Only 16 days until Halloween!
Throughout the month of October I’ll be posting once a day with something to get you into the Halloween spirit, including movie and book reviews, real haunted places, occult topics and more. Come back each day and join in the fun!
Everyone needs an assistant, and for witches that often comes in the form of a familiar spirit (sometimes called simply a familiar). There’s a lot of information out there about these entities, which are rather controversial. After all, many Christians feel that familiars are by nature evil (just as they view witches to be evil) and shun them without a second thought.
A familiar is oftentimes portrayed as an animal of some sort, but can be a human or human-like entity. Usually they’re described as having a solid and visible body, but some people believe they are always ghost-like in nature. In European cultures, black cats were most often associated with familiar spirits, which is why they’re connected to the Halloween holiday and also why some people to this day still fear them. Still, familiars reportedly can take on any animal form they wish.
Depending on who you ask, familiar spirits are either demons or faeries. Some witches even regard their familiar as a type of guardian angel, keeping them from harm both in the physical and spiritual worlds. It really depends on a person’s perspective, or if they believe the witch is practicing black or white magic.
Sometimes witches inherit their familiar from a family member, often near or at the time of their death. Others have claimed that their familiar appeared out of nowhere, selecting them. Some claim that they work with multiple familiars, with them rotating in and out at random times.
You’ve probably seen or read the Harry Potter series. One of the reasons why certain people protested the books and movies was that they contend that J.K. Rowling is using them to teach children witchcraft, or at least to desensitize them to the practice. If you remember, the kids at the school have an animal they keep, such as Harry’s owl Hedwig or Hermoine’s cat Crookshanks.
In one of my all-time favorite books, Bless Me Ultima, the titular character (who is a cunning folk or witch) has an owl that always perches on a tree outside whatever building she’s inside. The owl acts as an extra set of eyes and a protector, warning her when danger is approaching.
What kind of an animal familiar would you pick?
Would you ever own a black cat?
Leave a comment below and join in the Halloween fun! We still have 16 more posts to go this month, so come back and see what else I have in store.