The otherkin and therian communities both online throughout places on the internet and offline where people meet-up and know other ‘kin in real-life can be a very diverse group. Yet one way to divide otherkin and therians which leaves very few people still is to note all the aquatic and water-related theriotypes and kintypes. They collectively are not common, or at least not as common as land based kintypes. Within the therianthropy community – sharks, fish, seals, and even dolphins let alone other animals are not all common in terms of numbers in most online forums. Similarly, in the otherkin community – dragons inclined to water and sea serpents, mermaids, undines, and such – while having been in the community a number of times over the years are also not very common overall.
Having desires and wants more akin to their given kintypes and/or theriotype is not unheard of among many therians and otherkin to lesser or greater extents. However, given the nature of human society and the physiology of the human body, being kin to any creature more at home in water than land can leave a slightly different set of challenges to adapt to and live with. Living on land or even possibly living nowhere near a large body of natural water, can possibly leave any given person frustrated at being away from their desired place. It can be hard for any therian or otherkin no matter what they identify as being and if any given place or habitat tugs at their heart.
This essay is a listing and description of ways which have helped both Earth Listener and myself over time with craving and wanting for the sea, and what we have heard from other aquatic kin. It’s a hope that this might come in use for other otherkin or at least be an interesting read for other people on this topic. May it either be useful as it is or a brainstorming jumping off point.
It’s not always possible to go swimming or even take a long soaking bath or shower every time one gets the urge or need for one’s natural element. For the latter, while one’s cleanliness will never be questioned again the subsequent water bill will surely make it impractical for this coping technique to be used every single time. Going swimming is also nice, but not everyone has access to either a swimming pool or natural body of water where swimming is permitted. This can be due to either distance, financial constraints, or limitations of the local area. Other physical methods are also possible that could be useful in-between.
Taking a cool and wet rag or simply a wet hand across the skin can be a great way to stave a need for water. It is a lot more subtle, quick, and easy than a full drenching no matter where and when in most cases and it can still have soothing effects. This might be especially nice on areas where phantom sensations are coming from such as phantom gills or fins. Leaving the water on the skin to slowly evaporate on its own can help.
Another touch related tip is to try running your hand (or hands) through water, running or still. (Though for us, still water seems to work better.) Perhaps dipping your fingers or whole hand in a bowl or glass full of water for a moment might help soothe some desires for water for a little while. An alternative to that might be soaking your feet instead.
Actually being able to visit natural bodies of water of any form no matter the kintype is often a wonderful experience. Whether it be a stream, pond, river, or even the greatest place to find water – the ocean. Even if you can’t physically take a dip or wade into the water for whatever reason, just being near the water and experiencing it can be a great thing. Being able to see, hear, smell, and touch the water can be enough for some.
For techniques using the gift of sight, perhaps give guided visualizations of swimming in or being in water a try. For added effect, try compounding senses by doing such visualizations while listening to any given preferred track of ocean or water sounds or while relaxing in a bath or standing in a shower.
Daydreaming or anything that stimulates a sense of sight or being there can be very useful if water isn’t near or available at any point in time. If you have trouble visualizing a detailed scene or places, try using photos or videos of watery places which you are strongly drawn to. Try visualizing yourself into the scene itself rather than working with a blank slate and see if that makes it easier on you or is more rewarding.
Even just watching videos of aquatic life can be fruitful; either of general life or specific to creatures more relevant to you identity. If you are a therian of a still living species, finding video of your theriotype might be easier to find than an otherkin or therian of an extinct species might have. In those cases, trying to find videos of creatures similar enough either in appearance or behavior might work. For example, given their size and ways of hunting, large toothed whales are creatures which can pull certain strings of emotion and instinct while watching videos of them since taniwha are not physical Earth creatures.
There are countless written materials – fiction and nonfiction alike, based around watery bodies and their inhabitants. Reading stories and accounts of aquatic life can be a great release of emotions and thoughts. We have heard from at least two aquatic kindred who have found the book, The Music of the Dolphin by Karen Hesse, despite being more of a children’s book, to be rather moving. We have personally found the manga series, Children of the Sea, with its mystery plot and amazing graphics to be incredibly moving to our otherkinity. Even nonfiction works have their mystique. Books about real life underwater can be a completing outlet. For example, we own one little book, The Majesty and Mystery of the Sea: A Photographic Celebration of the Marine Environment, which is full of ocean photographs coupled with quotes and proverbs about the sea and aquatic life there.
Keeping a plant or fish aquarium might also be a lovely idea though not everyone has the time or money to care for other living beings. However the sounds of water falling and the sight of fish swimming and/or live plants waving slightly can be beneficial to the psyche.
One technique might be the use of sounds. There are countless tracks of ocean waves, babbling brooks, whale songs, and other aquatic related sounds. Play around with sounds which influence you the most, for example, both Earth Listener and I enjoy the rolling lull of water currents but not so much the sounds of crashing waves on a shore. Try listening to something while relaxing or even trying to sleep, they might even influence your dreams to involve a body of water.
For more permit sounds in daily life, there are indoor or desk water fountains. They come in all sort of shapes and sizes and can produce a nice present background sound. They are not mobile, however placing one in a bedroom, on an office desk, or simply nearby where a lot of time is spent can be something to listen to throughout the time you are within hearing range.
There are some songs and hymns which either are about water or involve a water effect in the tune itself, if not both for the same song. For example, the orchestral song, “Rain” from the soundtrack of the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron involves a very aquatic feel within its tune as does the song “Hymn to the Sea” from the soundtrack for the movie, Titanic. Songs either orchestral or lyrical could have soothing effects on one’s desire for water.
The smell of cool humid air can have a very soothing effect; anything from an actual humidifier to a simple misting bowl or fountain as they are sometimes called. Smelling and feeling the extra hint of moisture can be very nice to breathe in. It can also be very refreshing during the time of the year when the humidity is low.
Also, there are various fragrance oils, forms of incense, and even perfumes which have been created to have salty or aquatic scents to them which might be appealing to burn (or in the case of perfume, to wear). We do not wear perfume ourselves, but we have been told by Elinox that the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Pool of Tears and Deep Ones are very nice. I personally love to burn fragrance oil and my own favorite scents for the brand we buy are called Oceanic and Rain, the smells of which remind me of water quite nicely indeed.
Something as simple as taking a sip of water could help. Actual water rather than carbonated beverages and such tend to give the best effects for both myself and Earth Listener. Not only does having the taste of water in our mouth make us feel better but keeping our body adequately hydrated helps keep down the drive for water.
Ice is a nice cooling treat to let melt in your mouth. Just DON’T try and chew or bite down on it – you can damage your teeth! Also always be wary of swallowing the piece on accident. As to avoid chewing or swallowing, there are reusable popsicle trays that can be bought (or made) and filled with water to let freeze.
Being kin to any creature at home in the water can be something in which coping and calming techniques, or even trigger techniques, can end up being rather inventive and quirky compared to others, though not to say aquatic kin have it any harder than any other otherkin regardless of kintypes or theriotypes. It’s merely different perspective just as kin that are at home in the air might be able to find similar enjoyments. Every kind of otherkin, and down to the individual in fact, have things which work for them which might not help anyone else. It’s my hope that this essay works as brainstorming for others to work with. It’s my hope these ideas and things we have found useful to be useful or helpful for others.