from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Thought of as having the form of a beast. Used of a deity.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. having the form of a beast
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Having the form of a wild beast.
To ascribe features of masculinity to the divine is as blasphemous as to ascribe features of bestiality -- as in the theriomorphic deities of pagan religions so abhorred by monotheism -- the very blasphemy that iconoclasm reacts against.
The failure of even the most stringently iconoclastic monotheists is that while they reject the animal heads, the horns and the hooves of theriomorphic deities they nevertheless maintain the absurd anthropomorphism of not just humanity but masculinity.
To accept one's 'therianism' therian - derived from theriomorphic- is a person who believes his core identity is that of an animal, or an animal's spirit I believe.
It is commonly assumed that the animals associated with certain deities are sacred because the god was originally theriomorphic; this is doubtless the case in certain instances; but Apollo Smintheus,
Here again, though to a less extent than in tree cults, the theriomorphic aspect recurs; in the north of Europe, in ancient Greece, in China, the water or river spirit is horse or bull-shaped; the water monster in serpent shape is even more widely found, but it is less strictly the spirit of the water.
The god, anthropomorphic or theriomorphic, was worshipped in well-defined rites; the organization was highly developed; and the ritual is analogous to many other ancient rituals.
Galilee with theriomorphic polytheism, that is, the tendency to embody the qualities of divinity in animal forms.