ulfrvif: A symbol that combines both the theta-delta and elven star to represent Therians and Otherkin. Created in 2018 by Nokken. With book and pen in center. (Greater Otherkin Symbol)
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If you think a term should be included or have more information about any of the terms currently in this list, please leave a comment or send Ulfrvif ( https://ulfrvif.dreamwidth.org/profile) a message. 

Intro to Shifts

Shift (Therianthropic): any temporary change in mentality, mood, sensory perception, or spirit that causes a Therianthrope to feel more instinctual or animalistic like the therioside in a non-physical manner. 

Shifting has been discussed since the beginning of the online Therian community. "Your best mental transformation", is a discussion from AHWW which took place on December 1, 1993.

Shifts are experienced differently for each individual. Shifts can occur in varying strength and frequency and be both a positive or negative experience. Multiple types of shifts can be experienced simultaneously. A person does not need to experience every type of shift to be a Therian. Some Therians may only ever experience one type of shift throughout their lives. Many Therians do not have shifts. See the video for Contherianthrope.

In most cases shifting is entirely controllable, but sometimes a Therian will experience strong shifts that do cause them to temporarily loose the ability to function completely as a human. Shifting is typically involuntary, but some Therians learn to induce shifts. 

Be aware that having a single shift or even several shifts does not mean that you should assume, without a doubt, that you are a Therian. We must carefully consider what experiences are relevant. There could be rational explanations for why a person experiences a shift-like sensation that has nothing to do with Therianthropy or being Therian. We must be mindful and cautious that we are not simply imagining these sensations or tricking our minds. One example is the Rubber Hand Illusion.



Astral Shift (ALS): occurs when the astral body separates from the physical body, travels to the astral plane and shifts to the form of a nonhuman animal. This is considered an out-of-body experience (OBE). This is a spiritual related shift that requires the belief in the existence of souls or a form of consciousness called an astral body. This is related to astral projection or could occur during astral projection, and the idea of astral travel is ancient and occurs in multiple cultures.

Astral Shifting can occur during sleep, with the aid of spiritual trance, meditation, or induced through hypnotic means such as self-hypnosis. Not all astral shifts will be related to Therianthropy. Some people may practice this ability for other purposes such as Shamanic work and spiritual healing. 

Astral Shifting was being discussed on AHWW in 1994/1995 or sooner, but it's a less common shift that is not mentioned as often as shifts like mental and phantom. 

References
  • Shifting Types, Therian Wiki - http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Shift_(Therianthropic)
  • "Shifting and Awareness Terms" were.net archive circa 2001(accessed May 25, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20010118174900/http://www.were.net:80/~pinky/wereterms.html
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm
  • "Returning, with werecard" Alt.Horror.Werewolves - https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/S5F48mtcmVE/KdsA_CFi-DsJ

  • Astral Projection

  • Benjamin Radford, "Astral Projection: Just a Mind Trip" March 18, 2013 http://www.livescience.com/27978-astral-projection.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astral_projection

Aura shifting (AS): occurs when the shape or form of an auric field or life energy field changes to that of the theriotype. This is a spiritual related shift in that it requires the belief in auras which are considered paranormal. A Therian may also experience a partial or full mental shift along with an aura shift. Discussions on AHWW were clearly including this type of shift as early as 1996, but this is a less common shift that we don't see mentioned very often in the community today.

References
  • Shifting Types, Therian Wiki - http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Therianthropic_Shifting_types
  • Were.net, "Shifting and Awareness Terms" January 18, 2001 (archived page accessed May 25, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20010118174900/http://www.were.net:80/~pinky/wereterms.html
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060517083239/http://www.therianthropy.org:80/SO/shifting-a.htm
  • "Proposal: Werecode v.0.5", September 29, 1996, (accessed May 25, 2018)  https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/1cYEm0yfZZM/m6W8ZaoNKzMJ

Berserker Shift: occurs when a person has the "ability to induce a state of possession by his kindred beast, acquiring its strength, fearlessness, and fury." Trances and altered states of consciousness are methods to enter a berserk shift, most commonly used by warriors for the purpose of going into battle. 

This shift is arguably not related to Therianthropy. There are discussions around the term on AHWW throughout the 1990's, but most were to explain the term's origins in Norse mythology and explain that emotions, anger, and rage are human traits. 

Feral Shift might be a more accurate term, in that it means a person is having a full mental shift due to strong emotions such as anger that completely pushes away the human side temporarily. However, shifts are never an excuse to lash out at someone and cause harm. Self control is still possible and should be practiced during all shifts. This form of shift is rarely experienced or discussed in the community.

Berserker comes from Old Norse berserkir meaning “bear-shirts”. Another related term is úlfheðnar (pronounced “oolv-HETH-nahr” with a hard “th” as in “the") which is Old Norse for “wolf-hides”. "These names are a reference to the practice of dressing in a ritual costume made from the hide of the totem animal, an outward reminder of the wearer’s having gone beyond the confines of his humanity and become a divine predator." It is highly recommended that you read more about the Norse origins of these terms. 

References 
  • Daniel McCoy, Norse Mythology for Smart People, "Berserkers and other Shamanic Warriors", 2012, https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/others/berserkers-and-other-shamanic-warriors/
  • Kershaw, Kris. 2000. The One-eyed God: Odin and the (Indo-)Germanic Männerbünde. p. 27. 
  • http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Berserker_Shift
  • Alt.Horror.Werewolves, "Question about Lycanthropes" November, 17, 1992,  https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/WU1jL5Ey5Zs/JhiKORWQGwMJ
  • Therianthropes United, Berserkr Shifting, December 18, 2007 (archived page accessed May 26, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20071218234913/http://www.therianthropes.com:80/berserkr_shifting.htm

Bilocation Shift (Bi): occurs when a Therianthrope appears in two locations simultaneously, with the double appearing in the form of the therioside. Unlike an astral shift this occurs in the physical plane. The double can appear to be solid and physical or ghostly. Different accounts say that the double can or can not interact with people and objects. This could depend on the individual's amount of practice or power. This shift was first being discussed on AHWW around 1999. Bilocation is a rare shift that is not experienced or discussed very often within the community. Bilocation is an ancient phenomenon which is considered to be a psychic ability. There is no scientific evidence that bilocation is real. Cases are usually anecdotal reports that can not be verified.

References 
  • Bilocation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilocation
  • http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Bilocation_Shift
  • Shifters.org, "Bilocation shift", May 17, 2006 (archived page accessed May 27, 2018),  http://web.archive.org/web/20060517083207/http://www.therianthropy.org:80/SO/shifting-b.htm
  • Were.net "Shifting and Awareness Terms", January 18, 2001 (archived page accessed May 27, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20010118174900/http://www.were.net:80/~pinky/wereterms.html
  • Jakkal, "Shifters: The Update Continues", August 10, 1999, https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/SkxlWGXutsE/HMIojdZqaB8J

Cameo Shift (C): occurs when a Therianthrope experiences a shift which feels like an animal that is not a known theriotype. This could be a mental, phantom shift, or dream shift, but other types of cameo shifts are possible as well. Cameo shifting seems to have first appeared in Alt.Horror.Werewolf discussion in the late1990's. This is a common shift experienced by most Therians at some point in their life.

A cameo shift should not be the sole consideration as evidence of being a polytherian. 
It is possible that a cameo shift could be due to an individual having a spirit guide or being animal-hearted instead. Dream cameo shifts into other animals could be symbolic of other events in the Therianthrope's life and not related to therianthropy.

References
  • http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Cameo_Shift
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm
  • Mokele, “Is it a new wereside?", circa 2004. https://web.archive.org/web/20050913135105/http://www.therianthropy.org/mokele/essays/cameo.htm
  • "Hypothetical new weresides" June 17, 1999, https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/zG6ruKsEY7M/KEea7jJaucsJ

Dream shift (DS or d-shift): occurs when an individual is partially or entirely an animal within a dream while the physical body remains unchanged. The dream might also include the transformation into the animal. A dream shift can occur in both lucid and non-lucid states. 

This is a common type of shift that is often discussed in the community. Seeing or sensing oneself as an animal during a dream was taking place in the earliest days of the community as Alt.horror.werewolves was transitioning from a group about werewolf fiction to a group for people who intrinsically identified as nonhuman creatures.

People who do not identify as Therianthropes can also dream of being animals. Never automatically assume that seeing yourself as an animal in a dream means that you are a Therian or that the animal is your theriotype. Many other experiences, research, and introspection should also be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not you identify as a Therian. 

Seeing oneself as an animal other than the known theriotype, may only be a dream cameo shift and does not always indicate that one is a polytherian. Not every dream may be relevant to one's therianthropy. Sometimes animals appear symbolically to represent events or mental/emotional states that the dreamer is experiencing in life.

References
  • http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Dream_Shift
  • Scribner, O. “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/ 
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm
  • "Stop howling, we heard you already" November 7, 1993,  https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.horror.werewolves/cnaZs0KC9Bk

Emotional Shift: occurs when a Therian shifts during a certain emotional state such as stress or anger, but it could also be a positive emotion such as happiness. Usually occurs in conjunction with another type of shift. There is little information about this type of shift. It may simply be a mental shift that is referred to as an emotional shift because the Therian recalls that the shift was triggered by a certain emotion. Shifting triggered by various emotions has been discussed since the beginning of the online community, on AHWW in the early 1990's. 

References 
  • https://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Emotional_Shift
  • "Your feelings on the subject" AHWW, June 6, 1996, https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/4o964AZnZe0/HTTPbr7BYaMJ

Mental Shift (MS or m-shift): occurs when a Therianthrope temporarily has a change in mindset from the humanside to animalside and thinks more instinctively like the therioside or other nonhuman creature. Cameo mental shifts are possible. During a mental shift, the Therianthrope usually expresses animal behavior and vocalizations while the human body remains physically unchanged. 

The term first appeared on Alt.Horror.Werewolves in 1995, but this phenomenon was most likely discussed earlier. This is still a commonly discussed shift in the community that is experienced by most Therianthropes. 

Mental shifts can happen in the midst of any emotional state. These changes in consciousness, whether involuntary or voluntarily induced, are not always at the same level of intensity. Mental shifts can be very mild to very strong and any level in-between. During mild shifts the human mindset never fully vanishes. By the same token, many Therians claim that even when not "shifted" the animal mindset is never fully dormant. 

It has been hypothesized that involuntary m-shifts are more likely when the Therian is still coming to terms with their animal nature. Some Therians choose to study their shifts to learn what triggers them. They can then use these triggers to induce shifts when they choose to. It is important to learn to control shifts of any kind, and shifts are not an excuse to cause others harm.

A strong mental shift can make a person lose the ability to think in words in favor of thinking in pure awareness. This full shift, especially if due to an emotionally heightened state, can be referred to a Feral Shift. If you know that you are prone to strong mental shifts, it's good to learn the sensations that are precursors of your shifts so that you can suppress it until you find a safe and private place to experience your shift.

References
  • http://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Mental_Shift
  • Orion Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/
  • Therianthropes United, Mental Shift, December 18, 2007 (archived page accessed June 2, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20071218234939/http://www.therianthropes.com/mental_shifting.htm
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm

Phantom Shift (ph-shift): occurs when a Therian experiences phantom limbs or a full phantom body. The physical human body remains unchanged. This is a phenomenon that refers to the sensation of having non-human body parts attached to the human body. The most common example is the feeling of having and moving a tail. These phantom limbs can even overlap the normal limbs of one's body, such as feeling paws instead of hands.

Discussions about this type of shift appeared on Alt.Horror.Werewolves in 1996. Phantom shifts are a common experience for Therianthropes that are often brought up in discussion.

"The specific ways in which these can be experienced varies vastly, but included amongst them are a diversity of levels of ‘realism’, some being very minor to some even being so intense that the phantom part feels almost entirely “real” regardless of the fact it is not physical. Some phantom parts are constant, but the ones referred to in this definition are those that are temporary and ‘shift’ in and out of occurrence. Other effects associated with some phantom parts include pain or discomfort in/on or associated with the phantom part, movement (voluntary or involuntary) of the phantom body part, and reactions to outside ‘real’ stimuli such as objects, sounds, movement of other things, and so forth." - Project Shift

One does not need to be Therian or an amputee to experience phantom limbs. Experiments prove that people can be fooled into thinking that another object or even an invisible limb is part of them. The deception is known as the rubber hand illusion. 

References
  • Choi, Charles Q. “Even Non-Amputee Can Feel A Phantom Limb,” Live Science, April 12 2013,  http://www.livescience.com/28694-non-amputees-feel-phantom-limb.html (accessed June 25 2016)
  • "Phantom Extra Limbs" Mind Hacks, May 14, 2008, https://mindhacks.com/2008/05/14/phantom-extra-limbs/
  • Seung Don Yoo, Dong Hwan Kim, Yong Seol Jeong, Jinmann Chon, Jihea Bark, "Atypical Supernumerary Phantom Limb and Phantom Limb Pain in Two Patients with Pontine Hemorrhage" J Korean Med Sci. 2011 June; 26(6): 844–847. Published online 2011 May 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102884/
  • Therian Wiki - https://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Phantom_Shift
  • O. Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged,” last modified Sept. 8, 2012 in The Art and Writing of O. Scribner http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm

Physical Shift (PS or p-shift): The transformation of a human body into the physical shape of another creature. There is no scientific evidence for this type of shift ever happening. No one has ever been able to provide proof. While a lot of Therians wish they could change their physical bodies, the Therian community agrees that physical shifting is impossible.

There have been a few cases of theft and abuse when naive or unsuspecting individuals trusted someone who promised to teach physical shapeshifting in exchange for money, goods, or services. Claims of physical shifting are often made by trolls preying on the young and gullible in the community. Do not be a victim of this behaviour. 

Physical Shifts in Legends
Many legends tell of people who have the ability to turn into an animal. In Shamanic cultures, Shamans are able to become animals in the spirit realm during trance-like states known as Shamanic Journeys. These experiences are real, but no physical shifting actually occurs. What likely has happened, is that lay people have misunderstood Shamans as they speak about their spiritual exploits, and have mistook spiritually becoming an animal as physical shape-shifting.

References
  • https://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Physical_shift
  • Orion Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/ 
  • Lupa "Why Physical Shapeshifting is Bollocks" The Green Wolf, July 6, 2012. http://thegreenwolf.tumblr.com/post/26638052677/why-physical-shapeshifting-is-bollocks 
  • Swiftpaw, "Real Guide to PShifting", March 2004 (archived page date) http://web.archive.org/web/20040324003658/http://www.otherwonders.com:80/swiftpaws/therian/old/pshift.html

Sensory shifting (Se or SES): occurs when the Therian’s senses temporarily become more like that of the therioside. The physical body remains unchanged. This is different from a mental shift, but It can occur along with mental shifts and other types of shifts. The Therian experiencing a sensory shift will feel somewhat animalistic, alert, and often have a pleasurable heightened sense of their physical body. 

Sensory shifting does not make the senses more powerful. Focusing attention on a certain sense, such as smell, can allow us to pick out more smells than usual. It is important to note that this is a heightened focus rather than a heightening of the sense itself. Our senses may feel more keen during these times of focus, but sense shifts cannot increase perception beyond the physical limitations of the human body.

Hypersensitivity is a similar experience which can also occur in humans for various reasons. This is why a person should not identify as a Therian due to a few shifts alone. Identifying as Therian is an accumulation of years of non-human experiences. 

Sensory shifting can be helpful in determining a theriotype, as different animals use a certain sense over others. Ask yourself what senses are most prevalent during a shift. Canines, for example, understand the world primarily through smell. Sensory shifting was first mentioned in the community circa 1999 on Alt.horror.werewolves. It's not really one of the most discussed types of shifts, but it is mentioned regularly in the community today.

References
  • https://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Sensory_Shift
  • Orion Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/ 
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060901112859/http://www.therianthropy.org/SO/encyclopedia.htm

Shadow Shift (SW): occurs when the therianthrope sees the animal form around his/herself as a transparent apparition or when the appearance seems to change. This is an illusionary change that mostly happens in low, dim lighting. This shift is not necessarily a supernatural phenomenon, and it could be explained rationally, such as due to eye fatigue. The person's attitude, posturing, making animal sounds, can give off the image of a physical change, but this is not a physical shift. Shadow shifts were first discussed on AHWW in 1999. This is a rare shift that is not mentioned in the community very often.

References
  • Orion Scribner, “Otherkin lexicon: A multi-lingual dictionary of jargon used in the communities of otherkin, therianthropes, and other similar peoples, v. 0.1 Abridged.” The Art and Writing of O. Scribner. 8 September, 2012. http://frameacloud.com/otherkin/nonfiction-otherkin/otherkin-lexicon/
  • "Shifters: The Update Continues" Jakkal, AHWW, August, 10, 1999,  https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.horror.werewolves/SkxlWGXutsE/HMIojdZqaB8J
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) - http://web.archive.org/web/20060517083327/http://www.therianthropy.org:80/SO/shifting-s.htm
  • Therianthropes United, Berserkr Shifting, December 18, 2007 (archived page accessed May 26, 2018) https://web.archive.org/web/20071218233510/http://www.therianthropes.com:80/shadow_shifting.htm

Spiritual Shift (S): occurs when the spirit takes on the form or shape of the therioside while the physical body remains unchanged. The experience has been described as "A spirit shift is also the merging of the two (or more) "sides" of a therian's own spiritual makeup. For example, if a therian is a human and a wolf, the merging into an "anthro-wolf" form would be a spirit shift." This is also described as being similar to astral or aura shifting, but some people may feel this shift occur naturally within or around themselves in the physical plane without needing to visit the astral plane.

Spiritual shifts can be experienced along with other types of shifts such as mental and phantom. They seem to be an uncommon type of shift. This could be due to the belief that the soul or spirit is always in the shape or form of the animal. Discussions about this type of shift clearly appear in Alt.horror.werewolves in 1996 or earlier.

A similar experience can occur due to having a bond with a spirit guide. Guides can also make us feel shifty or lend animalistic traits to the person they are communicating with, so always take that into consideration as well.

References
  • https://therian.wikia.com/wiki/Spiritual_Shift
  • Shifters.org Encyclopedia (2006 web archive) -  http://web.archive.org/web/20060517083327/http://www.therianthropy.org:80/SO/shifting-s.htm

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