The Therianthropy FAQ that you can read here arose from the need I had of incorporate to Noctalium a Frequently Asked Questions article on the subject, so I decided to communicate myself with who was at that time the Therian Wilderness administrator, Re Harakhti. After contacting I propose her to make a FAQ article about Therianthropy, one that speak in a clear and comprehensive manner, and she accepted. I’m not a therianthrope and although I can ask the questions I cannot answer them with enough aptitude. I did the same thing than years ago, when I proposed to make an Otherkin FAQ article to Golden Spirit and Jamiroth, from Otherkin Hispano website. The work was done in the following way: in first place I wrote all the questions that came to my mind, I send them to Harakthi and she changed everything seemed convenient, she added more questions, synthesized, united, rewrote questions… She did everything needed to improve it and send me the result, we discussed it and we agreed… We finally had all the questions we needed. Then Re Harakhti answered them in English, her native language. The same process was conducted with the interview on her person which is published simultaneously with this FAQ article, thus the questions of both texts were ready to be answered.
Then she sent me the texts with their appropriate answers, the Therianthropy FAQ and the interview, ready for translation. During the translation we discussed some of their responses, minor changes were made and when almost everything was ready … I lost contact with Harakhti for a while. Months passed and she finally contacted me to give me bad news; she was not going to be the administrator of Therian Wilderness anymore, for personal reasons. Several months passed and I knew nothing, but I decided to wait in the hope that she would return to the site she had created… But that did not happen. So I contacted the current staff and talked with Doppel, commenting all these things and asking for permission to continue with the publication of the project in Noctalium, which was published some time ago in Therian Wilderness and Otherkin Hispano. Doppel answered to give me the authorization and then you see posted here this Frequently Asked Questions article on therianthropy.
It was a project with a long pause on the way, but ultimately it is published. Now I only want to express my deep gratitude to Re Harakhti for participate in a project that simply would not exist without her, because I could not answer these questions as a more than human person. Keep well Harakhti, and come back to action as soon as you can. I also want to express all my gratitude to the Therian Wilderness staff and especially to Doppel, who gave the approbation but also all the support to make this project come to light.
1- What is Therianthropy?
‘Therianthropy’ is the term used by people who believe they have the soul or mentality of an animal. More commonly, an animal that exists (or is now extinct) on Earth. Therianthropes are a type of Otherkin, but because we can study Earthly animals it is treated as separate from Otherkin.
2- Is there a name for animal Kin that aren’t Therianthropes (Earthly animals)?
There is no single name that encompasses all of the other animal types. There are many different animal types that aren’t Earthly, these are all known as Otherkin. A few examples of animal Kin that aren’t Therianthropes are; Anthropomorph (animal-human hybrid), Theriocephalite (animal-headed hybrid) and Mythical Beast (such as Dragon and Phoenix, less commonly known as Theriomythos).
3- What does the word “Therianthropy” mean?
Therianthropy is formed of two Greek words, it means ‘beast-man’. ‘Theri’ – meaning ‘Beast’ or ‘Animal’. ‘Anthro’ – meaning ‘Human’ or ‘Man’.
4- I hear words like ‘Therianthropy’ used in different Contexts, which ways are they usually used?
The term is used in different ways, these are the common ones;
The subject is ‘Therianthropy’.
They are ‘Therianthropic’ people (or ‘Therianthropes’).
He/she is a ‘Therianthrope’ (or ‘Therian’)
They have a ‘Theriotype’ or ‘Theritype’ which is an animal.
5- How do people find out if they are a Therianthrope (Therian)?
Many people discover their Therianthropy through Dreams, Meditation and Research into an Animal Species they have an affinity with. Most prefer to record their experiences and information gathered from these using Journals, Online Blogs, notebooks and drawings. Most Therian Kin have had feelings of detachment/discontentment ever since they were young, but not all of them.
6- Why do Therian people exist? What is their origin?
Therianthropes have different ideas about their Origins and reasons for existing.
No one can determine if they are made the same way, originate from the same place or for the same reason. It is unlikely that every Therian has the same purpose or origin because of the great varieties and differences between them.
7- Are Therian people Role-Playing when say they are ‘more than human’?
No. Therianthropes are completely serious about what they believe, whatever that may be. People who Role-Play a character or do not believe in it seriously or realistically are not Therianthropes.
8- Does being Therian mean you are a member of a Cult, Sect or Religion? Do Therians worship Satan?
Therianthropy is not a Religion, a Cult or a Sect. It has nothing to do with Religious beliefs at all. Many Therians embrace their Therianthropy alongside their own Religions. You can find Therianthropic Christians, Druids, Buddhists, Spiritualists, and also Atheists, Agnostics, and Satanists. What people choose to believe is down to the individual.
9- I am Religious, will my Therianthropy clash with my Religion?
As above, Therianthropy does not promote any Religion or Anti-Religion. Sometimes teachings of certain Religions can conflict (or at least disagree) with your Therianthropic or Otherkin beliefs but it is the responsibility of the individual to fit them together in a way that works for them.
10- Do Therians have any beliefs? What do they believe?
Therians share a common belief that they are an ‘animal within’, or an ‘animal trapped inside’ a human body. Some believe they have lived before as the animal and have been reincarnated as human, whilst others believe they had the soul of the animal join with their human body at birth, for whatever reason. Psychologically minded Therianthropes believe it is caused by the mind.
11- Is being Therian considered to be a mental illness, or physical disorder?
There is a disorder that is being newly recognised for Therianthropes called Species Dysmorphia/Dysphoria. Like Body Dysmorphia, it suggests being uncomfortable with your physical appearance. Species Dysmorphia refers to being uncomfortable with your ‘Species’. In this case human.
12- Are Therianthropes dangerous people (will a wolf Therian be aggressive because of their wolf type)?
Therianthropes as a Community are usually tolerant, curious and friendly. Being a Therian does not make a person dangerous, they are still human beings and are just regular people. Any person has the ability to be aggressive. Therianthropes should not use (or blame) their animal beliefs as a reason to be aggressive or violent.
13- Are there different classifications for Therian people (not all Therian people are the same animal or species)?
Different Communities use different terms for species and sub-species classification. Because Therianthropy is often complex within an individual, and sometimes changes for individuals over time as they discover more, it is simpler to avoid sub-species classification altogether.
14- Do Therians have a symbol that identifies them as a Group/Community?
Therianthropes will use different symbols depending on the individual or the Community. The most common symbols are; the Pawprint, the ‘Trinity’ Triangle and Eternal Circle interwoven, and the Seven Pointed Otherkin Star (the Heptagram) often called the ‘Elven Star’.
15- I’ve heard the term ‘Trueform’ and ‘Theriotype’ used before, what are they?
These are different names for the animal part of a Therian, or Otherkin. It refers to their ‘soul’ or ‘mentality’, which they believe is not human. They call it their Kintype (for Otherkin and Therian), Theriotype (for Therian), Trueform or Phenotype. Different Communities will sometimes make up their own, which can often be frustrating.
16- What is a ‘Shift’? How many types of ‘Shift’ exist?
‘Shifting’ is a process by which part of you reverts to your animal-self, or back to your human self.
A-Shift = (Aura shift), a change in the consistency/content of an individuals ‘energy’.
M-Shift = (Mind shift), the feeling that one has slipped into the mentality of the animal.
S-Shift = (Soul shift, also Spirit shift), where one feels they are spiritually in animal form and may experience non-physical body parts relating to their animal type. Often the cause of the ‘Phantom Limb’ sensation.
P-Shift = (Physical shift), not possible for the human body. Often confused with ‘Psychological’ or ‘Phantom’ but these are covered in both M-shift and S-shift already.
There are others created by different Communities, but these are the common ones.
17- I’ve heard some complex terms related to Therianthropy. For example Cladotherianthropy, Contherianthropy, Cameoshift… Is it difficult to learn about Therianthropy? How many terms I should to learn?
Many of the terms frequenting Communities can often be confusing, and sometimes perhaps quite unnecessary to personal discovery, for example; Cladotherianthropy means to not take a single Species as a Theriotype but rather a whole Genus (Branch) of the family.
-Some would suggest that this simply indicates that the individual has not discovered their Kintype yet.
-This can often confuse an individual who believes they have lived multiple lives of the same Genus or someone who shifts between different forms of the same Genus.
Contherianthropy is used to label those who ‘do not experience ‘Shifts’’ but are in a constant state of mid-shift between their animal and human self.
-There are difficulties in determining what a ‘Shift’ is, because of the variety of ‘symptoms’ for different individuals.
-There are also those who do not believe shifting is possible. Or believe it is purely the result of ‘remembering a past life or form’.
Other terms can be found on various sites that may or may not apply/appeal to you and you can choose what suits you best, just remember to focus on personal discovery before settling on group classifications.
18- Can you achieve your Trueform physically?
No human being can achieve their animal form. To want to achieve it is perfectly natural, but to believe you physically can (or to look for magical/occultist or drug induced methods to achieve this) would be impractical and impossible.
19- Can Therians identify with more than one animal?
They can, but there are two distinct differences to be aware of. A Therian can live more than one life as different animals, but an Otherkin takes the forms of different animals, much like a shape shifter. For example, if you have lived as ‘a cat = then a dog = then a horse’, but your form is only one of these, you are most likely going to be Therian. But if you lived as ‘a cat = then a dog = then a horse’ but you switch between these forms, you are most likely Otherkin, because Earthly animals do not take different shapes, and you cannot be a cat, dog and horse at exactly the same time. Once a Therian realises they are more than one animal (or can take the form of more than one) they often become aware that they may be Otherkin instead.
20- Can a Therianthrope have a Trueform that is a different gender/sex to their physical human body (for example a woman that feels she is a male wolf)?
It is entirely possible that your animal form can be a different gender to you, and you may find this is more common than you would imagine. Some Therianthropes have animal forms that are Hermaphroditic (both sexes) or completely devoid of sexuality altogether, though this is much more common with Otherkin animals.
Physical sexuality has very little to do with Otherkin/Therian Spirituaility/Mentality.
21- What is a ‘Howl’?
A ‘Howl’ is a physical gathering of members from a Therianthropic/Otherkin Community at an arranged location. Usually these are held by Administrators and/or Staff, but can be arranged by anyone at any time. ‘Howl’ meetings should be considered and arranged with caution. Never give out your details to strangers over the internet and remember that safety is the first priority.
22- What is a Shapeshifter?
Shapeshifter (in the Kin Community) is a person whose soul takes many different non-physical shapes, or a person that believes they have lived before as an Otherkin Beast/Being that could change physical shape. Kin who suggest they are ‘Shapeshifters’ should hopefully be referring to an ability they believe they had, or the fact that their soul/mind/aura shifts between forms of different animals. And not that they believed they could physically change shape as a human being.
23- What is ‘Shifter-disease’?
More commonly known as Clinical Lycanthropy, it is considered a mental disorder that is recorded in history as causing a human being to lose sense of rationality, compassion, memory, emotion and humanity to the point where they are said to behave in a more primal and animalistic way, often becoming incoherent, violent, inconsolable and unpredictable. This is believed to be where ‘Werewolf’ is said to derive from, or to be associated with.
24- What is a ‘Phantom Limb’?
A ‘Phantom Limb’ is a distinct awareness of the presence of a non-physical limb.
For example, the feeling that you have wings, even though you do not possess them physically. This usually comes about as a result of a Soul/Spiritual Shift, where the soul changes from its ‘human’ to ‘animal’ state, but can occur at random or without notice. Some Kin have a hard time accepting the possibility of Phantom Limbs because of an inability to prove/disprove them.
25- What is a Daemon?
The term Daemon has different meanings to different individuals, however it is often wrongly mistaken for Demon. 1# Daemon (in the Fictional sense) refers to the manifested form of your personality/conscience/soul. This may sometimes be referred to as a ‘Daemon Companion’, as seen in ‘His Dark Materials’ by Phillip Pullman. 2# Daemon (in the Historical sense) refers to benevolent Spirits that are neither men nor Gods, but are a commonly more positive forces or Beings. Later Christianity used the basis of the Mythical ‘Daemon’ to create the purely evil creature, the ‘Demon’.
26- What is a Totem?
Totems are often symbols that are adopted by individuals or groups. Usually these are animal figures which are more commonly associated with Shamanistic beliefs, but a Totem can be represented as anything (usually something Naturally occurring) and relate to anyone regardless of Religion.
27- What are Otaku-Kin?
‘Otaku’ by English standards is a name given to individuals who are obsessive of Japanese Fiction or Culture. And ‘Otaku-Kin’ are the result of a belief in Otherkin mixed with the obsession of Japanese Fiction or Culture. Otaku-Kin often adopt the belief that they are a Fictional Japanese Character or relate in some way to a Race, Species or Individual that appears in Anime, Manga, or less commonly, Japanese console/video games.
28- What are Fiction-Kin?
Similar to #27 Fiction-Kin are individuals who believe they are Characters/Beings that are products of Modern Media; Often a film, TV series or Novel. Less common are video games and action figures. Most Otherkin would be considered Mythical-Fiction-Kin because most Otherkin Individuals associate with Species/Beings that originate from older, yet similar, sources (i.e. books). Some Modern Fiction-Kin can logically be accepted as Otherkin, but it is less likely if the individual claims to be a certain Character from a book/film, rather than belonging to a certain Species from a book/film.
29- What is a Furry?
A ‘Furry’ is a person who displays themselves as an Animal/Being (as a Character) through the use of Costume, Roleplay, Art and Literature) without the serious (or sometimes realistic) belief that they are Otherkin or Therianthrope. Some Therianthropes and Otherkin do choose to express themselves using these methods, but they are not referred to as ‘Furries’ because they have the defining belief which separates them.
30- What relation do Daemons, Totems, Otaku-Kin and Furries have to Therianthropy?
None of these have any distinct relation to Therianthropy. Therianthropes may have Totems and Daemons, and they may live a moderate ‘Furry’ lifestyle, but these are not part of Therianthropy, and are not necessary either. Otaku-Kin (with its lack of relation to Earthly Animals) has nothing to do with Therianthropic beliefs.
31- If I want to be a Therian/Otherkin, how I can convert myself into one?
Many Kin believe that you cannot ‘become’ Therian or Otherkin but that you are born as one. They suggest this because the vast majority of practicing Kin have felt from a very early age that they were ‘different’ in some sense from ordinary people. Therianthropy is, above all, a belief. If you experience the feeling that you are different within, and you believe in it (and in yourself) you may already be Kin. If you lack either of these, there is no magic, drug or study that will help you to become one.
32- I Love Cats! Does this mean I am a Feline Therian?
Most likely not. Liking an animal is not the same as believing you are one within. Just as you may have a Kintype/Form that is an animal you don’t particularly love. Of course you may feel a great affinity with an animal that is your Theriotype, for example a Wolf Therian might have a huge interest/love for wolves, but they feel they are a Wolf within regardless. OR you could be a Cat Therian that has little or no interest in Cats at all, but absolutely loves Rats, Birds or even Dogs.
33- I have dreams about different/certain animals, does this mean I am Therian?
Most likely not. Animals have different symbolic meanings to cultures and individuals, and dreaming about them can be down to other circumstances or situations in your life that aren’t related to Therianthropy. Sometimes your dreams may relate to something Spiritual or Therianthropic, but it is up to the individual to discover the meaning or purpose of these.
34- Does being Therian mean you have special powers (like better sight or hearing, the ability to fly, balance better or run faster)?
No, not at all. Therianthropy has no physical effects on the human body. People who suggest that they can fly, run faster or hear clearer thanks to their ‘Therianthropy’ are sadly mistaken or deluded.
35- I always hear about wolf Therians, are all Therians wolves? Are there Therians who identify with other animals?
In Therianthropy we see that the most common animal is the Wolf, and although there is much speculation and discussion about the reasons as to why this is there is no clear answer for it. However if you take time to access different Communities you will find a vast array of different animal Kin, and it is not particularly rare to see many different species and individuals. Feline, Canine, Equine, Avian, Reptilian, Aquatic, Land-based, the possibilities are as numerous as the species existing or extinct on Earth.
36- Do Therianthropes behave like the animal they identify with (will a bear Therian always behave like a bear)?
Regardless of a Therianthropes animal side they are still human beings and should/will behave (for the most part) as their culture or society dictates. For some Kin it is refreshing to behave as their animal counterpart occasionally. There is the question of ‘if you had never seen a bear, would you know how a bear acts?’ We understand animals through what different studies people have performed and what medias’ have been gathered, but we cannot replicate the behaviour or understand its meaning on the same level.
37- You have mentioned that I probably cannot become Therian, but can I still connect with the Therian Community? Can I have Therian friends even though I’m not Therian? What are the requirements of joining a Therian Community?
First off, different Communities have different requirements so checking the site rules or speaking to an Administrator would be beneficial first. Secondly, many Therian Communities enjoy sharing their experiences with others and should welcome all people who have an interest in Otherkin or Therianthropy. As mentioned before, Therianthropes are (for the most part) just people, and enjoy having friends as much as anyone else. It all depends on the individual.
38- I think I am a Therian, but I’m not sure… What can I do to find out?
If you believe that you are Therian, the best thing you can do is research into;
What you feel you have an affinity with, Why you feel that way, How (and how long) has it affected you, And Where you want to go from here.
They Key Points to try are;
Meditation, Species Research, Keeping a Journal (of things you discover), Talking to other Kin, Keeping a clear/open mind, And exploring yourself.
39- How I can be completely sure that I am a Therian?
No one can ever be completely sure because there are no known scientific methods that can prove or disprove it. There is no way to fully determine the existence of/personal reassurance of Therianthropy.
40- I think I am an animal… but not an Earthly one (for example; a Dragon) am I still Therian?
If you are not an Earthly animal, you are probably Otherkin. All Beasts that do not (have not) appeared on Earth are listed as Otherkin. Examples of these are; Dragon, Gryphon, Phoenix, Manticore and Sphinx Even hybrids like Winged Wolves and Feline/Bird hybrids are known as Otherkin.
41- I am a Cat Therian, and my partner is a Rat Therian. Does this mean we aren’t compatible because cats eat rats?
This is a common question, but its answer is similar to that of #36. Although Therianthropy is a prominent part of a Therians’ life, it is not going to be the most dominant part. Therians can have friends, colleagues and partners from all walks of life, and it should not matter which Kintypes mix with each as long as the basic foundations of a relationship structure are there. A Therianthrope cannot shrug off every negative action as being Kin related, they must take responsibility to better themselves if there is an issue. There is no reason that a Cat and Rat Therian cannot have a successful relationship as long as there is Trust, Respect and Understanding. Just like all other relationships.
42- What is better, to be Therian or to be Human?
That all depends on your own personal interpretation of Therianthropes and Human Beings and whether or not you think they are much different. Regardless of whether someone is Therian or not, they have the same life experiences as other people do. Kin often feel separated or detached from society and can often be socially awkward, low in self-esteem, shy and lonely, but they can also have a strong sense of inner pride, a love of nature/nurture, a passion for creativity and Spirituality, and a desire to constantly explore new things. But so too do many human beings.
All Therianthopes and Otherkin must remember that they are human beings too, and that many of the experiences they share are often shared by other people all over the world, regardless of whether they are Kin or not. There are people in the world (both Therian/Otherkin and ordinary) that are selfless and kind or callous and cruel regardless of what they are. Without humanity, you would not have a brain capable of comprehending your self-awareness, let alone contemplating Therianthropy. So perhaps it is better to be both.
43- What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a Therianthrope in the modern world?
Many or the advantages and disadvantages that Therianthropes face are the same for other people, and there are not many that solely affect Therianthropes.
The negatives are;
Their feelings and beliefs (as answered in #42) often cause them to feel detached from society or socially awkward. Those who feel effects of ‘Phantom Limbs’ and ‘Shifts’ have had apparent difficulty hiding these from society or controlling them, which may cause frustration. They often worry that people may not accept them for what they are/believe, and this can often affect relationships at home, in the workplace, or with friends.
The positives are;
They often dream more, have good imagination and the desire to be creative or expressive. They keep a relatively open mind and are interested in exploring (themselves, topics, ideas and opinions). They often feel a deep connection to the Universe or to Spirituality. (but these cannot be said for everyone)
44- What should I do, if I come across this behaviour from someone claiming to be Therian?; “I am a powerful lycan, when do we start fighting those bloodsucking vampires?” “I can change shape under a full moon and my eyes glow bright red!” “I can run faster than a cheetah and my sense of smell is amazing.”
Simply put, if an individual states something like this they are not Therian. These are signs of fictive Roleplay, examples are; an individual is either clearly deluded, extremely misinformed or generally entering a conversation or Community with the intent to ‘troll’. A ‘troll’ will deliberately post material with the intent to provoke an emotional reaction, and should be responded to in a calm and impassive way or deleted immediately.
45- I’m a Therian but my life might be affected negatively if I tell people what I am. How do I tell my friends/family/co-workers that I am a Therian? If I tell them they may think I am weird/crazy or stop talking to me.
The best thing to do is to test the waters before you dive in to a deep conversation about everything you think and feel. Approach people individually, wait until the moment when they are face to face with a related topic. For example, when they are watching an advert or show on TV about Animals/Spirituality, or reading a book/magazine that you can draw conversation from. Even if you have pets, ask the person whether you think it’s possible for pets to have personalities, then for pets to have the souls of dead family members. If they respond well to these, you can ask about people with the souls of animals.
It’s all in the way you talk about the idea; keep the discussion separate from yourself until you know how they react to the overall topic, then it’s up to you how far you go. If you are patient and approach the conversation wisely, speaking purely out of curiosity, it will be easy to discern their beliefs before involving your own. In relation to this, if you cannot see yourself talking to the person about Animal Spirituality as a topic, it does not bode well for you to talk to them about the next step – your beliefs about yourself, because either you are extremely uncomfortable or awkward with the idea and you may handle the discussion badly, or you may already know that they will not understand or take you seriously. In which case, you must decide whether or not it would be best simply not telling them.
No matter what, I would like to stress that you don’t need to have the acceptance of other people to be validated as an individual, and if you are truly serious about your Therianthropy but have the misfortune of not being able to tell a friend/partner/family member because you know their Religious/Spiritual/Lifestyle views will not accept yours, don’t let it affect you. Be proud of yourself, and if you need to find acceptance seek out people who will show you respect and guidance, and those who will accept you for you.