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Familiars and Witches: Some Insight

Updated on March 28, 2020

An Introduction to Familiars

Familiars are spiritually attuned creatures that offer their witch insights to things such as: nature, wisdom, and magical ability. The familiar can essentially be any creature that the witch has developed a bond with and can fulfill the role of the familiar. Another thing to note is that the witch may not necessarily chose their familiar, it could be a case of the witch and familiar discovering a bond with each other.

A witch depicted with her familiars.
A witch depicted with her familiars.

Spirit Familiars

An important thing to consider, especially if you seek to have a familiar, is that not all familiars claim a physical body. There are spirits that take on the role of familiar that are just as helpful to witches as any physical familiar. However, the differences between having a physical familiar and a spirit familiar are vast.

For example, when you first summon or receive your spirit familiar, it is harbored in a vessel. Much like how a physical familiar has it's body, the spirit familiar needs something to be bound to, as well. This can be pretty much anything, but the most popular would be jewelry or gemstones. Ideally, though, the vessel would be something that the witch can carry on themself so that they may carry their familiar with them.

An additional difference would be the incubation period for the spirit companion. It can last anywhere between the first day you acquire it, the the thirtieth day of having it. The purpose of this is to give the spirit time to get accustomed to the energies that you give off, and for you to get accustomed to the energies it gives off.

Speaking from personal experience, it would be smart to chose your familiar spirit wisely if you ever do, because some may be more difficult to maintain, or deal with, than others. You also don't want to take on something that you can't handle because it will be taxing on your well being.

The stone above is malachite and an example of what a vessel might look like.
The stone above is malachite and an example of what a vessel might look like.

Examples of Familiars and Their Magical Uses

  • The Spider; it's ability to spin and weave it's silk assists the witch with the casting of spells.
  • The Snake; was commonly used as a representation of certain deities and was used to commune with the underworldly beings and spirits from there. Also used for making magic potent.
  • The Raven; the raven is considered a teacher familiar and shares its wisdom with its witch. It also acted as a messenger for the witch, being able to carry spells across a long distance.
  • The Dog; this one acts as a loving guardian and companion.
  • The Cat; with it's astounding ability to see in the dark, it is able to detect both living and spiritual entities and alert the witch of said things.
  • The Bat; the bat is used as a familiar because of it's hearing capabilities and it's ability to fly in the night unseen.
  • The Bear; it is a fierce protector and does not tire easily.
  • The Toad; helps with healing.
  • The Owl; it has a wisdom, according to some, that doesn't match any other familiar.
  • The Ferret; has lightning reflexes and is great at finding things for their witch.
  • Spirits; while this is a very broad category, things that aren’t quite living have the ability to venture where we, as people, cannot. They may be able to help you with your ancestors, energies, and a plethora of other things. Try to keep an open mind and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Bonding With Your Familiar

A little extra something I decided to incorporate because I've noticed that some may have issues with bonding with their familiars. By this, I mean your familiar is still shying away from you or does not seem to want to work with you.

A way to help this is to try to get your familiar to open up to you. When you pray to your deities, or deity, try to get your familiar to accompany you. Try to learn more about your familiar. Their likes, their dislikes, things they enjoy doing, places of your home that they seem to frequent the most. Things of that nature.

To take that a step further, when you are to participate in a ritual, or are preparing for that sort of thing, invite your familiar to join you so that you may do it together. Show your familiar that you want to work with them. Take the initiative if your familiar doesnt seem to be doing so. If you happen to need further help with this, seek the help of your deities, or ask other witches for their advice.

Witches depicted with their familiars.
Witches depicted with their familiars.


What kind of familiars do you have?

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