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Forums -> Misc Topics -> Familiar

Familiar
By:
Post # 1
No one replied to the last one, so here's another one. I hear on this site things about "familiars." Apparently(sp?) they're some kind of animal that you have a connection to? IDK. Can someone explain to me what they are? Thanks.
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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 2
This is an old myth from the time of witch persecution. An accuser would point to an animal,usually a cat,and say "That is the witches familiar." In modern times it has come to be a popular belief. An old witch would laugh at the idea!
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Re: Familiar
By:
Post # 3
There are spiritual creatures that do the same job as a familiar. They are called animal totems, they are animals that help, guide and protect us.

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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
It seems to me that many on this site think of "animals" as somehow being able to help us as "spirits". As though there are "animals" and "humans". If I wanted a "spirit" to guide me and/help me (which I don't!) I think I would prefer a human spirit.
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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 5
Oh,dear! Now we have totems doing the same job as a familiar. The original belief was that a witch was able to "change into her familiar". It was used as "evidence" that a lonely old woman with only a cat as companion must be a witch. And note, it was never a dog! The reason being, of course, was that most of the villagers would own a dog! But there was always something "mysterious" about a cat.And any woman that had a toad in her home was "obviously" a witch!
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Re: Familiar
By:
Post # 6
Really, there is no evidence to actually support people having familiar animals? Ok lol wow big news to me thanks Brysing :)
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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 7
If you read some of the dreadful witch Trials you will find that much of the "evidence" against witches (and most were quite innocent!) was that they had a "familiar", and that they could "change" into a cat, or a toad, or something else just as stupid.Then the "witch" would be put to torture until she confessed to all sorts of rubbish, such as flying on a broomstick for instance.Those times were long ago. Let's hope they never come back.
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Re: Familiar
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 8
I thought that familiars had their origin in shamanic practice. A medicine man or woman would spend their entire life focused on one particular animal. To some it was the first animal the father saw when the child was being born, to others it was an animal that most closely resembled the personality of the person. In some cultures these animals were white or albino (like the great white buffalo). When in trance, the medicine man would "live through" this animal, and believed he or she could share its body (experiencing all it did) or see through its eyes. But that is just Native American.

Other tribes in australia, various islands, etc had similar beliefs. Here is one well documented one.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/sa/aflg/aflg07.htm

The origin of cats being sacred was most definitely the Egyptians. By many cultures cats are viewed as very spiritually attuned or almost supernatural themselves. If you kill a cat in Egypt you were killed! They would even build a sarcophagus and mumified their cats.

The word familiaris in latin means belonging to a household or simply "domestic". So any spirit dwelling in your home with you (even a spirit guide) would be considered a "familiar". Since cats are believed to be more receptive to the spiritual, it was believed that the spirit would work through the cat, not that it was the cat themselves. There is a similar reason why the Egyptians revered cats, they were the symbol of the light force of nature, Bastet, a female goddess with the head of a lion. And if you had one, you had the protection of the goddess. So in a way, the cat was a part of this goddess.
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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 9
Yes,the cat was sacred to ancient Egyptians.And yes, Native Americans did "connect" with animals. I was writing about the European old beliefs. Some of which "travelled" to the USA, for instance the Salem witch Trials, with early European settlers.
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Re: Familiar
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 10
And for Oraclewitch. Just as posted by WhiteRaven, "familiar" does mean, originally, "part of the family". In that sense I have a familiar! He's a dog called Toby, and he really is part of the family! But in those now far off days every mishap in a rural setting, crops failing.Too much rain, not enough rain, was blamed on witchcraft. And any old woman who had what was claimed to be "a familiar" was,ergo, a witch.
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