Therianthropy

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Therianthropy is a generic term for any transformation of a human into another animal form, or for a being which displays both human and animal characteristics, either as a part of mythology or as a spiritual concept.The word is derived from Greek therion, meaning "wild animal", and anthrōpos, meaning "man".

Scholarly use of the term

In folklore, mythology and anthropology, therianthropy can be used to describe a character that shares some traits of humans and some of non-human animals. The most commonly known form is lycanthropy, from the Greek word lycos ("wolf"), the technical term for man-wolf transformations. Although the precise definition of lycanthropy specifically refers only to werewolves, the term is often used to refer to shape changing to any non-human animal form.

When people believe they change into an animal form (theriomorphosis), or possess supernatural non-human animal traits, the term clinical lycanthropy is often used. This classification is a form of mental illness, though many anthropologists would point out that the belief has extensive religious precedent in shamanic cultures.

 

Modern subcultural use of the term

In recent times, a subculture has developed that has adopted the word therianthropy to describe a sense of inner spiritual or psychological identification with a non-human animal. Persons who belong to that community are called therianthropes or therians and believe that while they have a human body, some important part of their mind, identity, or spirit is that of a non human animal. Some therianthropes refer to themselves as "lycanthropes" from lycanthropy.

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