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Familiars

familiar cat

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#1 FlyingPeregrine

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 01:21 PM

I have two cats that act in conjunction with each other as my familiars. While I am casting, they do some weird things- such as play with my altar cloth, jump up on the altar while I'm working on craft, etc. I had always wondered why cats do this and had decided to a little research. 

My findings were: Cats think that if you stare at something for too long, they think you're stuck and they try to "free" you. This makes sense as to why cats stand for awareness. They keep you grounded and in the earthly plane. It's always good to have a cat around for this reason. While they do the stupid, sometimes enraging things, they only mean the best for you. Mine are always present when I'm doing research on magic for my craft or when I'm performing it and always try to break my focus a few times.

 

There are many other reasons why cats are good for us. According to some, cats are an omen of weather. If they stare out the window all day, it could mean that rain is coming. If they have their back to the fire (or in my case, the heater) it could mean a cold snap is coming. Black cats are often a symbol of death, based off a Roman soldier who killed a black cat in Egypt and was then killed by a mob of angry locals.

 

So, be sure your familiars are very loved. Whether they be a cat or any other creature, they're important to your craft. 


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#2 Zombee

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 07:48 PM

I live with cats. Not one of them is a familiar, a go-between t'wixt me and the shadow worlds, or a servant. Heck no. They are quite sure that I serve them, and let us not be confused on this. They snoopervise and review all activities, in case there's a tuna hidden there; but magical? no. Stealing my wand is a favorite game, like leaping up & burrowing under the sheets when I'm trying to make the bed. Hot diggity! :-)

A familiar could take the brunt of my own magical errors, at the sacrifice of their own life. I do witchcraft, but I refuse to press any beloved critter into the role. If I'm to have a thriving relationship with living creatures, I will value their right to life at their own level, not mine. It really doesn't matter if it's a cat or a tree, or an in-dwelling dryad. If this makes me appear fluffy, then just pass the carrots, please. :-) I don't mind a bit.

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#3 Mountain Witch

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:33 PM

I live with cats. Not one of them is a familiar, a go-between t'wixt me and the shadow worlds, or a servant. Heck no. They are quite sure that I serve them, and let us not be confused on this. They snoopervise and review all activities, in case there's a tuna hidden there; but magical? no. Stealing my wand is a favorite game, like leaping up & burrowing under the sheets when I'm trying to make the bed. Hot diggity! :-)

A familiar could take the brunt of my own magical errors, at the sacrifice of their own life. I do witchcraft, but I refuse to press any beloved critter into the role. If I'm to have a thriving relationship with living creatures, I will value their right to life at their own level, not mine. It really doesn't matter if it's a cat or a tree, or an in-dwelling dryad. If this makes me appear fluffy, then just pass the carrots, please. :-) I don't mind a bit.

 

Same thoughts here. I'll share my carrots with you.


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#4 Oroboros

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:45 PM

http://www.tradition...-2?hl=familiars

 

http://www.tradition...e/?hl=familiars

 

http://www.tradition...g/?hl=familiars

 

Seekers only will be able to view: http://www.tradition...s/?hl=familiars  FlyingPeregrine I think you may find this one of particular interest.

 

Animals are more sensitive to energy and spirits than humans, therefore they react to them.  

 

I have to say a cat playing with an altar cloth or jumping on an altar during a working sounds like the most normal cat-like behavior imaginable.

 

My thoughts on this are certainly just my opinion and subject to change if experience shows me something different:

 

I certainly believe in spirit familiars.  I suppose I could consider crows in general a familiar spirit for me as they have given me signs and direction that proved quite magical on numerous occasions.  But I have never labeled that phenomena that way.  And it is not a certain crow it is Crow as a species- that has been a guide to me.

 I think on rare occasions a witch has a pet animal familiar, this is simply based on stories I have heard from witches I respect- but I believe this to be quite rare.  And I think most of these instances the witch was aware that their pet was sort of "possessed"(for lack of a better word) or perhaps a better way to say it-"accompanied by" a SPIRIT.  The whole concept of a pet animal familiar I think largely comes from witch trial confessions and new age constructs.

 

My dog has pointed out spirits and energy changes on numerous occasions.  That is simply because he is a dog and sees and senses that.  He is most assuredly NOT a familiar.  He is a goofy bitch, a lovey beast, and a loyal friend, who, true to his nature- is sensitive.  I would not dare subject him to crossing out of his natural doggy territory.  It is also my understanding from others as well as my own experience that the more an animal is around a sensitive person, the more sensitive the animal becomes.

 

@Zombee- I do not think that is the LEAST bit fluffy- it is a responsible pet mommy.  I find the concept of "an animal that hangs out when you craft -means its your familiar" fluffy.  But NOT what you said. :) But, again, my perspective only.

 

Edited to slightly more proper English. (Or closer to it anyway)


Edited by Oroboros, 21 December 2016 - 08:48 PM.

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#5 IslandBruja

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:48 PM

They snoopervise and review all activities

:roflhard: I love your new word Zombee!

And I'm on the same page as you and MW. (except I don't think that makes us fluffy)

However, I don't think "playing with the altar cloth and jumping up on the altar" exactly qualifies as strange or supernatural behavior for cats either :thinking: But maybe that's just me.

edit: I must have been writing my reply at the same time as O, but I agree with what you've written, Oroboros - those have been my observations as well.

Edited by IslandBruja, 21 December 2016 - 08:54 PM.

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#6 FlyingPeregrine

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:07 PM

I wasn't saying that was necessarily an "odd" behavior. I'm just stating that mine "snoopervise" as Zombee said. They do play with the altar cloth more when I have been working on a particularly long spell, but that's just what cats do. They do think we get stuck if we're focused on one thing for too long.

 

My cats are very strangely attracted to me. They follow me around everywhere. I have never known cats to do this. They wait for me at the door when I leave and watch me closely through the day. One, in particular, alerts me to what is going on in the house. We have no spirits, but she will request that I follow her to the altar and then insist that I do something- whether it be to burn incense or cast a spell. She is quite strange. 

I agree- familiars are rare. I have never had an animal attach itself to me like my cats have. One is closer to me than the other. The other one has seemed to taken more of a liking to my 1 year old son, as of late. 

 

My familiar is definitely my cat. I love her to death and she's definitely spoken to me in the best way that she can. I'm the only one who can call her by her name where she will come to me. She avoids most everyone else. She's absolutely crazy, but I love her. I was called to her whenever we were adopting and I was the only one she was responsive to. She picked me- as crazy as it sounds.


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#7 Zombee

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:05 PM

Nope. not crazy. Cats know their person. A former cat, who was with me over 21 years before cancer took her or she might have lived even longer, would sit on my shoulder when I would be "channeling" a certain spirit. As soon as that spirit was gone, the cat would leave the room. She could be asleep in a different room, and within a minute of this one spirit showing up, the cat would trot into the room, belt out a yodel (no other word does the sound justice) and jump on my shoulder. She just loved the guy and ignored other spirits. Crazy darned cat. She did not sit on my shoulder at any other time, y'know, when it would just be me-myself-&-I.

I once tried telepathic bonding with her. She was snoozing on the backrest of a chair. In her mind was simply "dark cat.", and when she awoke and glared at me, then went to the kitchen, her food dish of crunchers itself became "cat." And when she was full, the bowl was "not cat". She was a cat of few words. : )

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#8 FlyingPeregrine

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:10 PM

Haha... My cat speaks to me, too. She stares at me and says "Human." However, there are times that I am "Mother" instead of "Human". Not entirely sure why, but she insists that I am also a cat at times. There are times she tells me where I need to go and others where she wants me to find her in her hide and seek game. She also tells me to stop grooming our house because she can't stand it.


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#9 Aurelian

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:34 AM

I think it is quite natural to be quite closely bonded to your cats if you love animals.  But familiar spirits, are, properly, spirits gained by pacting(oftentimes an imp), tutelary spirits, or in some basic sense, a spirit that is familiar to you.  Some of the beliefs about familiar spirits go back to Greek and Roman times.  Witch lore is quite consistent in that familiars can appear in animal or human form, but they are indeed spirits and not animals.

Definitely not limited to appearing as cats.  Rats, bats, toads, among other creatures....


Edited by Aurelian, 22 December 2016 - 04:35 AM.

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#10 Ravenshaw

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:22 AM

Agreeing with Aurelian, a familiar is usually not a pet. Not saying you couldn't use your pets as a familiar, but they wouldn't truly be one - or at least, not until they die perhaps. 


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#11 Oroboros

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 09:08 AM

Yep, this is what I was getting at. There is generally a spirit involved according to my understanding of it.

Does anyone know if the witch of Endor is the first documented use of the term "familiar spirit?"

Edited by Oroboros, 22 December 2016 - 09:16 AM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#12 Solanaceae

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:35 AM

Bumping for anyone interested, in connection with the black cats thread that has developed into a conversation about familiars.
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