The following is Xposted from my blog. This is my opinion on the matter and why I feel the way I do about said differences. Agree with me, or disagree with me, that's your choice.
Alright, I'm not for knocking anyone for who they believe themselves to be. But if you're doing it to be cool or fit in. As the wise LOLcats say; "Ur doin it rong!"
: It's not
about religion. It's not
about a lifestyle. It's not
about standing out. It's not
about trying to make yourself appear as something you are not. It's not
about making yourself popular.
These are things best left to people who cannot stand up for who they are and what they believe to be true about themselves.
As a Therian or Otherkin (if you are one), you should
have doubts! You should
ask questions! You should
be curious! You should
learn as much as you possibly can! You should
view yourself from an outside perspective! You should question everyone who claims to be a Therian too! Doesn't matter the species/breed/animal. You should always make friends with skepticism first before you decide whether someone it 'playing at it' or really feeling similar things to you. Don't just take someone at their word because people lie all the time. Whether to make friends or appear as something more than they truly are.
This brings me to the topic at hand...
I've been mistakenly
categorized in this umbrella term. It pisses me off.
There is (at least to me) a clear distinction between Otherkin and Therian.
: A human believing that they have the soul/personality/behavior pattern of whatever animal. A living/existing (including extinct species) animal
(or what-have-you). No wings, no frills, just one animal. They may have totems but only self-identify as one animal.
This is not spirituality based. This is condition. Something someone is born with and comes to realize at a later time.
I seriously question anyone who says "I've known since birth" I say "Bullshit to that Sir!"
Therianthopy is very much a lesson in self reflection and personal discovery. It can either be a gradual thing or you could stumble upon the definition and become curious about it and want to learn more to see if perhaps you happen to be one. You either are or you aren't you can't learn this. I suppose it would be much the same for an Otherkin. Though, I haven't asked any of them.
Plenty of the Therian crowd even openly states that it may even have something to do with brain chemistry which I won't deny. I mean, I don't know for sure, but at least I'm not 'whacko crazy'. I don't shift into a deer or anything physically. That's a hilarious thought though... I just feel this is a large part of what makes me who I am.
: Here's where it gets kinda weird and my skepticism kicks into hyper drive. These are people who self-identify as a mythical, fantastical, hybrid, vampires (not the sub-culture, the hybrids), or fae
Why am I skeptical when it comes to them more so than I am with a wolf therian (which gained in popularity due to pop-culture)? Because their's is harder to identify with for me.
It just seems to rub me the wrong way sometimes. I mean if you can tell me or show me somehow that you truly believe it and can back it up. I will apologize if this offends you. But it doesn't mean that I have to accept every person who strolls up to me and claims to be a Dragon or Vampire or what-have-you.
These seem to be people who are crying out for attention or just trying to piss off Mom and Dad. Sorry, I ain't buying it till you prove to me through your experiences or you speak to me, and aren't sure
. If you're positive
... chances are, my skepticism will force me to ignore you completely.
I'm a skeptic about myself all the time
. I'll probably never know 100% for sure. All I know is this is how I feel. I know what I've experienced and through those experiences have been able to hone it down to 'what' I am other than just human. Sounds crazy and strange, but I'm not the only one out there. I'm not fanatical by any stretch of the imagination.
The other night I was chatting with a fellow skeptic and explaining my stance on this very subject. Thus gaining his respect. Why? Because I was able to explain it easily and not sound like I KNEW everything. One of my favorite sayings is "I don't know, is an acceptable answer" When it comes to Therianthropy and Otherkin this is very true. There are just things that are impossible and very difficult to put into words, but damnit, half the time I at least make an attempt.
I was also asked "why that particular animal?" Well in my personal reflections and study I looked closely at myself as well as a wide range of animals. I didn't try to narrow my fields down too soon. Perhaps this is why it took me three years to decide to finally call myself a Therian.
Then they asked "What if this particular animal doesn't reside in the US? How did you identify with it?"
I then explained, After a year or two, I narrowed it down to the genus Cervidae
, or Deer. I knew I related in some way to a Deer, I was unsure of the exact type. There are many.
Of course, I started with the local population of deer (whitetail). But that didn't feel quite right. After a lot more searching and self reflection and surfing the internet and collecting as much info on deer in general that I could. I discovered the "European/Scottish Red Deer" This was ME. I knew it the moment I saw my first picture of a majestic stag standing in front of his harem. It rang true to me. It just felt like it was right.
This is how it should be, whether you are Therian or not. It deals in a bunch of self reflection and self examination. It should be true to you. You should ask yourself questions all the time. You should be skeptical. There are no guarantees, after all, I at least admit I could be wrong.
A List of Relavant Links all grouped in one place:
(as I get more links the list will get longer)
Different Types of Therianthropy
Non-biased view of Therianthropy
Different Types of Shifts, Subtypes, and Related Therian Info
Interesting stories as well as historical(?) information
Essays from the perspective of Therians (some links are broken)
Convoluded debate about Otherkin on RationalWiki
Largest Therianthrope Community Resouce
Easy to use guide to Therianthropy on a personal level
Boomshift Therian and Otherkin Forum
WereSpace (like PS)
The Theriantree Proboard (forum)
The Otherkin Alliance
She's way more articulate than I'll ever be... Essays on Therianthropy