Therianthropy’s Rarer, Fuzzier Shifts

Yes, here’s yet another dive into therianthropy/Otherkin history.

Therianthropes and Otherkin claim to experience “shifts”, episodes where their purported non-human true identity asserts itself. Commonly reported types of shifts include the mental shift, a change in behavior resembling the animal’s mindset; the sensory shift, where their perception mimics the animal’s; and the phantom shift, where a therian feels the animal’s body as phantom limbs. Other types include dream shifts (guess) and cameo shifts, where therians/Otherkin experience a new identity temporarily. Contherianthropes believe they’re always halfway between human and animal, and suntherianthropes are similar, but do experience variances in the human-animal ratio.

One type of shift that’s widely regarded as impossible by therians is the physical shift. P-shifters, as they’re called, are a subject of mockery and scorn in the community, especially when they try to start a cult.

But once upon a time, a wider world of shifters existed, buoyed by, if not acceptance, a casual flirtation with p-shifting as a hypothetical. This culture likely died out with the switch from Usenet to forums, and with the rise of “grilling”, extensive questioning meant to gatekeep therian communities from…I don’t know, silly people? Kids? Whoever they felt wasn’t taking it seriously enough?

I will be drawing principally from the Shifters.Org definitions, which hail from 2001 but were first created in 1999, and an expanded encyclopedia of the same on Therianthropy.org circa 2006.

ASTRAL SHIFT: You astrally leave your body and become that of another form, either by shifting the appearance of the spirit, or entering the body of another being on this plane (this too is included in the Walk-In section, and overlaps with that of the shapestealer definition below).
AURAL SHIFT: The aura (if you can see them) takes on the shape of the animal/wereside. In addition AS, the person can take on some characteristics of that animal, mentally, but not a total mental shift.

These two are a bit of a cheat: both are still part of therianthropy, and more serious lists of shifts list them neutrally. But they show off early therianthropy’s links to other branches of new age culture. Not only was astral projection part of therian culture, but so were walk-ins, the classic New Age concept of enigmatic astral spirits with nothing better to do than step into your body & attempt to unfuck your life. Auras, too, make an appearance.

Bilocation Shift: In this shift, the “spirit body” of the were in question leaves the “physical form” and reforms itself outside of the human body.  The “new form” the spirit takes is a physical form (ass opposed to the Relocation Shift)

Here we reach the casual flirtation with p-shifting (and with the parapsychological). A modern, more serious therianthropy site describes bilocation shifts more cautiously:

“Bi-location Shifting is when the body supposedly makes a carbon copy of the animal inside the body and travels the lands…not likely.”

But in the therian culture of the late 90s – early 00s, the idea that perhaps someone’s theriotype could physically assert itself was at least entertained.

Therian Nation dates the bilocation shift to a Usenet discussion from 1993 where one member reported a out-of-body experience.

And yes, it says “ass opposed”. You may laugh now.

The relocation shift, meanwhile, is a bilocation shift, but the theriotype emerges from the body as a spiritual entity instead of a physical one; it’s helpfully noted that “the shifter can be both awake or completely oblivious to what is occurring during this shift”.

Shadow Shift: This usually takes place when there is little available light, a sort of mass hallucination if you will, but whatever the case, the object being focused upon, appears to be something else. Unlike the PS, this type of shifting is “looks only,” you wouldn’t gain any extra senses, or characteristics from this… it is, in fact, very similar to just putting on a fursuit (but without the suit).

https://web.archive.org/web/20010424145805/http://www.were.net/WAG/You might think this sounds like pareidolia. A contemporary satire agrees:

“Shadows will sometimes play on a therians features giving them an intimidating and animalistic looking figure. I’ve noticed this occurs more or less in dim and dark rooms, with not very much light. A bright and full moon, insomnia, and/or a bottle of Jack Daniel can also aid in creating a shadow shift.”

(I recommend that piece highly for its early-00s internet edgy humor, by the way.)

But shadow shifting is a nice entryway to the kingpin of the fuzzy end of therianthropy: the p-shifter.

PHYSICAL SHIFTING: The stuff dreams are made of… This shift alone, for those who believe, is a goal for the majority of “Weres” want to experience. This is indeed going from form A to form B with the body as the artistic media. A shift in body, many weres feel with the PS, they can become what they truly are on the inside, now reflecting on the outside.
Also termed the “Holy Grail” of  Awereness.

 

The physical shift is sometimes called the “Holy Grail of Shifting.” But much like the Holy Grail, the actual idea has never come to fruition. Many Therians do not believe the physical shift exists. Of the countless many that have claimed the ability, none have given proof. Anyone that claims the ability to PS shouldn’t be taken seriously until tangible and irrefutable proof is given.

Our satirical friend notes that it’s strangely the “biggest, loudest, and most annoying a$$holes” in the community who are blessed with p-shifting; truly mysterious. But while older sources are willing to entertain it as at least a hypothetical, modern sources are not:

“Widely belived to be impossible, to the point of the concept being considered complete nonsense both by psychological and spiritual therians/otherkin…In no way, shape, or form will you be able to physically shape shift…I personally find that these communities are dangerous especially for younger individuals…If this idea of physically shifting spreads, we will become even less acknowledged and respected…”

I said most of what I had to say about p-shifting in my post on the Therian Temple; so let’s explore the other fuzzy parts of early therianthropy.

SHAPESTEALERS: Also known as ‘Skinwalkers’ and ‘FleshDancers,’ this is a type of shifting feared the world over.

An enigmatic force out to steal people’s shapes, I can’t find a single reference to this not taken word-for-word from the Shifting FAQ. But the idea of an “enemy” out to destroy a tiny subculture of people identifying as nonhuman persisted, up to AWTOK, a bizarre conspiracy theory about a group hunting down Otherkin…but that’s a story for another time.

SHIFTER’S DISEASE

A moment of skepticism, Shifter’s Disease refers to newbie therians attributing everything to shifts.

What’s the ultimate point here? Nothing, except to note the evolution of a subculture from its origin as a bunch of posts on a Usenet for werewolf movies, to a collection of personal websites, to forums and finally to the endless array of personal, yet faceless, Tumblr blogs and Amino boards that form it today; to flashback to a time where some therians could entertain the idea that they could change their shadows, their soul, and even their very bodies, and who’s to say otherwise? After all, people found images of Mary in their toast, and the nascent paranormal web didn’t yet aspire to the extremes of science or outright comedy it does today. And now let’s bilocate my theriotype outta here.

Living on the Fringe: Space Elves and the Origin of Otherkin

Beyond the normal reaches of our society lies an endless array of others: some living, some dead; some known, some obscure. This is about the fringe of the fringe.

Otherkin were perhaps once best known as “those people online who think they’re dragons”; now they’re best known as “those people on Tumblr who think they’re anime characters”; but in truth, the origins and history of Otherkin date back much further than most might expect.

A quick definition of terms. Otherkin, or “kin”, are a subculture that identify as nonhuman. This is commonly a spiritual, “I was this in my past life”, identification, but some Otherkin believe their identity is psychological in nature. Otherkin traditionally identify with fictional creatures, such as elves, dragons or fae. A closely related concept is therianthropy; therians instead identify with animals that, whether currently living or extinct, exist. A relatively new addition to the nomenclature are “fictionkin”¹, who identify with fictional characters; unlike Otherkin or therians, many fictionkin identify with beings that, while fictional, are generally human.

Otherkin and therians claim to experience their identity in different ways: via memories, and via “shifts” – commonly mental shifts in behavior, sensory shifts in perception, or “phantom shifts”, where they feel their identity reassert its body via phantom, ie mental, limbs. It is important to note that Otherkin and therians do not claim to physically change, and so-called “p-shifters” are usually a laughingstock in the kin community.

Though today it’s seen as a youth subculture, Otherkin trace their origin to the burgeoning pagan & new age movements of the 1970s. An invaluable timeline by Orion Scribner places the first group that we would today call “Otherkin” in at least 1975, when a group called the Elf Queen’s Daughters placed their first public ad in a pagan quarterly. The term itself dates to 1990, invented as a catch-all for the many non-elven identities Otherkin now possessed; therianthropy found a name and a home on Usenet circa 1994.

But all that can wait. Today, we’re zeroing in one specific facet of the Otherkin community: a elfkin subculture with an involved mythology that flourished briefly, but brightly.

The Elenari started on now-lost mailing lists in the late 90s; in 2000, a newly-created site called the Elenari Nexus became the community’s home.

Continue reading

Angry Internet Man Has Glasses-Fueled Breakdown

[cw sexual assault, discussion of pedophilia]

Today’s post takes us to the world of anti-SJ blogs, which are an endless circlejerk, a never-ending procession of screams and tired Otherkin jokes issued from a chorus of boring edgelords.

I don’t even really have to introduce this person, as you know their type if you’ve ever navigated the less employable segments of internet discourse. Their Twitter profile, of course, opens up by identifying as some kind of absurd Otherkin type, before segueing into a “if you disagree with me, you’re a bigot” message, because as we know, modern feminism is known for its pro-Otherkin agenda.

patriHave you ever seen a comedian absolutely bomb? Have you ever watched, cringing, as they tried to salvage a terrible act before a hostile crowd? Well, the only thing sadder than a failed comic is a failed troll. Our protagonist today made a post where he made all the Disney Princesses Caucasian and threw them in front of an American flag, and received a grand 21 notes, none of them even angry. His Patreon has raised $10 thanks to the efforts of eight people.

Of course, it’s not hard to see why. Edgelord trolls, by and large, are aiming their work at an audience of fellow edgelord trolls, with the big names regurgitating the same tired memes like a pelican feeding her chicks, but somehow less dignified. The audience of easily outraged feminists reading their every posts simply does not exist. These circles do not intersect, but they’re so eager to believe that they offended someone that they’ll leap on anything as evidence. Anti-SJ blogs fall for parodies more readily than any group this side of Facebook grandmas reading The Onion, but at least that looks like news, and isn’t some outrageously shitty, unsubtle “I’m a black trans disabled agender asexual dildokin xD uWu” Tumblr parody. Anything to escape the fact that they’re sharing their offensive jokes within an echo chamber of people who aren’t going to be offended.

The one exception to their target’s lack of interest is when a blog introduces us to a concept so breathtakingly, bafflingly inane that the broader internet takes notice. And today I want to introduce you to a phrase that’s simple, but endlessly hilarious: “Problem glasses”.

I considered, at first, that this was a parody. But the line between genuine and satirical in the anti-SJ world blew up thanks to four little words: “little white cuck ball”, and GamerGate’s inexplicable war on oddly colored hair showed us that the anti-SJ world does ascribe political significance to the most random shit. So on we go! Patri-Archie-Comic’s stern warning about problem glasses, in its full glory:

tumblr_nd8nflts121u0r0dgo1_1280

I’m not sure what I can even add to this. “Problem glasses” is an inherently hilarious phrase. “Problem glasses” was not created, it just is. “Problem glasses”, apparently also known as “grandma glasses” or “pedo glasses” (more on that in a bit!), appear to just be…glasses, since the examples offered don’t even look the same.

Words used by “problem glasses” wearers include basic feminist terminology, because there’s nothing anti-SJ types dislike more than incredibly basic terms they don’t understand, as well as concepts like “trans-ethnic” that only exist as anti-SJ fever dreams, and even New Age-y things like headmates and Otherkin. I don’t seem to remember when Anita Sarkeesian declared herself a dragonkin plural with a radical pro-headmate agenda, but I might’ve just missed that video.

Mocking them as “pedo glasses” is interesting, because elsewhere, they’re pretty much fine with pedophiles:

patrip

“As fun as it was to rip into this person and call her a pedo, I actually agree with her opinions, which I tore apart, because…LOGIC AND REASON?”

Let us now just dwell in the magnificence of “problem glasses”, and rue the fact that we can never create something as hilarious, even though we’re trying to be funny.

Found via 9Volt.