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Familiars

It’s been a pretty busy week.  I’ve been working, writing, editing, and trying to create space for new members of the household…

Rats.

I was supposed to be getting some last month, taking the last four males from a litter.  The deal fell through, but she offered me first choice of a litter due in mid-March.

Meanwhile, however, I found another offer and called and I will be picking up three little boys this afternoon.

I am so excited!

I love critters of all types, and I’ve missed having a pet.  (The semi-feral cat doesn’t quite count.)

The cage for the rats will be right next to my computer (yeah, that’s gonna be good for productivity…) so we’ll get to know each other pretty well.

But that doesn’t mean that they are going to be acting as my familiars.

A witch’s familiar isn’t just a pet.

It’s not even a pet that you have a close relationship with, although that helps.

A witch’s familiar is a working partner.  It lends energy to rituals and it acts as a defender.

Depending on your belief system, a familiar can be one of many things.

It can be a pet with which you have an especially close bond.

It can be a spirit that has assumed an animal form and comes to assist a witch in his or her workings.

In a more shamanic tradition, it can be a spirit animal, perhaps not even a physical animal at all, and in addition to protecting the worker and aiding in rituals, it can retrieve information and relay it to its partner.

There are also totem animals, power spirits, etc.

Hmm… maybe I’ll do a series on animals in magic.

But, anyhow…

You don’t find a familiar – a familiar finds you.  They come to you when they are needed and they may choose to stay with you or they may leave when they have served their purpose and return if needed again, either in the same form or a different one.

I’ve never worked with a physical familiar, but I have had spirit animals show up, primarily big cats in a protective role.  I didn’t summon them or ask for them, they just showed up – and I was grateful.

Would I like to work with a familiar in a physical form?  I’m not certain. I think I would worry about it too much.

Not that the choice seems to be up to the witch…