Why So Many Wolves?

Why So Many Wolves?

So why are there so many wolf therians out there?

In my personal opinion, it’s probably related to popularity. Wolves are the ultimate “wild” animal to a lot of people, the animal that symbolizes the wilderness and the animal that made a tremendous comeback since the early 1900’s. Much like tigers, wolves are like the poster animal for protecting endangered species.

The wolf is a symbol of strength, loyalty and perseverance. They’re also seen as a teacher, family oriented and protective. Humans by their very nature are also pack animals and many individuals respect qualities such as strength and loyalty. Humans also share the pack mentality in regards to its hierarchy as well as relying on each other to survive.

Wolves are also the animal from which the werewolf legend stems. It’s true that all across the world there are shapeshifting stories of other beasts (the Norse berserkers, the Japanese kitsune, the African bouda, the Celtic selkie, the South American boto, etc.), but the wolf seems to be the most common across cultures. The only reason that I can think of that might explain why there are more werewolf legends than any other type of animal is simply due to distribution. The wolf is one of the few animals that has subspecies on almost all the continents. The other main types of therians that are the most common are big cats, bears and other canines like foxes. All these animals have a worldwide distribution as well. While animals like the platypus are restricted to just one continent. (And why aren’t there any platypus therians? That would be interesting!)

I believe that most people, especially younger people who are just discovering things like this about themselves, are drawn to wolves when they first Awaken because werewolves are the most common hybrid creatures in our culture. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t at least heard of the famous wolfman movies or seen a werewolf movie or read werewolf stories. Wolves are the creature most often associated with shapeshifting and are therefore most often associated with having a dual nature since werewolves have two physical forms. It is easy to see the connection between wolves and humans so someone who is new to the concept of Therianthropy might be drawn to wolves before any other animal simply because they’ve been exposed to wolves more than other animals.

I have, however, noticed that several people have found that after their initial Awakening experience that they are in fact another animal other than wolf. Perhaps people use wolf as the default theriotype simply because they don’t want to label themselves as ‘I don’t know’.

Another important thing to consider is whether or not someone found out about their therian side and then discovered the online communities or if they found the online communities first and then discovered they were a therian. If it’s a case of the former, then I’d say that person is more likely to be genuine. Especially if they have meditated and spent a lot of time soul-searching to discover the truth about themselves and come up with their specific species as the answer. However if it’s a case of the latter, where someone found the online therian communities first and then discovered their therian side, it sometimes seems a little shady to me. Obviously it is still possible and can happen, however I think that since the idea was planted in the mind upon finding the community that the brain then manufactures reasons as to why a person could be a therian. And then the brain manufactures reasons as to why wolf fits since it’s the most popular theriotype with the most information readily available.

Discovering this aspect about yourself takes time and determination and if you discover that you’re a therianthrope and not a wolf, that’s okay. There are lots of wonderful animals out there and the concept of therianthropy is not about who has the coolest species.

To sum up, I think it comes down to how you discover something like this about yourself. It’s true that there are a lot of wolf therians around the community but whether this is due to popularity or because of some other reason no one can be sure. And if you happen to be a wolf therianthrope, good for you for standing up to doubt and criticism from your peers. As for me, I am and will always be a wolf no matter what anyone else tells me.

Originally written June 6, 2007

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The Need to Belong

The Need to Belong

In the time I’ve spent in the online communities, which all things considered, isn’t really all that long, I’ve noticed that the majority of therians and Otherkin have this deep-seated need to belong. They form meet-ups or howls, search for people with the same or similar ‘kin types as themselves and they enjoy talking to others who share similar experiences.

With the internet, this is relatively easy as it connects us worldwide with people we’d probably never come into contact with without it. However, I’ve noticed that people tend to gravitate to others of their same ‘kin type and I’ve begun to wonder why. Isn’t it enough that, besides the fact that we’re all human on the outside and have various likes/dislikes, we’re also something “other than human” on the inside? You’d think this basic idea, that everyone in the therian and Otherkin communities identifies as some non-human creature, would help connect us. It seems that people are never satisfied with just finding someone else online who shares the therian or Otherkin label with them. They need to be the same; share the same theriotype or ‘kin type so as best to understand each other and to satisfy that belonging urge inside all of us.

But where does this need to belong come from? I believe that it comes from that ingrained instinct where there’s simply safety in numbers. Herd and pack animals alike understand that not only is it easier to attain food with help, but it’s also safer and comforting to have others just like you nearby. Humans are, after all, animals and their instincts are to gravitate to groups that share similarities.
Think about the last time you went to a movie, you probably went with friends that also wanted to see the film because you all share a similar interest in that particular movie genre. Or what about at work; people tend to make friends at work with people who share like interests with them. It helps them to feel more comfortable, not only with themselves, but it also gives them some common ground with the group at large.

The therian and Otherkin communities are no different. The question often arises as to why there are so many wolf therians. Perhaps it’s because not only are humans more comfortable in groups where they share interests, but wolves too are pack animals and are really only successful (although not always the case) when they work together. It would stand to reason that because of their human and lupine nature, a wolf therian would gravitate more to a community because they would feel the community pull from both sides of his/her nature. But why there are so many wolf therians is not the topic here. The need for people to belong is.

People feel the need to belong, and it’s because of a very simple reason, because then they don’t feel so alone in this wide world. We’re all aware of how different one person can be from the next and it can get frustrating when the people around you in your everyday life don’t agree with your opinions or don’t “understand” you. Seeking solace in an online community is a good way of soothing that anxiety and communicating with other people of a like mind. And it only makes sense to join communities where you will find people with similar interests. Obviously we’re all different and we’re all going to have a different favorite color, etc. but it’s still nice to find people who believe that inside they’re something other than human. It helps in dealing with your own everyday life if you can share your experiences on shifting or past life memories with people who are aware of and accept the concepts. It makes it easier to talk about it. There will always be one person who nitpicks or disagrees with you and your opinions, but most people find that an online community relating to their interests is generally accepting and helpful.

The issue comes up as to why do people feel the need to seek out others with their exact therio or ‘kin type online. The answer is much the same, because of the deep-seated desire to find someone else just like you. If you can share your experiences with someone who shares an understanding of the concept, that’s great. However, if you can find someone who’s had the same experience or same sort of experience, because you’re of the same ‘kin type, all the better, right? I disagree. I think that no matter what the ‘kin type, what matters is that you’re sharing your experiences with other people who understand. The focus shouldn’t be on ‘kin type. To me, it doesn’t make a difference if I’m reading about a rabbit therian who experiences mental shifts when faced with a salad or a demon who sometimes feels like a kleptomaniac. What matters is that we all identify as something other than human and we’re all going to have different experiences based on external and internal circumstances. The most important point is sharing what you experience with the community.

Would I love to meet another wolf therian in real life? Of course I would, but then I’d be just as happy (and thrilled) to meet a bandicoot therian, or a dragon, or an elf. To me, it’s about meeting someone who A) believes and accepts therians and Otherkin and B) simply meeting a therian or Otherkin in person. A meeting between two therians or ‘kin types shouldn’t leave the people involved focusing on their differences. Rather, they should leave the experience happy to have met someone else who feels “other” and is open to discussions relating to therians and Otherkin. What we should take away from the experience itself is that while we’re different, we also share common ground and are open-minded individuals.

The need to belong can create a very strong pull to join a specific group or community. And while the community at large can provide a place to connect with others, it comes down to the members that make it what it is. So while it may be nice to sometimes seek out others exactly like yourself, keep in mind that we all identify as one thing or another. The most important thing is to share the sense of community with all of those who can see to it that our questions keep each other honest, our differences make the community diverse, and our likenesses – whether we identify as therian, dragon, celestial, fae, demon, etc. – keep the community strong. It’s that connection, the connection of being different, that brings us together as a community.

Originally written October 2, 2008

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Labels

Labels

So many people cling to the need to label themselves and to identify what’s inside of them. Yet we each claim a unique individuality that cannot help but label us. Words, by their very nature, define us. That’s what words do, it is their purpose. So claiming to be something, however simple, is still a label. And every human society on Earth labels things. Even the Native Americans had names for the things around them. Is it possible that animals label things? I have no idea. But I would assume a bear would have a way of recognizing a specific tree or a den site. Or that a shark could remember a specific rock outcropping and give it a name. Or that an eagle could identify the best place to catch fish. But who knows?

And what is wrong with labels? In my opinion, nothing so long as they’re kept simple. Since everyone is different, we each need to have our own uniqueness that sets us apart from everyone else. This is where labels come from; the desire to be set apart from the rest of society. Granted, getting too specific with naming what you are will get confusing to others (not to mention yourself!), but having general labels is good in that it helps to clearly define who you are. At first glance, people can gather the basic knowledge as to what you are and therefore better understand you. At least to some general degree that is. Obviously it takes time to truly get to know someone, but getting basic information is a good place to start in talking to other people.

And everyone needs a sense of self or a name for what they are so that they can try to better understand it and themselves. Do animals give themselves names to show uniqueness? I have no idea. But as humans, our society has thrived on giving names to everything. So why should therians or Otherkin be any different?

Does my wolf side thrive on identity? Of course not but then neither does my human side. I know what and who I am and I’m comfortable with the different labels I’ve collected over the years. But the wolf in me recognizes a unique physical appearance and also connects with a specific name for itself which are different than my human side’s physical appearance and name. Does my wolf side care if it’s original home was Alaska or Tennessee? Of course not. But the human side of me realizes that knowing where the wolf came from is important in better understanding it. Does it define me? Partly. It gives me names to explain myself to others and to get a better handle on what’s inside of me. Sure, I could just call myself a wolf therian, but there is so much more to learn and I would feel like I had cheated myself if I stopped trying to learn anything else. 

Each of us has the capacity to better understand ourselves through words. For some people it might be enough to just have a general label for themselves, something that just barely scratches the surface. But I need to know more to better understand who and what I am inside. It makes it easier when talking to other people, but labeling yourself is more to better understand who and what you are.

I wouldn’t be satisfied with just being of a Caucasian background, so I’ve researched my family history to better understand where I came from. Why should it be any different for my therianthropy? I know that I am a wolf, yet I seek to better understand that aspect of myself by trying to discover where the wolf came from, what it looks like, what subspecies it might be, what types of shifting I experience, why I’m different from other therians and so on. It’s all in an effort to clarify for myself what I am.

Learning one term for yourself only gets the ball rolling. It opens the door to learning things about yourself that no one else can tell you or teach you. We are constantly changing beings, always learning new things. Would you stop trying to learn from books after reading one specific fact? I doubt it. I would hope that after learning something new, you would seek to verify it in other places and would not be satisfied until other sources claimed the same facts.

Humans crave knowledge and with knowledge comes a large vocabulary. In labeling yourself, you’re only adding to the vast knowledge of what makes up you as an individual. 

So my advice to people seeking to label themselves; keep it simple and stay true to yourself. It doesn’t matter if other people accept the names you use for yourself or not. What matters is what you know about yourself.

Originally written on March 19, 2007

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Evolution of My Therianthropy

Evolution of My Therianthropy

 Originally written November 28, 2011

Years ago, when I first learned about the term Therianthropy and then began applying it to myself and my experiences, I thought of myself simply as a wolf in a human body. Reasons why or how it happened were less of a concern and I simply was. My journey to discover anything and everything about this part of myself led me to occasionally have evidence that suggested how it happened or even why, dating back to evidence from my childhood of animal-like tendencies. Although at the heart of it all, I still just continued to be. I functioned normally enough, despite instincts and urges to the contrary.

Doubting and constantly wanting personal verification that I wasn’t making it all up allowed me to research my experiences. So here and there I have some reasons and a few explanations, not the least of which are spiritual, psychological, reincarnation, mythological, just because, etc.  But at the end of the day, 10 years later, I still don’t have concrete answers as to the whys and hows of identifying as a therian. And I’m still mostly okay with that.

That aside, I noticed recently that while I started out as a wolf therian, I’ve somehow grown into, or evolved rather, into a werewolf/wolf Otherkin, which is different. For example, the mental shifts, albeit how rarely I used to experience them, are gone and have been for some time. This feels different than a wolf therian or how I used to experience being a wolf therian.

I used to feel distant from normal humans because I thought I was a wolf trapped in a human body. The idiosyncrasies of human society, hell, even of the basic workings of the human brain, baffled me. Something was absent in my human body-to-wolf mindset; a missing mental synapse or basic human cultural understanding, something separated me from every other human I knew. My instincts were different; for example a normal human female would want to go shopping with friends on a Saturday afternoon, I had to fight the impulse to chase squirrels to kill and eat them on a regular basis. I felt like I was wired wrong to be functioning in human society. My human body wasn’t quite right either.

After learning to live with these feelings of being “other” and simply being weirder than all my friends, I came to accept my own eccentricities as just another facet of my personality. I was a wolf in a human body and, strange as that is, that was all. And life moved on.

Lately though, as I’ve been delving back into self discovery and exploration, I find that my Therianthropy has once again evolved. Where it was first a new thing, fresh and exciting, to where it grew into normal everyday acceptance, social faux pas and all, into what it is currently, a new level of immersion with the wilderness within and self-creating mythology.

Self-created mythology, that seems to perfectly describe where I’m at right now. I’m not sure I can still think of myself as just a wolf therian any more without taking into account my leanings toward Otherkin and that end of the identify spectrum. While I hesitate to shirk the label of Therianthropy completely, which I’ve been comfortable with for many years, I also find that it doesn’t 100% describe me or my experiences any more. And without getting into too much of my personal mythology, simply using the term ‘werewolf’ doesn’t cut the mustard either.

So I find myself at another identity crossroads, continuing to evolve in my therian/Otherkin identity into something neither wholly wolf therian nor werewolf Otherkin. I still feel like I’m wired wrong for human society, but now it seems more like I’m from a different culture than from a completely different species. There is still that too; wolf is definitely not human and vice versa. And there are still things I will never understand about the human condition, but more so it seems like I’m an outsider watching rather than being completely separated.

I am human; at the very least physically, yet something else lurks under my skin and behind my eyes. I like to think that it’s part of the wilderness that humans have forgotten. Perhaps it’s a memory of the distant past of ways not like the ways of society today, but of hard earned food, war and fur; of drumming, dancing in the firelight and howling late into the night at the moon…

And while I love the term “Lupine” to describe my personal experiences, it really is the perfect term that combines both my Therianthropy experiences with werewolf lore and Otherkin, having to explain what I mean by that could get trying (although I have not attempted it). I guess there is no proper term yet. So for now, at this stage in the evolution of my Therianthropy, I am wolf therian/werewolf/weirdo/Lupine and that is acceptable.

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Personal Therianthropy

Personal Therianthropy

I believe that part of my soul is a wolf. I believe this because of experiences I’ve had and because it’s what feels right to me. It’s part of how I identify myself but it’s also because it’s what I feel deep down in my heart and soul.

Something about me, for as long as I can remember, does not resonate with being wholly “human” and while it wasn’t until 7 years ago that I could put a name to the feelings, I’ve had these feelings my entire life.

Part of it is spiritual, part of it is UPG (unverified personal gnosis) and part of it just feels right to me.

Originally written April 9, 2008

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Wolf Person

Wolf Person

After reading Meirya’s essay on what it’s like being a bird person, I had to share my own thoughts on what it’s like being a wolf person. Thanks for the inspiration, birdy!

Let me tell you about wolf. About fur lingering just beneath the surface, about pointed ears perking at the slightest sound, about whiskers catching scents in the breeze, about large paws padding softly through the forest, about eyes that glow in the dark, about everything about what it is to be wolf.

Arms that are not long enough to allow for quadruped movement. Legs and knees that are bent the wrong way. Head that is positioned wrong. Pathetic skin that doesn’t warm or protect. Nails that are no substitute for claws. Mouth and teeth that were never meant to rip and tear. Senses that are barely strong enough to survive. My human body has adaptations, but the wolf sees them as hindrances.

The need to get out. To be outside among the trees, with the wind whipping through my fur. To smell things that are miles away. To slip silently into the underbrush to stalk prey. To watch from a distance. To sing to the stars and night sky. Feeling like a caged animal, wishing to be freed.

Running on all fours, with the grass racing away at my paws. Fast and free, unable to be caught.

Shaking my fur and feeling it fluff against the cold. Being able to tuck my cold, wet nose under my fluffy tail to keep warm.

Laying my ears flat against my skull when someone or something pisses me off. Curling lips back to reveal sharp, white teeth. Fangs glistening in the moonlight.

Nuzzling packmates, feeling their fur against my own. Licking muzzles in greeting.

Wagging my tail as a hello.

The wild, it calls to me. I yearn to be a part of it, to be outside in the elements. To listen and see and smell and taste and touch everything around me. I want to wag my tail when I’m happy. I want to lay my ears back and snarl when I’m annoyed. I want to curl up into a ball of fur when I’m cold and tired. I want to sing and have it come out as a howl. To be what is truly within my soul.

I am a wolf person and this is how I feel…

Originally written December 5, 2007

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Experiencing Wolf

Experiencing Wolf

An essay on what it’s like being a wolf therian. The below snippet was taken from Meirya, a hawk therian,  who gave me permission to use it. Thanks birdy!

“I experience hawk more vivaciously and physically and presently than any memory. I don’t have physical memories of me-as-child-this-life, even; they’re distant things, they helped make me but they aren’t me at this time, and they’re not very clear/vivid/present-now. Hawk is something I experience, day-to-day; it’s something I am, not something I was. I have feathers and hawk-instincts and bird-thoughts and avian-reactions, beneath my skin and skittering through and in and behind human-thoughts/mind, not ever really quite separate, just more prominent or more apparent or “louder” at times.” – Meirya

Experiencing Wolf

I do not experience wolf as past life memories. As Meirya already said, I experience wolf every day. I agree with her in that I am wolf, but I wasn’t a wolf in a past life. At this point in time, I’m not even sure if I believe in reincarnation for myself or not. I’m still very confused on that subject.

I have pointed ears and a tail. I have fur that ripples just beneath the surface. I have sharp teeth and a long snout. I have paws with blunt claws. I have wolf instincts and thoughts. I wouldn’t call myself a contherian, someone who doesn’t experience shifts, because I do. I still experience astral, mental and occasionally dream shifts. 

I wrote in my essay “Being Wolf” about how I remember what it was like being a wolf.

“I can remember what it was like to bite through the spine of prey. I can remember how it feels when the wind whips across the plains and through my fur. I can remember the scent of the grass and the way the sky and earth smelled before it rained. I can remember hearing my true voice, singing to the stars. I can remember seeing what I truly look like on the inside.”

I realize now that those aren’t memories so much as natural wolf instincts when those activities/experiences come to mind. Since I wasn’t a wolf due to a past life or incarnation, I just know what those things should be like even though I’ve never actually experienced them as a wolf.

I have always based my therianthropy on a cosmic accident. Or the “oops scenario” as I like to call it. I like to envision it like this: when they were handing out souls for humans, like in an assembly line, when it came to be my turn, for whatever reason, a wolf soul got put into my human body when I was born. It’s something that’s been with me my whole life and it was only about 6 years ago that I could put a name and terms to how I felt.

It’s so deeply ingrained in my psyche that it would be like trying to split my personality. I am wolf and I am human, but they’re so tightly interconnected that unless I make a conscious effort, I don’t separate one from the other.

And I am wolf and human every day. There are times when I feel more one than the other; like if I’m out in the woods I feel more wolf or if I’m in a crowded place I try to feel more human so I don’t lose control. But it really depends on the situation and circumstances. I experience wolf every day, no matter where I am or who I’m with or what I’m doing. It’s simply another aspect of myself.

Originally written November 27, 2007

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Hello WordPress!

It seems that WordPress has become more and more popular so I have jumped on the bandwagon as well (mostly to stay in the loop!). You will mostly find my thoughts regarding animal essays here, although obviously anything is fair game.

I’m a very down to earth, easy-going sort of person so if there’s anything you’d like to see me write about or anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me, now’s your chance!

Hello WordPress and move over, here’s another one!

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