Video Link: https://youtu.be/ull7T4zp0Es
Hello and Welcome to Therian Nation. I’m your host, Shannon Jackson. In this video we’ll explain the etymology of the word Therianthropy and see how it has been used throughout history. Greek is one of the world’s oldest recorded and living languages, meaning that it is still in use today. I’ve come across a few different origins for the word Therianthropy.
One source lists “thero” as a Greek root for “breast” or “mammal.”
And “anthro” as the Greek root for “human."
Another source list "ther” as a Greek root for “wild animal”
And “anthrop” as the Greek root for “human.”
“Therion” is a Greek word for “wild animal” or “beast.”
Yet another source uses the Greek word “Therios” for “wild beast."
Google Translate recognizes both Therion and Therios.
And anthrōpos [ἄνθρωπος] is a Greek word for "man”.
The word Therianthropy is a portmanteau or combining of two Greek words, which then loosely translates as human-animal or animal man. The constellation that we now call Lupus, was first called Therion by the Greeks.
The historical use of the word Therianthropy was to describe men and creatures in mythology and folklore who could change shape such as werewolves, were-cats, and other were-creatures. The term has often been used by archaeologists to describe animal-human figures found in prehistoric rock art such as the “Dancing Sorcerer”. Theriocephaly refers to beings which simultaneously share human and animal traits, such as Egyptian Gods.
The word “therian” also has a clear meaning within science and biology. The first attempt to formally classify organisms began in the 18th century, around 1789. Therian, in taxonomy, means a member of the mammalian subclass, Theria, consisting of marsupial and placental mammals or live-bearing mammals and their extinct ancestors.
When was the first historic use of the word Therianthropy? One source, a book titled “The Human Predator,” written in 2005 by Katherine Ramsland, raises the possibility that the term Therianthropy may have been used as early as the 16th century in criminal trials of suspected werewolves.
One of the first known written and published appearances of the word therianthropy can be seen in a book titled “The Religious Systems of China” written by J.J.M De Groot in 1901. The usage of therianthropy can be found on page 171 of Volume IV, Book II, titled “On the Soul and Ancestral Worship, Part I.”
“The tale of Cheu Chen’s slave shows a new feature in Chinese tiger-lore, which, like so many others, we find also in therianthropy elsewhere in Asia and in Europe, namely, that the change into a beast may be brought about artificially and willfully by means of charms, spells, and other instruments of witchcraft.”
Volume V also includes a few interesting tales of shape-shifting, human-like creatures with blue skin and tusks, “beings resembling men, squatting down sometimes like dogs,” walking trees, women giving birth to monsters and devils, which are also referred to in the book as specters.
On page 793, a baby is called a yaksha, a broad class of nature-spirits, and described as having “cock-spurs and horse-hoofs.” Page 823 begins a section that includes sorcery and tales of sorcerers changing themselves into animals.
Therianthropy was used to describe spiritual beliefs in human transformation in a 1915 Japanese publication titled, “A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era.” On page 65 in a section titled “Therianthropic Elements” the first sentence is “That the religion of ancient Japan - known as Shinto, or "the way of the gods” - had not fully emerged from therianthropic polytheism is proved by the fact that, though the deities were generally represented in human shape, they were frequently conceived as spiritual beings, embodying themselves in all kinds of things, especially animals, reptiles, or insects.“
While therianthropy may have been used in the past to describe shape-shifters, old words are often taken and used to represent new concepts. The modern day use of the term, beginning in the early 1990’s, does not imply magic or physical shape-shifting. Modern Therianthropy is a subculture of people known as Therianthropes, or Therians for short, who are intrinsically connected to an animal. The connection can be spiritual, psychological, or both, and this strong connection leads people to identify as non-human animals. However, it is not a mental illness, as Therians understand that they have the physical body of a human.
In conclusion, the word therianthropy has historical, archeological, scientific, and new modern usages. Upcoming Therian Nation videos will examine the personal belief of Therianthropy more in depth and cover the history of the Therianthropy community.
Links to sources can be found in the video description below. Thank you for watching (reading).
Therian Nation Mission Statement: https://youtu.be/WtqILBWrn9E
Therian Nation Full Disclaimer: https://youtu.be/_IrZw2XgVmQ
Lupus (constellation): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupus_(constellation)
Books, History, etc.
Source of “A History of the Japanese People” written by Captain Frank Brinkley:
Therian Timeline - Words and Concepts - http://www.theriantimeline.com/
“An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community” by Grivell et al.
Therianthropy Research Group: http://therianthropyresearchgroup.
World Wide Words - Therianthrope - http://www.worldwidewords.org/
Memidex - http://www.memidex.com/therian
Wiki Fur: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Therianthropy
Therianthropy wiki: http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/