What is a familiar?
A familiar is an animal whom you have a spiritual connection with. A witches companion. You call upon them to help you with your practices. They can be physical or spiritual beings. They are healers and guardians but above all, a loyal companion. Provides the witch with psychic protection as well as negative energy. They do not have to be your ‘pet,’ any animal that you use symbols of can also be your familiar but on a more spiritual level. Animals are chosen as a familiar because of their connection with nature and innocence. They protect on many spiritual levels as well as the home and property of the witch. They become able to communicate together in dreams and during meditation.
History of Familiars
In Europe during the witch hunts familiars were thought of at demon like entities sent to do a witches bidding. It was believed that they were cats, dogs, and toads possessed by demons. Thus, during the witch hunt era many animals were hunted and slaughtered because of their connection with witches. Familiars were supposedly given to the Witches from by the Devil. It was believed that they were fed from the witches blood.
In some Scandinavian countries familiars were thought of as fearies, elves, pixies, dwarves, sprites, and elements of nature.
In shamanistic practices the familiar is in fact not a physical being rather it is a spiritual entity. It protects in the astral plane and from any psychic attacks.
In England and Scotland familiars took form of toads.
- Not every witch has a familiar. In fact some are quite happy working alone. Some witches may even be allergic.
- Cats are not the only animal used as a familiar.
- No familiars are not possessed by demons or the devil.
- Not all pets are familiars!
Types of animals to used as familiars:
Any animal can be used as a familiar! The most common are cats (especially black) and dogs.
How you know it is your familiar and not just a pet:
- It chose you.
- You have a bond on a spiritual level.
- You put more trust in it then anyone/anything else.
- Takes an active role in your rituals.
- Sits politely while you are casting being sure not to be a bother.
- Loves to lounge in your magick work space.
- You feel a boost of energy whenever they are near you.
- Watches the window constantly watching for any unwelcome beings.
- Trails you like a shadow.
- Hates to be separated from you
How to find your Familiar:
- Cast a spell to bring clarity on your familiar.
- Meditate on it.
- Ask a form of divination about finding you familiar.
Ways to bond with your Familiar:
- Provide it with a collar, halter, leash, etc that has protective crystals and herb sachets sewn into it.
- Carry a piece of a NATURALLY shed item from your familiar in a sachet or tied together with ribbon.
- Provide them with the best food and housing you can afford.
- Always place them before yourself.
- Spend lots of time together.
- Provide them with their own protection.
- Speak to it.
- Brush or stoke it.
- Treat them and reward them for their help.
- Treat them with the kindness they deserve.
- Honor them.
- Provide them with an altar.
- Give them offerings.
- Provide you with physical and spiritual protection.
- Provide you the uttermost loyalty and respect
- Benefits your emotional well being.
- Helps you connect with nature.
- Enhances are physical and psychic abilities.
- Protects home and property.
When to work with a Familiar:
- When you want to attune with nature
- Healing magick
- Astral travelling
- Spirit communication
- Welcome them to join you when power is being raised and spells are cast.
Respect a Familiar deserves:
Let it accompany you on its own accord and make sure it is willing to participate, NEVER force them to join in on a ritual. They are very sensitive to psychic power and vibrations. Treat them with kindness and the same respect you would give to a human being. Be sure to treat them as an equal and not something you own. This is very important if you want to create and maintain a connection with your familiar. Familiars are living beings and should never be treated like an athame, candle or an object for spell casting. Make sure to be cautious with the type of tools you are using during your casting with a familiar. Be cautious of candles or any toxic herbs!
Names for familiars:
Instead of you choosing a name for them, ask them what their true name is.
References: Paganwiccan.about.com, pagancentric.org
What type of Familiar do you have?
May the moon light your path!
☾ Moonlight Academy☽