“Familiar Spirits”

Something light for a Wednesday…

Wikipedia: “In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as “familiars” or “animal guides“) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folks in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal…”

If there is one thing that folklore seems to have gotten right about witches and pagans, it is that we like our animals. In some cases, LOTS of animals.

And why not? Having animals can ease depression, reduce sense of loneliness, lower blood pressure and even reduce the chance of stroke or heart attack (study sources on the last page).

The handsome girl above is Miri, the Very Soft Cat. She is named for a medieval song, “Miri It Is Wel Sumer Il Laugh With Fugheles Songe”, or “merry it is while summer laughs with birds’ song”.

Miri, like most cats, has an unerring sense of where attention is being paid, and makes a beeline to that spot. Typing? Cat wants to be on the keyboard. Ritualing? Cat wants to settle down right in the middle of any Focus I might create for my ritual work.

It’s just a thing. Like a box in the middle of the floor is apparently irresistible. I don’t claim to understand it.

Despite these near-universalities (and a brain the size of a walnut), each such creature has its own unique personality. They are individuals, and we love them for their idiosyncrasies.

Despite the not-so-occasional annoyance, the presence of M. the V.S.C. in my life is an unmitigated positive. There is something marvelous—and a little weird, when you think about it—about having a little animal that slinks about the house and makes itself a part of our household. And her affection, sparingly doled out as it is, adds to my life tremendously.

I think it speaks well of us Pagans, that so many of us have these “familiar spirits”. It speaks to our ability to give and receive love, which is the most potent form of magic there is.

What’s the most interesting thing about your “familiar spirits”?


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