roleplaying: pretending to be a character, making headcanons, and writing as them

Terms and more information

lets start with some standard kin definitions on the different ways you can kin!Fictionkin: The specific branch of kinning that most people are familiar with, which I already explained on the first page.Otherkin: It's just more broad, it doesn't have to be fictional characters, and it's not always just simple reincarnation. It's still a spiritual belief though and there are a lot of different beliefs that factor into someone being otherkin. It's just a little more broad than fictionkin, but no less important! Sometimes it's just a very strong strong spiritual connection to something, past life or not.Factkin: This one is a hot one, I know. It's considered really problematic, but I think that people would be curious enough to want to see it in plain terms, in a very non biased way, and I'm happy to do so to provide people with a better, clearer understanding of a misunderstood aspect of this community. Factkin is the same concept as fictionkin and otherkin, except this time it is having to do with people who have existed and died, or people who are alive now and currently, exist in this current universe (the one we live in).It is absolutely possible to have a past life from a different universe as someone who currently exists in our own. you cant claim to be them from this specific universe, but you can have had past lives as them. And for those who are already dead, this is just normal reincarnation, it's not a hard concept to understand.
No one who actually kins is going to pretend to be someone that is alive today seriously. Reminder that we cannot choose the memories we get. No one is going to steal someone's identity, it's not identity theft, and if someone is genuinely trying to steal someone's identity... I assure you that's not a kin thing. I think it's hypocritical to believe you can have past lives from different universes, just not ones similar to ours, because there are a LOT of universes similar to ours. Remember: Kinning is not a choice. Don't be hypocritical, anti factkin stems from the same kinds of people who made this carrd need to exist in the first place.

Shift/Shifting: Kinshifting, or simply shifting, is a moment in time when you feel more connected to one of your kins/past lives. So much so that you feel like you’re just them, that nothing has really changed from that life to this one. you adopt previous speech patterns/accents, movements, facial expressions, interests, thought processes. all of it, really. Sometimes people have 'permashifts' which are just shifts that never end up going away, they're always permanently stuck in that shift.Coshift: A coshift is just a secondary shift, that isn't as strong as your shift, but still very present and connected in that moment.Canonmate: A canonmate is someone you share a past life with! They can be found using 'canoncalls' where you put your memories out and hope they match with someones, and then you can share memories and see if you've had a past life together. Usually people share more than one past life with people they've had past lives with.
Sourcemate: Someone who kins from the same source that you do but isn't a canonmate.
Memories: Simply just past life memories!Kinsider/Kinfirm: Words that are puns in place of considering a kin or confirming that you do kin someone. They're just cute.Canon/Timeline: The specific life you were in. So if you say "In my (insert kin)_ canon" you're talking about that specific past life.

the end

I hope you feel a little more educated than you did before reading this! If you feel bad for having used these terms, it's okay, youre making the effort to educate yourself now. Do your part and correct people when you see someone being misinformed!
* Not all of these opinions stated in this carrd are still held in full by the creator, because words are allowed to change and grow, it's just disappointing to see that what was feared to happen has already happened, kinning is no longer seen as what it was originally made out to be.
for spiritual kins reading this:
if you feel cast out by the community because of how much trolls and misinformed people have taken over- and you want a place to freely express your spiritual belief in a space that people will take you seriously, there is a growing community that would love to have you as part of it. New terms, better people, and a strong foundation so that these terms are ones that will
never* be stolen from here for our carrd!

back to the beginning.