I certainly tried to source this one…Normally if I write, I don’t source because I’m a lazy writer LOL - but this is such a hot topic, I wanted to have sources easily available.
fred seems to have moved on or is just somewhere I can"t find him still lots of baby freds around
Maybe he got his message across to you! Either that or perhaps he’s watching over you from afar, or has sent the baby Freds to help you out in his place
I appreciate this post. I see many who consider their pets to be familiars and some become offended when anyone tries to explain that your beloved pet is not your familiar. It comes down to misinformation which, in my humble opinion, makes posts like this, with sources included, important to help weed out misinformation.
How ironic that this popped up this evening. Earlier today, someone in a FB group asked if my cat Felix was my familiar.
I answered by saying that I do think he is in tune with me, but he doesnt contribute to my practice or DO things for me. Today, while working on my spells8 coursework & rummaging through the forum posts, he would randomly come out, meow LOUD, make me pet him and then walk away. When I meditate, afterwards, when I open my eyes he is generally nearby staring at me.
I just think animals can sense that we love, respect & worship nature. Including them. I’m convinced that while Felix isn’t my familiar, he’s part of my family & he can feel all the love I’m pouring out & the intentioms that I set!
What a great way to summarize it! Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.
I decided to look up the definiton of “familiar”. As a noun, there are two definitions:
- A demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.
- A close friend or associate.
The word comes from Latin familiaris , from familia ‘household servants, family’, from famulus ‘servant’.
So it can be both! Either a “servant spirit”, or a friend that we have a close association with.
Great read and kudos for the research and definitions. You did a wonderful job explaining this to us!
Thank you again!
I have a Siamese cat named Maximillian (Max). I swear he has psychotic brakes when he is over stimulated. But after watching a Godzilla movie, I was just taking to him and calling him, my sweet Coocoo, he gave me such an intelligent look, my mouth dropped. I said “You are crazy, crazy like a Fox.” The little Trickster rolled over on his back and batted at my hand when I tried to stroke him. I haven’t decided if he will be my familiar or a thorn in my side. Either way, he’s funny and When I adopted him from the SPCA I had no idea how great a Fraud he was!
@SilverBear The best article on familiars I’ve read in years. Thank you for an awesome read and learning experience. I would add physical protection to the pets list though as my pets have not only protected me from harm such as a dog protecting it’s owner from other aggressive dogs and humans, but cavies giving physical protection or immunity from ringworm etc… Adding to the weird ways familiars present themselves to witches one of mine is a tree trunk and I am unable and I don’t know the name.
Thank you! I appreciate the kind words!
So in the interest of not trying to rock your boat @SilverBear, I want to reopen this thread since I cannot sleep the night before my treatment and I’m WIRED!!!
I have been interested in a new spirit animal that has presented itself to me to teach me about balance, accomplish everything with teamwork, priorities, freedom - The honey bee. A spirit animal chooses you, you don’t get a choice, and they are in your life to teach you a lesson, not guide or protect you, but teach you - see first article link below. I thought it was interesting I was dreaming about bees and a friend in my town started bee keeping and now I have a few bees hovering around my flower gardens and they come to me every time I’m outside, and I’m not afraid at all, which is new to me. I met @gardenstone for brunch and she gifted me some local honey during this time, and I knew then that the honey bee had chosen me - @john.knox did an energy scan of me and it came up with that I need more balance in my life. I KNOW I KNOW!!! Everything pointing to this guide being there to teach me right now, slow down, heal, don’t sweat the small stuff, control is an illusion, blah blah blah. Hearing isn’t knowing and experiencing it, and I think I’m finally getting past the ‘hearing’ into the listening.
So……that’s the spirit animal story, here’s my familiar story, and I have to be the dissenter here about the familiar as a pet. I have many links and examples that cite the opposite of what you had posted @SilverBear and I think that like with anything, you are convicted of your belief in this way, I respect that and I am very open to what you said and what others who agreed as well have posted. The links you used to support your claim and your distaste for those who use the term familiar for pets is clear, however let me pose this to you.
- it is agreed that a pet can have an intense connection with a witch and protect, love, even enter into a meditative contract and still not be their familiar;
- I do understand the pop culture around this idea of cats/pets being a familiar especially seeping in from the movies and I too have a distaste to hear it so widespread in our community - I just don’t think there’s that many pets as familiars;
- I passionately believe my cat to be my familiar I will tell you why in a minute but this is in conflict with many of yours and others’ beliefs, publications and articles that hold the same belief. Below I will pose what I believe a familiar is:
If we go on ancient practices, there are a few rules that designates one as a familiar instead of an ordinary animal: the sudden apparition of the spirit when there was none before, a magickal ritual, and/or a contract negotiated between the witch and the spirit before the spirit takes a form. In this same article, there’s a list of How To Tell If Your Pet Is Your Familiar.
If you search around, there are other articles, blogs and books that will support a vigorous look at your pet to determine their ‘Familiarity’ if you will. Lol. The familiar is a spiritual entity that will appear as a facilitator in the communion of the human, animal and spirit realms.
The true shaman or witch does not just decide to walk the “Path” with the familiar of their choice. They must first be chosen by and then accept a spirit being or deity as their mentor. Not necessarily a contract per se but definitely an agreement. Usually, this mentor will send forth an animal spirit to guide the initiate to them, or in many cases, they themselves may take the form of an animal spirit, only later revealing their true nature.
I believe deities take on a familiar role in certain cases to guide and assist our magickal practices and I believe many times they will choose a family pet, or a potential pet that we are inexplicably drawn to and end up ‘saving’, and then, they save / guide / mentor us.
Riddle me this:
I have been a practicing witch since high school. I am 57. I was working with the deity Nugua whose themes are balance, masculinity, femininity, cooperation and equality. Her symbols are the Yin-Yang symbol and opposites. In China, Nugua is know as ‘she who restores balance.’ Nugun’s energy brings life back into equilibrium when circumstances may have threatened us with chaos. In art She is depicted as being part rainbow-colored dragon and part woman, representing the importance of maintaining balance between the lower and the higher self. I knew by our meditations, my offerings and her telling me that she wanted to enter an agreement to ‘surface’ and I was not having it. However, the night before I met Mitten, I suddenly stopped my meditation and just said, OK, so be it. I agree. Show me the way.
I adopted my Mitten on a literal spur of the moment for my daughter’s 10th birthday, as a surprise gift. I was so excited, the family was so happy. My daughter was beside herself with love. I was drawn to this kitten and she was cuddled all over her sister, so I had to get them both, but Mitten was just the one I couldn’t stop thinking about and ultimately why I went back to adopt. Fast forward a few weeks, months, years, decades, and Mitten would never sleep with anyone but me, and all but had zero interest in anyone except me to this day. #awkward She will not let anyone pet her, if I’m not around she is a recluse. She is why I found out each time that I had cancer and most likely the reason I’m still alive…long story, but true! She sits upright, outside my circle and watches my craft without fail and she is very expressive and tells me exactly what she thinks about what I am doing, for good or not. Very vocal with me and expressive. The guidance she has given me is key. All pets can be emotional support and comfort and physical protection if they are big enough, but the pure steering and guidance I have as a result of her in my life over 17 years is remarkable. She lives with me of course, not my daughter now. Morgan has her sister Mini-Boo . They are 17 years old now, my daughter will be 27 in November. And get this, Mitten was born ON MY OWN BIRTHDAY, August 20, 2005 even though I didn’t meet and adopt her until November! I believe in synchronicities.
Anyway…. I feel naughty now…. My name is Jan and I have a pet cat as my familiar and I’m not ashamed to say it!
I truly am sorry if I offended or triggered anyone. I guess you guys can believe what you want about my declaration and belief …. What others think of me is none of my business. I really respect and honor my relationship with Mitten and I may mention this at some point in the forum and I don’t want anyone to go ham on my ass for me ‘thinking’ my cat is my familiar, THIS loooonnnngggg post that doesn’t tell even 1/10 of the story is why.
Here’s the articles I quoted or used. Please read the articles, I believe they are insightful.
I don’t get “triggered” – I am passionate about what I believe but never get triggered. People can have their own opinions on things and it’s quite OK with me. Other people’s opinions do not affect my practice,
I write stuff/make videos to get people thinking…“there is more than one way to skin a cat” Ha- I had to add that since we were talking about animals. I need coffee…it’s too early for me.
I personally don’t care if people want to call their pet a familiar or not. I just choose not to believe my pets are my familiars, and in my article, I wrote why so I won’t get into that again here. Pets can be magickal for sure, but again, I chose not to believe my special connection with my dog is anything other than he loves me unconditionally.
Even though I have a very special connection with one of my dogs and he likes to walk all over my rituals…lol I think he just like to mess up my space because then I stop what I’m doing to give him attention
I know writing can also be difficult because the person reading can not “read the tone” or they place their own tone to it…when I do things either it be video or written it’s always done with passion and with an intent of educational tones. (whether people agree with my posts or not) it’s always done with a caring attitude.
Sometimes I convey my messages very matter of factly and people mistake that for me being mean lol…I am the least mean person ever. I am not saying you feel that way @jan_TheGreenWitch, I just wanted to make sure no one is getting upset with my responses. I usually have 100 things going in my brain so when I have a thought I just write it and hope for the best LOL.
@jan_TheGreenWitch – Thank you for sharing your perspective and beliefs with us I really do enjoy when people share and explain how their beliefs may differ from the “mainstream” or what is considered popular belief. I was thinking about your reply yesterday and the experience you shared and something struck me… if traditionally and historically our familiars presented themselves to us as spirits because that is what was convenient for them and worked for us, then why wouldn’t they find ways to work with us in the modern world, too?
Humans have a strong connection with the animals we bond with and maybe our familiar spirits know this. Maybe they have evolved, so to speak, in a way that still allows for a symbiotic and helpful relationship – contract between human and animal/spirt would still potentially work the same even if your familiar is a physical creature now I’m going to be thinking about this even more!
Thank you for shifting my perspective a bit and making me think. I’m not sure exactly where I stand on it anymore but if we as witches can traverse the spirit world and still have a physical form, why would a familiar spirit that has taken on an physical form be any different? questions, questions!
@SilverBear and @MeganB I appreciate both of your replies. I’m ‘noodling’ them and want to thoughtfully respond with additional thoughts to you both. Much appreciate and with love, Jan #loveistheanswer
I came back to this post for some inspiration on how to approach this week’s Weekly Witchy challenge because I’m sort of in limbo about how I want to do it. I remember reading this post & I’ve always loved the research & insight that you have shared with us since I joined.
I’m pretty sure that I don’t have a familiar though If I do, I haven’t consciously been made aware of them. It makes me think of the Disney movie Mulan, the 2 versions that I have seen of it. Although, one of those representations may be a spirit animal Thank you again for making this post Off to look into a few other things before committing to a challenge entry this week!
Fabulous, actually very glad, I do not want a familiar. Still grappling with the spirit guide being in spider form, dreamt about them again last night, but that could be cuz they’re on my mind, but don’t have, and probably wouldn’t want a familiar. Don’t really want to “contract” with an entity. Blessings
Thank you for this post @SilverBear !
I can appreciate your comments about blunt or direct messages. I am not great at flowery writing, I have to work at it and it doesn’t always come out right. Lol. My directness is never mean.
I definitely don’t want a familiar passed on the past descriptions of a familiar- getting I to pacts would not be my thing!