Re: Internal Answers Vs. External Research
We were researching from the start. Obviously it had to match up with what we think and feel but we started digging on the basis of a friend's suggestion, then looked at other kintypes that came up as possible matches. The initial intuition was simply "I'm not human" (this being before we became selves-aware and before some of us, including me, were even here) and a collection of traits associated with that feeling, which were then compared to whatever seemed likely.
We leapt to a few conclusions, though. We weren't even looking anymore when we read Raven Kaldera's description of the alfar and realized we'd been hit with far more accurate detail, despite some points of disagreement with our memories, than we'd ever expected. Those of us who believe we're multi-racial have less evidence to back that up, though; the sidhe blood has some back-up but we can barely find anything on the fomor let alone put together an argument to convince others that Vaul is part fomor.
As far as theriotypes go (one point of departure from Kaldera's description is that we all either have a visible theriotype as well or believe there's one waiting to be discovered in us), there's a hefty dose of intuition involved as well as mental glimpses of the animal and knowledge of the individual's personality. In some cases, that's been deemed enough (C'aurin being a domesticated cat or wildcat, Vaul being a beetle). We still read up on the animal in those cases to make sure it seems right, but it's a confirmation rather than an investigation. In others, we start with those clues and go reading up on all of the animals that seem to fit, then let the gut have its say (Svanni being a fox, Ry being something of the moose/elk variety). Shaynin is kind of down the middle on that; it was easy to tell that her theriotype is spider, but we had to research in order to find ones that hunt like she does in spider form (crab spider). Most of us aren't that clear on specific species.
-Kearil, who has no idea what her animal is
"All knowledge is worth having." -Phedre no Delaunay
"Everything has a price." -Jaenelle Angelline
"I think if you try, that's being your best." -Echo