FAMILIAR: closely acquainted, an intimate associate or companion; a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person. (Latin:famulus-attendant)
Peoples throughout the ages have known the power of Familiars, from the Native Americans to the Shamans of ancient Europe, to the modern day Witch. If you work magick, the Familiar (whether physical or astral, as will be explained), can aid you by augmenting your power. They can warn you of danger or defend you when danger is near. They are good healers, often sending comforting, healing vibrations to you. By following and studying them, you are often led to new knowledge and understanding of your own spiritual nature and needs.
There is nothing evil about having a Familiar, something Non-Pagans do not often understand. Unfortunately, times of Witchcraft paranoia and persecution have given the word "Familiar" negative connotations. These wrong ideas are spread by those who know nothing of the truth and choose to spread propoganda, rather than facts.
However, as a Pagan, you will come to know, if you do not already, the beauty, comfort, and strength that is brought into your life by a magickal companion.
Ways to Attract a Familiar
There are two ways to attract a Familiar, consciously or subconsciously. You can deliberately choose a specific animal, such as choosing a particular species of pet, or calling upon a familiar based upon its magickal attributes or your affection for it. However, in the end, the Familiar is the one that chooses YOU, deciding to stay based on your magickal and spiritual needs and your acceptance of the responsibility and friendship. Astral familiars are even more particular than physical ones are in this regard. They come and go as they please, and may be of a species you don't think you want around. Take the time to observe them, their traits and their abilities. They may well be showing you something you need in your life that they have to offer.
If you know what creature you would like to attract as an Astral Familiar, meditate and ask for its appearance. If your desire is strong enough, and you are patient enough, it will eventually come to you. Open yourself to it and listen for its messages. Patience , perseverance, openness, friendliness and love are what you must cultivate when seeking out your Magickal Familiar.
You may well already have astral familiars without being aware of them. To discover them and become acquainted with them, all that is required is meditation, often several meditations. Prepare yourself, find a quiet room, where you can work undisturbed. Soft music in the background helps filter out other sounds. Burning incense or having a few drops of an essential oil warming in the room is good for letting your mind know that this is a special time of ritual meditation and helps set your mood. Relax your muscles, working your way through your body slowly, telling each muscle to relax. Once relaxed, surround yourself in soothing light, mentally breathing it in. Envision taking all the problems of everyday life and locking them away for a time. Picture a place without buildings or other humans and let yourself wander, observing your surroundings. Be aware and observe any creatures that might come to you, and try to communicate with it.
Once you have meditated for awhile, and observed and perhaps communicated with several astral creatures, thank them and slowly pull back into your physical self. Move and stretch slowly, bringing yourself back to the physical before ending and going on about your day.
Learning from your Animal Familiar
Astral familiars can appear spontaneously in dreams and meditations, becoming self-appointed Familars. Often when this happens, the creature is trying to convey a message, telling you something about your life that their abilities and traits can guide you through. Sometimes you need the specific powers of a creature that has not appeared to you. Whatever the case , you need to know the attributes of the creature, in order to make the most of your connection and keep the connection strong.
in the following pages we present a list of some of the possible Familiars you may encounter in your spiritual and physical lives. It is by no means complete, but hopefully will start you on your way to the wonder and magick that our Animal Familiars bring to us.
The Cat Family|The Wolf Family