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Introduction to Therianthropy

Updated on January 5, 2013

A belief in the existence of and connection between an animal and human self is labeled Therianthropy. (The term was derived from Greek words Therion, meaning ‘beast’ or ‘animal’, and Anthropos, meaning ‘human’. When used as a term, the word indicates a beast of humanoid characteristics/traits and vise verse. It was a label coined by believers to describe a deep belief in an animal half and the ability to transform into that animal.) An individual with an animal and human self is called a ‘Therianthrope‘ (abbreviated as ‘Therian’).

Who Are…

An individual with an animal and human self is called a ‘Therianthrope’ (abbreviated as ‘Therian’). Therianthropes are of a diverse range of ages, nationalities and belief. While eccentric, it attracts many with little to nothing in common, except Therianthropy itself.

To Be…

There are no words that could give you the feeling of being a Therianthrope. While it can be told to you, and a picture can be painted, it can never truly help you understand. If you had never felt anything similar to it, you can never grab that feeling—that rush—that life. Like any experience outside of your own, you can never truly know what it’s like.

Being a Therianthrope isn’t easy, and you’re not provided with a choice in the matter. Therianthropy isn’t a path you can choose or a religion you convert to. It is like being human, a part of you that you cannot tear away or pretend that it isn’t there.

Being a Therianthrope is feeling the beast inside of you struggling to the surface, for that abandonment of humanity. It’s feeling the freedom, the power, the speed—the animal that you are. It is in that sweet indulgence of that animalistic behavior—in the sweetness of being yourself.

It is the blissfulness of feeling the wind in your face, the dirt beneath your feet, and the wildness of nature around you. It’s in the knowing that you’re not bound anymore by human rules and behaviors. It’s the blissfulness of the hunt—the thrill of the chase. You feel it in you, around you, as you.

It is your animal. It is you and you are it.

It is in the depth of your soul, as you are, and it struggles against those bonds of humanity like a caged animal would.

Read A Real Experience

Religion or Belief…

There's been a heated debate on that subject for many years; It's an endless argument that is largely based on a person's practice and belief of Therianthropy. There are many different opinions, but some consider it a religion of self-worship and others consider it a belief or subculture. The arguments against Therianthropy as a religion is strongly based on standard traits of major religions:

  • A Higher Power (A Deity/God)
  • Holy text (prophecies, creation myths, guidelines for living life, ritual instructions, etc)
  • Basic philosophy (basic guidelines on how to live life and such)
  • Belief in some supernatural power
  • Pays homage to a deity/god (prayer, church, etc)
  • Congregations
  • Formal Customs (rituals, sermons, holidays, special clothing, etc)
  • Anybody can join

In 2006, an organization called “The Therian Temple” attempted to establish a formal religion. The organization is based on esoteric beliefs, practices and system, but not much else is known about it. There are many warnings of them as a cult or an elaborate scam, but nothing substantial. It's an isolated movement largely met with oppositions and controversy.

The best way to decide (for yourself) is to research. There are online groups, people and resources that can help you.


Shapeshifting is a term used to describe an ability (intentional or accidental) to transform from a human into an animal. In modern society, it's an ability largely associated with Therianthropy, a belief in the existence of and connection between an animal and human self. It's thought to require a flexible mind, concentration and a strength of will.

Everyone is thought to be capable of shapeshifting, but many consider it a more natural occurance for Therianthropes. The following article will help everyone, Therianthrope or not, to shapeshift.

When a person thinks of shapeshifting, it’s Hollywood’s messy man-to-beast transformation that comes up, typically. Despite having a make-over, to more tidier, magic-sided transformations, the classics werewolf still reign supreme.

Therianthropes do shapeshift, but nothing as flashy or messy as Hollywood’s version.

There are many types of shifts, but the following are the commonly known ones:

Astral Shift

An astral shift is the process of shifting on the astral plane. The astral plane is said to be a different plane of existence parallel to our own. It is there that our thoughts can shape that reality. When walking the astral plane, the Therianthrope is able to take their animal shape there.

They can do whatever they wish on the planes, even manifest onto the physical reality. They typically go unseen, though, as ghost walking between realms. They can be felt, but normally not seen, much like ghost. The shifters of this category may or may not have psychic abilities. These short of shifts have no effect on the physical body.

Aural Shift

Aural shifting occurs when the energy of the person’s shift to that of an animal. These sort of shifts can be felt, maybe as an uneasiness towards the Therianthrope, or a sense of something different. It’s rare that these shifts have an effect on the physical body. Typically, these short of shifters do possess psychic abilities, but it’s not a requirement.


A bi-location allows a Therianthrope to change into their animal side, but the two sides split into two. While they are their animal side, their human body is still there, in a different location. The solidity of the form differs from Therianthrope to Therianthrope. In other words, the person can be in two places at once, but one doesn’t look like the other.

Dream Shift

There are two types of dream shifts that exist: Lucid Dream Shifts and Unlucid Dream Shifts. The word ‘lucid’ indicates that the shifter is aware that it is a dream, and that they can do whatever they wish within that dream. The word ‘unlucid’ indicates that the shifter is not aware that it is a dream, nor do they realize that they can do anything in the dream. In the waking world, the dream shifter appears human because the shift doesn’t occur on the physical. The dream shifter can also appear human in the dream, until they choose to take there animal form. There are instances with shifters that they can only take the form of their phenotype (were-side), but there are also shifters that can take on any form. It differs from Therianthrope to Therianthrope.

Etheral Shift

An etheral shift occurs in the first layer of the aura. While there is the aura shift, where the whole aura changes, an etheral shift is limited to the etheric body. The first layer of the aura is like the physical body’s blueprint. It is very close to the body, and fits like a second skin. If a person is able to see auras, they may be able to see this shift as it occurs. In these shifts, the physical body is separated from the etheric body, which enables it to interact with the physical world; It can hunt, walk, pick things up, play around, etc. While I am not sure if it is true, there are those that say a person can physically touch the Therianthrope’s etheral body.

Mental Shift

When a Therianthrope preforms a mental shift, it means that they take on their animal mentally. They will have the thought patterns, behavior and so forth of their phenotype. A mental shift is limited to the mind, and usually has no effect on their physical form. In some cases, the Therianthrope may be a little stronger, quicker and possess heighten senses due to the power of the mind alone, but that is all. Generally, the human mindset slips away during this shift. There were cases where a Therianthrope keeps human rationality, but it’s rare.

A mental shifter has a flexible mind. That is what enables them to take these shifts. They may also have psychic abilities due to their shifting abilities. As long as you pose no threat, a Therianthrope can be quite peaceful, even playful, during these shifts. As with any animal, though, be cautions and don’t tease or torment them. By all means and purposes, these shifts make them their animal.

Phantom Shift

The phantom limb syndrome is when a person losses a limb, but the brain still tells the body that it is there. The person will feel that limb as if it is actually there. It will hurt, itch, be cold just as a normal limb would, but it is not there. A phantom shift occurs when the Therianthrope feels limbs that are not there, such as wings, tails and other things. They will feel as if their body is that of their were-side, but it will not be there. If they have tails, they can wag their tails, and if it’s wings, they can move their wings. The limbs are felt as if they are actually there, but they are not. It can be frustrating, annoying and very upsetting for the Therian for many reasons. A Therianthrope will strongly want that form in reality, and it can be very upsetting to feel as that animal, yet not be that animal. It can spark sadness in the person because it reminds them of what they no longer have. During these shifts, the physical body does not change. There are many Therians that wish they could take their animal forms. To feel the animal body as if it is real, yet it isn’t, can be a very cruel blow to any Therianthrope.

Physical Shift

There is V-E-R-Y little known about physical shifting, but it is rumored to actually exist. A physical shift is when a Therian takes on all aspects of their animal, become their animal in every way. The physical shift is the one that is most popular with people, and the one that is most misunderstood. Those that are rumored to actually be capable of physical shifting are often ridiculed and disbelieved. Since Hollywood’s popular werewolves movies, and cartoons, comics and other things, the life of a physical shape shifter is not easy. It has been rumored that they are the most hunted as well. Humanity is not kind to what it does not understand. There have been rumors of harm done to physical shifters, but there is nothing I can prove. The physical shift can vary. In rage, it may not take a full effect. There are instances where Therianthropes claim that hands, feet, eyes, or some other body part will change. I am not an expert on physical shifting, so I therefore have to do some digging. When more is known, I will extend this definition.

Myths & Misconceptions…

As with any community, there are common misconceptions about Therians. Some of them are laughable, and some of them just leave you wondering how in the world they turned up. The misconceptions are as follows:

Therianthropes are super powerful monsters

The whole idea of Therianthropes=super powerful monster is a myth. Therians are people. They are not monsters and they are not super powerful. If you hit them with a baseball bat, they will hurt just as any other person/creature would. Being Therian does not make them invisible. If they say they are, then they were watching too much television.

The full moon causes Therianthropes to shift

While the moon does produce energy that can energize a Therian, or they can experience more shifts during this time, the full moon does not in any way cause them to shift. This is a Hollywood lie. While it works in the movies, it does not, sadly, work in real life.

Silver has ill effects on Theriathropes

Again, this is a Hollywood lie. It looked good on the movies, but there’s no truth to it. There is a possibility of a person being allergic to silver, but it’s not a bane for Therianthropes–just that particular person.

Therianthropes are Furries

Therians are not to be considered Furries. It can be insulting to a Therian to be referred to as a furry. While they can share similar beliefs, Therians are the animal, while Furries enjoy donning costumes of the animals and pretending to be one. They do not shift in any way, and anyone can be a furry, but you have to be born a Therian to be a Therian. As I understand it, furries are more of a sexual fetish. Therians do not indulge in ‘furry porn.’ While Therians may draw their weresides as human like, it does not indicate in any way that Therians are Furries.

Therianthropy, Lycanthropy and Clinical Lycanthropy are the same

Clinical Lycanthropy is a disease and Lycanthropy is the ability to tranform into a werewolf. They are in no way related to Therianthropy. While the possibility of physical shifting is still in debate, Lycanthropy is still different, because 1) it is exclusive only to wolves and 2) it is never said to be a full shift. It is something from myths, legends and folklore.

Therianthropes can spot other Therianthropes

While there are some rare cases, it isn’t a normal thing for a Therian to be able to spot another Therian. It is, and has always been, hard for a Therian to be distinguished from a normal human.

Types Of Therianthropy…

Believe it or not, there actually are types of Therianthropy. While there is the standard Therianthropy, there are others that are slightly different. While there may be more than I am listing, these are just the few I am currently aware of:


Contherianthropy is a term used to describe a blending of the human and animal side. Instead of flowing between a human-side and animal-side, these individuals have both side blended together as an integrated part of their personality, whether natural or accidental. These types of Therianthropes are incapable of shifting.


Suntherianthropy (pronounced soon-therianthropy) describes a constant, rapid shifts, sliding from one shift to the next without remission.


Cladotherianthropy is a term used to describe a Therianthrope that has a connection with all the
animals in his/her general phenotype.

The prefix clado (var. of clad) was derived from Greeks terms Klad/Klado and Klados, meaning branch (of a tree).

Polytherianthropy (AKA Polywere)

Polytherianthropy (AKA ‘Polywere’) is a type of Therianthrope that has more than one phenotype. While they may be a wolf, they can also be an eagle or a rat or all three.

Poly is a term meaning ‘many.’


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I know a nine year old little girl who has always maintained that she is a wolf. She gets upset when other people tell her she's making it up. She looks after younger children very well and loves being outside.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      yeah i have the same thoughts. It certainly wouldn't be like Hollywood lol.

    • just-jubiki profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from La Mesa, California

      I'm not sure. I suppose it's possible, but I don't think you can actually FULLY shift. Like maybe eyes...but not like Hollywood. I've done research and never saw anything like that.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      cool =) otherkins are awesome, i have had lots of m-shifts... at awkward times (in school) and i have a very strong ph-shift that is always there, which is cool but annoying. What do you think about the p-shift?

    • just-jubiki profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from La Mesa, California

      Otherkin, actually. =) Still, I always wanted to shift, but never managed it.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hiya, coming from an actual therian, this is a really good article and describes therianthropy perfectly. Are you a therian yourself? I am a Mackenzie Valley Wolf therian and the bit you wrote about the ph-shift (phantom shift) was really good.


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