This is an informational/educational piece I attempted to put together some time ago. Given the evolution of language, as well as my own general feeling of always needing to improve, edit and update, this piece is not presented as an end-all be-all and may be overdue for some edits, modifications and updates.
If there’s anything in particular that catches your eye – something you want to know more about, or a definition you’d like to see modified or something of that sort, please feel free to comment. I will consider all critiques but I do not guarantee that I will use them.
Here is a list of terms, and their respective definitions, that you may see used commonly around the greater community as a whole.
**Please do not reproduce or edit this document without due credit to and/or asking it’s creator (Amelia) for permission. **
The majority of these terms are defined in my own words (Amelia), any that are not (or I felt needed a bit more support and information for it), have their source listed.
Therian – 1. An individual who identifies spiritually and/or psychologically as a non-human [Earthly] animal, extinct and extant. 2. Therian, in common use, may also refer to an individual of a subclass of mammals, Theria (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theria); This definition is not generally used in the Community.
– “Therianthropy”, in common use, refers broadly to a metamorphisis of human and animal (http://www.reference.com/browse/therianthropy); However, this is not generally the context used in the Therian community, instead Therianthropy refers, in this context, to an individual’s personal Identity of being physically human and animal internally (primarily being of spiritual and/or psychological/neurological speculated origins).
Otherkin – An individual who identifies spiritually and/or psychologically as non-human. Generally this may refer to Mythological creatures, can also be used as an umbrella term for all creatures, as well as other entities (plants, inanimate objects, etc).
Animal-Kin – A lack-for-better term introduced to identify and describe non-earthly animal-identified Otherkin. After it was no longer accepted to use “Therian” to apply to all animals and animal-creatures.
Therio-Mythic – Also a term used to describe non-Earthly animal kintypes.
Phytanthrope – Also termed, Green-kin or Plant-kin; An indiviudal who identifies as a non-animal plant.
Therio-type – The animal a Therian identifies as.
Kin-type – The creature/entity/object an Otherkin identifies as.
Were- – a prefix meaning “man”. In terms of the Therian and Otherkin communities, Were was once another term for Therian, but was followed by the individual’s therio-type (ex. were-cat, were-wolf, were-deer). Such use has been falling out of fashion. Also (more commonly now) used for Otherkin who identify as anthropomorphic and sometimes shape shifting, man-creatures of myth and folklore (such as, but not limited to, the werewolf etc).
Shift – A sensation which expresses one’s therio/kin-type. Given the power of the human mind, consciously and subconsciously, it is considered possible for non-‘Kin identified persons to will or otherwise experience shifts of some level or degree. Most ‘Kin/Therians if they experience shifts at all (not all do) experience their first shifts involuntarily and learn to recognize triggers (if any exist) or otherwise control shifts to varying degrees.
- Phantom – Phantom Limb; A term taken and modified from the medical community, is the sensation of having physical limbs where physical limbs do not exist (medically this is a physical nerve reaction which causes sensation felt after amputation of a limb). Some phantom limbs can be felt alongside, as if on top of, existing physical limbs.
– The official term for the sort of limbs that Therians/Otherkin experience is Supernumerary Phantom Limbs which are phantom limbs one experiences where no such limb has physically existed before, this version of Phantom Limb or Shift is still considered a primarily psychological phenononon by the “professionals”. Shifts of this sort may not be limited to obvious limbs and can come about as sensations of fur, scales, etc or specific organs such as eyes, teeth and claws.
– There are an incredibly small number of individual Therians/Otherkin (actually one to my current knowledge) who, through use of an MRI was able to confirm neurological responses in regards to these phantom limb sensations.
- Mental – The sensation of having the mindset of one’s Theri/Kin-type. This often is described as more instinctual, basic, animalistic and even carnal-based (depending on one’s Kin/Theriotype).
– This may or may not be accompanied by an observed Sensory shift where apparent basic senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste) improve, worsen or otherwise alter. It is however generally considered impossible for such senses to alter beyond the physical capabilities of the human body.
– There may be some speculation in regards to Clair-Senses/Abilities in relation to Sensory Shifts (as in Clair-audience, Clair-Sentience, Clairvoyance, etc.).
- Astral – The sensation or experience of being in the form of one’s Therio/Kin-type while astrally projected, out of body or on another plane. (Bi-location and other forms of projecting included, though not officially “Astral” shifts. “Projection Shifts” may be more accurate, but is not an official term)
- Aura – When one’s Aura, or “energy field” shifts into the form of one’s kin/theriotype. This may be accompanied by the sensation of phantom limbs and detectable (visible, for some) to those sensitive/aware to such things.
- Shadow – Often mistakenly identified as Physical Shifting by those (if any) who witness it. This may be a form of Aura-Shifting. When light is low and/or visibility is questionable, the outline of one’s body (their shadow or silhouette) may appear to morph into that of their therio/kin-type.
- Dream – Being one’s therio/kin type in their dream.
- Cameo – Any shift which represents a different type than what the individual identifies as.
- Empathy – The sensitivity to energy, this primarily being emotions. An Empathy(/ic) shift is much like a cameo shift, except that it is effected and influenced by others. (also Clairsentience)
- Physical – Highly controversial. The physical morphing of a human body into the body of one’s type.
Dysmorphia – (Species) A conviction that one’s physical body is wrong. This is often accompanied with Dysphoria of varying severity.
Dysphoria is generally a feeling of unhappiness, discomfort and even disconnectedness (in this context, it is associated with one’s self [species or physical body].
Furry – An individual of the Furry Community and Fandom. The Furry Community is a culture involving anthropomorphic fictional characters created and chosen as one’s fictional identity, used in roleplay and expressed in many other artistic forms.
Multiple System – or “Multiple” for short is any individual body with more than one individual residing in it. The additional individuals are sometimes referred to as “Alters” or “Headmates”. Sometimes there is an “original” or “host” of the body, but this is not always the case. Individual cases where there is disorder in the “group” or it causes problem with normal societal functioning, are labeled as Disassociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder). It is possible for a system to exist in a healthy, cooperative state and not be labeled as “disorder”. Alters/Headmates may be the result of spiritual walk-ins or psychological creations, in some cases it is believed that one’s soul or psyche can literally divide itself and become multiple individual parts of their own right. This may be a result of trauma or other unknown and varied reasons. Alters/Headmates can sometimes be human or nonhuman while the body they reside in is indeed human. For this reason there is some mixing of members from the Multiple Community into the Therian and Otherkin communities. The state of being multiple is called “Multiplicity” or “Plurality”.
Fictionkin – Any individual who identifies as a character or creature from modern myths and entertainment medias. Not all Fictionkin identify as non-human characters and therefore, not all Fictionkin are Otherkin. A headmate within a Multiple System who is a Fictional character or creature is known as a Fictive.
Fluff – Something that is not apparently genuine (real, true). “Fluff” is also defined as an individual (usually self-identified ‘Kin or Therian) who is mislead, closed/refuses to learn and may be varyingly delusional (delusion is defined as holding beliefs or ideas despite evidence to the contrary – basically rejecting facts)
Poly- – Prefix meaning many.
- -morph – Root word meaning form. An individual who identifies as Polymorph[ic] identifies as having multiple forms (Like a shape shifter). One can identify as a Polymorph who’s only true shifts are Cameo Shifts. Their “form” is fluid. One can also identify as a single entity or creature that has a few, often limited, other forms (Ex. an Angel may also have the form of a Dove and/or a Tree – I think of the Greek gods for other examples, they are represented by animals and objects but also take those forms. The Greek deities and similar creatures or entities can be considered Polymorphic).
- -kin – Also -therian, -were; A Polykin Refers to an individual who has more than one type.
Contherianthrope – A therianthrope who’s animalistic side is so interwound into their human side the two are indistinguishable. A contherianthrope does not experience shifting but rather expresses a constant of both animal and human sides at the same time. Contherianthropes have been described as finding it very natural to use both human conceptualization/logic and native animal emotion/instinct, jointly, as combined factors in decisionmaking, dynamically blending each to add richness and insight to the overall process. (http://www.therianthropes.com/contherianthrope.htm) – In other words; Contherians constantly feel half Kinside and half human.
Suntherian – (also Vacillant) was a term invented by WordWolf to mean is a therian whose theriotype (primary or sole) is integrated into his baseline personality. That integration, however, does not prevent them from having minor fluctuations of mood, sensation or being that feel slightly more animal, or slightly less animal. (http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Suntherian) – IOW Suntherians experience sliding shifts (though are also constantly shifted – feeling part Kintype and part human).
Anthropomorphic – resembling or made to resemble a human (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anthropomorphic) ; The Werewolf, in forms of entertainment and media is often depcited as an anthropomorphic , wolf-man, creature.
Feral – A term used in opposition to anthropomorphic. Ex. A Werewolf might be described as an anthropomorhic form, while a wolf would be feral form.
Vampire – Generally an individual who identifies a need for blood and/or metaphysical energies (non-physical -, life energy, Qi, Ki, Chi, Prana..) in order to maintain their all-around health, well-being and ability to function on a regular basis.
Vampire-Kin – An individual who identifies as the supernatural creature of myth, legend and folklore known as the vampire. Many Vampire-Kin seem not to identify a need to feed on blood or energy.
You might also find the following of interest: