Here are some of the many kinds of shapeshifting. Lots of weres can shapeshift (or just ‘shift’) in the ways described below, with the exception of physical shifting most of these are quite common. That is not to say everyone can do all of them or even any of the them, but they are the most talked about in the community.
Astral shifting is where one changes ‘shape’, i.e. shifts into an animal body or mind on the ‘astral plane’. This is higher plane of consciousness and it can take a lot of work to reach.
Some believe all living things have an aura, a kind of energy field that surrounds us and is generated by our ‘life energy’. Perhaps in the same way anything electrical creates and electromagnetic field. An aura shift is where someone believes or feels this energy field has changed shape to that of their were animal.
Dream shifting can be either lucid (very vivid kind of dream where you have control and you know you are dreaming) or otherwise. These kinds of shifts can be involuntary but it is also possible to learn to induce them using meditation.
Again this kind of shift can be voluntary or involuntary, though the latter is usually the most common. A mental shift is where you being to think and/or behave more like your animal spirit. It can be anything from a change of mood to one which has an animalistic feel to it, to completely loosing control of oneself as the animal side of you takes control of your actions and thoughts.
This is a rather strange kind of shift, where one feels as if one is about to physically shift, there may be tingling sensations, aching in finger tips, jaws and so on.
This is where your mind mentally shapeshifts your body while you are conscious, in this state you will feel as if you are in your were animal’s body even when you know you are not. Weres often notice the sensation of having a phantom tail or muzzle (phenotype specific of course).
What you see in the movies, well perhaps. I have never seen a were physically transform before my eyes, though I have heard of it happening. While I find it unlikely that anyone would shift into a muscle bound Hollywood style monster, it is presumable that some form of hybrid form would not be too far off some anthromorthic projections from movies and animations. Many favour the complete shift though, where your body completely takes upon the shape of your were animal.
A sense shift is where your senses, usually hearing and the sense of smell become heightened above what would seem a normal human level. These can also be experienced as becoming more acutely aware of the environment that the shifter is in.
While I mainly use the word ‘were animal’, many weres do have multiple phenotypes, and it is possible to shift where there are two or more animal personalities, though they are more frequently seen individually rather than together.
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I would say in my 25 years I have experienced most of these: Aura would be the most common, Near physical happens about once or twice a month. Dream, mental and Sense is uncommon but have happened. Only once, no twice, have I had an astral. I'd like to learn more from other people about what they have experienced. Believing my whole life that I was a freak, it is definetly a change to know there are hundreds of people like me out there.