A familiar, is a supernatural entity that aids a witch in learning and practicing witchcraft. A familiar is the witch’s closest companion, always offering moral support, helps in physical/mental/emotional/spiritual healing, and will guide the witch in learning. The familiar chooses the witch, and the witch typically never has a say in if he/she can have a familiar or not. A familiar bonds with you on a spiritual level. And you will always be able to trust your familiar.
Stereotypically speaking, the witch’s familiar is portrayed as a black cat; this is because in Western culture, the black cat is strongly connected to witchcraft. The black cat is not the only type of animal that can be a familiar. Any animal can be a familiar. In fact, there are even familiars that do not come in the form of animal, and can even exist outside of our realm.
There are three main types of familiars; the familiar spirit, a spirit guide, and a domestic familiar.
In Christo-Europe, the familiar spirit was originally believed to be a demon that made a sexual pact with a witch to give her/him power. The familiar spirit would not only have a sexual relationship with the witch, but would also be guide and teach the witch. In modern day witchcraft, the familiar spirit refers to an entity that offers protection, guidance, and assistance. These entities reside on the astral or spiritual plane, so the familiar spirit can be angels, demons, spirits, fae folk, etc.
A spirit guide is a spiritual presence in the shape of an animal. These spirit guides protect, empower, and teach the witch. One can discover their spirit guide by dreams, meditations, and visions, or by noticing said animal appear frequently and/or behave out of it’s nature in your life. A spirit guide can be any animal, and can even be an extinct or mythical creature. All animals have a set of traits and correspondences, and these will usually describe you, or what you need to learn to have. It is very possible to have multiple spirit guides over your lifetime, and even at once, but it has always been thought that everyone has at least one.
Domestic familiars were said to be an animal that would protect and serve the witch, and was a gift to the witch from demons, or Satan himself. The familiars would supposedly feed off the witch, through a third nipple. But in modern times, domestic familiars are any entity in our physical realm who protects and aids a witch on his/her path. Most domestic familiars refer to actual animals, and are usually a witch’s pet.
Another type of familiar is an imp. Imps can be plants, dolls, or any other inanimate object. These imps are a vessel that contains the spirit of a familiar. Imps are ‘made’ by having a familiar spirit ‘possess’ an object of it’s choice.
How can you tell if an animal is your familiar?
Familiars that come in the form of spirit guides and power animals usually make themselves known by showing up in your life very frequently. They can do this by constantly making appearances in your dreams or meditations or coming by your home. If animals of a certain species are behaving strangely, it could mean the species could be your spirit guide. My spirit guide is the common grackle and I realized this because not only did my fiance see a blackbird with his guide (he sees his multiple times a month), my yard was the only one in my neighborhood with grackles, and there were hundreds. My fiance’s spirit guide is a white wolf. He found her by meditation when he was younger and she had found, and followed him ever since.
Domestic familiars are a bit harder to define, as many witches believe that a pet and a familiar are the same. If fact, most pets (even a witch’s pet) are not familiars. We may have conditional love between us and our pets, we may have an amazing bond, and we may even feel like we’ve known them throughout our lifetimes, but that does not make them a familiar. This isn’t something you can just make happen. You cannot just pick up any animal and make them a familiar. You have no control over if the animal wants to be your familiar; the familiar will choose you and only when it sees fit. There is a strong spiritual bond, and it goes way past the unconditional love you have for a pet. It’s similar to a telepathic sense, where you can sense each other’s feelings and thoughts. You must be able to trust your familiar wholeheartedly. If you cannot trust your pet around something spiritual, that pet is not a familiar. But most importantly, a domestic familiar is always helping you along your magickal journey. They will constantly make the effort to keep you on your magickal path.
There are a few different ways to call to a familiar. Familiar spirits are usually summoned in a ritualistic manner. Not only is this not recommended (you could summon other entities as well), your efforts could be wasted if the familiar chooses to not accept you. Spirit guides are quite common and can usually make an appearance with little effort. There are many meditations, potions and teas, spells, and more that can help call a spirit guide to you. Domestic familiars are harder to obtain. You can do spells to help call one to you, or to make you more susceptible to a familiar accepting you.
Not all witches have familiars. This can be because they don’t want one, they don’t need one, or they aren’t ready to have one. There are some witches who do not want a familiar, and that could be for any reason. But if a familiar thinks that a witch would not accept him, he will not appear to the witch. Some witches do not need a familiar, as they are strong in their path and do not need any extra oomph on their path. Some witches aren’t ready to have a familiar, and there are many reasons this could be. There could even be witches who are not deemed “worthy” of having a familiar. Like those who chose the craft as a way to rebel against their parents, those who dabble, etc.
Keep in mind, all of my posts are based on my opinions that I have gathered from my research. You may disagree or have something to add. Please do so kindly in the comments.
Blessed be, brothers and sisters.