So as you may know, I personally am not therian, but rather I am what is known in our community as Kith, or otherhearted. And it's relatively new to me, as one of our own members, Calico introduced this form of identity to me some time back. In a nutshell it is when a person identifies with a species instead of as a species, as in therianthropy. I want this to be a guide to help people to understand what is kith and give them another possibility to look at when on the journey to self discovery in regards to therianthropy. For an in depth look at my own personal experience with kith here is the thread:Being Animal Hearted.
Terms and Definitions:
So as with therianthropy and otherkin, there is certain terms and definitions to help articulate our experience. This is the jargon that is related to being kith.
Kith: When a person experiences a strong connection and/or bond with a non human species. Although it is similar to therianthropy, the distinction is that you identify WITH a non human species versus AS a non human species. It is also a synonym for animal/otherhearted.
In depth analysis: So it can be quite difficult to understand this distinction because one asks themselves, "What does this feel like?" Well to put it simply, when you identify as something, think of it as looking at something and having the feeling of "That is me. In an essence that is what I am as a living being. That is who I am." But when you identify with something you have the feeling of "I see myself in that. It is relateble to who I am but that is not what I am as a being." In other terms, for example a wolf therian would say. I am a wolf, that is who I am. But a wolf kith would say, I am like a wolf, but that is not me.
Kithtype: Similar to theriotype or kintype, kithtype just describes the species that you are kith with.
Animalhearted: Similar to the term therianthropy, this term describes a kith experience when you are kith when "earthly" animals.
Otherhearted: Silmilar to the term otherkin, this term describes a kith experience when you are kith with "non earthly" creatures. This term entails all creatures that fall under the otherkin umbrella.
Here I will describe the, I guess facts and misconceptions that surround being kith in a Q&A format.
Q:Is being kith the same thing as being therian or otherkin?
A: No. There is a major distinction between the two. Kith is identifying with a non human species while therianthropy and otherkin is identifying as a non human species.
Q: Can you be kith and therian/otherkin at the same time?
A: Absolutely! Just like how you can be therian and otherkin at the same time, you can be kith and kin at the same time.
Q: Can you be kin and kith with the same species?
A: I mean sure? Like Logically it doesn't make sense because to some extent you have to have some connection with that species in order to identify as it, at least in my opinion. But hey, it is your experience so you label it as you please.
Q: Is being kith a choice?
A: Okay so at first yes, I used to think it was a choice. I used to think that you can choose any species and just say "Yep that one is like me." But as I look into and analyze my experience, I don't think it is a choice anymore. If I try to choose a species to identify with I don't feel it is the same as the ones I already identify with. That species has to strike a chord with you in order for you to say you identify with it just how it is with therianthropy. But if you ask others, some say it is a choice. But as I said it is your experience you define it as you see fit.
Q: Isn't kith and being an animal superfan the same thing?
A: No. You can have a million favorite animals but that doesn't mean you are kith with all of them no matter how much you love them. This is because you can love something but feel no connection or bond with it. In order to classify yourself as kith you need to have a strong connection and/or bond. Loving something isn't sufficient, otherwise than being kith wouldn't really be a thing ya know?
Q: Can the species you are kith with be your favorite animal?
A: Yes. As long as you experience what I described above. The animals I am kith with are coincidentally my favorite animals and always have been. But I have other favorite animals that I am not kith with because I don't experience what I described above.
Q: Can kith shift?
A: To my knowledge, I haven't heard of a kith shifting. Personally I do not shift. But sometimes I experience M Shift like experiences. So this one is unknown to my to be quiet honest.
So that's it! A kith guide! If you have any questions feel free to ask in the thread of privately.