I thought I’d write out a description of some of the different types of shifts that Therians go through. If you find this is lacking or needs something, feel free to let me know. I’ll gladly admit it probably isn’t perfect.
(Some of these types of shifts, I’m a little dodgy on, so if anyone has something they’d like to add about anything, go ahead.)
Types of Shifts
Mental Shift – When your mindset changes into that of your theriotype. This can be slight, or it can be a lot more obvious. It is animal-thinking – thinking just how you would if you were in the body of your theriotype. You also react to things the same way your animal would.
Spiritual Shift – When your spiritual body changes into your theriotype. (I do not completely understand how this one works – I thought my spiritual body was always that of a bird’s.)
Aura Shift – When a person’s auric field changes shape into that of your theriotype.
Sensory Shift – When a therian’s senses become more like that of their theriotype. For instance, your sense of smell is heightened, if you’re say, a dog or wolf therian. This is not to say that you develop super-senses, or that your sense of smell, vision, or whatever, is actually WAY better than that of most humans. This is not the case. However, one may become more focused on that sense when their mindset is more like their theriotype, causing that sense to become more obvious to them than the other senses are.
Astral Shift – A shift that is experienced on the astral plane, for those who use astral travel.
Phantom Shift – When you feel body parts that aren’t physically there, such as a tail – also, when you feel body parts differently from how they are physically – such as feeling as if you have wings instead of arms and hands.
Dream Shift – When you dream, you take the form of your theriotype. Instead of being human in your dream, you are your theriotype animal.
Cameo Shift - Cameo shifts are commonly experienced by therians. They are shifts into an animal that’s not your normal type.
Bi-location Shift – This is when you have a full-body phantom shift, but the “phantom” ends up in a different location from the physical body, rather than it just being felt around or on the physical body. The person’s awareness is split between the physical body and the phantom body.
Physical Shift – Physical shifting is being able to physically change your body’s form so that you are no longer human (for instance, movie werewolves). PLEASE NOTE: This is generally not believed to be something that actually happens, and generally people claiming to be able to do this are either insane, trolls or just looking for attention. Sometimes people claim to have small changes, such as their teeth growing more fang-like or their eye-color changing. Teeth do not change in that way, so there’s no way that can happen, short of someone getting some kind of special dentistry. Eye-color can change somewhat, but that is a normal thing that human eyes do – while a shift may affect how your eyes look (as moods do) – it’s not going to drastically change your eye-color to something completely different. So, while physical shifting may in some way or some day be possible – generally most of the people claiming to be able to do it are just fluff.
Other Therianthropy-Related Terms
I was just thinking I’d add this, too – perhaps this will turn into a terminology post rather than one strictly about shifting. I don’t know. But here are a few other things. Again, these are just my understandings of the terms – feel free to correct me.
Contherian – A contherian is a therian whose animal and human sides are intertwined – a contherianthrope doesn’t generally have shifts, and their “sides” are so intertwined that they can’t just turn the animal side off.
Suntherian – A suntherian is much like a contherian, though a suntherian will have slight fluctuations between feeling more animal and more human. From what I understand, it’s sort of like an in-between with contherianthropy and general therianthropy (non-contherianthropes).
Cladotherian – A cladotherian, rather than identifying with one or a few species, identifies with a larger group of animals as a whole, such as a genus or class. For instance, if I were a cladotherian, rather than identifying strictly as a red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon, I’d identify as say, the order Falconiformes.