I needed something I could point others to when the topic of awakening came up...for me it is a complicated subject that would be tedious to rewrite (and since I have a physical journal..the span of several years would definitely be a horrifically long rewrite). First off, I identify as a suntherian/otherkin: my identity is ever present with various degrees of shifts. I've been awakened twice over the span of nine years with my knowledge growing as I entered the kin community eight years ago. The beginnings of those years was spent questioning. Now there is nothing much left to question- in the case of identity.
My wolf kintype awakening was easy to figure out. As a kid I was wolf crazy and the usual. As I got older I realized that i'm not all that crazy about canids as I was back then but the wolf persisted. I've come to embrace such a familiar feeling in my life- and it's influence most likely from a past life or perhaps two where I was a wolf. I've looked up other canines, the research and hours of listening to sounds- everything a newly awakened therian would do. As I always say, time will tell. It makes no sense to research what you already know inside. I was one of the lucky ones in that regard. I was a wolf through and through. I believe myself to have been/be a Mackenzie valley wolf but my interest in finding out if that was a 100% fit waned as time went on (although it most likely fits). That is simply because I have another kintype that is much more prominent and demands that level of introspection much more. The wolf was in the past, and remnants remain now--will I ever be a wolf again? I do not know. But I will feel at home once more if it so happens.
The zhuard is much more complicated. My awakening did not happen until years after the wolf awakening and I had to step away from the community to figure it out- to be without influences. The awakening I got was pointed in several directions, from my hyena totem bringing up my sexuality (which really the hyena was guiding me closer to the realization of zhuards and their anatomy), the shifts that were more persistent than cameos that felt very odd and difficult to pinpoint, to the deeply ingrained feelings I've harbored in life. Why I felt so strongly on certain things when I was younger and shouldn't have had concepts of such things to begin with.
On one afternoon, I finally got to have a dream (now several years ago) that showed me a black zhuard sprinting through the woods and skidding to a halt.. looking at me. This zhuard was in terrestrial quadruped form and was clearly not me as I was looking at him. I tensed and responded very aggressively with body language- and that was it. I woke up. What exactly happened? Just a creature from 'dreamland', the mind piecing things together...except nothing that described dreams felt like that. I understand my dreams well as they mean so much to me now, and I can tell when it's a non kin dream when elements of this world are brought into it. But at the time I treated it as such with an intrigue on the individual I saw- why he his species felt familiar, why my shifts often reminded me of such a form- though not the only one.
I decided to start drawing what he was after that having previously not been aware of the creature that gave me such feeling. I decided to make a character that wasn't like him even though I knew that zhuard was very much an individual himself that I would know soon. Thus a fictional character in every meaning of the word was born: https://sta.sh/024xice012ks Jarek had several features that zhuards did not 'grow out of' as I learned more about them. They were not some creature design project--none of my art really is. Most everything is taken from things already personally known. Such a lady appeared to me..even down to a zhuard's metallic sternum/keel which I, in 2014, strangely made it match his fur but er....forget about that part. If anything due to shifts and further realizations, hip spurs were not quite a thing, and after 2015 they were gone. Zhuards have not really changed much in their physical form since I've started drawing and describing them. Not intentionally, as I have had information come to me which gave me insight...but never changed their appearance. Their form was something I already knew and I didn't know how.
That dream was the catalyst for several reoccurring dreams that played out like bits and pieces of a story and still do- rarely allowing me to move as a lucid dream but only at certain points. That's when the realization hit-I walked to a pond and looked. I was a zhuard. A dark burgundy zhuard. The dreams led me to my chaperone (a spirit that is entwined with yours through destiny. That too was explained to me via a zhuard individual who was much more knowledgeable than me. ----Personal sidebar---- In short, it's like a true twin flame- which may be your friend, enemy or true soulmate and usually stays that way through the lifetimes you meet up..which is not all the time. I cringe at how such terms like 'best friend, soul mate', very restricting terms, are loosely used for someone who might not even be a chaperone to your soul. They might just be someone who 'fit' or didn't in this lifetime. Zhuards view this in part by the cultural phenomenon that has imparted them but spiritual speak aside..).
When I first had the dream of my chaperone I drew the image of her and I still in the night, cozy in a yurt. The next major vision was how we met: her brutally trying to kill me to fulfill a hit on my by someone I did not know. Make of that what you will. She was not one of the first zhuards to reveal themselves to me but she was one who obviously made an impact. Being so kindred only made me think that he soul must be like mine--like attracts like-- and she perhaps was a zhuard many times over as well which describes such attraction. (Currently working on her--Yévonne's-- drawn reference, you'll see here at some point properly as I don't really have a good pic to show of her).
And such began my journey of learning more about zhuards, their forms,etc.
I knew that this was my new life...
and I would have to prepare in this current human life. I had discussed this and I think the reasons of why i'm feeling shifts,dreams, and etc now is that perhaps i'm being looked over by an entity which might meld with my current soul and state of mind- to put that lightly. As in such a spirit wants to do such a thing...so it is waiting until this vessel expires. So perhaps in actuality my soul is simply being melded to different zhuards due to its likeness. Zhuards have a human guise so why i'm human now... perhaps I just couldn't find a zhuard vessel this time around and I settled with what was familiar.
I'm not sure how to fully describe it yet but there it is..my awakening.