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[personal profile] burningbright
Hello all! I've recently started up a joint otherkin/therian/animal-folk blog geared towards topics that aren't addressed nearly often enough, and generating discussion. It's called Beyond Awakening. The Dreamwidth feed for it can be found here. I and hopefully some of the other contributors will be posting writing challenges from time to time, and I've linked to [community profile] animal_quills as one place to post response pieces. Maybe we'll get some life back into this community!

As an example, here's the first writing challenge:

Exploring the Mythic

I've been thinking a lot about myths and symbols lately.

There is a long-lasting, prevalent trend in the therianthropy community of making a significant distinction on the difference between one's animal identity and one's totem. The basic idea is that one should understand their kintype as it actually is: shy skittish foxes rather than archetypal sly tricksters, family-oriented lupines rather than stereotypical vicious lone wolves, and so on. Many argue that as animal folk, we are akin to the real, physical animal, not an archetypal version of that animal.

I feel that there is a certain value in that approach. It's important to research the species you identify as: watch it move, learn of its behavior and habitat. Observe it in the wild or at a zoo. Volunteer with it at a rescue or wildlife rehabilitation center. Learn about what you feel you are; it may help you understand yourself better.

Yet I think this mindset has its drawbacks as well. It discourages exploration of the animal as archetype; it treats a more symbolic examination of one's identity as invalid. There's power in archetype, in symbol, in personal myth. It's possible that learning about cultural interpretations of an animal can lead to a deeper understanding of that species. Obviously you shouldn't rely on folklore, myth, and archetype as your only or even primary source of information on an animal, but it can enrich your comprehension.

One example of someone who has explored his animality both in its factual, literal form and in its mythic, spiritual form is Akhila, who maintains Thébaïde. He states clearly that for him, "being an animal is more than metaphorical" - and yet he also says that "There is Clouded Leopard with a capital C, and Raven from myths and tales. Sometimes we overlap, sometimes we don't; sometimes I'm nothing like in the animal folklore. . . But other times like now I can talk about what clouded leopard and raven are and it is both experience and archetype." He writes about being a liminal animal, and he writes about animal people folklore, and adding to the folklore of clouded leopard through his own experience. And it all seems to add to his understanding of himself and of clouded leopard and of raven.

Here, then, is my challenge to you: Explore your animality as myth and archetype. Read up on folklore, heraldic symbolism, and spiritual beliefs about that species. Think on what the animal means to you, symbolically. Try connecting with the totemic or spiritual component of the species if your beliefs and practices allow for that. If there isn't any available folklore on your animal, write some true and meaningful lore of your own. How does the archetype compare to the flesh-and-blood creature?

Then write about what you experience and learn. I'll be doing this exercise as well. I've never seriously explored rough-legged hawk, or hawk in general, from a mythic perspective.

By Night

Aug. 11th, 2010 06:43 pm
feralkiss: Clouded leopard walking up to the viewer, intense look and tongue licking its lips. (parisian)
[personal profile] feralkiss
(This comes from simple bits of writings from last winter that I finally put together today. Actually, it's thoughts from 2008 that I developped in 2009. The file was temporarily named "by_night".)

December 2009 )

Well...

Jul. 28th, 2008 06:56 pm
[identity profile] shadow-searcher.livejournal.com
I decided to try and add a recent and very simple writing.
Sorry for such the horrible first writing, but its one of the only ones that are actually understandable.
No need to read its not that important but decided to post  here because I mean hey it is a writing for therian subject.

This is the first essay I decided to post on here, it being more recent. Well its just to get my juices flowing so I can continue writing essays etc. on here and make them readable for other people. Especially newer therians, or someone who is just interested, I need to practice this because when I tend to record my thoughts, or whatever I am writing about, I tend to make it like how I think of it in my mind. Its like a bunch of ramblings that usually I can only really understand. Hard to explain in full detail but, I am just going to assume you understand and move on to the actual writing. But before I start, I decided to go easy on this. Its not very chalk full of information on 'how to find your animal' or anything. But for my first writing here I decided to start simple on some thoughts that I experienced when I went to stay with my father for a couple of days.

 
               
July 24, 2008, I had decided to visit my dad because of the fact I haven't seen him in quite some time. He had just recently moved to a farm type of area, so of course he had a smaller house and a huge yard filled with just open space and trees. I had brought one of my best companions, Max my Siberian husky. So he to also seemed to love the running space. Well my dad had gone to work, leaving me and Max alone at his home. Deciding to go exploring around the land, I got Max and we went out the back door stepping into the light of the sun. As my feet hit the open earth I felt warm tingling on the bottoms of my feet that sent jolts up my body. It felt so natural being barefoot on the grassy earth. No cement, no asphalt, nothing but the earth itself. Before I was even conscious of running, I already had jumped the small fence to help keep coyotes out and was dashing through the high grass with Max besides me. It was amazing, I always felt more at home out of the city, man made towns. I finally decided to slow down to a walk and check the place out. Max kept running though, and I felt a stab of jealousy and want as I watched his four legs sore over the valley floor. I wanted to run close to the ground, I wanted to let all my paws touch the ground. It was such a stir. The urges like this have happened before, but being out in the open more with no one around made it feel even stronger. These urges are amazingly bitter sweet. They feel great, but are slightly painful and depressing because I can't really do what feels natural to me. I decided that any running is better then none and started off again trying to catch up with Max and play a game of tag, hide n seek , or wrestle. We had done all, and I even got to pick some apples which was fun because I would drop one to Max he would catch it and chomp down on it. We did this everyday we stayed, and I felt such a deep sadness in my heart when I returned home to the polluted air. It feels as if I was free but then put back in captivity, that thought made me grimace. Humans capture so many animals and put them in zoos with many enclosures so much smaller and depressing then what they are use too. I know humans do it for learning, and to help the population, but even if we are helping them, they don't know that, or feel any better.
But I suppose that there is not much people can do, whether animals like it or not, their going to continue taming the wild.
Every race likes dominance.
[identity profile] primaldog.livejournal.com
The Watcher )

X-posted to my personal journal, [livejournal.com profile] primaldog. A response to a prompt almost two months late--I'm still getting my steam back, as it were.

What I am

Mar. 31st, 2008 03:47 pm
[identity profile] wampus-cat.livejournal.com
My personal animalness essay. A work in progress. Feel free to leave comments or questions about anything in it, or anything I haven't covered.

Humanimal )
[identity profile] krypticklaws.livejournal.com
A short disclaimer on the title - I don't speak welsh, nor to I claim to. I just used a translator to create an appropriate name.

I have always been an animal lover. My mother can tell ridiculous stories about how she cringed when I smothered my face into the goats at a petting zoo; though that’s a bit besides the point. When I was old enough, I started to seriously explore dogs – and when I stumbled upon one breed in particular, it all hit me.

 

I know I just joined like half an hour ago, but I'm posting my essay on my theriotype and how I see myself. It's not really polished - but you should understand the jist of it. If you have any suggestions, fire away!
[identity profile] faileas-grey.livejournal.com
(This started as something i wrote frustrated with another idea stalling. It feels like a cute little metaphor for the self so i built up on it a little.Some knowledge of unix helps though i tried to explain as well as i can- the original shorter version is rather shorter and i'll post it on a comment.)

"/"

what is the / ? In unix terminology / refers to the root directory, from which all other directories are extended from. So.. what is the / for a person?

To start with, what kind of system are we?Obviously we run in a sort of social network, though unlike the typical unix system, we obviously cannot mount /home from another system, unless some way to transfer an entire file system.

we also have various /dev/ and peripherals  for various kinds of intersystem interactions, some of which result in the formation of miniature systems.
Mostly they are under /dev/body as a system to environment interface. We work co-operatively in a shared network, storing memories, and impressions through discrete datafiles. Body has various data i/o devices, though they are either read only (/dev/body/eyes/ - though this occationally gets into a runaway situation, or /dev/body/ears/ which dosen't always accept input gracefully) or write only (/dev/body/hands/ which occationally get into areas where permissions are insufficient, causing file system crashes due to external crashes.). There are also unusual devices such as /dev/body/mouth which may be used either as a input or a data output. many devices though can be adapted to uses they might not have been designed for (such as /dev/body/mouth interfacing with /dev/body/foot on some error conditions.Usage of multifunction devices (eg /dev/body/mouth/ for  input and data output) in more than function is not recommended.

We have quite certainly a /dev/random considering how unpredictable biological systems are.Situations termed 'in one ear out the other' and lost files from /bin,/home and /etc would indicate the presence of a /dev/null and some degree of active garbage collection in the filesystem, perhaps to optimise data recovery

Obviously we have a set of unconcious actions and needs which would be /lib -presumably only an admin or poweruser would be able to modify these, and not all of them.I suppose that basic human values (and animal and otherkin sides) would be /sbin - essential system binaries, without which the system as a whole would not function effectively.we go to school and fill our /bin and /home with data and programmes, and i suppose /etc as well, colouring how we see the world.

so.. what is the root? the root is simply everything I am.it is me
[identity profile] bearinmind.livejournal.com
(I meant for this to be longer, but ran out of time.  If I feel the need, I'll get more in depth later on...)
 
A few weeks ago, a friend asked if my nurturing nature and my tendancy to be very emotional when angered come from my ursine aspect.  I didn't really have a ready answer, and told him that I'd have to give it some thought.
 
I'm still thinking about it.  The truth of the matter is that it's becoming more and more difficult for me to draw a division between what's "me" and what's "Bear" these days.  When I first came to grips with my identity as an animal person some two years ago, I experienced shifts all the time.  I could easily tell the two of us apart and I would unexpectedly bounce back and forth.  This was after some thirty-odd years of repressing the "Ursine Within," mind you.  I look back now and suspect that the shifting was - at least for me - a result of my mind trying to resolve the apparent conflicts between what it supposedly means to be "human" and what it supposedly means to be "bear."  The two would seem to be mutually exclusive, at first.  You can't be one AND the other, right?  If I'm not a bear, then Bear must be a separate thing, right?  But then, it's a part of me, right?  Shifting became an inner way of resolving the apparent paradox.
 
Well, over the last couple of years, I've come to realize that the two aren't as mutually exc.lusive as I first thought.  I can be both without conflict or turmoil.  "Merf the Bear" is every bit wholly me as "Merf the Writer" or "Merf the Kitchen Manager" or "Merf the Philosopher" or "Merf the D&D freak."  I certainly don't shift between "food geek" and "Dungeon Master."  Why should Bear be any different? 
 
So I haven't shifted in quite a while, now.  But it can still be said that certain tendancies in my behavior do come from certain aspects of me.  The question now is how to tell what comes from where?  Upon reflection, I realized that when I've felt the most nurturing - like when taking care of a sick friend or listening to another whine about how life sucks - I"ve felt the presence of Bear in my head.  When I think of myself caring for my (now ex-) wife, I can see Bear curling myself around her.  Bear seems to mean "caring" in my head.  On the other hand, the same holds true when I feel the most angered.  The image of Bear whips around from calm and nurturing to angry and terrifying.  (Not that I'd ever purposefully harm another living soul...)  People have often told me that when I'm truly angry (and that takes a lot, folks) I'm the most frightening things they've ever seen.  That probably has more to do with the fact that they're so used to me being calm and fun and just aren't used to seeing me angry, but the fact remains that Bear does seem to be a strong influence on my angry image. 
 
So while I no longer experience shifts, and it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between "me" and "bear" I'd say that indeed, there is still a way to say how Bear influences me.  It doesn't take a lot of thought.  I still wouldn't call myself a "contherian" or a "suntherian" or what have you, though...  I'm still just me, and that's all the label I need, thankyouverymuch.
[identity profile] distantembers.livejournal.com
I suppose my thoughts reign control at the moment. I'll let them out. This is no plea, and I respect any and all opinions, positive or negative to this. Feel free to discuss.. I've been thinking about these things for a while.

Community and Place )

Companionship )
[identity profile] paleo.livejournal.com
Some musings (and a bit of moaning) on being "extinct".

Into the tar pit that is my mind/soul )

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Animal Quills

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Animal Quills is a creative community for animal-people to share and discuss their written works. Over a hundred essays are archived here (many of which in locked entries). We focus on the concrete "here and now" experience of being animal inside, and other related musings (see our About page if you want to post).

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