Zoophilia

Zoophilia

By Keller

I just watched the last half a documentary called “Animal Passions”, a program on zoophilia, and thought I’d write up some thoughts since the program was, I feel, very well made, if exceptionally controversial.

Firstly, it’s best to clarify that this program interviewed real people who openly displayed their identity, many of which told stories ranging from the exceptionally repulsive to the heart-wrenching (yes, really). Also, zoophilia was the topic in question not bestiality; the latter being purely about sex with the former supposedly being a “sexuality”, i.e. a relationship and emotional bond between man and animal that was not voluntarily chosen.

The majority of the tales held me in morbid enthrall. I felt many of the people interviewed turned to animals due to actual physical and sexual abuse in early childhood, convenience, and an inability to relate to humans whilst having always shared, from early childhood, a close bond to animals. For some, their attraction was a gradual conscious event which they instigated, for others they were “taken by surprise” by their pet and found themselves enjoying it. For others it was an overriding desire with no reasonable explanation that ended up causing massive emotional damage when denied. One man’s whole life fell apart because of his attraction to ponies, even though there was no explanation for such attraction (he was married with kids he adored, had never been abused, beaten, or subjected to animal pornography, nor had he even grown up with ponies/horses). He was the one person on the show who gave me pause, particularly when he told of the first time he told his pony “cherry” how much he loved her (seriously, don’t laugh; it was intensely moving both because of his genuine feeling and because I wondered how a man could end up so broken as he talked about something which leaves many others cold).

I’m not going to go into whether such behaviour is right or wrong because frankly the answer doesn’t seem so black and white. On the one hand you can argue that most animals, dogs in particular, have been bred for docility and/or a constant state of adolescence and so could never fully “consent”, on t’other many of these animals repeatedly instigate the sexual acts with their human partners and can be quite aggressive about getting what they want.

What has struck me, however, is how the majority of those animals which zoophiles seem to go for are the most convenient ones, and by convenient I mean they are easy to obtain and relatively easy to have sexual intercourse with. The main animals tend to be horses, dogs, goats, pigs, other livestock, and a number of other animals with genitalia which can be penetrated by a human male easily or which can penetrate a human female without causing lasting damage.

I don’t think this should be overlooked whilst zoophiles claim they are truly in love with their animal, because such an issue is far too suspect. I have never heard of zoophiles who are overwhelming drawn to domestic cats (and why not? they’re beautiful and a popular pet in many countries) or other small animals but due to the limitations involved, in this case size restrictions, simply pine away for their ‘loves’ instead of simply finding a more suitable animal, which is what the majority seem to do.

If people want to claim that zoophilia is a sexuality and that they can no more deny their attraction to a certain animal species than a heterosexual can deny their attraction to the opposite sex, then why is it that zoophiles conveniently only fall in love with those animals they can fuck? Or why do they settle for those animals which they can have intercourse with if they love a species they can’t engage with?

It’s highly suspect.

It’s also pretty clear when watching this program and reading about zoos that many of them got into such practices for the convenience of having a warm body around that fucks indiscriminately, and/or due to some pretty hefty emotional issues in regards to relationships (of all kinds) which they’d rather avoid than ever have to face. In many ways, I feel the majority of zoos are lying to themselves when they claim their ‘lifestyle’ is a sexuality, and should instead be getting some therapy and relationship counselling instead of taking the easier route of turning to their pets for all things like they have learned to do. Similarly, I feel if zoos seriously believe zoophilia will one day be considered a fourth sexuality, they are kidding themselves. It seems to me that when one swallows the initial disgust and investigates further, zoophiles tend to have a whole lot more problems than just having sexual relationships with animals.

Dream Shifting

Dream Shifting

By Keller

I’ve had maybe three or four dreams which I consider a dream shift because of the overwhelming sensations, the completely feline mindset, and the incredible thrill of using all my senses to their full capacity. About two of those involved me in my human body but capable of doing feline things, for instance, I could run very well and very fast on all fours and scale trees, but I could never fully shift. Those dreams in which I was fully shifted usually involved moments of blissful peace before something started to chase or hunt me. I’m sure there’s a psychological reason for that but it also hints at “plot” to me, so even then I’m wary to call such dreams dream shifts.

To be honest, I’m wondering how I feel about the whole dream shift phenomena anyway. I’m sure some would argue that just shifting in a dream, regardless of sensations/feelings, counts as a dream shift, but I disagree. After all, in dreams I’ve “shifted” to a tiger, a wolf, and even a teddy bear, and I’m pretty sure noone would take me seriously if I said I’d experienced a cameo teddy bear shift. ;)

So I believe there should be more to dream shifts, that there should be some profundity of sensation or experience that distinguishes it from a normal dream. However, and I’m sure many in the community would jump down my throat for saying this, I also feel that if all you ever experience are dream shifts, no matter how regular, you’re probably not a therian. Now, I’m well aware that some people are watering down the term “therian” so that they can be included. Last time I checked being a therian can mean having a strong connection to an animal by means of intense interest, having a spiritual connection to an animal whilst keeping the animal largely seperate from yourself, having the soul of an animal, having the instincts, feelings, and natural reactions of an animal. Now, as far as I’m concerned only the last two are therians. Being “intensely interested” in an animal does not mean you have a connection to it, and the spiritual ‘whilst seperate’ thing is more similar to having an animal totem or guide; that’s not therianthropy in my eyes, and never will be. So if someone only ever shifts in dreams and feel completely human when awake; they aren’t a therian.

I do realise there are therians who don’t shift at all but inside they still feel and ARE their animal. Just shifting alone does not make you a therian, nor does bitching about the term until someone includes you. This is a big point of contention for me since when I joined the community the term ‘therianthropy’ had a limited definition, now it tries to include everyone, and then people wonder why the community is filled with idiots, posers, and the genuinely confused who will all disappear in a few years when they get bored or realise that they were just clinging to what seemed like an exciting concept.

I also know this topic has been discussed a million times before, but the whole “I shift therefore I am” situation really bugs me. It’s not surprising that we have so many polyweres running about the place yelling “I shifted to a badger and a fox and a wolf and a goldfish and a dragon, so I’m a polywere!”. No, you’re not. I shifted to a wolf a few times, that doesn’t make me a polywere, and in the early days when wolf popped up and I was genuinely confused, I didn’t yell about it. Truth be told, I didn’t want to be influenced into believing it was more than it was, and because of that attitude, I quickly realised that it was simply a cameo shift, and eventually they stopped happening.

As long as the community continues to insist that we need to broaden our terms and definitions so that everyone with any kind of interest/connection to an animal can be included, it’s going to keep going down hill and there’s going to be increasing contention within the community. Most forums and chats don’t actively dissuade people who are humans but genuinely interested, or those with animals guides/totems, but that’s not good enough for most people, apparently; they have to be recognised as therians by everyone else or they’ll kick and whine and scream until someone finally DOES pander to them.

The other extreme; elitist boards, don’t work either, but soon enough that’s all we’re going to have: small, elitist boards on one side and huge, over-populated, bullshit-reigning boards on the other.

It’s a shame, but I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon until the “fad” of therianthropy dies down, or all forums stick to a clear definition of therianthropy and do not stretch it in order to avoid hurt feelings.

Hair and Therianthropy

Hair and Therianthropy

By Keller

Name any hair length or style and I have had it; I’ve done the sleek bob, the impressive long mane, the short and shaggy, the butch-crop, the pixie-look, the layered, soft-falling ‘just to the shoulders’ look. I have done them all, and none of them necessarily made me feel more leopard or not.

I realise, of course, that both Quil’s and Swiftpaw’s point was how haircut correlated to therianthropy for them, and also how it is perceived in society. Both mentioned that short hair contains some social connotations, such as that one must be a lesbian, particularly a butch lesbian, to have hair so short; to wear hair at a length which has been deemed solely for men. I agree to a point. I have been called a lesbian for my short locks but from the kind of people who I wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire. By this I mean that they used the word lesbian as if it were an insult, which has little effect on me since I see nothing insulting in loving women. The only time the general public might have assumed I was gay was when I purposefully wore my hair in a butch cut and dressed androgynously, otherwise I look feminine; with short or long hair. In fact, I have looked my most feminine when my hair is short, since it shows off my very female features of high cheekbones, soft eyes, and heart-shaped face.

In regards to therianthropy, when I had long hair it felt divine flowing down my naked skin, like the softest fur. When it was mid-length, the ability to peek out between my glossy curtain as I watched my “prey” felt like peering through foliage; my eyes keen and reflecting my predatory nature. Unsurprisingly, at that point in time many people commented on my “beautiful eyes”. And when it is short, like it is now, it is convenient. I like how easy it is to keep clean, to style, to not have to bother with if I don’t want to, but that in itself does not make me feel any more or less leopard.

Similarly, the social aspect of hair style is not so cut and blowdry (sorry, couldn’t resist ;p). Although short hair, particularly buzzed, is seen as a symbol of homosexuality among women, the label of “butch”, even used by the uneducated and bigoted, has far more connotations than your hair. I see women everyday with gorgeous, stunning, flowing hair that reaches well passed their shoulders, and yet they’re still butch. How? It’s their walk, their eyes, the line of their mouth; their presence.

If you find yourself being labelled as “butch”, I’d look beyond something as inane as your hair. In fact, I’m telling you; it’s your attitude. Most likely gender roles mean little to you, something which the majority fail to understand since they have slotted themselves so easily into the boxes of either “masculine” or “feminine”. For some of us that is undesirable, and for others simply not possible.

I also feel that the short hair equals butch mentality evolves partly from those lesbians of past and future who have purposefully buzzed, shaved, or dyed their hair in such a way as to make a firm statement about their sexuality and alternative outlook, even if said style does not suit them. I know a number of bisexual and lesbian women, and one in particular (who reads here) has “out there” hair. First it was a buzzcut, now it’s a mohawk. It suits her, and she looks fan-fucking-tastic, but on many others it would look awkward and ugly. You might not agree, but I’m all for working with what you have, and those people choosing to make a statement through their outward appearance in a way that doesn’t suit them often propogate the notion that short hair equals butch, and butch equals ugly or undesirable.

Of course, I’m certainly not saying they are not entitled to their statement, their style, I’m simply looking at the wider picture of where such a mentality might stem from.

For me, hair will always be something I just have and something I am free to play with. Even now I’m bored with my current look and I’m planning to grow it out. I know once it is long that I’ll soon be cutting it again. It’s fun. I like changing my image, but it’s merely an external thing. There is no style or cut I could adopt that would make me feel closer to leopard, or which might better express my animal nature. Leopard cares not for what is done with the stuff that grows on my head. She’s far more concerned with the busy, fascinating, often bemusing walking-monkeys that she is surrounded by everyday.

Territoriality in Therians

Territoriality in Therians

By Keller

I’m not going to explain the concept of therianthropy in this essay, since many have done so before me, and far more articulately than I could hope to emulate. I will, however, state that I do not consider myself to be primate in spirit/nature. I am a feline; panthera pardus, to be specific, which comes with its fair share of obvious differences to primate-humans, and it’s fair share of problems. The problem I’m going to address in this essay is that of solitary or non-troop instincts and territoriality, and how this manifests and therefore effects life in human society. Due to my connection to felines, specifically leopards, they will be my main reference, and most of what I shall write is based on person experience.

The majority of felines, with a few rare exceptions, are solitary in nature, coming together with others only to mate before once more heading off alone to raise offspring and to defend territory. It’s an instinctual necessity for a feline to be solitary, to rely only upon itself to meet all needs except that of reproduction wherein guards are let down, albeit briefly, in order to procreate. The two most powerful instincts in all creatures are those of survival and reproduction. For a predator living in an area where other predators hunt, where other powerful animals work to pick off prey and therefore survive, territory is vitally important. After all, not only does the survival instinct manifest in a need to hunt, to eat when perhaps others of its species are not, but also in a powerful drive to avoid all danger; to protect oneself against potential threats. And in a world full of predators and prey all fighting for their own survival, any other predator, regardless of species, is a threat. Territory therefore must be established and protected. That is the key to a predator’s survival.

Of course, other predators such as canines, and even the feline exceptions of lions, have evolved social instincts; pack instincts, finding that there is strength and efficiency in numbers. I’m no biologist. I can’t go into detail here as to why this is so, but I can draw attention to the very important difference in instincts between a solitary hunter and a pack hunter. Territory is important to both, of course, but a wide area of territory is that much harder to monitor when only a single animal maintains it.

Leopards are, I feel, best described as nervous creatures. They’re intensely solitary and shy felines due to the stresses of the environments they evolved in. Leopards not only need to defend territory against other leopards, but are forced to share their territory with the much bigger and aggressive threat of lions, hyenas; even jackals and wild dogs can pose a real threat. Lions will in fact actively search out and kill leopards and their offspring, and so panthera pardus has evolved to be a silent, stealthy, and ever-alert animal well adapted to its tough environment, both instinctually and physically.

One can see why such territorial instincts developed and yet somehow they go beyond instinctual desire; they affect all aspects of life and seem to infuse into every situation and emotion. The best example I can think of in the animal kingdom is that of captive leopards; one might learn in time that there are no rival predators in the vicinity, yet will become fiercely protective of its enclosure, even towards its human captors who are, for all intents and purposes, just very large primates that a leopard would see as potential prey. As a human with a feline inside, a feline spirit, things become even more interesting.

For me, territory is a huge issue and yet so integral to my nature that I never notice it until someone reacts to it in an obvious (usually negative) manner. I am keenly aware of scents and one of the first things I learn about a new person in my life is their unique smell. I will identify them through this smell, and have been known to become greatly confused and unsettled when those close to me change their perfume or aftershave. Suddenly nothing smells quite right in my perceived territory anymore, and I’m forced to adjust to a new scent that I didn’t condone or help imprint there. Similarly, I am acutely unsettled by stranger’s scents on my belongings and therefore in my territory, and cannot feel safe and relaxed once more until all traces of that foreign scent have been eradicated or drowned out by my own. An extreme example of this is how I am unable to sleep in my bed if a new scent is on the sheets. Once someone new sat on my bed for just a few moments, which I had obviously forgotten about before I finally crawled in to sleep, but I picked up on the foreign scent immediately and had to roll repeatedly over my covers until all traces of it were gone. I felt deeply satisfied and fiercely proud once this was accomplished. I couldn’t rationally tell you why.

Territory not only includes belongings and marked areas, but people too. Despite my solitary nature as a leopard, I have been brought up and continue to live in a human society; one with a troop mentality, and therefore naturally I feel a need for companionship and love; to share with other living beings. However, I am unable to cope with people for prolonged amounts of time unless those people are much loved and trusted individuals. My group of friends is extremely small but I trust each and every one of them implicitly. They are my people, and because of this they have become part of what leopard feels is hers. I am fiercely protective of them, very much like a mother leopard with cubs, and when other people who I don’t know interact with them my initial instinct is extremely defensive. They are mine and anyone else who wants involvement with them are encroaching on my territory.

This begs the question then as to whether what I feel at such moments is territoriality or jealousy.

I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time, and I can safely say that such reactions are instinctual territorial actions and completely out of my control. This does not mean, however, that I now have an easy get out clause for any poor behaviour on my part, or indeed have an excuse to ask too much of my partner and friends; to treat them like possessions.

It’s hard to explain the difference between jealousy and territorial instincts/reactions, but it certainly exists. Jealousy is wanting something that you do not, or cannot, have. It’s usually based in fear, insecurity, pain, or selfishness. A moment of jealousy for me might be hearing that my partner, who I am in a long-distance relationship with, got to spend the whole weekend with his other lover. I want to be her at such moments because I can’t be; because I’m away from my partner. Jealousy can even manifest at hearing that he touched another completely innocently simply because I can’t do that currently due to distance. I can recognize when I’m being jealous and therefore I am able to think it through until I can be rational once more. My jealous moments are fleeting because I trust my partner and because I can analyze such feelings. Through such an analysis, I reach a solution that I am happy with.

My territorial reactions are the complete opposite; they can be sudden, fierce, and I usually have no idea I am reacting in such a way until it is pointed out to me (or until I have physically reached and touched my “aggressor”), because it takes the rational mind some time to catch up to purely instinctual reactions. Equally they can be subtle, but they are always aggressive. Leopard is defensive and ready to fight for what is hers. I cannot rationalize them. I can’t logically dissect them and find a way to stop them from happening; it would be like asking me not to breath, or not to feel the need to procreate. I can, however, upon realizing that I am having a territorial reaction, attempt to control myself. Physically this is often fairly easy, but emotionally I can’t at all, and believe me when I say I have tried. If I repress such instincts I end up fundamentally unhappy and very depressed.

At such moments I am not thinking. It’s not as if leopard suddenly manifests and clearly presents the thought of “mine! Protect it!” I simply react much faster than my rational mind can keep up with. Even attempting to reason with any representation of leopard inside is pointless since leopard can NOT understand how her food, her person, her offspring, and her mate has anything to do with any other creature. She is simply not wired to think that way; not instinctually capable of working, living, and reacting suitably in a group.

It’s hard living with such instincts. I find myself ill at ease often when around new people, particularly if they’ve entered my territory, usually at the consent of another since I share a house with family and a flat with other students. I have been known to feel physically sick when I have the company of another forced onto me, and will either slink away submissively, or grow incredibly defensive until the other person leaves due to fear or discomfort. I unconsciously patrol my living area, rubbing against furniture, and always I am scenting the air, making sure no one else has been leaving their scent where it isn’t welcome, and become panicked if a large group of people force their way into any area of my territory. Similarly, if I have to interact with many people on a daily basis I can become painfully withdrawn, which is usually accompanied with mild to severe depression. I feel overwhelmed by their presence and unable to defend my territory and myself. This is not a nice feeling. Not at all.

Relationship-wise, I’m sure the problem is obvious. I’m currently in a polyamorous relationship, which probably isn’t the best idea in the world considering, but I love my partner and rationally I can understand and appreciate why he is polyamorous, and therefore I am very happy with how things are. Leopard, however, wonders what the hell is going on and demands to know why another gets to touch and interact with her mate. I wish I were being dramatic when I say that I cannot promise that if I witness his other lover touching him in an intimate manner, I won’t go for her throat. I simply don’t know how I will respond, though past experience warns me that it most likely won’t be pretty, or indeed rational.

A lot of the territorial instincts and reactions are so deeply ingrained in my being, my subconscious, and my emotions that I am struggling to explain them. The very reason I decided to write this essay was to perhaps let other non-primate therians with strong territorial instincts know that they are not alone, but at the same time this essay is pointless, since I cannot help you, nor can I help myself.

I continually try and rationalize something that cannot be rationalized, that cannot be cured, and can barely be worked with. I struggle with instincts that cause me great difficulties, that place barriers between myself and others, and which others tell me are unnatural. Well, unnatural for a human anyway. I have even been punished and scorned by fellow therians for acting like the animal I am inside.

This is not what I would choose if given the choice. I’m sure it’s not something you would choose either. But the fact of the matter is that this is ultimately who we are. No bullshit, no drama, no games; just pure instincts, the instincts of a feline with very different priorities to those of this human world. I cannot tell you how to turn them off, I cannot stop myself from reacting instinctually to various stimuli, but what I can do is understand as best I can why I react the way I do. And most importantly of all, I can learn never to use such reactions as an excuse for extreme or unsavory behaviour. Although I might be overwhelmed by the need to rip into someone’s throat and the softness of their belly, I am also human and rational enough to control myself. I cannot control my instincts but I most certainly can control my actions once my rational mind has caught up.

I am feline. I am leopard. That makes me different from other humans; makes me react differently, and yes, causes problems. But I can learn to work and live with myself, to understand that I am different and forgive myself for sometimes acting in a way that causes difficulties for myself and my loved ones. I wouldn’t change who I am, and I shouldn’t have to. Neither should you. Leopard, of course, doesn’t care; she’s living as she should and listening to her instincts. The hard part for me is getting this human mind with all its human socialization to listen to her, to stop resisting, and therefore allow myself to work through these mad jumble of emotions that are caused by ignoring and fighting that fundamental part of myself that tells me how to act in any possible situation.

Chakra Meditation

Chakra Meditation

By Keller

Originally posted on RLT, July 2004.

Recently Bowtie wrote a very comprehensive post on his experience with meditation in a “how-to” format. The kind of meditation he discussed is a directly introspective form, since the purpose is to ask questions of yourself once in an altered state, and to, ideally, find answers to said questions. I have tried a few forms of meditation techniques over the years, and the kind Bow excels at never worked for me. However, I did have great success with one technique, which I’m going to discuss here.

So, what are Chakras, and where did this system of belief come from?

The Chakra system originates in Early Hinduism, although Buddhism is usually assigned with creating this system, this is incorrect. The Hindu texts, the Upanisads, are believed to be written before the creation and propagation of Buddhism, and it is in this text that we find reference to the tradition of the Renouncer, in which the chakra system first originated. It was believed that there was existence of a ‘subtle’ (or spirit) body with centres or “wheels” (chakra) located along its central axis, connected by channels (nadi), along which flows the energy (prana) or life-force that animates the body. Chakras, therefore, are these wheels that, due to their channelling and storage of life-force, can have a direct effect on the body and mental processes. There are seven chakras positioned along our central axis, our spine, all of which are believed to be connected to internal organs, various emotions, and more spiritual elements (such as grounding to the earth, opening the mind to higher-knowledge, etc). It’s easiest if I label the charkas from 1-7 whilst explaining their purpose and colour, both things crucial to this meditation technique.

Chakra 1 is positioned at the very base of the spine and is therefore our grounding chakra, often called the “root” chakra. It is usually depicted as red in colour and should be the first chakra one focuses on at the beginning of meditation, for by ‘opening’ this chakra one grounds themselves to the earth, a crucial endeavour before seeking to open the mind to the higher realms of consciousness. It is a reminder of yourself and your purpose, and is the earthy polarity to the intangible nature of the spiritual realms.

Chakra 2 tends to be given two main positions, abdomen or groin, and it’s personal preferences as to where you would like to imagine this orange coloured energy centre. Either way, this chakra embodies our sexual energy and is closely tied in to our sexual organs, just as the root chakra is connected to our spine and lower body. Due to its connection to sexuality, it is sometimes said to be the centre to our many emotions, too (personally, as an aside, I think this demonstrates an early understanding of the connection between women’s menstruation and mood, and the difference between male and female behaviour, something we now know is due to hormones).

Chakra 3 is located at/in your solar plexus and is yellow in colour. It is considered to be a powerful chakra due to its position in an area of the body often considered to have special spiritual significance within many spiritual systems. Often the solar plexus is deemed the centre of the human body, and can be an area of great strength, or great weakness. Therefore, this chakra is related to personal strength, integrity, and health.

Chakra 4 is called the “heart” chakra due to its position in the centre of our chest (where the heart was once believed to reside). It is, fairly obviously, connected to love, deep emotions, and the dynamic power of opposites that create the equilibrium of sacred sacrifice and energy. Its association to love, however, is its most prominent feature, with ‘love’ including compassion, loving-kindness, and the true, all-pervading love for every sentient being of an Enlightened One. It is deemed green in colour.

Chakra 5 is located in the throat and is thus associated with creativity, personal expression, and communication. More importantly, however, it is associated with breath. Breath control is one of the “Eight Limbs of Yoga” as described in the traditional Hindu system, and was believed to have powerful physical and spiritual effects on the body. This chakra is blue.

Chakra 6 is often described as violet in colour, and it is positioned between our brows, making it the “third eye” chakra. It is deemed our intuitive pathway; our psychic centre of connection between our five directly sensory senses, and our sixth, intuitive, psychic sense. It is believed traditionally that this chakra can be unblocked, therefore allowing the individual to gain psychic powers in which to further their spiritual journey and study.

Chakra 7 is our “crown” chakra, positioned at the very top of our head. In some traditions it is seen as purple, in other’s white (I feel white is more appropriate due to its spiritual meanings). It relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss, and is therefore deemed the most important chakra within the system.

Now, for the technique itself, which I simply call “chakra preparation”.

The first step is to familiarise yourself with your chakras. To do this, I recommend lying down on a flat surface, preferably the floor or a yoga-mat, since bed mattresses naturally give under weight, and it is traditional (and helpful) to have a naturally aligned spine during chakra meditation. Once you’re lying down (and have previously familiarised yourself with the colour and position of each chakra) slowly allow yourself to become away of your body. Start from your toes and work your way up; just allowing your mind to really focus on the sensation in each limb, each muscle, leading to a deeper awareness of your physical body. When you get to your chest allow yourself to become aware of your breathing. Is it fast or slow? Even or unsteady? Are your shoulder and neck muscles tense? Are you hands in a fist? Once you’re aware of your body and what each muscle group is doing, slowly start focusing on relaxing. Imagine yourself sinking into the floor as tension oozes out of you; disappearing into the ground and being readily absorbed and recycled by the earth. Once more start from your toes, slowly easing every muscle until your body feels light and relaxed. By this point your breathing should have slowed naturally, if not, focus on that now. Breathe in for three, hold for one, and then out for three. Really feel the air rushing into your lungs as your diaphragm moves down and your ribs out; the gentle contraction of muscles around your ribs as the air is forced out, etc. . . until your breathing is deep, even, and steady.

Now, think about your chakras. Start with the root chakra. Visualise it as a wheel or circle of red light. Is the red dark, ruby coloured, deep or light? Focus on the details of the colour and the shape of the wheel until a clear picture is in your minds eye. Once this has been established, imagine this chakra slowly unfurling like a lotus blossom; its edges opening outwards until its colour is deep, bright, and beautiful. Your chakra is now (for all intents and purposes) open and ready for work. Think about what it’s connected to; what elements, emotions, and organs it is associated with. Do you have a problem in this area? Does more or less energy need to be directed here? Does the chakra seem dull or dirty and in need of cleaning? If yes, can you visualise yourself clearing and caring for the chakra? Can you change its colour from dull to bright again? Keep practising until you can.

Some people lose concentration at this point, and if your mind does wander, I recommend focusing on breathing once again. The key in this meditation is to turn your mind inwards using your body as a means of focus; or channel for your mental attention. Once concentration is regained (or, of course, if it never wavered) continue as above until all chakras are open and glowing.

Considering the mental difficulty of concentrating for so long, I recommend doing the above as a single meditation for a few weeks before moving onto the next step. Each time you meditate, your focus will increase, and trying to do too much at once can be detrimental to your progress.

Ok, so, you’ve done the above exercise for a few weeks, your concentration is excellent, and you can clearly see your chakra system in your minds eye each time you practice. Excellent! Now, onto the next step, which I call “waterfall visualisation”.

Do the exercise above, like usual, until all chakras are open and you have checked for any ‘problems’ within the system. Now, once this has been completed imagine the red light of the root chakra flowing up to meet the orange light of chakra 2, collecting that orange colour and taking it up to chakra 3; combining all 3 colours, and then moving to the next chakra, and so on. Imagine this movement as a reversed waterfall, with the colours smoothly flowing upwards until all are pooling around the crown chakra. Now imagine them flowing down your body to pool at your feet; a cacophony of beautiful, startling colour before they start their movement up once more. Repeat the visualisation until you can clearly distinguish each colour within the waterfall; seeing them pool and cleanse each chakra in turn before moving on. At the end of the visualisation (when you are beginning to lose concentration, or feel each chakra is clear and healed), simply imagine the coloured water smoothly returning to their proper pools; clean, bright, and healthy, before you slowly allow yourself to come back around. You might find yourself so relaxed that you don’t wish to move, and that is exactly what you’re aiming for.

The purpose of this exercise is to centre yourself. Once the attributes of each chakra are understood you can make changes to yourself by healing, maintaining, and opening each chakra. Simply put, they become a mental and spiritual channel for you to transform your consciousness.

How is this related to therianthropy, you wonder? By calming the mind and working through a visualisation that leads to a state of mental harmony, upon waking you are then in the perfect state to ask yourself deep, difficult questions. Fear, discomfort, anxiety, happiness, hope, are all gone and replaced with a very deep sense of peace and the mental concentration to doggedly pursue the answers to your questions. For me, entering meditative states and then asking questions just didn’t work, and I tried for months. For some reason my brain simply echoed questions back at me, or wandered aimlessly. Although I did get a chance to work through some of my day-to-day frustrations and worries, the deeper questions eluded me. With chakra meditation I found the perfect way to relax my body and to build a powerful mental concentration. It got to the point where upon ‘waking’ the answers to previously asked or mulled over questions would flow to the front of my mind for realisation and inspection without any conscious effort involved for my part.

That is why I believe this type of meditation can lay the foundation for removing mental blocks (subconscious or otherwise) and allowing one to reach the mental, and physical, state needed to ask those difficult, challenging questions.