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Familiars - whats the difference


Guest fizzyclare1
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Following on from the very interesting thread 'over familiar familars', I was wondering how a person can distinguish from a pet who is just very affectionate and a familar who is very affectionate...I suppose my question is (if possible to answer) what are the distinguishing features of a familar eg a dog thats different from a non-familiar?

 

cos I don't know.

 

all thoughts welcome

 

fizz

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My understanding is that a familiar can be sent out (either in real space or astral) to perform tasks. Alternatively, a Witch may enter the mind of the creature and travel (think Granny Weatherwax) or assume the animal's actual form (think tales of hares being shot and the Witch then limping).

 

A while ago I posted re something odd that happened with Skins (ginger tom). I felt I was in his head and there was a very bright turquoisy golden light - it felt real, but I hesitated to take it further. Since then, he always comes and lies in exactly that same spot where it happened each night. I feel I could go walkabout in his head, but also that it'd be a bit presumptious to do so purely as an excercise to see if I could. If that makes sense?

 

I personally don't think familiars are anything to do with "totem animals" BTW.

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I tend to think of a familiar as a kind of servitor that doesnt necessarily originate from this plane. The relationship between Witch, Magician, Necromancer etc being a symbiotic one. I dont subscribe to the Pet connection personally.

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Just an odd sort of thought (...like ya do), would a dog for the disabled or some kind of guide dog constitute a familiar? in part anyway.

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Probably depends on both the creature and the "owner"!

 

Creatures from another plane are not (IMO only here) familiars, but something else entirely!

 

I have a ghost cat - but I wouldn't class him as a familiar - just a remembrance who pops in from time to time.

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I believe that a familiar has to be part of your connection to that "other" plane, otherwise it's just a pet

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My understanding is that a familiar can be sent out (either in real space or astral) to perform tasks. Alternatively, a Witch may enter the mind of the creature and travel (think Granny Weatherwax) or assume the animal's actual form (think tales of hares being shot and the Witch then limping).

 

A while ago I posted re something odd that happened with Skins (ginger tom). I felt I was in his head and there was a very bright turquoisy golden light - it felt real, but I hesitated to take it further. Since then, he always comes and lies in exactly that same spot where it happened each night. I feel I could go walkabout in his head, but also that it'd be a bit presumptious to do so purely as an excercise to see if I could. If that makes sense?

 

I personally don't think familiars are anything to do with "totem animals" BTW.

289851[/snapback]

 

I would agree with Tas, to me a familiar is an animal that you can journey with on the astral, or who you are connected to mentally or spiritually and who takes an active role in your magical work.

 

My HPS once had a cat who was her familiar, a big ginger persian rescued from a breeding centre. She could look into his eyes and go off on various meditations with him - sadly she lost him a few years ago. I have never had a familiar yet, much as I love my own mog she is not connected to me in that way.

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I believe there are methods that may be employed to make your Moggy or Fido your familar by binding a conjured entity within them. Whether you consider this to be ethical or not is another matter.

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I believe there are methods that may be employed to make your Moggy or Fido your familar by binding a conjured entity within them. Whether you consider this to be ethical or not is another matter.

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Ethical apart, it could result in severe bunging up of said potential familiar too!

 

Also I now have this dreadful image - BAAAD Deadwing!

It won't go away now!:)

 

 

Vet: What seems to be the problem? :D

 

Witch on a mission: Well... erm Fido was getting overly familiar with my conjured entity.... :)

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:) Tas. Well Fido has been packing a little extra weight and is need of some exorcise. Not sure if the Vet can do anything for your psychotic Pussy though.

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I have had both animal pets and animal familiars, and they were definately very different relationships.

 

Rainbow XXX

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:)  Tas. Well Fido has been packing a little extra weight and is need of some exorcise. Not sure if the Vet can do anything for your psychotic Pussy though.

289912[/snapback]

 

PMSL! The last one that tried had his arm bitten off - at the oxter! :lol:

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So if you repeatedly come across the same animal during astral stuff (does this include dreaming) then thats a familiar?

 

and, ethics aside, what purpose does having a conjured entity contained within the familiar serve?

 

also my recently deceased rottie (who I was very close to) is still here in my house in spirit. I know cos he bangs about upstairs (very hefty dog) and it sounds like his banging about not something else. tended to sleep outside my door and he would just wumpf down on the floor with two big bumps and then sigh and probably catch his nails against the door (all of which I continue to hear).

 

I wonder what triggers the knowledge that a pet may also be a familiar, sometimes I get a strange feeling of 'knowing' an animal where the link is very strong (cash, my rottie, used to send me little mental pictures - usually of fields or dog bowls full of food!) but I never saw him as a familiar, in the sense of astral travelling.

 

I am getting a similar buzz from lady (my whippet lurcher) but it is kind of different than before...

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I would reckon that yes, it does suggest that.

Re your Rottie - he's there looking out for you - I take it you chat away still to him? And it sounds like the new whippet will become a very very close friend too.

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sure do, I send little mental pictures of me fussing him, and sometimes its almost as if I can feel him near me, cuddling up. He's not always there though - he could be a bit of a wanderer, so i think he's a visitor.

 

Oh yes, they are definitely good friends, in fact she's been 'learning' some of cash's old tricks like pinching pencils. (or the remote control!!!!), and she even nicks my socks and falls asleep with it near her.

 

At the moment I get a sense of nervousness, and a need for reassurance (which is I guess a result of the rehoming process overall) from her. She's very sensitive is lady too, she often 'watches' things that aren't plainly visible and its usually where we see orbs.

 

fizz

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and, ethics aside, what purpose does having a conjured entity contained within the familiar serve?

 

Hi Fizzy,

 

Think of it as the Animal providing a host body for said entity with the purpose of performing tasks for and serving the needs of Lineages, Bloodlines and Families.

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I think it's true that a familiar is an animal that will do your bidding for you in your absence. But, I also think there can be a connection to an animal that is so strong that it will be linked to you even after its passing.

 

I had my first cat who was very attached to me. She disappeared one day and, after years and years, her sort of cat still appears at times in my life when I most need support. This type, a white cat with special circles of ginger brown and black spots, has crossed my path all over the world at special times of my need. Maybe this isn't the exact definition of a familiar but it is a great psychic connection.

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Hi FIzzy,

 

Probably a little deeper and more binding and profound than a spirit personal assistant. It's more an ally in the original understanding that ally meant combine/unite. Such allies aren't limited to this Earthly plane and arent necessarily bound to our concept of time. Servitors can serve successive generations. A Familiar also doesnt have to be an Animal. Plants too can take you to places that Thomsons travels can't if you care to go down that route (Not advisable on your own) To perhaps gain a better understanding of Familiars, look at some of the lore associated with Black Dogs, Witches relationships with Animals and the plant subject of Pharmakon. This is my thoughts on the subject of course Clare and i realise that other contributors to this thread have different opinions on what constitutes a Familiar.

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I thought familiars were spirits that could appear in animal form, and not simply an affectionate animal you have a connection with.

 

However, I'm not saying some sort of animal or pet that you may have a connection with can't help. I'm just saying familiars are primarily spirits.

Edited by Blacklead
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It's a tricky one Blacklead. From what I can extrapolate, the term 'familiar' is taken from court records of witch trials in the (mostly) sixteenth century. Short for 'familiar spirit' as you say, they were generally believed to be imps, sent to witches from the devil. These imps would take the shape of cats, ferrets, mice, hedgehogs, insects etc and could be used for fetching that which the witch wanted, or more commonly to plague someone the witch had a grudge against until they got sick and/or died.

 

As neo-paganism has risen, these records seem to have been mined for information on how witchcraft was done in the 'good ole days'. Personally, I don't put much store in this testimony as a guide to witchcraft seeings how it was largely gained by leading confessions drawn from torture by a far from objective source. If people working with animals today find it works and find the term 'familiar' to fit well, I think that's got more basis to it than what some Puritan religious fanatic/iconiclast entrepreneur dreamed up to frighten the local magistrates and townspeople into convicting the accused.

 

Just me ;)

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Personally, I don't put much store in this testimony as a guide to witchcraft seeings how it was largely gained by leading confessions drawn from torture by a far from objective source. If people working with animals today find it works and find the term 'familiar' to fit well, I think that's got more basis to it than what some Puritan religious fanatic/iconiclast entrepreneur dreamed up to frighten the local magistrates and townspeople into convicting the accused.

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I'm curious, if fanatical puritans hadn't tortured confessions out of people, and forced suggestions of familiars, do you think the word or even the concept that the word brings would have made it's way into modern witchcraft?

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Nope. Neither, in all probability would the word 'witch' as it would appear the term was only used by those prosecuting or accusing.

 

It's possible however that 'familiar spirits' was the spin put on those 'charmers' or 'cunning folk' who did work with their pets, so who knows? The problem is that much of modern witchcraft is derived from these records rather than any real handing down of learning**. It's all speculation, which is why I prefer to work from instinct over and above books.

 

 

**My own personal conclusions, I remain unconvinced by Trad families but always glad to learn something new.

Edited by Esk
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Nope. Neither, in all probability would the word 'witch' as it would appear the term was only used by those prosecuting or accusing.

 

Very true. I myself don't care so much about the word witch anyway.

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  • 4 months later...
I have a ghost cat - but I wouldn't class him as a familiar - just a remembrance who pops in from time to time.

289861[/snapback]

 

I have one of these too - although mines a her. She calls in and pesters the dog and other cats from time to time. :)

 

I'm no expert of familiars but I personally believe that the animals that come into our lives as pets or acquaintances are drawn there by the forces of fate/wyrd and become inextricably linked to us spiritually. :lol:

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People are animals too. I don't tend to quantify their abilities or 'worth' on a purely human scale. So , given some have suggested that 'familiars' can do their bidding, anyone think another person can be their 'familiar'? After all, if a person doesn't think that animals and humans are equal, then some might see animals as fit for servitude , but if not than I have to ask what would the difference be?

 

 

Serious Question.

 

Marto

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