A merging of the body and the soul!
SHIFTING- Shifting is short fo shapeshifting. There are many forms of shifting and, with it, many interpretations of what shifting is, exactly. To me, it's like the merging of the body and the soul, whether it's spiritual and/or physical.
MORPHING- Morphing is a form of shapeshifting in which one's form chnages shape quickly, fluidly, and with ease, but the shift is void of feeling. The shifter feels no sensations while the transformation takes place.
PHENOTYPE- A person's phenotype is considered the animal form their body assumes when they shift. It can be any animal, a tiger, fox, bear, dolphin, eagle, or whatever. It doesn't always pertain to wolves exclusively. Wolves are just the most common. It's also not too uncommon for a person to have more than one phenotype. I, for example have two, the Timberwolf and the Red Fox.\
SHIFTERS- A shifter, as you may have already gathered, is a person who can shapeshift. Calling a shifter a "Were" also works because it can be short for werewolf or, weretiger, werefox, werecoyote, or whatever their particular phenotype is. It's that general and for that reason some shifters may prefer to be called "Weres". Like being called a shifter, it implies only that they have the ability to change their shape, usually into an animal form.
There are three main types of shifters: Lycanthropes, Therianthropes, and Polymorphs. Of course there are others, but to keep things simple I've narrowed it down to these main three...
LYCANTHROPES- Also known as werewolves, are people who have the ability to shift into their wolf phenotype. They can become a full-fledged four-legged wolf, or a werewolf.
THERIANTHROPES- Therianthropy covers all animal forms, including wolves, so technically a lycanthrope can also be considered a Therianthrope. However, since Lycanthropy specifically deals with wolves, Therianthropes are generally thought of as people who transform themselves into other animal forms. Therianthropes include the weretigers, werefoxes, werebears, and so on and so forth.
POLYMORPHS- The difference between a Polymorph and the other two types os shifters is that Polymorphs not only have many phenotypes, but they can appear as a mixed hybrid of all their phenotypes combined into one. An example of a polymorph would be a person who could shift into a creature that is part human, tiger, and eagle. A weretiger with wings perhaps... Mmm, wouldn't that be something?
TYPES OF SHIFTS- Okay, now what I'm going to do here is use my lycanthropy to help me explain the different forms of shifting. Just keep in mind that the following can apply to any one of the many phenotype, not just wolves.
SENSE SHIFTING- Sense Shifting can occur with any of the other shifts or it can happen all by itself. It's simply a heightening of the senses.
WILD SHIFTING- Wild shifts occur when a shifter lets go and a more wild, primal instinct takes over. A lot of what happens while in this state usually happens involuntarily and the shifter may have trouble holding back a growl or any other animal like urges. It can grow so intense at times that the shifter may even feel might have to hold back a real physical transformation. Any shift where there's an amount of control given up or lost to the "wild" instinct within is considered a wild shift.
DREAM SHIFTING- A Dream Shift occurs when a lycanthrope becomes a wolf or werewolf in their dreams. The change is often involuntary, which means "it just happens". Lycanthropes usually have less control over what they do in this form of shifting because, unlike Lucid Dream Shifting, they are unaware that they are dreaming. A Dream Shift still happens in a normal dream, the only exception is that the dreamer can shapeshift.
LUCID DREAM SHIFTING- The difference between Lucid Dream Shifting and Dream Shifting is that with Lucid Dream Shifting the lycanthrope is aware that they are dreaming and therefor the change is usually voluntary. They know that they ae dreaming and shapeshift by true will and desire. As with regular lucid dreams, Lucid Dream Shifting experiences are just as vivid, sensual, and very realistic, the closest thing you can get to a Physical Shift.
PHYSICAL SHIFTING- Physical Shifting occurs when the lycanthrope's real and physical body actually undergoes the transformation from human to wolf, or werewolf, the state somewhere inbetween.
ASTRAL SHIFTING- An Astral Shift occurs when a lycanthrope enters a spiritual trance, travels out of body to the astral plane, and shifts there. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between Lucid Dream Shifts and Astral Shifts, lucid dreams being just as real, but Astral Shifts are sometimes associated with "psychic" experinces as well, such as : dream sharing, telepathy, clairovoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis. Astral Shifts are also said to be more spiritual in nature.
MENTAL SHIFTING- Mental Shifting, as the name implies, deals with the mentality of a lycanthrope. This, of course, varies from person to person, but there seems to be a common thread. The most common is an ability that I too have experienced. It is the ability to shut out all human sapience, that constant dialogue playing in our heads, human thought. Then, our senses becomes acutely heightened. It's a lot like what the Army calls "Condition Orange", only our instincts and reactions are more lupine.
Mental Shifting deals also with any shift that is felt but does not physically happen. A Phantom Shift (Described below) is one such shift.
PHANTOM SHIFTING- This form of shifting is usually associated with Mental Shifting, but is more specific as it deals only with the sensation of shifting or the feeling of being their phenotype. For example, the shifter may feel like they have fur and the feeling is so real, so intense that they have to check just to be sure they not P-Shifting! However, there will of course be no fur. This is where the term "Phantom Tail" or "Phantom Muzzle" comes from. It's a Mental Shift in which the feeling is there, but the transformation and/or the attributes of the phenotype cannot be physically seen.
AURA SHIFTING- Aura shifting consists of shaping one's aura. It's mainly done by instinct, but it can be shaped by will. It often happens when the shifter finds themself in a dangerous environment. They'll shift, looking very much the same but their soul has changed shape, for added protection. Much like how auras have different colors, it can be shaped into an anthropomorphic shape as well.
Borrowed from; Lance Foxx