literature

What is Therianthropy?

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The saying goes that if you ask eleven Therians what this thing called Therianthropy is, that you’ll get twelve different definitions. This long and somewhat daunting word stems from the Greek word therion, translating to ‘beast’, and the word for a human or a man, anthropos. So then, by the sheer translation, someone could indeed infer that we’re a community of beast-people wandering the streets in plain sight of humanity as some deformed mix of animal and human ravaging on human flesh in the night. While the beast-human, part is true in a sense—the thing about us wandering the streets, eating people and whatnot, is distinctly false. There is a fine line between a Therian (or ‘were’, a term most use to describe themselves instead of typing out some long winded word) and someone with Clinical Lycanthropy, which is the belief that you’re a real-life werewolf with fur and such.

Therianthropy is, to me at the very least, a constant state of self-awareness and the belief that while our bodies are 100% human—the souls that we’re born with are entirely different. This is the primary difference between the reality of being a Therian, and fantasy of a clinical disorder. We’re human. It’s a simple fact that we both accept and understand with surprising clarity for people with beliefs as ‘out there’ as ours. Humanity though, only extends to a certain part of our being and that’s where the beliefs start. Our bodies are human, but our minds, souls, et cetera, aren’t. They’re entirely different—entirely something more primal—something more animal. It’s the fact itself that you are that makes us, you, different.

The question of ‘How did you/we arrive to such an odd conclusion?’ is soomething that circulates the community as a whole like a huge air current. It’s always going and always there. I personally didn’t wake up and think to myself, “Hey! I’m some sort of fox thing!”. It’s not that simple.

Like the definition itself, the arrival to the conclusion is one that entertains many theories on ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘who’ and other questions that all fall back unto themselves like a wobbly child in the dirt. Even if you’ve studied everything and know all there is to know about every little detail of the subject with full and complete understanding—that doesn’t mean you’ve affirmed your status as a ‘were’. Being a Therian revolves around, completely and wholly, real-life experiences—not theories or knowledge of the subject. Experiences that, at the time, are perfectly normal; however, it is only when the feelings die down and you’re left standing there do you think: “Wait a minute...” Experiences that make you question, bit by gradual bit, who you are—what you are.

It is these nagging questions that drive most to search themselves for the answers to these questions. Day bay day these questions pop up in the seemingly most random of times and every time a little part of you thinks that, “Normal people don’t do that…”. It says that you shouldn’t feel a burning, raging sense of separation when a wolf calls and its pack answers. Shouldn’t feel some imaginary set of hackles rise when a dog growls and snarls at you; the part of you that looks back at your childhood and thinks, “Should a child really be thinking that?” The part of you that takes those uncertain steps back and looks at your life under some imaginary microscope is the part of you that thinks, “Hey. I’m different”. Yet you do. You question.

Being a Therian isn’t just about those off times when you feel different. If you’re not having some strange feeling of abandonment, some sense that you’re more than human—that doesn’t mean you stop being Therian. Just because you feel normal and regular—like every other human—that doesn’t mean you stop being what you are and start up another time like a video game. It’s a constant and unyielding thing. It doesn’t go up and leave like an unfaithful lover or a random idea.  Even if you, in a spurge of denial and disillusionment, tell yourself that you’re not—if you truly are Therian—it doesn’t stop being true just because you tell it to.

This is who we are. It’s about having these experiences that make us question, this knowledge that makes us think, yet still fitting into the mold of human for the simple reason that we are human. We’re about finding the balance between animal souls and minds with human bodies; different and yet somehow the same. It’s not all pretty and joyful though. Sometimes it’s frustrating, others it’s really boring. It’s life. It’s not all special. But you know what? It’s who we are.

If you’re still interested after all this rambling and musing, keep an eye out. I might write a few more essays. I’ll try to answer any questions I can, just post them here or if you want to be more private about it—send me a note. I’ll get back to you—though seeing as I’m a busy little fox I might not get back to you right away. Thanks for reading!

~Keaya
February 2009
On a more serous note, I attempted to explain what Therianthropy is in my own definitions through my own experiences last month.

There are lots more out there more experienced than I about the many technicalities, but I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability.
© 2009 - 2022 Ashen-Fox
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RedRidingWolf1365's avatar
If I just so happen to discover I'm a therian, my animal soul might be a dormouse. Those things sleep for years, only getting up to eat. I'd do that if I could. XD

Plus, it's not wolf or dragon, so there's that too.