The kinds of images displayed in the link above are precisely the kinds of images that should not be tagged #Native American. (it takes a while to load because there are SO MANY PICTURES) At best, these kinds of images are related to real Native Americans only as a visual reminder of cultural appropriation and the colonial mindset, which actively denigrates our cultures and ignores what we have to say about our cultural symbols. AT BEST.
If you were, like tens of thousands of other settlers, unaware of why these images are problematic, then please read the following: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses. Most questions you might have about the issue will be answered there, clearly and simply.
By doing a little bit of reading, you can avoid the embarrassment of being publicly called out for something you may have believed purely innocent. You can avoid the rush of shame that such public attention will bring, and you can avoid having it turn to self-righteous anger as you choose to feel victimised rather than responsible. You can avoid getting into a long protracted and ill-conceived battle of words in your rush to defend your honour, and instead, you can consider these points calmly and rationally.
All of which would be a definite improvement, and would be much appreciated.
I’d like to start this off by talking about Clinical Lycanthropy. Clincal lycanthropy is the irrational delusion in which the sufferer believes that they can turn into a wolf.
Symptoms are as follows;
A patient reports in a moment of lucidity or looking back that…
No. No, no, and furthermore, no. Please do not conflate clinical lycanthropy with therianthropy as an identity/state of self.
First of all, clinical lycanthropy is EXCEEDINGLY rare; only a few dozen true cases have been recorded.
Second, there’s this thing called “reality testing”. Most of us pass it. We can identify that our physical bodies are genetically human and that we didn’t just spend the past three days physically changed into a wolf. Someone with clinical lycanthropy fails reality testing, rather brilliantly in fact. A person experiencing this disorder is fully and completely convinced that their physical body has completely changed to that of a wolf (or other animal) and no amount of reasoning with them will change that.
This is NOT the same as a mental or emotional shift. With shifting, there is still a part of the self that is aware of the human body. With clinical lycanthropy, that part is missing. With shifting, if a person who wasn’t supposed to know about the therianthropy walked into the room, the therian would “come back” to themselves and be able to engage with them. The person with clinical lycanthropy can’t do that.
Also, this is not body dysmorphia or even phantom limbs. This is a temporary psychosis in which a person’s sense of their physical self is so incredibly skewed that they are unable to properly observe it. They often are so far gone that they cease to be able to act like a human being and instead begin to act like the animal, again with no way of snapping them out of it until the episode has run its course, which can take days.
Also, I would love to see the peer-reviewed studies of Otherkin and neuroimaging. I have yet to hear of such a thing. Care to provide some links or citations?
Are you interested in practicing shamanism? Do you live in the Portland, OR area?
Join Lupa for an informational meeting about a new, ongoing series of shamanism training classes. Based on her own practice, Therioshamanism, these classes will be designed to accommodate beginners as well as those with varying levels of experience. This informational meeting is a chance to get an idea of Lupa’s approach to shamanic practice and to help attendees find a good fit for themselves, as well as offer input and ideas for these ever-evolving monthly classes.
In addition to practical shamanic techniques such as identifying and working with spirits, drumming and other vehicles for journeying, healing and other sacred work, these classes will cover related topics, such as the place of shamanism in non-indigenous American culture, the issue of cultural appropriation, bioregionalism and ecospirituality, and other relevant material in our ongoing work. Participants will also be invited to share what they’d like to know more about as we work together over time.
The informational meeting will be held Saturday, May 19th, from 11am to 12pm at Quaking Grass, 5010 NE 9th, Unit B (take the stairs on the north/back side of the building, whose front is on Alberta) in Portland, OR. Suggested contribution for this meeting is $5 per person, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Keep your eyes peeled for other events coming soon, including totemic drum and dance circles, and standalone workshops on topics like totemism, sacred work with animal parts, eco-spiritual art, and more!
Lupa has been practicing various pagan and ecospiritual paths for fifteen years; she has been developing Therioshamanism as a dedicated path since 2007. She is a published author and sacred artist, and earned her Master’s degree in counseling psychology in 2011. Her website is http://www.thegreenwolf.com and you may find out more about Therioshamanism itself athttp://therioshamanism.com