I'm just copying-and-pasting two posts for this intro.
The first one is a head-off announcement because I'm asking to have my name changed to Arawn.
I have been toying with the idea of asking since about late last October/early November, but I wasn't too certain about changing it until now after having signed up on various sites with the name "Arawn" and preferring that name to "Shangrila".
"Shangrila" has been my username since I was 16 ever since joining Trueform Within and Werelist. I feel that I have outgrown that name due to me not fully remember why I even chose and due to the journey that I have taken over the last 6 years in growing as person in all of my aspects. To me, "Shangrila" was the name of a 16 year old girl who didn't know who or what she was and was confused about everything.
"Arawn" symbolizes who I am deep down, the psychopomp nature of me along with the maturity to realize the spiritual path that I am on/created for myself. It symbolizes a more complete and comfortable me while "Shangrila" has taken on a connotation of someone who doesn't know who they are and someone who never grew up.
I requested this name change in order to "finish" the moving away from a child to a more mature adult who has spent many years growing comfortable with zirself. One who knows their spiritual path, the various aspects of themselves, and one who is complete.
The second one is on me and my realization of kin-type and how I reached it:
This is a bit of a rambling post and I'm not exactly certain of where I'm going to go with this, but I think it'll be something that will eventually turn into an essay. It will be based off of my experiences. I do not claim to know anything about anyone else. This is an essay about me and not anyone else.
Some terms to keep in mind that will be mentioned throughout the post/essay:
a conductor of souls to the afterworld. ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychopomp
This is a term defined by a single therian to describe his type of therianthropy, though it can and has been appropriately applied to other therians. It is pronounced “soon-therian” and derived from the Greek word “sun” meaning ‘with’, and used to indicate ‘with animal’ as the term suntherian. There’s also a syntherian variation used sometimes because of the two prefixes having the same meaning, though the creator of the term preferred the pronunciation of suntherian (many people, however, prefer the syntherian variation because of the more appropriate prefix). WordWolf, the creator of this term, defined it in 2005 as:
“This is similar to contherianthropy. In fact, it is what is USUALLY meant by contherianthropy.
A SUNTHERIAN is a therian whose therioside (primary or sole therioside) is integrated into his baseline personality.
HOWEVER, that integration does not prevent him/her from having minor fluctuations of mood that feel slightly more animal, or slightly less animal. He/she can feel them both at the same time, human and animal. He/she can NOT m-shift into his/her base theriotype (whether primary or sole.)”
The extent of this term’s definition is not well defined, and as with contherianthropy, deciding what does and does not constitute a mental shift is too subjective of an answer to be written here in a clear, concise definition. (http://project-shift.org/terms-definitions/
A term coined to describe a broader kind of theriotype that is not species specific. It denotes therians who have a theriotype that is not one species but encompasses a broader spectrum of related animals. Some consider it to refer to having an entire genus as a theriotype, however, there are many animals that have only one identified species under a genus, and thus in numerous cases it would not be appropriate to denote oneself as a cladotherian with a theriotype that is of a genus with a single species. However, this may lead some to argue that because their theriotype’s genus has, for example, two or three species within it they must be a cladotherian because their theriotype encompasses that whole genus. There can also be the concern as to how broadly of a theriotype the term applies to, in which during the origin of the term it was applied to a therian with an entire class (Reptilia) as the theriotype as well as ones which have theriotypes fitting suborders. Another example is it can also be used well in describing a single theriotype that encompasses many animal species of the same taxonomic family (or class, order, etc.) without necessarily including all species within that family (such as many feline species, yet not every species of feline).
Exactly where the lines are or should be drawn regarding uses of the term cladotherianthropy is unclear, especially since it is a term that has always been used rarely, and around the time it was coined only few people felt the term properly fit them, and since then it has grown widely out of usage. Something else that is clear about the term is that cladotherianthropy should not be applied to indicate someone who is unsure of their theriotype’s specific species but are still searching for that species-specification. Instead it is intended for application to those therians who have theriotypes which actually are broader than an exact species, in that the cladotherian is not “still searching” for their theriotype’s species but that they have already found the conclusion of “it is not a specific species”. As also, cladotherianthropy should not be confused with having multiple theriotypes (although a person could be a cladotherian and have another one or more theriotypes), because the breadth of the cladotherian’s therianthropy is not a matter of having a large number of separate, single related species as theriotypes. But instead the cladotherianthropic theriotype is itself so broad and non-specific that it includes or encompasses many related animal species without actually being separately those species as theriotypes. (http://project-shift.org/terms-definitions/
Now, on to the post/essay:
I identify as a psychopomp type of Otherkin with feline cladotherian tendencies. This can be a bit confusing when I am trying to describe my experiences and interact with the different types of communities. I also feel it puts me at a chance of not being fully accepted and written off as someone with a vivid imagination, someone who has too much time on their hands, someone who can't make up their mind in regards to a kin-type or theriotype, or any number of other things. This is quite possible, which is why I have tried to present myself in a respectable manner to both communities for the last 3 or 4 years of being in it along with having matured through those years due to schooling and just having to grow up.
Before the last 3 or 4 years, I will admit I was a bit "fluffy" or not all with it in regards therianthropy. I was young and not exactly the most put together person when I found out about therianthropy (I was 15 or so). This is not to say that there are not 15 year olds in the community who are mature and put together, it's just that I was not one of them. I was wrapped up in a psychological mess due to my physical disability along with my severe social anxiety and depression. This was not the greatest time for me to discover therianthropy, but it did help me understand a little bit more about myself and why I did certain things that I did, along with why I seemed to have a mental disconnect in certain aspects of life.
Over the years I have noticed that I have a general failing of understanding different aspects of human life and why certain things are done. I also have times where I fail to comprehend human speech or sounds and my mind blanks to a more "primal" state. I really have no term for this other than "mental disconnect", something my fiancé said to me the other day. I have tried to bring up Asperger's or some other sort of Autism related disorder to the psychologist, but she felt that it was possible for me to have had that when I was younger but that I grew out of it. Before I could go into further discussion about this times of not understanding, I was unable to see her again due to having lost my military benefits because of turning 23. This is all right, though, because I have developed mechanisms to help me throughout the times of not understanding (at least when my mind blanks). When it comes to not understanding human behaviors or understanding various modern-day items, I just roll with it or repeatedly ask the fiancé why something is done and what the point is along with the purpose it serves. His answers and my looking things up help me cope with things that I just don't understand. I wish I could use examples to illustrate this, but I cannot think of anything off of the top of my head nor can my fiancé. When I think of something, or when it happens again, I will edit it into this post.
I do not know if the disconnect is caused by my therianthropy or if it is the root of my therianthropy. I have several theories, but I do not have any that can be proved, at least not yet. The theories range from spiritual based to psychological based. There is not a theory that deals with neuro-biology, though that is also a possibility and is something I am interested in looking into further. Some of the theories are:
1. I have had several recent past-lives that have been human-based. The "memories" of these past-lives have carried over and as a result I am still "adjusting", if you will, to this time period. This theory does not explain why I am unable to understand certain human behaviors.
2. I have had several past-lives as human and several past-lives as various animals, mainly felines. The lives would be relatively recent and the "memories"/behavior patterns would be closer at hand and carry over to this life. This would explain why I have trouble understanding modern-day items and certain human behaviors. However, this does not satisfy me and seems more of a way of using past lives as a scapegoat for my mental disconnect instead of offering ways to help me cope with the disconnect.
3. I have had several past-lives, none of which really played much of a role in my life until I had a traumatic experience in my childhood. The experience resulted in me being made more aware of myself as a whole and more open to looking into spiritual aspects of life. As a result, I was able to more acknowledge the various behaviors and thought patterns. If I had not had this experience then I would not have noticed the behaviors or the behaviors may not have been so "severe" as they are now.
4. The traumatic experience caused me to have to develop various coping mechanisms to deal with the experience. I developed the Otherkin identity and behaviors to cope with the mental problems of having been paralyzed from the chin down and then having to deal constantly with being picked on and the stares of people who thought I should not be out in public. However, this brings up the question: why would I develop behaviors that have proved to be incompatible with a social life and acting appropriately in public, at least when I was between the ages of 11 and 17? Not understanding modern inventions or human-based behaviors was not beneficial to me, especially while growing up.
5. Any number of other theories, or any mixture of the above. I am partial to Theory #3. I will expand more on the theories when I have more time to think about them.
The only theory that leaves me more-or-less satisfied is the third one and it can grow rather complicated so I just said the basics of it. The other theories can also be somewhat complicated so they will also be expanded upon. They will more cover the various therian/Otherkin aspects of me as well.
In the beginning of this long post, I mentioned what I identify as. The first is psychopomp. This is a rather vague term, but it fits me as a whole. This is also the more spiritual aspect of my identity in that I feel that I have had past-lives as various critters that act as psychopomps, from the range of Valkyrie to Guardian Angel. I also feel that I did not have one set form because there, in my mind, is no reason for a psychopomp to have one set form. They should take on the form that is needed to better help the spirit traverse to the underworld/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and to give the spirit more peace. This would explain why I have been unable to pinpoint an exact Otherkin type and keep switching between various psychopomp-type creatures. It is possible this is psychological in nature, but I have more of a leaning towards it being more spiritual based in nature, but is filtered through a psychological lens.
The second of what I identify as is a feline cladotherian. This is more of a spiritual/psychological mixture to me in that I had to have a psychologically traumatic experience in order to be able to learn more about my behaviors and to be more open to the behaviors I would exhibit throughout my life. I identify as a cladotherian because I have experienced "shifts" of various felines. I put shifts in " " because they are not true shifts in that I identify as a suntherian because I just shift on a scale and never fully shift to human or animal. I do have phantom shifts, though it might be more accurate to say that I almost always have phantom appendages but I am not always aware of these appendages as I do not seem to feel them as strongly as some other therians or Otherkin say they feel theirs. My behaviors are more akin to a general feline, but feel more of a domesticated large cat. My thought patterns can often mimic that of a feline as well, but not to any severe extent. I say domesticated because I feel rather content to be pet, fed, and housed with limited desire to do much of my own killing. The phantom shifts are of a large feline, however, and are often accompanied with the mental image of a larger body than what I have that resembles an anthropomorphic feline (usually cheetah or snow leopard though tiger is also thrown in on the rare occasion and sometimes a snow leopard/canine mix).
I can continue to go on about my various experiences, but I have to get ready for bed and I have to gather my thoughts further.
All questions and input are welcome!