Thursday, June 21, 2018

Familiars - Is Googling 'Familiar Spirit' a redundant action?

Blessings Darlings!

TL/DR: If it eats and shits, it's a pet not a familiar spirit.

You KNOW it's true:  damn near every online Pagan group has constant posts of animals and people claiming that the animals/pets are their familiars.  Such posts take up a huge amount of bandwidth (I'm so old that I remember when that mattered).  So let's start with what a familiar spirit is and what its traditional functions are.

First - as alluded to in the abstract above - it's not a corporeal being.  It's a spirit that puts on the glamour of some being, usually an animal.  It works for the person, maybe gathering information, maybe securing hard to find magical needs, maybe making introductions to other spirits, etc.  Some folks say that one's familiar spirit also take 'magical hits' for you - it puts itself in the way of curses/etc sent towards their human. You don't feed them food.  You may offer them food, and they will absorb the spiritual essence of it - but the physical food will remain.  Since it's not a physical being, it won't need walks, litter box scooping, etc. 

Second - why are they there? Often folks were given them as gifts or part of an inheritance, but it's not clear to me why the spirit gets this job assigned.  I'm guessing that it has to do with the spirit's growth in this spirit incarnation, but I'm blowing smoke on that one so take it as even less than UPG.

Third - Purpose #1, information.  If you were a magic user in the days before the printing press (or were a typically illiterate magic user, since most folks back in the day were illiterate), the familiar went out and could get the information from manuscripts and bring it back to you.  Need a spell out of a grimoire you don't have?  Send the familiar spirit to get the information.

And here we see a role that the Internet can replace.  Google search and you will have more info on any topic than you can get thru'. Buy a book via Kindle or Nook, and it's yours instantly.

Forth - Purpose #2, materials.  Again, you're an isolated worker back in the day.  You want, say, ginger for a spell.  It doesn't grow in most of Europe, and you're in Europe.  Traders don't tend to bring it to your village.  But your familiar can arrange that it shows up.  Or if you need an herb/tree bark/whatever that IS local but rare - it can take you to that herb/tree. 

Again, a role that the internet has supplanted. You can buy anything you need online with a few clicks, and it will be delivered right to your door.

Fifth - Purpose #3, Introductions to other spirits.  I will probably date myself if I say that Familiar Spirits have big Rolodexes.  So fine - they've got lots of contacts in Spiritual Social Media.  They can arrange to introduce you to who you need to be introduced to. 

Now THIS is still a service that the Internet can't do for you. 

Let me again point out that NONE of these things can be done by your pet hamster, cat, or dog.

Sure, your pet may well be very close to you.  It might groove on the energy of your rituals.  It may see you are trying to focus on something and decide that since you're focused ... it should be the object of that focus.  It may come by when your sick or sad or whatever.  It's a pet, an animal companion.  You are part of its family (the lousy hunting side of its family).  But it's not a familiar spirit.

Frondly, Fern

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