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If you have a question you'd like me to answer, feel free to send it in. Commonly asked questions are likely to be posted.



1. Coats changing with seasons
2. Dæmons at birth
3. Seeing other dæmons
4. Can dæmons pull?
5. Can dæmons be injured?
6. Do dæmons have genitalia?
7. Taking human form
8. Dæmons of twins
9. Dæmon-determined interaction
10. Are these Pullman's dæmons?
11. Dæmon being smarter than you
12. Having two dæmons
13. Water-bound dæmons
14. The æ symbol
15. Dæmon's name
16. Seeing your dæmon
17. Talking to your dæmon
18. Think you lost your dæmon
19. Same-sex dæmons
20. When do dæmons settle?
21. Finding your settled form
22. Deciding on a settled form
23. Analyzing dæmon's color
24. Knowing when you're settled
25. Mythical forms
26. Is this a religion/cult?
27. Multiple Personality Disorder
28. For the sceptic
29. Is this anti-Christian?
30. Therianthropy and totems





GENERAL DÆMONS



1. Can a dæmon's coat change with the seasons, even after they're settled?


One can certainly imagine their dæmon's coat changing seasonally, but most of us would consider that to be personal preference and not something a dæmon is expected to do. From what I've seen, most people with a settled form whose coat changes seasonally (e.g. stoat) see their dæmon as either a brown stoat or a white ermine, and not both interchangeably. It could be that winter coat versus summer coat has some subtle significance that could be put into an analysis, but I'm not sure what. By and large, thickness of coat is just reflecting the preference of the one projecting. (Rookie, for example, is usually projected in a spring/summer coat.)


2. How does the dæmon appear when a child's born?


(Keep in mind that this is simply a fun "What if" question, as no one in our world has a dæmon until/if they choose to have one.)

A dæmon isn't born from another dæmon. A person's physical characteristics are determined by gene shuffling from both the parents, sure, but it's not the same way with the child's dæmon, because he or she is not merely a physical extension like an arm or leg. Your spirit is something unique to you, and it's not really another soul that gives birth to it. (Never mind the obvious dilemma of What if both parents have male dæmons, or the female dæmon isn't present for the birth?)

I've always imagined that the dæmon doesn't have a definite shape until the baby's consciousness fully develops. So the dæmon wouldn't appear at the exact moment of birth, but still rather early on, such as around their third month of life (about the time babies gain self-awareness). Before then, the baby is still human (naturally), so it's possible that the dæmon is just visible as some vague, ethereal form always nearby.

And the dæmon's first form...? It probably just reflects however the child feels at the moment, or is the last animal they saw.

It's also generally believed that young children have young dæmons, meaning the animal forms they take are that of young animals. For example, a toddler's dæmon would be a cub, not an adult grizzly. Even when they're seven or eight, the animals will most likely be juveniles. This reflects how the soul is young and inexperienced. Like their human, they've only recently entered the world. Plus, can you imagine how awkward it would be to see a baby with a full-grown tiger dæmon? o.O

Edit: There's also been a popular theory around the community called the "blob theory." It states that before taking an animal form, an infant's dæmon would be a colored, indistinct blob, and this entity would compromise the dæmon's internal environment later on. For example, if your "blob" were like blue mist, your dæmon's insides would look the same. These insides are unique like the dæmon's form and say something about your core self.


3. Can dæmons see other dæmons?


The answer is no. Your dæmon's intuition and your own can help you imagine someone else's dæmon in animal form, but you are not truly seeing them, even if you know what animal it is. If dæmons could see one another as clear as day, someone would've noticed by now. =P We can only envision them in our mind's eye, but unlike with our own dæmon, we cannot be sure about what the other dæmon would be saying or doing. Only its human would know.


4. Can dæmons "pull"? (i.e. induce pain by walking away from their human)


I rarely feel the pull anymore, because I know it's impossible for my dæmon to leave me. He is always inside me, no matter how far away my mind's eye envisions him. I don't think that terrible feeling when your dæmon "pulls" is because they're far away from you, because they aren't. It's just from the thought of them being far from you, which for many is bad enough. So the answer is technically no, but that doesn't mean you can't feel as though it's happening.


5. Can dæmons be injured?


Dæmons cannot be physically injured any more than an imaginary friend can. However, they can appear injured to reflect emotional hurt dealt to us. For example, my own dæmon sported three slash marks across his cheek in high school which represented an emotional scar, and like a real scar, it has healed with time to the point where it's not visible.


6. Do dæmons have external genitalia?


Whether or not you project your dæmon with genitalia is completely personal preference. I find that most people don't, but others say it would be weird to imagine their dæmon with nothing "down there."


7. Can dæmons take human form?


Since our dæmons' forms are imagined they can take any form they want, be it human, plant, or rock. So the question is: Could they settle as a human? I strongly believe the answer is no. They probably couldn't settle as a being with true self-awareness like ourselves, which also excludes forms like centaurs, anthros, and angels (as, in theory, these creatures would have a dæmon equivalent themselves, not be one, and their personalities would be too varied to be generalized for an analysis.)

On the other hand, animals can be analyzed through their species' common habits, temperament, and symbolism, while humankind is harder to generalize thanks to our ability to act contrarty to instinct. Although we stereotype races just like we do animals, a human cannot be defined by another human. The only person who could perfectly reflect who you are is yourself, and that would be just a little redundant. You couldn't just consider your dæmon's actions for the analysis, either, because it's the form that's supposed to reflect you; their attitude just balances you out, same with any other dæmon. That you are a human is a given; the dæmon is supposed to reflect what kind of human you are.

Saying one's dæmon is settled as a human is comparable to saying your totem's a human, or you're a human therian. It's contradictory and meaningless. As my friend Mai put it: "But the way I've always thought of it is; what would be the point of having a human dæmon? A dæmon takes a form in order to make a statement about the human it is representing; a deer says 'I can be shy', a big cat often says 'I am independant' etc etc. But the human part of yourself is already well represented because you are a human. It's like painting yourself red and then believing it necessary to wander around with a big sign that says "I AM RED"."

"Why does it matter?" you might ask. Well, it doesn't have to. There are no 'have to's with dæmons. But it's the popular belief that one's dæmon will take a form that is analyzable, and this form is your best match. You are free to call your dæmon a 'settled human,' but it would not fit under the experience of what we call a dæmon. Human forms may make great comfort forms, we just don't believe they can function as the settled, symbolic one. But the dæmon itself is always more important than the form, so if it works for you, that is fine by us.


8. Do twins have similar dæmons?


The answer is no. They probably won't be any more alike than the dæmons of other siblings. The one example I can think of is Cat and Jen. Cat is a guinea pig, Jen is a chihuahua. No real similarity there. Fraternal twins were just in the mother at the same time. They didn't come from the same zygote (fertilized egg), so they aren't genetically identical. They are their own person 100%, so there's no reason why the dæmons should be alike. Identical twins have the same set of genes, so they're physically identical, but appearances don't determine the settled form. People aren't so black and white. They'll grow up to have different interests, different attitudes, different talents... Their personalities, even if similar, will be noticeably different. I'd be far more surprised if the dæmons were identical than if they weren't. Try to think of twins you know personally. Are they such clones of one another that you can imagine them having near identical souls? Probably not.


9. Do people with certain dæmons react to each other the same as the animals would in the wild? For example, would someone with a mouse dæmon fear someone with a cat dæmon?


No, it couldn't be that easy. Too many animals are aggressive when forced together. In theory, that would also mean someone with a prey dæmon is afraid of everyone they meet with a predator dæmon. Obviously we don't live in a constant state of fear like that! I have a coyote dæmon, and my husband's a lioness. If put together, I'm sure a lion would eat a coyote, since they eat dead jackals. But that doesn't make me scared of him. No, I find that most often our feelings towards someone reflect OUR feelings for that animal. For example, I like Fennec foxes, so I like my friend with a Fennec fox dæmon. I like corgis, and I adore a character with a corgi dæmon. I knew someone with a snake dæmon and found their intense, honest stare to be off-putting. But sometimes the personality a form represents matters more than the animal itself. Example: Maybe someone loves gray foxes, but they find the person they know with a gray fox dæmon to be annoying. Why? Because they're arrogant, and in some that is a fox trait. I used to not like lions, so this is the opposite case. It turns out I like the lioness personality, so I now have a greater respect and love for that animal. :)

Note that a person with a certain dæmon will likely react to others as though they were "also that animal," rather than it being inter-species. Bobcats don't hang around other bobcats often, and thus bobcat souls are solitary. Coyotes live in a hierarchy with their fellow coyotes, and will thus view some companions as dominant and others as subordinates. It doesn't matter if the superior is a rat soul or a sparrow soul, it only matters if they have a dominant, aggressive personality. People forget that prey animals sometimes need to be fierce to survive, unlike the untouchable predators. Don't expect a mouse to be a meek personality, because they might turn out to be one of the toughest kids you know.


10. So are the dæmons on this site like Pullman's dæmons or what?


The community uses the term 'dæmon' because, clearly, its existence was inspired by His Dark Materials. We chose to adopt Pullman's take on internal guides and then ran with it. And although the community has diverged from the canon in some regards, the term is still the best fit for our shared experience: Most will change forms when the person is younger then settle later on, be the opposite sex, act as a voice of reason, etc. But Pullman didn't sit down and detail every single aspect of his creation, and he admits this himself. There are a lot of unanswered questions about dæmons in Lyra's world. It's an imperfect idea. But we know our dæmons personally and have debated almost every aspect imaginable. Plus, the idea of dæmons/daimons has been around for many centuries. Pullman's version of dæmons is merely what we prefer and have chosen to experience. 'Dæmon' is what we call them because dæmons are what they are most like.

You don't need to read HDM to know your dæmon, although it's an amazing trilogy and gives you a clear picture of what they are. This site may explain them more thoroughly than Pullman's books, which is fine, because in his story they were a fictional element. Ours are a part of our psyche, and thus more rich than fiction.

Your dæmon will not follow all the rules of Pullman's dæmons, so don't try to live by them. In Lyra's world things are simplistic, such as the dæmon settling at puberty, dæmons only being able to take certain forms... Real dæmons aren't restrained in this fashion; they're only restrained by your own imagination.

But the truth is, we wouldn't think about dæmons the way we do without Phillip Pullman. Those who've read HDM and want to reseach dæmons will type in just that. If I used a different term they wouldn't find fellow believers. That's a good enough reason to use the term "dæmon" right there.


11. Can your dæmon be smarter than you?


Your dæmon cannot be smarter than you (when it comes to objective facts) because they're confined to your mind and have only experienced what you've experienced. If you know something, they know it, too. I believe, however, that the dæmon acts as a kind of link to our subconscious, and may be quicker to retrieve supressed knowledge than we are. So even if my dæmon and I both know something, he could just say it before I fully, consciously realize it myself. The dæmon may also appear wiser because while we're caught up in the moment, they are unaffected in any direct way and can "stand back" and be objective. (I find that however much I want Rookie to say what I want to hear, he'll be honest, even if sympathetic.) It makes us look like the crazy emotional one and them the rational thinker sometimes. This may be why we call them our conscience; if they were too subjective or irrational in our times of need this wouldn't the case.


12. Can a person have two dæmons?


Since dæmons are a mental construct, there's no telling a person objectively that they can or cannot have two or more dæmons. However, a central goal in dæmonism is to discover your settled form, and it doesn't make sense that you'd have two such forms. However similar the animals are, the two analyses are bound to contradict each other somewhere. In a similar vein, it's generally frowned upon to try to "settle" as an unlikely hybrid to explain the disparity in analyses (e.g. tigon or coydog). You can only have one viable settled form at the end of the day, and projecting two dæmons might hinder this process. Also, I don't know of anyone who has argued effectively that they have two dæmons. Usually if someone starts out thinking they have two constructs filling the role of dæmon, one turns out to be a general headmate or soulbond, or the two even mesh into one, more stable dæmon.


13. What if someone's dæmon is settled as an aquatic animal?


Of course it depends on the individual, but those I know with aquatic dæmons (when not near a body of water) merely imagine their dæmon "swimming" in the air beside them. Others will picture their dæmon in water in their head (headspace). Simple as that.


14. How do you make the æ symbol on your keyboard?


Yeah... Probably should've put this one up ages ago. To make the symbol in HTML you type &-#-230-; but without the dashes. But to get the symbol in everyday typing you hit Alt + 0230 on your number pad. Alt + 145 should also work. Alt + 0198 and Alt + 146 get you Æ. &-#-198-; will get you Æ in HTML. And by the way, the symbol is called an 'ash' in English, and is a letter from the Old English alphabet. In Classical Latin it usually denoted the long i sound, making dæmon pronounced die-mon. But in modern times the ash is often simplified to just an 'e,' making dæmon demon.




INDIVIDUAL DÆMONS



15. I don't know my dæmon's name.  How do I figure it out?


Just like anything else created by another, dæmons are nameless until given a name - so you and your dæmon must decide on theirs together.  Dæmon names tend to be distinct from those of people, potentially because we've heard every variation so many times that they all run together, and we subconsciously crave a name for our dæmon that's as unique as we perceive ourselves to be. Nor is the dæmon confined to a name that's acceptable by society's standards, and thus can be given a title that's special to you and fits your liking.  Some examples are: Parallax, Celierra, Jade, Haithus, Atreyo, etc.

The full dæmon name often has a respectable feel. We call this the formal name, since most dæmons are more commonly called by a personalized nickname. While the formal name might embody all the depth of the mind it reflects, I would say the informal name reflects that day-to-day comfort and ease one shares with their dæmon. Maybe calling our dæmon something more familiar reflects not only our closeness, but also how we don't take ourselves too seriously. Your dæmon isn't Pantalaimon, they're your dearest Pan.

Some people have said their dæmon told them their name, but often this isn't the case. You may want to ask your dæmon what he or she "feels" is their name, and give them time to ponder it. There's also no shame in giving them a temporary nickname. It has been to many people's advantage to just play with sounds and syllables they like until something sticks. In my case, I said my dæmon's name at random, and he knew it was right. So your options are: decide on one together, ask them what it is, or simply wait and have it reveal itself to you. Either way, your dæmon will eventually possess a name if you want them to.


16. Can you see your dæmon?


Yes, I can, but not in the same way I see the computer screen that's in front of me now. He's not physical in any way, shape, or form (unless you count myself). I don't see him with my eyes so much as I see him with my imagination, or in my mind's eye. But I don't think about it anymore. It's gotten to the point where projecting my dæmon is an entirely unconscious effort, and you can get to that point, too.

A few people are under the impression that you learn some dimensional trick with your eyes (thanks to The Amber Spyglass), and then see your dæmon clear as day. But you can't. To "see" your dæmon you must envision him or her and project that body into the surrounding world. In layman's terms: You're imagining something that isn't there. The way you would see an imaginary friend is the same technique for seeing your dæmon, because you must remember they're internal - not invisible, but inside unless we imagine them otherwise. So if you had imaginary friends as a child this will probably come easily to you, but if you've never had an easy time imagining things outside of your mind, don't expect envisioning your dæmon to be any simpler - it'll take work. I can understand if you're frustrated because it feels forced or made up in the beginning, but it should become second nature with time and practice.

Note: I cannot say this enough... You don't need to waste time trying to decipher your dæmon's settled form ahead of time. It's more important to know them than to know their final form, and more than likely he or she isn't settled yet anyway. See your dæmon as any creature you want to start off with, and go from there. I would suggest an animal you're very familiar with the appearance and movements of. Your dæmon will change shape of its own volition, but you may have to give it that starting form. Remember, there's no fancy trick. You're just using your imagination, so my advice for "seeing your dæmon" will be the same for, well, imagining an animal by your side. Just get plenty of references if you need 'em.

Also, many beginners find it easier to imagine their dæmon out of the corner of their eye, because the illusion's lost when trying to look straight at them. I would definitely recommend this trick to anyone who's having trouble projecting their dæmon right in front of them.


17. How do I talk to my dæmon?


Once you get acquainted with your dæmon, you might discover that you've always been talking to them, or at least them to you.  Many people communicate with their "dæmon" on a subconscious level, either in the form of working through dilemmas or chiding themselves, or otherwise carrying on an internal dialogue. Knowing your dæmon just makes these conversations more direct. You'll start recognizing which words are your dæmon's and which are your own; you'll find what was a fleeting mental note was actually a comment of theirs. Remember, he or she is the other end of your internal dialogue-- that faint voice that you didn't give much thought to.  No matter how quickly an answer springs to your mind when you ask yourself a question, the responding thought may be what we consider the dæmon.  (May be because it is possible to conduct mental conversations without your dæmon.) To speak with him or her in a more conscious way, it's helpful to project their animal form (which is explained above).

A lot of people make this harder than it is.  I repeat: Your dæmon is you.  You already know each other inside and out before you even have your first true conversation.  He or she knows your friends as well as you do, knows your most embarrassing moment, knows all your secrets and silent hopes...  Just like you wouldn't presume to "mishear" your mental voice, you cannot mishear your dæmon.  The difficulty for most people simply comes in the birth of this new-found relationship, and over-thinking every word due to the novelty, instead of letting it come as a natural stream of conscious. If you try to see the animal form as your dæmon speaks and give it time, it should eventually come naturally to both of you.  "Talking" to your dæmon means acknowledging the subtle dialogue going on in your mind, and letting that other voice develop its own persona so as to better understand yourself.

Note: In case it's unclear, it's not necessary to visualize your dæmon in order to speak to them. I just figured that's the best way for beginners to learn to distinguish between their dæmon's voice and their own mental one. I've also seen it recommended that you give your dæmon a voice or accent markedly different from your own to help in this.

And to give some examples... The dæmon is often that voice yelling something like "You friggin' idiot!" after you've done wrong, the faint voice that seems to whisper "C, C" before you circle it on a test, or sometimes the voice that snarls nasty things to someone when you yourself keep shut. They may be that voice of conscience urging you to eat a banana instead of chocolate. Point is, you've heard them before. The dæmon may not make itself known because they don't see themselves as separate until you yourself make that distinction.


18. I've lost my dæmon! I can't see him or talk to him anymore! What should I do?


I've never drifted from Rookie for any period of time, so I can only give you what seems like the most logical advice, and not speak from experience.  First of all, remember that you can't "lose" your dæmon.  Whether or not you see or directly speak to yours, they will always be with you. Your dæmon can never be taken from you.

I'd strongly suggest that you begin envisioning their body again, if you want that relationship back.  Even if it feels forced, you need to be reminded of their presence and get used to seeing them naturally again.  When you're just sitting on a couch or at a desk, or laying down on your bed, imagine them next to you.  Watch them react to your thoughts and feelings.  Imagine what their fur would feel like if you gently stroked their head.  I just think it's best to start off with the visual/physical portion of the bond, so that you remember what it's like for them to be "separate."

You are one.  If you desperately want to speak with your dæmon, they want to speak with you, too.  Pay close attention to the way your thoughts progress, because often a dæmon will give advice or a quick comment without the person noticing, but if you do realize a certain thought originated in them, it's a good way to start up a conversation.  Or instead of waiting for such a moment, you could just ask them a simple question directly.  "Hey, what do you think about this?" should be enough.  Don't force the words... stay relaxed, and see them beside you and let their thoughts flow to you naturally.  This might be reiterating, but you can't misunderstand your dæmon.  They are not a mystery to you; they are part of who you are.  If you think they said a certain thing, then you heard correctly, and all is well.  ^^ Times of stress may weaken your bond, but you'll come out of it together if you try.


19. My dæmon's the same sex as me, but I'm not gay, so what's up with that?


The original theory (way back when) was that a same-sex dæmon indicated a bi or homosexual person. But throughout the years the community has come across more "exceptions" than rules, so clearly that theory was thrown out the window. No one knows for sure what causes a dæmon of the same sex, but it's likely different for everyone. Don't worry; it doesn't mean you're hiding some deep dark secret from yourself. Your dæmon is the same sex because that's what comes naturally for you, and is best for the two of you. Maybe you feel more comfortable hearing the voice of that gender, or being close to that gender, or any number of things. Most people asked about this could not tell you why, but they will tell you it just comes naturally.




FORM FINDING AND SETTLING



20. Do dæmons have to settle?  When are they supposed to settle?


The concept is open to interpretation, but I feel that settling happens to everyone (except maybe people with serious physiological problems). Can you imagine how someone must be if they're well into adulthood and their dæmon still hasn't settled? It would mean their personality isn't consistent enough for it to be described, and that it's constantly changing and molding into a different persona - being altered by outside influences. They haven't become the person they were destined to be. I still see my dæmon "change" even now that he's settled, but that doesn't mean we aren't settled, because settling is a mental state. Dæmons settle.  It's a part of life and a part of growing up.

The second question doesn't have a definite answer.  It's different for everyone, but the range is mostly between the teenage years and early adulthood.  "But aren't dæmons supposed to settle at puberty?"  Yes, this was written in The Golden Compass, but you have to remember that dæmons aren't physical in the real world.  Rather than being a physical event like reaching puberty, it's a state of being. If a dæmon hasn't settled yet, it means that person's self isn't completely settled yet. They are still susceptible to change at a deep level. It may take some time, but the dæmon will settle when the time's right, and that time is different for everyone.


21. How do I know what my dæmon's settled as?


Before answering this question we need to make clear the distinction between a person's projected form and their settled form. The projected form is what you see your dæmon as when you, well, project them. The projected form can be absolutely anything: A dog, cat, chair, Pikachu, dragon... The settled form, however, is the animal that best represents your personality when analyzed to the community's standards. You can only have one settled form, but given the incorporeality of dæmons, you can still envision them changing shape even after you settle. For example, I'm settled as a coyote. The coyote best reflects who I am. However, I still imagine Rookie changing shape out of habit and simply for fun.

I'm of the opinion that people often feel drawn to their settled form, assuming it's an animal they're familiar with. You might just know, instinctively, that you're more dog-like or bird-like. You might feel confident from the get-go that "I'm a red fox" or "I'm a cardinal." For this reason I think it makes sense to research and analyze the animal you most comfortably project your dæmon as. I was lucky in that my dæmon naturally took coyote form, even though my knowledge of coyotes at the time was basically nonexistent. But the more I researched them, the more similarities I drew, and the more comfortable I became with calling coyote my settled form.

For many, though, it's not as simple as "what do I see my dæmon as." You might project your dæmon a certain way just because you like that animal, are familiar with how it moves, find it comforting, etc. Other people don't project their dæmon at all. If it's clear your projected form doesn't match your personality, you might want to start looking at new forms based on analysis. Maybe ask fellow daemians what forms they'd suggest for you, or look into more fitting forms based on your own common sense. Eventually something should feel right, but the more patience you have, the better. Some people take years and years to find the right form while others get it right the first time. Others still are so focused on form-finding that they go through many forms in a short time frame and just end up hopelessly confused.

Overall: Do your research, be honest with yourself, listen to the advice of others more experienced in analysis, and be patient.


22. I've narrowed the number of animals my dæmon could settle as to two. How can I tell which is right?


This happened to me, and my problem was solved when I realized one of them just wasn't plausible as a settled form, i.e. a cartoon critter. So that narrowed it down to one, and that animal turned out to be just right. I suggest you sit down and make a list. Note why the one form fits you, and why the other one does, too. But also take the time to consider why they might not fit. Maybe there's a key trait for one of the animals that just isn't you, and you know this trait would be found in someone with that dæmon. If a simple list isn't enough, try asking people you know which animal they see you as. (Preferably people who understand the dæmon concept. If you ask friends who don't, their guesses can be way off.) Of course this isn't foolproof, but it might help to get a second opinion.

If no matter what things just seem split down the middle, your answer is time. Eventually you will know which form you're most comfortable with and which fits you on the deepest level. And despite your initial belief, the settled form could be neither animal you've narrowed it down to, so don't give up the search when you come to a dead end.


23. Does the color of my dæmon's form mean anything?


First off, if your dæmon's the natural color for whichever animal, the color shouldn't mean anything when analyzed by itself. It's not the orange that's significant, it's the tiger. Plus, an analysis of the color orange may be contradictory to one of a tiger. And completely different animals behavior-wise can have similar coats. (Tiger and fox, for example.) The color is only worth analyzing if it's atypical/unusual for that animal. Examples of this would be melanism (black coat) and albinism (white coat). Basically, this says that the form suits you, but the unique color makes it even more accurate.

What a different coat color says in terms of analysis is not always obvious. The best way to approach it is to ask yourself how that color affects the animal in the wild. Some jaguars are black because this helps them blend into the jungle at night. Perhaps this means an individual with a black jaguar dæmon is better able to fly under the radar of others, or be subtle when they wish it. Some say melanin creates a calmer animal, or makes for a stronger immune system. The community is still discovering how to best interpret this.

Albinism, on the other hand, often makes an animal stand out. They aren't as able to camouflage themselves, and this might represent a person who feels especially vulnerable or unable to hide what they're feeling.

Point is, determining what the atypical coat color means isn't as simple as looking up a color analysis. You need to research the possible reasons and consequences of the morph to get your answer.


24. How can I know when we're settled?


I can't tell anyone whether or not they're settled, but in general, the older you are, the more likely it is that you have a settled personality. A poll once showed that most dæmians claimed settledom at 17 years of age, but I wouldn't be surprised if most people at that age are in the process of settling rather than truly settled. It could be that for the majority of people, the form that fits them best around 17 will still fit them when they're older, but it's not guaranteed. Be honest with yourself regarding how stable your personality is, and whether or not you've experienced much of life outside of school. Being truly independent for the first time might change you in unexpected ways.

If you believe that you're settled and want to know if you found the right form to match, remember that all of the animal's core traits should fit you, as well as most of the inferred ones. Well-written third party analyses as well as your own interpretations should fit like a glove. You should also have looked into other forms so that you know this animal does in fact fit best, rather than you having settled (lol) for the first form you stumbled upon.

You can't go purely by analysis either. The words on a page might fit you to a T, but remember that an analysis is just one person's interpretation of a form - it can't possibly cover everything there is to know about that personality, or what the form would mean to you personally. While one analysis might fit you 'perfectly,' keep in mind that it might be the Forer Effect at work. Chances are there are other analyses that would fit you just as well on paper. Your goal is to find the form that fits best on paper AND in practice. Analyses only cover a fraction of what the form entails.

You should believe you can be content with that form for the rest of your life, or at least into the foreseeable future. If you're trying to cling to a cool form for purely vain or selfish reasons, you'll know it. My own settled form makes me feel content, because I can see the beauty in it, and the pride of everything I like about myself, but also my flaws. You should be able to look at the animal and accept the entirety of who you are (but that doesn't mean giving up on improving). It's a process that for some takes much time and honesty. Don't be too hard on yourself, because eventually you and your dæmon will get there.


25. Can my dæmon settle as a dragon or other mythical creature?


The dæmian community used to believe that basically any non-human animal that could be analyzed was a viable form. Even unicorns or cartoon animals weren't debated at the beginning. I even wrote a Western Dragon analysis once by researching the topic and interpreting the common temperament and behaviors that sources seemed to agree on. Eventually, though, the community became less and less convinced that a viable analysis for nonexistent creatures could exist.

For regular analyses you are researching an actual animal, so the facts are set in stone and certain interpretations cannot be disputed (e.g. wolves are social, lynx are less so). But since dragons etc don't exist, all the information is subjective! Sources are going to contradict each other and often do; think about all the different kinds of dragons or griffins there are. Thoughts will vary from culture to culture. And even if you specify that you are an Oriental Dragon or a Lion Griffin, you would still have to extrapolate much of your analysis from their physical form and deduce what this animal would be like in reality. All in all, the analysis would be limited by the fact that the animal doesn't exist and thus new information can never be discovered about it. I think similarities can be drawn between saying you're a dragon and saying you're a dog. It's such a general statement and doesn't really help pin down your settled form. Better to look into animals that reflect what you like about the mythical form (like a dragon's hermit tendencies and lust for knowledge, or a griffin's materialism... but again, most anything said about these beasts can be disputed with the right source).




MISCONCEPTIONS



26. Is this a religion? Or a cult?


No. Personally, I refer to dæmonism as a concept. The community prefers to call it a philosophy, but even that is a loose definition. It's just a helpful way to organize your thoughts and experience your mental life. Knowing your dæmon is just a state of being. Rather than asking yourself question after question, you can split these words into a dialogue; instead of feeling alone you can feel comforted by your own strength; instead of feeling unoriginal you can discover a unique way to see what makes you you. But this philosophy does not have a holy book. Everyone has their own views on it. One need not be religious to know their dæmon. Plenty of atheists speak to their dæmon as another aspect of their psyche, or a useful mental construct. Whether or not someone sees the dæmon as something "spiritual" is up to them. Knowing your dæmon does not explain what is moral, how you should live your life, or why we're here. The dæmon may strengthen your religious views, but again, it'll be different for everyone. Agnostics, atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Satanists, Wiccans... they can all be dæmians, because this philosophy doesn't conflict with religion.

We're not a cult either. We're not trying to brainwash anyone (or turn them away from their religion as the above shows). We have no rites or ceremonies. Though I'll admit this definition somewhat suits us: a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. We all adore our dæmons, but know they are not something to be put on a pedestal and worshiped. The dæmon, at the core, is us. Just that special and just that ordinary.

...though on full moons we drink chicken's blood.


27. Don't you just have Multiple personality disorder?


Actually, it's no longer called "Multiple personality disorder," but is now referred to as "Dissociative identity disorder" by the psychiatric community.

The DSM-IV TR states that DID includes:
a) the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self),
b) at least two of which take control of the individual's behavior on a recurrent basis,
c) inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

While a person's dæmon can to some extent be called another personality residing in their minds, it is a willful imagining and not a "distinct identity" that takes control of their body. I don't know of anyone who allows their dæmon to front in such a manner. The dæmon is often experienced as a projected image of an animal, not an alternate personality that vies for control of the host's body. Nor is dæmonism at all related to an inability to recall information. Really, anyone who compares dæmonism to DID is displaying their ignorance of the disorder.

While it's unrelated to DID, I'd like to throw it out there that dæmonism is not the same as schizophrenia either. Recognized symptoms of schizophrenia include: auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. It would be easy for a skeptic to claim that talking to one's dæmon is merely a self-delusional hallucination, but if they'd lay off the snark for a moment they might appreciate the difference between willful imagination and a schizophrenic's unwillful delusions. Being able to imagine an animal talking to you means just that-- you have an imagination. It certainly does not by default diagnose you with any disorder. Honestly, there are many facets and subtypes of schizophrenia that I am not qualified to discuss at length, but any research into the topic should make it clear that drawing parallels between a serious mental disorder and useful mental constructs is unfounded.


28. I'm having trouble believing in dæmons. What can you say to convince me?


Well it's a good thing you found this FAQ! Reason being that dæmons don't require a "belief," per se. There's nothing to believe in, because your dæmon isn't an external force that you have to believe in the existence of. They're not an independent spirit residing in your body. They're just you. Knowing your dæmon means choosing to appoint a personality, gender, and form to a part of your mind, to the point where it becomes habit (a useful, fulfilling habit). When we say you and everyone else already has a dæmon, we are referring to that part of yourself that constitutes the dæmon. If you chose to "meet" them, there is already a certain gender, voice, and such they would be destined to have, because it's what works best for you. As my pal Winger so eloquently put it,

"Also, so others have said before, what's there to prove? What do we need to have faith in? To say "I don't believe in your daemon" would be like saying "I don't believe in your ability to talk to yourself and apply a name and form to that part of yourself", which makes about as much sense as saying "I don't believe you can walk". If I'm doing it, what's to disbelieve? xD"


29. Is dæmonism anti-Christian?


To most dæmians (Christian and atheist alike) our dæmon is predominantly a mental construct. They're just a part of our consciousness that we gave its own identity because we find we benefit from splitting our internal dialogue into two voices. Dæmonism as a concept is religiously neutral. So really, I find that this question is similar to asking, "Is God upset that I have imaginary friends?" Unless your imaginary friends were taking precedent over your love for God, or leading you down an immoral path, I don't see any reason why God would be upset over some beneficial creativity. :) Another way I look at it is: Rookie worships God alongside me, sings Christian songs, and always encourages me to be a better person. If he were some puppet of the Devil's, I think none of these would be the case.


30. How is dæmonism different from therianthropy, or totems/spirit guides?


I am not a therian myself, nor do I really have any spirit guides, but I do know many such people, so please bear with me.

For the more spiritual therians, they tend to believe that they have some spiritual connection with their animal theriotype, or even that they were this animal in a past life. Some might even believe their animal currently walks the earth, or exists in some other plane of existence, and they have an undefineable connection with this individual which enables them to see through their eyes in dreams if not when waking. Non-spiritual therians will likely tell you they 'indentify' as their animal theriotype. Many feel that at a core level they are this animal and feel trapped in their human body. Many feel the whiskers, paws, or tail that aren't physically there. At times they might feel the stress or aggression of their animal side overtake their humanness. They might feel a sort of kinship with their theriotype and believe these animals feel drawn to them. All in all therians feel that something about them isn't quite human. Whether they explain it metaphysically or psychologically, they "are" an animal.

Dæmians do not believe they are an animal, and this key difference separates us from therians. For example, I am not a coyote. I don't dream that I'm a coyote, I don't act like a wild animal, and I don't feel that I'm as much canine as girl. I am human. I envision my dæmon as a coyote because coyote is the best animal symbol for who I am and how I act. My coyote side is a metaphor, not something connecting me to real animals. I identify with coyotes through analysis of their traits and how they transfer to human traits, but I would not say I am a coyote unless I meant it as shorthand for "my dæmon is a coyote." Also note that a therian's theriotype and their dæmon's form are very rarely identical. Someone can identify as a wolf therian without being highly social, etc. I know a wolf therian with a guinea pig dæmon, to give an idea of the variations. Therianthropy is not determined by how you act so much as how you define your identity as a person... or non-person, as the case may be.

The issue of totems is simpler. Basically, people with totems believe their totems aren't dependent on their minds as dæmons are. Totems are believed to be some sort of external spiritual force aiding the human and acting in their lives. They might believe their totem is a 'ghost' or a spirit that never lived, but either way it is an entity called upon, and supposedly they believe it would exist even if the person didn't recognize their existence. But dæmons are not exernal or independent of us. The dæmon is not an animal spirit, but a part of your own consciousness projected in animal form. (They're in animal form because it comes most naturally, or because we choose for them to be. Note that your dæmon can be seen as a human or refridgerator if you so desire.) If we die, our dæmon dies with us. And while totems come primarily in dreams or during meditation, your dæmon is constantly there with you and doesn't require any special trance to communicate with. Totems also tend to be silent and guide merely through their presence and symbolism, while dæmons are often talkative lil' buggers (or if not yappers, they aren't completely mute either). You can know your dæmon whilst also having multiple totems or spirit guides. They're not the same thing.