Lycan, were, therian, otherkin… there are so many variations and definitions that it’s easy to get lost in it all. Many have presumed to be the “authority” on what we (weres) are but the truth is that no one can be. We all experience what we are differently and in different situations. Some of us come to the realization of what we are in a snap. Some of us awaken to what we are from some type of stress or trauma. Some of us have just always known what we are.
I am a therian. My name is Gorath. I use the term therian since it’s the most widely accepted in our community at the moment. Personally I prefer “were” since it was the first term that I became comfortable with. In this article I will be talking about my theories and experiences. This is by no means meant to be something to define my kind. This is just my side of the looking glass.
As with most communities that are considered outside what typical society considers “normal”, therians are subject to a lot of myth and misinformation. Hollywood has made great work of sensationalizing not only the therian community, but many others, most notably the vampiric community. Unlike the vampiric community, however, therians don’t have the same media appeal. Many would say that statement is inaccurate due to the much-popularized Furry community; however there is a large difference in the furry community and therian community. The Furry community is more idolizing and love for particular animals and wanting to be part of those creatures. As shown in shows like CSI, the furry community has members that dress and love and, in a sense, worship animals. Where the difference comes in with therians is that they do not idolize animals; the animal is part of who and what they are. All arguments aside, it can be hard to tell the two communities apart. There are therians that are furries as well. It’s not a far stretch for a therian to become “fur” considering that they have that much more of an affinity with the animal they associate, since that animal is part of them in the deepest way.
Now most people at this point will be wondering what I mean when I say that “the animal is part of them”. Well I’ve seen in myself and other therians an animal instinct that goes beyond just simple fascination. Most therians talk about having an animal spirit. I can neither prove nor disprove that statement. We all define who we are and how we are by our beliefs and the knowledge we gain “soul searching”. Personally I associate my spirit and instincts with a more canine influence. I will not go as far as to classify myself as a wolf therian (were-wolf), but I will say that my spirit and instincts match that species. Whether a therian believes they have a full animal spirit, or just instincts; the common denominator is that they can’t turn on and off what they are. It is who they are through and through day in and day out.
As mentioned before, there are a lot of myths and misinformation regarding the therian community and therians in whole. The following will be my attempt in trying to quell many of the misconceptions people may have about my kind.
Q: Do therians metamorphose like in the movies?
A: This has been a much argued question with just as controversial an answer. The simple answer is no. Up to this point, I have never seen physical proof or certified documentation showing a physical change such as in the movies. It’s not to say it is not possible, a lot of therians (myself included) would love to have that ability. Scientifically however there is no proof that therians have or will ever be capable of doing a “Physical Shift”. The Term “Shift” or “Shifting” refers to the change in a therian from their normal state to something feral. A little more on shifting later. There have been stories of men and women changing into large animal-like creatures and ravaging people and livestock. People has been burned at the stake or hung for confessing to being werewolves. I believe that back then, what people saw as a large creature or monster is only what their mind could perceive in the face of panic. For anyone that has seen a therian “shift” they will know that when a therian when shifted can be quite threatening. Given the state of mind someone would be in, you can imagine that their mind would perceive that therian to change into something extraordinary.
Q: Does the full moon have an effect on therians?
A: The moon affects therians the same way as it affects everyone else. People and scientists have argued over what influence the moon could have on people. The way I look at it, the moon affects the tides of the ocean with the gravity from its orbital path around the earth. We as beings are made up of approximately 70% water so I’d imagine that we are not immune to the moon’s effects, whether that be severe or subtle. With that said, look to the first answer. The moon does not make therians turn into monsters. The one influence of the full moon that I have noticed being a therian may have to do with my instincts. Just like in the animal kingdom, some therians are very active during the full moon and some are quiet and would rather be secluded. This behavior is something that also been noticed in animals in the wild. Whereas predatorial animals will be more active in the full moon since they can see better that night to hunt, prey animals will be more skittish and tend to hide more since there is more exposure. I believe that therians subconsciously play to this instinct since it’s part of them. Do I believe that this effect is exclusive to therians? No, I don’t. I do however believe that therians are more susceptible to its effects.
Q: Are therians allergic to silver and is that the only way they can die?
A: Therians can be killed just like anyone else. As for the silver allergy, the only therians who are allergic to silver are the ones that have metallurgic allergies. These allergies are the same that can affect anyone, therian or not. I personally have been wearing silver during most my life and have not had any adverse reaction.
Q: Are therians slave guardians to vampires or is there a vampire / therian war?
A: Simple… Absolutely not and emphatically no. Usually someone either therian or Vampiric that claims otherwise has been watching too much Underworld. There have been rumors and stories of such battles and fights. In truth that is all they are; stories. Now personally I don’t speak for either community. I’m sure there are individuals in either community that may have issues with the other, but that is more a matter of personal choice than it is anything else.
Q: Can you be turned into a therian if one bites you or its blood gets into you?
A: No. Just like you cannot be turned into a vampire, you also can not be turned into a therian. Being therian is something that you are born with. If a therian bites you, all you get is pissed off. Well… that is unless you’re into that sort of thing.
Q: If you are a therian, does that mean your children will be as well?
A: There is no guarantee that a child from a therian will be therian as well. There has never been a proven link between genetics and being therian. Now for a personal viewpoint on that, I am therian because my mother is although she is not awakened to it. My younger brother however is not therian and shows no signs of being a latent one, either.
Q: Are therians only wolves or are there other types of therians?
A: It’s a general misconception that therians are only “werewolves”. There are many different animal influences when it comes to being therian. Personally, as I mentioned before, I’m more canine-influenced. I’ve met others that are feline-influenced, equine-influenced, vulpine-influenced. There are many other influences and at one point there was a big joke in some online forums about a “werebunny”. Essentially though, any therian can have any influence. That influence, whether it is a predatory animal or prey animal, makes no difference aside from how they act instinctually.
Q: Is there a difference between a lycanthrope, werewolf, or therian?
A: Aside from that sounding like a “walk into a bar joke”, they are all terms that essentially stand for the same thing. It’s a matter of what is presently accepted. Some would say that a therian is more spiritual than the others, but essentially there is no difference. The only real difference is in personal opinion. Whether you are therian or not, there is always a lot of folklore, mysticism, and legend with this or any other community that deals with what’s considered “out of the norm”. If you’re interested in therians, take everything including this article with a grain of salt. If you are a therian, just remember that you can read everything there is, hear every opinion and theory, in the end it’s your personal experience that will dictate what defines you.
Being aware that I am a therian has opened up the world a bit. I’ve been awakened to it since I was the age of 10. It’s an experience that many therians I’ve spoken with share. When someone becomes aware that they are indeed therian, they go through what is known as “awakening”. Awakening is when you suddenly feel instincts that until then were dormant and would only just graze the surface of your everyday persona. The actual experience is different for all therians. Some, like me, suddenly see the world through new eyes. They have a higher sense of awareness compared to what they felt before and the world looks more vibrant and alive. Some feel a deep spiritual connection to their awakened instincts and suddenly feel whole. Some therians completely change their attitude and personality with the new feelings and instincts they now feel. It’s a new beginning for them.
Now, awakening can happen at any time and at any point in a therian’s life. As for me, I awakened young due to traumatic events that forced me to defend myself. Others can awaken far later in life. What triggers an awakening is also varied. There are many cases that therians like me have awakened in response to very dangerous and high-stress trauma. There are also therians that have awakened due to meditation and soul searching and there are some that just awoke one morning and just knew. Awakening is not something that can be forced onto a therian. Speaking from personal experience, awakening with trauma induction has at times left a rather detrimental effect on me as I’m sure it has to others. Counting on the circumstances, traumatic awakening can leave a therian with what I call a short-fuse reaction. Whatever situation triggered them can also trigger them to shift at similar circumstances subconsciously. It takes a lot of work to control that reaction but I can tell you that it is possible. Even though the other ways to awaken are more present and preferable, they are also not without their negative effect. In particular is the soul searching awakening that usually instills a spiritual feeling. A therian that has spiritually awakened can sometime fall prey to the mythos and legend of what they are. They tend to look past the practical and wholly base their existence on the mysticism of what they are. There is nothing wrong to be spiritually connected to who and what you are, so long as it does not blind you to everything else that is outside that.
Awakening in essence is like a second puberty for the mind and soul. therians are not the only ones who have awakenings either. Many otherkin communities and even the vampiric community also have their own versions of awakening.
This topic has been one of much controversy in the therian community. Typically, the thought of shifting brings visions of people changing into big scary beasts like in the movies, and those who claimed to do so without a shred of evidence were generally ostracized. To some, shifting means the mental change from human thought to the animal within them — also referred to as mental shifting or m-shifts. Physical shifts (p-shift) was a no-no term for years because of the aforementioned movie shifting concept. Personally I believe that a p-shift is possible but not in the terms of Hollywood movies. From my personal experience I know that when I’ve shifted, I’ve had physical enhancement. If you’re wondering what I mean by enhancement, I’m referring to the increase in strength, speed, stamina, pain tolerance, and higher senses. I’m not talking on a super-human level, but definitely increased abilities. It dawned on me that this “enhancement” was in fact the fight-or-flight response we all have. Where the difference I found was that therians could better control themselves and utilize that response on an instinctual level. Instead of just being half there or going berserk, I found that our instincts, in fact, kick in and we are more animal-like in thought and action. When I have been totally under, it’s hard to describe that sensation but it almost feels pure. No reasoning or scheming, just the need to survive and the drive of the trigger moment.
From the full shifts that I can recall, I broke down my progression from normal state to trigger moment and ran it against some other therians’ experiences with the same thing.
Normal state: Pretty self-explanatory. A state of calm or normality from your every day goings on.
Stress state: Even though this state is common with anyone therian or not, it does open a therian’s instincts and risks the start towards triggering a full shift.
Catastrophic state: This is the point where a therian is pushed into anger and the need to either calm or survive kicks in. At this state a therian still has the opportunity to gear down and go back to normal. However on the flip side this is a state where the fight-or-flight response is starting to kick in and sending signals to the body to prepare. Mentally, a therian at this point is losing more of themselves to their instincts.
Cataclysmic state: This is the point of no return. At this state, you can’t be reasoned with, you don’t understand what is being said to you, you only have one thought, survive and protect.
Full shift & the Trigger moment: The only translation of this state I can give from personal experience is waiting for the right moment. If you have ever seen big cats hunting in the tall grass, it’s the closest example I have to utilize. At this point the only way you break out of a shift is to let it run its course and your body shuts down, your safety trigger is used (something or someone that causes you to stop long enough for shock to set in), or you are incapacitated.
There is nothing cool or fun about this kind of shift. It’s raw, it’s extremely painful, and it leaves you defenseless when the shock your body has endured hits you. In my case with how my past was, I am in constant pain. The consequence I suffer from shifting too many times. The more you shift, the more connected with your instincts you will get and the higher risk of losing yourself to those instincts.
The older I get, the more my instincts become part of my everyday persona. I don’t know if it’s just my case but I am sure others have had similar experiences.
Being a therian does not make you a super hero or better than anyone else. You may see the world in a different light, but everyone sees life with different eyes. It takes work and responsibility to not only live with it, but to not let it control your actions. Being therian does not give you an excuse to be a savage creature. You are who and what you are and knowing that not only opens you to more of a world around, but helps you to learn more about yourself as a person, as a human, and as a therian.
For those of you reading this that are therian I say thank you for your time and realize that I’m not saying this is how it is. This is how it has been for me and a few others I’ve met. If this helps you then it was worth all the effort and experiences.
For those of you reading this who wanted to know more about our (therian) kind, I thank you for your open mind and beg you remember that this is one of many points of view. We are not evil or the works of the devil or pagan gods. We are therians, another of life’s creations, like you.
Thank you and may nature’s kiss grace you and see you home.