Jan. 3rd, 2012

houseofchimeras: (Pantairin - Self)
Date First Written : January 2012

My theriotype and my true self is one of no distinct species, but rather many into one instead. A collective or all in one deal, if you will. In the innerworld I share with my fellow headmates (other individual persons sharing one physical body) and outwardly in my therianthropic experiences my shape can take on any number of deer species. In this innerworld, or the place within our mental landscape where we interact one on one like individuals, I can change into any species of deer. But only a deer and nothing more. Likewise, what the therian community refers to as shifts and other therianthropic experiences when I take control of our physical body.

As a deer cladotherian, I identify with all deer species from the small tropical pudú stepping about the underbrush to the great moose that roams the northern lands. This is not limited to modern or still living species of deer and rather extends to even now extinct ones. I do have my favorite deer forms, and my shape in the innerworld and fronting experiences often reflect this though the species I reflect is not always of my conscious choosing. Of these deer species which are some of my more partial to my liking to take on include the sika deer, roe deer, Eld’s deer, and reindeer. They are but only a few deer species in the world however. They are just the deer species which are most familiar and typical from me both innerworld in shape and through my therian experiences they are the most prevent. Other deer species from the axis deer to the sambar to the white-tailed deer are also taken or can be on a fairly regular basis. Of them all, sika deer stands out strongly to me.

In the beginning, being a cladotherian did not even come into being in my thoughts as possibility. My original assumption was either the presence of several deer theriotypes (polytherianthropy), and/or simply some of them being cameo shifts with various deer species and one or perhaps two of them was actually my theriotype(s). Before cladotherianthropy came-up as a possibility I had applied to my being a number of deer species which I was most drawn into. I leapt between thinking I was one deer species to another deer species day by day. Being fairly sure of one deer species and being able to apply that shape onto my innerworld world body so easily, only for me to be able to so change to another deer species. By the time cladotherianthropy came into suspect, I had found myself labeled with no less than five species while also not being able to ignore all other deer.

The prospect of being a polymorph or shapeshifter never really came to mind since I knew I was a deer and only experienced things as only deer. It was vary narrowed down to a select spectrum and it was only the deer species that changed but never the identification with it. With the idea of being cladotherian in mind I began searching for any mention of the term and ponderings on the matter throughout the communities online. Finding personal experiences from others about their own cladotherianthropy was hard to come by making my search on being cladotherian or not more apprehensive. Yet the definitions I saw of the term certainly did apply quite nicely to my experiences. Every time I looked afar along the deer family, everywhere I looked I could only find something within myself for every deer I came across. It was looking into a mirror, and all I saw was myself reflected back in some curious way. It was not about being undeceive on a species, but rather being sure of being one with a group of related animals. It wasn’t that I could not decide of what I was, as much as I was actually all ready there. Bending to the deer species as nimbly as water flowing into a space. And so, as it was, I came to the decision I was a cladotherian of all Cervidae.

Some general nonhuman experiences, not related to shifts, that I have include a verity of little nuances in my perspective every time I front. For instance, I get confused when I see my physical self in a mirror and see not another face and features of any fort at home on the face of any deer. Human hands feel so wiry and awkward to me and walking upright is strikingly ungainly in my mind compared to the nimble legs of a deer. I find the limitations of human ears disconcerting and the physical human body’s lack of natural alertness and natural response to the outside environment startling at times. The lack of perception to the human body most unnerving above all. I’m not prey. I don’t think of myself as ’prey.’ I only worry about becoming prey if I do not stay aware.

The outward reflection of my identity of what the therian community commonly refers to as shifts greatly reflects this all deer species conclusion of mine. My dreams, mental, and phantom shifts certainly can take almost any cervine shape and nature. That is not to mention my ability to take on any form that was of a deer sort within our innerworld.

My dreams related to my identity and their content varies as much as the deer that roam this little blue dot of a planet. Some of my more common dreams include roaming the grounds on our near a Buddhist temples or Shinto shrine as a sika deer, likely brought on for my path to being a Buddhist. Other dreams include other distinct landscapes from walking on snow and ice on large hooves but not feeling the bite of the chill while being a reindeer to stepping through a hot rainforest on little hooves and small body as a brocket deer. Perhaps due to my lack of fronting and using the body as often as others in our system, my dream self hardly takes on a human form since I’m a lot more unfamiliar with it. I do not remember much of my dreams often however so they are not a major significance, but they occur.

My mindset away from or toward a more human way of thinking is largely caused by environmental triggers and how long I’ve been fronting. I’m naturally in the mindset of a deer and it’s only when I front for an extended and consistent period of time that my mindset moves away from my instinctive worries as one. Otherwise, I remain in a more deer minded way of thinking and acting though not enough to prevent me from not being able to act human enough to keep up our mask while control our physical body. I’ve not yet had a shift while fronting in which I become completely of a deer mindset without much of the common trappings of human fringes, but I have had times while not fronting where I’ve slipped into a mental shift and purely enjoyed being a deer. Most of us in our system revert to a slightly more human mindset naturally while fronting and then revert back to our more natural state rather quickly after removing ourselves from control of the body. My own cervine mentality is subject to the deer species I am. As a larger deer species such as the Irish elk or moose I am much less likely to be flighty in certain situations while as much smaller deer species I might be even more flighty or nervous toward a lot of activity or movement.

Phantom shifts are one of my most common experiences while I front. Antlers are of course my trademark above all else really. The anthers on my head (or the tusks in my mouth in some cases) very with species and time of year. They may arch backward and then curve around forward with single tines like the antlers of a white-tail, fork near the brow with one going forward and the other curving backward and up with a few tines like an axis deer, they may be a single small spike like a muntjac, or any other formation. The stage of my antlers varies with the species of deer depending on what is natural for them, though generally during the late summer to early fall is when many antlers I might have itch terribly as the velvet falls off to reveal hardened bone only to fall off/disappear from my experience during late winter to early spring to begin a cycle of new growth. If I change from a deer species that has lost their antlers to one that still has their antlers at that certain time of the year or the reverse my phantom antlers will appear or disappear. Regardless, once they are fully grown some antlers become quiet heavy even if they are only phantoms on our human head, however thank goodness my phantom shifts are comparable to human size whether that causes the antlers to be scaled up for smaller deer or scaled down for larger deer species. Only lager antlers (even sized down for human size) tend to cause me trouble due to the bit of stain they put on our physical human neck despite not being there, and their size getting in the way of movement through human obstacles even if they are not there. The worst are the antlers from the Irish Elk, however due to their wide and great size I avoid that form if I can while fronting if I can.  Hooves also sometimes slip through though more on our feet than hands. Once on our human legs they feel akin to the fauns or satyrs of mythology but instead of cloven hooves I feel the shape of deer hooves with the illusion ending just before the knees. I don’t often get phantom hooves on our hands and they are not as vivid as the hooves that can appear on our feet. Those phantom hooves end just past the wrist and just leave me want to carry our middle and index fingers together and our pinky and ring finger together.

My antlers are actually the biggest paradox of my identity because my antlers tell lies about my gender. I am female by identity and my body innerworld reflects this yet as I‘ve already described I annually grow and shed antlers or have tusks akin to any male from any given species even if the female of the species do not naturally have antlers. Regardless to what species I take on, my antlers (or tusks in the case of some species) will look accordingly to the times of the year for that male kind. The reason why this is so and why my head aligns with male deer is a mystery no matter what I try and make of it. It is not unheard for does, even fully fertile ones of many deer species, to grow antlers if their hormones levels, specifically testosterone, are high enough at the right points of the year. In some species of deer it is actually generally more heard of then in other deer species, as its been noted as happening to roe and red deer with some commonality. These occasions are uncommon though overall for the annual years throughout a doe’s life. The most common form of antlered does are does with mere numbs of their head or even with small poorly developed antlers (Wislocki). It is rarer for antlered does to reach the final stage of fully mature antlers with no velvet due to the number of hormone surges it takes to reach the final stage (DePerno and Jenks). Of course, my innerworld is hardly limited by actual hormones. Never-the-less, I grow antler‘s like any make deer even though my femaleness is not in question to me.

Being a deer cladotherian, rather than a certain species of deer therian, might actually explain why I am female yet grow antlers akin to a male deer. Since if my identity is the overall nature of all deer, it seems much more reasonable that I have antlers since they are such a part of the whole biological family Cervidae. Antlers are a trait of the Cervidae though not all species have them (some have tusks instead) and usually only males annually grow them. Does, just as bucks, can grow antlers and it’s only their pheromones which create the necessary barrier. My identity doesn’t have a gender. I have a gender, and since my identity is so encompassing of all traits and natures of all deer rather than defined by a gender or species, antlers (and tusks) seem a logical addition to my daily life as a deer cladotherian. Other than that possible explanation, I have no others. Some things are just as they are without a good solid or known explanation.

Works Cited

      DePerno, Christopher, and Jonathan Jenks. "Field Notes: Antlered Does." Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources. Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, 2004. Web. 9 Nov 2011. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/mayjun04/fndoes.html>.

      Wislocki, George B. "Antlers In Female Deer, With Report pf Three Cases In. Odocoileus." Journal of Mammalogy. 3.4 (1954): n. page. Print. <http://www.jstor.org/pss/1375571>.

- Pantairin

July 2014

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