Question & Answer by Sonne

  • By: Sonne
  • Written: 2008/2009

If you have a few more questions, or anything has been unclear, the questions and answers below may help to clear any confusion up. If you’re still curious or have a question to add please don’t hesitate to ask.

Are contherians in a constant state of shift, or always “half-shifted”?

No, even though many people attempt to define contherianthropy by that. Contherians do not have the ability to shift into their theriotype(s) because they are 100% humananimal all the time in a fully human-animal integration. This does not, however, mean that those who shift have theriotypes not integrated greatly into him/herself, but this has to do with human-to-theriotype integration, not theriotype-to-self integration. Contherians can’t be “half-shifted” or in a constant state of shift because it renders the application of the term “shift” meaningless in this case on the account that if there is nothing for the contherian to shift into, they can thus not be constantly shifted into that thing.

Can a person “become” a therian?

In the past, this question would be quickly met with a blatant “no, therians are born as such”, and currently most therians online hold to this belief particularly since such a large number of therians have consistently stated things along the lines of “I have been this way [a therian] for as long as I can remember”. Until recently, few if any people have come forward to openly speak in sincerity about some therians, including their own selves, not fitting within that standard. This should not at all be confused with ‘becoming a therian overnight’ or some such superficial explanation and reasoning for not being born a therian. The truth of the matter remains in that we have no verifiable enough proof that any person is necessarily physically born a therian, let alone that it is an absolute requirement for every therian to believe he/she is such since physical birth. Overall, this topic can be a controversial matter that has yet to be discussed extensively enough to better settle conflict between the different reasoning on it from some therians or groups of therians.

Can a therian have a theriotype that is an insect, monkey, fish, [insert other rarely claimed theriotype]?

There remain some therians, even sites or boards, that believe only certain types of animals can be theriotypes while other animals are excluded. However, a wide variety of animal types have been represented in the online community, including but not limited to fish, marine mammals, land mammals (regardless of type), insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. There appears no restriction on the capacity for a person to end up being probably any type of animal, and that may even include animals such as jellyfish, coral, sea anemones, microscopic animals, and so forth. Numerous therians have even expressed that they believe a person can be a “plant otherkin” (or plant ‘kin) in a very similar manner in which a person can be a therian—the difference being that the former is of a plant ‘kintype and the latter of an animal theriotype/’kintype.

We currently do not know the bounds and limitations by which the internal self, identity, soul, or psychology can subjectively manifest within an individual. And there is thus the potential that there are people (whether or not they ever enter the online therian or otherkin communities) who have animal, plant, other organism, etc. internal aspects equivalent to that of therians and otherkin but of creatures or organisms many therian/’kin may not expect or even want to accept are such internally. Skepticism can be understandable, but it’s important to be respectful to others even amongst skepticism and to realize that we are far from honestly having all of the “facts” about being therian and otherkin.

How can a therian with a carnivorous or omnivorous theriotype be a vegetarian or a vegan? How can an herbivorous-theriotype therian tolerate or like eating meat?

In simplistic terms, most therians appear to admit and realize that our food and drink diets in our obviously human bodies have little to no impact from what their theriotype(s) is/are. Therians with “carnivorous” animal theriotypes are not inevitably bound away from being vegan or vegetarian, for any of a variety of reasons. Those therians with “herbivorous” or insectivorous theriotypes are similarly not limited to eating by only a vegan/vegetarian or insect-based diet, respectively.

Though it’s not to say that a person’s theriotype(s) necessarily can’t affect and influence one’s eating habits in other ways or even be in ways connected to a drive to eat certain foods (meat, insects, particular plants, etc.). Some therians express having mental shifts involved in strongly craving food types of their theriotype(s), or that the person’s otherwise non-therianthropy related preference for eating certain foods also sometimes manifests an inner satiation therianthropically of eating a food type which his/her theriotype would normally or prefer to eat. Therianthropy can also affect the ways in which a person behaviorally consumes, searches for, gathers or obtains, or otherwise acts regarding food.

I am always my theriotype(s), does this mean I don’t mental shift? I have fluctuations and times when I feel more or less my theriotype(s) but I am always it/them; is this contherianthropy or suntherianthropy?
The answer to this is a difficult and probably complex one that is ultimately answered by each individual him/herself. However, I believe this misconception does need additional clarification. Just because a person is “always” his/her theriotype(s) does not necessitate that s/he is experiencing being a contherian or suntherian. It’s generally understood that therianthropy is something that is nevertheless a constant part of oneself, rather than an aspect that is only existent in the individual for brief, temporary amounts of time. Yet its consistency does not always have to manifest in a completely active form, it can also be inactive, in a passive and even sometimes dormant form, for varying lengths of time. This passive form maybe no longer than a few minutes, a few hours, or it can for some be days, weeks, or longer; though again, it’s up to the individual to figure out if that animal aspect is actually a theriotype rather than some other type of animal connection, manifestation, or association.

In essence, it’s expected that a person’s theriotype(s) be a ‘constant’ part of him/her from whenever they first exist to the point when they cease to exist within the individual as a theriotype, however long that may be. It’s not like the misconceived idea of a person solely being his/her theriotype during mental, phantom, or other shifts, or that it’s something that’s just “sometimes there” within and manifest in the person, in whatever manner. Further explanation of this topic can be found in Sonne’s “Fluidity and Fragmentation” essay.

Can therians be Christians? Can they be atheists? Can they be [insert some other spiritual or religious belief]? If so, then how?

Therians are highly diverse types of people, with not much really tying all of us together other than that we are therianthropes—those who experience that particular (though diverse itself) form of animal-human state of being. Therefore we are by no means limited to only being of a certain type(s) of belief systems, spiritualities, religions, philosophies, and so forth. And similarly, we aren’t restricted by race, gender, financial status, body size or shape, and so many other things. Numerous Christian therians exist as members (past and present) in the therian community, and they have each come to their own conclusions and beliefs as to why therianthropy does not conflict with them being Christian. Atheist therians also exist because there’s nothing preventing such; there’s no requirement that a person believe in one or more deities in order to be a therian. Also, there are even people who don’t believe in spirits and/or souls who are therians because explanations for therianthropy are not restricted to only spirit or soul causes or origins.

What do my phantom wings indicate? Another theriotype? A totemic influence? Something else?

Actually, phantom wings can be rather ambiguous things to experience. Sometimes they are associated directly with the person’s theriotype(s) or ‘kintype(s), and for other therians they are symbolic, totemic, or some other non-therianthropic manifestation. They are also phantom parts which are sometimes experienced by non-therian/non-‘kin people. Like numerous questions in this article, it’s one of those things that is up to the individual to carefully decipher the proper answer to them. Though I will note that in addition to just feeling them as phantom wings in general, the frequency or length of their occurrence and the level at which they feel “real” should be considered. Yet just because they occur a lot, even constantly/near-constantly or feel ‘very real’ does not necessarily mean they are therianthropic or otherkin-related. There’s also the matter to be considered as to what type of animal or creature they are part of, especially if they are of a theriotype/’kintype.

What traits of a therian (or possible therian) are human and which are not? Or how can the person tell which are which?

There is no concise, basic answer to this other than that it’s something each individual must discover on his/her own, within. Generally though, because we are human, any of our experiences and manifestations of being therian are going to fall within the widely diverse spectrum of human experience. Thus the aspects of one’s theriotypes can also be applied to being “human aspects”.

When it comes down to it though, figuring out oneself as therian and identifying one’s theriotype(s) isn’t about just picking a simple list of “non-human behaviors, thoughts, shifts, etc.” and reaching a conclusion easily from there. It’s instead about a wide composition of aspects within and about oneself that are non-human and human and that it’s about being that animal internally on an integral, personal level. Where exactly a person draws the line (if at all) between non-human and human, or between therianthropic and non-therianthropic, is a subjective decision reached through the extensive and thorough efforts of self and internal understanding and introspection by each individual who believes him/herself maybe therian.

My behaviour really mirrors [insert animal here], does that mean I’m a therian?

Behavior can serve as some indication of a person’s therianthropy and is not something that has to be disregarded. Yet each person needs to put forth caution in evaluating and reevaluating his/her behaviors that seem “animalistic” or “non-human”. A good, general perspective to take when introspecting on what one’s theriotype(s) is/are involves viewing the behaviors as being manifestations you do in part because of your theriotype (whatever it may be), rather than the behaviors being clear indicators of what the theriotype actually is. In a sense, it’s the scenario of “I do [X behavior] because I am [Y animal ‘type], and not that I am [Y animal ‘type] because I do [X behavior]”.

Therefore behaviors are fine to consider amongst a variety of other self aspects and experiences to help oneself figure out what his/her theriotype(s) is/are, but that behaviors should not be treated as stand alone (or near stand alone) evidence to draw conclusions on what the theriotype(s) is/are. Behaviors maybe more efficient to explore and take validity in being therianthropic during and after the personal verification phase in which the person has already reached a seemingly likely conclusion on a theriotype and is looking for more and long-lasting supporting evidence for (or against) this conclusion. Thus that above scenario can better be reached in that situation—figuring out your behaviors are related to your theriotype after figuring out (for the most part) your theriotype, rather than the other way around.

I have dreams about being an animal (or insert specific animal) [once, twice, frequently, etc.], does that mean I’m a therian? Or “does that mean my theriotype is [animal dreamt of being]?” Similarly, “I see [insert animal(s)] in my dreams a lot (or recently), would it/they be my theriotype(s)?”

Dreams are one aspect of the self that should be applied cautiously in therianthropic introspection, especially pertaining to the level of validity attributed to them for determining oneself as a therian or of a specific theriotype. The thing about dreams is they can be highly symbolic, let alone difficult to decipher well, even for the individual experiencing them. Although a person’s theriotype may manifest in one or more dreams, it’s unadvisable to use that as good evidence to verify to his/herself that “I am [X animal] because I dreamt I shifted into it”. Non-therians can and do have dreams with animals in them, whether totemic or not (and a totemic or spirit guide relation should be considered, along with other animal associations), and they can dream-shift into an animal within the dream. Focusing on aspects of yourself, thoughts, shifts, experiences, etc. that occur during wakefulness and not dreaming are more reliable and indicative of whether you are a therian or not and what your theriotype(s) is/are.

I think I have one or more enhanced/keen senses for a human (such as hearing, sight, smell, etc.), could this be because my theriotype maybe a(n) [insert animal]?

Although the therian community has a term called “sensory shifts” which deal with a mental perception enhancement in one or more senses, this is not an experience at all limited to therians. As also, having a normally (constant, non-shifting) higher level (or seemingly such) of one or more senses does not the therian make. It’s a flawed idea to compare ‘enhanced human senses’ to that of, for example, a canine, feline, bird, etc. that has a notably stronger sense of that type beyond natural human capacity, and using it to draw the conclusion that oneself must be [insert animal].

Senses have two main parts, mental (where they are perceived and processed) and physical (the actual sense organs and sensory cells). Some people have greater or lesser physical or mental sensory capacities as the human “norm” for them, but nevertheless we are humans with human sensing limitations, not those of a wolf, lion, shark, and so forth. We don’t have a tapetum lucidum (reflective layer behind the retina) in our eyes to greatly enhance our nightvision to that level of many animals adapted for seeing in the dark, and we don’t have nearly as many olfactory cells and types for smell as a wolf, for example. Among the other senses we are limited in.

You may actually have a higher human sense of some type compared to an ‘average’ person, or may experience sensory shifts (whether accompanied with an animal mental shift of not) that enhance the mental perception of a certain sense. Yet you are still a human with human sensory capabilities and limitations. Trying to attribute those human senses to being of any particular non-human animal (especially as a theriotype) will likely lead to an inefficient search and a jumping to false conclusions.

Does preferring to be outside, in nature, rather than in cities or otherwise around people mean I am or am likely a therian?

Even though many therians express a preference for spending time in “natural” areas outside of human buildings, cities, etc., it is not something that is a required attribute of therians and it’s also something that is found largely amongst non-therians. The only thing it really indicates is (obviously) that you are a person who likes or prefers to be in those types of natural areas for whatever spans of time. Some people feel their therianthropy is connected to that preference yet it’s not a necessity, and even with therians one may attribute it more strongly or equally to being human as to being therianthopically non-human.