Halloween Humpday: Thoughts on Familiars

Or am I the only one who thinks ‘Hmmm’ when people discuss familiars?

After reading Loren Morris’ post on cats and familiars on today’s Samhain’s Sirens website, I thought ‘Hmmm.’ You may even say I  balked at the idea of familiars until I recalled my encounter with what may or may not have been a familiar.

By the by,  Samhain’s Sirens hold their October giveaway fest as I write this. Today’s giveaway is a delightful plaque entitled “You are entering familiar territory” by Loren Morris of Saga’s Cottage. The plaque features two cats doing what they sometimes do best — looking cute when they aren’t chasing you.  There are numerous ways to load entries into the cauldron pot —  including blogging about the giveaway. Which comes in handy if you’re undecided about what material you will use for today’s blog post. I think you know what time it is right about now, so I’ll continue with my Humpday post.

Some time ago, I sat in a Wiccan class, where some participants had been initiated into a degrees path (for lack of a better phrase).  Some of the witches began to talk about their familiars, and being an Aries, I naturally thought ‘If they have familiars, why shouldn’t I have one as well?’ It doesn’t take an Aries long to jump into the excitement, and I soon blurted, “Well, I want one, too!” Within minutes, the class leader, a high priest, smiled and told the class to look over my shoulder. I looked, too, but neither saw nor felt anything. Not seeing anything hardly  bothered me, for when I was a child and as a teen, it was not uncommon for me to feel a presence while appearing to be alone in a room. The idea that I could not feel anything made me a little skeptical even as I asked others in the class could they see or feel anything. Except for the class teacher, no one said he or she could see anything — but two or three ladies answered they could feel a presence. The high priest refused to  tell me what he saw, but one woman mentioned “it” reminded her of a hedgehog.

I shuddered, for when I was a teen, I saw something that looked somewhat like an unwashed hedgehog. Hedgehogs, however, did not zip through the air in a young girl’s bedroom. I had no name for the creature that disappeared in mid-air before it collided with the wall opposite from where it first appeared. For years afterward, I would not go near any book on witchcraft. The memory of how witchcraft felt so natural did not leave me, however, and I returned to the Craft eventually. I made it a point, though, to never hide my aversion for the thing that resembled a spiky, winged hedgehog. Let the furball grace another witch’s territory, I decided — although it would be years before I called myself a witch.

In reflection, Mr. Hedgehog Knockoff may have been a witch’s familiar en route to answer its companion’s call. I’ve noticed that witches tend to depict their companions as charming, as in the case of a cat or bird or spider (the last one must make for an incredibly short-lived companion. At least in the case of a spider, you don’t have to worry about a vet bill). This is not the case, if Mr. Hedge-sque was  indicative of how familiars appear.


4 responses to “Halloween Humpday: Thoughts on Familiars

  1. Happy Halloween Humpday. I like reading about familiars, maybe because I’ve always felt closer to animals than humans. Not sure I’d call my own brown bundle of fluff a familiar but he’s my best friend I know that.

  2. Have you read any of Juliet Blackwell’s novels? The familiars in her works are not often charming, cute or cuddly. Yet they end up being what one needs.

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