The Parable of the Were-Duck

As a forum and blog addict, I have noticed that many OVC sites have a fair number of users who claim to be “animal-people”, or therians – or even Vampyre-therian hybrids. I thought I would do some research into the matter, and chat to some therians myself to try and get an understanding of this phenomenon, but came out with next to nothing that could be considered a rational explanation for this condition – but I did develop some interesting hypotheses around the topic. This then, is the Parable of the Were-Duck. Come… to the duck side.

Once upon a time there was a man who believed that spiritually he was part-duck. He had a strong connection with his feathered friends, and he was known to have episodes in which he would spend the afternoon sitting amongst them in the duck pond at the park, making quacking sounds at strangers who passed them on the banks, eagerly hoping that they would toss him a few bread crumbs. Everyone believed him to be mad.

This certainly conjures up quite a ridiculous image, and perhaps (if you follow my logic) that is why the were-duck has never existed.

The first observation I made was that the majority of those people adopting a Therian identity seemed to be “connected” to predatory animals such as wolves, felines, foxes, birds of prey, etc., while others aligned themselves with animals of beauty and romance – horses, swans, and deer.

Considering this, I asked myself why do we never encounter the were-duck, the baboon-therian, or someone who was deeply connected to a cow on the astral plane? With the lack of the popularity of these latter animals, one can already begin to assume that this idea of therianism is  only a  delusion being lived out by these people, as they wish to be connected with popular, majestic animals of power and beauty.

“Wait til you see my duck-side come out… I have this urge to sit in a pond and quack at people with the hope of getting some bread tossed my way.”

Upon reflection however, one must remember that these associations of animals  with human traits is at it’s core a form of anthropomorphism. It was humans who said the lion was brave, the fox was cunning and the doe gentle – but these animals do not choose to be this way – they merely  act  on instinct. Therefore for a therian to act upon these characteristics, all they are doing is taking the level of anthropomorphism and twisting it into something to best suit the ideals or parameters of their personal delusion.

The animal in vogue also appears to be affected by the  global cultural demographic,  whereby in  certain parts of the world,  people regard certain animals to be greater than others in accordance  with the country or region’s religious and cultural beliefs and upbringings.

The Therian Stick Test

When questioning therians about how their animal-side manifested, every single one regaled me with tales of how they involuntarily growl and hiss in certain situations, how they have this need to be in nature, how (for example) they get on so well with dogs because they sense the wolf within that person – and, guess what – the full moon seems to make them feel more like the animal they share a connection with.  Now this seems all very well and dandy – if it is your cup of tea, that is – but I had to ask the question: if you throw a stick for a therian, will they bring it back?

As it would appear, they do not – nor do they sniff your behind in greeting, and feline-therians do enjoy swimming and taking baths. From this it becomes obvious to me that they only seem to have the more desirable behavior in common with their animals – a little “pick-and-choose” for something that is supposed to “naturally occur” in some folk.

“I’ve seen your duck side. Its not to be trifled with. Some mysteries are better left alone.”

Now, some explain their therianism in different ways – some believe it to be a connection to an animal spirit guide, or totem. Some put it down to a sort of species-dysphoria – feeling like an animal trapped in a human’s body – and others say they have transformed into their animals on the astral plane and that, in their dreams, they are that animal. But taking into account that there is no sense of the over-all being being present in that person, I can only deduce that given the benefit of the doubt, therians truly believe their claims – and that therianthropy is a subconscious attempt to make sense of certain aspects of human nature, which perhaps are not that of an animal but of a more primitive sense of being human – which through the development of our existence – evolution, if you will – we have lost because we have no natural need for it anymore.

“Why are there no were-ducks or were-hippos, and if you throw a stick for a therian will they truly bring it back?”

Wolves in Human Clothing

To explain my theory further, we must look at the characteristics taken from these animals. The need to hunt, get in touch with nature and have dominion over other animals by being at the top of the food chain, and so on and so forth are all characteristics that were once attributed to humans as well. Through the rise of civilization we have ceased to rely on these instinctual skills necessary for survival – however, humans remain as animals to some degree – so therefore perhaps it is that such things, in their extremes, have remained dormant within our being. They do manifest, if not as blatant in everyday life – our need to be at the top of which ever sociological hierarchies we feel are important to dominate, our natural need to follow a person of strength, our survival skills that kick-in when faced with danger or death – these things were not taught, they are ingrained instinctual characteristics that “came with the package”.

My theory is that therians – those that truly believe in the existence of their animal-side – are not connecting to some animal  spirit or animal-nature but rather just connecting more intensely with something that is present in all of us, something forgotten that allowed us to be in sync with nature rather than in conflict with it.

Some might say that the Vampyre is calling the werewolf delusional, and so – to conclude this piece, I wish to stress that I do not wish to ruffle any feathers – or fur amongst the Therian community – but rather to offer a different theory and of course invite anyone to  challenge it, as I believe questioning the world around us is vitally important. We are part of a strange, avant-garde existence, and education and discussion amongst ourselves – as well as building the fundamental ideas of what we believe in, must come before we are ready to take on the world – and before we can attempt to gain acceptance from the world together.

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11 responses to “The Parable of the Were-Duck

  • Jonathan Peebles

    You do realize there are many cats like Tigers and even some domestic Cats that like water even if the majority may not. Im just say and thats all I can say about that. I believe many Therians do not know enough about those other animals to realize they are connected to those animals and the known animals are more easier to connect with. Those are the main thoughts that came to mind anyways…

  • Aura Escher

    Jonathan, thank you for your feedback. I say again then that it is a case of twisted anthropomorphisation – if they choose one animal over another because they are able to relate to one more than the other. Surely, if one was connected with a certain animal, one’s lack of behavioural knowledge of that animal is irrelevant because one should then portray the animal through instinct rather than through “mind”. If one has to think about how the animal should act then it is not something that is occurring naturally…?

    • Cheetah

      Actually, lack of behavioral knowledge would not be irrelevant, because one necessarily know that they were portraying said animal through instinct rather than mind. Also, not all dogs will return sticks. And a dog therian might have the instinct to retrieve something and do so but use their hands because for all we know, if dogs had hands they’d use the hands.

      I would also point out that therianthropy, at it’s most basic, is animalistic behaviors. Abnormally strong and/or numerous animalistic behaviors, that is. Personally, I argue that therianthropy is neurological, and not necessarily even a unique condition but a composite of various factors, but in the end why we are the way we are doesn’t matter, at least not in relation whether or not we exist.

      By the way, I’ve read an essay by an earwig therian, know a sea slug therian fairly well, and am acutely aware that the cheetah is the wimp of the cat family.

      • Winged Wolf Psion

        Really, the entire thing is simple. The author did not understand therianthropy, and thus, their expectations were not met. What’s more, what little they did understand, contained incorrect information.

        I do hope that they have been reading peoples’ replies, and now understand that while there are a large number of predatory therians in the therian community, non-predators, and even insects and other primitive animals, are present and accounted for. I hope that they also understand that being therian does not mean that an individual is unable to control their animalistic impulses–that we choose to let them out only in appropriate settings, or when alone.
        I hope that they understand that their expectations of therian behavior were also based on a lack of understanding of animal behavior. They should also understand, by now, that therians DO emulate the natural behaviors of their theriotype, even when they are not sure what those behaviors are.

        Being human, sometimes the youngsters will embrace what they are so enthusiastically that they develop affectations of what they think their theriotype should do, but most of them grow out of that (and young vampires are no less prone to it).

        No matter how ‘silly’ you think a ‘were-duck’ is, there is a were duck out there somewhere, who is simply trying to get by, just like everyone else. Should they be ashamed because you chose to ridicule their kind? I don’t think the shame falls on them. There’s nothing ridiculous about a duck–it’s a living animal with a strong place in the ecosystem, and it has its role to play. Only your perception of it seems ridiculous. The animal itself is much more interesting and respectable than that stereotype. A were duck will have the impulse to behave like a duck. A real duck, not the shallow paper image of one that you had in mind. A wily survivor, an athlete that crosses thousands of miles every year. What’s so ridiculous about a duck? I urge you to watch the beautifully crafted documentary, “Winged Migration”. I can assure you, you will gain a little respect for ducks.

        That wasn’t your point? Then really, what was?

  • Alison Demzon

    Having spent a few years dealing with many different “kin” communities I can assure you that there are were-cows; there are even were-birds, house finches, and the like. Also, most of the wear cats I have seen seem to be more in like with a bobcat or a Maine coon cat. These are larger cats that tend to be drawn to water. Add to this that you just argued aginst your own existence as well. Funny world eh?

  • Donna Michele Fernstrom

    There is a common saying in the therian community:
    If you ask ten therians what therianthropy is, you will get 11 different explanations.

    The reason you didn’t get any clear answers, is because we don’t have any. Therians are frequently very analytical people. We’ve been over all of these possibilties many times before. We’ve talked them out, examined their permutations, and, generally, come to no set conclusions.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter, you see. We are what we are, and knowing the cause of it will not change that. My personal take on it is that being therian is a combination of things that includes brain architecture, metaphysical differences, and even the soul. I have seen that some people can tap into their primal side, and ‘mentally shift’, without being therian. Certainly people can have past-life memories of being an animal, without being therian. What we are is obviously more complicated than that.

    Why aren’t there more were-ducks? Perhaps there are, but they aren’t drawn to the therian community, because most people who are ‘animal-souled’ never think to find out whether there are other people like them in the world. I didn’t, after all. I did not discover the therian community until a friend actually directed me to it, when I was in my mid-20s!
    I even rebelled against the notion at first, but clearly these people had all of the same traits that I had, so there was no mistaking that I was one of them. I thought, and still do, to some degree, that calling oneself a were-animal was absurd. Apparently much of the community agreed, as the term ‘spiritual therianthropy’ was coined.

    Why would someone who feels that they’re a duck…an absurd idea that they feel they can share with NO ONE…ever find the ‘real were’ community? They don’t think of themselves as a ‘were-duck’. They don’t go sit in a pond and quack, because they’d be carted off by the police. They probably sit on a bench by the pond, and stare wistfully into the flock, while feeding their brethren bread crumbs. Their home is probably filled with figurines and images of ducks. Perhaps, when they are alone, they mentally shift..an action too embarrassing and strange to ever conduct in public, or even to tell anyone about.

    Most therians never discuss what they are with other people, because they believe they’re the only ones, and they believe it’s far too ‘weird’ for others to understand.

    You see, it’s not that the world lacks ‘were-cows’, its just that it lacks the ability to bring them together at present.

    Some of the non-predatory therians find their way into the ‘furry’ community, where cute animals and herbivores abound.
    Most live undetected and alone. I do not honestly believe that they are rare. There is no reason to assume that they are.

    Within the therian community, I’ve run into the following: Spiders, snakes, deer, horses, ferrets, wild boar, and even an earwig. Their experiences are genuine, and unique. Therianthropy can create some of its own issues, but it can also be a gift for those who have it. Not that it matters, either way.

    We are what we are, whatever that may be.

  • V

    All I see is how people are drawn to conflict and this just will happen.. I person’s thought or belief is turned into a yes or no battle. I understand where she comes from in that, but understand that it is a conclusion from one point of view.. I r not a vampire, but I understand a lot of where the thought happens.. It’s not what most people come to make it out as.. Some consume blood, some consume energy, and there are more types out there yet to be noticed.. So what if there are therians that tap into one particular animal. I think the original author might chose a bad example with th cat bit and water, and I think she was looking more for what donna used as an example.. Knitty picky peeps I see.. See what she truly was going for.. Example your horizons. Maybe u tap into more than one animal. For example.. The Druids didn’t revolve around just one and nor did the Indians.. Who knows.. Maybe there are were-ducks out there..

  • Solomon

    In order to get a more inside look on Therians, I would refer you to http://www.project-shift.org. It has articles and resources from many of the Therian Community Elders. Please make sure you get your facts right.

  • Winged Wolf Psion

    I would also point out that canines sniff the hindquarters of other canines because the anal glands are located there. These glands produce a musk which contains information about the health, gender, mood, and even types of food the animal was last eating. When canines greet a human, they go for the stinkiest part of the human that they can reach, which depending on the human, may be the crotch, the feet, or the armpits. 😉 Since therians are, in the end, human beings, I’m quite certain you can see how socially unacceptable such behavior would be. One learns in childhood what is permitted and what is not…often before one’s therian nature even awakens. Being therian is not about breaking social taboos–that would indicate someone who is mentally ill, and lacking in self-control. Therianthropy is not ‘clinical lycanthropy’, and that is the reason why were-ducks don’t jump into the city pond, canine therians don’t stick their noses into peoples’ crotches, and feline therians don’t tongue-bathe themselves in public (usually).

    As for chasing sticks…that is something that people train dogs to do, not something they are instinctively inclined to do, lol. If you want to understand therian behavior, you have to understand both the real behavior of their theriotype species, and human behavior as well, because we happen to be both. It’s not enough to observe what you see animals doing–you have to understand why, and understand the difference between instinctive and learned behaviors. Therians must all too often suppress their theriotypical behaviors in favor of learned human behaviors, so as not to draw undue attention to themselves. Most of us have, at some time, paid the consequences for not doing so, so the lesson is well-learned. This is why you, as a vampire, do not rush up and bite a tasty-looking stranger, even though you may feel some impulse to do so.

  • Shiro Ulv (@wolftherian)

    This ^. Please explore our community a bit more before making such baseless opinions.

  • Jubi

    Actually, I have played fetch with a few canine therians. It’s not something involuntary, though. They just liked it…for some odd reason.

    Your article was very badly researched.

    While a majority of therians are predatory animals, there are prey animals among them, too. The fact that humans are a predatory animal is theorized to be a large reason for that.

    I have met unawakened therians. Their animal sides show through, without knowlegdge of otherkin or similar subcultures. I knew a person that was unaware of otherkin or therianthropy, yet had many animal-like behaviors. His behavior was not learned, nor did he do it out of a need to fulfil a identity related belief.

    He was a canine, probably wolf or something similar. He was kind and gentle, but loyal and protective of his friends and family. He loved to run (be active, in general). When he was upset or uncomfortable, he would pace and whine softly. When he was angry or felt threatened, he’d growl. He couldn’t explain that, but had tried to stop it and be ‘more normal.’ He could control it mostly, but he couldn’t help it when he was stressed out or cornered.

    When I asked him about it, he couldn’t explain his behavior or reactions. He wasn’t even particarly interested in wolves–or any form of canine. He’d never heard of therianthropy or otherkin, yet still his animal side was strong.

    On another occassion, I met rabbit and mouse therians. They could never explain their behavior or reactions, but it was still there.

    Your understanding of therianthropy is lacking. I’m not a therian and even I spot that.

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