Since Garou are creatures of both flesh and spirit, they must balance their time in the physical world and spiritual world. If a werewolf spends too much time in one world, he becomes disconnected from the other. For each lunar cycle spend in the spirit world (as it waxes from new moon to full moon and wanes back to new moon), returning to the physical realm becomes more difficult (imposing a cumulative penalty of -1). Conversely, if a Garou remains in the physical world for the same length of time, stepping sideways becomes harder (also levying a cumulative penalty of -1).

Staying exclusively in one realm or another for a longer time is even more perilous. After a year and a day in the Penumbra, a shapechanger gradually becomes a creature of spirit. This is complicated by the fact that the farther a werewolf travels from the physical realm, the harder it becomes to keep track of time relative to its normal passage on Earth. Especially when memories of one’s former life begins to fade, becoming a permanent part of a distant realm becomes all too easy.

For ordinary people who find themselves in the Umbra (such as those escorted with the Gift: Grasp the Beyond), the risk of disconnection is greater. Removed from reality, they will gradually forget their former lives. Over time, they become progressively more ephemeral, eventually becoming creatures of spirit. Such transmogrifications result in confused and tormented entities that don’t possess supernatural abilities; instead, they become witnesses and victims for more powerful spirits.