What's Therianthropy?!
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What is Therianthropy?
All about the condition of being animal in a human body
By Ketrino Ghoe
Originally written in August 2006

Notes: 1. Apparently someone on Gaia Online has decided to steal part of this page. For the record and for the admins of that site, I am NOT "Kat Savage". Let this serve as proof to those of who that disregard my copyright at the bottom.

2. Problem solved thanks to Thainwolf, but regardless, don’t be stupid, folks. (When did that happen? 2009 or something?) For the love of various gods, if you want to use this for whatever, just email me, and we'll talk.

3. I originally wrote this in August 2006, when I was 17. I’ve edited it a bit since then and added/changed a few things as they’ve occurred over the years. My wording when relating to the past few years may be confusing. However, the vast majority of this has not been edited for the 'times'.

4. Updates: August 2012- I haven't had this up for a long time- almost a year, I think. Anyway, this has been revised a bit, and you'll notice a certain section missing. I might add it again some other time, but in the mean time, this is strictly for therianthropy, and not speculative bullshit. I have also attempted to insert sources in the right spots. However, for more 'precise' sources, head to the end of the doc.

5. I am NOT a therianthrope! I used to use that label, but in 2009 I dropped it for a variety of reasons. I'm still animal-kin, but I am far from being a therian. See here for details.


---- Keep this in mind: “Ask ten therianthropes what therianthropy is, and you’ll get eleven different answers.” (Or something like that.) This is my view of therianthropy, but to get a true, fuller view of it, you must look at more than one person’s definition. Take to mind that Section (not Part) Two is merely my own speculation and should not be seen as what all therians think. ----

Contents

Section One- Introduction to Therianthropy
Part One
Overview
Shifting
Shifter’s Syndrome
Spiritual, Mental, and Physical Therianthropy
Contherianthropy
Cladotherianthropy
Lycanthropy and Its Relation to Therianthropy
The Two Versions of Lycanthropy
Misanthropy
Other Versions of Therianthropy
Alternate Names For Therianthropes
Otherkin
Furries
The Theta-Delta/Weresymbol

Part Two
FAQ For the Unsure, Mislead, and New

Section Two- Reasoning With The Opposition
Part Three
Why Therianthropy Isn’t A Mental Disease

Part Four
Therianthropes and Society

Part Five
Therianthropes and Religion

Section Three- A Therianthropic History
Part Six
A History of Therianthropy

Part Seven
Alt.Horror.Werewolves


Section One: Introduction to Therianthropy

An Overview

What is therianthropy, you ask? Therianthropy is the most agreed upon and common term to describe the state of being both animal and human. A therianthropist worships such creatures. A therianthrope is a person, god, or creature that actually is part human and animal. For this article, a therianthrope is a human who is both human and non-human animal, in some context. Therianthropy can manifest itself in many ways, may it be spiritual, mental, or more rarely and arguably non-existent, physically. I will describe each to the best of my ability later.

The word therianthropy comes from the Greek words therios (beast/wild animal) and anthropos (man). So literally, “beast-man.” Those who believe they are animal in some aspect are called therianthropes, or therians for short. Therianthropy is used by the therian to describe his/her unique state of being.

Therianthropes identify with either a single animal and some identify with more than one. This is more than just a simple liking of animals. It is an inner connection to an animal, something so strong that a therian believes to some extent that they are the animal. For many, therians believe that they are a certain animal because of their spiritual beliefs, may it be because they have the soul/spirit/etc of an animal, they were placed in the wrong body (often referred to as trans-speciesism or the misplaced soul theory), or their soul is both partially human, and partially animal. Others believe that they're an animal for other reasons, such as psychologically or because of a past life. Rarely you'll see someone who believes they are physically animal in some way, which generally meets skeptisism in most communities.

The animal a therianthrope identifies with is called their theriotype, though some use older words to refer to it, such as were-side, phenotype, therioside, or were-form. Those who identify with more than one animal, related or not, are often called polyweres or the more recent term of polytherian. The most common number of animals for a polywere to have is two, although more can and do exist. However, some people who claim to be many animals or often change what animal they are, are sometimes questionable.

The range of animals that therians identify with is infinite. The most common animal is the wolf and following that are other canines and big cats. Predatory animals are more common. The least common animals seem to be herbivores, reptiles, marine animals, and bugs. Extinct animals can also be in the mix, including dinosaurs and other animals, such as ancestors of modern day animals or those who have recently gone extinct. However, extinct animals are still uncommon. Mythical animals such as the dragon or unicorn are usually not considered to be a part of the therian community and are most often considered a part of the Otherkin community. However, for the sake of this article and the rest of this site, therians are included in the category of Otherkin. (More on Otherkin later.)

A therianthrope generally Awakens to their animal nature during the teen years, although discovery younger or later is also possible and not uncommon. The discovery can involve anything from an increase in shifts, dreams, speculations, encounters with suspected theriotypes or Otherkin, memories from a past life as the animal, to the simple discovery of the word therianthropy and others like them. This is commonly called an Awakening. Awakenings can be quite difficult and long. For some, they are in a “constant state” of Awakening, meaning that they are always learning about their animal side. Searching for the theriotype is usually full of hits and misses, and takes a lot of searching. For some, it is easy to figure out the theriotype. But when you finally know your theriotype and when you know that there are others out there like you, there is some sense of comfort. For most of us, there is always more discovering to do, not only with ourselves, but also with the world around us. On the other hand, some people believe they are 'born Awakened', which means they've been aware of their animalselves for as long as they remember.


Shifting

Shifting is the change from human state to animal state. It can manifest itself in many different ways. But shifting does not always need to occur for a therian to be animal, nor does one need to shift in order to be considered a therian. Most therians have subtle animal qualities that stick out without shifting, such as noises, movements, diet preferences, and other animal mannerisms. These almost instinctive actions of therians are different from shifting because shifting is not required and there is usually no large change in human mentality. The actions are simply an integrated part of the normal mindset. There are also therianthropes who don’t shift at all. They will be covered later on.

The following are some of the shifts I am aware of, and believe are common enough to be thrown into an intro doc about therianthropy. However, there are many types of shifts that aren't often discussed, are largely unknown, may not even occur, are simply speculations created by therians, or are similar to or go by different names compared to the shifts here- examples of these include attribute, aura, morph, molecular, projection, physiological effect, and etheric shifting. Each shift can be voluntary or involuntary. Most shifts just happen, but it is possible to learn how to induce a shift.

Astral Shifting
Astral shifting is simply the shifting of the astral body into that of a therian’s theriotype. It is very common for those who practice astral projection and astral travel. Many therians (and normal people) can do this involuntarily without even knowing it. This is not necessarily good evidence of being therian, since the astral body is very malleable and can change shape easily.

Bi-Location Shifting
This is a rare shift that happens when one projects their animal body outside their own to a different place. It is much like having a “ghost” of one’s animalself. That body can usually travel about as if it was real, and even acts as though it is a physical body. People can see it and very often, if they try to hurt it, then the same injury may be reflected in the human form. The body is thought to be the spirit of the person in animal form, or an astral body. (This is one of the shifts discovered in The Magic of Shapeshifting.)

Cameo Shifting
This shift happens when a therianthrope becomes an animal (in the mental, dream, astral or any other state) that they aren’t. This is common when shapeshifting (that is, shamanic shapeshifting), though I don’t know of other reasons why this shift happens, other than complete randomness. Cameo shifts don’t necessarily mean that a therian has another theriotype that they haven’t discovered.

Dream Shifting
Abbreviated as d-shift. Dream shifting is a shift that, of course, happens in dreams. It can involve a shift from the human body to the animal one (that is, in the dream and not in the physical body), or it can just involve the animal being there in body and no physical shift has to happen. Dream shifting can be a great release for therians, because they can get the animal out and experience what it is like to be in their animal body. However, you do not have to be a therian to have this shift.

Mental Shifting
Abbreviated as m-shift. Mental shifting is possibly the most common shift. It is the shift from the human mindset to the animal one. The intensity of the shift varies, anywhere from having a little animal awareness and mostly human control, or complete animal awareness and no human control whatsoever. A mental shift may also be accompanied by other shifts. Mental shifting can be triggered by emotional factors, such as fear or sadness, or the surrounding environment (such as a forest).

Phantom Shifting
Abbreviated as ph-shift. The phantom shift concept comes from the idea of phantom limbs. The subject will “feel” the limb (like ears, a tail, or wings). It will not show up physically, but it feels like there is a limb. Some therians experience many different sensations with their limbs. For example, sitting on a tail can be painful, and having one’s back to a wall while feeling wings can be uncomfortable. However, phantom limbs can be be visible in the right type of light, and they can be seen by people who are sensitive enough. With practice, some people can even use their phantom limbs to do things like sense energy or affect physical objects.

Physical Shifting
Abbreviated as p-shift. This is the rarest and most disputed shift of all. It involves the actual morphing of the human body into an animal body, whether it's to the actual animal, an anthropomorphic form, or even one part of the body. Many people, in and out of the werecommunity, do not believe that this shift can happen- although that isn't to say believing in it is some horrible, awful thing. However, claiming to be a p-shifter is another thing. Without proof, you'll be shot down as a liar, and no excuses will be taken. If you happen to be a p-shifter, I hear that there is a website out there offering one million dollars for proof…and that offer is still standing. In other words, if you happen to have this shift and want to tell others, you better have proof or no one will believe you.

Sense Shifting
Sense shifting is sort of like a very minute physical shift, depending on who you talk to. This isn’t considered a true p-shift experience though. The senses of one’s animal will come through and heighten the normal senses. However, this happens to be a controversial shift. The arguments against it say that one cannot change their senses, or the brain is tricking them. It could be that therianthropes just pay more attention to their senses, rather than having an actual change. There also seems to be, from my experience in the werecommunity, a possibility that therians may simply have heightened senses compared to normal people.

Shadow Shifting
This is much like a bi-location shift, except in this shift, the person will project the image of their animal around their body instead of in a different area. This most often occurs in low lighting. This shift is thought to be caused by manipulating the aura to show the animal form (some believe that a therian’s animal body is stretched out over the physical human body, in a metaphysical sense). Shadow shifting is also known as aura shifting. (I sure wish I remembered what I got this info!)


OMGZ! I’m having weird things happening to me! Am I shifting? (Aka Shifter's Syndrome/Disease)

Not necessarily. Sometimes, those people who are obsessed with trying to shift, or similar things, may start to mistaken normal bodily functions for signs that they’re shifting. This can be from anything- hot flashes; cramps; shaky, twitchy body parts; being tired; being hyper, etc. It doesn’t mean you’re shifting, it just means that you’re desperate to shift, and paranoid that any little thing means you’re going to shift. This is usually called Shifter’s Disease or Shifter’s Syndrome. It isn’t an actual medical condition, but rather just a name for those who are overreacting to their body. This can also apply to someone who is looking into therianthropy and starting to connect things like quickly growing nails and hair, sharp teeth, or good hearing to something therianthropic (all three of which are common in humans anyway). The best way to get over this is to maintain a rational mind and remember that normally, while you’re spending five hours typing, your cramped hand doesn’t mean it’s suddenly going to turn into a paw, the funny feeling you get looking at the full moon isn’t a sign it’s going to turn you into a wolf, that desire to growl at someone doesn’t mean you’re going to have a full out mental shift, and your fast growing hair and nails means you’re probably getting a lot of protein in your diet. Take a breather and get away from shapeshifting and therianthropy for a while, especially if you’re one of those people obsessed over trying to cause a shift. (Hm, I think I originally saw Shifter's Disease/Syndrome on Shifters.Org.)

What are spiritual, mental, and physical therianthropy?

(This info I believe came from the AHWw faq)

Spiritual therianthropy is the belief that one’s therianthropy is caused by spiritual factors. That is, one has the spirit/soul of an animal inside, their soul is part animal, they are an animal in a human body, or their animal half is a layover from a past life. The ideas vary with the person.

Mental therianthropy, for lack of a better word, is not mental as in a mental disease. It is mental meaning that a therianthrope does not think they are part animal because of spiritual means, but because of psychology and cognitive processes in the brain. Those who believe this do not necessarily think that their psychological approach to therianthropy is dysfunctional in nature, but rather allows them to be a functional member of society, and that their therianthropy is simply psychological in nature, versus spiritual.

Physical therianthropy is when a person believes they are therian because can change physically to their theriotype. This is congruent with physical shifting. However, therianthropy is more commonly defined as people who have animal connections within. Those who can physically shift are not considered to be therians because they usually only show animal traits while in this other body. Thus, physical therianthropy can probably be more attributed to the mythical werewolf instead of the therianthropes of today. As with physical shifting, it is very doubtful that this exists. The werecommunity has taken a great disliking to the idea of p-shifting, and attempts to discuss it, no matter how intelligent or scientific the conversation, are often attacked.

What is contherianthropy?

Contherianthropy is commonly defined as the state of being animal and human (usually mentally) in a consistent state. This means that a contherianthrope sees the world from both human and animal perspectives. Since they are in a constant “humanimal” state, they usually don’t shift that often. Perhaps the only shift a contherianthrope may have is phantom. Thus, some call contherianthropy the state of being “shiftless” since contherians rarely, if ever, shift.

The term contherianthropy was coined my Lion Templin in the '90s. Since then, syn/suntherianthropy is also used as an alternative word to contherianthropy, but the concept is essentially the same.

What is cladotherianthropy?

Cladotherianthropy is a bit harder to define. I don’t know much about cladotherianthropy, so I’ll try my best to define it. This form of therianthropy involves those therianthropes who feel a connection to a family of species instead of just a member of that family. For example, instead of feeling connected to just the lion, a feline cladotherian feels a connection to all feline species.

What's lycanthropy and is it related to therianthropy?

Well, it depends which lycanthropy you are referring to. If you mean lycanthropy, as used during AHWw days, then yes, there is a relation. Lycanthropy simply refers to wolves in general, instead of all animals like therianthropy does. During AHWw’s better days, lycanthropy and lycanthrope were used to refer to all animal people because the word therianthropy had not yet been stumbled upon.

What do you mean, “which lycanthropy”?

There is the first lycanthropy I mentioned in the previous section, the one pertaining to wolf people and then there is clinical lycanthropy. Clinical lycanthropy deals with the mental disease that is so often discussed. It is not to be confused with non-clinical lycanthropy and therianthropy. Clinical lycanthropy deals with a subject who believes that they are a wolf (or any other animal, but the wolf is the most common). What separates this from therianthropy is that the subject will, quite literally, act like a rabid, crazed beast. They are violent and sometimes believe that they can and do shift into an animal body. They are delusional and quite often they control their “shifts”, both mental and “physical.” If you want to read more about actual CL cases, try A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture, by Charlotte F. Owen.

So now I know about lycanthropy and therianthropy, but just what is misanthropy?

Misanthropy is completely unrelated to any of the terms above. Misanthropy is the hate of humans/man (or as some may call it, self-loathing). Misanthropes can generally be described as loners that dislike people. I have come across a few people who have mixed misanthropy up with other –anthropy related words. In the werecommunity, misanthropy is greatly looked down upon, but it isn’t uncommon to see misanthropic therianthropes. I’ve included it here mainly because it is very unhealthy to be misanthropic, and any extreme hate of humanity is idiotic in the first place. After all, the misanthrope is a human too!

Also, in regards to hating humans, someone might spit back, but humans hate therians. This is true for some people. But you must remember that therianthropy and Otherkin in general is not an easy concept to grasp or believe for non-therians. This is one hell of a belief we have, with no proof to back it up (most people will not accept 'my soul is x' as a valid argument). 'Normal' folks might not believe us and even piss some of us off, but none of that is a reason to hate normal people. Try seeing the situation from the eyes of the normal person.

Any other versions of therianthropy I should know about?

I can only assume that there are many different versions of therianthropy that are animal-specific, but those names are very hard to find, and are rarely used, if at all. I can simply tell you about the ones I have heard of. There is:

-ailuranthropy, which relates to felines (not used often)
-cynanthropy (sometimes spelled kynanthropy), which involves dogs
-hippanthropy, which is for horses (not used at all as far as I know)
-dracothropy and draconity, which is commonly used by dragon-kin to describe themselves as a dragon in a human body. However, I haven't seen dracothropy used or mentioned much since I first wrote this in 2006, so it would be safe to say 'dracothropy' is no longer used.

What are some other names for therianthropes?

There are many different words, many of which are/were recognized. Most common nowadays is, of course, therian.

-‘Were’, werewolf and were-whatever were common in the days of Alt.Horror.Werewolves and the early werecommunity. It's fallen into disuse because 'were' means man (which is contrary to the animal within) and because of werewolf myths.
-Lycanthrope was originally used during the days of Alt.Horror.Werewolves, but it has fallen as well due to clinical lycanthropy, and because of its coverage of just wolves and not other animals.
-Theriomorph is a lesser-known word and one that is rarely, if ever, used.
-Animal person is alternative word for those who don't want to use therianthrope for whatever their reason, but it still carries the general idea of animal in a human body. There is some confusion that can occur, since most people would think an animal person just likes animals a lot, or has some other connection to animals.
-Lycan is still seen around forums, and appears to be accepted in some forums as an alternative for werewolf-kin or anthropomorphic wolves. However, I still discourage the use of this word since it has connections with the movie series Underworld. It also tends to make people think of vampire-fighting werewolves who shift into horrible looking, tail-less anthropomorphic wolves.

However, it would be wrong of me to say that any of these words are “unfit” for the therianthrope community of today. Most of these words are still used and recognized, especially ‘were’. However, if you use 'werewolf' or 'lycan' (or even were depending on the forum you're at) to refer to yourself that you may need to differentiate between you meaning a therianthrope and the mythical werewolf.

On the contrary of the above, there are also people who don't recognize as therians at all (such as myself). They may call themselves something like wolf-kin, just as their species name, or by something else entirely. Therianthropy is seen by some as nothing but a label, or someone may not identify with the general 'beliefs' of therianthropy at all. They might not agree with shifting, have a grudge against therians- anything is possible. It's important not to completely blow off those people and listen to what they have to say before thinking their beliefs are stupid or that person is misguided. They're still an animal in a human body, and 'therian' is just another label to describe this state of being.

Are therians Otherkin (and what’s Otherkin)?

I cover this more precisely here.

Otherkin is an umbrella term used to describe those people who feel that they are non-human in some way. Which beings are included in the definition can vary from person to person, with some believing that therians and vampires are separate from Otherkin, to including the two species, or excluding one but not the other. I personally include therians and vampires with Otherkin, and define Otherkin as a term that relates to ALL beings and ALL people who feel nonhuman in some way.

Reasons for not including therians in the Otherkin category are as follows: Otherkin are often magical or mythical beings, whereas therians are normal, earth-based animals. Most Otherkin believe they are nonhuman because of a past life connection, whereas therians usually believe they are animal because their soul, spirit, ect. is animal in this life, and is not a layover from a past life, or believe they are animals for psychological reasons. Otherkin also happen to be interested in magic, and other similar things, compared to therians who are more “technical” and usually lean away from such things. In other words, Otherkin are everything mythical, while therians are normal, Earth-based animals with little or no need for the magical. However, if any of this was indisputable truth, then your author -a winged wolf, anthro bighorn sheep, and hippocampus- would have just failed at writing this therianthropy article.

For a real answer to this question, it depends on who you ask, but many definitions include therians with Otherkin, simply because therians believe they, like all Otherkin, are nonhuman in some way. It all depends on how someone personally uses the label.

What's a furry, and are they like therians?

Furries are people who are interested in anthropomorphic animals (that is, humanized animals such as Bugs Bunny or Kimba the White Lion). The anthropomorphic interest furries have can range from just liking the art, to making and dressing up in fursuits (similar to mascot suits) or to trying to become their character as much as possible in real life. Many furries are role-players who create and sometimes dress up as their character (or fursona), who can be an bipedal animal, or "ferals", which are humanized four-legged animals. Some furs feel like their character is really a personification of them, and they connect to their character like a therian connects to their animal side. However, these furries do not necessary call themselves therians, nor are they therians, as the character was created and can be changed, unlike a therian's animal half. There are some overlapping aspects within the therian and furry communities, but the furry community SHOULD NOT be compared to the therian community as being the same thing. The two communities are very different. However, it shouldn't be said that therians can't be furries, and vice versa, as there are plenty who are (including your author).

Therians are sometimes viewed by furs and others as overreacting furries, and that they are taking things too far. On the contrary, some therians believe furries are just playing around and not taking things seriously enough. However, though in the two communities there may be dislike for the other, both communities tend to stay away from the other, and there is no true fighting between the two. Most therians tend to be accepting of furries, and even use fursuiting to make tails, ears, ect. to connect to their animal half.

Furries are very often cast in a bad light, because of some furries’ interests and the tendency for outsiders to believe that all furries like bestiality and fursuit sex. This is sometimes applied to therianthropes by those who believe the two communities are one and the same. However, furries (and therians) are not all interested in the items mentioned above.

Is there a special therian symbol?

The theta-delta is the recognized therian symbol (or weresymbol), which gained popularity after being displayed on forums such as the Werelist (though I have no idea as to the true origins of the symbol). The Greek letters theta and delta are intertwined (Theta being the first letter of therian and Delta standing for change). The theta-delta is usually used as a customable symbol to reflect a therian’s animal connection. The colors can be any, and there is usually a personal picture that describes the therian in the middle. An example would be something that relates to the theriotype, such as a paw print or the theriotype itself. The one thing that must remain in the symbol is the line of theta in the middle. If taken out, the symbol (and the letter) loses meaning.

Years ago when I first put this up, I included a picture of a red and black weresymbol that had been painstakingly colored in MS Paint in 2006. Although that was made out of a 'stock' image presented on the WereList, if you happen to see that image anywhere, remember who made it. I know it's now as art for a button on Zazzle, and used on a forum that I can't recall, and probably isn't worth mentioning. I do believe it's first breath of life was on this page, and on my deviantArt creation, It's a Were Thing. Obviously, the picture was taken down because of people using it for their own gain.

To end this, I have several questions that have been asked. For the sake of not answering them again and to get any stupid ideas out of people’s heads, here they are.


Part Two: FAQ For The Unsure, Mislead, and New

Hopefully, you have read all that I have to say. You may still be a bit confused, especially if you are new to therianthropy, or if you are coming onto this with a strong belief in the werewolf mythos. Here is where I attempt to break down the myths that many people believe in. If you are heavily into the mythos and you believe them, or you want to become a therianthrope, you are about to be disappointed. While it is true that myths have some basis in real life, they don’t in the case of therianthropy.

I'm not sure if you caught onto this yet, but some therianthropes like to call themselves weres, or werewolves or were-whatever they are. Does this mean we believe ourselves to be werebeasts or something like them? The answer is a mix of yes and no. Therians can be related to werebeasts because we are both human and animal and we shift back and forth between the two. My point is, to approach therianthropy in the right way, you must disbelieve the myths surrounding werebeasts and come back into reality and into the 21st century. Those myths were made back centuries ago, and no longer have a place in the era we live in. There is nothing to fear from therianthropes or those who call themselves werebeasts. The following questions are based heavily on werebeast/werewolf myths (but I don’t go into all of them), because in all honesty, I still get asked some of these damn questions.

Are you crazy?

A common thought for those whom I try to explain therianthropy to. Even though I may sound and act crazy, I actually have no mental diseases, illnesses, or dysfunctions.

I wanna be a werebeast/therian!

Too bad. No one will make you one and there is no way to become one. You can only be born one.

If you bite me-

The answer is no. If this was true, then we would have an army by now and we’d try to conquer the world. The same goes for vampires and all other forms of partially non-humans. Bites only equal pain, maybe an infection and nothing else.

Are there hunters?

Actually, against what many therianthropes think/want to believe, there are hunters out there. Most, I would say, occur on the internet and will do anything from going into a forum and boasting to actually harassing a victim via email. These people are easily dealt with, and sometimes fun to pester right back. However, in real life, there are a few rare people who “hunt”. These hunters actually don't try to hunt with guns and whatnot, but rather encounter the prey in person, talk and whatnot. From the stories I have heard, most hunters just want to chat and often appeared frightened of the therian in question. Real hunters who may want to kill a therian most likely are not out there, but if someone is threatening you, and they seem to pose a real threat, DO NOT take it lightly. (I can't remember where I got the info on 'real life' hunters. I think it came from Some Lives Are Different or Otherkin.com, back in 2006-ish.)

Do silver bullets affect you?

Yes, in fact, silver bullets can kill us (and you), along with any other kind of bullets and other things, like car wrecks, botulism, falling off cliffs and all the other things that kill humans. We are not invincible.

Are you affected by the full moon?

This is a very popular question with the kids and adults alike when they delve into therianthropy. This is a commonly asked question for the wolf therians and one I get asked a lot when I try to explain myself. The answer is, no, we aren’t affected by the full moon. While it is pretty and tends to affect all living creatures and the tides (I don’t know if you know this, but we’re made up of a lot of water), it doesn’t affect us specifically with any special powers.

So…you don’t change into an animal?

Nope, not in the physical sense. If we did, I wouldn’t be here typing this. I would be in the forest playing or I would be dead because someone shot me because they thought I was an actual wolf. It is a high hope for some of us, though. Nothing would be better than being able to shift back and forth between our human and animal bodies.

What about this war with the vampires?

It’s all a pack of lies! Underworld needs to be destroyed for making people think that there is some war between werewolves and vampires! (Okay, maybe not totally- RIse of the Lycans was pretty good.) Trust me, therians and vampires can get along very well. My bff happens to be a vampire. While some of us may dislike vampires, that doesn’t mean we war with them.

Do you kill humans?

Let’s just give this one a simple no.

So you like humans?

It isn’t uncommon to find a misanthropic therian, but the majority of therians don’t condone misanthropy and human bashing, and get along with humanity just fine. But then there are some who are exactly opposite.

Are you hairy?

About as hairy as your average human female.

So now you are telling me that you aren’t affected by the full moon, you aren’t at war with vamps, you don’t p-shift, you don’t kill humans, you can’t turn humans and you’re not in the least bit hairy…and you still call yourself a WEREWOLF?

This is the kind of question a person who can’t accept reality asks. They are stuck in their own little world where things must go their way or it isn’t true or someone is lying. Werewolves, therianthropes, whatever you want to call us…we just aren’t what the myths claim us to be.

Basically…the myths aren’t true, people. And if you want to say that all myths have some basis in reality…do your research, will you?


Section Three-A Therianthropic History

Part Six: A History of Therianthropy

Note: Back in 2006 was when I did this, and of course being a kid I didn't cite a damned thing. Some of this came from the therianthropy wikipedia article of the time, which is way different than what it is today. I also got info from essays on 'Swiftpaw's Tree', a now dead site by the jaguar Swiftpaw. Given that this was written in 2006, the history only goes up to then.

Therianthropy is not some “New Age thing” as many people tend to think. Therianthropy has been around for quite a long time, manifesting itself in many different ways throughout history. It was only in the 1990s when people began to look at therianthropy as a state of being instead of as a mental illness (lycanthropy and zoanthropy).

Therianthropy has been around, in one form or another, ever since the beginning of history. Cave paintings have been found of leopard-men, bear cults have been discovered and there have been countless legends and encounters of werebeasts. Of course, not all therianthropy has taken the form of werebeasts. The Egyptian gods are fine examples of therianthropes. They are half animal and half human, with the head of an animal and the body of a human. Other therianthropes have been found in mythology, ranging from the fauns and satyrs, to the Minotaur, a beast conceived by a human and animal courtship.

Basically, wherever you look, there is some form of animal and human features combined into one. This is not only because there may have been animal-humans, but also because of the human desire to want to become more like animals. They saw power and symbolism in them, so they combined the aspects to form anything from gods to simple mythology (of course, anything mythical such as fauns or any other mythical creature can be counted as Otherkin and therefore actually existent in some world).

Therianthropes also exist in modern fiction. Dungeons and Dragons and White Wolf’s RPG Werewolf are good examples. Most fiction portrays therians as the people who have both a human and animal form, one that is usually anthropomorphic. Some believe that the werewolf races, the Garou and Uratha from Werewolf could have been partially inspired by modern therianthropes. Usually, therianthropes in fiction never appear as the modern, “true” therians (they are usually almost physical shifters), or under the name “therianthrope.”

Shamanism was probably one of the first practices to incorporate human and animal aspects together by shifting. Shapeshifting, as it is called, involves shifting into one’s totem. This is different from therianthropy because the animal influence is external rather than internal. Shapeshifting is very much like the shifting therianthropes experience, but it is induced rather than random as with therians. However, it is probably one of the things that kept humans along the path to remind them that they too are animals and that there are actual ways of incorporating human and animal together.

So where does the line between mythology and folklore end and the modern therianthrope begin? Well, to be honest, what we see as the modern therianthrope has existed in the past. Werewolves are an example of this. I am not saying that all of those shapeshifters and those tried were werewolves, but some of them had to be. I think it is truly sad that therianthropes had to go through persecution, but in a time where superstition ruled, I guess there is no trying to understand. However, we have no proof either that any of the persecuted werewolves were indeed therianthropes.

Going on, we have seen therianthropy, the state of being both human and animal, in mythology, gods, and real life. It has been around since humans could ever imagine and draw, and it is still with us today. There is probably never a time when therianthropes have not been thought of. The accounts of therianthropy, in any form, are actually too much to number. The true story of modern therianthropy as therians today know it, actually started with the Usenet group Alt.Horror.Werewolves (AHWw). What started as a simple Usenet newsgroup for werewolf fans became a bustling place for those who felt that they were more than human. It was where therians could meet and talk and discuss what and who they were. However, AHWw soon fell as the new millennium approached, leaving it a flaming carcass of what it once was.

Therianthropy today is still unknown of. A search on Google brings up only about 45,900 pages (as of August 2006). It is safe to say that mostly therians and Otherkin have created most of those pages. The path to recognition of therianthropy into the outside world is still far ahead of us. But the therian community is still quite young and has much history ahead of it.


Part Seven: Alt.Horror.Werewolves: The Birth of the Therian Community

*I was not and am not a part of AHWw. But I have done research on it, and these are my findings. See previous section for notes on sources.*

Before Alt.Horror.Werewolves, there was little talk or gatherings of people of similar spirit in the outside world. With the dawn of the Internet, people began to search for werewolves…and many of them came upon the Usenet group AHWw, which formed in the early 1990s. This group is very possibly the god of what is now the blooming therian community. In the beginning, AHWw was a small group devoted to werewolves. After it picked up business, people began to talk about feeling animal influences in their own lives. Not just externally, but internally, as if these animals were their very being. This was the beginning of the therianthropic community.

After a while, some of these people (amazingly to some, not teens, but actually older people over 20) openly admitted they were joking and some admitted that they were very serious. The group soon became a place to discuss being animal inside and it became less and less about werewolves and their Hollywood correspondence. From then on until AHWw’s fall in the late 90s, it was a bustling place to talk therianthropy and it was THE best place for therians. This was where the word therianthropy was presented and accepted into the world.

In December 1994, the word was proposed. Before the proposition of therianthropy, most members of AHWw called themselves lycanthropes, or werewolves, werebears, ect. The word was proposed by a wendigo named James Harrion III (info from Tracing the Origins of the Word 'Therianthropy', from Swiftpaw's Tree). It was accepted very well since the group was now mainly therians, and frankly they knew they needed a word that wasn't strictly about wolves. Therianthropy was soon added to Werecards and it also began to pick up slang not much later.

From then on, therianthropy and AHWw enjoyed a few more years of success. But by 1998 to 1999, AHWw began to fall as people lost interest and the group became a flame war. As of now, it is no longer the source for therianthropy that it was. However, it is a wonderful start to the therianthropy community. Some still like to go back to the AHWw FAQ, which is a good source of information and history. But today, it is no more than a fallen Usenet group, only populated by idiots and those who have no idea of AHWw’s history. Thankfully, the therian community didn’t die with it, and it is still alive and strong.


Think I left something out, or want to say something about this? Try contacting me.

All right, sources. Due to the age of this thing, I can't pinpoint exact sources anymore. I've tried to point out in the doc where I got some of my info, but obviously not everything is hit. I got some AHWw info, and the history of the word therianthropy from a page on Swiftpaw's now dead site (Swiftpaw’s Tree, which was at http://www.otherwonders.com/swiftpaws/); info on bi-location (and maybe aura and shadow shifting) from The Magic of Shapeshifting and possibly PilotWolf's old Geocities site; info on Shifter's Syndrome from Shifters.Org, and some things from Wikipedia, when the therianthropy article was more concise with the ‘animal in a non-human body’ sort (and if you don't believe that, I have the printed therianthropy Wikipedia entry from May 2006); and likely some random info from the AHWw faq. So if you're concerned, no, I didn't pull the AHWw or any therianthropic history out of my ass.

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© Ketrino T. Ghoe aka W. Flamewaker 2005-2014. All rights reserved. None of this may be used, copypasta'd/copy and pasted, etc without Ketrino's permission/consent.