What is Lycanthropy?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

Lycanthropy is a concept in folklore wherein a particular human being possesses the capability of transforming into a wolf, or a werewolf. The word is commonly attributed to mythology, although it has now been used in the medical industry as pertaining to a mental illness.

Clinical lycanthropy, as it has been termed, is the mental illness wherein a patient is convinced that he/she has been transformed into a certain animal, hence he/she behaves accordingly so.

Going beneath the obvious attributions, however, lycanthropy can also pertain to the psyche's deeper states of being. It can pertain to the soul's repressed facet, or in other words "the other self".

In legend, the concept of lycanthropy suggests that upon this 'phenomenon', the human being's 'double' or 'soul' leaves the man's body upon a state of trance, allowing the soul to take flight and seek for prey.

Translating the concept into human reality, we now understand the aforementioned 'double' or 'soul' as our 'unconscious self'. Therefore, lycanthropy can now apply unto humans as pertaining to the point in a person's life wherein some outside force triggers what has been repressed, denied, or set aside upon full awakening. This, in psychology, is dubbed 'the shadow', and also 'the unconscious'.

In legend, it is known that whatever endeavor the man's 'werewolf self/state' goes through (usually of fatal risks), he/she shall also account for. This concept can be perceived as the fictionalized circumstance in human reality wherein the denial or repression of our less ideal 'selves' becomes, sooner or later, the key towards our downfall.

So, what possible cause lies beneath the rare, psychiatric malady we now know as 'clinical lycanthropy'?

Certainly, the medical field has been boggled with the emergence of the syndrome. Yet, most psychiatric fields have long been battling futile wars such as this, for the field seeks to 'release' patients from what they hold on to as their personal convictions or beliefs, their stable ground. The key, however, lies upon perception.

Sadly, doctors have only been perceiving such syndromes by diagnosing the surface, when patients have been experiencing 90% of the iceberg. They experience what cannot be observed by the naked eye, but that which encumbers their entire being.

When 'clinical lycanthropy' patients complain of 'major changing formations with body parts', for example, has any doctor ever perceived such a complaint more of an emotional/spiritual phenomenon? Understanding the complaint from a deeper perspective, nevertheless, it is apparent that the patient has been experiencing feelings, states of being, and emotions that he/she has never met before.

He/she is merely upon an intense identity change, a major spiritual and psychological overhaul, borne out of the unconscious self's upsurging revelations. The patient, therefore, has been led to feel overwhelmed with these. Hence, the state of lycanthropy.

It has merely been slotted in figurative language, lycanthropy. There exists more of such type.

submitted by Sarah Olano, Nymphetamine of abysmal-soleil.deviantart.com