Below is a list of terms, and what they mean to me, that I use in my writings. If you have any questions or would like something clarified, please contact me via email.
Animal Guide/Animal Spirit – See Totem.
Animal Person – Another term for a Therianthrope. Some therians prefer this term as it differentiates them from the community.
Animal Side – See Therioside/Theriotype.
Awakening – The act of first discovering that there is something other than human about yourself. Not everyone who identifies as Otherkin experiences an awakening.
Cladotherianthropy – A type of Therianthropy relating to the entire genus of animal rather than to one specific species. Example; a connection to foxes in general as opposed to specifically the red fox.
Contherianthropy – A therian that is fully integrated and does not have a purely human or animal side. They do not experience any type of shifting
Familiar – An animal in the physical plane that is often used to aid in magical rituals. This is usually a term used in Wicca.
‘Kin/‘Kin side/’Kin Type – An abbreviation for the term Otherkin. It may be spelled with or without the apostrophe. I usually spell it with the apostrophe, but that’s just my personal preference.
Otherkin – An umbrella term that encompasses the belief that all or part of the personal identity is something other than human. This has been explained by mental wiring, past life memories, spirituality, etc. There are subgroups under this including, but not limited to, therianthropes, angelics/celestials, demons, vampires, fae, elves, dragons or walk-ins/multiples. Some people group therians with the Otherkin term, some people do not. I do, but it comes down to a personal preference.
Phantom Limbs – The sensation that there is a body part present that is not physically there.
Polywere/Polymorph – A polywere is a therian who identifies as more than one type of animal in a human body whereas a polymorph is otherkin who identifies as more than one ‘kin type.
Re-Awakening – A term that I use to describe my personal experiences. I use this in place of “awakening” simply because I feel that I’ve always been different and that my otherkinness has always been a part of me. I did not “awaken” and become ‘kin, I was born this way and it’s an integral part of who I am and how I identify myself.
Shifts – What a an individual experiences when their ‘kin side comes to the forefront as if they have suddenly become that creature physically. This can manifest through movement, sound, appearance, etc. For example, having a mental shift in which thoughts and instincts become more bear-like as opposed to the normal human mindset. There are various types of shifts listed below.
- Astral Shift – A shift that is experienced in the astral plane.
- Aura (Aural) Shift – A shift where the external energy, or aura, becomes more like their ‘kin type.
- Cameo Shift – A shift that a individual experiences as a different type of animal or creature other than their normal type.
- Dream Shift – A shift that is experienced while sleeping, as in through dreams.
- Mental Shift – A shift that is experienced mentally, in which the individual’s mindset becomes more like their ‘kin type.
- Phantom Shift – A shift that is similar to aura shifting in that the individual’s external energy becomes like their ‘kin type. This has been known to occur either partly or as the whole ‘kin body. Some people group phantom limbs under phantom shifting; I do not.
- Physical Shift – A shift where the human’s physical body shapeshifts into their ‘kin type. At this time, this is not possible, nor has it ever been proven to exist.
- Sensory or Perception Shift – A type of shift where the individual’s senses become more like their Otherkin counterpart. This may also just be a heightened sense of awareness.
- Shadow Shift –A shift where the individual appears, either physically or mentally, before others, as their ‘kin type. Although this type of shift can be explained by normal means such as lighting, mood, etc. This type of shift has also been called a ‘ghost’ shift.
Soul – The term that I use to define what makes up what’s inside of my physical body apart from my muscles, organs, etc. It’s the essence, or life force, of what is me.
Suntherianthropy/Syntherianthropy – A subtype of therianthropy often categorized as an individual being integrated with their theriotype so much so that they only experience minor shifts that are not as intense as a therian. This has been described in terms of a sliding scale going from an even split of 50/50, to a more aware split of 60/40 to the most extreme that I experience of 70/30. Because I consider myself a suntherian, this is how I specifically define this term.
Therian – A shortened term for someone who identifies as a therianthrope.
Therianthropy – A deeply rooted connection, be it through a mental, spiritual, metaphorical, etc. connection, to a non-human animal species which an individual chooses to identify as.
Therioside/Theriotype – The specific species of animal that a therian identifies as. For example, many therians identify as wolves.
Totem – An animal that comes into your life to teach you a lesson. This can either be through meditation, having a strong like of a particular animal or through patterns in your life, etc. Some people believe that a person has only one totem while others believe that totems come and go throughout our lives as we need to learn and grow. Still others attribute totems to their chakra system.
Were – Another term for a therianthrope that originated from the term “were + insert-animal-here”. For example, the terms “werewolf” or “werebear” can be shortened to simply “were”. I do not use or even like this term as it reminds me of negative connotations associated with Hollywood and role-playing games.
Originally written June 19, 2008
Updated January 8, 2013