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What is Therianthropy?

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by Shiro Ulv,

This article contains some very basic information about therianthropy for those who need it.

First of all, what does "therianthrope" mean?

To understand what therianthropy is, we first must understand the definition of the term "therianthrope" as a whole.

Therianthrope /THi( ə)r ệan THrōp'/
A person who is, feels, or believes he/she is, in part or whole, (non-physically) one or more non-human animals on an integral, personal level.

Theriotype /THi( ə)r' ệo tīp/
The type of therian/otherkin you identify with; commonly a species or group of species.

Can we get a bit deeper?

  • Therianthropy is categorized by a deep integral or personal belief that you, are in some way, a non-human animal. External factors (being hairy, having heightened senses, barking, howling, etc.) are irrelevant to whether you're a therian or not.
    • Therianthropy is a self-identification. This means, nobody can tell you if you are a therianthrope or not. Others can help guide you, point you to resources, make suggestions and provide information, but ultimately, only you know if you're a therianthrope or not.
    • Therianthropy is not necessarily spiritual; some individuals believe it is spiritual, others believe it is psychological, and some believe it is a combination of both factors.
    • Therianthropy is *NOT* the same as having an animal totem, or a guide. To be a therianthrope, you are identifying with a certain species.
    • Therianthropy is *NOT* a religion; in fact, some therianthropes identify as atheist.
  • Please re-read the definition. ( part or whole (non-physically) one or more non-human animals...) 99.9% of therians believe physically changing into an animal is impossible. Unless you have substantial proof otherwise, don't go claiming you can do this on therian communities. It normally leads to an instant banishment.

Okay, so what's this shifting stuff?

Shifting is a change of state. More specifically, it is when a therianthrope's "becomes" more like their Theriotype. For your reference, some of the most common types of shifts and their definition are below. Along with a key indicated how accepted they are in the community.

  • (M)ental Shift - Where you take on the mentality of your theriotype.
  • (S)piritual Shift - When your Aura, Astral body, or spiritual self is turned into your theriotype.
  • (Se)nsory Shift - A shift in which the shifter experiences a state of perceived heightened or reduced sense of awareness often in-line with their theriotype; eg. wolves may claim better sense of smell, etc.
  • (A)ura Shift - Similar to the above; when your Aura takes on the form of your theriotype.
  • (D)ream Shifting - A shift into your theriotype while dreaming, commonly thought to be another type of Astral Shifting.
  • (C)ameo Shifting - A shift into an animal that is not your theriotype.
  • (As)tral Shifting - A shift that takes place in the astral plane.
  • (Ph)antom Shifting - A shift in which you feel a "phantom limb" sensation; you may feel ears and a tail, or paws instead of hands, for example.
  • (Bi)location shifting - A shift in which your theriotype leaves your "human" body and materializes elsewhere. Very similar to an "out of body experience", but instead of the "spirit body" being your human body, it is the body of your theriotype.
  • (P)hysical Shifting - Literally, physically "changing" into your theriotype in the real world.


Green: Generally accepted.

Orange: Controversy over this type of shifting exists within the community.

Red: Generally rejected and/or believed to be impossible.

Am I a Therian?

The simple answer to this question is that only you know if you're a Therianthrope; Nobody can tell you if you are or not. Therianthropy is an internal and personal belief, it is not something others can sense about you.

There are many beliefs one may have that are related to therianthropy. This includes, but is not limited to:

1. The belief of having the soul or spirit of an animal (or group of animals).

2. The belief that you were a certain animal in a past life, which is somehow significant to your current life.

3. Psychological factors which connect you to an animal (or group of animals).

4. Identification with a certain animal (or group of animals).

Again, All the beliefs listed above are internal and personal. Therianthropy is an internal experience; it is not caused by external factors.


Just because you like a certain animal a lot, it does not mean you are a therianthrope. Your theriotype is also not necessarily your favorite animal. There is a thread on our community which discusses this in-depth.

On "Becoming a Therian"...

Although most therians go through an awakening (read: realization) process; it is generally not considered possible to "become" a therianthrope; either you are or you aren't. Sometimes it just takes a length of time to realize.
In closing...

What's written above should be the basics. If you're still unsure of things, you should take a good look at yourself, and at the resources available to you. It may take time, introspection, and more studying, but eventually you should be able to answer your own question. Are you a therian, or are you not?

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