I can draw, paint, be creative.
I love listening to music. I took piano lessons for many years, and appreciate the practice and dedication that it takes to be a good musician.
I can drive a car, which allows me to move faster than I'd be able to run as a human or a wolf.
I can understand how to read and write, and I enjoy these activities.
I enjoy sleeping on my bed, under blankets, and with pillows. Though, I've slept on the ground plenty of times while camping, and I don't mind that either.
I like being able to use technology, such as computers.
I also enjoy watching movies and playing video games.
I've enjoyed unique human activities such as martial arts, HEMA, and archery. Although I see martial arts and wrestling as not unlike wolves play fighting. It's the human equivalent and these activities have helped me express my instincts to fight in a safe and controlled environment.
I enjoy being able to cook food for myself. I have a wider variety of food available to me as a human.
I can have a dog and cat companion without seeing them as threats or food.
I love tea and have tried many varieties. I will drink herbal to black and anything in between.
I can eat chocolate as a human, which would make me sick if I were a canine.
As a human, I'm thankful that I don't need to lick myself clean. Toilet paper is nice. Though, you know, if I were a wolf, I wouldn't really care.
Hot showers and saunas are also amazing.
Hopefully, time permitting, there will be a list of things I don't like about being human. Maybe also a list of things I like/don't like about being a wolf Therianthrope or what I would like about being a wolf.
Video Available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ
Hello. Welcome to Therian Nation. I’m your host, George Ross. In this video, we will delve into the various types of shifts experienced by Therians. If you have not watched “Introduction to Modern Therianthropy” or “Therianthropy Terms and Definitions” we recommend that you do so first.
Shifting has been discussed since the beginning of the online Therian community. “Your best mental transformation”, is a discussion that took place on AHWW on December 1, 1993. In that same discussion, one of the members mentions having a out of body experience, which we now call a bilocation shift.
What do we mean by a “shift”? A “shift” is a temporary change of state when a Therianthrope becomes more instinctual or animalistic as the theriotype becomes more dominant in a non-physical manner. Shifts can occur in varying strength and frequency and be both a positive or negative experience. Shifting can be voluntary or involuntary. Different types of shifts can be experienced simultaneously.
It is important to note that shifting is not necessary to identify as a Therian. Contherians are always in an animalistic mental state because their human and animal selves or minds have fully integrated. These individuals have animalistic experiences, they just don’t need to shift in order to do so. This state of integration is usually found in older Therians who have been aware of their Therianthropy for several years. But younger Therians have also experienced this integration and have classified themselves as Contherians. Also, a person does not need to experience every type of shift to identify as Therian. Some Therians may only ever experience one type of shift.
Before we get into the types of therianthropic shifts, we must use some discretion. Be aware that having a single shift or even several shifts does not mean that you should assume, without a doubt, that you are a Therian. It is important to remain mindful and not to jump to conclusions.
The same goes for finding a theriotype. We must carefully consider what experiences are relevant. There are rational explanations for why we might experience shifts that have nothing to do with Therianthropy or being Therian. All humans can have similar experiences or sensations to these types of shifts. We must be mindful and cautious that we are not simply imagining these sensations or potentially tricking our minds. We recommend reading the article “Believe It or Not?” written by Meirya, which can be found on Project Shift. Now let us move on to the types of therianthropic shifts.
Mental Shift (MS or m-shift): this term indicates a temporary change in mindset toward thinking like a non-human creature. The human body stays physically unchanged. This shift can be very mild, to very strong, and any level in-between. During mild shifts, part of the human mentality is maintained. A mental shift can sometimes happen unintentionally, or the shifter can sometimes cause it voluntarily, or even suppress it. Mental shifts can happen in the midst of any emotional state.
A strong mental shift can make a person lose the ability to think in words in favor of thinking in pure awareness. If you know that you are pruned to strong mental shifts, it’s good to learn the sensations that are precursors of your shifts so that you can find a safe and private place to experience your shift.
Phantom Shift (ph-shift): when a Therian experiences phantom limbs or a full phantom body. This is a phenomenon that refers to the sensation of having non-human body parts attached to the human body. The most common example is the feeling of having and moving a tail. These phantom limbs can even overlap the normal limbs of one’s body, such as feeling paws instead of hands.
“The specific ways in which these can be experienced varies vastly, but included amongst them are a diversity of levels of realism, some being very minor to some even being so intense that the phantom part feels almost entirely real regardless of the fact it is not physical. Some phantom parts are constant, but the ones referred to in this definition are those that are temporary and shift in and out of occurrence. Other effects associated with some phantom parts include pain or discomfort in/on or associated with the phantom part, movement (voluntary or involuntary) of the phantom body part, and reactions to outside real stimuli such as objects, sounds, movement of other things, and so forth.” - Project Shift
One does not need to be Therian or an amputee to experience phantom limbs. Experiments prove that people can be fooled into thinking that another object or even an invisible limb is part of them. This deception is known as the rubber hand illusion. Please see links in the description to learn more.
Sensory shifting (Se): also known as a Sense Shift, is considered to be a little different from mental shifting. It is a type of shift where the Therian’s senses become more like that of their animal. The Shifter will feel somewhat animalistic, alert, very aware, and often have a pleasurable heightened sense of their physical body. It can occur along with other types of shifts.
Sensory shifting does not make senses more powerful. Focusing attention on a certain sense, such as smell, can allow us to pick out more smells than usual. It is important to note that this is a heightened focus rather than a heightening of the sense itself. Our senses may feel more keen during these times of focus, but Sense Shifts cannot increase perception beyond the physical limitations of the human body. Hypersensitivity is a similar experience which can also occur in humans for various reasons.
Sensory shifting can be helpful in determining a theriotype, as animals preferentiate some senses over others. Ask yourself what senses are most prevalent during a shift. Canines, for example, understand the world primarily through smell.
Emotional Shift: When you shift during a certain emotional state; like stress or anger. Usually occurs in conjunction with another type of shift.
Cameo Shift ( C ): a shift into an animal that is not of a person’s theriotype. For example: If a cat Therian who has never experienced a dog mentality, shifts into a canine, this is a cameo shift. A cameo shift should not be the sole consideration as evidence of being a polytherian. Some theorize that a cameo shift could be due to an individual having a spirit guide or power animal instead.
Dream shift (DS or d-shift): a type of non-physical transformation which occurs in a dream as an individual becomes partially or entirely his/her theriotype within said dream. The dream might include the experience of transformation into that creature. A dream shift can occur in both lucid and non-lucid states.
Never automatically assume that seeing yourself as an animal in a dream means that you are a Therian or that the animal is your theriotype. Many other experiences, research, and introspection should also be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not you identify as Therian. Seeing oneself as an animal other than the known theriotype, may only be a dream cameo shift and does not always indicate that one is a polytherian. Not every dream may be relevant to one’s therianthropy.
Astral Shift (As): occurs most often during sleep or when a Therian enters a spiritual trance, travels out of body to the astral plane (spirit world), and shifts his/her astral body to the form of a non-human animal.
Aura shifting (A): when a person changes the shape of their auric field or energy field to that of their theriotype.
Spiritual Shift (S): Similar to Astral and Aura Shifting. When your spiritual self is turned into your theriotype. Any person that can astral project can perform this shift since it takes place on a non-physical plane.
Bilocation Shift (Bi) - bilocation is the phenomenon of being in two places simultaneously. A shift in which the shifter’s theriotype leaves their human body and materializes elsewhere; It is very similar to an out of body experience, but instead of the spirit body being shaped like the human body, it is the shape of the theriotype.
It is important to note that there is no proof of auras, astral travel, or out of body experiences. We do need to be aware that there are alternative explanations to astral, aura, spiritual, and bilocation shifting. They may not necessarily be spiritual in nature, but could be explained by ordinary events. Astral shifts could be the result of our brains trying to process the surroundings and the effects of sensory fatigue, a well documented effect which is at work in those able to perceive common optical illusions. Seeing auras or outlines around people and objects can simply be due to eye fatigue and other natural perceptual processes. Please see links below for more information.
Physical Shift (PS or p-shift): The transformation of a human body into the physical shape of another creature. There is no scientific evidence for this type of shift ever happening and no reasonable evidence that it ever could. The Therian community agrees that physical shifting is impossible, and it is usually taboo to bring up a discussion about this subject.
Remember to critically reflect on your experiences when considering whether you are Therian and/or Otherkin. Question yourself thoroughly and be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself if your experiences are genuine. It is okay to explore ideas surrounding Therianthropy and to conclude that one is not Therian.
Therian Nation would like to say thank you to all of the members of the community who made suggestions and helped us gather information. Links to public sources used for this video have been provided in the description below. The next video will go more in depth about Psychological Therianthropy. If you have any questions, you are welcome to leave us a comment or send us a message. Therian Nation will answer to the best of our knowledge and ability. Subscribe to Therian Nation to learn and stay informed about Therianthropy and the Therian community. Thank you.
Mental Shift: 2:38 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=2m38s
Phantom Shift: 3:20 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=3m20s
Sensory Shift: 4:50 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=4m50s
Emotional Shift: 5:45 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=5m45s
Cameo Shift: 6:03 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=6m3s
Dream Shift: 6:28 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=6m28s
Astral Shift: 7:12 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=7m12s
Aura Shift: 7:26 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=7m26s
Spiritual Shift: 7:32 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=7m32s
Bilocation Shift: 7:44 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=7m44s
Physcial Shift: 8:44 https://youtu.be/MCdcbynf5dQ?t=8m44s
Therian Nation Full Disclaimer: https://youtu.be/xM91N_xw4CQ
List of Public Sources
“Your best mental transformation”, AHWW, December 1, 1993: https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.
“Believe It or Not?” written by Meirya, December 2007, Project Shift: http://project-shift.net/believe-it-or-
“Types of Shifts” written by Sonne, Project Shift: http://project-shift.net/types-of-
“It’s Okay Not to be a Therianthrope” by Bewylderbeast: http://project-shift.net/its-okay-not-
Therian Timeline - Words and Concepts: http://www.theriantimeline.com/
O. Scribner, Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged, last modified Sept. 8, 2012 in The Art and Writing of O. Scribner ( http://orion.kitsunet.net/nonfic.html )
Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive): http://web.archive.org/web/
Shifters.org (2001 web archive): http://web.archive.org/web/
The Wolf Within (web archive): http://web.archive.org/web/
Shifting Types, Therian Wiki - http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/
Choi, Charles Q. Even Non-Amputee Can Feel A Phantom Limb, Live Science, April 12 2013, http://www.livescience.com/28694-non-
“Phantom Extra Limbs” Mind Hacks, May 14, 2008, https://mindhacks.com/2008/05/14/
Seung Don Yoo, Dong Hwan Kim, Yong Seol Jeong, Jinmann Chon, Jihea Bark, “Atypical Supernumerary Phantom Limb and Phantom Limb Pain in Two Patients with Pontine Hemorrhage” J Korean Med Sci. 2011 June; 26. Published online 2011 May 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
Benjamin Radford, “Astral Projection: Just a Mind Trip” March 18, 2013 http://www.livescience.com/27978-astral-
The Skeptics Dictionary - http://skepdic.com/auras.html
Thumbnail Image Source: Photomanipulation
“Dreaming in Milan”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132907608@
Images (if any) are used under fair use for educational purposes only and remain the property of the copyright holders.
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/
Updated November 23, 2016. More sources added for the term Contherianthropy.
“Therianthropy Terms and Definitions” is now available for viewing on the Therian Nation Youtube Channel.
The following is the written script for the video.
Hello and welcome to Therian Nation. I’m your host, Shannon Jackson. In this video, we will define terms that are commonly used within the Therianthropy Community. Some older terms that are no longer used will also be included because of their historic importance to the community. The previous video was an introduction to Modern Therianthropy, and we recommend that you watch that video first, if you have not already done so.
Before we get into the terms, we first need to understand how and why these community specific words came about.
“As the community developed, there was a need for a common language, especially since it was developing on such a language intensive media like the Internet. It became important for individuals to make themselves understood by other people. Personal languages morphed according to peer influences to form a relatively consensual vocabulary that could be understood by the rest of the community.
Finally, as the need to interact with the larger human community arose - commentaries were appearing on mass media, misidentification with other groups were developing - the common language had to accommodate the larger society.” - Therian Timeline
For Therians who have just discovered their identity and are new to the community, it’s best not to concern yourself too much with labels. It’s okay that you don’t have any clear answers right now. You’re not expected to. Be honest with yourself, and honest with other members of the community when you are questioned. Focus on your feelings and experiences. Being mindful of those will help along the path of self-discovery. Don’t force yourself to fit into a label. Knowing for sure if you are Therian and finding a theriotype can take months or years. Every individual is different.
Now, let’s get into the terms and their definitions.
Therianthrope/Therian: the current term for a person who has a strong internal self-identification as a being of a non-human species. Around 2005, Therian became the commonly used short form of Therianthrope, replacing the old term Were. The term “therianthropy” was first mentioned in AHWW on December, 13, 1994.
Alt.horror.werewolves (AHWW): a Usenet group created on November 16, 1992. It was created for the discussion of horror movies and books containing werewolves. A year later, in 1993, members began to discuss how they spiritually identified as animals and felt more instinctual. AHWW was the origin of the online Therian community.
Were: an old community term that is short for werewolf or any were-creature. A person who says “I am a Were.” means that he or she is an animal in human form. Used by the members of alt.horror.werewolves (AHWW) beginning in 1993 and up until the term Therian became more popular around 2005.
Phenotype: an old community term which referred to the species that is a Therian’s identity. First used on November 28, 1993 on alt.horrow.werewolves. This term is still in use by some therians online, but the term was eventually changed to get away from the misnomer of a phenotype being a biological term about the physically observable expression of a genetic trait. The continued usage of the term phenotype for a theriotype is not forbidden but it is unpreferred.
Wereside: another old community term used as a distinction from the “humanside” with the “wereside” being the part of a person that resembles a nonhuman animal. Wereside began to replace Phenotype in 1995. Wereside is still used by some older members of the community, but its use is also unpreferred.
Theriotype/Therioside: now the most common words for the animal which is an individual’s identity. Some believe that a theriotype develops as part of their mentality much in the same way that their personality develops. An example is “I have a goat theriotype.” Though many argue that one should just say, “I am a goat.” The term came into use in 1999.
Werecard: a short questionnaire that allows individuals to share information about themselves with the larger community. First used in 1994 on AHWW.
Howl: a real life gathering or meeting of Weres/Therians, usually to go camping. The term was originally used on AHWW and the first “Howl”, the 1994 Harvest Howl, was organized by Smash Greywolf in Ohio, USA.
Greymuzzle: an older member of the community who may be seen as wiser and more experienced. First used on AHWW, they were the ‘backbones’ of the community who had been in the group the longest.
Otherkin: first coined in 1990 in the Elfinkind Digest mailing list. A variant of the word “otherkind,” it referred to any creature that was not Elven. Between the late 1990’s and early 2000’s it became a blanket term signifying any person who identified strongly with a nonhuman existence - often including Vampires, Therians, and other people with animal self-images.
Awakening: the process of realizing and accepting that you are a Therian and then discovering your theriotype. Not every Therian has experienced an awakening, so this is not necessary to identify as Therian.
Shift: a change of state when a therianthrope becomes more like their theriotype in a non-physical manner. Shifting can occur with varying strength and frequency and be both a positive or negative experience. Shifting can be voluntary or involuntary. “…shifted” is the state of mind that I’m in when I feel closest to my animal spirit. It’s a feeling of heightened awareness, a sense of prowess and well-being.“
There are many different types of shifts, and we will cover those in the next video.
The following words refer to types or states of Therianthropy.
Polytherian: Therians who identify with more than one animal. Polytherian replaced the old term Polywere which had first been use in 1996.
Cladotherianthropy/Cladotherian: a person who does not identify as a distinct species, but instead feels a broader identity encompassing an entire genus or family, such as Canis or Canidae. Cladotherianthropy was coined in 2003 by Mokele, a reptile cladotherian, on the therian forum called Wereness Forums.
The following terms are used to describe integration of the humanside and animalside of one’s personality and how that relates to the frequency of shifting.
Vacillant Therianthropy/Vacillant Therian: when shifts occur more smoothly, as if on a sliding scale. Refers to a Therian whose animalside and humanside are integrated such that one or the other may still come to the front of the mind noticeably stronger than the other, as needed or as desired. Shifts seem to happen gradually and tend to follow a more consistent pattern. Though unexpected stimuli may trigger sharper or more sudden shifts. Vacillant Therianthropy was a community coined term in 2004 or 2005.
"People at this stage of integration seem to talk less and less about their therioside feeling separate and more about how it and the humanside have mixed, or about how they have one unified internal image of themselves that may vary with shifting and with time. This is a generalization though.” - Therian Timeline
Suntherianthropy/Suntherian (syntherianthropy/syntherian): A lot of debate was centered around the creation of this word on April 18th, 2005 by WordWolf. It was not a community coined term. Instead WordWolf created the term to describe his own personal experiences.
WordWolf defined a suntherian as “a therian whose therioside (primary or sole therioside) is integrated into his baseline personality. However, that integration does not prevent him/her from having minor fluctuations of mood that feel slightly more animal, or slightly less animal. He/she can feel them both at the same time, human and animal. He/she can not mental shift into his/her base theriotype (whether primary or sole).”
Contherianthropy/Contherian: a person who has fully integrated human and animal mental states. No shifts of any kind are experienced because the human and animal mindsets are consistent, usually half animal, half human at all times.
“This term was defined initially by Lion Templin in 1997 with his essays on the subject, and the word derived from the Latin “constans” meaning unchanging/constant. It came about in controversy at the time from people in the community claiming that it was mandatory for therians to shift, but Lion Templin’s term of contherianthropy brought about a concept that was new and is now widely accepted in the therian community.” - Project Shift
Many people think that contherians cannot feel their animal side, but that is incorrect because contherians do have animalistic experiences. They just do not shift into their animal because they are always in a state where they are one with the animal.
Some members of the community consider Vacillant Therianthropy and Sun-/Syntherianthropy to be interchangeable. Others think that the terms have slightly different meanings. The use of the terms Vacillant Therian, Sun-/Syntherian, and Contherian were also debated in the community because some members felt that there was no need to break down Therianthropy into types. They thought this would divide the community. Others thought it was important to have labels to help educate newly awakened Therians, and the public so that they could get a broader understanding of our experiences. These terms also make it easier for Therians to find others who have similar experiences. Having these terms well defined could also be important for future research into the formation of the Therian identity.
Now, whenever a new term is coined, usually by an individual and not by a need in the larger community as a whole, discussion and debate still arises. Most Therians now feel that we have now adequately defined all of the experiences that need to be defined. Any more terms will likely cause confusion. Also, it would be difficult to create new terminology every time someone experienced something slightly different. The constant generation of new terms found on Tumblr and social media is troublesome for the more private community forums. A vocal minority of less experienced individuals is having a negative impact on the community.
Interestingly, it has been observed that these terms are mainly applied online, and rarely used in real life.
“Most weres out there have integrated who they are into regular life and don’t bother with semantics. They just live like normal people.” - Swiftpaw, Jaguar Therian (from public internet archive, see source below)
“It doesn’t seem like there’s any emphasis on labels in the offline community. We don’t seem to use much jargon at all when we get together in real life.” - Wolf Van Zandt (theriotype, age, location, and occupation will appear in the video with permission)
“Yep the jargon just doesn’t seem to matter at offline gatherings.” - Ashen ( theriotype, age, location, and occupation will appear in the video with permission)
Links to public sources used to gather information for this video have been provided in the description below. The next video will cover shifts that Therians experience in more detail. If you have any questions, you are welcome to leave us a comment or send us a message. Therian Nation will answer to the best of our knowledge and ability. Subscribe to Therian Nation to learn and stay informed about Therianthropy and the Therian community. Thank you for watching.
Thumbnail Image Source: Rexano http://www.rexano.org/NEWS_ARCHIVE.htm
Images (if any) are used under fair use for educational purposes only and remain the property of the copyright holders.
Therian Nation Full Disclaimer - https://youtu.be/xM91N_xw4CQ
List of Public Sources for this video
Therian Timeline - Words and Concepts - http://www.theriantimeline.com/
Project Shift - Terms and Definitions - http://project-shift.net/terms-
O. Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged,” last modified Sept. 8, 2012 in The Art and Writing of O. Scribner, Page 24 - http://orion.kitsunet.net/nonfic.html
O. Scribner, “Otherkin timeline: The recent history of elfin, fae, and animal people, v. 2.0.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. [ Otherkin Page 5 and 26 ] [History of online Therian Community starts on Page 28] [ Therianthropy/therianthrope term Page 30-32] [Contherianthropy term Page 43] [Suntherian term page 75] - http://orion.kitsunet.net/nonfic.html
Lion Templin’s archive of animal spirituality essays (web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/
House of Chimeras, Informative Articles, Between Forest and Sea - http://houseofchimeras.weebly.com/
Alt.horror.werewolves FAQ by KatmanDu - http://www.faqs.org/faqs/werewolves/
Draft Copy - AHWW FAQ ( Original post by KatmanDu) - https://groups.google.com/forum/?
Another version of the AHWW FAQ - http://www.firelion.org/raven/ahwwfaq/
Phenotype - November 28 1993 - https://groups.google.com/forum/?
Wereside - February, 9, 1995 - https://groups.google.com/forum/?
Therianthropy - December, 13, 1994 - https://groups.google.com/forum/?
Werecard - September 5 1994 - https://groups.google.com/forum/?
Cladotherianthropy, Mokele, About Page of Personal Website, The Jungle, February 14, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/
Velvet Wings, “Contherianthropy and Vacillant Therianthropy”, January 6, 2016.http://felinity.co.uk/therianthropy/
Joshua Lion Templin, “A short view on modern contherianthropy,” Lion Templin’s Archive of Animal Spirituality Essays, 19 Jan 1997,http://web.archive.org/web/
Liesk, “A Clear Look at Contherianthropy”, January 1, 2007.http://web.archive.org/web/
Akhila, “The Contherian FAQ”, April 2005. http://akhila.feralscribes.org/2005/the-
Rantings and Ravings by Jakkal, “Contherianthropy, Suntherianthropy, BStherianthropy, Apatherianthropy… ” 14 March 2006 - http://bitchcraft.livejournal.com/1968.
“Why our language shouldn’t be so hung up in slang” by Swiftpaw - (web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/
Shifters.org Encyclopedia (web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/
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/
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.
(Therian Nation animated logo and title displayed on screen)
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.
(Following quote displayed on screen )
“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
(Following quote displayed on screen)
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.
(following quote displayed on screen)
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
(following quote displayed on screen)
“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/
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/
I was once a normal, happy, ignorant human child. Youth is shed painfully. Certainly in my case. My first hard lesson came at the age of nine. I tried to show care, concern, and love for a puppy. My mother scolded me and told me not to cry. She said that if I ever cried like that again, she would take that dog away from me. Those words crushed my soul. They killed any true happiness or love in me.
Why get attached to another being if showing any emotional connection to it will result in someone ripping it away from me? I would never have the ability to properly form attachments, make friends, or truly know love. Sure, I have a mate, but to this very day I sometimes question my feelings. I question their authenticity. Are they real? Are they true? I try not to question too much or think of it too often. But mimicry is a major tool for survival. Do I mimic the actions of one in a loving relationship? I don't have the answer.
Even if I can express emotions better after several years of healing, I'm still afraid that my attachments might not be healthy ones. But again, thinking too much only makes it worse.
I suffered depression for months after being told to bottle up my emotions. I suffer to this day. Next my humanity was slowly, agonizingly chipped away. The hell created by my parents went on for seven or eight long years. It continued long after they divorced. Every day of those years was filled with my parents fighting and arguing. I was surrounded by verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. During those years, I think my father asked me once if I was okay. Every night I thought of ending my life. My parents taught me, for the second time, that love did not exist. It was fake. Only anger, hate, distrust, and disappointment are true emotions.
I was broken. I did not allow myself to give in to any emotions. Except when they escaped in rare uncontrollable outbursts. Those outbursts drew too much attention and landed me in more trouble. So, I pushed emotions down deeper into darker corners of my mind. I had no relationships in high school. I trusted no one. I was as anxious and wary as a caged animal as I sat in classrooms. I was a tormented beast that wanted out of my own mind and body.
After one outburst, I was sent to the high school's councilor. I spoke with her three or four times. Then, my mother found out. My mother said that I had no right to talk to other people about her and my father's private problems and private lives. I also took it as being reprimanded again for having emotions and for seeking help with them because they were becoming darker and more destructive. I stopped visiting the councilor. To feel only brought me scorn.
How does a teenager survive all of this? How did I think of suicide every night and day for years and not attempt the the act? How did I wake up and walk through another day filled with depression, self-loathing, anger, and hate? I also had no relationships simply to protect anyone I thought I cared about. I kept them at a distance to protect them from the damning darkness that seethed inside of me. I was worthless. I knew I was incapable of caring or truly loving another person. Why even try? Love was a joke. My parents taught me well. Love did not exist.
Why didn't I give up, with nothing good to live for? Humans are animals. They have basic survival instincts. They just don't admit to being so base. I had nothing else. Without emotion and higher feelings, I became a beast.
That puppy which my mother had told me not to cry over had been a wolf-dog. By forcing us apart my mother brought us together in a way that she could never have imagined. By separating us, my mother actually made that wolf-dog my only reason to exist. Somewhere deep down inside my sick mind, I latched onto the idea that the wolf-dog was my pack and only true family. Even after his mysterious death at only two years of age, I felt as if he was the only one who had ever cared for me. He had been my brother and mentor. That wolf-dog taught me everything I know. A wolf-dog saved this wretched human and with his help, through hell's fire, this soul and mind have been forged into those of a wolf. A beast of survival.
Every day I thought about suicide was a day of perseverance. The wolf in me knew that the famine wouldn't last forever. Every day was just about blending in, acting as normal as possible so no one got suspicious and asked questions. I tried to hide the chaos inside. It was chaotic suppressing emotions while becoming less human and more wolf with each passing day. Again, I protected those around me from this chaos by keeping them at a distance, even pushing them coldly away. But I was surviving. My human brain struggled against the beast growing and taking over. Buy my spirit was beginning to shine through the darkness.
Here, I will throw in another facet of this experience and transformation. In the beginning, I had called myself a Christian. I feared God. I feared being damned and going to hell. It's what led me to hate myself. I was born a sinner. I thought I had read somewhere that children of divorced parents were damned and sent to hell. So, my life was hopeless. My soul was irredeemable. Why was I trying? Why not kill myself since I was damned anyway?
But wolf doesn't think that way. Wolf survives. Wolf does not need to be saved by anyone. I came to realize that there was no Jesus or God. No one was going to save me. Only I could help and save myself. If anyone is responsible for helping to save me, it was, of course, a wolf-dog. Discarding the concept that I was predestined to spend an eternity in hell for my parents' decisions started a reaction that has slowly dissolved a lot of pain. That also led to the wolf being a more free, confident, and powerful being.
The wolf within me was actually the light in the darkness. I saw my physical human form as ugly. I was not desirable. I was weak and sickly. Stress and depression ravage the body and can cause long-term health problems. Through the years, I went to several doctors. Each doctor gave a different diagnosis. Mononucleosis. Irritable bowel syndrome. I could be doubled over from the pain of ovarian cysts. I was anemic and had no energy. A weak wolf does not survive, but the wolf in me was strong and beautiful. I never turned to smoking, alcohol, or drugs during those challenging years of my life. The wolf within forced me to make healthier choices. I began to eat better food and exercise. I got stronger to survive. To this day, not being active enough and eating poorly causes IBS and cyst flare ups. But I manage them.
I still struggle with emotions. But wolves are emotional beings. Wolves are pack animals. They form bonds with others. I am still wary of other humans and don't really trust anyone. Other than my mate, I still don't have any friends. I still just go through my days trying to blend in and look normal. Being a wolf is what makes me a decent human being. Believe it or not, canines and other creatures have systems of morality and fairness. If not for becoming a wolf, the hateful person that I had been would have started to hurt herself and others on purpose.
Believe it or not, my mind is not so sick anymore. I said I still suffer from depression, but I attribute that to being human. I've never taken any medication for depression. I see it like the waves of the ocean. They come and go. Depression rises up and falls down on a regular basis. I'm learning to manage depression along with my other health problems. Being mindful is the key. I am much better off as a wolf that I ever was as only a human. I hated myself enough over the years. I don't hate myself now. I am content with being this beast. This wolf is content with being a survivor instead of a suicide.
My parents actually have a good friendship after being divorced for a few years, and I have a fairly good relationship with them.
December 12, 2015
Dream from June 22, 2008
I was standing in a sandy arena. Other soldiers were lined up on either side of me. A king sat at one end, towards my left. A ceremony was taking place in his honor. The setting seemed to be Medieval from the looks of clothing and armor. I was among the knights and warriors there to protect and serve the king.
The festivities continued as planned. The king ordered us to march in the arena. Men dressed in bright colors were probably clowns and performers. As the king became drunk, he ordered them to join our ranks and march too. He and the audience laughed and enjoyed themselves.
Until the situation changed. Spectators began to scream and scatter. Enemy soldiers rushed into the arena. They were clearly after the king, but we were alert and prepared. Swords were out in seconds and fighting erupted.
I was right in the middle of it, unafraid. Swords clashed and rang as soldiers grunted and yelled. The arena was also becoming dark. Late afternoon was upon us. Night was approaching, and there was a lot of dust in the air. I fought well. A couple enemies were quickly cut down. More took their place. I parried, spun, and killed another. I grappled with one soldier, threw him to the ground, and finished him.
As I stood and looked for my next opponent, a sword stabbed my chest. With one hand, I held the blade, preventing my attacker from pulling it away. With my sword in the other hand, I fought on fiercely. Soon, after two or three cuts, my foe was down. But I was bleeding, weakened, and stumbling.
I think it was also at this point that I started to feel the wolf within calling to me. My hand was still gripping the sword protruding from my chest. I gritted my teeth, pulled, and the blade slowly emerged, slick with blood. The pain buckled my knees. I fell back. The swords, released from my limp hands, landed beside me.
I remember feeling very much like a wolf during the dream, almost as if I was transformed. A wolf might have also come to watch over me. This most likely happened as I lay on the ground in pain, feeling my breaths get slow and labored as I died.
I saw the fight continue, but it was almost over. There were very few soldiers remaining. The arena was must darker. I felt sand under my cheek and hands. Dead bodies were all around me. As my eyes closed, the feeling of being a wolf was the strongest. I think it is the wolf spirit that would not give up or die. My life was not meant to end there.
I don't know how long I slept or was unconscious. Perhaps it was for centuries. As I opened my eyes, I found myself in a modern setting. To be more specific, I was on the floor of my grandmother's house. I was still in some pain. Slowly, I moved stiff, aching muscles and sat up. A sword was also on the floor, within reach. It frightened me. I looked down at my shirt. There was no blood or hole in the fabric. But when I stretched the collar down, a healing white scar was on my chest.
I carefully stood. I heard my grandmother coming into the house, snatched up the sword, and found a place to hide it. The dream ended there.
The pain and being stabbed had seemed very realistic. Upon waking, I did look at my chest. No white scar, but there is a red rash where one had not been yesterday. Maybe I was bitten by a mosquitoe or something in the night as I slept, causing my mind to fabricate my death. Or maybe it's something more. The mind is powerful, and sometimes what we imagine does have small physical effects on the body. Of course, I can't know for sure. I just try to think of multiple possibilities.
I do believe that this dream is a sign of the strong wolf spirit within. Even when our physical bodies die, the soul remains.
"There is no death. Only a change of worlds." - Chief Seattle, Dwamish Tribe
May 1, 2008
I was in the city, walking down the road, and people were staring at me. It was because four or five white wolves were following me. I came to a stop in a parking garage. Too many people were watching, and the wolves needed to leave. They turned and faded into the shadows. But one lingered.
I kneeled and beckoned to him. He slowly approached and allowed me to pet his neck. He said he had something to give me. I held out my hands, and a small pouch dropped from the wolf's mouth into them. He said I must not open the pouch. I needed to search for and find something else. He couldn't tell me anymore and disappeared.
So I walked through the city all night searching for something. I didn't know where I was going or why. I just had the pouch given to me by the white wolf. I finally climbed to the top of a building, and it seemed like a dead end. I didn't know where else to go. But there was a man there. It seemed like a strange place to find another person.
He asked what I was doing there. I said I was searching for something, and it seemed like I was lost. He offered to help me and asked if I had any clues or anything that might point the way. All I had was the pouch, and if I remember correctly, I let him see it after some hesitation. I believe I told him it couldn't be opened. The end of the dream is fuzzy. I'm not sure if this happened or not, but I think he told me not to be afraid. Then, we might have opened the pouch together.
December 31, 2007
Usually at night when I lie still and quiet, I feel most of my body phantom-shift into a wolf. Arms become forelegs, fingers shorten into paws, legs shorten and feet also become paws. It’s becoming easy to feel a tail. Sometimes I feel it wag whenever I feel good or get excited about something. Sometimes when I’m sitting, my tail is curled around me so it won’t be sat on. I also feel ears at night. It’s harder to imagine or feel my face elongate, but on some occasions I can feel the powerful jaws and more teeth. It’s also a nice surprise to feel fur on most of my body too.
There was a time when mental shifts came unexpectedly and they were confusing. But now I believe or feel as if the wolf is almost constant. When I’m alone, I might shift deeper into the wolf. In other words, my actions and movements are more wolf-like, but I can’t stay that way all the time.
However, the last few nights, I’ve been shifting into something else. I tried to resist it. I thought I was only a wolf, but maybe I was wrong. My arms didn’t become thin wolf legs. They felt heavy, muscular, and bulky. I asked myself what animals are like that. Tigers, lions, and other large cats came to mind, but I don’t really feel feline. I might have a few small feline characteristics. There has been a pet cat in the family as long as I can remember, and I do mimic the current one at times. My Chinese zodiac is also the tiger, but I just don’t feel like it’s a major part of me. My Greek zodiac is Sagittarius. I do believe I have the horse as a spirit guide, but it’s not a constant either. The wolf is constant, always there, just under the surface.
So, the new feeling isn’t a cat. Then I thought about bears. They are large and heavy, especially grizzly bears. But that didn’t fit. Neither did black bears. They are smaller and the size didn’t seem right. I was about to give up and dismiss the feeling when polar bear came to mind. I’ve never felt like I had a bear as a spirit guide, and I never imagined having one as a major part of my being. I let the heavy, bulky sensation of front legs come again. My hands felt odd too, much bigger. I pictured a polar bear in my mind, lumbering across the snow. The way its front legs moved, muscular and thick, felt right this time. The large paws that helped it walk across the snow also fit. And the white of its fur seemed strangely accurate.
That was last night. Today, I considered it again. I know I need to research polar bears and their behavior. I also need to see if the feeling or shifts continue or get stronger. But as I was picturing the polar bear in my mind, the wolf came forward too. I saw the wolf’s face and polar bear’s face together, slightly transparent and on top of one another, as if the bear is now and equal part of me, and the wolf and bear have an understanding. They are there to work together.
I had been in a rut for a while. I felt like I wasn’t advancing or growing spiritually, but after thinking of the bear, I felt a lot better today. I was more active, energetic, alert, and awake. It felt good. Maybe it’s just the feel of fall in the air though. So I’ll keep thinking of the bear, and wait for more shifts. See what happens and how it makes me feel.
July 30, 2007
Last night I had a dream about wolves. It’s been several hours since I had the dream. I don’t remember everything correctly, and I’m not sure of the exact order. Maybe I had two separate dreams.
In one part, I think I was at home. There was a large black wolf and a puppy, a very young wolf that was gray. I just remember watching the two wolves play, and for a little while I played with them. I believe the older wolf was teaching the young one. He might have been trying to teach me too. But I’m not sure what he was trying to teach us.
In the other part of the dream, I remember being in the woods. I was at an old camp where my dad hunts sometimes. Or maybe that’s where the dream-place reminds me of. I do remember thinking that dad was hunting. I was alone, outside on the porch. I heard coyotes yelping loudly and coming in my direction. I howled like a wolf to frighten them away. They still came though. The coyotes started to come through the woods. Then they were scared by something else and ran away. That’s when I heard other wolves howl. They came from the woods and played near me for a few minutes. As they began to drift back into the woods, I remembered that mom was walking alone. The sun was setting, and I was afraid the coyotes would attack her. The wolves sensed my fear, seemed to understand me, and quickly ran to find and protect her. The leader stayed a few moments longer, starring at me. I wasn’t afraid. His power reassured me and gave me comfort. Once I was calmer, he drifted into the lengthening shadows to follow the others. The dream ended as I caught sight of my mom, returning safely from her walk.
I woke up and thought about the leader’s stance, and the way he looked at me and how he made me feel. It’s as if he was telling me that he would protect me. His pack and all the wolves would always be there to help me. It was a wonderful feeling. During the dream I remained a human, but I think the wolves can sense other wolves on a spiritual level.
July 29, 2007
*Some mentions of God remain as I still considered myself a Christian when this was originally written.
It stormed this afternoon. The air is cool and crisp outside. I wish I could go outside and run, but I guess I won’t. I don’t have anyone to run with me. That’s really a terrible excuse though – not running because I’m lonely. A lot of wolves are running alone out there. They have to in order to survive. They keep going. And that’s what I plan to do, in my own way. I just hope it leads me to somewhere or something good in the future.
I really started writing this because I wanted to say I’ve been trying to understand my human emotions again. I guess no one will ever be able to understand what they feel or why. I’ve said this before, but it’s come up again. I wish I could live without my emotions. Without the complicated human ones anyway. Because I know wolves must have emotions of some kind, but I guess they would be geared towards survival, the pack, and accomplishing necessary things. I’m sure wolves don’t worry about events they can’t control. I’m sure they don’t have time to waste on imaginary problems or irrelevant things. They probably think only about what is beneficial to the pack. It must be a blessing to be a simple animal. But wolves aren’t really that simple, are they? They have very complex lives too. But somehow they still seem more pure and truly free. God, what have you done? What have you created and why? Did you really put a wolf soul in me?
Well, I said I wouldn’t doubt that any more. But why place a wolf soul in a human? Why trap something so wild, pure, and free inside such an insignificant shell? Maybe it was a mistake instead of planned. Some people say god doesn’t make mistakes, but what if death and rebirth are just random? What if everything is just random? There’s no order in the universe. The wolf in me says that’s silly. Not everything can be random. There is an order or a pattern.
The whole world breathes. Besides, I’m not the only one. Hundreds of people feel like they have an animal soul. I don’t think God or Mother Earth would make that many mistakes. God may have created the Earth and all planets, but I feel as if the Earth is alive. In a sense, she has a free will of her own. God may control some storms, but some are the will of the Earth itself. Forget scientific explanations. That’s just a safeguard. While scientists are busy with their theories, the true believers are people with stronger spiritual understanding. They are the ones searching for the real truth as they get closer to the Earth and God. Not that science is bad. It helps us in some ways, but it does a lot of harm too.
Anyway, that’s interesting to think about, but not really the other thing I wanted to talk about. How does a wolf soul live in a human body? How does it learn to adapt? How do I live a normal life without going insane? Well my life will never be normal, but there are everyday human tasks that must be performed. I’m getting through college classes alright, but I will need a job soon. The freedom that the wolf needs won’t be available any more. I will have less time for daydreaming and running through the snow in my mind. I’m already 20. The time has come to grow up and be more mature. I need to start shouldering more responsibility. I can’t be an adolescent puppy forever. Maybe if I were serious about writing. That could be my release for things outside of work. It’s what I’m doing now. But writing thoughts and problems doesn’t really get me anywhere. Does it? I need to write more of my daydreams as short stories. That might really help me be more creative.
Can I not stay on topic? Oh well, I’m just letting ideas flow. Back to being a wolf in a human world. It’s scary and depressing. Being alone doesn’t help, but I can’t do much about that problem. What we want isn’t always what we need. With that said, there are rules a wolf must follow. As if I haven’t written a lot already – this might take a while. Or maybe I will surprise myself and get to the point and make this short.
Physical contact is essential to the bonds in a wolf pack. Playing and mach fights are important. Grooming each other also reinforces bond between pack members. Is any of this possible in a human world? No. I could never bump into my friends or rub shoulders whenever I wanted. I have more male friends that female. A girl who plays with two or three guys at once will be considered a flirt and probably several other unwanted titles. And what of a female who shows another female that kind of attention? What would other humans see and think? Also, about the guys, they would see the attention as something it’s not, and they would probably get jealous of each other. So, physical contact must be kept to a minimum if unwanted human situations are to be avoided. That really confuses a wolf who understands that touch and play is vital.
Body language is rather complex for humans and wolves. Unfortunately, humans don’t even really understand what they are telling each other half the time. Signals get really mixed up and confused between humans. Wolves know exactly what they are saying with every muscle twitch and every sound. They are probably the world’s best communicators. But being part wolf and part human means I don’t always understand what other humans are saying. I have to be careful to not let any growls or snarls lose when I’m angry. Also, I think I’m a bit more animated with facial expressions than other humans, but I could be wrong about that.
I still wonder why I’m here. I still wonder why I feel like a wolf instead of a human. There are so many things I can’t explain. So many strange thoughts that I can’t grasp. And dreams of wolves. Hopes and wishes that surely, no normal human ever thinks of. Feelings that others probably never have. Internal confrontations between the wants of a human and the duty of a wolf. I don’t want to be here. I don’t belong here. This isn’t my true home. I wish I could run and run forever, until I found what I’m missing.
Or maybe I still haven’t fully awakened. Chief (family's pet wolfdog) woke me up once. For years, I wasn’t sure of what I was on the inside. Then, I realized I wasn’t alone. There are other wolf people in the world. So I’m more sure of my spiritual self. But I’m beginning to feel as if that’s holding me back. Maybe that’s not the right term. But my eyes are still closed. I can’t see completely yet. It’s like there is one final awakening that needs to take place. So I can finally become what I’m meant to be. Then I will understand my purpose. But what’s going to wake me up? How long will I continue to wait? What must I do?
*Edited this entry a little. Some mentions of God remain as I still considered myself a Christian when this was originally written.
I just finished watching an animated movie titled The Last Unicorn. It is a wonderful story. Makes me cry sometimes, how the Unicorn is trapped in a human body and almost forgets her true form. And while she is human, the Unicorn learns what love is, and she learns regret.
I seem to understand this all too well myself. Maybe as a wolf in a previous life, I didn’t understand love the way humans do. I also didn’t know such great pain, anger, hatred, or sorrow either. But I would still rather be a wolf again, because I am afraid of loosing my true self and my beliefs to this human form and this human world. If I do have a wolf soul, this human body is just a cage. It hinders my freedom. But at the same time that my soul is attached to it, this body also does not feel real. It’s not truly part of me, and when it dies my soul will discard its cage and be free once more.
But last night as I rested in bed, this body suddenly seemed heavier. I felt more attached to it. I felt as if this human form is all I had ever been, and all I would ever be. It terrified me. I didn’t feel the wolf in me. The wolf was completely gone. I was nothing but a human, a physical being. There was no soul or spirit in me.
How long can I endure?
How long can I fight the pain I feel?
How much longer can I struggle to remain a wolf in this form, in this world?
Before I go mad?
Before I decide to give up and stop believing?
Before I become human?
And if I do give in to all these feelings and emotions, if I become a human in body and mind, there will be no soul or spirit. As a human, I won’t believe in anything. All I will know is the physical world, what I can touch, feel, and see with human senses. I will live in the darkness, blinded forever. When I die, there won’t be a Heaven or Hell. There won’t be anything because the human doesn’t care or believe in stuff like that. She will be too concerned with fitting in, having friends, dating, and living a normal life. Never knowing the truth. Just living, dying, and decaying into nothing.
But if I fight to remain a wolf, until the very last ounce of my strength and determination, what will happen? I guess I don’t really have any answers. But as long as I believe I have a wolf soul, I believe in something else. A better place. A better world, one that is reborn. As long as I remain a wolf, I have a small glimmer of hope.
A battle wages inside me constantly. I pray to God that it will end, that the wolf in me will show herself completely and truly. But sometimes I think He doesn’t hear my cries.
What will it take?
How much must I suffer?
How close must I come to falling before I am heard?
I don’t know.
Maybe we must all fall, repeatedly, to be saved.
I don’t know the answers. But I do know that the wolf in me still has strength to run, to fight.
And she continues on…
Never wanting to stop…
The other day as I was watching my Mom’s cat Sapphire sleep on the floor it occurred to me that he might not be sleeping. And he might not be as lazy as he seems. Perhaps Sapphire is working hard to protect me and Mom from evil spirits and other things we can’t sense. Maybe all animals are here to protect us.
The next day as I watched the birds fly, I wondered if that’s how God watches everyone. He has the birds and other creatures, and possibly the Earth itself, tell Him what the humans are doing. These animals can probably even sense our emotions. They are messengers between God the Earth. The animals are also here to help us, if we let them. They can give us a great feeling of beauty, harmony, and peace. They can teach us and guide us. I believe the Native Americans understood this, and they had a strong respect for the animals and Mother Earth. And they were a blessed people, living as they did, alongside the animals and connected to the Earth.
The animals and Earth are mentioned so often in the Bible. God created them all, and all of them hear His commands.
“And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field. And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.” Job 5:22-23
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all those does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this. In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”
There is so much more. The people then even believed that God commanded the thunder, spoke through it, commanded the lightning, and told the storms where to go. The evidence is there. Most humans just overlook it, because they don’t care about the birds, animals, the Earth, or how God said we should live beside them with more understanding.
But a feeling held me back. What were these people running from? I still heard screams from within the stadium area. An instinct to turn back and go help them was too strong to resist. I pushed against the terrified crowd until I reached an open space and gained speed. As I ran, the adrenaline and sense of urgency caused a transformation to take place. I leaped, the air shimmered around me with energy, and suddenly I was coming back down on front paws. I was a wolf.
I took a sharp corner into a passage that lead to the stadium. Once inside, I saw a hole ripped into the ceiling. A cloud, thick and dark like a thunderhead, had descended from the sky. But it was no ordinary storm. This cloud concealed a powerful demon. It began to harm people and devour them. Many tried to run away, but most were trapped.
Many people were throwing debris at the demon, but they did it no harm. I sensed that I was the only one who could harm the demon and drive it away. I charged toward the demon, striking it with my claws and biting with my fangs. But it was strong. My attack caused it very little harm. It tossed me to the ground, effortlessly. But I was not deterred. I lashed out again and again, growling viciously as the demon roared at me. Many times, I was thrown down, but each time, I stood up again.
Time can be strange and warped in dreams. I do not know how long I fought the demon. It could have been minutes, but it seemed more like hours. After all that time, the demon was still strong and injured only slightly. My body was aching and hurting. I was battered, bruised, and covered in cuts. I was weak, barely able to stand, and breathing harshly, but I would not stop fighting. I was determined to keep fighting. My choices were to kill the demon or die trying. I accepted that fate. I gathered my strength and howled.
To my surprise, the howl seemed to scare the demon. I howled again. The demon moaned and a spasm shook its body. I howled again, louder and stronger. The demon was hurt by my voice, and it thrashed about violently. I jumped at the demon, and my fangs sunk in deep. I clawed its hide furiously. Now, the demon's defenses were weakened, and it could be wounded more easily. I was forced to the ground, but it would be for the last time. I stood on exhausted legs, lifted my head, and howled again, louder than before. The demon was unable to protect itself or escape from my song.
I lowered my head to catch my breath and collect my energy for one final attack. As my last howl was set free, everything shook and vibrated as if from an earthquake. Suddenly, the demon cried out in great pain. Sunlight broke through, blazed into the room, and the demon was destroyed and defeated.
I’m unsure if I remained a wolf or transformed back into a human. All I remember is collapsing. As my eyes closed, I knew I had done my part. I had helped protect the people. The demon was gone, and they were safe. The dream faded into blackness as I passed out, and the dream ended.
June 14, 2007
Mother Earth is always there for us. Willing to embrace us, teach us, and guide us in troubled times. She is kind and patient in Her ways. I realize now that I have much to learn from Her.
My journey has been difficult. I have come a long way, but that does not mean I can stop and rest. More than ever, I must keep going, striving to find harmony, calmness, and peace. I feel that with this Spring, I have awakened as a new person. I have left the darkness behind and found some light. I have found something good and beautiful in life. Finally, I have reconnected with the Earth, a thing that is vital to happiness.
This Spring, the scent of Wisteria and Honeysuckle has filled my being with delight. The sight of these blossoms, one a soft lavender, the other of purest white and golden yellow, is miraculous to me. And today, after years of not being close to Mother Earth, she welcomed me back with a taste of nectar. From the Honeysuckle came a single crystal clear drop of life, which has started to heal my body and soul. I am thankful for this gift of nectar, and I pray that I never forget Mother Earth again. My wish is to grow closer to Her and to continue on this new path.
April 19, 2007
April 10, 2007
Note: In 2013 I participated in Brooklyn Art Library's Sketchbook Project. I drew quick little illustrations of many dreams that I'd had over the years, including this dream about being a wolf on a beach. I will be adding more from the sketchbook to future blogs, but the full book can be viewed here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/