Shape-shifting can be done by ‘magic’ (for the lack of a better word). When by magic, it is then the ‘ability’ to physically transform into another form or being. In mythology, a deity could change into another being or animal. In magic, the agent (mostly a sorcerer or Witch) causes himself to shape-shift or to occur in others.
The sorcerer or the Witch can also, be the agent to cause an animal to transform into a human. Or a person or an animal into a plant or an object or into another human form. Even from being fair to ugly, or vice versa.
Mythology throughout the world describes the shape-shifter: as one who has the power to transform his physical form into another. It goes on to describe him further, as one with the ability to trick, deceive, hunt, and kill humans. It is that very ability that provokes fear in people. As a people, the Bretons fear to even mention the name of the shape-shifter. They fear mentioning his name would call the shape-shifter to them. Capturing and holding a shape-shifter is a common thread also in folktales.
Certain magical traditions or cultures believe in shape-shifting. Some people try to shape-shift by means of surgery, or by sewing together pieces of skin or material. They do this in order to try to transform themselves into another than their own person, as is the case of the ‘bisclavret’ (the ware-wolf).
Surgery, or sewing together pieces of skin and material so to shape-shift, is nearly impossible; although some historical trials found some shifters guilty of having killed while in the form of a ware-wolf. However, there is a rare clinical mental illness called ‘lyncanthropy’. This clinical diagnosis is given to a person who “truly believes himself actually transformed into an animal”, but really does not. However, a good number of people down through the centuries have believed in such a possibility; and this belief remains.
Besides the ware-wolf, another very popular example of a shape-shifter in mythology, is the vampire. Another word for vampire is “Vircolac” (vir, as in viral). Vircolac is the Romanian umbrella term for the vampire or the ware-wolf, or an animated corps, or a ghost. In all cases, it is a fabulous being susceptible to hiding the sun and the moon, while stealing from people.
Some European transformations are believed due to bites. More specifically, due to the bites of a vampire or a ware-wolf, or another lycanthropic being or creature. Not only in Europe, but all over the world now, the bite of a lyncanthrope is considered malefic, and of great ferocity. Shape-shifters are capable of killing many persons in one night. Usually, a lycanthrope hardly ever remembers his misdeeds the next day – after returning into his human form; though, his transformation into another form could be just mentally. If you look at the Tarot Card – The Chariot, you will notice it depicts a Shape shifter mentally and spiritually shape shifting.
There is an ongoing debate about the origin of lycanthropy (shape-shifting). This debate has gone-on for hundreds of years now, and is confronted to very diverse theories. There are theories coming from theologians, anthropologists, investigators, doctors, occultists and animal specialists. There is even a slang term for lyncanthropy, ‘to go berserk’.
The term ‘beserker’, in today’s terminology, is to go ferociously wild while attacking; in addition, to wearing the pelt of an animal while attacking ferociously. To wear a wolf’s pelt while attacking ferociously comes from the Norse warriors – the Beserkers. The Beserkers would cover themselves with animal pelts during their attacks in order to give themselves more strength.
Even if, today, wolves still attack, drug abuse largely explains lycanthropic-like attacks upon humans in today’s urban legends. Though this does not explain that part of the mystery about: why the belief in a physical metamorphosis and possession – is even more widespread today.
It is a little known secret about the royal families of countries. Royal families have the reputations of being vampires. They reputedly hired sorcerers to sew together and ware pieces of animal or human skin; for the purpose of heightening their own energy, so to grow in physical and mental strength. Certain royals wore the skin pieces themselves – for the same reasons.
People from the nobility, the élite, the ecclesiastical, the religious lay persons, as well as those from commoners and the servants did the same; and with the same goal in mind. The goal was mainly to quench the great politico-socio-religio thirst. The thirst for ecclesiastical, financial, geographical, physical and spiritual control and domination by The Inquisition (The Jesuit Little Brothers of Charity). It is widely believed that they might have very well been behind (the secret reason) the witch hunts down through the centuries.
Shape-shifting is not simply just an ‘ability’. It is also a magickal ability usurped by those who have a vested interest in assuring controlling and manipulating the ‘shape-shifter’. Which is why, today, there are more shape-shifters than ever before throughout history…