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The Beast Within: Anthrozoomorphic Identity and Alternative Spirituality in the Online Therianthropy Movement

Venetia Laura Delano Robertson
Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
Vol. 16, No. 3 (February 2013), pp. 7-30
DOI: 10.1525/nr.2013.16.3.7
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2013.16.3.7
Page Count: 24
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The Beast Within
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Abstract

This paper will introduce a little-known online phenomenon: the socio-spiritual Therianthropy movement. Therianthropes are individuals who identify as part human and part non-human animal in a biological, mental, and metaphysical capacity. Therianthropes have, in essence, an anthrozoomorphic identity that draws upon the spiritual and supernatural associations of the animal kingdom. I discuss Therianthropes as animal-human “shape-shifters” to highlight the sacred and liminal identity these individuals have formulated through their engagement with “popular occulture.” Therianthropy, as both a web-based community and an identity, exemplifies the postmodern bent of new spiritual directions in the re-enchanted West.

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