houseofchimeras: (Chimeras)

Date First Written : July 2014

Sometimes I get asked why call myself thestral fictionkin. Short answer is that they are black bat-winged horses with skeletal bodies, blank white eyes, and dragon-like heads with sharp teeth. That is my appearance in my view of self, how I appear in our multiple system’s innerworld, and what shape my phantom body takes while I front. Thestrals are also dark-liking and meat-eating, quick flying, call-out with strange sounds, have predatory instincts, familiar to being around people bat-winged horses at that. Those are my instincts, actions in our innerworld, behavior in dreams, ideas on what I would be doing if I was in the right shape as well. So if my kintype looks and acts like it, I think I can call it that. Its better than “bat-winged horse with skeletal body and dragon mouthed-kin” anyway. Not so mouthful inducing. So I call myself a thestral fictionkin. That‘s just the short answer. More details now.

Thestrals first appears in the novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The fifth book in the series, which was published on the 21st of June 2003. Our multiple system didn’t get around to reading the book until toward the end of the summer of 2005 as we remember finally thinking about reading it after the sixth book came out. The movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out in July 2007. Did not watch it until some months after it was released.

I’ve been this, known this, since at least late childhood. Memories before that, for me, are a bit too fuzzy to know much. Do remember there was a headshot of me drawn by early 2003. It wasn’t perfect. A bit too horse-like and too much flesh/muscle to the head and neck. It mostly looked like a horse with a crocodile-like mouth and glowing blank white eyes. But by the Fall 2005 drawing skills managed a better full body drawing of me head to tail with my wings kind of extended. That drawing was better at making me thinner and less horsy in the face plus showed off wings and three-toed feet. I called my species identity “hellhorse” due to lack of a better word during preteen and early teen years. Even after reading the book where thestrals were described, I didn’t think anything of it because I thought skeletal bat-winged meat-eating horsy-things where found in mythology. Learned of the term otherkin in 2006 and after noticed a lack of such creatures in myth. Than learned of fictionkin in 2007, but didn’t accept that I was a fictionkin for a little while longer.

Knowing I am a bat-winged black horse-creature with teeth rather than something other is thanks to existence of our innerworld due to being part of a multiple system. Multiple system meaning more than one mind or identity shares the same body. Put simply. Innerworld being a reality in our brain where we experience everyone in our system like we do in our physical body to people around us. In this internal reality we move about as how we have seen ourselves since anyone can remember. So I’ve gotten to know how I look, how my body feels, and how I act well over the years. Biggest experience while controlling our multiple system’s actual/physical body is the ghostly dual body trying to mimic my physical body as best can be done. Its almost always there no matter what. Sometimes very detailed and present, and sometimes more blurry and vague. Those are two of the bigger experiences which impact the every day.

Both body in our innerworld and phantom body is near size of horses. Just not much bulk from lack of muscle. Phantom body’s withers of similar height as actual bodies shoulders, but one body is smaller and on two legs while the other is bigger and on four legs. The size makes it sometimes hard to move around everyday spaces and do regular things without phantom body going through this or that. Its an unavoidable weird part of having a phantom body of a nonhuman shape. Feeling one body that isn’t there have doors close while the rest is still walking through. Feeling my phantom body run or fly near the ground in place with the car I am in while driving places. Things like that. Lots of things. The size of thestrals isn’t mentioned but how they are described pulling couches and being ridden makes it sound like they are roughly the size of a standard horse. (OotP Ch10, OotP Ch33, & OotP Ch34)

My coat is very short and all black. On my phantom body my skin is covered in a short, short coat over very boney body. Doesn’t feel like thick fur, rather its very short and fine feeling on my phantom body. Inworld, I know my coat is black because I can turn my head in lots of different ways to look. Less here is something on my head, neck, or behind, I’m all black. Thestrals are introduced as saying that they “were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible.” (OotP Ch10) They’re later referred to as skeletal numerous times later on. (OotP Ch11 & OotP Ch21)

Phantom body and body in our innerworld is very boney. Extremely boney for horses by right for me. On phantom body even there is the feeling skin move over bones as steps and turns take place in time with real body. Because of this “rightness” to be all bones and skin over a horsy shape. Seeing photographs of horribly underweight horses leaves confusing feeling. One feeling is sadness for seeing any of them unnaturally boney and meatless, as real horses should not look like that. Another feeling is sense of familiarity to a horse shape so lacking in meat and so showing of bones. Both feelings lead to mixed feelings and some confusion. Right, but not right. The more underweight the more familiar the weird ways. Thestrals are described again and again being dragon-like winged horses whose bones show. One quote described them as “black coats clinging to their skeletons.” (OotP Ch10)

My overall head, is both reptile-like and horse-like too. Like someone took a horse skull, and added some more reptilian features. My mouth and eye sockets are most dragon-like, while the rest looks more like a horse’s skull. The mouth’s lips follow the jaw unlike a horse’s mouth which is just at the front of the head. The eye’s focus more forward than a horse’s eyes. That is the shape of my head on my phantom body, turning this way in that in mimic of actual head. This might not be true might not be true for thestrals, but the book nor author have said exactly how there heads look in detail to know. Only have said that thestral’s heads are described as being “dragon-like” or “reptilian” several times through the times they appear. (OotP Ch10 & OotP Ch21) How exactly their heads are reptilian has never been described.

Nose on my phantom body and body in our innerworld is like a cross of the nose of horse skull and the nostrils of some vultures. More like open holes with no fleshiness there. Phantom body breathes along with physical body and feeling fake air enter through large open and non-fleshy nostrils. Noses of thestrals are not directly described. Like rest of head, its just generally described as being draconic or reptilian in some ways. (OotP Ch10 & OotP Ch21)

Like the rest of the head, mouth is a mix of horsy and “dragon-like” too. Mouth is like an opening up horse mouth, more like a predator then prey and teeth are all sharp. Some teeth poke out of mouth almost like an alligator. On phantom body, lipless mouth with sharp teeth that clenches handles and others things when my actually hands are holding objects. Rows of sharp teeth there. Makes eating while fronting interesting because phantom body sometimes tries to mimic, leading to odd sensations. The mouth of thestrals are not described directly. Just that their heads are dragon or reptilian-like in some ways. The only thing about their mouth that is said is they have “pointed fangs” which they yes to eat meat with. (OotP Ch21)

Can’t feel eyes on phantom body of course, but in my mental image of myself my eye are not like horse’s eyes. Eyes are white. All white. In our innerworld, others in the system have told me my eyes are white as well. The eyes of a thestral are described as white and pupil-less. That they are simply blank white eyes. (OotP Ch10)

Ears on my phantom body and body inworld are like horses ears, but smaller. They swivel sometimes. Phantom ears trying to listen to sounds even if those ears don’t hear too. What thestral’s ears look like is never mentioned at all. So hard to tell or know how alike things are.

Like head, neck on phantom body is more mix of horse and something not horse. Length of neck is like a horse’s neck by thinner. Even thinner than an underweight horses’ neck would ever be. The necks of thestrals are described as “dragonish” like their head, and later a thestral is shown to be able to turn its head all the way around to continue lick a person sitting on their back. (OoTP Ch21 & OotP Ch34)

Then there is the mane draped over the long thin neck of my phantom body and body in our innerworld. The mane is like that of a horse. Coming down one side, but not passing the neck. So not very long hair. On phantom body when the wing blows I feel them rise with the breeze. Phantom mane reacting like it was real even if its not. Thestrals are described as having manes, but not how they look. Though there is enough of it for it to be grasped to help mount one’s back (OotP Ch33)

On phantom body and on body in our innerworld, large batty wings starting from boney shoulders that rest folded onto back or spread out in the way around me. Not birdie like a pegasus at all, but batty instead. Fleshy and with long digits to extant. Limbs coming from horsey shoulders to elongated out like an extremely stretched out hand and fingers with skin all in-between. I can move my phantom wings. Open them as wide as I can tell they “touch” around me, less I’m outside usually. Sometimes I get the urge to fly on them, but they’re not real. Inworld, I can actually fly on the wings I have there. Thestrals have wings that “ought to belong to giant bats.” (OotP Ch10) Their also quite good at using them too. (OotP Ch14 & OotP Ch34)

Legs on phantom body and my body in our innerworld are boney like the rest of it all. Like a horse’s legs with joints in the right place, but no muscle to it. So I feel four thin legs moving in-step to actual physical legs. Gait similar to horse’s movement cycles. The legs of a thestral are inferred to be much like the main body - boney and skeletal plus horsy in some way. (OotP Ch10 and OotP Ch21)

I am three-toed. Three large toes ending in thick large nails. Like early horse but stuck in a modern horse body. My phantom body’s feet like that and body inworld is like that. So I feel those bone long legs ending in three hard toes on the ground. In books, its not said what therstrals have. However does show that thestrals can land on streets without a sound (rather than the clopping sound of hooves hitting pavement), and can “scratch” as well as bite. (OotP Ch21, OotP Ch34, and DH Ch36)

There is a long wispy tail behind my phantom body and body inworld. It is more like a zebra’s - no long fur at the base but then long fur later down yet much longer tail fur than a zebra, and all black of course. On my phantom body, the tail I can flick, feeling hair that is not actually there flip in the wind. The tail of the thestral is never directly described though. Just noted only once, with it being said they have a “long black tail.” (OotP Ch21)

Instincts are loaded with hunting instincts. Impulsive urges toward lots of animals when they move or when I am hungry. The thought to rush on boney legs or swoop on bat-like wings to catch with teeth. Raw meat and carrion draws out food thought as well, but I know the body could not stomach such meats. Feeling like wings and body would be quiet. Like an owl hunting. Taking off and landing quietly, chasing prey if I was what I feel like. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid lays out the body of a cow to attract some thestrals. Several come and eat from the carcass. Showing they are both meat-eaters and have a good sense of smell.  (OofP Ch21) Later, thestrals again are attracted by just the smell of blood. (OotP Ch33) Plus later thestrals are shown to be able to move and land quietly as well. (OotP Ch21 and OotP Ch34)

Don’t really consider myself that social. Not around others nor around others like my own species identity if I was actually nonhuman. No want to be my species identity with others interacting while hunting for food. Doesn’t seem right to me. No instincts for it. Books never mention how social thestrals are. However they certainly don’t stay together even though there are nearly a hundred of them. They only ever congregate in small groups of less then a dozen any time they are described outside of pulling stagecoaches. (PoA Ch5, OotP Ch21, & OotP Ch33)

I prefer the night. Instincts call to hunt and be active at night. I see my species as “nocturnal.” Like some kinds of bats and owls. Instincts pull up thoughts of flying in the darkness only to swoop down at prey. Dark places feel rightist to me. In our innerworld, I see good at night and blend in well in the dark, so sneaking up on prey is easier there. Thestrals are only said to “prefer the dark” with no more detail given though. (OotP Ch21)

My cries are like a cross between the bugle of an elk and notes on a bagpipe. That is what instincts say anyway and I make those sounds in our inner world. Inworld, I‘m usually very quiet but when I make noise, I make those kinds of noises. Actual vocal cords can’t make that sort of sound. Hear it, any way, in my head anytime I would want to make the sound if I could though. Also sometimes make that sound, if any sound at all, in all the dreams I’ve had in my lifetime where I am how I see me. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the text notes several times how vocally quiet thestrals are, at one point being even so quiet they were able to walk up on the main characters without them noticing at first. (OotP Ch10 & Ch33) When thestrals do make sound, its implied to be something like “an odd, shrieking cry […] like the call of some monstrous bird” as that is what is used to get there attention. (OotP Ch21)

For a detail that I can’t know if it applies or not to me is the trait that could make or break calling me a thestral. Thestrals are only seeable by those who have seen death. (OotP Ch21) My body is human though, so no magical no-see-less-seen-death here possible. Not in my body image either because I am me, not someone looking at me. I can see in my mind how I see me. Also, everyone else in our multiple system can see me in our innerworld, but we’ve seen/known death of both human and nonhuman loved ones since childhood. So unknowable trait.

So, if not exactly like a thestral, therstal-like enough to use the word anyways. There are lots of similarities between how I look and they look, how they act and how I act/feel I should act. So I call myself thestral fictionkin as it fits pretty close. Even if its not exact, its better and less a mouthful and don’t I know another detail hitting word as it is. My experiences. My thoughts. That is my reasoning behind the labels I use.

- Ebony
houseofchimeras: (Z - Harpy and Owl)
Date First Written: January 2013


Being in the closet about being multiple takes on many forms. Some people are out to no one at all, some are only ‘out’ to a few very select people, others are out to a number of  people in there lives, and perhaps a few are even out to much of the public around them. For ourselves, we are mostly only out to a few very select people in our close social circles and even fewer in our family though we are almost completely out to everyone online. However a fair number of people in our lives do not know we are a we at all and we have chosen to take this route for a verity of personal reasons and slowly come out to certain people when we feel it is proper or wanted. Its all about personal privacy, being comfortable, and being able to come out to any number of people if that is what has been chosen. No one has to come out at all, though at times some multiples have chosen to do so. It’s a very personal matter.

Being out to some people, but not others have its pros and cons of course. Like coming out about any kind of personal information about your life - sometimes its just not anyone’s business or concern but other times coming out seems much more needed to the personal situation. For us personally, just as there are some people we know casually that don’t even know our last name or anything of the sort we feel zero reason for them to know any other amount of personal information. If we only know them casually and they don’t know a lot about us to begin with plus they will likely never know a lot about us - the fact of us actually being multiple is beyond consideration for information they need to know. We are a group of people in one body and we are family, not a fun and curious factoid of the day. Our family and family matters just aren’t anyone’s and everyone’s business most of the time.

However there are some people in our lives who we are closer too and that we do consider people who should know us and we should be honest too. They are either actually part of our family or they have become rather close friends or confidents. It is in these people that we come to even begin to consider possibly coming out to as being multiple. At this time, we are not out to much of our family due to either knowing that they would not take our being multiple well, or because we do not think at this point in time is the best time to come out. However, we are out to a few people in our lives and so far those coming out experiences have been positive to neutral.

Being multiple, or just being plural in general, is not something readily known to the general population. This can cause all sorts of troubles when thinking of even the prospect of coming out to anyone. Plus, due to the stigma of Dissociative Identity Disorder (once called Multiple Personality Disorder), there can be issues with coming out as a non-disordered or healthy plural system. The fact that DID has become so sensationalized in media, it can easily complicate things if coming out becomes a topic of consideration. Trying to possibly come out to people who might have head of DID/MPD and try to come out as an individual system rather than a media stereotype and oversimplification can be possibly daunting. Especially if you are a natural and healthy multiple trying to basically go against the stereotypes laid down by media portrayals yet alone the dictions between being a functioning system cared to a non-functioning one. Further there is the natural skepticism and confusion over the idea of either multiple souls sharing a single body and/or a brain being able to handle more then one identity and sense of self (depending on how each system considers their group to be set-up and caused). Most people don’t think about that being possible. On the one hand, that makes people figuring out someone is multiple unlikely usually as they aren’t trying to peg someone as such, yet on the other hand it can make coming out and accepted as a multiple much more difficult.

For us, we’ve come to find the hardest and most difficult part of being not out as multiple when it comes to our close friends and family is not hearing our names being called. It’s a rather simple thing - the sound that has been designated as a label for an individual but it makes a lot of difference to us. We’ve never been the kind of people that thinks we need to be out to anyone and everyone, however we would love to be able to be known by our own family and close friends. We do wish at times that we could be out and accepted by our family and have them call us out by name and acknowledge us rather then always collectively have to pretend to be the same person.

Over the years we have gained a lot of practice at keeping our multiplicity hidden when we want too. Each of us has our own tone and style of voice as well as physical mannerisms and ways of holding ourselves among us. That is not to forget to mention our own individual opinions on certain matters as well as certain preferences and dislikes. Just like any group of people we act like we are different people because we are different people. However being in a multiple system that is not out to most of the world has made our keeping our multiplicity from being really noticeable an art. While fronting around people who do not know of us being multiple - we keep to around a certain tone and to certain options and likes/dislike which we have weaved over the years to be what people think this one ‘person.’

Being multiple and not out to everyone can create some confusion on how to talk to be people. In our own case, because of our wide verity of (for example) gender identification, sexual orientation, and religious stances - those became an issue for us on how to outwardly present or label ourselves. In our case, we have ended up deciding to go for sticking with umbrellas that can explain most of our most notable behaviors to avoid confusion for those we are not out too. For example, if people who we are not out to ask our religious beliefs we might state that ‘we’ (though they hear ‘I’) and simply say pagan. If asked further we would state ‘we’ are an “eclectic pagan of a mix of various pagan or neopagan religious.” This wording allows for a lot of what people could potentially read or infer from us. If for example one day Lunatani makes mention of things which are Wiccan-based but another day Pantairin makes mention of more Buddhist practices - people thinking we are an “eclectic pagan” will make the most sense to them and allow us more freedom on what we might say to people without fear of stepping to much off their social labels on us. Not breaching labels or ideas people have set up for us, because they think and see one person whereas in fact we are many, can lessen a lot of confusion. To keep things simple and to not breach what image we have created for us in our everyday life.

Of course, we make mistakes and at times one of us might say ‘we’ rather then ‘I’ on accident or slip into their natural voice rather then our mask tone of voice. It happens on occasion and perhaps more then we even realize. However thankfully usually people don’t notice our mistakes, or if they do notice they make no mention of it. It seems when our mistakes our noticed most people will happy and quickly let it slide off their mind as something not really our of place for being ‘normal’ and will likely never think ‘multiple.’ Actually of all the years, only on a few occasions have people called us out on it, but that happens very rarely and usually these events are laughed off as slips of the tongue.

This is some of the nature of not being out as a multiple system to some people but not others.

- Zedjeb
houseofchimeras: (Z - Harpy and Owl)
Date First Written: December 2012


When you get any group of people together - standards and ways of working together start forming. Agreed upon ways of living and working around each other and outside the group even are some aspects of rules. Sometimes they come in the form of unspoken agreements all the way to laid out rules and regulations that are more or less set in stone for the group to adhere to. Multiple systems are no different really. In fact, the only real and major difference is that rules and agreements within a system involves the same body rather then say a house, apartment, or work space. For a multiple system, the act of sharing a body can easily make things more complicated in a number of ways. As a multiple system we have had to learn to work together and set up understood ways of how we should go about things as well as things to avoid in our actions.

Its not easy being a system. In our earlier years there was a lot of back and forth issues. Each of us had our own ideas and we did not know how to work together. It didn’t help that throughout much of early life and into our early teens we remained in denial about being multiple and tried to dismiss the idea for as long as we could. So early on we had no rules set down and everything was really chaotic for us. As we have gotten older our system cooperation has grown. It had too. We had to learn how to work together and find out what worked for us. It was also not easy due to us being so different causing us to sometimes butt heads at times early on. It took us time to get ourselves into order.

In our own system, we work as a pure democracy and so we go by majority consensus of things. Each of our opinions concerns are weighed equally together and we try and go with the wishes of as many of us as we can. None of us are more important than anyone else. We are equal as far as we are concerned. We can’t always get what we want individually or when we want them, but we all have to do what will be best for everyone. It might take time and some fair lot of compromise, but we try and make it work for the best of all of us and to listen to each others concerns to the best we can. As part of our system organization we try and balance around making everyone one of us in on our system as happy as possible without inhibiting or hurting anyone one in our system. We also have to keep in mind always that we have to continue to be able to stay in the closet to people outside our system.

In our system at least, we’ve yet to ever formally sit down and write out any formal rules for in our system. This is mostly due to all us knowing the jest of the rules overall without it ever having to be exact and to the point. We have worked on and agreed upon these rules over the years and so nowadays we know  these stances without question. This is because many of our system rules and procedures are mostly expansions upon common place house rules or rather common sense ideas in our mind. We consider our body simply another place where we live just in a much more literal and very important living space since.  In fact, we have a running in-system joke that the bulk of our rules can be summed up by that poster “Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” (You can tell we are education majors can’t you?) The joke isn’t fully accurate but idea of simple phrases much expanded upon is still there. A strong sense of working together (as a functional multiple system) as best we can and trying to enjoy what we have (being a natural multiple system). Compromise in one hand, and taking what cards we are dealt in the other. Through these two things we have come to be able to work as a system and from that be able to be a family. Life long friends. Siblings. Headmates.

In our system, we try to have a formal meeting every so often. We often refer to them as Council. We can easy all talk to one another through our mental network even if we are in completely different areas of our innerworld, but it is nice for us to come together in one spot in our innerworld for a while specifically to talk about matters and relax around in company of the whole system. During this meeting we might catch-up on current issues and affirm our agreement on what we are going to do about it, and to talk about new issues and discus what stances we should take. These meetings also allow for us to ‘bond’ and catch-up emotionally with each other. They allow us to specially all get together and enjoy each others company.
 
We only have one body and so we only have a finite amount of time in the day to do any thing. We have only so much time to do anything any given day, and can’t be in more then one place at once to boot. We only have one body and so we can only have so much time working at our job(s) too. Yet, each of us very well often have different ideas on what to do with our time and money. While fronting we have things we both need to get done and want to get done. From this, we not only have to manage and agree upon how we will manage our time while we our fronting between us but also how we will manage our own time to ourselves. What each of us need/want to do as well as what we individually want to use that time for.

First and foremost we have our responsibilities - our work, our university classes, our chores in our home, our bills, and so on. These responsibilities are ingrained into our system rules. We have to function in society together and that goes above and beyond our individual rights and wants. We have outward and everyday responsibilities that we have to deal with, no second questions or guessing about it. This is one of our strongest ad oldest rules that we hold to. We take care of our system overall first and insure our lives together. This fact of our system rules holds strong that all of us have to keep and abide by responsibilities.

After our responsibilities, we have our free time and some extra income which we have to take everyone into consideration. With us, when it comes to buying things any one of us, what we do is similar to what any group of people might do. So much of our money that doesn’t go to bills or needed goods we put into savings but we allow us some ‘spending money.’ In our system rules, we stand by that if we want something we have to work for it rather the just take but not give something in return. If one of us wants something, they have to put forth the effort to earn it in time - by fronting while at work or what not as well as waiting patiently in consideration for each others wants and also what it is exactly they want to begin with. Some times some of us have to wait for some time to save up money for something any one of us want, and some times there are things any of us can never buy or get due to any number of circumstances - but what we have set up now nonetheless seems to work out for us for the best.

One very important thing in our system is something we have to refer as ‘keeping the mask.’ That is, to not let it slip that we are multiple either involuntarily (an accident) by not paying attention to what we say or how we act, nor to not to ever intentionally come out to someone as being multiple to someone without express agreement and foreknowledge to everyone in the system. We have agree on who we are going to be out or not out too. This rule at its very heart also demands that we be able to pass as singlet to people who are not in the know. We have to be able to function in society, and multiplicity is not something that is readily accepted among the majority as it is seen as a abnormal or only linked to the disorder, dissociative identity disorder. That means we all have answer to our body’s name and physical gender whether we like it or not. That also means we have to have ’our story straight’ in front of people we are in the closet too. Meaning, we all have to answer the same questions with the same answers over and over again. For example, one of us can’t answer the question of what our favorite style of music is, only to have another in our system contradict this answer right afterward. To prevent this, as part of our ‘mask’ we have agreed upon ’facts’ about us that are made up of what each of us actually thinks but in a general ‘soup’ if we can get away with it. For example, each of us in our system are generally fairly neopagan in our beliefs though a few of us are much more agnostic or atheistic; and so what we present ourselves as outwardly is a general or eclectic pagan with a lot of skeptical leanings. This compromise both allows all of us the most freedom in how we interact with people but it also acts as a net to catch any slips of the tongue any of us might make. We follow this along other topics -that ‘we’ are just genderqueer, that ‘we’ are asexual/pansexual, saying that ‘we’ just love all kinds of music, saying that we are just a jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to as much as we can. To say that ‘we’ like a lot of different things. This way of doing things seems to be the best way we can come to be able to keep ‘our mask’ and be able to pretend to be singlet yet be as open about our thoughts and interest to others as possible.

Tolerance and acceptance is another ‘simple’ concept which goes a long way in our system. It is a big pillar in our system rules due to our such big differences. Each of us are very different people and so we can (and once did, plus still at times do) clash. So tolerance and acceptance is a strong rule for us. Each of us have our differences between us and among us. So tolerance and acceptance are high on our property. As part of functioning, we have to work together and we can’t work together if we always argued or butted heads over differing opinions and views. Each of us have to accept that we do not necessarily always agree on anything and everything, and we should never feel forced to change others views onto ours. We have to learn to live with out diversity and so that is what we strive to do and continue to work toward within our system.

So really, like any group of people we have our rules and agreements, its just that ours are a bit different and internally complex. They aren’t set in stone on paper but they are still ingrained in our minds. Our rules as a system are ways that we have come to be able to function better, it allows us to know what is excepted from all of us and allows us to know to act and react to the world around us as a cohesive group rather then all of us trying to pull in different directions but never get anywhere. Our rules give us solidarity, and given we are sharing a single body, that is very important to us indeed. 

- Z
houseofchimeras: (Pantairin - Self)
Date First Written : September 2012

Deer equates to prey. Or at least that is the idea of many have immediately upon the consideration of what deer are. Deer of any species are often a source of food for a number of other animals in the world either directly by hunting them or by scavenging. Other animals depend upon the existence of various deer species that live in the same habitat with them. In many areas, if deer disappeared many large predators would starve due to lack of other large animals to eat. Yet, there is something people often forget too easily. The fact that deer are not prey. At least, not without calcification of events. A deer becomes prey, rather than are always just prey.

Prey is only something that happens when one messes up or luck is not in your favor. Wild deer have their own lives and do not live to just be eaten. They live for their own kinds existence and to continue on with their species. Animals adapt and live together and against each other. No animal is better than the other and each lives to live in whichever way possible for them. A simple fact of nature is that any animal can become prey to another really given the right events. The nature and traits of a deer are for their own survival and deer did not evolve as they have because they are prey but rather they evolved as they have to avoid being prey. The wariness and sensitive nature of the deer is meant to keep them alive.

As a deer therianthrope, these are just some of the awkward instincts that come into my mind. I have found that there is an interesting conflict in being a deer, and that is what I can best describe as the mix of two powerful feelings - wariness and curiosity. The wariness of a deer is perhaps the most apparent to many people who have watched deer. The ready nature of a deer to move and react in some way or form in a moment, even if the reaction  may not be needed or be executed in a way that could have been done better. The curiosity of deer is to keep watchful eyes open and take note the around them. To inquire on what is going on around them and so to better react. Curiosity and wariness compliant each other for deer, but for a deer in human form the mix of two instincts can lead to awkward situations. Such as spooking from sudden movement or sounds often leading to awkward situations because I am a deer in a human body. Such wary instincts do not often work like they are supposed to for a deer in the mold of human society. The human species is a social predator and so the human species are not one to be as conditioned by the lives of those that came before them to be as wary of possible danger. Such is the nature of many predators and even more so is the nature of domestication into human society.

The deer that are seen on hunting and outdoor shirts and posters are not really how deer are. Just like many species of animals, deer are plagued with over romanticism of traits that human beings see as admirable while outright ignoring less ‘glamorous’ facts of life for deer.  My instincts and behaviors as a deer is not just about fleeing from possible danger or standing as majestically as possible. My instincts are filled with in instincts to graze on plant-life when I see healthy lush plants such as grass and clover, the instinct to kneel down to drink when I see bodies of water, to be with others of my kind, to use my awareness and remain alert to what my senses are bringing in, wanting to find a safe place to settle down and chew my cud, and many more little things. My nature as being a deer in a human body is more then just one small aspect of a deer’s overall life and behavior. All animals are complex living organisms with a wide verity of behaviors.

As a deer therian in the therianthropy community I am tried of being called food. When I speak that I am a deer therian, what I can sometimes receive back are comments about that deer are tasty or being given teasing jokes of promising not to hunt me. I might be a deer in a human body but I am still human and if you seriously consider me food then I implore you to seek psychiatric help. And for that matter if I were physically a deer and the other their own species, a healthy deer can often outrun a number of other animals out to hunt them and even when cornered they can easily be killed by a good kick or stomp. If I bring up not liking being called prey and bring up that deer are not prey I have been waved off as not being able to take a joke. I hardly find calling someone their food a joke. 

Perhaps I am not surprised that how few non-carnivore theriotype therians don’t stick around long at all. Sometimes I think, if you do not know why, simply look at what comes out of some people’s mouths sometimes. Teasing and playful jokes thought to be innocent and made in fun are often not such by the person the receiving end. Perhaps to the gray wolf therians that I meet I should exclaim how I love watching wolves being hunted by airplane or being killed for someone’s exotic stake; or to the dog therians speak of how some countries eat dog and my interest in trying it one day. Those statements might be lies coming from me and I am sicken to any such thoughts, but such statements are allowed to be said to deer therians by others.

Some might exclaim that deer are often hunted unlike some other animals, yet remember - any animal can become prey to another animal if the opportunity arises to another. Wolves have been seen hunting down foxes and wolves will kill and eat other wolves if the opportunity arises. Carnivores may eat plant material if given the right place and need, even if it is not dire and likewise; and even herbivores have been known to eat meat-material as well. And regardless of this, how socially awkward do you think to feels herbivore therians to be called food to other therians? Treated like a piece of meat literally? Truly t is tiresome and straining. I’ve been asked if being around carnivore therians makes me feel uncomfortable. Thinking about it, I sometimes have to say yes but not because of what they are but what they constantly say and mention to me personally. A real life deer does not always flee in terror at the sight of another animal.

I am a deer in a human body. I do not “prey” in a human body. I see myself as a deer; not as a product of what others may take me for. The body, instinct, and nature of the various species of deer is where my identity resides.

Further driving a wedge between my identity and another therian’s is the difference in nature between a number of herbivores and a number of carnivores. A lot of people don’t seem to get therians over all, but even within therianthropy the subgroups can’t seem to fully get the others. How can a number of land-based therians ever fully sympathize with any number of water-dwelling therian nor sky-flying therians. Herbivore not fully understanding carnivore, extinct therians to extant ones. Some experiences can be similar but others are as alien as ever to the other. I can’t image the instincts that drive some therians to want to hunt and chase let alone eat raw flesh of another; but in the same token, I doubt few therians could imagine my instincts for complete awareness of my surroundings and alertness nor my strong desire to graze.

Neither are wrong nor lesser. Just different. We are all different, and we are all therians as the word therian include all animals large and small. Therians come in many different theriotypes, and deer therians are part that. Deer therians are a part of the community as much as any kind of theriotypes. We should all be respected.

- Pantairin
houseofchimeras: (Kardegray - Self)
Date First Written: August 2012; Date Last Updated July 2014


   Introduction
I often simply call my theriotype as a six-limbed beast. Over the years I’ve bounced back and forth around various labels to try and pin my theriotype into a specific group. These labels include demonkin, therian, animalkin, monster kin, and alienkin - all out of lack of a better label to call myself among specific otherkin words. I am an animal and a beast and likewise my experiences and feelings of my species identity are all animal-like. My species is an animal through and though, just not a terrestrial or actually existing one. I know what I look like and I know my instincts. My instincts center around behavior and instincts which is not to foreign to any other animal or animal-like otherkin. Instincts and urges unlike something that seems human, but then other otherkin have that too in their own form and way. Yet because my animal species is non-terrestrial in nature, its looks alien or monstrous, and even demonic looking though it acts like an animal and I think of it like one.

How I have come to understand how my species is based off of all the experiences I have had over life around my nonhuman feelings through dreams, mental states and instincts, phantom sensations and limbs, and more plus how I am and act in the innerworld that I share with my fellow headmates. When my instincts and impulses as a nonhuman creature are strongest they leave me unable to speak and unable to think in a critical mindset or think beyond present events. Dreams often involve hunting and wandering as my species. Phantom sensations I feel on our system’s physical body when I front include things like my mane, tail, body size/full body, tongues, horns and my ‘extra’ front limbs. Things along these lines and more are what I have on a daily and regular basis.

   Biology
My body is that of an animal or beast through and through. Just not an Earth-based one. My self is of a monstrous nearly nine foot tall if standing upright but while on all fours I is closer to roughly four feet tall. My species can stand and walk on both hind legs as well as on all fours; however, my species moves fastest and has more stamina on all fours. Some of the biggest characteristics of my species is that it is a hexapod (six-limbed - four arms and two legs) that has two-mouths (one set on top of the other), six eyes, two sets of horns, and both fur and scales. Most of my species is covered in fur (which includes a thick black mane surrounding the neck and back of the head) but my legs and my tail are covered in scales.

My biology is actually closer to something reptilian in a way though it is still alien to Earth animals over all in how my biology  is set up. My species is basically cold-blooded because my kind can not drastically regulate body temperature. My fur helps regulate some of the body temperature changes externally however it can not be really internally regulated. Basking in the sun, digging holes to lay down in, and such to gain or lose heat.

The two sets of horns are different in shape - one curls back and around similar to big horn sheep while the others curve up and forward similar to Ayrshire cow. The three sets of eyes are set at different angles - one set faces forward similar to predators like felines, another set faces outward like a deer, the final set faces looking upward and behind the head. This leads to having a huge range of eyesight without tilting the head. Smell is done both though my nose and by my tongues. I use my long tongues to sense and taste the air like a snake or monitor lizard would. I use smell to track and keep track of possible food and others of my kind. Eyesight and smell are the biggest senses.

 The two sets of mouths are a rather complex set up. How the head is similar to how any long muzzled creature is with the nasal passage running on top of the jaws to open up at the front the muzzle with the jaws being hinged in the back to open downward from the rest of skull. What is added on, is a second jaw set above the nasal passage and that flipped vertically so now the jaw opens upward. 

Underneath all this there are two sets of air/food passages. Similar to terrestrial animals the passages are used for both air intake and food passage however rather then their being one, there is two. The first one is connected to the first mouth that is in a standard position compared to terrestrial animals and is also connected to the nasal passage. Do to this double use, while in taking food my species can of course not breathe through the nose nor speak. However that is were the second mouth has various functions. This secondary and weaker mouth is also connected to the lungs by a different passage. This allows my kind to swallow large chucks of food without worrying about not being able to breathe as it slowly goes down plus still being able to vocalize to others while eating.

The two sets of front legs work in unison while running in otherwise cat-like running style. My anatomy allows for equal easy of movement both upright and on all-sixes if you will. Of course, running on all-sizes is faster as the length of my body and the power of all six limbs allows for greater speed then just two back legs. My tail is prehensile at least long its lower half and is used as a weapon both against prey and rivals. The flexible tail is also used for various displays and other kinds of body language. As a general rule of thumb large and flamboyant gestures are more aggressive while slower and more subtle movements are naturally more docile.

    Behavior

My actual behaviors and instincts as a nonhuman animal is rather consist to my species, however because my species does not exist physically, I have noted a number of actual living species which behave in ways similar to my own species similar to how an extinct therian might point to various species living that are similar in nature. My species behavior is similar to what can be likened to a verity of animals, namely monitor lizards and crocodilians in some ways, plus some large solitary big cats (like tiger or jaguar) and maybe even a few bear-like behaviors in that mix too.

   Communication
My species has no voice box to speak in a complex verbal language like the human species. Instead, my species communicates through sounds and body language. No words possible at all and only vocalizations and body language. With my species, common ways of verbal commutating is similar to large reptiles - through mere hissing, rumbling, growling, and snarling. One interesting tidbit in noises is that there is a  rumbling/purring like sound made is made to show affection, to be reassuring, etc. Physical expressions include things of certain factual movements like snapping of either jaw (an actual positive gesture rather then aggressive), shaking of the head (loosely aggressive), or thrashing of my tail(very aggressive gesture). Communication is not on a very complex level and is based on need to keep some amount of communication going around others rather then social goodwill as my kind is not a very social species.

   Social Structure
My species is solitary in nature but has no defined territory like mammals do, again similar to many monitors in real life. Instead, like komodo dragons I tolerate others of my kind as long as they don’t get in my way and leave me alone in my own personal space. My species might wander around freely but its not going to be friendly with others. I do have an instinct to leave marks though. I often want to reaching up along trees or walls to leave my claw marks telling others “I am in the area and I am this big and powerful if watch out for me and stay out of my way we won‘t have any problems.”  Also, akin to some crocodilians, the ability to create loud rumbling sounds (in this case through the air and through the ground) is also used to remind others in the area to hear/feel about how big and healthy others are. Plus, similar to rams, those two sets of horns grow larger bit by bit every year with age and good health. Likewise as well they are mostly used for a visual display and bluffing to size others up, but they can still be used in a fight however not in a head butting kind of way sense my kind does not have a thick enough skull for that. Rather when my kind fights - they fight similar to how komodo dragons do rearing up and trying to pin the others down while using claws and limbs. A lot of pushing and shoving around.

Actual courting after chasing off/defeat any males in the area would mostly consist of finding any female in area, only approach once female knows you are the only male in the immediate area, show you only have one intent and its not an aggressive one, and hope she doesn’t decide to turn around and change her mind about having you so near. This is because while females would have smaller horns then a male, the females would be a fair bit bigger and would have no qualms using their mass to tell an unwanted male to shove off.

   Intelligence
As for my species state of intelligence…I would say somewhere around the intelligence level of dog or other some large canine. I species could never pass most complex thinking tests, but brainy enough to figure how to open a latch door or something along those very basic lines. Probably intelligent enough to notice and work out how some things work, but not brainy enough to really do any complex or forward thinking ideas.

  Habitat
The habitat for my species I would think would be warm (due to being more reptilian) but outside that I’m not sure. I do though tend to be partial to the image of an open plane with sometimes tall grasses and with a few trees here and there. However basically anything that seems like a “warm enough climate for a large reptile-like thing to survive” seems pretty good to me.

   Diet and Hunting
My species diet is an all meat one really. The preferred hunting style is stock and ambush. To rush in on prey in one short burst and try and use weight to bring the large prey down - no long drawn out running at all. Hunting is naturally solitary but if two of my kind happen to be right in the same area and given chase to the same animal - a fight isn’t going to break out either. Also similar to komodo dragons, is how prey sometimes ends up being ‘shared’ as the smell of a kill will naturally draw in others; however, the biggest and badness can somewhat case off smaller ones if they really wanted too. While eating from a kill, food is ripped off in large chucks and swallowed as such. No chewing. The second mouth acts a way to breathe while swallowing is the largest mouth’s job.

The actual prey involved as a target are large fauna - animals the size or large ungulates for example. However other predators are also not off limits if they get too near. Smaller prey hardly makes any interest in my species mind once adulthood is reached. Prey smaller then a large rabbit or fox just isn’t worth the time for an adult of my species.

- Kardegray
houseofchimeras: (Spiridon - Self)
Date First Written: March 2012; Date Last Updated : March 2013

Unicorns in mythology and through art have been described in various ways from being rather horse-like to being more deer-like of course, but have also been likened to being goat-like or even some other kinds of ungulates like even almost wildebeest-like. While the color white is often thought of as the color of a unicorn’s coat, others coat colors have been seen throughout history. Among the unicorns in human bodies, though there is a lot of diversity as well. A number are more horse-like in shape, others more deer-like, or some other kind of ungulate-like. Our coats are not all stark white, and instead coat colors seem to come in various colors and patterns from one that might be seen on any ungulate to amazing colors and patterns not seen even among a number of Earthy animals. One unicorn’s horn can be smooth or spiraled, be of different lengths, straight or curved, and so on compared to another’s horn. Hooves can be solid or cloven, fur length can vary, and so on with any number of details. As diverse as the art and mythology of unicorns it seems.

I also have my own body image as far as I look internally. My body type actually seems more deer or impala like in the body and neck though my legs are slightly thicker then how a deer‘s legs would be. If I had to guess my height, I would be about 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm, 4 feet 8 inches) tall at the withers which would just put under the distinction between being the size of a horse and the size of a pony. Likewise, my hooves are cloven like a deer’s but without the outer smaller two toes. My horn curves back and shaped like a crescent moon. It also spirals tightly but doesn’t have a definite line curling around it making my horn look a lot like how a narwhal’s tuck in its texture. My coat is of a buckskin color though I don’t have the black points on my legs so much as just a fade into a bronze color. On my head there are an oval shaped snip marking on his nose and a roughly circular star mark around the base of my horn. On my legs lighter grays fade into darker ones down to the hoof. My mane is a light tan. It runs along the back of my neck and back as a furry fringe, all standing/raising up for the most part. This fur fringe continues long the top of my tail stops just after the beginnings of my tail and continues on the underside down the rest of my tail to end in a large tuff. Along the back of my legs there is also fur fringe, and along my chest is a large patch of fur plus a smaller tuff below my chin.

As a unicorn in a human body, a lot of my active experiences and feelings come by way along the lines of phantom sensations is of my unicorn horn. I do have a feeling and remembrance of my unicorn horn on this human head most vividly. This feeling is based just above the center of my forehead rather than squarely right at the center of my forehead. Because of my phantom horn, I have a rather pinpoint personal bubble around and above my head when I control our human body. If my head comes close to someone, I’m only comfortable if it is on my terns and my limits. I naturally tend to take deep-seeded contempt and discomfort to people coming close to the my head without my consent. During thunderstorms, the upper part of my forehead where my phantom horn is often tingles or feels full of static rather strongly. Other notable weather changes often seem to bring on a warm tingling there. On the flipside, when - as some people refer to it as - my gut starts telling me something is off or not right my phantom horn will burn and throb slightly. If something is not sitting well with me or does not feel right to me, my horn acts up as a warning. At random, the base of phantom horn with itch but I do not know why, if it actually has a reason for it at all.

Outside of my phantom horn experiences, I do not have too many phantom experiences as strongly or as common in my every day life.  Every once in a while I feel the fur fringe running down my the top of neck, down my spine, and down my long phantom tail. During these times, my long phantom tail will swift and wave around freely with the feeling of my ridge of fur waving loosely upright in any breeze. I also get phantom sharp teeth for my kind of unicorn have an equivalent to canine teeth in an ungulate mouth, perhaps no to unfamiliar to how camels have rather shape front teeth in an otherwise ungulate mouth . This is what I feel as phantom teeth in my mouth. On a rare time and again, I will have cloven hooves over laying our human feet or hands while fronting as well making them feel stiff and heavy. Phantom hooves most occur along my hands making the nimbleness of my human hands feel out of sync.

I don’t have any past life memories at all. None that I have been able to uncover at least at this point in my life if there are actually any at all anyway. I’m still not sure if my being a unicorn is due to a past life or not though I have not ruled it out neither. I do lean on my nature being more spiritually based with some psychological components, but I’m not convinced of it. When I come across wilderness which really strongly draws out my unicorn nature over all these human instinctive mannerisms and ways of thinking, it is often because it reminds me of our home in our innerworld rather than a place I once lived if that were the case for me. Lush and missy forest and fields is what draws to me as a unicorn. Our innerworld within this body is home to me as being a unicorn. Having our physical body in a place like our innerworld just reminds me of how I am on the inside of this body and on the outside in our innerworld and brings that out.

The mentally how I am as a unicorn is hard to describe. I can say that my mindset as a unicorn, if without this human brain making me think more like a human, my mindset would certainly be something certainly nonhuman and even bestial in some respects. For myself as a unicorn my mental experiences, while there is a high amount of instinct there, there is still some sort of complex thinking still. Perhaps this sense of awareness and intelligence of maybe something akin to an elephant in some ways though perhaps not as intelligent as that. However the aims of that complex thoughts isn’t toward problem solving as much as the awareness for the world around me. Even though I am similar to a deer or antelope in appearance and in certain characteristics, I don’t have an innate wariness of possible danger like deer behave. I’m not as inclined to get suspicious of what be around me. My mentality is outside a sort of idea of a ‘food chain’ really it seems.

There are little things and action creep out into me at times. This goes beyond just phantom sensations and changes in mentality. These are actions and instincts. The instinct to face threats with my face forward and my forehead bent down as if I was still a unicorn and I was still pointing horn at a threat ready to use it. I also have the instinct to be a kicker. I use my legs a lot in emotion and tend to do a lot of kicking out and stomping to make a point or move things. When being tender and trying to be gentle I have the urge to touch them with my nose and forehead, to nuzzle them.

Something I do actually and really miss is how I walk and move in ‘my own body’ compared to our physical human one. I do often feel amiss in this human body compared to my unicorn body. I miss walking on all fours, more at a pace and gait best considered trotting and galloping then. I miss that ability to do so rather dearly actually while fronting. I miss that swiftness and power of my legs under me. My unicorn body in our innerworld does not run effortlessly in the least, but the effort needed in compression to my physical human body is still different. Different doesn’t mean its negative or bad, but it still can be a source of confusion and discomfort in places. I do feel a sense of body and species dysphoria, as well as gender dysphoria due to this physical human body compared to my innerworld unicorn body. I think the only reason I don’t hold much contempt over this body and its differences to my own body is because this body is merely a physical shell to me. I have this body but this body isn’t me.
Further, there is the song. Well, the instinct and the urge to sing anyway. Like with how many song birds sing their tune and how wolves want to howl, I’ve always felt I want to bring a song similar to a flute being played from my horn. A strong urge and desire to sing out a tune from within my horn. This is another instinct and drive I have. It’s a way that I would communicate and add meaning to body language, but the human body can’t make clue noises of course.

This is how I see myself as a unicorn and the overview of some of the most common ways my unicorn identity effects me in daily life. I see myself as still a unicorn on the inside but my physical human body is human. I have no illusions to the reality of the world outside this body. I know I am physically human. Mentally and spiritually though I am a unicorn. Knowing how the physical world isn’t does stop the mental effects I feel and have. I am still a unicorn in my mind.

- Spiridon
houseofchimeras: (Spiridon - Self)
Date First Written: March 2012; Date Last Updated: March 2013

The ideas around unicorns has gained a number of common images and themes which have become entwined around the term unicorn as much as my horn curls around itself. Over time and across space different ideas and themes have been placed upon the unicorn. Sometimes in areas they have had different names, different appearances, different certain behaviors, and so on. Not all portrayals of unicorns in mythology and fiction are the same. Its curious to delve into how these things might effect or relate to how I am as a shadhavar unicorn. Exploring how I am a shadhavar and how fiction and mythology compares or contrasts. Exploring my being a unicorn as myth, archetype, and symbolism. The portrayal of unicorns over the years has certainly gained some common themes and symbolisms at times. So to explore those in relation to myself.

Over the decades due to the strong influence of Christianity in art, during the medieval and renaissance especially, the image of the unicorn has grown to be symbolic of the purity and all good of Jesus or even Christian God. This use of symbolism appeared in both writing and art. An example of something someone wrote, Saint Basil once wrote, "Christ is the power of God, therefore He is called the Unicorn on the ground that He has one horn, that is, one common power with the with the Father." I know this has influenced some parts of the unicorn community as well. After all, the first book written by a unicorn for other unicorns was Are You A Unicorn?: Mission and Meaning of Unicorns by Roy Wilkinson (I have never read myself as it is out of print sadly) which is notable as a book for people who identify as unicorns and “what unicorns are about” comes at its topic from a Christian standpoint. For myself, I can not identify with this at all, due to not being Christian nor having any background in growing up around Christianity. I don’t have much else I could add beyond that really.

The unicorns in Persian mythology are called shadhavar. It is these kinds of unicorns which specifically seem to match the best of any other unicorn depictions as far as mythology goes. Because of these strong similarities I use the term shadhavar to help specify how I am. I apply this term to myself rather than I try to make myself fit this term. There are many things which really stick out with this kind of unicorn compared to various other kinds of unicorns across the world. The most notable similarity is that shadhavar can play a musical tune similar to a flute through their horn (or in some tellings the wind blows through their horn to produce the sound). That is something I have always felt that as one my strongest unicorn feelings/instincts. Similar to how wolf therians feel the desire to howl I felt I should play a tune through my horn. Of course, this behavior for shadhavar in mythology was said to have the purpose of luring in prey which would then be killed for food. That I do not feel as much. Though I do consider my unicorn-self able to eat meat rather then just plant material, I don’t see my kind as actually being complete meat-eaters only nor see the use of this song to be used just for or only luring prey. Rather, this song has many uses. To enjoy the song, to communicate in a whole verity of meanings through pitches, and such as well as luring living creatures in either to calm or to lure in. The body shape of the shadhavar in mythology is described as similar to an antelope. This as well I find similarity with especially consider of any ungulate I have seen I consider my body shape to be most similar to the lesser kudu which is a species of antelope. Among this antelope line, my hooves are actually two ‘toed’ plus my coloring is of a tan and bronze color roughly not to dissimilar to some antelope species. A more detailed feature in mythology is that shadhavar are said to have dark markings on their face. On my side of things, I have a star on my forehead, a snip on my nose, and two markings on both sides below my eyes. These traits cause me to identify most with this kind of unicorn in mythology, yet there are other traits to non-shadhavar unicorns that I identify with.

Unicorns are legendary for their healing abilities. The horn of a unicorn, called the alicorn, was thought to have magical and healing properties. One reported property is it was thought the horn could neutralize poisons in drinks. The ability for the horn to purify water dates back to the Physiologus, a manuscript of various animals and fanatic beasts originally written in Greek. In the work, it mentions a scene of animals not drinking from a body of water because it was poisoned only for a unicorn to come to drink and with its horn purifies the water. Of course, originally the ability to due this was said because the sign of the cross was made by the horn, going back to the Christian symbolism, which is later on dropped from the tales. As for myself, I can feel this ability in some way is connected to my being a unicorn. I do think that my kind of unicorn would certainly have the ability to purify water and this comes off as a kind of instinctive behavior in its own way. See, when I drink no matter if its from a glass or drinking fountain I have the impulse to pause for a moment before preceding. An instinctive waiting for a moment almost like how some therians have the impulse to sniff their food or drink before continuing as in both cases its not like anything could be really be done or sensed but its done anyway because instinct drives the slight act.

More modern media have expanded on the possible abilities of a unicorn through their horn to include actually being able to heal sickness or even heal wounds directly. I’m not sure of how far into these kind of connects go though they seem to have their basis on early stories going from neutralizing poisons to healing sickness to healing wounds and so on. A few modern books I know of are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle in which the unicorn was able to bring back a man to live and in The Unicorn  Chronicles by Bruce Coville the unicorns are able to heal wounds with some difficulty the greater the injury. As before with the instinct of wanting to purify water, when it comes to healing I do somewhat feel it being connected to my being a unicorn. Again, its like an instinct toward something that isn’t there and isn’t possible.  I could see that my kind of unicorn might be able to do something along the lines of healing but the idea seems to abstract to really understand. So the feeling is like a faint thought in the back of my head saying ‘if I was a unicorn and whatnot, I could heal in some small ways’ but its not something I think about.

Another trait often applied to unicorns is that they are quiet and peaceful creatures. These ideas seems to be connected with the unicorn being seen as a pure and innocent creature in various stories and myths. Ideas of unicorns being apposed to violence and cruelty. For myself, somewhat stereotypically, I am a rather quiet and youth-filled sort. Plus I do have a strong loathing for senseless violence, cruelty, and death; however, I am not someone who has a complete revolution or condemnation of all forms of death. Personally, on my own grounds, I do try to avoid fights and conflicts, but I am not someone to just run or avoid. When aggravated, I do want to nip people with my teeth, kick out, or drive my horn in to or at people at least in the back of my head if I had the form I felt I should have. I even, have a tendency to drop my head down low when feeling threatened or aggravated. Then again, everyone has their limits, and unicorn as just as much individuals as anyone, and not like the saintly or all gentle always that’s seen in fiction and in pictures. I just have my quirks on how I might react to conflicts, quirks which do not necessarily fit with a human template. Broader things, such as the commonality of violence and crime, war, destruction of nature, and more certainly hits me strongly. Of course, who doesn’t in some view or another yet unicorns as the theme seem to show these treats in a very strong way.

One of the biggest things unicorns are credited with is being a creature of purity and innocence. These ideas of unicorns goes fairly far back into sense Christian symbolism became linked the image of the unicorn at the time. When it comes to themes like ‘purity’ and ‘innocence,’ if I do or don’t feel these ideas might be applicable to me as a shadhavar depends on how the words are used. I can’t really think of any creature living that would be or how it would be ‘pure’ actually. If the use of the word is trying to describe a creature that is free of being removed from its own wild nature or similar, perhaps I could see it that way. However if to mean a creature that is clean and castrate, I can’t really see that being applicable to any creature really. I do not identify with the image of a unicorn as being rather pure and peaceful onto my identity. If its interpreted as being a creature of the wilderness (perhaps that ‘kind of pure’ if you will) but still a creature that would face threats head on. Beyond this or anything more supernatural in meaning, I can’t identify with. I just wouldn’t and can’ think a concept like ’purity’ being connected to my kind of unicorn, a shadhavar.

On the other ‘hoof,’ unicorns have also been labeled as fierce or ferocious. Some of the early writings of unicorns talk of a creature that is fleet and fierce. A number of such early writings talk of the unicorn in a way that wasn’t a supernatural creature but a natural beast. Other descriptions of unicorns in this manner is that of “wildness” and “swift.” This manner of describing a unicorn in this way means something very much to me. I do see myself as a creature that, if physically real, would act like any creature with my own instincts and species quirks. Even the physically impossible traits to how I see myself as a unicorn still have some instinct to them. Even these impossible things seem naturally part of the behavior and have a purpose. If you’ve ever seen the ’what if’ documentary-style television films Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real and Mermaid: A Body Found perhaps that is what I am trying to get at. That if such creatures did exist in reality how they would of ‘worked’ and behaved. That there were behaviors driving everything.

Unicorns are often linked with nature. In some portrayals unicorns are seen as connected to nature in some way. Sometimes as a protector of nature or similar. I can’t remember any older stories but a more modern example of this is in The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, where it is alluded to in the beginning that the unicorn provided some manner of protection to the forest she lived in and the animals there. Though, I can’t say as I feel as a unicorn having a connection to protection nature so much as just a connection to nature simply. Of course, looking at any tale of unicorns as creatures living in the wilderness is reference enough to this connection to nature really. I am a nature lover of course, which also seems to be a fairly common trait among a number of otherkin in general as well unicorns specifically. I am connected with nature, but I’m realistic and not bright-eyed about how nature is in anyway. I prefer nature to heavy urbanization, but urbanization mindful of nature does not bother really. I do feel at home in nature, but I also enjoy the comforts of human technology in many ways. Nature does has a lot of dangers no matter who or what you are (just as there are some forms of danger of having a human life in some aspects), but there are still is an element of a feeling of ‘home’ away from urbanization.

One thing that has become linked to unicorns is young maidens. This comes form the symbolism of young maidens (almost always meaning virgins)  being images of purity and innocence and seems to date back to Medieval times though the exact origins of the myth are complex and vague at best. In general though, the myth is that unicorns are attracted to young virgin women (or in some modern portrayal any virgin male or female) in some way to the point that they are compelled to come near and then lay their head in their lap if they sit alone quietly. I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to go rushing over to any person, young or not, to lay near them as a unicorn let alone as a human as I am now obviously. In my mind’s eye of how I would be as a unicorn I would be a creature that doesn’t have any interest in humans. Akin it to how almost any real life wild animal would be in the sense of avoidance, wariness, or perhaps even aggression if pressed. So I honestly can’t say as I can identify with this myth in any form or  level at all.

And about those connection between unicorns and rainbows, to be clear - hello? Are you kidding me? Somewhat stereotypical ‘proud’ to be gay guy, here. Yes, I do like rainbows and colors in general. Of course, I am not all about rainbows nor connect this to being a unicorn in a human body. I actually prefer natural shades of color rather than neon shades. I don’t consider my like of a verity of colors grouped together to be in anyway related to my unicorn identity.

So I can’t say I am exactly like some of the more common images of unicorns over the years; however, that is to be excepted considering how widely varies the portrayals of unicorns have been over the many years. I am just me. Some unicorns identity in ways different from others. My own kind of unicorn  just happens to look and act like one kind of unicorn once portrayed  in Persian mythology enough for me to like to use the term for myself. Some themes I identify with more strongly then others.

- Spiridon
houseofchimeras: (Lunatani - Self)
Date First Written: February 2012; Last Updated: October 2012

Adlet. Kind of a weird word that is suppose to mean of a quiet literal half man and half dog creature from Inuit folklore. Upper body of a man, lower body of a dog. Adlet being a creature of Inuit folklore and so never possibly ever existing in anyway not to mention they are humanoid to boot, one would think I would feel most at home with the otherkin community of all the various kintypes and topics. Yet… I’ve always enjoyed the therian community more than the otherkin community though and felt more closely related to their experiences. I agree with more of the focus of interest of in the therian community more than the otherkin community, since every community has a culture unique to them and the therian and otherkin community still have a slightly twinge of differing community set-ups. Mostly because I don’t think of myself as being mythical as my experiences are so… dog-like really. 

I don’t identify with the stereotypes associated with being otherkin of a non-therianthropic sort. How my identity presents is actually more like the stereotypes for therians thru and thru really. I’m very animalistic with how my identity ticks and runs. While, I believe I am nonhuman because of something to do with my soul but I don’t actively believe or think about in astral planes or dimensions, and I have no past life memories to talk about. I also can’t talk about the folklore around what I label myself to be because there is so little about them and they don‘t really interest me much. The folklore of the adlet is one thing, but that is not ‘me.’ I am not a story or a past experience, I am canine like creature with a human body. I’ve seen how sometimes dragon and gryphon people can get away with calling themselves therian specifically rather than just general being otherkin due how their identity presents and/or feel more comfortable and familiar around therian communities than general otherkin ones. I am similar to that really, though it pains me sometimes that I can’t be afforded the same consideration. They see my humanoid looking form and scoff at the idea of me ever experiencing anything to the due they do. Sometimes I do think I would call myself an adlet therian if I could get away with it, but in the measure all of us in our system are more ‘therianthropic’ then some therians like to stereotype the rest of otherkin to be. 

I think if I hadn’t been born as part of a multiple system, I might have very easily mistaken myself some kind of a sled dog or maybe a feral dog therian. A lot of my experiences and habits are very dog-like. Without our innerworld, I wouldn’t have known so much about my nonhumanness near as well from the start. I would have had to work much more on my experiences and feelings to find out what I am, rather than going on my innerworld body plus my experiences and go forward and try and find a name for what I am. Even then, it wasn’t easy since our innerworld has a lot of flexibility in what we can do and what we look like until we decide the exacts at which point things settle down.

I identify with sled dogs as I am basically a feral sled dog with a more humanoid upper body. An adlet looks human-ish from the top up and so they do a few things human-like buts its not without the dog-ish looks on top of dog-like things right in there. Some kind of sled dog might not be my theriotype to me, but I identify with sled dogs through my kintype. That body type, mannerisms and behaviors, fur coat, and natural breed origins - sings for me I guess you could say. Not as I am one of them but like they are cousins to me. I identify with their vaguely lupine features, but not with the wholly wildness of actual wolves. Actual wild canines seem too serious and fully wild while I feel more puppy-like, laidback, and sort of domesticated. Something in-between the needs and desires for nature and the comfortableness with some urbanization of mankind.

Unlike a number of others in our system, my natural nonhuman mentality doesn’t loose complete critical and complex thinking when I slip away from the influence of our human body and brain. The thought process are really different though. A lot of more abstract ideas like math or numbers beyond counting with just a quick look, language beyond the most basic phrases, ideas of worrying about the far past or far future, and such go out the window but I don’t loose total loss of some higher thinking like self-awareness, critical thinking skills like cause and effect, and such. I guess, even if I wasn’t otherkin that wouldn’t be to surprising since studies show different species of nonhuman animals have different forms of thinking. I actually want to speak in growls, whines, hisses, and clicking-like yips along with using body language heavily. In our innerworld, even though my mouth is human-like I can’t speak a human tongue even there - only make the sounds and body language you might hear from a canine. My head and chest might be humanoid, but internally its like my vocal cords are still canine. Both in our innerworld and by my instincts I use or want to use sounds not words. Sounds that are mostly dog-like, and what human-ish words I could get out would unusually sound more along the tones of those dogs you see in videos that can ’speak’ - only one or two gruffs or howls that sound like a word or phrase. An reflex to use my body to communicate but in ‘standard’ ways. I do use hands for communications but not in the same way - like when I point rather than using a finger I use more like my whole arm or my head. Head stilts and posturing most people around me don’t get the message, and they don’t get why I reactively make so many ’strange’ sounds. In our system, I’m as dependant on our mental link to get worded meaning across to others in our system as anyone else.

I think the only big thing I don’t get that I know Mist Weaver, Earth Listener, Spiridon, and Pantairin get is the mental weirdness over walking upright rather than on all four. Talking about the whole range of the human foot is something I do have mental weirdness but only Pantairin and Spiridon seems to share this kind of discomfort with me. Unlike them my kin can naturally walk upright however my anatomy is still like a dog’s. Sometimes I think it throws me off more while controlling our human body because its so similar in that one way with still one big difference. With them going from there awareness of their innerworld body to our human one the difference is so over welling they’ve learned to reorient themselves after. For me, it sneaks up on me and catch myself trying to walk digitigrade or tumbling over our own feet because they stick out so much more from what I’m used to.

My phantom limbs focus on my most nonhuman traits. Whenever I front I get the felling of my large pointed ears on my head and from my waist down the feeling of the rest of me with a lot of focus on my tail and legs from the calf down to my toes. I also get feelings of  pawpads with thick dull claws on my hand, my canine teeth in my otherwise human mouth, and wisps of fur along my elbows and down my back, but they’re not that common. Maybe just every once in a while. No matter what is the phantom they are always very vivid whereas others’ phantom experiences may or may not be as strong.  My tail wags all the time and ears twitch with every thought - the phantom going along with what I‘m doing inworld. A weird mix of traits that are ’humanoid’ and ’dog’ naturally all in one.

I’m at home away from urban living. In folklore, adlet were spoken of from the tribes found in the northern part of North America but I actually don’t like the cold that much. Course, not all of the Northern lands is nothing but ice and snow so much out of the year. I love snow and romping in it but I don’t like the cold or being cold, maybe because our human body does have fur like I‘m used too. I still prefer cool to the hot summer though. I don’t do well in summer heat. I like forests and plains. The sounds of heavy urbanization drains me down and it takes natural places to recharge me back up. 

I have a hunting instinct of sorts but its not as developed as how it is for Zedjeb, Earth Listener, and everyone else. Kind of like how a domestic dog sometimes chases and hunts; a lot of my instincts focus first on the chase but not as much for the final kill as strongly as others. Movement and animals talking off running can trigger me into wanting to chase but my instinct for the final takedown isn’t as fully formed where as Zeoriel and a lot of the others in our system have the full instinct to down the prey and eating of the kill. Smaller animals when they start moving is what really catches my eye, while larger and standing still not as much. 

I love running. The faster the better. Its sad that the human body can’t run as fast as I could. It tires to easily too. Its actually saddening and even a little weird because it does so fast. I want to go but I can’t. Everyone in our system often tease me about how much like to do on “walks.” I do really. I love strolls or going to the park or other more natural areas. Its so stereotypical for a dog, but I love it nonetheless.

So being an adlet but with a human body is a bit strange. I act like a dog and generally look like a dog though one that has been made to look kind of humanoid up top. In my dreams and my shifts it really shows. I think of wandering about shorelines with a pack trying to hunt down something to eat. The idea of snow, something not so nice to hunt in I’m sure, but still exciting to see none the less. Like some kind of dog born semi-feral but know lives domestically. You get to enjoy things you likely would not have enjoyed at all if you had been your theriotype. I can enjoy the idea of hunting and romping around now. In some ways maybe growing up human but identify as adlet has ‘tamed’ me for sure in that respect in how I treat my canine tendencies and behaviors. Softened me up a bit in how I react to the world.  

So I don’t consider myself that much different from dog therians. I’m not one, I’m still an adlet; but I can identify with what dog therians say and experience. I identify with them more than any kind of grouping of otherkin I can really think of or have seen. So humanoid I might be but not human-like in how I want to think or act. I might have a humanoid body from the waist-up but I still have dog legs from the waist down. I’m still not human but I’m also not a dog, but I feel and want to behave more like a canine then I ever have a human. So I side with dog therians a tad more. 

- Lunatani
houseofchimeras: (Lunatani - Self)
Date First Written: February 2012

This essay is meant to be a walk-through ways to perfect your visualization skills of animal forms if you feel you are having trouble. Not everyone visualizes the same way (or in the case of people with dæmons - projects) the same way is at all, but this is meant to be helpful for people who would like to project a little easier or in more detail. It starts with very basic shapes and ideas and moves on up into more and more complex shapes. May it be somewhat helpful in projecting your dæmon better. 

First, start off with the bare-bones basics - basic shapes. They are much easier to visualize then the complex framework of even the simplest of animals. First start off by visualizing a basic geometrical shape like a triangle or a square. Begin with your eyes closed and image one in front of you. Some people finding visualizing to the blank insides of their eyelids easier at first than trying to see onto things as complex as the world around us, so try these first few experiences with just your eyed closed. If you have trouble seeing the shape in your mind as clearly as you would like - look at a picture of a basic shape for several seconds and then immanently close your eyes and try to visualize one afterward.  Try extending the time between looking at the reference and then trying to visualize it.

Next, try making the shape of your choice bigger like its coming closer to you and then make it smaller likes its moving away from you. If this is difficult don’t worry. Practice makes perfect. Again, if you’re having trouble with this, find or draw an image of a shape on a piece a paper and look at it for some time; moving your head closer and farther away to give the effect, and then close your eyes again and try again. Try and remember what you just saw. Then try and do this without a reference on hand.

After you are comfortable with this shape try moving it around rather than just backwards and forwards. Move it side to side, and then have it move left or right while moving towards or away from you. Try rotating and spinning this two- dimensional shape around and around, and other more complex motions. The more you practice, the more likely it will become second nature to you and from that the easier things can become down the road, so don’t be afraid to dwell on certain levels of complexity until it comes much more second nature to you.

Once this becomes easy, try a three-dimensional version of a shape - a pyramid rather than a triangle, a box rather than a square, etc. Again, still with your eyes closed, have it move forward and backward and then side to side and then all around and spin it. If you have trouble look up an image of the three-dimensional shape or even a video of the shape moving around if you can. Again try and really test yourself with this basic shape and see how well you can see it moving around all around you.

Next, its now time to try all these with your eyes open. Try visualizing these shapes against both stationary backgrounds and active backgrounds. Stationary backgrounds and when you yourself are stationary is often the easiest, while on the other hand moving and active backgrounds while you yourself are in motion are often the hardest. If an active background is too difficult, try a simpler and calmer background and then work yourself up to more active ones. First try and just see first a two-dimensional then a three-dimensional shape around you while you are sitting and what is around you is unmoving. Next try, seeing these shapes on a moving background such as while in a car visualize them zooming by outside or along the car. Finally move on to you moving and the shapes moving with you. 

Now, lets move on to actual animal bodies.

First, find a picture of an animal you are comfortable with - one you know well already like a dog or cat, and/or one you and your daemon seems naturally like for a good start. Look at the image for moment, memorizing the details and take special note of the joints. Close your eyes and replicate the still image in as good of detail as you can. Feel free to go over this exercise with the same image or multiple images of the same animal until you are comfortable with how it looks. Next see these images with your eyes open.

Next, find an image of the animal you have been working with that is in full and showing all of its body (if you haven’t already been using one) and try imagining that same body in the same pose in front of you - cutting out the background around the animal in the image you are using. Don’t try and move anything, simply try and see the image in as best you can in front of you.

If it is important to you  (for some people it isn’t) - try and make the size of the visualized animal in front of you about the same as the animal in real life, even if that means looking up the physical animal’s size and using a tap measure (I’ve had to do it!). Practice your skills now with other little details of realism you care to try your hand at - projected shadows to boot, lighting and shading, etc while the visualized image is not moving.
      
Next, try and find a video clip of the animal you’ve been using/taking. (If you cannot find a video of your exact animal or can’t find one which will work for you try and pick the next closest animal form you can find). Study the animal’s movements in the clip. Watch the joints and gate of the animal. Next project that in front of you replicating the same movements. Find more videos until you are comfortable and think you have the basic anatomy of the animal down.

Now try  free style, but never feel afraid to look up video or image references like crazy t help you see better.

Projecting the shape of an animal in motion is most difficult while moving and while one is having to focus anything else but just only projecting one’s dæmon. To make this easier, its best to try and become comfortable with visualizing outside of these more taxing situations. Become comfortable with projecting while not trying to think of multiple things at once or doing other daily tasks which require a lot of attention (like driving, working, etc). projecting during more mentally taxing times of the day tends to become a bit easier when you don’t have to really think as hard about seeing your dæmon.
  
Finally, if you come upon a form which doesn’t seem to flow right while projecting, try going through the second half of these experiences as you see fit to help make the projection feel more natural and be easier to you. Sometimes the mind just doesn’t seem to work right for projecting and needs a refresher on what a form looks like.   

For advice on visualizing and “seeing” things more clearly we also recommend these webpages - 5 Weeks to Developing The Magic of Visualisation and Visualize: How to improve your visualization skills among other websites which give tips for toward clearer visualization because - while a number of really helpful visualization techniques which might be helpful to daemians are actually meant for people of the occult, New Age, or neopagan side of life - using the steps to help improve and refine projection can be easily done for anyone interested.

Best of luck!

- Lunatani
houseofchimeras: (Aquasarius - Self)
Date First Written : January 2012

I. Introduction
The otherkin and therian communities both online throughout places on the internet and offline where people meet-up and know other ‘kin in real-life can be a very diverse group. Yet one way to divide otherkin and therians which leaves very few people still is to note all the aquatic and water-related theriotypes and kintypes. They collectively are not common, or at least not as common as land based kintypes. Within the therianthropy community - sharks, fish, seals, and even dolphins let alone other animals are not all common in terms of numbers in most online forums. Similarly, in the otherkin community - dragons inclined to water and sea serpents, mermaids, undines, and such - while having been in the community a number of times over the years are also not very common overall.

Having desires and wants more akin to their given kintypes and/or theriotype is not unheard of among many therians and otherkin to lesser or greater extents. However, given the nature of human society and the physiology of the human body, being kin to any creature more at home in water than land can leave a slightly different set of challenges to adapt to and live with. Living on land or even possibly living nowhere near a large body of natural water, can possibly leave any given person frustrated at being away from their desired place. It can be hard of any therian or otherkin no matter what they identify as being and if any given place or habitat tugs at their heart.   

This essay is a listing and description of ways which have helped both myself and Earth Listener over time with craving and wanting for the sea, and what we  have heard from other aquatic kin. It’s a hope that this might come in useful for other otherkin or at least be an interesting read for other people on this topic. May it either be useful as it is or a brainstorming jumping off point.


II. Touch
Its not always possible to go swimming or even take a long soaking bath or shower every time one got the urge or need for ones natural element. For the latter, while one’s cleanliness will never be questioned again, the subsequent water bill will surely make it impractical for this coping technique to be used every single time. Going swimming is also nice, but not everyone has access to either a swimming pool or natural body of water were swimming is permitted and/or safe. This can be do to either distance, financial constrains, or limitations of the local area. Other physical methods are also possible that could be useful in-between.

One thing I have used to a nice effect is that of taking a cool wet rag or simply a wetted hand across the skin. It can be a great way to stave a need for water indeed. Plus it is a lot more subtle, quick, and easy then a full drenching no matter where and when the need for water rises in most cases and it can still have rather soothing effects. This might be especially nice on areas where phantom sensations are such as phantom gills or fins are coming from, at least in my own and earth Listener’s experience. Leaving the water on the skin to slowly evaporate on it own can help.

Another touch related tip is to try running your hand (or hands) through water, running or still. (Though for us, still water seems to work better for us.) Perhaps dipping your fingers or whole hand in a bowl or glass full of water for a moment might help sooth some desires for water for a little while. An alternative to their might be soaking your feet instead.

Actually being able to visit natural bodies of water of any form no matter the kintype is often a wonderful experience. Whether it be a stream, pond, river, or even the greatest place to find water - the ocean. Even if you can’t physically take a dip or wade into the water for whatever reason, just being near the water and experiencing it can be a great thing. Being able to see, hear, smell, and touch the water can be enough for some.


III. Sight
For techniques using the gift of sight perhaps give guided visualizations of swimming in or being in water a try. For added effect try compounding senses by doing such visualizations while listening to any given preferred track of ocean or water sounds or while relaxing in a bath or standing in a shower.

Daydreaming or anything that stimulates a sense of sight or being there can be very useful if water isn’t near or available at any point in time.  If you have trouble visualizing a detailed scene or places try using photos or videos of watery places which you are strongly drawn to. Try visualizing yourself into the scene itself rather than working with a blank slate and see if that makes it easier on you or is more rewarding.

Even just watching videos of aquatic life can be fruitful. Either of general life or specific to creatures more relevant to you identity. If you are a therian of a still living species finding video of your theriotype might be easier top find than and otherkin or therian of an extinct species might have. In those cases, trying to find videos of creatures similar enough either in appearance or behavior might work. For example, given their size and ways of hunting, large toothed whale are creatures which can pull certain strings of emotion and instinct while watching videos of them since taniwha are not physical Earth creatures.

There are countless written material - fiction and nonfiction alike based around watery bodies and their inhabitants. Reading stories and accounts of aquatic life can be a great release of emotions and thoughts. We have heard from at least two aquatic kindred who have found the book, The Music of the Dolphin, despite being more of a children’s book, to be rather moving for aquatic therians due to being about a feral child raised by dolphins who desires the ocean and her family again. We have personally found the manga series, Children of the Sea, to be incredibly moving to our otherkinity due its amazing graphics of ocean life as well as its themes of people being linked to the story. Of course nonfiction works have their mystique and can draw out and fulfill some things for possibly on aquatic ’kin. Books about life underwater can be a completing outlet. For example, we own one little book, The Majesty and Mystery of the Sea: A Photographic Celebration of the Marine Environment, which is full of ocean photographs coupled with quotes and proverbs about the sea and aquatic life there. The photographs are beautiful and the words inspiring.

Keeping a plant or fish aquarium might also be a lovely idea though not everyone has the time or money to care for other living beings. However the sounds of water falling and the sight of fish swimming and/or live plants waving slightly can be beneficial to the psyche.


IV. Hearing
One might be the use of sounds. There are countless tracks of ocean waves, babbling brooks, whale songs, and other aquatic related sounds. Play around with sounds which influence you the most, for example, both Earth Listener and I enjoy the rolling lull of water currents but not so much the sounds of crashing waves on a shore. Try listening to something while relaxing or even trying to sleep, they might even influence your dreams to involve a body of water even.

For more permit sounds in daily life, there are indoor or desk water fountains. They come in all sort of shapes and sizes and can produce a nice present background sound. They are not mobile however a place in a bedroom, on an office desk, or simply nearby where a lot of time is spent can be something to listen to throughout the time you are within hearing range.

There are some songs and hymns which either is about water or involves a water-like effect in the tune itself if not both for the same song. For example, the orchestral song, “Rain” from the soundtrack of the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmerian involves a very aquatic feel within its tune as does the song “Hymn to the Sea” from the soundtrack for the movie, Titanic. A song which involves both lyrics about the ocean that also has a nice aquatic-vibe to the overall music is the song “Emocean” by Lunatica. Songs either of orchestral or lyrical could have soothing effects on one’s desire for water as well.


V. Smell
The smell of cool humid air can have a very soothing effect. Anything from an actual humidifier to a simple misting bowl or fountain as they are sometimes called. Smelling and feeling the extra hint of moister can be very nice to breather in. It can also be very refreshing during the time of the year when the humidity is low.

Also, there are various fragrance oils, forms of incense, and even perfumes which have been created to have salty or aquatic scents to them which might be appealing to burn (or in the case of perfume wear). We do not wear perfume ourselves that much, but we have been told by elinox that the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Pool of Tears and Deep Ones are very nice. After she suggested it, I have also have tried BPAL’s Pool of Tears which I found it amazing especially because of its salty smell which really did help. I also personally love to burn fragrance oil and my own favorites scents form the brand we buy are called Oceanic and Rain which have smells that remind me of water quiet nicely indeed.


VI. Taste
Something as simple as taking a sip of water could help. Actual water rather than carbonated beverages and such tend to give the best effects for both myself and Earth Listener. Not only does having the taste of water in our mouth make us feel better but a keeping our body adequately hydrated helps keep down the drive for water. We tend to feel our best when very hydrated both physically and mentally and the fact we are drinking nice cool water actually does seem to hit a sweet spot in our nonhuman aquatic identities.

Ice is a nice cooling treat to let melt in your mouth. Just DON’T try and chew or bite down on it - you can damage your teeth! Also always be wary of the possibly swallowing the piece of ice on accident. As to avoid chewing or swallowing as well as making sucking and licking ice easier to manage, there are reusable popsicle trays that can be bought (or made by using a standard ice tray plus use toothpicks or similar) and filled with water to let freeze.


VII. Conclusion
Being kin to any creature at home in the water can be something in which coping and calming techniques, or even trigger techniques, can end up being rather inventive and quirky compared to others though not to say aquatic kin have it any harder than any other otherkin regardless of kintypes or theriotypes. Its merely different perspective just as kin that are at home in the air might be able to find similar enjoyments. Every kind of otherkin, and down to the individual in fact, has things which work for them which might not help anyone else. Its my hope that is essay works as a brainstorming for others to work with. Its my hope these ideas and things we have found useful to be useful or helpful for others.

- Aquasarius
houseofchimeras: (Lunatani - Self)
Date First Written: January 2012

Being humanoid in form doesn’t make someone anymore ‘human’ than other otherkin. Visual similarities aside there is often, for some kintypes, little resemblance otherwise between ‘human’ and a creature that is ‘humanoid but still nonhuman’ once you think about it. An angel might stereotypically look like just a human with wings, but that doesn’t make them so nor is a faun just like a human because they happen to look human from the waist-up more or less. The same is true for elves, mermaids, fae, and other possible kintypes that look human-like either just a little bit or lot more. They are still not human, and the otherkin who identity as any of them are not any less of an otherkin for it. Similar doesn’t make same as.

Even otherkin that are rather humanoid can have their own experiences with phantom limbs that don‘t fit a human template, natural instincts and longings not ‘normal’ for humans, mental dissonance from human behavior or society, a desire for nature in some form or another, and basically everything else more bestial otherkin and therians can and do experience. That feeling/sense of not being human, of not being in the right body, the sense of being ‘other,’ experiences ‘normal’ humans don’t seem to have - is still there. Just because someone’s kintype is more humanoid doesn’t automatically mean their otherkinness is necessarily any easier than someone whose kintype is not as humanoid in the least.
 
These more humanoid in kintype otherkin are often seemingly seen as more ‘human-like’ not only in appearance but also behavior then other otherkin sometimes. But a person can’t look at a person’s kintype and assume how their nonhuman identity effects them personally let alone what experiences such an identity does to them. Just because a person’s kintype looks humanoid doesn’t mean their kintype acts human or have instincts or mindsets not exactly or at all like something human. Some otherkin like mermaids, harpies, or fauns might even have experiences one might except from the animals their kintype has apparent traits of (phantom limbs, desires and longs for the outdoors, certain instincts and drives, and so on); while otherkin like dryads might experience things unlike any terrestrial animal (including humans). For other otherkin the difference has a lot more to do with the world around them then their physical body. A stereotype of this might be the elves, who pick-up on cultural and society differences more, or at that’s what I’ve seen from my perceptive. Then again, some humanoid otherkin might not. Some otherkin might not deal with or experience anything as dramatically or strikingly as others might, but even people of the same kintype can have very different experiences.

I’ve personally seen various forms of humanoid otherkin criticism or magnetization from other otherkin and also from a number of therians as well. It comes in shades from just not thinking they have as much to contribute or can’t understand the problems ‘less human’ otherkin face to outright criticism that they are of varying degrees of posers or people wrapped up in fantasies.

I’m not human. My body might be fairly humanoid from the waist up but the similarities end there. The lower half of me is most definitely not human. Humans don’t have sharp teeth, big animal-like pointed ears, and certainly not a furry tail or legs like a dog. That certainly isn’t human at all. That is just my nonhuman appearance, not to mention my nonhuman experiences. The siren’s call away from human society and into any place more fitting for the word ’wilderness’ telling in me. Some of my behavioral quirks are to want to whine, growl, hiss, snarl, yip, and all sorts of other noises that want to slip out if would let them. When fronting, I almost always get phantom legs over our physical human ones, plus my phantom ears and little tail are hard to miss. I also get my own brand of a kind of mental shift but they seem to be a bit different from how most therians seem experience them. They have a similar in animistic instinctive drive and reaction but I don’t loose the complex thinking of something more human-like even when they are very intense.

In the end, the biggest and most important similarity and connection a humanoid otherkin and a bestial otherkin have in common is that neither of them identity as being human or look at the world like a human does necessarily. Kintype appearances run all over the place and experiences even with the ’same kintype’ can have huge differences. That is why otherkin have come together in one for or another over the past few decades - to share experiences and stories, talk about the amusing things in life, share coping mechanisms, and then some. We identity as nonhuman and that is some commonality that can be certainly talked about.

- Lunatani
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
houseofchimeras: (Pantairin - Self)
Date First Written: July 2011

Cladotherianthropy is not a topic that is often discussed nor is it a term often known by to many within of the community. This is because  it is not a commonplace phenomenon to many therians; however, it is not unheard of nor unique. However, because it is a little used term, likewise cladotherianthropy is rarely brought-up outside those who identify as such and questions about that the term means for those unaware. Plus, outside of the general definition, little much is known or thought about the label. Few know who, when, or where the term came from for instance.

The word, cladotherian comes from the Greek word klados meaning “branch” and therion meaning “animal.” The klados prefix was originally chosen by its creator because in scientific terms, a clade is a grouping of an organism and all its descendants. It is referred to as a clade in reference to the “tree of life” which is formed in diagrams showing the connections between species over millennia due to distant with modification - one line of linage being merely a branch on the tree. The word clado was also chosen because the word cladistics meaning the modern taxonomic method of classifying organisms according to evolutionary relationship between them.

Likewise, a cladotherian is someone who’s theriotype is neither a single distinct species nor is it many separate animals like those who are polytherians (those who two or more theriotypes). Rather, a cladotherian’s theriotype is the general essence or spirit of all animals within a given taxa, meaning a grouping of organisms within a taxonomic rank (within a genus, family, order and so on) or similar. For example, cladotherians identifying with the genus Ursus alone, would identify with bears within that category including the American Black Bear, the Brown Bear,  Polar Bear, the Asiatic Black Bear, and a few other species. However, a cladotherian identifying with the family Ursidae -of which Ursus includes- it would include a much larger and wide range of species including sun bears, sloth bears, the extinct short-faced bear, spectacled bears, the giant panda, and others. However, cladotherianthropy does not mean that a therian is still searching for a specific species nor have they just not been able to narrow down from a family or genus to a species.

The term is far from new, however it unknown to my knowledge exactly where or when the label was spawned. However, the term appears on many of the oldest threads on the Awareness Forums, a now inactive forum which is one of the oldest still standing therian forums at this point in time. Credit to creating the term goes to one user by the calling Mokele who used ihe term themselves and identified as a reptile cladotherian. The existence of the term on the forum goes as far back to the year to 2003 in September which when the Awareness forums was created making it likely the term existed even before then.

Commonly considered for the term within the therian community are groupings of animals of a certain genus or family categories; however, given the fluidity of the term it has been used for an even broader since to include an order or even class. The latter cases are not as common and are the subject of some of the concerns for the term being used in such broad fashions.

Cladotherianthropy is different from polytherianthropy in the nature that a polytherian has multiple, usually two or three but sometimes slightly higher, theriotypes while a cladotherian doesn’t. A cladotherians theriotype is not many or several separate species from the same grouping but rather simply the whole grouping itself. A polytherian may have several theriotypes of completely different animals or they may be of similar species, however the latter individual may still be simply a polytherian rather than a cladotherian. A polytherian can be both a tiger, a lion, and a leopard therian; however that wound not make them a cladotherian for the genus panthera by its definition less they identified with all the animals in panthera.

There are several longstanding concerns over the term reside within the flexible nature of the word if and when it is to be used. At present time, the term cladotherian has little limiting how large or narrow of a grouping of related animals it can encompass. This is primarily due to the nature of rarely used terms given the lack therians who actively use it personally as well as the nature of therianthropy being so personal by very nature.

As present, a cladotherian is usually thought of to be someone whose theriotype is a whole genus, a whole family, order, or possibly broader. However, a problem arises if cladotherian is used to refer to specifically as being a whole genus or family as a theriotype rather than a group of related animals that might be in the form of a taxonomic rank such as a genus or family. This being that some animals only have on species labeled under a genus both extinct and extant.

One concern resides in when an where one might cease to be a cladotherian and hence forth be better described as a polymorph, or one without a set form at all and instead experiences shifts of many different animals regardless of ancestral lines. In the end, it might depend on one’s individual therianthropy and what animals they identify with. However when someone is questioning being a cladotherian for such a wide range of animals, such as within a certain class or order, looking into being a polymorph with merely a focus on certain kinds of animals may be wise just as someone looking into being a family or genus might want to continue question if they are not mistaken and do have a certain species theriotype.

There stands to reason, that one of the common concern for the term cladotherian is if an individual were to try and uses the term to mean only several or many species of animal within a group rather than actually all animals within said grouping.  For example, if a person identified a red fox and gray wolf, but then discovered their connection to golden jackal and in turn decided they there a cladotherian for all Canidae without actually also identifying with all the other canines such as the African wild dog or Dhole, then the term by its own definition would be used improperly  and such a person instead would be perhaps better defined as a polytherian.

A final concern is if the term might accidentally be used by someone simply because they can not or are to lazy to narrow down their theriotype down to a specific species and instead leave themselves at a certain genus or family. There is a difference between, for example, a feline therian who is unsure of their exact theriotype and a feline cladotherian who knows their theriotype. Being a cladotherian is instead for those who have come to the conclusion of what their theriotype is and have found what they identify as/with. They have ended their active search and found they can identify with/as a group of animals within one.

Cladotherianthropy might not be a common way someone’s own personal therianthropy can present, but there are those who have and do use the term to describe their own therianthropy, such as myself. The term has a long history within the online therian community thought being a rarely used label it is not without its use for those who feel the need to use it.


Works Cited
"Terminology questions." 05 10 2003. Online Posting to Awareness Forums. 14 Jun 2011. http://forums.therianthropy.org/showthread.php?116-Terminology-questions

"Cladistics." Your Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. <http://science.yourdictionary.com/cladistics>

"Tree of Life Cladogram." OLogy. American Museum of Natural History. 15 Jun 2011. <http://www.amnh.org/ology/features/treeoflife/pages/cladogram.php>.

 - Pantairin
houseofchimeras: (Pantairin - Self)
Date First Written: January 2010; Date last Updated: August 2013


We do not fully at all understand how our system really and truly came about. We know how certain things were throughout life, and how it all seems to be connected in how our system evolved; but we don’t really know the actual root cause of our multiplicity if there actually is one at all. We don’t know the rhyme or reason, and instead we just know the end result that is now things are today. We can guess and theorizes about it one way or another, but they are only pet hypnoses that are only based on scant evidence and experiences that can sway either way. So we do have are our thoughts on how we might of come together and ended up this way in some way, but those theories very well could be wrong. In the end we just don’t know. We’re not fully sure, and may never be fully sure to how we came about in the end no matter now much time we would sent combining through memories. In the end however, the cause does not matter to us as much as how we live our lives together now. Even though we don’t know the root cause from the beginning, we do know the evolution of the after effects and how we came to be throughout life.

We have never, as far as our collective memory persists, been alone in this head or body. There have always been things going on inside this head completely out of each of our control. Even if we were not aware of each other as we are now and see each other as we see ourselves today, we were still there none the less. Our early life was something of a strange thing in relation to our multiplicity looking back now. Each of us were there in a weird way off and on, and in control of our body in a way; but we were unaware of each other and ourselves in the end. We weren’t sure of ourselves or what we were, but that of course would begin to change over time. During that time, we were still young.

We are not exactly sure how it was beyond a few general ideas and memories. It is weird in that we remember our childhood and into preteen years generally rather good and all, yet we cannot quite put into detail what was going on our brain throughout that time. We have a hard time recalling what was believed, thought, or felt during any given time early on in our life even if we remember what was going on outside our mind. We remember our mind was always going and going with ’voices’ and thoughts here and there. We are not sure as the cause of this, though perhaps it goes back to our brain being so full of chaos early on in our lives because we were not organized like we are now. Our early life was full of chaos in our mind for sure. Our thoughts and feelings were all over the place back then.

One thing we have noticed is that looking back we can point out memories and events which remind us very prominently as someone in our system today. Memories in which any number of us certainly appeared to be fronting at one given time or another before we even knew we were multiple at all and before we awakened to ourselves as we know each other today. There are things we remember doing or saying back as a child or young teenager that was distinctly one of us even if we weren’t fully aware of each other back then. Times when which what we said or the tone of voice that was used or what we did, which we can place as being distinctly from someone. We remember events in our early life in which our voice sounding like how Lunatani speaks today, remember our factual expression at several times having Kardegray’s famous smirk, events in which we held Pantairin’s more formal and slow speech pattern, and so on. Little things here and there that happen to actually remember though there is so much we likely have forgotten over the years. 

It wasn’t until we started going into our teen years that the first hints of our multiplicity started to come to our awareness though at the time we miss construed them into thinking what was going on was something else. It was sometime during our pre-teen or early teen years, with think, that Earth Listener and Cavern-Risen came to distinctly front the most. From what we can figure, everyone else still made appearances and had influences on the body, but it was Cavern-Risen (whose identity as a werewolf influenced how things went during this time in our lives) and Earth Listener (whose name was used and from this ze got confused about zir species identity) who were the main fronters at that time. That would change though. Echoes of all of us would continue to peek though our mind and into the outside world, but we wouldn’t fully realize our multiplicity for some years.

During the early half of the decade of 2000 is when Earth Listener found zir name; however, also during this time Cavern-Risen also fronted a lot and her identity as a werewolf and her understanding of that over shadowed Earth Listener’s aquatic identity which didn’t have species names to it back then, causing both of them to think they were a spiritual werewolf. Once we found the therian community during the mid 2000s that would translate into thinking ‘we’ were a gray wolf therian for a time. It was also during this time what our innerworld began to ’form’ in our mind. Though more correctly, it could be said that we started being aware of it more than anything. Though back then, what was known was a dark enclosed temple (what is the Ruins in our innerworld today).

It was through time period that we really began to appear in any artistic endeavors. Looking back, we can see our multiplicity before we knew of each other in what we had written or drawn during our childhood and teen years. Our early drawings and writings portrayed images not too unfamiliar to what some of us are though few of us had our names ascribed to those early writings and drawings at any time. Unfortunately, most of our drawings before our high school years have sense be either lost or sent into the recycle bin, which is something we find sad for the one’s we remember which are very distinct in our mind and can be directly linked to someone in our system. 

One of the earliest drawings we remember doing very clearly was from back in the winter 2004 of a is of a monstrous black wolf with lager than normal ears and shorter tail that was chained down within a cage with moonlight coming in through a bars and shadows along the wolf being red. Also in 2004, we drew a detailed pencil drawings of young adult snowy owl. We remember rather clearly having done countless drawings spanning 2004 all the way up to nearly 2008 of a large white feline. In a few early drawings she was given more tiger or lion-like features before becoming more lean from there on until the later drawings of her right before her awakening into our system, in which she was almost like we know her today. Another drawing in the Spring of 2005 specifically, which we still happen to have, is a pencil shaded drawing of a white-tailed deer that was female, but with antlers. One of the very strikingly similar drawings we can remember was of a sea dragon in pencil shading which was not too dissimilar from Aquasarius as we know him today complete with long neck, a tail tipped with a fish-tail, and gills along his chest. The drawing was done in the year 2005 and the sea dragon within the drawing was called “Aquarius” which is actually something of “pre-name” given to Aquasarius before he changed his name to what it is today. In 2006, a short lived short story was written about a young teen named “Zeo” who had wings. Two years later a novella would start being written about a young man named Zeo who could turn into a harpy like creature that was white, which we later discovered was one of Z’s past life memories. In 2006, a rough drawing of a literal half human, half wolf creature as drawn though the drawing depicted a male rather than a female. Another drawing, this one also done in 2007, was of a female black werewolf in a hybrid form in a fight with another werewolf  that was more wolf-like which had reddish-orange fur within a stony background. The black werewolf was Cavern-Risen ad the reddish-orange one was from one of Cavern-Risen’s past life memories. In 2008, for a sculpting project, we crafted a wall hanging bust of a red deer that was also rather similar to Pantairin again in a way. These are just examples we distinctly remember drawing during our teenage years, but even somewhat earlier we can strain to recall drawing or thinking of a few images off and on in later childhood as well which seemed not too unfamiliar to one of us.

That is how the progression began - slowly at first, right under our noses throughout of life. However by the time our high school years came around, we had grown more and more aware of each other but with now context for what was happening we all saw everyone else as a ‘voice’ or ‘character.’ Feeling pressured by how we had inferred from society that ‘having people in our head’ was wrong and unhealthy even though it didn’t feel wrong and didn’t cause us harm we tried to put an end to. During this time Pantairin was mislabeled as a spirit guide (and being male due to having antlers) until even she was forced a way for a time before being able to come back. Before to long, Cavern-Risen and Earth Listener forcing everyone away as tension within the system increased. In the end, this lead to our system grinding to a halt. Many members fled deep into our innerworld and out of awareness of our innerworld (including Cavern-Risen after a time leaving Earth Listener alone) and some going into a sleep/unconscious state. By the time, mid 2009 rolled around Earth Listener was alone fronting and there was one around for a time. That wouldn’t last for long however.

In December 2009, Kardegray came back around from being forced away for a time. He quickly made himself known to Earth Listener and began to really press to show how real he was to zir though at this time he could not front for some time. Due to being members of The Daemon Forum, Earth Listener became aware of the ‘headmates’ more though we had heard a tiny bit about multiplicity in the past from the otherkin community. From that, Kardgeray began to be called a headmate by Earth Listener though we still did not we were also multiple for sure. During this time everyone else continued to exist away from their awareness of the outerworld for a time. It was during this time that the Ruins in our innerworld became as they are today and some of the temple that it has been fell away and plants began to grow all over it in mass.

Then at the start of 2010 Kardegray accidentally ended up fronting, and it was the first time it was recognized as being such. Earth Listener recognized and was aware of the lost of control of our body, Kardegray realized he himself was fronting. It was then, both Kardegray and Earth Listener began to really suspect something. Then, in February of 2010 Lunatani began to come back into the awareness of the outerworld and Earth Listener and Kardegray quickly realize this as well.

It was at this point the idea of multiplicity really began to come to our thoughts as a possibility whereas before it had been hand waved away as to what was going on in our mind. By March 2010 we had grown to seriously consider the idea and by June 2010 we officially decided we were a plural system, though specifically that early on we though we were maybe median rather than multiple. So the first steps to learning about our system as a system really began to talk off. In the months and years that followed more and more people found their way back and in time we started looking for them as well. Further,  few years later we even had a few additions into the system whom had never been here before. 

And so, things have continued on. We are still learning about our system, about our innerworld, piecing together our past as a system, and learning about each other. Our lives together is a process of discovering and learning. We did not come to know everything there is to know about our system under a short span of time and there are things we may still not know or might be mistaken about. We are still learning about ourselves and our relationship with one another. We have learned a lot, but there is still much we do not know still. About ourselves, and certainly about plurality as a whole. There is certainly still so many things we do not know about the cause or formation of our system at its onset.

Outside of these general known facts throughout our lives so far, everything else is much more little more then a lot of guess work and hypotheses set-up by our  thoughts and opinions on what we think we might know. We do wonder why we are a system and how it actually began at its onset. We know the after effects in our lives but not the cause behind the scenes, if you will. Some of us such as Kardegray and Mist Weaver prefer to see our multiplicity in a psychological light, others such as Z, Pantairin, and Tanka lean toward a spiritual explanation, while others prefer something kind of in-between or just do not know and haven’t formed an opinion. However, they are only opinions and hypotheses based off primarily on our own spirituality and beliefs about the nature of a person. Regardless of what any of us might believe caused our multiplicity we all agree on the opinion that which ever is correct - whether it is spiritual, psychological, both or neither - we do feel that our multiplicity is essentially natural. We consider our multiplicity, to be something that just came about on its own. We think that, however our multiplicity might have actually formed, those root causes were just how things fell and formed rather than our multiplicity being something was caused by an outside source primary.

From a psychological point-of-view we can think that our brain was just naturally inclined toward multiplicity and from that nonhuman identities. That this mental abnormality of ours is an innately occurring one that our brain managed to wire into place in a way to told onto multiple full identities going on at one time within it. From this view-point, those of us who came into the system later on in life could be seen as just further results of how our brain just naturally works.  From a spiritual standpoint, popular pet-hypothesis among us is that our system was formed and caused by many souls being either incarnated into this body (rather than just one soul being incarnated into this body) or that a fair number of us walked-in while this body was still very, very young in life. Of course that later idea of us possibly being walk-ins brings up the question of which of us is the “host”  if either of us is or is not the original at all. However in that possible scenario, if it was so, then due to our body being so young, one could say whoever was the “host” if that person was one of us and not that that said host actually walked out when we walked in that the idea of it mattering seems moot. Further, in this view-point, those of us who we know came in/appeared in our system much later on in life can certainly be described as walk-ins.

Either way though, for all us in our system, if we had to pick a hypothesis to standby and we could not play the “we don’t know for sure and so won’t put a hard stand on it either way without more details” we would stand by the theory that our multiplicity and otherkinity is built form a whole host of psychological and spiritual causes and roots. Where and which way things actually fall within this theory is unknown by far. Really, though, it really doesn’t worry or haunts us. The past is the past.

In the end though, those are just ideas and hypotheses. What we do know is that we have lived this way for as long as we can remember. That how our multiplicity is, has not something which has been detrimental to our lives. That, for whatever cause, we are here as we are. We can’t be sure how we will continue on in life and change in the future. If we will gain new members, how our independence and interdependence with grow and mature, and so on down the line. Time will tell.

- Pantairin
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.
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