Many are willing to engage in conversations about psychic ability (knowing when the phone will ring, or when a loved one is in trouble), or the might behind Runes and the divinatory access of Tarot, or the use of stones to retain other-memory or to heal, even of galdr or magical charms and incantations, all while scoffing at the idea of shapeshifting.
I suppose, one needs to draw their own personal line in the ever-shifting sand.
During the 1750s, belief in such abilities could get one burnt at the stake.
During the 1850s, belief in such abilities could find one in an asylum, possibly lobotomized.
During the 1950s, belief in such abilities could find one diagnosed as “depressed” and prescribed valium.
At one time in medicine, the idea of germs was considered so preposterous that the first physician to introduce the idea was considered a heretic. Simply because germs could not be seen.
At one time in medicine, the idea of epilepsy was so feared that it was considered either divine punishment or possession. Simply because the brain, let alone neurology, was not understood.
At one time in medicine, those who suffered from migraines where treated by applying hot irons or inserting garlic into incisions made into the temple. Today, science has only been able to determine that they ‘may’ be brought on by a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.
And there is so much more that science either does not understand, or is working on quantifying.
Today, the idea of any belief in supernatural ability, let alone a practice based on unseen forces, is considered cognitive dissonance at the least, delusion and schizophrenia at the worst.
At one time, those with such abilities were consider shamans and healers, and ‘witch’ and ‘seiðr’ were not considered derogatory words. In fact, such individuals – wortcunners and healers – were at the forefront of herbology, astronomy, veterinarian and medical practices (to name a few). Today, such individuals, if they are unable to control these abilities, often find themselves disenfranchised by society at the least, or medicated at the worst. But how does one become so isolated? By not having a community to support them, and/or an access to information to explain and define what they are experiencing.
Sadly, I have two friends – powerful healers and guides, great magicians – who are medicated and now unable to access what resides within them.
In science, the notion of shapeshifting is considered absurd, which means it offers no definitive answers to its origin, manifestation, or cause, so akin to other conditions before it, is simply deemed delusional or psychotic. Which simply means, it is not understood. Where there exists no evidence of bipolar disorder or neurological illness, there has been shown activity in the brain via neuroimaging to suggest that a small portion of the population does experience a heightened sense of physical shape and sensation resulting in a perceive transformation. Whether actual or otherwise has yet to be quantified by science. (As an aside, long-time meditators (Catholic nuns and Indian monks) have also been shown to access parts of the brain beyond that of the average individual.)
But I will not wait for science to either confirm or deny I am able to access energy patterns via the Runes and Tarot, or that my mind has the ability to heal and repair my body, or that the luck of my ancestors has passed to me because I have been deemed worthy of the same, or to know that I journey great lengths while I dream, or that, when I so choose, I may travel dark and remote woods in lupine form, regardless of moon phase.