houseofchimeras: (Spiridon - Self)
Date First Written: September 2010; Date Last Updated: June 2015

For those of us in our system, our names were not just given to us growing by our family due to them not knowing we were multiple. So we ended up either naming ourselves or naming each other. Because of this, our names tend to be more symbolic, ironic, or relate to a personal trait for a number of us. Also, because our understanding of what we are to one another her changed (it was only until our late teens that we accepted we were multiple), and because our own views of ourselves have changed - some people have gone by different names of our lifetime.


Ace
During our childhood, we called him Blue. Some time in our late teens he ended up with the name Ace.

Aquasarius
We’re not sure if Aquasarius has a name during our childhood, but was named Aquarius during our teenage years.  His current name came about during adulthood.

Arron
Arron has had his name since we can remember. Our best idea is it might be a corruption of “Aaron” as while “Arron” is a name, its an uncommon one, so its likely we knew about it as a name back then.

Cavern-Risen
Cavern-Risen’s original name was Vuevusva growing up. However she wanted to leave some past things behind her and also felt her old name was just too hard to say or write so she decided to change her name by the time we reached adulthood. Cavern-Risen is what became of it because in her connection to caves plus she’s always had a flair for nature and description-esque names (as she was the one who started calling the pack their pervious labels and did the most to name them their current names). So, Cavern-Risen is became.

Cloudtail
For much of our life she was just called “the white one” or similar given her coat color, which really didn’t work well for an actual name. So her current name was based on choosing something from nature that is white or off-white due to her fur color and choosing a body part that sounded okay with said color to go along with a naming theme for them.

Darahagh
Since childhood, Darahagh had always been simply just called the Great Oak or the Old Oak. We finally named him in August 2012 because we wanted a name to call him by. However, Darahagh’s demand was the name we came up with had to mean “oak,” which was his way of getting back at us because that way we still are technically just calling him an oak. We ended up deciding upon Darahagh which came from a corruption of Dara and Darragh, both names which drive from the Irish word for “oak.”

Dash
He’s been name Dash since our preteens.

Dracone
We’re not sure where he got his name though Dracone has had this name since we were in our preteens. It seems to be a corruption of the word dragon. Interestingly, ‘drakon’ is the Greek root word for “dragon” though we don’t think we knew that back when we were young. Even though now that we are older he feels a bit of irony being named Dracone and being a dragon he has never felt a need to change it.

Earth Listener
During our childhood both Earth Listener and Ocean Touched together were called “Mud.” In our preteens, Earth Listener was inspired to take on that name after it came up in a dream and ended up liking the sounds of it. It also suited Earth Listener due to zir being rather animistic in belief and having land-based theriotypes. Earth Listener has always had that name since our early teens.

Ebony
Ebony’s name seems to come from his dark skin and appearance though we don’t remember a time where he didn’t have the name. We are fairly sure our exposure to the name occurred with the movie adaptation of the book Black Beauty as the name Ebony was one of the names suggested for the main character. So he’s had that name since at least the late 1990s and he hasn‘t felt a want to be called anything else.

Ereigo
She was given the name Jewel during our childhood, but changed it to Ereigo during our preteens.

Felicity
Felicity’s name was given to her by us upon first meeting her in 2013. The name in English means “happiness” and its Latin derived form means “luck.” We were inspired to the name based on the movie Felidae which is based on a book of the same name by Akif Pirincci because the name sounded nice.

Galatea
For much of our life she was just called “The Unicorn,” “Silver,” or “Moon” due to her silvery white fur and her species. In 2013, she was given the named Galatea because it means ‘She who is white as milk” which she felt suited her.

Ghaith
During our childhood he was called by one name thought we do not recall what it was anymore. He was given the name Ghaith in 2012.

Grizzly Ears
For much of our life he was just called “the gray one” or “grizzly male” in relation to the rest of his pack and his coat color which really didn’t work well for a name. So his current name which was crafted in our late teens was based on taking “grizzly” due to his fur color and choosing a body part that sounded okay with said color to go along with a naming theme for them.

Hazeltoes
Throughout much of our life, we just called her “the brown one” or “the light brown” as she and the rest of her pack never really had names. So her current name was given her in our late teens based on her brown colored fur and going along with how we named her parents and siblings in a manner of something that relates to their coat color and then a body part.

Hennatori
did not receive her first name till August 2005 though, which was Moctolia. She changed her name to Venzaveer in March 2014, but still was not happy with that name either. So a short time later she changed it to Hennatori which has remained ever since.

Holo
Holo has had the name Holo since she appeared in our system in late 2013.

Jager
During our teens he became known as Dante. In 2009, Earth Listener confused him for her daemon and from there was given the name Danteberos. Late in 2012 it became apparent that Dante wasn’t a daemon but a headmate. He took on the name Jager after that point.

Joker
We’re not sure how Joker ended up his name as he‘s had it for as long as we can remember. His name does suit his personality well though so we are guessing that is where it came from.

Jordan
Growing up his name was simply Jim; however, he had some reservations about it starting into our teens. He finally changed his name to Jordan in 2014 after asking our mother to pick from a list of names he thought sounded like they could work for him but could pick one.

Kardegray
His name was originally both Kar and Demon during our childhood and into our early teens (due to originally being two different headmates. However years after merging, he expanded his name to Kardegray in 2009.

Knives
We’re not sure how Knives ended up his name. He has simply had the name since we can remember.

Kota
Kota’s name is actually a shorting of ‘Dakota’ after the state and the name which means ‘friend.’ She was given the name in 2013. Not sure why she was given that name other then it sounded nice and she and others liked it for her.

Lacunae
During our childhood and into our preteens she was often simply called Liberian or “The Sphinx.” During our early teens, she was mistakenly called Maya for a years before simply going back to being called Liberian or “The Sphinx.”

Leonis
Leonis was usually referred to as simply “The Rabbit,” or similar growing up. It wasn’t until 13 that he finally got the name, Leonis.

Lunatani
Lunatani’s name growing up and into our teens was simply Luna. In our late teens she decided she wanted a slightly newer name but wanted it to still have her old name within it. Somewhat impulsively, she found a band she liked which was already in our CD collection called, Lunatica, and from which Luna became Lunatani.

Maya
Not sure where she came up with the name though she has had it since she came into the system in 2003.

Nen
For a few short years in our preteens he was called Ninyo, but it was changed to Trance for a while in our teens before he settled on Nen.

Miushra
During our childhood and into our teen years she was actually named “Mu” and later “Mru” as well. However as we got older she grew tired of her childhood name and taking a cue from her off-white coat she ended up with Mist Weaver in 2009. However by 2013, she had come to be unhappy with that name, and by the summer of 2014 she changed her name to Miushra.

Nightlegs
Throughout much of our life, she has been just called “the black one” or even “Amazon black” (due to her large size and personality) which isn’t much of a name at all. Thus around our late teens we attempted to give her more of a name. Her current name is based on picking something in nature that is black like her fur going along with how the rest of the pack was named by ending with a body part which sounded nice combined.

Nychus
His name was Claw during out childhood but his name was changed to Nychus (which still means “claw”) during our preteens. He has had the name ever since.

Ocean Touched
During our childhood both Earth Listener and Ocean Touched together were called “Mud.” Later own, due to still not fully accepting that we were a system, Ocean Touched took on Earth Listener’s name for about a year until September 2013 when ze finally got zir own name. Ocean Touched’s name became what it is due to having aquatic theriotypes so “ocean” and sense of touch is a fairly notable sense to zir due to being a frilled shark therian. Thus, Ocean Touched.

Page
We’re not sure how Page ended up her name as she‘s had it for years.

Pantairin
Growing up and into our early teenage years, we though she was a he (because of having antlers) and called her Breath. (A play on how the English word for “spirit” comes from the Latin word meaning “breath.”) Later in our late teens she began to like the Japanese words/sounds Rin (meaning “bell”) and Pan (meaning “bread”) due to certain past life memories of being a sika deer. Somehow, that turned into Pantairin by the fall of 2010 which is what she has been called ever since.

Pypaath
During our preteens he was given the name Taz however he changed it to Taask during our late teens. However during our adult years he changed it again to Pypaath.

Quatz
He was given the same in our early teens. It was inspired by the name Quetzalcoatl, a deity described as a feathered serpent which reminded us of Quatz.  

Raina
We’re not sure where her name came from exactly. Only that she has had it since at least our pre-teen years. We think her name most likely came about as a corruption of the word “rain” while trying to come up with a watery name for her and that is what stuck all those years ago and has continued to be her name.

Sage
We really have no idea where the name came from as he is far from a sage-like personality and Sage is generally a feminine name. However he has had it since our pre-teen years.

Spiridon
Growing up, I didn’t have a name really. Our first attempt at giving me a name come around 2004 or 2005 when I was named “Zeeque” (much to my later embarrassment), but I didn’t like the name. So I was dubbed Ghost from the mid 2000s till 2010. At that point, I chose the name Spiridon due to being a Hellenist and wanting a Greek name. So I chose Spiridon since it means ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost.’

Sunfur
Throughout much of our lives she had always been just called “the red one” or even just “little red” which didn’t really work well for a proper name as the years went by. So her current name comes from picking something in nature that we could think of that was reddish or copper like her fur color and chose a body part due to the theme naming we had started with the rest of her pack.

Tanka
Her name actually comes from ‘Tatanka’ which is Lakota for “buffalo.” It was given to her since she didn’t know what to name herself and out of all that we suggested she ended up liking the sound of that name. She was given the name when she first came into the system in Spring 2013.

Titus
In our early teenage years we began to call him Diablo. In our adult years, he took on the name Titus.

Uruk
No one recalls, Uruk ever being given a name throughout our childhood and teenage years. However in our early adult years he was given the name Uruk.

Woadel
Throughout our childhood and into our teenage years, he was simply called “Blue Bird.” Entering into our adult years, his name became “Woadell” which is a mixer of the word “woad” which is a plant which creates a natural blue dye, and the name “Odell.”

Yamir
During our childhood, Yamir was called “Socks” after him having a sock marking on a single leg. Yamir’s current name was given to him when we were adults. While grasping for name ideas, the thoughts was put forward to look for a “Y” name and the name Yamir came up among them. Yamir ended up meaning “moon” as well which ironically, he came back into the system on a full moon. So he has been Yamir ever since.

Z
During our childhood and into our early teens he was called Zephyr. In our teens he took up a name he believes he held in a past life of his, Zeo, but during our early adulthood changed it a bit to Zeoriel. However then on the 1st September 2012, he changes his name to Zedjebdjehuty, after going from being a deist to being Kemetic with the name meaning “To be restored to life by Djehuty” which he took on given the Egyptian god, Djehuty was one of his patron deities and believing his identity is from past lives. By July 2013, he began simply be called Z as all of the names he had been going by began with the letter Z. So to date, we call him and he called himself, Z.


Our System Name: House of Chimeras
Sometimes some systems will decide upon a collective name to use online or sometimes even offline if they are so open. The act of using a collective name varies from being used only as handle to be used online, to a name around friends or family for their group, and so on and so forth. How a collective system  name is decided upon can sometimes be symbolic, ironic, or more literal. For all of our members, our collective name is House of Chimeras is not only our handle online but it has also become a symbol for which we have come to identify with. Chimera was chosen because it best suits everyone in this system overall. Almost all of our system identifies as nonhuman, the species variety in our system is very high. Traditionally, the chimera was depicted as a creature that has the upper body of a lion, a lower body of a goat with an extra head of a goat, and a tail that was as snake complete with a head at the end. Like a chimera, we are a wide variety of different creatures from each other, yet we some all have managed to live together sharing a single body. Also, we are a ‘chimera’ because just like the mythical beast, even though we have different identifies and perspectives –  ‘heads’ – we all live together in somewhat harmony in one body. The word house certainly has a load of symbolism and meaning. With the idea of our body and brain being a house and home for us as well as it implies a sense of family. Hence our name sake. House of Chimeras.

- Spiridon
houseofchimeras: (Earth Listener - Triad)

Date First Written: August 2010

I consider myself just an animist though a lot of what I practice or strive to learn to practice is often labeled as ’shamanic’ by most of society and indeed it is somewhat shamanic in nature. However, I don’t really consider myself a shamanic, or more accurately a neoshamanic, practitioner for two main reasons: one is that I’m still very new to my growing belief system still because its only been since about 2009 that I truly began my path, and two being the biggest reason in that shamanism isn’t what you believe really rather then what you do. A shaman is someone who works for the community, and I don’t have the experience to have confidence in my abilities nor am I physically in a place which would accept someone who is willing to try one’s best at helping someone that way. So I can’t really call my spiritual views neoshamanic.

I first became interested in paganism years back when I found out that there were belief systems that better suited my natural beliefs and views rather than just monotheism which I grew up around. As I read more and more I also found that certain little things and experiences I had had for years beforehand were considered ‘pagan.’ I was quickly drawn to ‘neoshamanism’ and animistic belief systems because of some of the similarities I found were like my natural beliefs and things I had been experiences. However, I quickly veered away from anything associated with it because of the controversies around the topic because of cultural appropriation, and instead became an ‘Eclectic Pagan.’

However, I quickly found that pigeonholing myself into an easy already created niche for comfort and convenience wasn’t going to get me far. It wasn’t right but I didn’t want to step out into something so unknown and close to such controversy. I wanted to play it safe and not deal with any controversies toward my natural beliefs, and so I had tried to shove myself into a kind of a spiritual box of eclectic paganism with Wiccan leanings. I read books and began to study-up on Wicca and general neopaganism, avoiding anything that mentioned anything too animistic or shamanic. However, I quickly got the reality check that that was not going to work and fly for long rather quickly.

I had had forced and involuntary out-of-body experiences (such an over used and generalized term don’t you think?) off and on for years during my early teenage years, however, with the coming of me shoving myself into the easy-way-out corner the amount my experiences sky-rocked and the likes of which grew into greatly inconvenient to everyday life and a lot more forceful. During these experiences my spirit guide, who takes the form of a red deer and has a name I prescribe to him ( he is not a totem, I tend to see those as two completely different things) tried to teach and show me different things ranging from how to properly interact and show respect to entities and beings I came across to how to properly and quickly traverse a tunnel. He also began teaching me how to react quickly to threats and other activity rather than stop and think. These lessons happened before and after I found out about paganism and certainly before I really knew anything about animism or common themes found in “shamanism” and the like. However, I was reluctant to really listen and learn them knowing how hard on so many levels it was going to be to confront the issue surrounding the topic both internally as to how much time I would have to spend perfecting so much and externally in dealing with the troubles of something anything similar to cultural appropriation often linked with shamanism as well as perhaps even be accused of it personally. But my guide was greatly insistent - patient and calm voiced - but insistent all the same. Within short time, another entity who I would later learn was my life totem who was Lunar Moth also began to insist on my training and study.

This juggling game of trying to learn and practice one thing in real-life - because I was still trying to practice a general neopaganism with some Wiccan leanings - while being nudged to learn something else that was rather different - something animistic, totemistic, and even shamanic - went on for almost a year with only a few months shy before I finally started to slowly listen to what they were saying and realizing they were right. I had grown tired and wary of knowing general neopaganism with Wiccan leanings was not working for me. I also had never found no specific neopagan path like neo-druidry or the like which suited the ‘itch’ as well.

So I turned back to my natural and core beliefs, views, and experiences. I dropped everything I had learned and focused there. The things I had always felt since I can really remember very well. I began slowly building on the them using things not from what I remembered from books but from things I remembered being taught and shown. I pierced what I had learned of from there, but had there were gaps. It would work as the framework for now which I would always come back too.

Soon, I began slowly reading books on both general paganism and general animistic *read shamanic* practices which seemed to resonate throughout much of the world. I thought of the possibility of trying to find a specific animistic culture and belief system which best matched my natural beliefs and where I seemed to be headed, but I knew early on that that could not be reasonably possible. This reasoning was also conformed with everyone. I could never just learn from any culture and force it to fit within my own either by somehow finding and learning from someone who was somehow a part of the culture itself or from any number of books about it. It still would be cultural appropriation and I knew there were things within my natural practices (namely over my therianthropy) which could cause me to do things slightly differently. I knew I couldn’t just waltz into any culture that was not my own just for my convenience or peace of mind in the same way I knew I could play religious Frankenstein’s monster as I saw fit. I realized that I was going to have to do it the hard way and nothing was going to come to me set down on a sliver platter.

And so I began reading and noting my experiences and more so back and forth. I listened to what my spirit guide, the various totems (not just my life totems, Lunar Moth) I worked with and met, and what the spirits who had begun to help me over time (I usually call them my helper spirits for easy understanding of how we interact) suggested and affirmed what they deemed appropriate. If I began to stray to far one way or another I would be corrected I would correct myself. So from there I began to slowly build my own spirituality and practice from step by step, and still do this to this day because I still have a lot to learn being still rather much a novice having the bulk of this only happened over the recent three or four years.

However, my unease with the controversy of cultural appropriation as I try to build on my natural beliefs and practices that I’ve been unconsciously practicing for years and years before any of this, as I also try to find that fine line between reading about animism and “shamanism” (got to put that lovely umbrella word in quotation marks because of how often its thrown around) and accidentally just appropriating it willy-nilly is still greatly nagging on my conscious. My desire not to play spiritual buffet with other belief systems and practices without care or concern has even led me to read books such as “Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation” by Bruce Ziff to try and understand the issues around it better.

To me, heritage does not equal culture. My heritage is mishmash of a lot of German and Greek with some French, Scottish, various other nameless European regions, and maybe some Native American of an unknown for sure tribe, and who knows what else- but whether I like it or not none of this is my culture. My culture is good old southern America and my family didn’t bother to keep any family cultural traditions alive over the years. However, I can no more reach back and puck from those ancestral lines their culture and beliefs as I see fit just because I have roots down that road as much as I can any other culture that I have no ties to culturally or through bloodline. Those ties were broken before I was born and I have just as much right to tamper in their cultures without a clue of what I am doing and anyone else’s - meaning I have none. All I can do is move forward and build around the culture and area I live now at this point because this is my culture now. I’m just a ‘white mutt’ is all.

Somewhere in the future when I have more experience with myself I know I will have an even greater desire to help others then I have now. I already feel it now despite still being so new. Unfortunately, I dread the idea of coming across as a “plastic shaman,’ ‘a charlatan,’ or some American mutt who wants to ’play Indian’ to people. (Honestly, on the last one, what remains of the Native American culture and history does not need to be nit-picked and romanticized as it is anymore). I live in an area were things ‘pagan’ are generally not well taken by most of society. There also isn’t any real pagan community in my area to turn to for advice and experience in real life outside of my own or to anything of the sort. Because of this basically all of the more community driven work I do do at present is mostly on the nonphysical and indirect side. Because my beliefs and concerns are more sensitivity geared towards concerns of giving back to or helping our fellow earthings (usually called non-human animals) and the environment a lot of my work right now tends to focus on trying to get better helping that aspect of society both locally and globally. Doing rituals and journeying with the goal of helping in those certain respects such as focusing on a certain species of animal or event, as well as learn how to physically help them as well such as learn to be slightly more eco-friendly-ish as well as good manual labor of picking up everyday litter every now and then.

So I’m really trying to traverse between a rock and a hard place. Its not easy. It’s a lot of trial and error seeing as that I can’t just latch onto an already constructed belief system just so I can have an easy ride. And even if I could, “shamanism” as a general phenomena seems to tend to lean toward a life-long journey of learning how to do things better and help the community better regardless of the fact anyway. However, I really don’t seem to have a choice in that matter as it were. Our modern society doesn’t have much in the way of surviving animistic views and systems which are as easily disconnected and replanted from continent to continent as other beliefs systems which thrive today tend to be. I cannot pick an easier route just for my own peace of mind or look back and try and grab from the past, I can only go forward.

- Earth Listener
houseofchimeras: (Earth Listener - Triad)

Date First Written: October 2009; Date Last Updated: March 2010

In today’s market, advertisements use sexuality to sell everything from clothing to cars and from bath products to food produce. It can be found in literally just about anywhere at many given time to one degree or another. The use of natural sexual attraction is so common, in fact, sometimes we don’t even realized it overtly. Most Americans would agree that today’s society and culture is quite literally obsessed with sex and things of a sexual nature. In the same turn most of mainstream society in America would find it hard to believe that there is a small part of the population that is not interested in the same sex craze as general, mainstream part of American or even global society. These people call themselves asexuals.

Asexuality is considered by some to be a naturally occurring sexual orientation in which a person does not experience any sexual attraction toward any gender and/or does not experience sexual drive at all. Some asexuals may or may not have a low or virtually non-existent sex drive or libido, though the exact presence or absence of a person’s desire for sexual intercourse is not considered by some who try to define asexuality as a pivotal point. On the other hand, some people believe that asexuality and the lack of sexual attraction or sex drive to be solely be caused by some form of trauma at an early age or even a lack of a certain hormones, and that it is not a valid sexual orientation. Some even suggest that asexuality might be or even is mental illness of some sort which should be treated accordingly as such. Others simply believe that asexuals are just ashamed of their actual sexuality, or are simply “late bloomers” who will sooner or later becoming sexually interested in one gender or another (Childs; Fulbright).

Just as people can have a very high sex drive, it is also possible for people to have a very low or even no sex drive at all. Sexuality is a very fluid thing, and just because a percentage of the population deviates from the average of most of the rest of society does not automatically mean there is something fundamentally wrong with those who stand outside the standard norm. The same is true for those who consider themselves asexual. Just because they have no interest or desire to have sexual intercourse, or sexual interest in another person does not mean that there is something sociologically, psychologically, or biologically wrong with them.

Scientific research and studies on asexuality is at present still limited, and only a few studies have been made and published as of yet. In fact, the subject of asexuality and the nature of it has only just begun to be explored by psychologists and scientists over the past few recent decades and even more so in the last five years. Asexuality among the scientific community is still so new, in fact, that there is even a debate still going on if asexuality should be considered a sexual orientation or if it should be considered a mental or biological condition of some sort(Fulbright). There are many human sexuality experts from around the world who have never even heard of the concept of asexuality, though many of them are not surprised in the least that such people would exist in the first place (Duenwald, Fulbright). The now retired director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at the Indiana University, Dr. John Bancroft once even stated that he thought it would be very surprising if there were not any asexuals in the world noting that from the view of the idea of the Kinsey scale, there is a large range of variation when it comes to human sexuality (Duenwald). However, some human sexuality experts refute the idea of anyone possibly being asexual without there being any underlying causes either biologically or mentally (Fulbright).

Many of the studies into asexuality have thus far been conducted by a psychologist and human sexuality expert from Brock University by the name of Anthony Bogaert. Anthony Bogaert’s work and studies on asexuality is well known primarily because there had been no such studies into asexuality before to its degree ("Study: One”). One of Anthony Bogaert’s most quoted and known studies on asexuality have been published in the 2004 issue of The Journal of Sex Research. During the study, Bogaert found that one out of every hundred people, of 18,000 people in Britain for which the study took place, agreed with the statement that "I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all." (“Asexuality: Its Prevalence”). This statistic has grown to be one of the most widely used case in point for the existence of people who could be labeled as asexual in many news articles and journals ever sense its publication.

During Anthony Bogaert’s study he also found that people who considered themselves to be asexual could be put into one of two different groups. In Bogaert’s view some asexuals are romantically attracted to a particular gender, but they are not interested in actual sexual intercourse; other asexuals are not attracted to any gender, and are also not interested in sexual intercourse. Bogaert also found that of the people who considered themselves asexual, 33 percent of them were in some kind of long-term relationship (Bridgeman).

In resent years, asexuality has become more and more known in certain parts of mass media. Asexuality is beginning to become mentioned in school textbooks such as the college textbook Sociology by Linda Gerber and John J. Macionis. Asexuality was also described in the book Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality, giving a brief overview of statistics concerning asexuality and mentioning the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network. (Greenberg, 440). Asexuality has even made its way onto mainstream television by way of a character by the name of Gerald Tippett, who describes himself as asexual on a New Zealand medical soap opera entitled Shortland Street.

While the subject of asexuality has yet to really become a big topic of study for researchers and scientists, asexuality has slowly over the years become somewhat of a topic of interest among news agencies and newspapers (O’Donnell). Even big name news agencies such as ABC, CNN, and FOX News have all brought up asexuality at various points over the years on their television programs, newspapers, and online articles. It even appeared as a topic twice on ABC’s primetime show 20/20; once on March 24, 2006 and the other on September 5, 2006, in which several members of AVEN talked about their asexuality openly on camera.

AVEN, or Asexual Visibility and Education Network, is one of the if not the largest online community dedicated for asexuals and information about asexuality. The founder of AVEN is 27 year old San Francisco resident David Jay, who is certainty one of the leading activists on asexuality gaining acceptance and understanding in society at large. AVEN centers around an internet forum were asexuals and people curious about asexuality can engage in discussions about asexuality and topics surrounding it. And while the site is prudently geared toward English-speaking users normally based in the US, the site has even grown to the extent that multiple sub-forums have been created specifically for non-English speaking users outside the US. Several countries this includes, but is not limited to Spanish speaking continues, French, Italian, and a host of other languages.

Within the asexual community, both online and in real-life, a host of terms and phrases have been created and taken hold as everyday community terms to better understand and describe various facets of the users asexuality. Just as a hetrosexual can be called ‘straight’ and a homosexual can be called ‘gay/lesbian,’ asexuals have come to called ‘ace’ for short both inside and outside the asexual community. Also, over the years the asexual community has created several terms for subcategories to help asexuals define those who, while not interested in sexual intercourse, may still be interested in romantic relationships. The word, heteroromantic in the asexual community has come to mean an asexual whose romantic attraction is towards persons of the opposite sex. There is also homoromantic, meaning romantic attraction towards persons of the same sex, biromantic, romantic attraction towards persons of either sex, and panromantic, romantic attraction towards people of any gender or even lack of gender. Finally there are asexual who are aromantic, and lack of romantic attraction towards anyone of either sex, and/or are not interested in romantic relations with anyone regardless of their sex or gender. These similar distinctions were also noted by in Anthony Bogaert’s study, as mentioned earlier.

Because little research has been done in detail into asexuality, the prevalence of one romantic attraction over others is not scientifically known. However, the forum of AVEN holds host to numerous polls for its members to respond to, and while the polls are not scientifically validated they still do help shed light on its general prevalence within AVEN itself. As of March 28, 2010, 645 members have responded to the poll asking “What is your ROMANTIC orientation?,” 240 members (or 37.04% out of a 100%) stated that they were hetero-romantic, 42 members (or 6.48%) stated they were homo-romantic, 108 members (16.67%) considered themselves bi-romantic, 92 members (14.20%) called themselves pan-romantic, and 120 members (18.52%) were a-romantic. The remaining percent was taken up by the options “Other” (32 members for 4.94%) and “Changing” (14 votes for 2.16%).

One common misconception people get when they first hear about asexuality is that asexuality is similar to celibacy. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy. Celibacy is the conscious decision to abstain and refrain from sexual intercourse for a decided period of time, while asexuality is when someone has no desire for sex or does not experience sexual attraction (Fulbright). Even the author of the book A History of Celibacy, Dr. Elizabeth Abbot recognized the difference between asexuality and celibacy. Elizabeth Abbott, dean of women at U of T's Trinity College during an interview about asexuality even stated, “I definitely think that someone can be born with a very low or non-existent sexual drive in the same way that someone can be born with a very high sex drive.” Abbott later when on to argue that there was no “‘normal’ human range of sexual interest or sexuality” (qtd. in Rynor).

In the 1990s, a rarely publicized studies by the US Sheep Experiment Station on sheep involving three different teams did a study on the partner preferences of sexually mature rams. They found that while the majority of the rams showed only interest in the female ewes and mated solely with them, ten percent of the rams did not. The researchers found that seven percent of the ten percent of male rams who did not have any interest in the ewes were instead only interested in other rams. The remaining three of the ten percent showed absolutely no interest in either males or females. Fredrick Stormshak, who was a part of the study noted, “They have no interest whatsoever in mating. They appear to be 100% asexual.” A year after the first tests on rams was conducted, the experiments were done again with the same results. Studies such as these, while somewhat controversial when they are used in comparison with humans, certainly does still reveal some insight into asexuality or even simply sexual preference as a whole, and how it might be a natural phenomena among different species (qtd. in Westphal).

One of the greatest obstacles for people labeling themselves asexual, is that often after coming out to others around them, one statement that asexuals hear over and over again by family member and friends when they come out about their lack of interest in sex is that they “just have not met the right guy yet”, or “just have not met the right girl yet” (Mar). David Jay, the founder of AVEN once noted while talking about trying to spread the word about asexuality in an article for MTV that, “We [the asexual community] don't have people who are physically attacking us the way that gay people have for a long time, thankfully. We just have people that are telling us that asexuality doesn't exist" (qtd. in Mar).

Other asexuals are often simply told that they are just “late bloomers,” and that they will grow out of their phase and will become attracted to opposite sex (Westphal). During Anthony Bogaert’s study “Asexuality: Prevalence and Associated Factors in a National Probability Sample,” he noted that many people in today’s society in general begin to become aware of their particular sexual preference by about the age of 10 years old in some sense. Bogaert went on to state that while awareness of sexual preferences may be delayed because of various environmental factors, extremely delayed awareness long past puberty is extremely rare. Although it is possible someone can simply be a “late bloomer” of sorts when it comes to becoming sexually attracted to other people and having a desire for sexual intercourse, the growing number of people who identity as asexual cannot be solely be explained away as all being late bloomers. While a fair number of asexuals being interviewed by various news agencies, as well as the asexuals who a part of AVEN are people in the range of 19 to 28 the likelihood of someone of that age range suddenly becoming sexually attracted to other people after years of sexual maturity is highly unlikely (Bogaert “Asexuality: Prevalence”).

The fact that some people who have heard of asexuality simply consider described asexuals to be denying or hiding their true sexual urges, feelings, or desires for one reason or another is another problem some asexuals face while trying to come out to the public (Fulbright). In a magazine from the National Religious Vocation Conference in the US called Vision 2002, there was an article titled "Eight myths about religious life." In the article it states: “Question: what do you call a person who is asexual? Answer: Not a person. Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity” (qtd. in Westphal). Some people such as Ian Kerner, a sex therapist, believe asexuals simply use asexuality as an excuse as a way of concealing their true sexuality, or even feelings about bad or even traumatic sexually related experiences from somewhere in their past (Friedman). Others believe asexuals have an aversion and repulsion for sex because they were brought up in overly religious or strict families were they were taught about sexuality and sexual acts with strictly negative connotations. Though, as already stated, current detailed studies and surveys are limited, the studies thus far have not found any link between religious background and upbringing to people being asexual in their adult life. Studies have also failed to find a link between traumatic, either sexual or otherwise, that might lead to someone being asexual as an adult (Bogaert “Asexuality: Prevalence”).

Skeptics of the existence of asexuality sometimes note that a fair number of asexuals themselves have never had sex in their whole life. Joy Davidson, a sex therapist, when interviewed by ABC News about asexuality, stated that, in regards to asexuals who have never had sex, “Saying you don't miss it is like someone in a sense who's colorblind saying, ‘I don't miss color.’ Of course, you don't miss what you've never had” (qtd. in “Sexless and Proud”). The problem with this line of thinking is that someone does not have to have sex with a particular gender to know that they are, or in this case, are not attracted to. A homosexual man does not have to have same-sex intercourse to know that he is attracted to men and not women (Cox). A self described asexual by the name of Ivy once stated after someone told her she can’t dislike sex until she had tried it, “I'm as sure that I don't feel the attraction as any heterosexual person can be said to be sure they aren't interested in homosexual relationships. By that logic, they'd all have to try gay sex before they could say they didn't like it” (Jennings). Also many asexuals who have never had sex state that they do not have sexual intercourse because they are uninterested in the act, and they do not state that they have any aversion or dislike of the act of sexual intercourse. Many asexuals interviewed and surveyed in various studies have noted that they do not engage in sexual activates because they have no desire or drive to engage in such activates (Duenwald, Bridgeman).

Some people criticize the idea of asexuality noting that some people who call themselves asexual masturbate on occasion. Robyn Salisbury, a clinical psychologist, noted that someone who labeled themselves asexual and still masturbated was auto-erotic and/or autosexual and not asexual (Bridgeman; Roy). Bogaert, however, noted in one of his papers that some asexuals do experience some small amount of sexual desire but for some reason or another their minds do not seem to direct those desires onto anything or anyone, and so they satisfy their desires through masturbation (“Toward a Conceptual Understanding”). Paul Cox, a 24 year old asexual who is married to another asexual, once wrote an article for the Guardian explaining that, for him, masturbation had nothing do with sexual desires or urges and that instead it was something biological. He stated that he never fantasized, and that he found no connection between masturbation and his sexual orientation, or in his case, lack of sexual orientation. Cox went on to say finally that he felt no connection between his body’s natural processes with a desire to have sex with another person.

Asexuality has yet to come into any known true conflict with any religious originations or groups as being against their teachings, but because asexuality is little known to most of mainstream society it is unknown if asexuality will come into conflict with religious doctrines later on as it because more known. Some religions, such as some denominations of Christianity, tend to emphasis on "purity" and virginity of the body, but on the other hand some of the same religions also teach that might it is “God’s will” to procreate and have many children. (Genesis 1:28 KJV?) While some religions sometimes teach that celibacy or abstinence is best way to go about their natural human sexuality, because asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy it is hard to determine how certain religious and spiritual view points may clash with what asexuals view as what is normal for them.

From a biological standpoint, asexuality is explained by some as simply being caused by a low amount of certain hormones or certain electrical signals from the brain which cause a low or poor sex drive (Roy; Fulbright). A study by the Kinsey Institute in 2007, found that asexuals who took part in the study “reported significantly lower sexual arousability than non-asexuals” as well as having less of a desire or urge to have sex with a partner than non-asexuals (Fulbright). The concern that something might be biologically wrong with them has led some asexuals to seek medical advice, but one asexual interviewed stated that after numerous tests, no biological abnormalities were found (“Sexless and Proud”; Bridgeman).

Another common obstacle asexuals face when coming out with their sexuality, or in their case lack of sexuality, is trying to get people to believe that there is not something biologically or psychologically wrong with them which must be treated (Westphal). From a psychological and disorder standpoint, asexuality is sometimes associated with several mental illnesses, including Sexual Aversion Disorder and Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (Bogaert “Toward a Conceptual Understanding”). Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, is defined as a sexual dysfunction in which a person does not experience any desire for sex, and even has an aversion to sexual intercourse (“Asexual Behavior”). Under the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), asexuals could easily be labeled with any of these such disorders (Mangus).

The problem lies in the fact that labeling someone as having a disorder leads to the conclusion that there is a problem which needs to be fixed so that the person can lead a happy and healthy life (Westphal). The problem with this is that many of the asexuals interviewed and surveyed in various studies thus far generally lead happy and healthy lives in the same way that non-asexuals do. The very definition of a disorder is a mental abnormality which causes hindrance and/or harm in a person’s life or the people around them. Even Dr. Irwin Goldstein, the director of the Center for Sexual Medicine at Boston University, whose majority of patients go to him because of their lack of a sex drive stated that the lack of sexual desire or drive does not specifically mean that a person has a problem or a disorder like H.S.D.D.. Dr. Goldstein asserted that it only becomes a disorder if it caused problems in the person’s relationship or daily life (Duenwald). The nature of what asexuality is for those who describe themselves with it and what the general idea of what a disorder is thereby does not match (Roy; Bogaert “Toward a Conceptual Understanding”; Westphal).

Another problem with labeling asexuals with disorders such as Sexual Aversion Disorder is that not all asexuals have an aversion or repulsion toward sex or sexual acts. Some asexuals interviewed by various news agencies and studies noted that they still from time to time engaged in sexual acts especially if they were in a relationship with someone who was not asexual (Fulbright; Cox). Many of them stated that while they were not interested in the act of sexual intercourse themselves, their non-asexual partners still were (Bridgeman; Cox). Another poll done by AVEN, again while there is no scientific backing, asked a question on this matter asking its members “Repulsed-A or Indifferent-A?” As of February 3, 426 members (28.12%) agreed with the statement “Repulsed-asexual: I find sex and all sexual things to be absolutely disgusting” while 1089 members (71.89%) agreed with the statement “Indifferent-asexual: Enh, whatever floats their boat. I'm not disgusted, just not interested.”

While asexuality has only begun to be researched and studied, it seems that the nature of asexuality is a lot more complex than it simply being one thing or another. The fact that someone is asexual does not mean that there is “something wrong” with them. Bogaert himself in his paper entitled “Toward a Conceptual Understanding of Asexuality” stated that asexuality should be considered a sexual orientation, because it is a means for those who use it to identify and label a major part of their sexuality. Over recent years, studies into human sexuality have revealed much even though a lot still remains to be understood. Science and research into sexuality in general has continued to bring up mix and even contradictive results about the possible reasons and causes for any sexual preference or orientation. It is hard to say if science will ever begin to unravel the nature verses nurture aspect of human sexuality. What these studies do seem to indicate is that human sexuality is a complex and wide ranging part of human life and behavior. It can be easily argued that human sexuality and sexual behavior is an important part of our society and culture, but that does not mean that those who find themselves outside the average range for most of society are outside the range which is healthy. Asexuality and those who define themselves as asexual are simply another part of the spectrum of human sexuality.

 Work Cited

"Asexual Behavior." Discovery Health. 2002. Discovery Health. 14 Mar 2009 <http://health.discovery.com/centers/sex/sexpedia/asexual.html>.

Bogaert, Anthony F. “Asexuality: Prevalence and Associated Factors in a National Probability Sample” The Journal of Sex Research. 41 (August 2004): 270-287. 4 Mar 2009. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_3_41/ai_n6274004/>.

Bogaert, Anthony F. “Toward A Conceptual Understanding of Asexuality.” Review of General Psychology. 10.3. (Sep 2006): 241-250. 4 Mar 2009. <http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2006-12728-004>.

Bridgeman, Shelley . "No sex please, we're asexual ." The New Zealand Herald 05 Aug 2007 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10455823>.

Childs, Dan. "Asexuals Push for Greater Recognition." ABC News 16 Jan. 2009. 4 Mar 2009 <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/story?id=6656358&page=1>.

Cox , Paul . "'We're married, we just don't have sex'." Guardian News 08 Sep 2008 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/sep/08/relationships.healthandwellbeing>.

Duenwald, Mary . "For Them, Just Saying No Is Easy." The New York Times 09 June 2005. 20 Apr 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/09/fashion/thursdaystyles/09asexual.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=520063b1b0fd9ad7&ex=1275969600&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss>.

Friedman, Emily. "Could 'American Idol' Star Clay Aiken Be Asexual?." ABCNews 29 Jan 2008 13 Mar 2009 <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4209024&page=1>.

Fulbright, Yvonne . "Asexuality - Is It Even Real?" FOX News 12 Jan 2009 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,479524,00.html>.

Greenberg, Jerrold S., Bruess, Clint E., & Conklin, Sarah C. (2007). Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Harris, Lynn. "Asexual and proud!." Salon.com (2009): n. pag. Web. 5 Dec 2009. <http://dir.salon.com/story/mwt/feature/2005/05/26/asexual/print.html>.

Isadora, Alman. "Sex advice: Asexual or late bloomer?." Detroit Free Press 3 May 2009 Web.12 May 2009. <http://www.freep.com/article/20090503/FEATURES01/905030324/1026/FEATURES01/Sex+advice++Asexual+or+late+bloomer>.

Jennings, Jacqueline. "No Sex? No Problem." The Daily Beast 18 July 12009 Web.20 Jul 2009. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-18/no-sex-no-problem/?cid=hp:mostpopular2>.

Mar, Alex. "Asexual Healing: Young People Forming Sex-Free Community." MTV 05 Apr 2007 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1556336/20070404/id_0.jhtml>.

Mangus, Rhonda J. "Asexuals Push for Recognition and for Change in DSM." Now Public 20 Jan 2009 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.nowpublic.com/health/asexuals-push-recognition-and-change-dsm>.

O'Donnell, Joy. "Why Asexuality is Hot...." National Sexuality Resource Center. 25 Aug 2009. 3 Sep 2009. <http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/dialogues/users/sexlit_outreach/blog/why-asexuality-is-hot>.

Roy, Saberi . "The Psychology of Asexuality." Buzzle.com 28 Feb 2008 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-psychology-of-asexuality.html>.

Rynor, Michah . "Can someone be born asexual?" Ask Us @ U of T . 2003. of T Department of Public Affairs. 20 Apr 2009 <http://www.news.utoronto.ca/bios/askus36.htm>.

"Sexless and Proud." ABCNews. 5 Sep. 2006. ABC. 1 Apr 2009 <http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/Sex/story?id=2395452&page=1>.

"Study: One in 100 adults asexual." CNN 14 Oct 2004 4 Mar 2009 <http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/10/14/asexual.study/index.html>.

Westphal, Sylvia. “Feature: Glad to be asexual.” New Scientist. 14 Oct 2004. 4 Mar 2009. <http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6533-feature-glad-to-be-asexual.html>.

- Earth Listener

houseofchimeras: (Earth Listener)
Date First Written: January 2009; Date Last Updated: February 2014

The story of how we found the therian community is a bit of an odd tale. By at the latest of the age of 7, we already had a general grasp on our nonhuman identities. Our finding the online community and coming into awareness of the community’s existence was more of a gradual series of events that drew us even closer to its final conclusion.

To begin, it should be noted that our general and rough understanding of being nonhuman in identity occurred while we were still children. Our early childhood memories are vague in places, but we know for sure that we had some idea that we didn’t identify as human in some way by at least the age of 6 or 7.

The first hint to us that we are not alone in our experiences and identities came to us while we were still in our childhood. At the age of 9 in 1999 we met someone who identified as a fox. We ended up confiding and sharing our thoughts and feelings to one another from then on. We talked about our feelings of wanting to act out animal behaviors which we were having to teach ourselves to control. We also discussed feelings of limbs and such which were not there on our bodies as well. So on and so forth on whatever we experienced at that time in our lives. Our friendship gave our multiple system an early boost in confidence in our identity thought it did not put an end to our childhood doubt completely.

Then in the August of 2003, the hour documentary Animal Imitators aired on the television channel TLC. We had managed to catch a preview stating what it was about and so managed to record the whole documentary on VHS. We did so due to finding something about the preview we had seen oddly familiar and the actual documentary did not disappoint us.

The documentary went over the lives of various people. Some were more interested in the body modification, some of the people were more of the furry persuasion (and called themselves furries), others were more therian in persuasion (one of which even directly calling himself a “were”), and a few were a mix of one or more. Furries meaning a person who is a fan of anthropomorphic animals in media, and a certain percentage creating and wearing costumes of an animal. While were is another term for therian which was primarily used during the 90s and early 2000s before almost fully falling out of favor to “therian” until the early to mid 2000s.

One of those interviewed was Stalking Cat, a man who had had numerous tattoos and body modifications done to look more like a tiger. At one point he stated, “I’ve been a cat my entire life. I’ve always related to cats, I’ve always had a close relationship with cats.” We sympathized and felt similar to him in some sense. Not so much for the desire to take surgical action on our body, but the sense of some dysphoria to our body regardless.[1]

 Another person’s interviewed who really stuck out and whom we couldn’t help but feel similar to was a man named Coyote Osborne. The narrator of the documentary, introduced Coyote by stating, “Not all […] feel a need to transform their bodies. Some just accept they are an animal trapped in a human skin.” Coyote Osborne talked about having past life memories and dreams about being a coyote as well talked about how he felt he wasn’t human even though his body was physically human. The first time watching the documentary, we couldn’t help but identity with so much on what Coyote said. Of having dreams, of feeling like a creation animal, of drawing how we felt we should look like, and more.[2]

There were a number of things the documentary brought up that we didn’t fully grasp or not notice at all until later. However, what we did grasp meant a lot to us. Those of us who identified as Earthly animals or werebeast took comfort in the greater knowledge that we were not alone even more than what we had previously thought.  Everyone else in the system even, while the documentary didn’t pertain to them so much directly, found the idea of there being more people who didn’t identify as human left open a possibility that soothed them as well. We faintly remember watching that documentary many more times in the months and years to come.

Sometime in the summer of 2004 a documentary also aired called Humanimals aired. (It was not the Weird, True, & Freaky half-hour episode titled the same name as that aired December 16th 2008.[3]) We know and remember the hour long documentary aired during the summer of 2004 because it too was recorded by us on VHS. We have never found any information online referencing this old documentary however. The documentary almost exclusively focused on people who had modified there bodies to look more animalistic or whatnot. Some of them stated outright they didn’t identify with an animal at all, while a few stated they did in some way or another identify with an animal. This documentary didn’t strike us as strongly as the other commentary, but still some things seemed familiar to us. It still added to our sense of not being alone in our feelings.

The nudge referencing otherkin and similar communities occurred again in the winter of 2004 when a school friend of ours in junior high and high school mentioned that there were people who were nonhuman spirituality. She had an interest in witchcraft as her father was practicing witchcraft, paganism, and/or the occult (we never fully learned exactly what it was he practiced). They had heard of people who were actually werebeasts, vampires, elves, and dragons. (We remember her specifically mentioned those four.) She didn’t call them by any term nor knew anything more than that really, sadly.

Then, some time in the fall of 2005 while searching through the books at our local library on werewolves Cavern-Risen came across a book called, The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shapeshifting Beings by Bard Steiger. The book included one section which interested us the most (enough that we got photocopies of the pages in question back then) called “Spiritual Shape-Shifting.” The section discussed the topic of shamanic and other spiritual practices where a person took on the power or some other quality of an animal. It also touched on the idea of people merely connecting with or identifying with/as a certain animal, as well as mention that some people had dreams, visions, and so on of becoming or being an animal for spiritual reasons. The section also included a mediation exercise to spiritually shapeshift into a wolf.[4] Again, we were left with a feeling of our experiences being a part of some phenomena that other people had been and were experiences elsewhere, but still had no idea where or to what extent there was to it.  

Our lack of direct knowledge of the online otherkin communities changed though in March of 2006. We can’t quite recall the exact date outside that it was in March or early April. Even after all these years we still remember the sequence of events that infolded as we discovered the community online.

Cavern-Risen had been searching and using search engines heavily. She was looking up information on myths and stories of werewolves just out of interest and cursorily while looking for information on real-life werebeasts was more out of wondering what could be online. We all  remembered those documentary interviews of people who were like us and everything else we had come upon over the years, though Cavern-Risen wasn’t directly thinking of them at the time. We were still extremely new to what the internet could be used for so the idea of using it for socializing and networking didn’t even come to mind at all.

We don’t recall what she had thrown into the search engine or how deep into the page results she found the link, but what we ended up finding was the webpage called The Therianthropy Resource. It was the first website about therianthropy we had ever come across. The website was little more than a single webpage with much of the information there apparently taken from other websites with each section credited to the original author. Looking back we can recognize some of the information’s origins, some parts are from Alt.Horror.Werewolves and/or Were.net for sure.

At first, Cavern-Risen honestly thought it was just another werewolf website or something like; however, as she went down the page it became more and more apparent that wasn‘t the case. The webpage began describing something called “therianthropy” and how such people were, in a way, the real kind of werewolves and so on in the world. Several sections went over some personal experiences from their authors and the final section was over shifting and other things. As she read through the text something in the our brain kept feeling a sense of déjà vu on our own experiences as well as vaguely remembering back to those documentaries and so on we had once seen, read, or had been told. Fascinated and wanting to know more about the topic and wanting to be sure of what was being said wasn’t just isolated talk, Cavern-Risen took a few of the terms used and took a search engine to them. From there, we found even more websites and information.

Another website was quickly found called, The Shadow Wulfs Den. The site was old having not been updated in years on that day Cavern-Risen first found it. The website talked about various kinds of experiences more in-depth. Looking back, we can tell that a number of the things in the website are what we (and the greater therian community) would now called ‘fluffy’ in the sense of mixing fact with fiction (mixing in myths of werewolves into how therians actually are) as well as making real world claims (such as physical shifting being real and such). However, the website did give us more insight and ideas to bounce off of with to find and learn more about this topic.

Cavern-Risen kept searching and reading both that day and some more days to come. Over that span of time we came across even more websites, some of which we can no longer remember the name of or they are no longer online all these years later. Some of those websites we found and remember by name included The WereWeb, The Werewolf and Shapeshifter Codex, The Werebeast Support Page, Werelist, Therianthropy.org, Unicorns United, The Draconity FAQ, Eristic.net, and others.

At first, Cavern-Risen was skeptical to if this really did fit what she experienced (and the rest of us did in our own way), but as she read through both these websites and others of which we can’t remember the names of anymore, it kept feeling like complete déjà vu. A feeling of “I know this” and “I experienced that” kept washing over us all in some sense or another. We kept doing research and became more and more convinced that we fit into the words we were reading about and that our experiences fit into these communities.

After that point, we began to lurk in the community. Occasionally coming across a website we hadn’t seen before to look through as well as finding websites to keep going back to. Cavern-Risen held back on joining any forums, and instead we merely lurked forums that we could look at without joining. Forums like Werelist and a few other forums that we don‘t remember the name of anymore.

By summer of 2007 we began to consider joining the community. After a year of lurking, we felt a draw to begin joining in on the interaction and dissuasion. Given, Werelist was one of the visible forums we had been lurking and so had an idea of its atmosphere and content, we felt most comfortable joining it as our first step. However sometime during the fall of 2007, Werelist crashed causing us told back for a little bit longer.

It would not be until November 2007 that I [Earth Listener], who had taken over the front primarily at that point in time, would finally actively take part in the therian community. It was during the fall that we had created a Facebook account and discovered there were several groups on there for otherkin, including ones specifically for therians. So we began joining several of the groups that were active, and the first one we joined was one of the largest ones for therians called Wild At Heart. We also immediately after that joined one simply called Otherkin which was for all kinds of otherkin. After that we began posting and discussing along with the group.

Once we learned that Werelist was back up after having a major crash over a year ago, I [Earth Listener] joined the forum for the first time in January 2008. After that, we joined other forums such as The Awareness Forums in May 2008 and other otherkin forums. Thus, we’ve been around the otherkin communities ever sense somewhere or another. 

- Earth Listener


Bibliography

[1] Pemberton, Justin. Animal Imitators. TLC. 2003.

[2] Pemberton, Justin. Animal Imitators. TLC. 2003.

[3] “Weird, True, & Freaky: Humanimals,” IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1370125/ (accessed February 11 2014)

[4] Steiger, Brad, The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shapeshifting Beings. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999.

July 2014

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