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p o l y m o r p h s

by Arethinn

This is a collection of some things I posted to some otherkin lists in either 1999 or 2000. I no longer consider myself to be a polymorph, however.

General discussion 1:

The idea came up when both Willow and I noted that we didn't seem to have a single trueform, but rather felt at home in multiple various forms, as well as having a connection to shapeshifting in general. The shapeshifting is not merely shape-change, but actually involves "being" whatever it is we change to, enough that we take on a bit of its essence. This is part of the reason I am so many things in here.

General discussion 2:

> a friend of mind says that she is an
> there a difference. like poly is many... would that be
> limited shapeshift to omnimorph being shifting to any form at all?

I'm with Willow in the potato-potahto thing. The term "polymorph" came about because we were trying to stick a label on something we'd really never thought about before, and so we did so partly by comparing it to already existing examples, such as the Star Trek "changelings" (like Odo) who can take any form and in their natural state are a kind of goo in a bucket. At first this came up because of a discussion of something we called "the mirror syndrome" or "mirror effect", whereby we noticed that while we don't seem to have a single true core form, we tend to start to "turn into" whatever we hang around (within some limits - I don't seem to ever "turn elven," no matter how many elves I hang around, yet I "turned dragon" very quickly when in the presence of only a few other dragons. We haven't adequately explained this phenomenon). In the end we came up with the idea of polymorphism, which to us meant:

1. The polymorph is, at "heart", essentially formless, though we tend to have several "natural" forms, the most popular, most shifted to, most comfortable, or whatever. See #4.
2. The polymorph tends to mirror the forms of those around them, though the exact operation of this phenom/skill hasn't been worked out. Why we would easily mirror some and not so easily others, we don't know.
3. The polymorph can shapeshift to essentially any form they choose. This shapeshifting is not merely form-based; while they do keep their own soul and mind, it is not, for example, "a dragon in an elven body" or anything like that. No, they actually *become* whatever it is they shapeshift to, with accompanying energetic/vibe changes. As for thus acquiring "abilities," I don't know, but I would guess it wouldn't be quite that easy, except for stuff really basic to the shape/race. (Wow, sounds D&D doesn't it? I never noticed that before *g*)
4. Having shifted to a shape, the polymorph tends to "acquire" that shape - that is, they then have it in their "repertoire". I theorize that it may be *how many times* you use a shape that determines its place in your "naturalness hierarchy" - that is, would it start being strong enough in you that others would see it as a "true form"?

There are some other assorted things I've noticed, such as "holding form" vs "involuntary mirroring" - I believe I've learned not to mirror if I don't want to - and some intersting things about energy signature changes and names...

General discussion 3:

> Actually, from what I've heard, a polymorph doesn't *have* a core or True
> form.

Oh, so we're a rumor now ;)

Yes, this is the gist. Most people seem to have a single form or a few forms in which they are most at home. To a polymorph, none of these feels "most at home." Beyond merely not being able to put a finger on what we are (as many newly awakened often can't and even some of those awake for a long time still don't know), we seem to have a *definite sense* that no particular form is the most True.

This isn't to say we don't have "preferred" forms, those that run stronger in us than others for whatever reason; what it means is that they are essentially equal within. Even the newly awakened tend towards "well, I feel I'm an elf, but I'm not sure," that sort of thing. Polymorphs get a feeling more like "well, I'm an elf, but wait - hang on, I think I'm a dragon - but you know, I don't feel like I Am An Elf.. or ..." none of them seem to carry the "self-idenification" mental ping.

Now, personally, I can shift the balance of these "components" in me such that right now, and for several months, I have been essentially a dragon for all intents and purposes. It also happens in smaller doses when I purposely shift. This used to be that it would happen involuntarily when around one or more of the "type" that I would begin to display characteristics of, except elves - no matter how many elves I hung around, I never got more than the barest whispers of elvenness. This may be because there's not enough elf in me "to begin with" to work with - not enough in the pool that is me to put that face forward. Over time I've realized that it could be done purposely, that I carry a "repertoire" in here I can use however I want.

My personal form of access, which I'm working on, is names - name-sigils, encoded words to call on that aspect. But lacking a complete set of names, I just kind of make do for now. I still do exhibit the "adaptive" techniques of the polymorph, though, even though I've learned how to "hold form" and not start subconsciously going the direction of whosever company I'm in. I do all the personality/speech/energy vibe adjustments without thinking about them.

> They tend to mirror things, like when faced with somebody they'll
> pick up habits or sot of shift the way they act, most of the time without
> even noticing it.

This is what I'm talking about above - the Mirror Effect. This used to happen quite strongly for me; when talking to a pixy, I'd go rather pixy. When talking to an elf, there would be *some* shift, tho like I said, I never got to elven and don't think I ever will at this rate. Dragon, sidhe, same difference. There were so many dragons about at WtT that I got rather rooted into this form and it's only after some months in it that it's really beginning to "flower," so to speak. I realized that I'm going to have to do the same for my other major forms for them to get really developed and so I could have full access to them.

> But I can shift into pretty much anything,

*nod* the other thing. Though IME the number of things is finite, though large, somewhat based on plain energy inclination of the person in question. Like, I just don't *do* elven. Or werewolf. Or bear. There's also the thing about acquiring new forms - if there's a form you've never shifted to before, once shifted to, you "gain" it and it's stashed in your "portfolio." But I think there's some things I'm just kind of energetically mutually repelled by. You also not only merely assume form thereof - though you keep your own mind/soul obviously, a polymorph really does *become* one of whatever they shift to, with associated vibe, abilities (though whether or not they know how to use them is another thing - I've noted this in myself).. sounds really D&D doesn't it? LOL.

On what to call ourselves, and how it might be different from simply being able to shapeshift (or other explanations):

Willow> I like the sound of
Willow> polymorph better than manyskins [a term used by Fer]...

I was about to write a post pouncing on this word too, for the nonce anyway. I'm not so sure about multiple-phenotype.. I think we may be our own single phenotype that just happens to have this characteristic... or maybe not. It would explain, though, why I am always me no matter what, why the different pieces don't feel different or even merely past-lifey or merely different forms. It is like I am spread like a fan... Polymorph would literally mean "multiple shape", of course.. I was also contemplating something branched off of "mirror" or some such...

On the results of the morph, and the "mirror effect":

Well, for me at least (dunno about Willow) it's well more than shape, too. I actually become. It is as though whatever-it-is is either being brought out in me or added to my repertoire - I "acquire" a me that just happens to be whatever form. There's the additional twist of a tendency to mirror others.. faced with a dragon, I tend to become dragon; faced with a pixy, that is brought out in me, though some "work better" than others. It doesn't take much to make me reflect dragon, but there's not a lot of pixy in me to begin with, so it's never a clear "image".

Regarding what a polymorph looks like when not morphed into anything else:

> > Actually, it's apparently a sparkly white or silver amorphous shape. (shrug)
> It is? *truely curious now*

Well, that's what Fer says she sees. I've asked Crisses if she sees anything like that in me, but apparently I'm energetically too confusing to get a whole lot of clear anything ("hold still!" was basically what she said *giggle* that's part my polymorphism and part the fact that I give off a firestorm of energy, generally, which might obscure things, I imagine). Willow's "shrug" above is probably because she finds it a little strange to have within herself, doesn't see it? Something like that? I remember you commenting that you felt a little frumpy next to "all us celestial types," Willow. :) Fer's described it as a sort of "starstuff"-appearing thing, hence the white/sparkling or silvery.


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