Wild Ideas FAQ
Home > Temple Questions > Spiritual Therianthropy
Why do so many therians seem to identify with what environmentalists would call "charismatic megafauna" - i.e. wolves, bears, and other powerful and impressive-looking creatures? How come no one wants to be a slug or a snail?
I think the answer to that is the same as the answer to why so many pagans connect with popular and well-known deities: because those are the ones they're most likely to have heard of, and to be able to find information about if one of them piques their interest.
I think most therians' perception of animals is as much based on folklore and mythology as on biology, and creatures that have been the focus of a great deal of that are more likely to appeal to people on a spiritual level. And people may also be more likely to gravitate towards an animal that they feel will benefit them in some way - embody qualities they find admirable, or fill something they see as a lack in themselves.
Of course, all of the above implies that there is some element of choice in therianthropy, which not everyone believes there is. But there may be other explanations that are less reliant on choice. Perhaps the soul on some level gravitates toward an animal connection that it knows would benefit it in this life, or perhaps, if the agency of an outside animal spirit is involved, those spirits that have been the focus of human worship and storytelling tend to have a closer relationship to humanity and are correspondingly more likely to bond with a human spirit.
And of course, those who write the whole phenomenon off as a delusion, attention-getting mechanism, or defence against feeling inadequate would say we're drawn to powerful animals because we want to feel special and feed our egos.
Ultimately, there's no way of saying for certain why it is that some animal affinities are more prevalent among therians, because there's no way of knowing for certain what the true nature of therianthropy is. But these are a few possibilities.
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