If you have come here to assist yourself in the journey of therianthropy and are new to the subject, I'd like to challenge you to read through all of this essay, for if you are unable to (excluding people who cannot read through this because of ADHD, dyslexia, etc. of course), perhaps you don't have the patience for a discovery as large as therianthropy and may wish to work on maturing and disciplining yourself prior to making such a discovery about yourself. I cannot stop you from continuing to research therianthropy, as this and everything else in this essay stems only from personal opinion and experiences.
I see a lot of undiscovered therians who come in to this big subject of therianthropy knowing nothing about it and struggling to figure out how to express the weird thing inside them that may or may not be a theriotype, and they have no idea how to figure out what exactly they are or the specifics of it. That's okay, we all have to start somewhere, right? I was like this when I first started as well. On other sites there are guides on how to perform whatever it is that they do, things like Tulpamancy, Daemonism, lucid dreaming, etc. I began thinking, why don't we have something like that? Sure, someone could argue that its because therianthropy is such a personal experience and there's so many different ways to go about it and whatever but, when we get down to it, there's a few main strategies that people use to discover their theriotype, but once they do, no one thinks to look back and write up how they did it, why would they? For the next generation of undiscovered therians that don't know what their doing. Therians are going to start jumping from theriotype to theriotype without a second thought because they have no clue what their doing and are going to become 'fluffy' by accident. With Tumblrkin running rampant and so many youthful members in the community now, I figure that we need a guide for various strategies so that members can actually figure out what they're doing. There's nothing wrong with needing a helping hand and this essay will provide just that to those who seek a psychological or a spiritual explanation to their identity. Now, before this intro becomes far too long and I lose my audience before we've even begun, let's get in to this.
What is Therianthropy?
What, you didn't think that you were going to discover your theriotype without even knowing what Therianthropy is
did you? This section shall provide you with a basic understanding of what therianthropy is or just a bit of a refresher. I'm not going to go in to definitions or anything, if you need those you can head on over to our front page here on Therian Guide and find those out for yourself. Instead, I'll be addressing the common mistakes that lead people to the incorrect theriotype.
- Therianthropy is identifying as something, not with something. This might just be one of my biggest pet peeves in the community. Nothing against those who have made an honest mistake or have a problem differentiating between 'as' and 'with', but there's a fine line that you should definitely know of. I'm going to first address how one may identify 'with' something, and if this sounds like you, you may want to consider being Animal Hearted or exploring the concepts of Daemonism or Spirit Guides.
If you feel a deep connection with something, as in you feel that you somehow understand that animal, wish you were that animal, can relate to that animal emotionally or spiritually, have a deep love for that animal, feel like you have an instant relationship with that animal, feel a spiritual bond with that animal, or something else along those lines, you identify with an animal. Whatever this animal is, wolf, catfish, falcon, etc. Even if it's something mythical like a unicorn or a dragon, it is identifying with that animal. Experiencing these things does not make you a therianthrope I bolded that because I meet so many people who tell me that their primary reasoning behind identifying as that animal is because they feel an unexplainable connection to it. That is a sign of being animal hearted or perhaps having a spirit guide.
If you feel that you are something, you may be a therian. Yes, that's it. There's no huge list of things that make you a therian, no checklist that you have to meet all of the requirements for to be a therian. If you identify as something, on an integral, personal level, you have met the definition of therianthropy. This community complicates this too much, and since the biggest mistake that I see is people identifying as a therian because they feel a connection with something, the definition is obscured and blurred. Hopefully, this essay can clarify things for you.
There is a gray area between identifying with something and identifying as something, as much as I hate to admit it. If someone identifies as something and feels a connection/bond/love for it, they are no less of a therian than someone who identifies as something and feels no connection/bond/love for it. However Someone who doesn't identify as something but feels a connection/bond/love for it is not a therian, because they have not met the definition. I'm not 'policing identities', and I'm not making therianthropy 'pretentious and overcomplicated'. I am reinstating the definition that has stood for longer than half of this community has been alive. Probably over twenty or so years at this point.
- Your theriotype is not separate from you If you can meet your theriotype, speak to it, etc. and most importantly, if you see your theriotype as a separate being from yourself, more likely than not, it is a spirit guide/daemon/tulpa. Your theriotype is how you identify, it is you. This is why I feel so much confusion when people name their theriotype a separate name from their own, refer to their theriotype as "my lion" (as in, "My lion is lonely"), or in general talk about their theriotype as something other than themselves. If you do any of the things that I have just listed, you may wish to look in to Spirit guides, Daemonism, or Tulpamancy.
You cannot become a therianthrope out of desire, no matter how hard you try. It will not work. You simply cannot. Whether you believe that therianthropy is wired in to your brain, caused by a psychological trauma or 'screw up', or who you are in your spirit or soul, it is generally agreed upon in both the therian and otherkin communities that you cannot become a therian, and that you are born as one. The only exception to this is the rare occasion in which a person experiences a traumatic event (usually at a young age) and the brain uses therianthropy as a coping mechanism, despite it being unhelpful. I'm unaware of why this happens or how it does, but I have met various 'coping mechanism therians' and it can be assured, they're no less of a therianthrope than any other in this community.
How a Psychological Therian can Discover Their Theriotype
Alright, I think we can move on to actually discovering your theriotype now, don't you? This section is aimed at psychological therianthropy, which makes up a good portion of the community and does include myself. Psychological therians often focus on making their identity search in to a research project. We like lists, venn diagrams, and thorough knowledge in order to sort out who we are. Whatever we do, we generally try to get all our ideas and knowledge out before us before making a logical decision on what we are. If you're deciding whether or not you wish to take a psychological route in your discovery, here's an orderly list of pros and cons to help you see the benefits and negatives to taking this path.
- Psychological therianthropy involves a lot of research, which not only makes the therian smarter and a holder of information for future reference, but gives them a further understanding of what they may identify as.
- Psychological therianthropy is easier for a person to explain and is a much more organized way to think of things, this is definitely good for perfectionists and obsessively organized people.
- Psychological therians are generally less likely to get caught up in the blurred line between identifying 'with' something and identifying 'as' something.
- Psychological therians are prone to avoiding how they feel, and sometimes only look at the logical side of things rather than the emotional side. This may lead to a mistake in what feels 'right' to them.
- Psychological therians may use only cold hard facts which may match up to their shifts but not to their identity as a whole, which is sometimes partially emotional as well.
Now, if you wish to pursue a psychological pathway to your discovery or wish to at least mix in some psychological aspects to your discovery, research is generally the number one way that psychological therians go about their identity. Try to start with your shifts and write them out. Writing them out is important as it allows you loads of notes to read over in the future and eventually, you may find yourself noticing a pattern which will be extra helpful in your research. Try to keep notes of this for a few weeks before you start research, this will keep you unbiased and will help give you a family/genus/species/class/etc. of animals before you start researching if you notice a pattern, this will be far more accurate than just randomly looking up animals that you like. A few weeks isn't a lot of time to wait before moving in to research anyways, especially when this is a process that may take years. Write out every little detail, and try not to be species specific to avoid bias. For example, instead of writing out "I feel long ibex-like horns" write out "I feel long horns". For extra accuracy, though, note exactly how the felt. For example, "I felt long, bony, skinny, horns that curved slightly at the tips". Being able to describe your shifts will help you in the future.
Now that you're moving in to research, you can start matching up your shifts. If you notice that, while shifted, you started to crave some random plant that you don't know much about. Look up the plant, find out what it is, and then google what animal eats it. This is a long, complex process so I'll write out a little example of how it might look.
>Person notices that while shifted, they crave this random plant that they know nothing about.
>Person looks up plant, it's lichen
>Person looks up lichen-eaters, finds Caribou
>Person begins to see if their other shifts match up with caribou
>Person looks at notes, notices that they experienced antler shifts often
>Person notices that they also experienced furry neck, hooves, stumpy tail shifts
>Person reads about their mental shifts
>Person notices that while m-shifted, they were drawn to small groups of people and butting heads when angry
>Person matches up extremely well with caribou
>Person notes this and continues to research in case they find something that they match up with better
This is how I went/am going about my discovery and is a common way for many psychological therians to go about it. It is a long process, it may take years to get through all of the animals that you feel an identification with, and that's okay. You've got a whole life ahead of you and no one said that discovery was easy, it's time consuming and I know that you younger members are frowning about that and just want to know who you are, but really, what's better, immediately finding your identity only to find that it's wrong years later and that you have to start again, or finding your identity a few years from now and being able to stick with it for life? You're probably thinking the latter, and you're right, it'll definitely be better in the long run.
Remember though, matching up traits and facts isn't all that there is to discovering yourself. Discovery is a matter of identity, and your identity is partially the cold hard facts about you, your likes, your personality, etc. However, it's also a matter of feeling, knowing who you are. It's something that must be addressed or else psychological discovery will be faulty in the opposite way from how spiritual therianthropy is faulty. And, speaking of spiritual therianthropy..
How a Spiritual Therian can Discover Their Theriotype
So you like the metaphysics, hm? The emotionally powered mysterious spiritual therianthropy is an interesting way to go, one that is far more varied in methods than psychological therianthropy, however, spiritual therians are generally slightly more popular than psychological therians. As I did in the psychological section, I'll give a concise pros and cons list for those who are still discovering how exactly they wish to pursue their discovery.
- There are far more ways to pursue a spiritual discovery than there are for a psychological discovery, and with that, there are more resources throughout the community for spiritual therianthropy
- Spiritual therianthropy strongly incorporates the passion that is lacking in psychological therianthropy
- Spiritual therianthropy generally includes more viewpoints of a person's identity than psychological therianthropy does, incorporating both research and integral introspection
- Spiritual therianthropy generally has more 'fluff' in its communities as the line between identifying 'with' something and identifying 'as' something is far more blurred than it is with psychological therianthropy
- Spiritual therianthropy is often less accurate than psychological therianthropy due to relying so heavily on the subconscious and mind's eye, and as most people don't bother to train their minds eye and subcionscious, they often end up 'imagining' rather than 'seeing'.
A spiritual therian virtually always holds some spiritual beliefs, it's right in the name. Due to this, they often seek assistance from external figures such as spirit guides for help. Spirit guides provide a helping hand and are very wise, but they can take some time to find and may choose only to reveal themselves to you when they choose which may not be as timely as you'd like. Someone new to the concept may also face the risk of accidentally meeting up with a darker and less friendly spirit, but this is generally avoidable. A spirit guide will likely not tell you what your theriotype is (oh, if it were only that easy), but they may point you in the right direction and provide you help along the way. If you have not trained your subconscious to 'see' rather than just 'imagine' (which can take years, mind you), you may not want to rely too heavily on your guide as its easy to simply imagine them and/or what they're saying and convince yourself that it is them. They can be helpful for sure, but seek their assistance with restraint and caution for the best results.
Various meditations can be used to uncover past lives, and because so many therians believe that their theriotype stems from a past life, this is definitely worth mentioning. I'm not going to write up a past life meditation right here, you can find one of those yourself, but if you believe that reincarnation is the source of your therianthropy, you may want to jump to some meditation to figure it out. Keep in mind, you may face the 'seeing' vs 'imagining' issue here as well.
How a Spiritual and Logical Therian can Discover Their Theriotype
If you can't quite decide whether you prefer psychological or spiritual therianthropy, or you wish to incorporate both to get the thinking and feeling sides of your identity working together, the biggest linking process between them is meditation.
While its generally regarded as a spiritual thing, meditation is something that both spiritual and psychological therians can (and probably will at some point) use to discover themselves. While it still requires that 'seeing vs imagining' training to be accurate enough to base an identity off of, it provides an excellent way for someone to clear their mind enough to reflect on who they are and what feels right. Try imagining a mental plane of existance, whatever feels comfortable. Explore it, as a human, or something else if its more comfortable. Allow yourself to do whatever feels natural to you for that is how you will learn to differentiate seeing vs imagining. Through this meditation and reflection, you will likely come to find things that feel right and things that feel forced. Meditation has been used in the community for years and is generally one of the most agreed upon strategies. With the proper practice, it's definitely reliable.
Well, if you're still with me, you made it, through all of this essay. Are you more informed now? I hope so, that was the purpose, of course. I do hope that this can be of assistance both to our new members who aren't quite sure what they're doing with this new subject, and our older members who are questioning themselves or wish to reflect on their identities in the form of a 'second chance' so to speak.
Anyone who has any questions is free to ask them below and I'll do my best to answer them, my PM's are also open if you would rather they stay private. If anyone has any suggestions or wishes to fix my grammatical errors here, do come forward. Thanks to anyone who's managed to read up to this point, and good luck on your journey.