“Way of this Werewolf” by Cavern-Risen; June 2015
My name is Cavern-Risen, and I identify as werewolfkin. My kintype is that of a werewolf. Meaning that I identify as a werewolf an integral and personal level. That my body image of how I see myself is that of a creature that has several forms between human (which does not look like how I actually physically look) to wolf. Daily experiences because of my body image includes the sensation over my actual body of a body that isn’t there which takes the shape of a human form different from my actual body, a wolf, and various shapes in-between the two. As a side effect of my identity in my dreams, no matter the theme of the dreams, I am a werewolf in either of my identified forms. Because of my species identity I sometimes have thoughts and feeling which can be contributed to the idea of a werewolf in some portrayal or another in myth, folklore, or fiction. It is with a number of portrayals of werewolves (or werewolves-like creatures) in myth, folklore, and modern fiction that I find feelings of facility and similarity to my identity that I get feelings of “that is me,” “that is how I feel,” or “that is what I relate to.” Among other things which lead to me to the conclusion that my kintype is a werewolf, and I am werewolfkin.
Defining Werewolfkin — Werewolfkin are individuals that are, feel, and/or believe they are in part or whole (non-physically) a werewolf on an integral and personal level. An individual whose body image of their species is that of a werewolf. Someone that identifies (non-physically) as a creature that can shapeshift from human to wolf and/or an a form that is somewhere between (plus may or may not have traits associated with them in fiction, mythology, folklore, etc.) Someone who psychologically has a strong personal and integral identification with a being that society would call a “werewolf.” Someone who spiritually has the soul/spirit of being that society would call a “werewolf.” Someone whose sense of identity fits under the common use of the term “werewolf” by society. So on and so forth along the same lines of how other kinds of otherkin (draconic, therian, faekin, etc) might describe their nonhuman identifies and feels with just “dragons, wolf, elf, etc” replaced with “werewolf” in the case for werewolfkin. Werewolfkin are just another kind of otherkin.
Defining What a Werewolf Is — The term, werewolf comes from the Old English words to mean literally “manwolf.” The werewolf is a fictional/mythical creature that is somehow both human and wolf (with the details of how varying on myth or story). As a shapeshifting creature, they could assume any number of forms ranging from human to wolf depending on the portrayal. In folklore, mythology, modern fiction, and more the werewolf (or what can be called a werewolf in modern English) has appeared for centuries across many cultures. Sometimes portrayed as humans that could become wolves or wolf-like monsters, while in other iterations they merely looked human or wolf but were something other than either, yet some portrayals describe them as something else entirely. Just like other creatures of myth, folklore, fiction, and so on the werewolf the been given a verity of different traits over the years depending upon the source. Differences ranging from appearances to origin to transformation triggers to behavior toward humans and more. The werewolf can be, and is, quite varied depending on where a person is looking. For some idea on just the vast variety of differences iterations on werewolves, a look at the page called “Our Werewolves Are Different” on the website TVTropes.org or another website listing some different traits of werewolves in different portrayals which give a taste of it.
Wolf Therians VS Werewolfkin — When it comes to what is the difference between a wolf therian and a werewolfkin, sometimes people have some amount of confusion. The difference between the two is that wolf therians identify as a wolf on an integral and personal level, while werewolfkin identify as a werewolf on an integral and personal level. A wolf therian’s theriotype is that of a wolf. A word that describes several species of canids that actually exist or once existed on Earth. A werewolfkin’s kintype is that of a werewolf. A word that describes a half human/half wolf mythical/fictional creature in some way that may or may not shapeshift into various wolf/man forms. A wolf therian’s identity and behaviors would come from/align with the wolf, while a werewolf’s identity and behavior would come from/align with a werewolf. They have some similarities, but are still different creatures. Like a centaur might be similar to be horse or a harpy be similar to be a bird of prey for obvious reasons but that doesn’t make them the same. Certainly not similar enough to be completely indistinguishable from each other as a species identity. This to goes for werewolfkin and wolf therians as well. Werewolfkin are likely to experience traits attributed fairly often with werewolves, such as a connection to the moon, whereas a wolf therian would not really have such experiences given real life wolves have no major behavioral connections to the moon anymore than many other species. Likewise a wolf therian is likely to experience behavior traits found in wolves. Also, many werewolf portrayals often have behavior traits which are more often based on old myths or once believed misconceptions about wolves. So there are some differences just on behavior traits alone. Further things like phantom limbs and other possible experiences will also vary depending upon if someone identifies as a werewolf or identifies as a wolf.
Why Not Just Call Your Werewolf — Now, when the online therian community got started in the early 90s, the word commonly used by members to describe themselves was “were” rather than therian. The words therian and therianthrope were around before 1995, but people often simply called themselves were or were-[insert animal here] usually. Up until around the early 2000s, it was still fairly common to meet people who called themselves a werecoyote rather than coyote therian, for example, especially among people who had been members of the early therian community on alt.horror.werewolves. However still today its still isn’t unheard of for wolf therians to use the term werewolf rather than wolf therian to describe themselves. On top of this, then there is the issues with people sometimes claiming they are actual werewolves (in the physical shifting, cursed to be a werewolf via a bite, physically effected by the moon, or whatnot sort) who show-up in the otherkin communities and the werewolf fandom on occasion. Sometimes such people come off as more trolls while sometimes they are those who really believe such things, but either way they can lead to some unfortunate associations for anyone calling themselves or thinking of themselves as werewolf even if its it purely as an identity. So because of all this, it really isn’t that wise for a werewolfkin to call themselves just a werewolf, if you ask me personally. Its too easy for people to mistake what someone means with “werewolf” in the otherkin communities, due to all the wolf therians sometimes using it and the people who claim to be actually werewolves who occasional appear. So using werewolfkin helps to make some amount of distinction (usually/hopefully) on what is meant. That someone identifies as otherkin, and werewolf is their kintype. So that is why I call myself werewolfkin rather than simply a werewolf.
Fictionkin or Mythkin — Because stories of werewolves span across many decades and distances, how they’ve been portrayed has changed and adapted to an extent over time. There are some traits of werewolves in various folklore which were once seen in numerous stories which are not used so often or at all in modern fiction and visa versa. For example, older stories of werewolves in western Europe often said a werewolf became such due to a deal with the Christian Devil and/or the use of a magical salve. Such elements aren’t that common among werewolves in modern fiction at all. For another example, in modern fiction its not uncommon to see werewolves having some sort of rivalry or worse with vampires which actually didn’t come about as a trait seen until the early 1900s with early movies and so isn’t seen really in older stories. So werewolfkin on a case by case basis could fit the label of either mythkin or fictionkin depending on how much their kintype’s traits are similar or different to any number of stories, old or new. For myself, I am certainly of the fictionkin sort of werewolfkin. Many of the specific traits of my kintype are specific to a number of portrays of werewolves in modern fiction which do not appear in old folklore and myth. So my werewolf kintype share more traits with the werewolves of modern fiction than the werewolves of folklore or myth. More damning is that after years of identifying as wererwolfkin, in my early 20s I came across a specific modern fiction portrayal of werewolves which ended up fitting a large list of similarities to my kintype further enforcing me with the label of fictionkin. So much so that I have taken on the label of those kind of werewolves, garou. So I call myself a garou fictionkin specifically. It was that strong of a coincidental, or otherwise, similarity.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Garou being the name for the werewolves in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. It being a roleplaying game created in 1994 by a company called White Wolf. The game is about born that way werewolves who have five different forms they can transform into more or less at will at any time who have a spiritual connection to a Mother Earth-like entity called Gaia, and live in a world filled spirits. Under the name Werewolf: The Apocalypse there are a large number of sourcebooks (especially when including add-on sourcebooks which all adds up to over 70 in total), over a dozen novels based on the series, a computer game that was never was completed, and now a growing number of anniversary reboot sourcebooks. All just to name some things I’ve heard of exist as part of this franchise over the times I’ve looked into it trying to rap my head around how similar it as to my werewolf kintype. Thanks to the large amount of add-on sourcebooks there are a lot of things which can be used, left out, or altered in any given game being set-up by people based on what I’ve seen of those who actually play this game.
Discovering W:tA — I don’t recall my childhood that well until after the age of seven or eight so I don’t really recall how I came to the conclusion I identified as a werewolf in a personal sense. I already had that line of thinking after the age of nine or ten years old. By my preteens I already was thinking of myself as a werewolf somehow, and was already experiencing basically the same stuff I do today which is where some of my earliest memories begin. I’ll admit due to knowing little about reality and due to my confusion over my identity as a werewolf compared to what I knew of werewolves, I did off and on go through “fluffy” stages where I lulled myself into thinking maybe I was a werewolf who couldn’t mange to physical shift and that maybe werewolves were out there in the world. Of course, I learned better on how and why physical shifting was impossible later and all, but I did play with those ideas as a young teen for a while. Such is the ups and downs of youthful ignorance, I guess. Around this time, when I was being “less fluffy” in my line of thinking, I came to see myself as a “werewolf who could not physically transform” (as I used to put it).
Then in 2003 the documentary called Animal Imitators premiered on television. In the documentary the werecoyote (or as they are called today coyote therian) Coyote Osborne described his identity as a coyote in a human body. Because of this documentary I discovered the term were which was used to describe people who identified as werebeasts or Earth animals around that time. From there in March 2006, I discovered the therian community online. However around this time I learned how many therians identified as Earth animals (and only so many idneifed as both human and nonhuman, or even an anthro-like nonhuman animal) whereas identifying as a werebeast or even just an anthropomorphic animal wasn’t as common. This lead to a lot of confusion for me. Of course it was around this time I discovered the general otherkin community existed as well as learned the existence of fictionkin. (Ironically around 2008 my views on fictionkin was rather conflicted and how someone could come to identify as something/someone from fiction.) Then all the labels I used to describe how I saw myself was turned on its head, and how much I questioned myself and my sanity went mad when I came across Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
It was completely by chance and (rotten?) luck that I came across information on Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Due to identifying as a werewolf over the years I’ve taken an interest in media of werewolves, especially ones which remind me of my own experiences in some ways or another. This interest was helped along by the were/therian community due to it still having some connection to the werewolf and furry fandom still going on around the mid-2000s. So when I first came around the therian community there were still a lot of slightly older websites for therians which talked about werewolves in myth and modern fiction or even had links on websites on that kind of information. So sometimes I looked around for a fair werewolf movie, book, or whatnot which appealed to me for some reason or another. Plus sometimes I would hunt for any stories of werewolves with more than one form or had more of a pagan bend to them as those were two things I really felt strongly about when it came to kintype. So because of all that in the fall of 2011, I came across Werewolf: The Apocalypse by chance.
At first nothing really raised alarm bells in my head in freakish similarity to my werewolf identity and self-image. I’d come across a few other mediums before which had one or two things which “hit close to home.” However unlike ever before it didn‘t stop after that, it kept going and going. I didn’t know what to think so I searched for more information. Before long I began hunting for differences of any and all kinds from the slighter details or much bigger differences between my identity and the game. I was unsettled and disturbed at seeing the traits, quirks, and more of my species identify and a large number of points in my past life memories practically laid out in some roleplaying game. So began months marked by feeling conflicted about my identity, bouncing around with disbelief over what I was reading, reading up to what fictionkin means, and more. Reading about the game was weird to put mildly. To much was familiar in places. It was unsettling and I didn’t like it, and the more I read about the game the strong my mixed feelings about it all. I didn’t know whether to hate the series for crashing my pale sense of sanity I thought I had despite identifying as a werewolf, or to find the series morbidly interesting due to its awkward similarly. (Though granted, even now I still have a hate/intrigue relationship with the game.) By late December 2011, I began to slowly accept, though with much anxiety, that too much of the garou was like my own specific identity and all connected to it. To much to ignore or act like they were not similar. Too much was piling up with the pile for similar or even the same, while not near as much as stacked in the very different pile. After that I slowly began to use the term garou fictionkin for myself along side still using the term werewolfkin. So that is how I came to label myself as such (in brief).
What Are False Memories — Before I begin describing the comparisons and differences between myself and the garou, there is something that needs to be cautioned. I primarily see my identity as spiritual. Learning I was specifically garou fictionkin certainly rattled that personal view of myself, but I still view my identity that way. (How exactly I mange that view still, well, I’m not even sure myself.) On top of seeing my identity as spiritual I have past life memories of not being a member of a system and being a werewolf. Now some of the otherkin who see their identity as spiritual (because not all do) have past life memories. Memories of a life unlike their actual life/the life they live now. Some have what amounts to flashes or pieces, but some have more extensive hunks. Of course, there are psychological explanations for memories of events which have never occurred to a person physically. False memories actually are not too difficult to be formed. Memories are not created like how technology can save information which can then be viewed time and time again without any alteration. Instead, memories are constantly being constructed and reconstructed. Studies have long shown how memories can be warped or even completely fabricated due to suggestion or so on. This is because how memories are created and stored in the brain is subject it alternation and manipulation. Its because of this ease of memories being warped by time and suggestion that eye-witness testimony of a crime (or any other event) can be so easily inaccurate. Studies have also shown that these false memories can effect people just as much as real memories – making them more afraid of certain things, make them more likely to dislike or like certain things, etc. Further still, its been found that even if a memory can be proven false, it is still difficult for the person with the false memory to be able to treat it as such, especially if certain emotions have become attached to it. So false memories is an issue and can cause problems in general, let alone specifically dealing with other related problems with false memories. I am well aware of how malleable and untrustworthy memories are, and continue to learn about how false memories work bit by bit.
So what does this mean for me? Well, it means when it comes down to it, no memories can be fully trusted really. That goes for anyone really, and so of course it does for me. All memories are liable for alternation and so memories of things which never happened in this life at all are even more dubious. Not only could my labeled past life memories be completely psychological in origin, aspects of them may have changed over the years to some extent or another right under my nose. Exposure to the various werewolf and movies alone during my teenage years while searching for familiarity in stories to my kintype may have effected my identity in general (and not just my past life memories), I’m not aware of it. Further I have no solid way of knowing if my past life memories where accidentally altered in places while learning about Werewolf: The Apocalypse, causing similarities to be even more exaggerated. Despite all this knowing how easily these memories could have been created and how they could have changed over time, it doesn’t make these memories of not this life less feel real to me in how my mind continues to react to them. The mind can try to be rational and know better, but that doesn’t mean the mind necessarily will manage that. The mental and emotional impact of my past life memories are still there and their influences on my identity and spirituality are still there. Regardless of the reality of these memories or when they were first formed, my mind treats them as they are basically real. The mind isn’t the most rational thing. I always remind myself about how these memories are by all logic not real, but they have not simply just gone away no matter what. So even if these memories are not real, there impact on me is very much real.
My Past Life Memories — So having said all that, not only did I end up comparing my species identity to Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I ended up comparing my past life memories to it as well. I based my conclusion on being garou fictionkin primary on things other than my past life memories, but certainly the similarity of my past life memories to the details of the roleplaying game did gather my attention. My past life memories are mostly vague with a few exceptions and is only more detailed later on right before my apparent death. They are vague memories of growing up as a werewolf in a cave system with other werewolves. That is roughly the extent of what my past life memories. I don’t see them as “majestic” or even “fantastical” at all. They are just kind of there, like memories of childhood, if you will. Much of it hazy in a number of places and all seeming rather mundane in how they feel, even if they are about things physically impossible. Now, I don’t put a massive amount of weight to my memories, but I would be royally lying if I said they didn’t play into my decision on labels at least a bit. My past life memories are not a major aspect my otherkinity nor what lead me to use the labels werewolfkin and specifically garou fictionkin on a daily basis. That came about due to my daily experiences with things like nonhuman instincts, experiences with feeling a body over my actual one which isn’t there (phantom body), intrinsically not identifying as human, and so on. They’re there (real or not) and they have influenced me sure, but they are not who I am now and what I am experiencing daily at present. Memories are of the past and my daily experiences are of present things. Real or not, altered or not, my labeled past life memories are there in the background for me. Their content has effect my spirituality and other outlooks of mine. Effected me in little ways as I am now. So throughout this essay, I will bring up parts of my past life memories at times where my past life memories and themes from Werewolf: The Apocalypse cross paths.
Of Fandom and Fictionkin — Before I go any further, I think one thing which often comes up when talking about fictionkin yet rarely comes out when talking about therians, dragonkin, and so on needs to be addressed. I also want to address it from my own personal standpoint. That thing is there is often an assumption or accusation about the legitimacy of fictionkin experiences in connection to their source. Its often assumed that fictionkin are either just obsessed fans who are too rapped up in fiction, or that fictionkin are just experiencing the connection/identification many creators often try to create through work and mistaking it with actual identification as such. If a fictionkin happens to like their source by any measure, these assumptions are often thrown around regardless of the actual circumstances of what lead someone to use the term fictionkin. However, even if a fictionkin does not like their source, these assumptions are still often made. I can’t speak for every fictionkin, but none of these things or anything like these things are applicable to me and my identity.
I identified as a werewolf long before I discovered the game. Specifically, I identified as a werewolf with many forms which has a shamanic outlook on the world long before I discovered the game. I didn’t suddenly have a revelation of identifying as a werewolf, let alone a werewolf with the specific traits I do, after coming into contact with Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Neither did I have a sudden idea I identified as a werewolf like I do after reading or watching any medium which had werewolves in it. I identified as a werewolf as far back as at least my preteen years if not longer. Labeling myself as a garou fictionkin was based on the coincidental similarity of myself and the game.
For me, no, I’m not a fan of Werewolf: The Apocalypse really. I’m neutral at best about the game. I found the game by chance without expecting to find any story so much like my kintype, old or new. When I came across the game, I also wasn’t looking for any entertainment involving werewolves. So I saw it was just a source of information on one portrayal of werewolves. So seeing it was a game I would ever play never came to my mind back then. However, now that I have been aware of the game’s existence for a few years now, I still don’t see it as something with entertainment value for me. Because now that I know about it, I don’t really like it. I don’t like how it turned my identity on its head and made we question my sanity even more than I used to. Even though I found out about it back in 2011, I still have trouble rapping my head around the similarity. Due to the stereotypes on fictionkin I feel even more compelled to not let myself warm up to the game beyond it as a medium portrayal of werewolves. Also, its too similar to me in an uncomfortable and awkward way for me to like it even generally. It has werewolves which are so much like my kintype, but its all a game.
In connection to that, no, I have never played Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I also don’t care to play it for the same reason I’m not a fan of the game. Its still awkward for me and I don’t want to like it. It could just be used as more ammo against my being werewolfkin. People play a game which has things similar to details in my past life memories. Its not a fault of any who plays, its just chance that my kintype turned out be similar to the garou, but it still makes the idea of me playing the game myself too weird. (Actually, I’ve never played a roleplaying game in my life at present, let alone this game which best fits my werewolf kintype.)
I do have copies of some of the sourcebooks. I bought most of the ones I have back when I still having trouble accepting the label garou fictionkin fit me. Buying and pouring through them for details about the garou was an attempt in trying to find more differences than similarities. That attempt failed obviously given I now call myself garou fictionkin as the sourcebooks only further provided details which turned out similar to my werewolf kintype. Its these sourcebooks that I’ll be using as reference as I compare the garou to my kintype in this essay.
However even if I did like my source it wouldn’t invalidate my being fictionkin. A fictionkin can like their source just as they can dislike their source or be neutral about it. Just like other otherkin can like, dislike, or be neutral about their theriotype/kintype. There in lies some double standards when it comes to how fictionkin are perceived compared to how non-fictionkin otherkin are. Its not unheard for therians, for example, to like their theriotype to some extent or some cases their theriotype is one of their favorite animals. However, a therian may not like their theriotype at all actually. The view can run the spectrum. Same wit other otherkin. Also, its also not unheard of for otherkin to have one or more depictions of their theriotype around their home, on their person, or such. Things like necklaces, pictures/photos, books, T-shirts, movies, documentaries, statues, and more are things otherkin might have depicting their species identity. Having things related to one’s identity or liking their species identity doesn’t necessarily make their identity invalidate or merely a product of being an “obsessed fan.” Fictionkin are just the same way.
Character Specific Fictionkin — Now to talk about another thing which seems to always comes up when talking about fictionkin – fictionkin that are characters specific. That they have come across a specific character that is a lot like (or perhaps exactly like to the best that can be seen) their identity. Werewolf the Apocalypse has been around since 1992, and since then numerous books containing plot ideas, pre-made characters, and more have been created just by the company alone. On top of that are the countless actual games have been played and characters created by people playing the game. All sorts of character traits, story ideas, and game mechanics have been thrown around and used to some degree of fashion by any number of people. With so many games with different story elements being messed with and characters being created it would be only a matter of time before one person’s original character might look something similar to who I am and what I identity as, right? After all, coincidence and dumb luck has already left me identifying as a kind of werewolf a heck of a lot like the garou in Werewolf the Apocalypse, and then with so many people creating characters within that framework, it starts to become a mater of statistics really.
That very idea of coming across a character that is a heck of a lot like me to some degree or another is unnerving for me. It was weird enough for me to come across a work of fiction that happened to fit in with my experiences and my identity in a number of ways. As I’ve talked before in the section “Discovering W:tA,” it wasn’t a comfortable experience for me and it caused a lot of anxiety and distress to stumble across a piece of media with werewolves so much like the kind of werewolf I identified as already. Indeed, chance is one very messed up thing some times with what it can lead to. So coming across a garou character a lot like me on top of all this, that is just a whole new level of awkward and creepy for me.
Fictionkin by species to fictionkin by character. Not exactly something very settling or pretty. Its unnerving and its awkward actually. Least it is for me. Its a weird and its uncomfortable state to be in. To come upon how you see yourself mirrored in something someone independently came up with on their own. I find nothing cool about it. Its very alienating and othering. And it all came about by chance. That factor doesn’t help either. It throws a monkey wrench into how you view yourself. I still identify as I always have as I can’t change my identity and neither can external things, yet now here I am living with this knowledge that out there are people who have chanced upon creating characters which get unnerving close to how I identify.
Thing is, is that I have already come across a few characters which shared a number of traits with my identity to some degree. Thankfully for sanity’s sake nothing dead-on, but even something close-ish is still unnervingly close. And finding these characters happened without me even looking for them. If I was to actually search online, I’m scared to think what I might find then given how much there is online alone as far as this game. Worse still is the fact that not everyone posts their role-playing characters online. If more people had them up online for others to see, I’d be even more likely find a character a lot like me. I can only scarcely imagine what people have done offline on paper without ever mentioning outside of people who they were playing with. yet despite even with being limited to those posted online *and* by the fact I haven’t tried looking I’ve already come across 4 garou characters fairly close to my identity in some ways. That makes me think that the likelihood of there being at least one character striking close to any identity and with a background similar to my past life memories. The possible statistics just don’t look that good for saying otherwise. So I’ve more or less accepted that I am likely a character specific fictionkin technically.
This is not something I could ever have imagined years back when I simply thought of myself as werewolf, and I didn’t have all this added concern for things so much like my identity out there. That is my experiences with being a fictionkin that is almost character specific anyway.
Inspiration & Adaptation — To help shed light on how my werewolf kintype and my spirituality could have needed up hinting similar ideas and themes found in this game, its important to talk about how the games were most likely inspired. I think its important to talk about how creators of almost any work are often inspired by previous works. Much of the themes and ideas of what stories have today got some of their inspiration or concepts from other works that came before. Making it their own by changing and adding things. For werewolves, a fair bit of the various portrayals of them in modern fiction get a fair bit of their ideas from previous works here and there. Some of it might be from other werewolf stories, but some might be not directly related to them. Modern werewolves being so connected to silver and the Full Moon mostly came about due to the early monster movies, for example, and it has only evolved from there since then. Werewolf: The Apocalypse is little different. A fair lot of the game’s concepts an details are inspired from elsewhere in some shade or another. A number of concepts of how the garou are as werewolves are amalgamations of various traits from previous werewolf stories old and new. For example, the forms the garou can take on is very likely inspired due to werewolves taking on various forms in stories that came before, such as in movies and in old woodcuts. Also the garou’s connection to the spirit world and spiritual entities certainly has its influences in real-life shamanism and neopaganism. For example, the Black Spiral Dancers’ use of the “Black Spiral Labyrinth” and their “dancing” at such a place certainly seems to have its influence in fair part to the spiral dance which is group dance practiced among some neopagan groups as well as the use of labyrinths for spiritual purposes (including pagans). This trend goes on and on into other aspects of the game’s setting as well.
So what does this mean for a garou fictionkin like myself? Well, it means a number of themes and concepts from Werewolf: The Apocalypse didn’t just come out of nowhere nor did I maliciously come to the similar conclusion. Looking at it skeptically and psychologically, its possible my identity as a werewolf was influenced by some at the same things White Wolf used is inspiration. Even from my natural spiritual perspective I still see it as a coincidences in some way. (Plus not forgetting the possibility for some degree of false memories of past life experiences or my past lives being effected to be even more like the game to some degree.) So its not like its too unlikely in any shape or form that my identity came to a similar theme as the garou from this game. Nor that the garou are so wholly different from anything every done to werewolves before in any way. Themes and ideas get adapted and reused over time.
All this does not really explain how my identity came to have such vast list of details and themes similar to the garou from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. At best, it only explains and rationalizes some of it, but due to the vast amount of details it seems highly unlikely to be the only explanation for what occurred between my identity and this game. For a real explain, that really explains everything in how my identity could happen to fall in line with the garou, well I really have no idea. My best guess is it is a host of things. However at least some of the similarities could have come about due to how and where White Wolf drew inspiration from.
The Word “Garou” — So going back to the term werewolf. As I mentioned earlier, stories of werewolves have spread throughout much of the world at one point in time or another. Because of this, various languages have created their own word for what in English is called a werewolf. This is especially the case among a number of European countries as many have a long history of their own stories of werewolves. Throughout my life I’ve considered myself a werewolf. That was the word I most used on myself to describe how I saw myself in my mind, how I looked in our multiple system’s innerworld, what my phantom body was like, etc growing up even before I learned the existence of otherkin and specifically therians. In my teens I also learned a number of words for werewolf in other languages thanks to reading books on folklore and some modern fiction. Two words which I took up into my vocabulary from this were lycanthrope and loup-garou which come the Greek and French languages respectively. So in my teens I also labeled myself as a loup-garou and lycanthrope. However, more reading lead me to learn about the condition called Clinical Lycanthropy which is named after the Greek word, so I ended up backing off from my personal use of the word lycanthrope. So I was left with considering myself, as I once put it in a journal entry in 2005, “a loup-garou, a werewolf.” Turning to Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the werewolves of the game call their own kind the garou. The game designer’s choice of the word garou for their werewolves is more than likely inspired by the French loup-garou and/or the word’s origin. (From what bit I’ve read into the etymology of the word loup-garou is that it appears to come from the Old French lue garoul which combined the words for wolf and werewolf.#) So because of their choice in using garou and my past history in connection with the word loup-garou, I had a bit more of a connection to the series on this little point of detail. Its an insanely small detail, but its one of many coincidental details which lead me to find the garou so familiar and too much like my kintype to not take note of it. So even in their use of the word garou felt familiar to an extent to my identity as a werewolf. A minuscule detail, but still an interesting one for me when discovering the game.
Birth Rather Than Bite — A common theme of werewolves is about how they became werewolves by some means or another. Many modern stories often has the means come about through a werewolf biting a human (or less often a wolf in some stories). In folklore and older stories have origins including things like pacts with the Christian Devil, use of magical salves, use of an enchanted belt made from a wolf pelt, and drinking rainwater out of the footprint of a wolf. For myself, I don’t see my kind of werewolf that way. I see my kintype as a kind of werewolf which is born that way. A creature that is a member of its own species that can take on human form, not simply a member of the human species which turns into various wolf-like forms. A creature that acts very wolf-like but isn’t one. So a creature which never was human or wolf before being a werewolf by some means. Ever since I can remember I’ve seen my kintype as a kind of werewolf that way. So when it came to learning about the garou from Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I related to them on this level as they are actually born werewolves. Its passed on by linage and no amount of biting could ever turn someone into a werewolf in the game. Garou can mate with either humans, wolves, or other garou. (However the latter is forbidden.) If they mate with humans or wolves their offspring may be garou or may not be. If not, their offspring (even without mating with a garou) can be garou. With garou mating with garou though their offspring is always garou, but this comes with a birth defect as a side effect. This detail was even more damning for me, because this detail of some werewolves, especially those born to werewolves, having abnormal characteristics is still accurate to my kind of werewolf in both my species identity and my past life memories.
Deformities— The forms I take in our multiple system’s innerworld, the shape my phantom body takes when I front, how I see myself in my mind, the forms I take most often in my dreams, the features my dysphoria point toward, etc are distinctly certain forms. Those forms including one being human, one being wolf, and three being combinations of wolf and human to some extent. (I’ll be going into the specific details of those forms shortly.) However with these distinct forms there are physical traits which are “off” for either humans or wolves. My ears in all but my human form are larger than normal and have a bat-like look to them rather than a lupine ones. My nose in my wolf form, near-wolf form, and human-wolf form all have almost bat-like noses. All of my forms have much larger then normal front digits (fingers for three forms, and front toes for two forms). These traits, really stand out. In my past life memories, other werewolves also sometimes had unusual physical traits. I was born to two werewolf parents according to my past life memories, and many of the werewolves who also had abnormalities were born from two werewolves directly as well. Yet, in my past life memories, some werewolves not born to two garou sometimes had deformities, most of which were of bat-like traits. This matches very strongly with the garou. Among the garou, the garou born to two garou (called metis) are always born with deformities. These deformities can be just about anything. However the nature of myself and (in my past life memories) other werewolves having bat-like traits is notable to the garou still. There is a traibe of garou whose members sometimes have bat-like features, and in general have a higher rate of abnormalities – the Black Spiral Dancers. (The topic of how a garou tribe is similar to my own werewolf identity and things in my past life memories will be talked about in a later section.) Now, werewolves having weird traits is not unknown outside of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. I’ve come across old woodcuts where the werewolves had traits which were off or look mutated to an extent. One for example, had a werewolf looking a lot like an anthropomorphic wolf mauling a woman yet the beat’s tail was completely bare and had a mohawk-like strip of hair. Another woodcut, had a wolf-like creature sitting with their head turned, yet the werewolf had an almost pig-like nose rather then the nose of a wolf. So even outside of the garou, a deformed werewolf is not completely unheard of. However, I’m not just someone who identifies as a werewolf with unusual traits, my kind of werewolf also happens to have several rather specific forms, and this continues to point to the garou in striking similarity.#
Number of Forms — Throughout history in stories and folklore about werewolves, werewolves have been shown as having more than form very often. The most common set-up in many stories is of werewolves having two forms (usually a human form and wolf-like or anthro wolf-like form). Coming across a story where the werewolves have three forms is not as common but is still seen a fair bit. Coming across stories where the werewolves have four forms is far rarer. Before coming across Werewolf the Apocalypse, I had never seen a portrayal of werewolves with five forms at all. So this made my identity with a werewolf having five forms (plus a little wiggle form with partial shapeshifting) as far as my body image, phantom body, and such is concerned really odd to me given so many portrayals of werewolves had a few forms than my kind of werewolf. The shape of my forms are fairly well represented in stories here and there, but not in the number of forms in the same werewolf. My kind of werewolf had five forms in a sliding scale from human to wolf, yet this seemed to be rather lacking in any portrayal I could find. This was very confusing growing up and made me even more confused when I was a teenager and was discovering the therian community online. This confusion is what lead to learn more about different kinds of werewolves which is what caused me to stumble into the online therian community. Then I stumbled across the garou after years of not finding any werewolves like me. The garou also have five forms and those five forms are similar in shape to my own species identity. The garou and I have a human form, a form which looks sort of human but has more animalistic traits, a form that is basically an anthropomorphic wolf, a form that is a giant and more monstrous looking wolf, and finally a wolf form. When I first learned about Werewolf the Apocalypse the state of the garou’s forms really stuck me the most and is one of the main things which got my attention to take a closer look in the first place. The number of forms and the details of those forms in relation to my own is also one of a few of the biggest reasons I found taking on the term fictionkin to be so useful in describing my werewolf identity. Until coming across the garou, I had never found any portrayals of werewolves which had all of the forms I do. I had come across one or two where the werewolves had three forms which sort of looked similar, but wasn’t as exact and damning as the garou. (Then added with all the other similarities, it just made taking on the label, that much more apparent in reasoning.) So now to take a close look at each my forms and each of the forms of the garou.#
Human Form — In most werewolf stories werewolves have a human form. This form usually looks perfectly human though some stories have it that the human form of a werewolf might have some unusual traits (such as more hair than an average person, canine-like teeth, wolf-like eyes, pointed ears, etc). Now, my human form doesn’t look like our system’s physical body. I’m personally 5 foot 5 inches (1.35 meters), which is a bit taller than our actual body. My hair is long (down to just past my shoulders) and black while our system’s actual body has brown hair that is kept short (at around ear length). My eyes are very green, while the eyes of our actual body are a hazel-ish brown. Also, my human form‘s appearance lacks the traits which hint at the Cherokee ancestry of our multiple system’s physical body, and rather how I see myself in human form looks strictly to be of European descent. However there are traits to my human form which are abnormal. My fingers are very long and slender to a notable degree and are a full finger joint longer than our actual body’s fingers which are pretty slender in their own right. This shape is what my phantom body takes if my phantom body goes to human form and how I appear in our system‘s innerworld. So even in human form, my phantom body is different enough from my actual physical body to cause some awkwardness. The height difference between actual body and phantom body make it easy to be (or at least feel) more clumsy due to mixed signals and feeling longer fingers than our actual fingers are can make holding things weird. Also, because I see myself differently than I how actually am, even in this human form, I still have some amount of dysphoria related to this discrepancy. Not even my human form is safe from its own form of dysphoria. Turning to the garou, their human forms (which they call their homid form) are normal looking and can perfectly pass as human, at least for human-born and wolf-born garou. Those born to two garou parents may or may not look normal in human form depending upon what their deformities are and how such deformities might relate into the human form. My human form looks mostly normal outside of my hands (again how I see myself, not how my body actually is), and I happen to be a werewolf with two werewolf parents according to the bits of my past life memories. So I found an easy parallel here between my human form and their homid form. Especially because of the continued parallel between how my werewolf is (born to two werewolves and deformed) and to the metis among the garou (always deformed due to being born to two werewolves). Appearing pretty human-like, yet in similarity to the metis garou I have a few slight odd traits even for wolves.#
Near-human Form — Werewolves shifting into a bestial human-like shape are most widely seen in modern movies. Older horror movies are especially famous for this way of showing a werewolf. I have a form similar to this as does the garou. However, some of the exact details are a bit different. Growing up, I referred to this form as either my near-human form and later in my teen years I also called it my hirsute form. This form looks a lot like a hairy and more feral looking human. The chest, the shoulders, the elbows, and other points of the body are covered in black short wolf-like hair. The teeth have a more a canine-like point to many to them, and the fingernails and toenails are thicker and more claw-like. My eyes are still the some color as in my human form (green) though they now have the black outline found around a wolf‘s eyes. Also, my ears are almost elf-like in how they are now pointed. The feet look a lot like a human foot but simply naturally in a digitgrade in position. In this form, my hands are still prominently abnormally long and slender. In this form I’m only a few inches taller than my human form. This is how I look in our system’s innerworld, how my phantom body is shaped, etc for this form. The size difference with my phantom body can course some unusual experiences and awkwardness due to the differences between it and my phantom body. The difference in how the feet and legs was positioned compared to actual human legs and feet do not help either. Now to turn to the form for the garou which is very humanoid but more bestial which they call the glabro form. Their glabro form is drastically taller and more muscular. Their glabro form also is not as furry as my near-human form, not do I drastically change in size or muscle mass. Yet despite these detail differences, there is still a striking amount of similarity.#
Humanwolf Form — Now to move on to the next form both for myself and the garou, and the form which I feel or the closest to a “true form” among my forms when it comes to my werewolf identity. Its also the form my phantom body most often takes and is the form that comes to mind first before and other form when thinking of how I see myself. The garou call it their crinos form, but I call it my humanwolf form. (Growing up, I also called it my hybrid form and for a short while in my teen years my “true form.”) This form can best be simply described as a large anthropomorphic wolf. A creature with a human-like torso and arms, a wolf-like head and tail, legs sporting wolf anatomy, and completely covered in fur. Basically, it’s a form which really mixes wolf traits with human ones. In this form, like all the others my hair/fur is still black and my eyes are still green. The digits on my front limbs are still abnormally long and slender to an easily notable degree. However now my wolf-like face sports a more bat-like nose and very large bat-like ears. Among the garou this form is easily 9 feet tall and can move in a bipedal or quadrupedal manner. For me, my humanwolf form is only just a 8 feet tall and can easily be either bipedal and quadrupedal. In this form, where my deformities really are prominent. Other than that, my humanwolf form compared to their crinos form is very similar. Its here while my similarities to the metis garou really feels more prominent even beyond the distinguishing traits of physical abnormalities coupled with the nature of my birth in my past life memories. Like I said, this form, is the form for my werewolf identity which I see myself as being the most (and only slightly rivaled by my wolf form). My species identity might be a werewolf, and it come with these five forms, but this form and my wolf form are the ones which I find myself in the most when it comes to things like my phantom body, my dreams, my shamanic experiences, and such. This and my wolf form are also the forms I am in the most often in as far as what past life memories I have. Other werewolves in my past life memories also had forms they seemed to prefer over others. So seeing that garou tend to prefer the form they were born and raised with, and thus metis garou preferring their crinos form, it made sense to me. I found an easy parallel there for my past life memory.# #
Near-wolf Form — The fourth form that the garou and I share in common is a form which is basically a monstrous sized wolf. The garou call it their hispo form. Over the years I’ve called this form my near-wolf, my direwolf form, and my feral form. (I quickly lost favor out of calling it my dire wolf form due to confusion of the fictional dire wolf and the now extinct dire wolf.) Werewolves taking on a large monstrous wolf form is fairly common in portrayals of werewolves old and new. In this form, I appear as wolf-like creature that is the size of a Siberian tiger (or close to it, give or take some mass). I still have black fur, still have a bat-like nose and ears, and still have long front toes. The limbs are thicker and the length ratio of the bones are a bit different from a gray wolf. The garou’s hispo form is very much like this in size and shape. One difference between my near-wolf form and their hispo form is that I can stand upright to a rough extent in this form, with walking upright limited, while for the garou, I’ve never heard any mention of this about their form. So again, an overall similarity, without only a few differences in certain details.#
Wolf Form — Finally, there is the wolf form which looks like a large wolf for the most part. However even in this form my abnormal traits still shine through even here. My ears and nose are still bat-like in shape and my front paws are drastically elongated in the toes. Also my eyes are still green (which you do not see in real life gray wolves). Otherwise, I appear a lot like a large specimen of gray wolf with a black coat. Because of my abnormally formed front paws in this form, my phantom body while fronting walks a little weird due to having to deal with longer toes. Other than that, this from moves like a gray wolf would. This is one of the forms that I spend most of the time with as far as my phantom body, form in our multiple system’s innerworld, and such. In my past life memories, the werewolves I knew who were not deformed, looked like a gray wolves or in some cases wolfdogs. The garou have a wolf form as well, which they call their lupus form. Their lupus form looks like a normal wolf for most garou. The outliers mostly being those with deformities which still appear in their lupus form. Otherwise, a garou in lupus form would look like a large specimen of wolf. So, like with all the other form mirrors very well with the garou. Both they and I have a wolf form. This isn’t too strange given werewolves having a wolf form is pretty common, but in total with all the forms between us and the details therein is striking.#
Transformation Cause/Means — Werewolves are shapeshifting creatures in most stories with few exceptions. Changing into various forms all depending on what forms any certain kind of werewolf has in a story. Some werewolves are always focused into the change, others can sometimes change at will but something can force a change, and a few stories have werewolves who only change voluntarily. Plus some werewolves physically morph into a different from (for movie examples see The Howling and An American Werewolf In London) while other portrayals have a sort of “magical poof” into another form (for movie examples see Blood and Chocolate and Twilight). For my werewolf kintype, I see my kind of werewolf changing forms voluntarily and changing form to transform. The phases of the moon might influence my kind of werewolf, but it wouldn‘t force a change. (I’ll talk about my connection to the moon shortly.) This reflects on how my body is in our system’s innerworld, my phantom body when I front, etc. Another thing that would effect transformation for my kind of werewolf (and does effect me where applicable) is my emotions. For example, if I am feeling scared or angry my phantom body is more likely to take on the shape of my humanwolf form or near-wolf form. Also, when a transformation takes place its simply a changing of forms onto another one. My phantom body changing shape from human on through to wolf rather than simply “poofing” into another form, for example. Also, I always have seen my kind of werewolf as being one which retains the same kind of mentality throughout all of its forms – always as intelligent as a human, yet always as animalistic and instinctive as a wolf. For the garou, their transformation are voluntary for the most part. Anger can cause them to change involuntarily and their first transformation is often inventory, but the moon’s phase doesn’t force them to change form. Plus, their transformations have their bodies quickly morphing from one form to another. Also, regardless of form, a garou always has the same wits and instincts about them.# So, my experiences matched fairly well to the garou here. Even more familiar from me to them was their connection to the moon though.
Time of Birth — Our multiple system’s body was born on a full moon. Growing up, I found that ironic due to identifying as a werewolf. However due to not relating to our system’s physical body I never really related to our birthday personally (and so had no connection to my identity). It was ironic we were born on that day, but our birthday is more a system event then a personal one of any of us. Another reason I have no strong connection to our body’s birthday is the lingering unknown of how and when I became myself in this system. Our body was born on the day, but “I” very likely wasn’t around back then given the number of ways our system could have been created. Furthermore, even if none of that was the case, my identity isn’t tied to our body. How I see myself, perceive myself is not connected to our system’s body. Yet growing up, I felt like something was relevant about the moon would have been / could have been my birthday. Growing up, the folklore about the phase of the moon during one’s birth had some connection with werewolves seemed sort of relevant to me. I felt that something about that myth was sort of relevant to my werewolf kintype. Yet in my past life memories, the lunar phase of one’s birth did come up. In my past life memories, I am referred to as crescent moon-born, and other werewolves were referred to as full moon-born, etc. In my past life memories, there seemed to be some social significance to these phases as well. So because of all this I have a weird connection to the concept found in Werewolf: The Apocalypse where the moon phase a garou is born under effects their role within garou society and can effect certain personality traits to a lesser or greater extent. For the garou, the lunar phase they are born under is very important to them on both a mythical and social level. For example, garou born under a full moon are often natural warriors and leaders in battle, and their expected to play those roles. On the mystical side of things, the phase of the moon the garou were born under is slightly more powerful than any other time (besides all garou being effected to an extent during the full moon), and the brighter the moon is during a garou’s birth effect how much Rage that garou has. So, upon learning about this concept I related to it. On both what my gut/instinct was telling me when I thought of how my kind of werewolf would be and what bits of my past life memories seemed to have a similar idea in at least a vague sense. It was not exact, but it was familiar enough to get my attention.#
Blurred Line Between Spirituality and Identity — There is a natural intertwining between my personal spirituality and my species identity. It’s a rather messy and weird thing to try to describe. Unlike a number of other otherkin (therians, etc included) my spirituality and nonhuman identity is not clearly separated, most likely because I’ve always had animistic views since I can remember which have grown over time, plus I have identified as a werewolf somehow since I can remember which has only strengthened over time. So these two things – my identity and my personal spirituality have had a long time to influence who I am as a person now that I am well into adulthood. So these two things have always blurred together in my views and beliefs, rather than being nicely separated. I see my being a werewolf as being spiritual in nature and I also see my kind of werewolf as having culture which is animistic and pantheistic in its spiritual views. On the other side of the coin, a number of my spiritual practices and such are inspired by things from my past life memories and my general inclinations.
My spirituality is not up for a debate with me because it is so naturally ingrained in my identity. Not because of blind adherence or faith, but because much of my spirituality has just come naturally come to me without being taught or thinking about it. I can no more just change my spiritual views as I could any other part of my identity. I did not choose my identity or how I see the world, this is how it nearly feel into place for me. My identity as a werewolf stuck in a fully human body only and my world view toward nature and the spirit world are entangled upon one another. To loose touch with the spirit world or nature for me would cause me to lose touch with my species identity; just as much as loosing touch somehow with my identity as a werewolf would break my connection to the spirit world and nature.
So because of this interwoven nature of my being a werewolf and my spirituality, I did relate to the garou with how they view their spirituality as well. In the game, spirits are real and the rituals the garou practice are just a fact of life for them. Its just how things are for them and not so much up for debate or talk about spiritual and religious matters. Of course, in reality, nothing about spirituality is fact nor known to science, but because my mind so naturally anthropomorphizes the world around me, being an animist is just how my mind natural works. I didn’t choose to be animistic so much as things just became that way. So I related to the garou and their overall spirituality very much so.
Earth Connection — Pantheism is the belief that divinity is synonymous with nature, the universe, etc. Pantheism can be found to some extent in a numerous religions. The concept of a “Mother Earth” or “Mother Nature” like entity is found to some degree in numerous religions. For example, the belief can be found in a number of modern pagan religious to some extent or another. A number of organizations have been created in recent years by and for pantheistic people who have concern over environmental issues. Plus, even among those who are not necessarily pantheistic, echoes of the concept can be found in the sayings and allusions talking about a “Mother Nature.” I refer to this divinity within the natural world nature as Gaia. The name Gaia being the name of the Earth goddess in Greek mythology whose body is the Earth itself. The name Gaia is used by other pagans and pantheist to describe Mother Nature and/or the Earth goddess they worship. Among the garou, the spirit of the natural world itself is also called Gaia. The garou worship and fight for Gaia. The major theme of the game Werewolf the Apocalypse is based around the garou tried to prevent the destruction of nature. The society of the garou is based around their connection to Gaia and the natural world. Their purpose in life to serve and protect Gaia. So naturally, I strongly connected to the garou on this point. Never had I come across werewolves so pantheistic I belief and view. Their calling the nature goddess the worship Gaia as well, simply threw my similarity with them here to a whole new level on this point. It sounded and was so familiar to me. So this was one aspect of the garou which was one of many which strongly inclined toward calling myself garou fictionkin. I am a pantheistic werewolf who worships Gaia, they are werewolves who are pantheistic werewolves worshipping Gaia.
The Moon — Given werewolves are often linked to the moon in some manner in many portrayals (especially in modern fiction whereas myth/folklore not so much) it is unsurprising that a werewolfkin’s identify has some nod to this in someway more often than not. When it comes to me and the Earth’s natural satellite, I instinctively feel I should be connected and influenced by her phases. I instinctively feel that if I were actually a werewolf, would be effected by the moon. In my past life memories the moon used to have an influence on me, but it did not any longer. That Luna could not physically effect me, but I still felt a pull spiritually to some mystical extents. However my kintype would not be the kind of werewolf that would be forced to transform or could not transform based on the phase for the moon. Of the phases of the moon which I feel would impact me the most is the full moon. These feelings on how my kintype would be if I was actually my kintype is so strong I do get a sort of placebo effect around the time of a full moon. This takes the form of a bit of a sort of energetic “itch” or hard to describe excitement on the nights where the moon is at its fullest. I can get restless, fell cooped-up, irritable, or so on. (Because of this I don’t usually front, meaning control of system’s actual body, around the full moon.) Often around these days my species dysphoria well become a bit more nagging about my not being my species, having instincts on hunting and patrolling territory nag in the back of my mind more than usual, feeling my full phantom body far more promotionally than usual, and feeling more spiritually in-tune and in awe with the Moon on a spiritual level (or what can best be defined as such). For the latter experience around the full moon that ties into where my spirituality melds into my species identity. While I was raised atheist/without any religious indoctrination as a child I naturally took on an animistic world view over time and was basically animistic and polytheistic well by my teenage years. Some time in my teens I began worshipping Luna, a moon goddess/personification of the moon as part of my spirituality (along side the goddess/personification of the Earth, Gaia). Worshipping Luna in ways generally familiar to some neopagans. My identity as a werewolf and my animistic spirituality conjoining and influencing each other in ways going back into my early teenage years onwards at the very least. All this is not lost in irony and coincidence (or not) due to how werewolves in general and garou specifically from Werewolf: The Apocalypse are portrayed. For the garou of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, they have their own connection to the moon though different than many werewolves in modern fiction. The garou aren‘t forced to shapeshift during the full moon, but they are effected by the full moon causing them to be more likely to act animistic and primal in certain ways. For the garou, how full the moon appears effects their “Rage,” which is a sort of primal fury. When the moon is at its fullest, the garou experience more of it than any other time during the moon’s cycle. The garou are also animistic and polytheistic. Worshipping the Moon as the physical manifestation of Luna and worshipped the Earth as the physical manifestation of Gaia. During the full moon, garou often gather together for events which have a mix of social and religious meaning. Of course, these names are used by modern pagans and the ancient Greek and Romans, (and its from there creators Werewolf: The Apocalypse got the names from obviously), but its still yet another awkward coincidental similarity. So when I came across information on these kinds of werewolves their interaction and connection with the Moon felt similar to how my kintype is connected to the Moon. I connected with how they too are not forced to change, though they certainly have a “pull” the more the Moon is full (though my pull is more animalistic, but I’ll get to comparing Rage to my experiences and lack thereof in another section shortly). Plus I happen to worship the moon goddess, Luna, while the garou also worship a moon goddess named Luna. So I they felt similar to me in a number of respects here. # #
The Sun — So having talked about my primary worship of Earth, Gaia and my reverence for the moon, Luna, I think I should also talk about my honoring of the Sun, Helios. Like worship of the Earth and/or moon, worship of the Sun is found throughout countless religions and cultures. The name Helios is the name of the personification of the Sun and the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, which is where I got the name from much like where I learned of the name Gaia for the personification of the Earth and the goddess of the Earth. Unlike, my strong personal connection and reverence with Luna and strong drive to worship Gaia, much of my honoring of Helios takes a backseat. I honor Helios on a regular basis, after all the Sun is an important part of Earth’s existence; however, for whatever reason my focus on the Sun is not as great as my focus on the Earth and Moon. Its only really around times of celebrating seasonal changes where reverence for Helios really takes a precedent alongside Gaia. Turning to the garou from Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I was surprised they too while honoring the Sun (whom, to my shock, was also called Helios) though not as much as they worshipped Gaia and acknowledged Luna. They have some rituals that can be practices regularly that honor Helios and several seasonal rituals, but there is not as much focus on the Sun as there is the Earth and Moon. When I learned about how the garou did revere the Sun (and even called the personification of the Sun by the same name Helios) yet did not focus on the Sun as much, I certainly found yet another thing that the garou did that fit with my identify and spirituality.#
Views of Pollution — Moving on from viewing nature as spiritual, to having concerns for the continued existence of nature. I do have a number of environmental concerns on the local and global scale. I have concerns over climate change, renewable resources, habitat loss, and more. I personally try to do at least little things to be more “echo-friendly” My views are influenced by my pagan beliefs (which are effected y my werewolf identity) and to a lesser extent my werewolf identity directly. I am a pagan and (for me personally) that has made me more concerns with hat I view as sacred as well as just being a nature-lover. The extent of my werewolf identity tends to come from a sense of not feeling as separated from nature as other people tend to be. However due to my spirituality and nonhuman identity being so mixed, it is hard for me to really distinction where feelings and opinions come from let alone questions of which came first or influenced what first. I see my werewolf species which has attributes of how gray wolves live and how some hunter-gather cultures live. Because I see my species as one so very connected and dependent upon the world around them, even though I am human and I am not in as direct need, I still care on that level as well. In Werewolf The Apocalypse, one of the major backdrops is that the garou’s whole existence and culture is centered around them trying to defend nature from both supernatural forces and mortal threats. Spiritually, the garou are facing spirits (great and small) of destruction and corruption which in the long run wish destroy the world. Temporally, they must deal with human civilization which is destroying and polluting the world out of ignorance, greed, and/or indifference. The garou have to deal with these forces and threats on many sides and deal with them in different ways ranging from fighting spirits directly, to destroying machines, to political action, and more depending on the circumstances of what is going on and what the garou are facing. Due to the garou having a strong reverence toward Gaia and connection to the natural world, many garou are nearly instinctively compelled to protect the natural world from pollution and other dangers. So, to some extents I related to the garou in their environmental concerns; however such thought were much more based on opinions not as directly related to my species identity. I see my werewolf identity as being animistic, pantheist, tribal, and animalistic which certainly seems to have leaned my environmental concerns a fair bit, but I don’t see it as being a major component. So an interesting parallel, but not as striking or detailed as other details.#
Spiritual Practices — Many religions have various practices in ways followers of that religion should (often ideally) act by or abide by. Things like taboos to uphold, rituals to practice on a regular basis, holidays to recognize, philosophies to live by, etc. Even people who don’t follow a set religion and rather have a personally formed spirituality, often have some practices connected to their spirituality. The same is true for me. Over the years I’ve developed my own personal practices as an animist. My inspiration for the practices I have, have been inspired from a number of places such as my personal experiences with spirits over the years through trial and error, taking some cues from common themes found in many shamanic and modern pagan practices, and from the bits of my past life memories. From these I’ve crafted my own personal spiritually as a whole as well as the practices I keep (or would keep for things which do not occur for me such as what I would do it I hunted or farmed.) Among the garou, rituals are simply called rites. A number of rites have either mythical and social importance. A number of these rituals are very similar to real-life rituals one might find in a shamanic or pagan-like religion here and there. Some are even fairly evidently adapted from real-life rituals. This is not surprising given the creators of Werewolf: The Apocalypse obviously taking a lot of inspiration from such religions and cultures, as I talked about earlier. A number of the rituals described in the Werewolf: The Apocalypse sourcebooks are similar in some shade to the some rituals I do on occasion. The garou have rites to cleanse and purify themselves or the Earth around them, rites to honor the dead, various rites celebrating the solstices and equinoxes, small daily rites to worship Gaia and Luna, and more. So on the surface there is already an semblance between my werewolf identity and the garou, but it goes deeper than just general traits. It actually goes into parallels over various kinds of occasions for practices and still deeper into similarities specific rituals.#
Most of the rituals I do are rather simple acts which I do frequently. Things such as greeting the night and Luna at or after sunset, and greeting the day and Helios at sunrise or not long after I wake up of a morning with a few words of praise and honor. Another little things I do is offer some reverence to the Chimera, our multiple system’s totem and namesake. A slightly more complex ritual I do on a regular basis is a personal purification ritual which involves smoke from sage leaves and water sprinkled from bird feathers toward myself while circling widdershins. Turning to the garou from Werewolf: The Apocalypse, they too have their rites which can be practiced on regular basis easily (and some are ideally practiced on a daily basis). When it comes to daily rituals, the garou have the most ease at simply creating or adapting their own ways to connect with Gaia, Luna, their totem, or any spirits they might have alliances to. A few examples of minor rites include things like “Greet the Moon and “Greet the Sun” which are ways to greet the respective celestial bodies at dusk/dawn respectively with a hymn of praise and a howl. There is also a simple rite to give honor to a garou’s totem though it is done by tapping out a special beat connected to that totem. The purification ritual I practice, on the other hand is similar in some ways to a cleansing ritual in some respects though it calls for a smoldering branch and another branch wetted in clear water and the ritual includes howling. The likeness between some of the garou’s rites and some of my rituals here really caught my attention, especially those that dealt with greeting the Sun and Moon.#
Rituals celebrating seasonal changes are extremely common in some form or another in pagan religions. Various modern pagan religions celebrate seasonal events into percent day. These days include the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and summer equinoxes. What I generally do on these nights are either by myself with my own rituals, or part of an interfaith ritual with the rest of the multiple system I am a part of. I usually attend the interfaith ritual as celebrating the seasons with others in more appealing than doing it alone. So because of this, I’ve never created any big seasonal rituals to do on my own. Rather, on these days I might so something simple by myself such as lighting a candle on the Winter Solstice or so on. As to be excepted given the garou are so pagan-like in the culture and spirituality, the garou do observe the seasonal changes of the year. For the garou though some only celebrate the solstices and equinoxes, while others also celebrate other points during the year. These celebrations are a way of observing the life and death cycle of Gaia and the growing and waning warmth of Helios. The seasonal celebrations are extremely group-oriented events which last for hours. While both myself and the garou celebrate these seasonal events, exactly how does honestly very. For one, there is only one of me so a group ritual wouldn’t work out for me and the rituals I enact are different. So there are some interesting similarities, but I will freely admit there are differences too.#
Spiral Dancing and Labyrinths — Then there are certain rituals which I do right now (and more importantly past life memories of rituals I once did) which have certain echoes in the Werewolf: The Apocalypse which not only stood out, but also threw me into a whole other wave of denial and reading to try to prove the link wrong to no avail. Some time in 2008, when I began to actively learn about modern day paganism, neopaganism, and shamanism from an anthropological perspective. So around this time, I read a lot of books around these topics. One pagan author who I read from who complemented a number of my natural beliefs and inspired me in other respects was the pagan author Starhawk. She had created a Mother Nature / goddess centered organization with heavy environmental concerns. One practice in particular that I was very inspired by and drawn to was the Spiral Dance. The Spiral Dance is a group dance, but I was reminded of and interested in a sort of “solitary Spiral Dance.” Due to my past life memories of such a dance, I was compelled by that practice in some weird way still. I also came across articles and such on pagan websites about the use of labyrinths for spiritual purposes. The ritual I‘ve created is for simpler and lesser shamanic then the ritual of my past life. it’s a simple dance set to spiral-like pattern which them works its way back out. The few times I’ve used it, its mostly as a sort of moving mediation experiences.
Then there are my past life memories which surround this topic. I have a very prominent past life memory involving a sort of ritual dance. A memory of a ritual signifying the point in my life when I was accepted as a full member of society after having begun to be able to shapeshift. In my memories, this rite of passage was a event which I had to wait months for because it could only be preformed during a solstice, equinox, or mid-season time of the year. I remember two other werewolves also having their rite of passage too, and it being on Samhain/Halloween. The ritual took place in a large camber in the deepest part of the cave. I remember fires burning to provide light, drum beating, and the outline of a labyrinth marked faintly on the floor. Surround the old and faint labyrinth outline were the werewolves who came to watch the ritual. Four werewolves stood within the labyrinth outline: the leading werewolf of all those who lives in the caves, an elderly female werewolf who acted as the leading shaman/priestess, a younger female werewolf who was the older werewolf’s assistant and appetence, and finally a male werewolf who would be making any announcements to the crowd. Myself and the two others stood right at the edge of the labyrinth outline near the entrance of the spiral marked down upon the floor. Everyone taking part in the ritual was in humanwolf form. In my memories I remember how the ritual began with those four werewolves walking to us and standing outside the labyrinth with the elder female priestess standing in front of us, her assistant standing in behind of us, and the two others standing a ways away facing the crowd. The elder female marked our faces in blue pigment before turning away and set to remark the spiral labyrinth anew. As she worked, the male werewolf doing the speaking about the history of our culture and other things of that nature. Once this was all done, the elder female walked over and placed her hands on my shoulders – I was to go first. I was lead to the entrance marked on the floor with her assistant behind me. Both began to chant – her assistant sill behind me and the elder right in front of me into my ears. I remember feeling myself going into a trance and my body begin to sway slightly. Then, abruptly, he elder spun me around and around directing to start dancing. After a few spins, I was pushed forward toward the online of the labyrinth. Everything after that is all jumbled together into a mass of hazy memories. In my past life memories I vaguely remember darkness as a moved, spun, and ran. I remember feeling my own psyche and mind feeling like it was being picked a part. I remember feeling so bare and vulnerable while feeling like all my flaws, dark thoughts, and everything were crystal to me all in one moment. And then all I remember in that memory is suddenly being back and being weak and shaky as I was presented to the crowd, and being given a name to go by among them. Turning to Werewolf: The Apocalypse, there is only tribe of garou whose rite of passage fits my own experiences, and not only does it fit in a vague sense, its actually pretty darn spot on. The Rite of Passage among the Black Spiral Dancers is to dance the Black Labyrinth which is also called the Black Spiral hence the tribe’s name. Their Rite of Passage includes an unnerving amount of parallels to my past life memories including the ritual taking place underground, the outlining of a labyrinth upon the floor, one werewolf acting as speaker during the ritual, creating a trance-like state in the one doing the ritual, the “dancing,” the journeying to the spirit world, the testing of the psyche of the person, and being given a name after the ritual.# #
So certainly this got my attention and was one of the things which caused me to take the consideration of being a garou fictionkin even more seriously. It was also one thing which caused me to label my identity as being of a specific tribe of garou (which I’ll get to later) due to the evidence of similarity pointing in that direction on top of the things pointing to the striking similarity between my species identity and the garou.
Supernatural Abilities — Stories of werewolves having supernatural/magical abilities aren’t very common though they do appear here and there over time. For an older example, in the 15th and 16th centuries sometimes witches and werewolves being basically synonymous to one another. So there are stories and even count cases in which claimed witches turning into werewolves or werewolves practicing witchcraft. I relate to this to an extent where it comes to how I see my werewolf species and what bits I recall in my past life memories. I see my werewolf species as being a creature that could do (or more correctly, optionally do) supernatural things beyond just shapeshifting, and this was the case in my past life according to my memories. Of course, my physical body is fully human, so I can’t do anything physically of course but identity and past life memories “not of this world” are another story. Plus, I am a werewolf in our system’s innerworld and can do things there due to our innerworld having its own rules and laws thanks to it being inside our mind. The things I can do in our systems innerworld include a handful of things. I can create a little bit of one of one of the four elements with a thought of how much and where along with a gesture for the element wanted. For water a cupped hand, for fire three fingers pointed upward together, for earth a clinched fist, and for air a spread out hand. In my past life memories I also recall werewolves who had their own tricks and abilities: a werewolf being able to just not leave tracks of any sort on the ground, another who could use echolocation a lot like a bat which allowed him to easily traverse the cave tunnels, and other things like that. In my past life memories these abilities are learned some how, but past life memories on exactly how are absent.
Of course, as I’ve said before and will say again in the future, I am physically human so I can no more do any supernatural acts anymore than any other person could do them. I might be able to do things is our system’s innerworld and I have past life memories of doing supernatural things, but my body is physically human now. My identity is one thing, my physical body is another. What I can do and what I am in our system’s innerworld is one thing, but our physical is a whole other matter. Turning now to the garou, they are able to acquire supernatural abilities (beyond the standard werewolf fair) from certain spirits. What kinds of abilities a spirit can offer is limited by the nature of a spirit. In return a spirit may except some kind of offering, a ritual done in their honor, a quest minor or great to be done, or something else done for them. A garou can also learn Gifts, as they are called, from other garou but it is far more difficult. The abilities possible can include a colorful array of things. All of the abilities I had as a werewolf according to my past life memories (and these same abilities which I have in our system’s innerworld) and the abilities I remember other werewolves having, have canon parallels among the garou’s Gifts. More over, the abilities even line up with what Gifts a garou can and cannot learn based on their Breed, Auspice, and so on compared to those similar traits are in my kind of werewolf and my past life memories. My ability to create a small amount of one of the four elements is very similar to the Garou’s Create Element. This Gift is even one of the Gifts only metis garou can learn, which I would be considered using their words as I was born to two werewolf parents and I am deformed compared to other werewolves. The only possible difference is that the sourcebooks for Werewolf The Apocalypse does not go into detail for this Gift, while my ability has specific gestures. So I certainly found a lot of parallels great and small. #
Connections with the Spirit World — Belief in a nonphysical world that spiritual entities live in can be found in countless past and current religions around the world. However its animistic/shamanic beliefs that are most famous for believing in spirit worlds compared to other kinds of belief. Shamanism isn’t so much a belief system as much as it is a word for various similar practices done throughout the world by a number of societies which involve altered states of consciousness to interact with the spirit world. In shamanism the practitioner worked with, or simply tired to pacify, spirits and even deities for the benefit of people in some form or another. That’s a very basic definition and idea of it anyway, specifics beyond that very from culture to culture. The exact nature of the spirit world, how it is connected to the physical world, if there are different parts to the spirit world, and such varies from belief to belief to some extent or another. As part of my animism and thus my belief in spirits, I do believe in a spirit world. My belief in a spirit world and how I perceive it is furthered to my experiences with shamanic journeying (or for the skeptical, what personal experiences I have come to label as such). Now, as I’ve said before my identity as a werewolf in strongly tied in with my personal spirituality. The connection between my beliefs now of there being a spirit world to my werewolf identity comes from three places: (1) I have always journeyed as one of my werewolf forms naturally, (2) my past life memories contain experiences related to a belief in a spirit world, and (3) I have always considered my kind of werewolf to have an animistic/tribal-like culture.
My first memories of having out-of-body experiences go back to my early teens, and in those earliest memories of these experiences I’ve always just naturally gone as one of my five forms and going as those forms has always felt “right.” Even before I really began to learn about shamanic journeying in books I took on my werewolf forms and never thought it at all odd or thought to take on some other form. During these out-of-body experiences in which I was in one of my five forms (though usually human-wolf, near-wolf, or wolf form) I would sometimes interact with spirits. As I got older I began to find certain forms more useful for certain things. While shamanic journeying across any distance, my three more wolf-like forms seemed better used but tasks which required climbing or holding things often required my three more human-like forms. Also, over time I’ve come to know a bit about local nature spirits and such, began to do things for them. Small things as far as I am concerned such as giving simple thanks for nature areas being there, giving praise for good rains, and thanks for local farms for staying healthy. Sometimes I would go to places around our local area physically, but other times I would simply journey out-of-body instead. Even today much of my journeying consists of me going out to move about our local area in a subtle plane mirroring the physical world. Only on occasion do I go deeper into any parts of the spirit world that are not as connected to the physical world.
I also have past life memories of taking with other werewolves about spiritual things, and a few vague memories of dealing with spirits as well as maybe a memory of shamanic traveling the spirit world. I have past life memories of mostly knowing only about the spirit world which mirrored the real world in many ways. Finally, as I’ve talked about before, I see my kind of werewolf as being a creature whose kind is both animalistic and has a nature-based/in tuned culture. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that how I perceived and experienced the spirit world in my past life and how I perceive and experience with the spirit world now, is different in a number of respects. This makes sense though as the physics in my past life memories is obviously different that is reality now. There are things in my past life memories which would not be possible in reality. So it makes sense that spiritual matters might be different in some respects too. (And like everything else when it comes to my identity when the question “how does that work?” my answer honestly is “Heck if I know.”)
So, the surprise I had discovery of how the garou viewed the spirit world was significant. It was incredibly and haunting familiar to me. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the garou not only believe in a spirit world, but also travel the spirit world. The garou call the spirit world the Umbra, and it where countless kinds of spirits great and small exist. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Umbra has many layers to it. The most familiar layer to the garou is the part of the Umbra, called the Penumbra, which mirrors the physical world and which is shaped by the goes on the physical world. (For example, where a lake exists, manmade or otherwise, water spirits will be born and live in the Penumbra, but if a lake where to be filled in the water spirits would disappear from the area.) In the Umbra there are things such as Realms, pocket dimensions of sorts with their own rules and physics within the spirit world. Far more things and places exist within the Umbra as well, but the list goes on and on. The garou can travel the spirit world by literally slipping from the physical world into the spirit world thanks to their nature of being “creature of both flesh and spirit.” The garou use this ability to explore the Umbra and interact with spirits for various reasons. So because of a number of the similarities to the garou’s perception and experiences of the spirit world to my own beliefs I related here as well. Of course, like I said, there are things which cannot be possible in reality (such as literally going into a spirit world whereas I merely shamanic travel) which are present in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Plus my beliefs are solely beliefs whereas for the garou it was a fact, but those things are a given. Never the less though, I found similarities and families here with the garou.#
Connection with Totems — How totemism is seen among many tribal cultures and among anthropologists is rather different than how totemism is seen among many neopagans. Traditionally, totems are collective, rather than something individual. So when totemism is being talked about in anthropology for example, it is describing the belief that an animal, planet, or object embodies or symbolizes a group of people whom are related by blood and/or through marriages. The belief and/or use of a totem to symbolize a group of related people is/was most often found in a variety of animalistic cultures around the world. The totemism found among most neopagans and New Age people, on the other hand, is very individual. In neopaganism a person’s totem may very well be different than the totem of another person’s in their family.# As for myself I do have a belief which can be called totemism and I do often call it as such. I believe in the existence of archetypical spirits which represent/embody a certain living being and even things like natural phenomena which can represent a person or group of people. Our multiple system, not just me, consider the Chimera the totem/mascot/symbol of our system in many ways. Some of us, such as myself, take a greater sense of totemistic belief then others when it comes to the Chimera. Over time, I’ve come to honor the Chimera as a totem and to attempt to embody the virtue and stronger the Chimera has. We as a system try to embody the Chimera in how the Chimera can be many in one body but still work together, for example. Some of us, myself included, even actively honor Chimera, the totem, mostly in little ways such as offering praise, having images of the Chimera, and other little things like that. In my past life memories, even there is totemism, with the werewolves I lived in the caves honoring the Bat. (Though I don‘t honor the Bat totem in this life now and feel no reason too.) Among the garou, they have a belief in what they call totems, which are great (usually animals and sometimes mythical creatures, with other things being a bit rarer) spirits. With the garou different kinds of groups have different kinds of totems. Among the garou each garou tribe has its specific totem. Plus, each caern (simply put, a mystical/spiritual place for the garou) has a certain totem bound to it. Finally, when a pack is formed they gain their own pack totem. A garou pack calls upon a great spirit to be their totem, or in some cases a totem chooses them. So totems are everywhere in garou society. A totem is often chosen based on the totem’s strengths and influences compared to what the garou value, wish to achieve, and so on. These totems often demand a certain amount of reverence or offerings in return for they help though to what degree this is and the specifics very from totem to totem. So I certainly related to the garou in many respects here. They are werewolves who believe in totems and so am I a werewolf who believes in totems. As an added irony I found it ironic that Chimera is actually a totem in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, but the same kind of Chimera (nor did I related to the tribe the Chimera resided over, but I’ll get to the garou tribes later.) #
Connection With Spirits — Animism is the belief that nonhuman entities (plants, nonhuman animals, etc), inanimate objects (natural and/or man-made), and/or natural phenomena have a soul. The exact dimensions and degree of what is included varies depending on religion, culture, and/or personal views. I am an animist. I believe in nature spirits, believe that at least most things have at least a spiritual essence to them if not a spirit outright, believe that there is a spirit world, believe that there are spirits or minor deities connected to all sorts of natural phenomena, and so on. I’m that kind of an animist and pagan. So my view of the world filled with spirits. The sacred and the mundane aren’t separated to me. The existence of and my experience of spirits is just that daily and natural to me. I don’t need to seek out spirituality as I see the world around me as “spiritual” in a sense. Practices and rituals (such as drumming, shamanic journeying, and such) are simply formal rituals to interact with spirits and as a medium to give offerings or ask for assistance. Spirits are not all good, all bad, or anything like that. I believe their motives and natures are as complex (or not) as the variety of physical living beings. My current belief in spirits echoes into my identity as a werewolf, as I have said before, because I see my kind of werewolf as a creature which is part of an animistic culture. Now, as I said earlier, much of my beliefs came to me naturally. This is true for my belief in spirits as well. During much of later childhood we had always sensed and felt and even saw a number of things, but it was during our early teens (and especially for me among of a few others) it really started to become more notable. For me, I began to really notice and ‘see’ things that weren’t physically there from certain nonphysical facets to things physically there to seeing beings or phenomena that were not there at all. From animal spirits to little nature or elemental spirits to stronger spirits of a river or a large section of forests, among other beings and such things of all sorts of shapes and natures. So seeing and interacting with spirits is a natural and everyday experience for me. Turning to the garou, they not only believe in spirits they interact with spirits. The existence of countless kinds of spirits is just a part of their daily life. Some spirits are friendly to them, others are hostile, and many more are neutral. The garou might make a pact with spirits or give offerings for certain favors as well. So I related to the garou in their beliefs and experiences with spirits.
Views of Wolves — Now to turn from my connection to spiritual entities to my connection with wolves. The word “wolf” is a word used to describe a large number of canids (some of which are not even members of the Family Canis) and even a few animals which are not even canids; however, what I am specifically referring to the species Canis Lupus, the gray wolf. This connection is sort of along the lines of a kinship with them. I identify as a werewolf, so part of my identity is that of a gray wolf in a sense. One of my werewolf forms is a wolf, and a lot of the traits my dysphoria picks at are wolf-like features. So I identify a lot with gray wolves because they share a lot of obvious traits with my kind of werewolf in places. So with real-life gray wolves I sort of see them like almost cousins to my species identity and so I connect with wolves to an extent. So its sort of like I identify as a werewolf, so part of that means I identify as a wolf to an extent. it’s a part of my identity. Among the garou, a number of garou groups take some measure to at least protect the wolves which are directly related to any garou. However, some garou are far more connected and even protective of their lupine cousins. Some garou are very connected to their wolf-like nature, while others are not so much. An extreme example, of this is in the Red Talons, an exclusively born to wolves group of garou who align themselves strictly with their wolf heritage and nature as they guard their wolf relations. So my identification as/with wolves seems generally in line with how a number of garou are. Both myself and the garou have a connection to wolves and our wolf-like nature.#
Views of Humans — A misanthrope I am not. A misanthrope being a person who dislikes, hates, and/or distrusts humankind or things related to human society. The word comes from the Greek words meaning “hatred” and “human.” I do not like what society as a whole or certain groups of people do or have done, but who does not? I have my criticisms and concerns over certain environmental issues, human rights, and more yet everyone has their opinions and things thing consider important to them. I do not hate or mistrust humankind as a whole, but I also do not whole-heartily love it either. I don’t see my opinions of society as being connected directly to being a person who identifies as a nonhuman creature, in my case a werewolf. If they are connected by any shred, I am not aware of it then. My concerns and criticisms of what my own culture and government does alone (not to mention my thoughts on what is going on around the world in places) is complex because society is complex. However, just because I do not personally identify as human does not disillusion me from the fact that I am physically human and I live a human life. My identity in my mind doesn’t change reality. I do consider myself a member of (human) society, I’m just a person who identifies strangely. My nonhuman identification does make a few things about daily life interesting, but mostly out of my own perspective of things being a bit different. I don’t have any delusions of being other than human physically, its all in my head (and in my soul, as I believe it). So I just consider myself someone with an unusual identity and sense of self is all. I have my criticisms of what humans are doing to various extents, but everyone does. Turning to the garou, their views of humans are rather varied it seems. Among garou born human their views are more often positive to neutral vies (garou born to wolves tend to be very negative however) though they tend to have a hatred of how society (in the games of course) works in certain respects. Many garou tend to have strong environmental concerns for example. Garou might also see humans as blind and ignorant to what is going on around them and what they are doing. However, the garou tend to see themselves more apart from human society due to being physically and spiritually very different. So I related to how some garou saw themselves compared to non-werewolves, plus more so I related to how I would see if humans if I as physically a werewolf (and didn’t just identify as one).
Social Structure — In a lot of stories have werewolves being incredibly solitary or even be outright antisocial creatures to humans, wolves, and/or other werewolves. Stories in which werewolves group together or even have their own society tend to be found here and there yet to what degree the werewolves are social and how they are organized tends to very. Plus many of these werewolf stories tend to base the social structure of their werewolves on a strict most dominant/strongest on top while most submissive/weakest is at the bottom. (That, or the leading werewolf is the one who bit the other werewolves.) My kind of werewolf is very social. The social structure of a group of my kind of werewolves generally depends upon a number of factors: a group of related werewolves would relate to each other differently than if some were unrelated, werewolves raised around humans would be more likely to accept more human-like social structure while werewolves raised around wolves would except more wolf-like ones, larger groups tending to have more complex social structures compared to smaller groups living together, etc. So I tend to see kind of werewolves as creatures which can mix and match human and wolf behaviors even in how they socialize. Though, I tend to see the average social structure to be one of mostly an extended family consisting of werewolves plus their human and/or wolf family members too. In my past life memories, the werewolves I lived with numbered around 20 and most were either related or directly related to at least one other werewolf there. Werewolves directly related to others answered to there elder relatives for the most part. The leaders of all the werewolves living in the caves were a male and female werewolf pair, mostly due to power and dominance rather than familial connections and good leadership qualities. Garou, like both humans and wolves, are very social creatures. They need social interaction. For the garou, they have a very strong “pack mentality” which drives them to want to be with other garou on an instinctive level. Being a truly “lone wolf” among the garou, occurs due to banishment for a crime, and is not a life garou really seek out to live. Some garou might travel alone in a fair extent, but a truly solitary life is not part of their nature. Its something that goes against their instinct. Its not natural for them as a general rule. Among the garou, wandering packs tended to be not related and the leader tended to be the one who was the strongest. Groups of werewolves that lived in a certain area tended to be more of an extended family or even a community with different garou holding certain positions.# So both the garou and my species identity are social creatures and there are some similarities in how they interact but also some differences too.
Language and There English Translations — Due to werewolves being portrayed as often changing from human form to wolf form (or wolf-like form), its fairly common for them to be shown able to speak at least one human language and communicate like a wolf. Some portrayals even have werewolves who have their own words and/or gestures which are unique to them alone. For my werewolf identity, I see my species as a creature that can communicate like a human in certain forms and communicate like a wolf in certain forms. However, I also see my species as having sounds, words, and gestures, which doesn’t come from either though it uses human-like sounds and animalistic sounds in tandem in its make-up. I see my species using human language in human form, near-human form, and to an extent humanwolf form. Wolf communication being used in wolf form, near-wolf form, and to an extent humanwolf form. Finally the communication unique to being werewolves in my species identity being best used in humanwolf form, but could also be used in near-wolf form and near-human form. I say “sounds, words, and gestures” rather than just language because I can’t recall in my past life memories if it was another language proper. My past life memories aren’t perfect after all. Added to this is an idea and something hinted at in my past life memories is that howling was used differently for my kind of werewolves than just how they are used for gray wolves. There was more a variety of meanings to them based on certain cues in the howl. Turning to Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the garou have a similar set-up to mine (or I have a similar set-up to then, whichever is more accurate to say I’m not sure). The garou have three ways they can communicate – through a human language (or several if any given garou knows more than one), through wolf communication, and through a language universal to all garou which they call Garou Tongue among other things. The Garou Tongue is a mix of words with various wolf-like sounds and various kinds of body language all rolled together in a combination to create a meaning. However, the garou must learn a human language and must be taught the Garou Tongue, while wolf communication comes instinctively. The drawback to this, however, is that more abstract and detailed concepts are beyond what wolf communication can accomplish. The existence of these three ways of commutating is exactly like my werewolf species. Plus, nearly exactly like my own ideas for my species and my past life memories, certain ways of communicating are easier (or just plain possible) in certain forms without having to partially transform certain parts of the throat and/or mouth. Plus the garou have a wide arrange of uses for certain kinds of howls beyond simply what regular wolves do, which is also reminiscent to my experiences and identity. So all in all, a lot of correlating concepts and themes appear here as well.#
Tool Use — In different stories with werewolves in them, some werewolves are shown to be able to manipulate objects or even still craft tools even in forms other than their human form. In my past life memories, werewolves did use tools and such though not as much as people in real life do. At least that was the general case, as the werewolves in my past life memories that were raised human were more likely to use human technology while those not raised around human technology were less likely to do so. However handmade and non-electronic objects were most common than anything for any werewolf in my past life memories to use. Most tools were only used in human, near-human, and maybe humanwolf form. Few werewolves bothered with tools while in near-wolf or wolf forms. Further than that, “magical” objects also existed which were tied to a spirit (sort of life the belief in Tsukumogami in a sense). In fact, one of my most prominent past life memories relates to me disposing of several such objects by breaking most of them to release the spirits inside them, but ending up but keeping a dagger and a stone. Interesting, in our system’s innerworld I have a dagger and a stone which look and work like those in my past life memories. One is a large dagger made out of a massive fang (root and all). It comes with a sheath and strap which allow it to rest at my chest. The other is a spherical stone that’s about the size of a tennis ball and is a milky gray in color. Normally, it just looks like any stone but if tuned in the hand a certain way, it gives off a fair bit of light depending upon the phase of the Moon. In our innerworld, I keep this orb in a pouch connected to the strap which holds the dagger. Both objects still have spirits tied to them even in our innerworld just like they are in my past life memories. Also, these objects come across as phantom sensations that I still feel when I front. Taking a look at the garou, overall they use tools a lot. Homid garou especially will use human technology readily, and even in other forms will use weapons and other objects. However, the surprising aspect is that they use spirit connected tools called fetishes which are similar to what I‘ve seen in my past life memories. Even more than that, they have fetishes which actually match the objects I have in our system’s innerworld and had in my past life memories. The game’s “Fang Dagger” is described as a dagger carved from a giant tooth or tusk, which matches the dagger I have in kind. There is also a fetish called an “Moongleam” which is a pebble-sized stone which can give off life in a magnitude depending upon the Moon phase, which also is very similar to the stone I have. These general similarities, and these specific similarities certainly caught my attention.
Animalistic Mentality — My kind of werewolf is a creature that is animalistic, feral, and instinctive yet having sentiency and a culture as well. A lupine mentality and manner but with higher level of awareness than a real-life gray wolf. The best way I can describe how I see my species as far as mentality would be to think of a lupine creature which had evolved closer to where several non-human apes are or several species of dolphin as far as how complex their mental capabilities are. I’ve always seen my species as a creature that is a rather odd combination of highly instinctive and wild creature on the one hand, yet with the ability to think on a level closer to humans. Another thing about how I see my species identity is that I don’t see this odd combination of animality and sentiency changing between my forms. So whether in wolf form or even in human form, I see my species mentality being the same throughout. In human form my kind of werewolf would still have wolf-like instincts and behaviors , while in wolf form my kind of werewolf would still be “smarter than the average wolf.” So sort of like a “gray wolf plus” in a way.
Hunting Instinct — Werewolves, being predatory creatures in most portrayals of them, are almost always shown to have some sort of hunting instinct. For my kind of werewolf this is certainly the case. My species identity has an instinct to search out, chase down, and kill prey for food in the same ways wolves do. My instincts surround these behaviors and what these behaviors point to, are like that of gray wolves. What differences there are only come in the form of added traits on top of this such as having the idea in my mind that if I was my species physically I might prefer to use my wolf form to hunt, but also being willing to use my near-wolf form or human wolf form as well (especially for large prey such as something like an elk or bison). Other than those added traits, my behaviors here are basically the same as a gray wolf’s. Among the garou, this is also the case. The garou have a wolf nature to them. Garou as a whole know how to hunt something down as a group, whether it be for food or protecting territory, or anything else. They instinctively want to hunt with the garou to bring down prey. Some garou prefer to nurture their wolf-like natures more than their human-like natures so prefer hunting for their food rather than buying it. Other garou due this out of necessity due to not having the means to buy food. Whether they act on their instincts or not depends on how individual garou have been raised or has chosen to live. So my wolf-like instincts towards hunting fit nicely within how garou can act and behave, and my instincts around hunting are basically the same as a gray wolf‘s behaviors.#
Diet — Werewolves are fairly often portrayed as being very carnivorous leaning creatures. In many stories, even in human form, they portray their werewolves as still having desires for meat. For myself, my instinct to eat certain things is not nearly as strong as my instinct to hunt certain things. I do have drives to eat meat over other things of foods, but then again nonhuman-identified people don’t have to eat like their species or necessarily want to. For me, I do have thoughts in the back of my mind when I see large animals such as cattle, deer, or horses which be best described as saying “food” but that is more connected to my hunting instincts. I see species as a creature that would mostly have a meat diet thanks to hunting but having some non-meat in its diet due to forging or maybe cultivating fruits and such on a small scale. The garou are fairly varied in their diet depending upon how the garou live. Garou that mostly live in tune with their wolf nature will mostly eat meat while those who live very in-tune with their human nature will be fairly omnivorous more than likely. So how I see my species identity would eat if I was actually my species, fits in-line with how the garou are.
Sense Strength — The senses of my kind of werewolf are the same as a gray wolf’s senses. Hearing and smell is very acute, vision at night is exhalent, and so on. The only difference is that I still see my werewolf species being able to see in the range of colors similar to a humans. These senses would be important, of course, to allow them to hunt and such. As for the garou, they too have incredible wolf-like senses if not even better than an average wolf’s senses.
Territorial Behavior — My kind of werewolf is generally territorial. A group would of werewolves would create a general territory which would include any spiritual sites important to them, areas where their non-werewolf relatives lived, places where hunting was possible, and other factors which would be needed or wanted for them to live. My kind of werewolf would tolerate some amount of overlap with other groups or even maybe wandering werewolves to an extent so long as their claim to the territory was jeopardized. Turning to the garou, their territorial behavior is not at all pronounced or focused on as far as how the games portray them. Certain garou tend to keep to a certain area where they live for the most part which they protect from threats, but there isn’t a lot of focus there in the materials for the game. So there are some similarities but also some differences between my kind of werewolf and the garou.
Rage — So now to address Rage. This is honestly one thing about the garou that I don’t really find a real parallel to my werewolf species identity. Which very well might be a good thing. If I did have an anger problem or similar, I’d certainly not be dismissing it as part of my identity as a garou fictionkin. Of course, I can and do get mad, but I don’t related to the “Rage” as it is often described in Werewolf the Apocalypse. In the game, Rage is described as being a sort of primal anger that builds up the a garou which is one things which helps them transform among other things. However then again, based on what I’ve read its not like the garou are nothing but a bunch of werewolves in desperate need of some anger management courses. Garou born under a full moon have more Rage than any other garou, while garou born under a new moon have the least. So my views on how applicable Rage is to anything I experience on some level of my identity or in my past life memories are a bit mixed. If it is applicable, its on a very minor scale.
Silver — When it comes to silver, I instinctively feel I should be allergenic to this metal. Somewhere in my head I think that touching silver should break out in a rash or worse if I tough it longer. However I am not actually allergic at all, or any other metal actually. Its all in my head. My identification as a werewolf and the instincts that come with it for me includes the intrusive thought that I should stay away from silver. Yet in actuality my body acts normally to silver of course. I have no physical reaction to silver, only a mental reaction to it. So the instinct rumbles uselessly in the back of my head and has remained despite silver doing nothing to me when I handle it. Despite this weird and illogical wariness of silver, I do have a few things (a necklace being one) which are made of silver and have an odd draw to silver. I like silver even though I have this weird illogical feeling about. Maybe my illogical wariness of touching silver growing up also drew me to become interested in the metal. Plus, I like likely ended up drawn to silver due to it silver being connected to werewolves and I identify as a werewolf personally. Werewolves being connected to silver in some way is mostly a modern creation, and is not really mentioned in any tales or accounts of werewolves before the 1900s. Its been claimed that silver was used to kill the Beast of Gévaudan; however this was added to the history in the 1930s and appears in no historical texts.# How silver effects a werewolf varies depending on portrayal with two examples being that they could only be killed by weapons made of silver or that werewolves were allergic to silver but could be harmed by another materials as well (but thus making silver weapons very useful against such kind of werewolves). In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the garou are vulnerable to silver. The garou are hard to kill compared to humans or wolves and they heal quickly, but silver weapons hurt them more than any other material. They can survive a weapon made from silver, but it just causes more injury. However the garou themselves also make weapons out of silver due to it having ties to Luna (and Luna being important to them) and sometimes the biggest danger to the garou is other garou.# So I related to the garou when it came to silver. Being wary to silver but it not being something to avoid at all cost. I also related to how silver was important to them as well.
Conclusion — This essay has been an overview of my identity, some of my experiences related to it, and how they compare to the garou from Werewolf The Apocalypse. It has not gone over every detail about my identity, my every day experiences, or a number of details in my past life memories. This essays hasn’t even covered all the details that I know of about the garou which are similar to my kind of werewolf. It certainly doesn’t cover details about the garou which is written down in sourcebooks other than the Core Rulebook. (I ended up basically only really focusing there because if I had continued beyond there I have no idea how long this article would be because of it.) This essay has been that much of a basic overview. It has just been the briefest of overviews of my species identity with a specific focus on my rational for finding the garou so insanely garou that I am aware of even. However, I feel that what is written here gives a fair amount of insight into why I call myself as I do and how I identify as a werewolf.
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