An Introduction to Animality
Written January 1st, 2009; revised September 25th, 2009.
Animality. One's animal nature. Animal-person. One who is a person and an animal both.
A good friend of mine drew an excellent parallel: Much like transgendered individuals have a gender identity that is different from their biological gender, animalfolk have a species identity that is different from their biological species. We are transspecies.
Animality is what and who one is at one's very deepest, most basic, most instinctive levels. The core of a person is what drives them in thought, word, and action; animalfolk are driven by a set of instincts, desires, and behavioral patterns that closely parallel those of a non-human animal. That animal core is expressed through the human body, intellect, and how one was raised, making us animal-people and not just animals wearing human skins.
Being an animal-person is not something one can turn on and off at will. It is not a conscious choice of a personal representation; it is not a totemic connection; it is not a 'fursona' or role-playing character. Animality is core, is constant, is something that stays even when one stops thinking about it. It is a way of existing, of living, of perceiving and interpreting the world, of understanding and exploring oneself. It is no more transient or faith-based than one's gender, one's ethnicity, or one's physical body. It's not a choice; it's a fact of life.
Animalfolk are both human and animal; the combination creates a new breed that isn't solely one or the other at varying times. Though many animalfolk 'shift', or experience changes in the intensity of how purely animal they feel and act, we are still a little human and a little animal at all times. I don't find it possible to completely segregate oneself into 'human' and 'animal' with a thick black line - it's a mix, a mesh, a melding of two natures that, with time and life experiences, have grown into one complex, convoluted, whole being.
Animal-people experience the world in a fundamentally different way than human beings and, in most cases, than each other. A jaguar-person is going to have a different world-view than a coyote-person, and a raven-person's paradigm is going to be quite distinct from a horse-person's. The fact that such unrelated species can communicate and understand each other is a testament to our human ability to express ourselves and empathize; the camaraderie amongst different species of animalfolk can often surpass that of a mixed human-and-animal group, simply because animalfolk tend to operate and interact on a more instinctual, less intellectual level. However, there are many 'animal-friendly' humans who are quite capable of operating on that same animal-level of interaction, and I count several among my closest friends.
What I'm saying in this introduction, what I say across this entire site, are only things that I hold to be true and that I have personally experienced. This is what animality is to me - your mileage, terminology, and personal experiences will vary. The incredible diversity within animal-people is to be treasured and explored; there's no dogma or hard-and-fast rules here. Just one lion's thoughts, opinions, and experiences.