Hi, lovelies, recently I’ve been talking about my favourite manifestation techniques and Amaria has been covering some of her favourite spells like this sleep spell, a spell to help with anxiety and one to provide home protection. Today I wanted to go down a completely different path because many of you have expressed an interest in learning more about witches familiars or animal companions as some call them. As an animal lover myself, this is a topic that’s close to my heart and something I’d love to explore further with you.
What Are Witches Familiars?
One of the most romantic notions we hold about love is the idea of a soul mate. We dream of finding someone in this world who understands us inherently and will love us forever. In fact. finding our soul mate, someone who is karmically connected to us through a long string of providence and fate becomes something of a “life’s mission” for many people ( Btw, if you’d like to move things along in terms of finding your true love, why not try your hand at one of our powerful love spells ).
But what if your soul mate could be something other than human? In fact, many cultures and spiritual belief systems discuss the idea that a persons soul mate could be something other than human. What if spirit entity, a supernatural being or even an animal or a plant could be your soul mate or familiar?
As an example, take the researchers suggesting that the Bohdi Tree under which Buddha became enlightened was actually Buddha’s teacher and that Buddha formed a spiritual link with the tree which allowed him to gain access to its stored wisdom. Or Nicolas Tesla, who claimed that his soul mate was a pigeon with whom he had formed a unique bond. According to various sources, the pigeon would fly towards Telsa and eat from his outstretched hands. Resting on his shoulder, the Pigeon would then accompany Tesla as he walked through the park.
The concept of non-human familiar or soul mate is not specific to witchcraft and can actually be found across many cultures. But what exactly is a familiar spirit and why is it called ‘witches familiar’? Rather than thinking about familiars as servants, like Dobby in Harry Potter, I prefer to think of witches familiars as guardians with whom we have formed a ‘soul bond’.
The bond formed between a Witch and her witches familiar, regardless of whether the familiar is a living being, a spirit or a supernatural entity is one of trust. The witches familiar becomes family to the witch and the relationship between the Witch and his/her familiar is one based on understanding, love and a mutually beneficial exchange of services.
Why Do Witches Have Familiars?
Having a familiar brings many benefits to a Witch. A witches familiar may convey wisdom and knowledge, might assist with magickal work and could also enhance the psychic or physical abilities of the witch. A familiar might also convey superhuman strength to its human receiver, as was the case with the Beserkers of Norse legends. According to legend, the Berserkers would take the spirit of a bear into battle, using its strength to make them invincible. After taking in the spirit of the bear, it is claimed that the Berserkers could perform superhuman feats of which no ordinary man or woman would be capable.
Many indigenous cultures believe that familiar spirits grant their human receivers special healing powers as well as knowledge of plants and medicines. Shamanic cultures believe that deep soul connections between humans and familiar animals are commonplace and that these connections foster the spiritual evolution of the two connected beings.
For witches the same holds true. Finding and establishing a relationship with a familiar, be it with a pet you already own, a spirit guide, an animal that you adopt or an animal spirit, having a familiar can greatly improve both your magical abilities as well as your overall evolution as a witch.
The Story Behind The Witch And The Black Cat
Easily the most recognisable animal familiar in the West is the black cat. From Halloween kitsch through to popular TV sitcoms, the witch and her back cat have become an almost inseparable couple. But is there a hidden story behind this iconic duo? Why are witches often associated with black cats?
Black cats actually used to be a symbol of good luck in ancient Egypt, where they were considered the patron of the Goddess Bast. Bast, who would occasionally assume the form of a black cat, was associated with longevity and immortality. In the second dynasty of Egypt, every household owned a black cat as this was thought to bring luck and good health to the household inhabitants.
Later in history, cats became associated with Pagan beliefs. During this time the Christian Church had made it illegal to practise Pagan religions. Pagans were persecuted by the Christian Church and because cats were symbolically linked to the practice of Paganism, ownership of cats amongst the general population began to rapidly decline.
The link between cats and Paganism stayed firmly engrained in the collective consciousness and during the European witch trials, one of the ways in which a Witch would be ‘identified’ was through his or her association with a cat, in particular, a black cat.
As you can see, cats and witchcraft enjoy a long and complicated relationship. Personally, I love the idea that black cats represent the Goddess Bast and that through having a black cat as a familiar we can communicate with Bast and thereby strengthen our magickal work.
That being said, there is absolutely no rule stating that you should have a black cat familiar as a witch. You may choose to have no witches familiar at all, or you might find that your familiar takes on a completely different form. Some witches have familiar snakes, guinea pigs, dogs or horses. Others have familiar spirits who do not exist in the physical realm at all. The choice, as always, is completely yours.
How To Find Your Witch’s Familiar
Many witches enjoy telling the story of how their witches familiar found them (note, it is not the story of how they ‘found’ their familiar but rather the other way around). Take, for example, the story of a friend of mine who’s familiar found her in the unlikeliest of ways.
She had been visiting a music festival near Warschau with her boyfriend, the festival took place over New Year and during the night of the New Year, they spontaneously decided to walk in the nearby woods. With the lights and sounds of the music festival fading into the background, my friend told me that an inner voice kept telling her to walk further and further into the woods. Even though her boyfriend began to express some uneasiness on account of the woods becoming increasingly darker, she forged on ahead, spurred on by the voice which kept whispering to her to ‘keep going’.
Sometime around the stroke of midnight (I kid you not) she saw a black dog trot out from behind a thicket. Initially scared of the dog and unsure about how to react, my friend and her boyfriend quickly retreated from the woods and returned back to the music festival. The next morning, the dog was sitting outside of their tent! Since then, the dog has not left my friend’s side. They are really spiritually connected and it’s easy to see this even from a distance when I watch them together, their steps in sync, their senses in tune.
Of course, not everyone needs or wants to have quite such a dramatic experience in regards to finding their witches familiar. Maybe its the pet you already own and you just haven’t allowed yourself to fully connect? Or perhaps it will be the dog or cat that won’t stop staring at you at the animal shelter, the one that you instinctively want to pick up and carry home. Or maybe your familiar visits you in your dreams and whispers words of wisdom to you then. Have you ever had a dream or a daydream where you felt as though you were incredibly connected to a certain animal or being? This could have quite possibly been your familiar.
Personally, my witches familiar is a snake. But not a living snake, she/he/it is more like an archetypal serpent who waits for me in the space between sleeping and dreaming, wraps itself around my wrist and fills me with an immense sense of peace, stability and power.
Discover Your Personal Spiritual Animal
Use the list below to intuitively find the spirit animal that fits you the best. Remember that you do not necessarily choose your animal. You and your animal choose each other. Think about the spirit animal before you drift to sleep and ask of it wants to connect with you. Take note of any dreams or visions you might have. What is your spirit animal communicating to you?
You can also work with different spirit animals according to your specific needs. Binding yourself to one particular animal spirit is not required, although you may also do so if you like.
Take note also if you start to see specific animals in your day to day life. Perhaps you suddenly notice butterflies everywhere. This could be a sign that your spirit animal is calling to you.
If you are not sure which animal to work with, use this simple meditation:
“Right here and now, at this moment, I am reaching out for what I need. I may not know exactly what it is, but I open my mind and heart to spiritual wisdom. I want to feel you, understand you, connect with you so that you can fill my world with your power and the healing energies you posses”
The antelope is the ideal spirit animal for times of crisis. If you are struggling with a certain area in your life or feel hopeless, the antelope can provide guidance and security. The antelope’s feminine softness conceals a fierce toughness. With each graceful step that the antelope takes on her way up the treacherous mountain path, she shows us how strength and courage can be beautiful and achieved with graceful ease.
The bear teaches us how to manifest our dreams into reality. The bear’s nature teaches us to be patient and to trust the process. If you feel blocked in some way, maybe creatively, the bear would make a wonderful spirit animal for you. The bear can help to guide you towards your ultimate vision and give you the strength to follow your dreams.
The bee makes an excellent spirit animal for students or those who are feeling overwhelmed with paperwork and bureaucratic tasks. Bees are known for their work ethic and the extremely focused and diligent way in which they go about their work. The bee teaches us determination and patience.
The buffalo teaches us how to be thankful for what we have. The buffalo stands for abundance and the generosity of mother nature. If you are feeling stressed about money or have a huge stack of bills that you need to pay, the buffalo would make the perfect spirit guide for you. According to the buffalo true wealth comes from sharing what you have with others and the path to prosperity begins by taking care of your own herd.
If you are facing issues with your love life the bull is the spirit animal you need. The bull is all about sexual virility and potent life forces. Call on the bull to help you work through any sexual issues and to show you the path towards a natural expression of passion and pleasure.
If you’re searching for change than the butterfly is your spirit animal. Through its transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, the butterfly shows us that massive change is not only possible but also utterly natural. The butterfly will show you the path of creative evolution and help you to find the courage to become the most authentic version of your true self.
The cat teaches us that there is magick in the mundane. If you are feeling bored with your life and are struggling to connect with your mischievous side, call on the cat as your spirit guide. Independence is the cat’s primary trait and she teaches us that even when we live a domesticated life, we can still own our independence fiercely and freely.
If you are having issues with family relationships, fertility or feeling neglected the crab is your go-to spirit animal. Through its ability to preserve and defend itself, its hard shell protecting a soft interior, the crab teaches us how to nurture and defend our own inner child. Intuition is a trait associated with the crab and she teaches us to listen to our own inner voice and inherent wisdom.
If you feel like you have issues in your life that should have been resolved years ago, the crocodile is your go-to spirit animal. The crocodile teaches us how to confront and resolve old patterns and mental blockages that may be holding us back in life. Through the crocodile’s wisdom, we can learn how to leave behind the things that no longer serve us.
If you are feeling ignored or unheard, the deer is your spirit animal. The deer’s antlers act like an antenna, tuned into subtle frequencies and helping to restore balance and clarity. The deer can help you to find your own voice in a gentle and calm manner, guiding you towards a place where you feel secure in your ability to communicate and be heard.
When your feeling lonely or in need of friendship call on the dog as your spirit animal. Known as ‘mans best friend’ the dog can teach us to regain our ability to trust, especially if we’ve been hurt by someone we felt close to.
If you are in need of joy, stuck in depression or feel like you are in a mental rut, the dolphin is your spirit animal. The dolphin will show you how to reconnect with your own playfulness and show you the path towards becoming more joyful and free. If your sex life has been lacklustre the dolphin will show you how to frolic and play.
The eagle teaches us how to trust the divine and allow the flow of cosmic wisdom. If you feel like you need help balancing your spiritual and material existence, the eagle is your go-to spirit animal. The eagle will also prove a useful companion if you are wanting to improve your spiritual or meditation practices.
Do you feel weak or powerless? Call on the elephant for strength and guidance. The powerful slow-moving ‘gentle giant’ will show you how to move past seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to push through mental barriers and to find the source of your own inner strength.
If you’re facing career issues, are in a fix of some sort or need to keep your wits about you, call on the fox for guidance. Remember, even the most formidable opponent can be ‘outfoxed’. With its mischievous nature, cunning mind and agile body, the fox makes an excellent teacher for those who need a fresh perspective.
Do you want to get away from it all? Feeling stuck or mentally constrained? Then the horse is your spirit animal. Known for its abilities to roam and run free, the horse teaches us how to break out of limiting mental confines or emotionally constraining relationships.
My Loves, I hope this post has provided you with some inspiration, clarity and wisdom. May you find the perfect familiar or spirit animal to guide and protect you on your journey and as always, blessed be.