I am a beginner, but I'd like to have a familiar. The thing is that after all the things I've read, I didn't get the information that I needed. So I'll just start off here.
I want a familiar. The thing is that I do not know how to get one without using an actual animal.
I'd like my familiar to be an owl, because it has a lot of knowledge that I may need. It would be a real help also since I'm very forgetting, so it could not only help me with spell casting but also my "daily life". But Afcourse, you don't simply get an owl. So maybe there's a way somehow of getting a familiar without using "actual" animals. (I got two cats. But I'm scared that I will hurt them or so. Not to mention, how does the cat become your familiar anyway? Will the cat be the same as before?)
Another question is..
What are familiars? I once heard that it are Demons that are just "bound" to you. When I heard that, I immediately took a step back.
But I don't believe that that's what they are.
How do I feed my familiar, by the way? With "actual food" or energy?
I read a article once which was very helpful, but it will be highly appreciated if these questions could be answered due how they are keeping me stuck.
This is my research on google and then may help,familiars are the demons in animal form which aids a witch in doing witchcraft.I have two questions,are you want to be a witch?,Are you love animals?Well I'm also a starter here and I also love animals,,..Oh,welcome here...The better you do is to search in google.
The idea that a pet is the same as a familiar came from the centuries when poor women who had only a pet for company were often accused of being Witches.. It has continued in modern times because of the crop of poorly researched books on the market these days. But the fact of the matter is that our beloved pets and a Witch's familiar are very, very different things.
A Witch's familiar is an animal spirit or a magical construct created by the Witch or the Magician as an adjunct to their magical workings, as a repository for power, and if needed as a defense against magical attack from another magic user. A Witch or a magician can draw upon the energies of the familiar when they need an extra boost of energy in a magical working. Conceivably if the spell is important enough, the Witch could completely drain the familiar of energy causing it to "die" or cease to exist. And in the case of a magical attack, the attack could be diverted to the familiar so that it would be the familiar which is destroyed rather than the magic user. None of these are things that I think any of us would want to do with our pets.
There is an excellent article on familars here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Familiar_spirit
Animals are very sensitive to the energies around them and they may be drawn to us when we are working magic because they can sense the energy. They also want to be around their people, which again will make them want to be where we are..and that may be where we are doing magic. Neither of these things makes the animal a familiar or inherently magical in and of itself.
Of the tales of witches since the Early Modern period, the familiar spirit is probably the most intrinsic after the flight to the Sabbath. However, there is a lot of misinformation on what exactly the familiar spirit is and its purpose.
Many modern writers make the familiar spirit out to be some sort of animal spirit, or perhaps a physical animal. If one took a glance at the confessions of the witches and cunningfolk, one would see that this was not true.
In fact, if one would look through the testimonials, one would see that the witches made no mention of their attending spirits as physical animals, and it was rather those that -observed- the witches that claimed the animals were their familiar spirits.
So in my opinion (coming from a folklore based position), throw out the nonsense about a physical animal. The physical animal was murely a valuable worker in pre-modern people, especially those in Europe who had animistic worldviews like that of witches and cunning men. They can help in magick, but they aren't familiars. I refer to them as domestic helpers.
The familiar spirit, historically, is the spiritual doppelganger of the individual witch, a local spirit. It is, for lack of a better term, a reflection of the soul. It is the inner divinity, the spark of godhood, or however one wants to define it. The familiar spirit is the witch?s companion, lover, and assistant in magic. It is the fetch, the holy guardian angel of ceremonial magick, the faery lover of folk tradition. It evolved out of an animistic worldview.
The familiar spirit IS the witch, and yet is separate from the witch. The familiar spirit has its own consciousness, but it also part of the consciousness of the witch.
Feeding the familiar is by energy. There is a reason our ancestors left physical food and drink for spirits. Because they have energy, and the act of sacrifice is energy. Blood is also vibrant in energy for a spirit to feed upon. Lastly, and most relevant to the familiar, is sexual energy.
The relationship with the familiar spirits is largely sensual. Not necessarily intercoursic, but certainly erotic and sensual. This is because of what the familiar is. It is the witch, and the witch is it.
A book I'd recommend that is scholarly, is the book Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, by Emma Wilby. It largely has to do with the interactions between fairies (who derive from animistic world views) and cunningfolk/witchs and the connection to the spirit helpers of shamanic cultures outside of Europe.
Familiars can be created in a spirit form or exist as a spirit that inhabits or rides a physical vessel or simply doesn't exist in physical material. Though as Lark says people mistake the typical domesticated house animal as a familiar when actually they are not always a physical manifestations at all. Meditate. Research. Enjoy.