Video available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/RYHsNUDQ7MY
The following is the script written for the video with the help of members from various forums.
Hello. Welcome to Therian Nation. I’m your host, Shannon Jackson. In this video we will begin to examine the identity phenomenon known as modern Therianthropy and dispel a few common misconceptions.
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Personal identity has been discussed since the beginning of Western philosophy. Modern Therianthropy is an identity phenomenon categorized by a deep integral, personal belief that an individual is to some degree non-human. This animal identification can be instead of or in addition to a human identification. Therians fully acknowledge that they have a human body, but the physical body and appearance are not the only factors for identification.
Therians come from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, religions, and spiritualities, including atheism. Some Therians explain their identities through spiritual reasons.
Other Therians explain their self-identification as an animal in terms of neurobiological or psychological processes related to identity formation.
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“Therianthropy is thought by some to be present from birth or acquired in very early childhood because most Therians do not have a memory of ever having not been Therians ( though there may have been a period of not recognizing the nature of their therianthropy).” - Therian Timeline
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The following is from “Life Stories of Therianthropes: An Analysis of Nonhuman Identity in a Narrative Identity Model” by Natalie Bricker. “To date, the scientific study of therianthropy has been given little attention, and only a fraction of this attention has been from the field of psychology. As such, very little is known about how therianthropic identities develop.”
Therian Nation will examine Spiritual Therianthropy and Psychological Therianthropy more in depth with upcoming videos.
Whether from spiritual or psychological experiences, the majority within the community agree that Therianthropy is not a choice.
It is agreed upon that one can’t pick and choose a theriotype, the animal which is an individual’s identity. As Therianthropy is not a choice, many Therians do not like their theriotype or have any emotional connection to that animal. Some individuals enjoy the experience, some do not, and others are indifferent to being a Therianthrope.
Therians understand that their experiences are subjective, with most therians being ‘self-labelled’ or “self-identified”.
Skeptics might argue that identifying as Therian occurred after finding the online community, but Therianthropy is not a group identity. It is a personal identity with the majority of Therians feeling non-human and/or exhibited species-specific behavior before finding and participating with the online community. Therians often share memories from childhood of having felt a kinship with animals or related more to animals than people, or of having always experienced a vague feeling of being other than human.
Most individuals who come to identify as Therian were also skeptical of their own feelings and experiences in the beginning. This leads to a search for alternative explanations, which often leads to a further search for and analysis of evidence of being Therian.
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The following is also from “Life Stories of Therianthropes: An Analysis of Nonhuman Identity in a Narrative Identity Model” by Natalie Bricker. “The therians who participated in the current study reported a nonhuman identity that predated the discovery of the therian community. Feelings of being nonhuman and certain therianthropic experiences existed even in childhood for most participants. It therefore appears inaccurate to say that the identity was created by the community. It is true, however, that participants expressed relief and belonging upon discovering the term “therianthropy” to describe their experiences and the online therian community. In turn, these discoveries may have served to further reinforce participants’ nonhuman identities. Additional research is needed in order to verify this possibility.”
Another recent study “An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community” states
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“In the archaeological and anthropological literature, therianthropy is not considered an illness but rather it is associated with spiritual experiences. Although therianthropic beliefs and experiences seem to be an accepted part of culture in many non-Western countries, this normalization and validation of experiences does not generally appear to extend to Western culture.”
(Diagram to illustrate the following) https://goo.gl/photos/MJ7tEyEtmA3zMMkK9
There are communities which share similarities to Therianthropy, but developed separately, such as Otherkin and Furries. These communities can overlap. Some Therians may enjoy participating in Furry culture and some Therians may also identify as Otherkin. Future videos will examine the Furry Fandom and Otherkin Identity in more detail.
Instinctual, bestial behaviors are characteristic of Therianthropy, and most Therians identify as real-world animals whether currently living species or extinct species such as dinosaurs. There is not a hard distinction, however, and individuals with mythological or non-earth animal identities may have experiences that are best supported by the Therian community, such as individuals who identify as dragons.
Therians are all ages, races, genders, and come from all walks of life. The majority of Therians have successful careers, behave and act normally in public, and they are regular members of society. Therians are high school and college students, IT professionals, volunteers, biologists, artists, authors, teachers, engineers, military personnel, etc. Most animalistic behaviors are kept private. The ability of Therians to control their actions during animalistic impulses is what sets Therianthropy apart from mental disorders. To some, being Therian is a major part of their life and identify. For others, this is a less significant facet of their being.
In regards to more people being understanding and accepting of modern Therians, we as a community need to be careful and mindful of how we present ourselves. This includes the use of terms and phrases. People may come across the not so common word Therianism. Most use the term Therianism to simply indicate inclusion within the community. However, in the wrong context, people might think that Therians are all spiritual and that Therianthropy is an organized religion or ideology, which is incorrect.
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Anuolf says the following, “Therianthropy has never been an -ism. It’s not an ideological movement, principle, or system in which someone can choose to be a part of. It’s not a pathological condition like alcoholism. And it certainly isn’t denoting a basis of prejudice or discrimination like racism. Nor is it necessary to use -ism in order to make it into a noun since therian/therianthropy is already a noun.”
As a community, we should use words carefully because that can have a significant impact on how we are perceived by the public.
Now, we will mention a few major misconceptions.
Simply liking an animal does not make one a Therianthrope. The terms animal-hearted or other-hearted are used to describe people with a strong liking or connection to an animal, yet who do not identify as non-human.
Having an animal totem or spirit guide does not make one a Therian. Therianthropy is not Shamanism.
Therianthropy is not a structured spiritual or religious belief, a cult, or an ideology that anyone can join.Therianthropy as a subculture does not have any central dogma or tenets, nor any recognized authority.
Again, therianthropy is not a choice, therefore it is not a fad, trend, a style, or a role-playing game, in which a person creates a fictional character.
Therianthropy is not all fun and games. While it is not a mental illness, and most Therians have normal lives, some do have negative experiences.
Therianthropy does not imply a sexual fixation with a non-human animal; that is unrelated.
Therians can not and do not physically change shape. That is not possible. Therianthropy does not give anyone special abilities, powers, or extra physical strength. We will go more in depth about this subject in a future video.
It should be noted that some of the concepts developing separately on Tumblr and social media are very different from those found in the community that has developed on more structured forums. At the same time, keep in mind that no one can be an expert as Therianthropy is personal and subjective.
Remember to be intelligent and think for yourself!
Links to public sources used to gather information have been provided in the description below. Therian Nation has a lot of information to cover. In our next video, we will define terms commonly used within the community. Subscribe to Therian Nation to learn and stay informed about Therianthropy and the Therian community. Thank you for watching.
Title Screen Image: Dog-headed men from “Livre des merveilles du mooned” (Book of Wonders of the World also known as The Travels of Marco Polo), a 13th-century travelogue with stories told by Marco Polo.
Images are used under fair use for educational purposes only and remain the property of the copyright holders.
Therian Nation Full Disclaimer: https://youtu.be/_IrZw2XgVmQ
Links to Public Sources for this Video
Project Shift - http://project-shift.net/category/
Therianthropy Research Group - http://therianthropyresearchgroup.
Therian Timeline - http://www.theriantimeline.com/
“An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community” by Grivell et all, page 114 (2014) - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.
Bricker, Natalie, “Life Stories of Therianthropes: An Analysis of Nonhuman Identity in a Narrative Identity Model” (2016). Senior Theses - http://publications.lakeforest.edu/
Shifters.org Guide “Therianthropy - An Overview” (web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/
White Wolf’s Den - http://members.tripod.com/syber_zx/
Personal Identity (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/
Fury Culture and Furry Fandom
Anthropomorphic Research Project - https://sites.google.com/site/
Opening Title Music - “News Theme 3” by Ithaca Audio Ltd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. http://www.ithacaaudio.com/2010/12/07/