Geeky Latino Gaymer Bear who likes to dress up :P Feel free to reblog and ask questions. Spread the luv
(Please reblog to spread the awareness, thanks! <3 )
Hello fellow tumblr’s. Today I wanted to talk about therianthropy, and what it means to me as a therianthrope, or therian for short. This is not the same thing as being a furry, though some furs are therian, some therians are furs, and some are just therian only. A furry is just a fan of furry art, the end :P Not really just that, but I am not here to talk about furs.
First off, lest start with a blurb from therianthropes.com. (I am mainly using this site for references and will have links to some of the pages. This site really hits the nail on the head and I approve it’s unbiased approach to explaining things very well.)
In recent times, a subculture has developed that has adopted the word therianthropy to describe a sense of inner spiritual or psychological identification with a non-human animal. Persons who belong to that community are called therianthropes or therians and believe that while they have a human body, some important part of their mind, identity, or spirit is that of a non human animal. Some therianthropes refer to themselves as “lycanthropes” from lycanthropy. ~ therianthropes.com
This says a lot, but it doesn’t say it all. But it does wrap up the general idea in a neat little paragraph. One of the bigger aspects behind it for many therians, is the feelings we experience, or what we call shifting. Now, there is no such thing as a physical transformation, and those who claim they can are either delusional or trying to get one over on you :P
Before I get into that though, lets talk about what therianthropy is, and what it is not. First, it is not a religion. You cannot become or be made a therian, you are either born that way, or not (though some only discover it in themselves years later). There is not a set of beliefs that people subscribe to. On the contrary in fact, the community is a collection of beliefs, theories, and experiences that we all share together. So in that case, someone cannot say “well you are no therianthrope because you don’t meet the criteria for A, B, and C…”. So, its not a subscribed set of beliefs or religion, but it is a community of sharing beliefs, theories, and experiences. More on theories of origin, or “why am I this way?” later. Also, a very important note is that therianthropy is not limited to any specific animal. Some feel a connection with say, wolves or bears or tigers, while others may feel a connection with things like reptiles, fish, birds, or even rabbits. The rabbit hole, (pun intended) runs pretty deep and I’ll let you discover those on your own if you so choose. For me, its a Wolf.
Also an important note on self discovery of these things. For many therians, including myself, it typically hits pretty hard during puberty with dreams, waking visions, and of course shifting. Though some takes longer to discover this, which could even be late in life. Usually there are signs throughout one’s life which are ignored till shifting happens, and then one looks back at those signs and thinks “ooooh, so thats what was up with all that!” :P As for which animal the person has/is, for some its obvious with the dreams and visions, while for others it takes lots of meditation and sometimes research to figure it out.
Now, to the shifting stuff. As stated before, there is not a set rule list to be a therian. And in the same line of thinking, not all therians experience the same types of shifting. Some experience all, some experience just a hand few. There are a whopping 11 types of shifting experiences that have been collected by the community. Go here to read about the different ones, look to the left of the screen in the column to see the diff types. The way this collection of experiences works is pretty much someone describes an experience, and other chime in to saying “yes, I have experienced something similar/or that same thing”. Once a decent amount of people have verified experiencing that, then its definition is added. Back in 2000, I think there were 5 different shift explanations. But since then, more things have been added to the list.
The big one many people talk about (but not everyone experiences) is called mental shifting, or M-Shifting, or even MS for short. Here is another blurb from therianthropes.com.
A mental shift or m-shift is an altered state of consciousness, commonly experienced by weres, wherein they take on a more animal outlook, feelings, or perceptions. M-shifts denote a change in one’s mental state, not a physical, bodily change into a were-creature or animal. This usually results in more powerful senses and as stated, being more instinctual.
Some people report either heightened senses while other report that they either lose some capacity for speaking, or at least the desire to speak as much. Other will carry on the characteristics of their wereside in slight ways (especially method of walk, posture, facial expression, emotion). Anger and furry are possible when the animal side takes control of the actions and thoughts of the subject.
These changes in consciousness, whether voluntary or involuntary, are not always at the same level of intensity. Usually, the human mindset never fully vanishes. By the same token, many weres claim that even when not “shifted” the animal mindset is never fully dormant. It has been posited that involuntary m-shifts are more likely when the therianthrope in question is still coming to terms with their animal nature. ~ Therianthropy.com
For me, I feel I have a duality of human and wolf psyche. More about why I feel that way later, but for now, just know that for me, I don’t feel it’s a separate entity, its just more of an alter-ego. Sometimes this alter-ego comes out, mostly involuntary through certain triggers, though sometimes through my own will. What happens is my mood and posture starts to change. I have discerned from my own personal experiences to be 4 levels of intensity. 1 being I feel that side of me right under the surface, and it can come out any second. 2 Is when some people might start noticing a difference in the way my eyes look. Not a physical change, but more like a wild look in my eyes. My bf said it best when he said “You looked like you were gone and some animal had taken your place.” My speech also gets deeper and I am aggressive (not physically mind you). Level 3 is when my posture changes, I walk on the balls of my feet, slightly hunched over, my hands curl into claw-like shapes, and I notice my jaw does an under-bite thing. At this point my voice is a bit gruff. Level 4, the posture gets stronger, more pronounced, its hard to talk but say a few words, and I am usually pouncing on someone, playfully I might add, at this point. Pouncing using ends up with me wrestling people down into submission, playful biting and stuff (depending on how comfortable I am with you). I don’t go around attacking random people mind you, I only get “playful” with people I feel comfortable in that way with.
Some other things that I feel during various levels are a stronger sense of being one with nature, various levels of adrenaline rush which will give me faster speed, agility and strength, just as adrenaline rushes will do to ANYONE (I am not claiming to have supernatural strength, speed, or agility), and all 5 senses “seems” to get sharper, though I don’t know if that’s just my perception. I do get phantom limb syndrome (which is now counted as a type of shift) for a tail, claws, and fangs that are not there. Its a strong tingle sensation that feels like something is there, but never is. I am always aware of myself and what I am doing, I am not “possessed”, though I will say that my desires, or urges, slightly change to be more of what I consider to be wolf-like.
Sometimes my M-Shifts last only a few minutes, while sometimes I seem to be in the level 1-2 states constantly for weeks at a time.
The last type of shift I want to briefly talk about, which I identify with, is called shadow shifting. This has happened, though only on very rare occasions. Here is the blurb about it.
Shadow shifting is an illusionary change, a sort of mass hallucination where the subject appear to be something else. The person’s attitude, posturing, even making animal sounds, can give off the image of a physical change. This type of shift can even yield a sort of blur image of an animal (the shadow) when there is little available light. ~ Therianthropes.com
So, instead of me experiencing this, this is more of others claiming to see something happen to me that is more of an illusion, or trick of the mind. Those into the metaphysical might say that its my aura/chi/energy and/or spirit that has transformed, and the mind’s eye suddenly, or unexpectedly see’s this for but a moment or even split second, and the person usually freaks the fuck out :P. The few times this has happened, I was never able to reproduce it for the person, so it seems completely out of my control, and might have more to do with the people affected than myself.
A final thought about different types of shifting is many of them can be a by product of a mental shift, such as phantom limb and shadow shifting. However, those 2 may be experienced without the use of a mental shift, as I myself have had one person jump out of their skin when they turned the corner and saw me and say “holy shit! I must be seeing things, for a split second I thought I saw a giant wolf, but it was just you”. Take note that I had never told this person about my therianthropy before. She then tried to write it off as having very strong allergy medicine fucking with her mind. Also, I was not experiencing a M-Shift at the time.
Finally, lets take a look at theories. Most therians will be upfront and honest with saying they don’t really understand therianthropy, what it truly is, or what it’s origins really are. The point of the community was to come together, share experiences, and discuss possible reasons for “why?”. Popular beliefs, or theories of origins, include, but not limited to: Reincarnation from animal to human, having 2 souls in one body one being animal, having an animal soul in a human body, or having a stronger connection to the animal spirit world (similar to shamanism). However, there are some more pragmatic scientific theories that some therians themselves think, such as it’s being able to tap into a primal nature that all humans have, and claiming the animal-of-choice is used as symbolism. Some even look at it as a possible chemical/mental condition that we are born with, while others consider it just a simple physiological disassociation disorder with humans vs the animal of choice.
For me, I am still pretty unsure about theories, but some that I rule out for me is reincarnation from a previous animal life, or having 2 souls. All I know is how I feel, and I feel that it and I are one and the same, but it is just a duality. What “feels” right to me when it comes to theories I tend to lean towards native american mysticism, which states something to the affect of we all have a primal side that we can tap into. But I figure people born with these various involuntary shifts are just “more connected” or more “talented” to be able to do that than the average joe, which indeed does make us unique to the average joe. I do subscribe to the concept of having a soul and spirit, and I do view it as a very spiritual thing. And even though I am also into metaphysical concepts, I also keep myself very grounded in science and psychology, and do not rule out that is being able to explain at least part of it, but not all of it. I try to be flexible with my beliefs, because the more we learn, the more we realize just how much we don’t know or understand the universe in which we live :)
Lastly, I will talk about what it was like for me growing up. For as long as I can remember, I have play acted like a wolf. My mom thought it was cute, but would get a little freaked when I would sleep walk and act that way. She described those rare sessions to me after I got a little older. I’ve always been drawn to wolves and werewolves on TV. I also remember feeling a strange kinship between me and my great uncle’s pet wolf, which happened before my “awakening” or “awareness”. When my awakening did happen, I was 13 or 14 at the time. I knew I started to feel there was something inside me that was different, almost like something waiting to get out. Then the dreams, visions, and shifting started happening. I thought I was a werewolf, and that I was going to eventually transform into a large wolf-headed monster! Ha ha ha, alas many young therians go through the “were-animal” phase. Once we get older, usually around 18 (when the brain finally finishes forming and true rational thought can be achieved mind you) we finally give up the silly yet disappointing concept that we will never physically transform, or hulk out and smash as someone cleverly put it once. But when I first started experiencing M-Shifts, I could not control when they came, and could barely control my urges to growl, howl, pounce on friends, and just act in a way that would get me put in a mental home lol. It took a while before I was able to stop it from happening in public, and I found out that if I would find specific times to M-Shift in private, that it would aliviate urges in inconvenient times… almost like how men have wet dreams when they haven’t masturbated in a long time, it will find a way to come out one way or another ;). I also went through a short phase at age 18 when I tried to put it all behind me as just some weird phase/fantasy I went through during my teens. But yet, I ended up having more M-Shifts even when I tried NOT to believe in that side of me. I was like, “ok, there are no such things as werewolves, right? But I still have these M-Shifts, so wtf is going on with me!?” That was the time I finally found the therianthrope community online, which back then they called themselves the were-community. However, funny thing, the word “were” means “human” ala werewolf is literally human-wolf. So then someone grabbed the term therianthropy to describe us. It was so liberating to find that so many others had experienced the same thing I did growing up, and fascinating that some others experienced similar but yet different things.
I used to keep it a secrete for fear of being ostracized from friends and society in general. Then I would start just telling close friends about it. But the last few years I feel like I’ve been neglecting that part of me. Unfortunately I don’t know any others that live close enough to hang out with on a regular basis, which is sad. I have a friend that we used to hang out and go walking in the woods on full moon nights and end up pouncing on each other and howling at the moon…good times… Alas, I am now feeling more inclined to come out of the closet with it. (I couldn’t think of a witty other thing to come out of, but if you can think of one please share :P ) So this is it, this is me, and I know the kind of reactions I usually get are normally varied. Some people nod and say, “how interesting” while others roll their eyes and say “oh brother, what a weirdo”. Some people react by just skirting around the issue, while others seem to start talking about all kinds of strange things from seeing werewolves growing up to fighting demons… Does me telling people start some temporary psychosis? Or do people think I am role playing and want to join in?? Sigh, I don’t get it.
My intention for witting this is 3 fold: To come out and celebrate this side of me somewhat publicly, to educate others, and to inspire other possible therianthropes out there who are going through things they don’t understand and point them in the right direction of a community they can find others like them. :)
There is so many more nuances and topics about therianthropy and I could go on much much longer. This is not the end all be all guide to therianthropy, and I have left out many many topics and idioms. But I wanted to keep this as short as possible with covering the main topics of What it is (and is not), what is shifting, and what theories people have about it. LoLz about keeping it short. Kudos to all who read the whole thing! <3