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Confusion about the meaning of therian
Der_Hyazinth_Ara
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Post: #1
Confusion about the meaning of therian
One thing I have noticed is that most therians are wolves, and the majority of these people describe their therianthropy as feeling a connection to the wolf and as it being a belief system.

I am concerned that many people who see themselves as therians do so because of confusion in this regard. And I hypothesise that this is why there are so many wolves. Many people think being a therian is merely feeling a connection to an animal (which basically means to identify WITH a non-human animal), when it is actually much more than that. It means to be an animal stuck in a human body, whether you like being this way or not. In other words, to identify AS a non-human animal.

It is important that we work to end the spread of this misinformation. @Wolf-Daughter and @PinkDolphin your help with this would be appreciated. @LycanTheory I don't know if you want to make this an Important Thread so it is more visible to guests and new members.

Kind Regards,

Hy

2017-09-06 9:36
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PinkDolphin
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Post: #2
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
I have actually made a video very reliable to this. I made a video about being Kith, otherhearthed and animalhearthed. As i think this feeling a connection is mostly A. spirit guides (or general misconception) or B. the lack of knowledge about Kith.

With the last thing I mean it is generally unknown that there does excist something of 'being kith', try typing it on google, or youtube or whatever and you will only find a very small amount of information. In my opinion being kith should be better known.

I myself didn't even know of the excistence before I joined this forum, even while I really did quiet some research upfront.

Because of this I made a youtube video on my channel before about what is being kith as in my opinion I think it's really bound to this matter. In the future I plan to make a video about the difference about connection and identiying and what makes and does not make you a therian from those.
I did a relatable video about it before 'What is therianthropy' however as the misconception is so big I would love making a video JUST and ONLY about connection vs identifying. I shall update you when this happens (however it may take a while as school has began once again)

Being Kith video:




WOOF!
PD

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2017-09-06 11:20
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BearX
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Post: #3
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
What you describe is very common on Tumblr.

It's one of the things that was honestly difficult for me to reorient to when I rejoined the online community; since back in the 90s the distinction wasn't so solid. If you read the AHWW FAQ, it uses WITH where we would now use AS. There wasn't really much difference between WITH and AS. Many folks didn't feel comfortable using the term AS -- it was too raw, since the mirror reflected a human face. WITH put enough distance to keep them from feeling crazy until they were ready to embrace AS. Nothing really changed, only the comfort with expressing the feeling. Identifying AS can be a lot more socially awkward/embarassing than identifying WITH, even if the internal feeling is the same for them. It's something I think we should be sensitive to.

Therianthropy isn't one size fits all, many of us experience it in different ways, and it can take time to wrap our minds around it when we first learn there is a term to express how we feel. Spiritual therians can also make it more complicated, since often they'll refer to it in ways that sound like their theriotype is seperate from them. When I am strongly shifted, for instance, the mindset is so alien to how I normally think, that in many ways it can seem like a completely unique individual -- but I still have my memories, and thoughts, they just occur in the background, subsumed by more primal drives. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with that being as much me as the analytical, calm mindset I have most of the time. I will still refer to that mindset as "the bear", because it is convenient to do so. Even though that is just another aspect of myself; just as someone will say, that they felt "their anger".

Obviously, I'm not meaning to muddy the waters, just to add some historical and social context and perhaps some further observations into why some individuals may describe their therianthropy that way.

My own theory about the abundance of wolves deals with culture and imprinting as a young age, and the co-evolution of humans and dogs. Canids are much closer to our hearts, collectively, than most other animals in the modern world. I suspect that there was a much wider variation in animal identification 10,000 years ago.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-09-06 13:59 by BearX.)
2017-09-06 13:57
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #4
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
I agree with you, Hyazinth, that a lot of people (especially online), who say they're therian just doesn't know what a therian is.

I also agree with you, Bear (I think), that it may well be that there are a lot of wolf therians because...well, there are a lot of wolf therians. Until we know the mechanism behind theriotype formation, before we start speculating on why there are so many wolf therians, we need to nail down that there are so many wolf therians.
2017-09-06 16:44
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StarDolphin
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Post: #5
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
Ill cover this in my podcast.

@PinkDolphin u holding the chicken though omg so adorableeee

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~Just one Smile is worth all the while~

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(This post was last modified: 2017-09-06 17:16 by StarDolphin.)
2017-09-06 17:14
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PinkDolphin
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Post: #6
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
(2017-09-06 17:14)StarDolphin Wrote:  Ill cover this in my podcast.

@PinkDolphin u holding the chicken though omg so adorableeee

Oh I'll check out your podcast as soon as it goes up. Just in case you do so, in some podcasts they play a small part of a video and then give their own opinion on the matter. I'm not saying you need to play my video. But I know podcats get copyright strikes by playing other videos. So I say upfront f you Ever want to play a video of mine in your podcast you have full permission to do so.

EDIT: oh and thanks! I really love chickens Smile Chickens are friends.

WOOF!
PD

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(This post was last modified: 2017-09-06 18:54 by PinkDolphin.)
2017-09-06 18:40
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Wolf Daughter
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Post: #7
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
I've been thinking about this change in our language to describe and define what Therianthropy and Therianthrope mean. While the older threads on AHWW and older versions of the definition might have "connection with", most of those individuals seem be talking about the same thing that we are talking about now when using "identifies as". I see this as a natural progression in our understanding about ourselves. Changing to "as" was also a needed step to check for who has done a little homework in this age of social media. Is this check always accurate? No. People can use the wrong wording and be a Therian. People can use the right wording and later discover that they are not a Therian. Is this change in our language helpful? I personally think so.

The community has always seen people who thought it was just role-playing or meant for people who really like animals. The terms other-hearted and animal-hearted have appeared to also help make this distinction as part of the language changes. Though, being animal-hearted doesn't seem to be a new concept. There is a thread on AHWW from 1997 where someone asked about being "wolfhearted" because the person claimed to "adore wolves and werewolves". It kind of seems like this language is just solidifying some concepts that have kind of always been around, but there wasn't an agreed upon way to express them.

2017-09-08 2:47
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #8
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
Aye, changing from "with" to "as" is purely for clarifying what we mean. As time goes on, we are finding areas that have been sorta cloudy and we find better ways to communicate what we mean.

But we can be obsessive/compulsive about it all, too. New folks to the community can very easily say "with" when we would use "as" because they don't know the precising language that we've developed. The use of "with" isn't a very good benchmark for whether a person is a therian or not. Actually, whether a person views their theriotypes as another being is not very good either because at the extreme end of the shifting continuum, shifts look very much like multiple personalities. Just because a person gives their theriotype a name and talks about it in third person doesn't necessarily mean that it is an external being.

It's way too easy to get tripped up in words. The thing about "were" vs. "therian" is purely discombobulation from language. The originators of "therian" intended it as a synonym for "were", pure and simple, and we made a big convoluted mess of it.
2017-09-08 4:56
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BearX
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Post: #9
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
(2017-09-08 4:56)WolfVanZandt Wrote:  The use of "with" isn't a very good benchmark for whether a person is a therian or not. Actually, whether a person views their theriotypes as another being is not very good either because at the extreme end of the shifting continuum, shifts look very much like multiple personalities. Just because a person gives their theriotype a name and talks about it in third person doesn't necessarily mean that it is an external being.

I agree that we've made a big mess of it. I have seen MANY folks get run out of the Facebook communities over this. "You named your theriotype!" and then they are summarily booted. It's hugely depressing, because if the folks who were giving them a hard time about it would have bothered to read all the rest of what the individual had been saying, it would have been obvious that they were describing therianthropy.

My shifts can have that level of intensity. Reemul and I used to discuss the possibility that therianthropy was a form of DID. Some of the modern community discounts those kinds of shifts as being "not therianthropy" either, because they can be terribly disorienting and you'll see folks in the more toxic communities say things like, "If you can't control your shifts, then it isn't therianthropy." It's both frustrating and disheartening, particularly because it is often the younger members who will say things like this. I don't know if it is because there aren't enough examples, or if people who have that level of shift were mostly run off.

At least here on TG, we can discuss it without anyone getting bent out of shape.

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2017-09-08 12:17
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #10
RE: Confusion about the meaning of therian
People are too ready to see their own experiences as the model for the community. We're a lot more diverse and complex than that. I think that Wittgenstein would have understood the commonality of Weres. It's not that we are all alike - what we have between us are family resemblances. Coyote and I are always bringing up how people assume that other people in the tribe (that look absolutely nothing like us) are confused as close family members. Coyote is a tall, gaunt, dark man with an Italian heritage and people often assume that Ti, a hefty, red haired viking looking guy is his brother. I have an old Howl photo that I had hanging in my office and people always, off the bat, assumed that it was a family reunion photo. None of us look at all alike.

But there's a "family resemblance" that it's hard to put your finger on. It's there but it's hard to define.

I've been called an "elitist" a lot. (A lot of the Weres that have been around awhile get that.) I don't tell people that they are or are not Weres, but I do say things like "Just because a person says they're a Were doesn't necessarily mean they are a Were," and "There are a lot of people who are on Were forums that are not Were." That's never going to be very popular because people want the luxury of saying that they're Were when they very strongly suspect, if not Know, that they aren't Were. I mess with people's convenient beliefs.

But I do it because I care about the Were community. I want it to grow, become established, and thrive. And I want that partially because I care about humanity and I think that we're important to humanity in general.

The reason I "know" that there are a lot of Weres online that are not Weres is because I've been immersed in the offline community where the anonymity of the Internet doesn't exists. Most of the Weres offline are actually Weres. They strongly set off my weredar. They don't obsess about wereness or their theriotypes or their were experiences, nor are they trying extremely hard to conform to a were model. They are interested in the things going on around them and although they tend to be introverted in society and introspective - they don't introspect to the people around them. No more than Mainstreamers obsess about being human. anyway.

Most weres offline are actually were and I know a lot of them personally. I have hosted Howls for years and I have helped other weres host Howls. I have visited WereHouses for years and I have helped Weres straighten out personal problems both online and offline. And I can't ignore the fact that there are people online that are absolutely not the same people that I know offline as Weres and Therians.

One thing the Weres have a problem with is ignoring inconvenient facts. Despite the common belief that we're fantasizers, Weres are very solidly nailed to the earth - quite often, even when they very much do not want to be. It's almost a curse - they can't ignore the facts (not for long anyway, as reality has a nasty habit of smacking Weres upside the head.)
2017-09-08 22:11
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