Klates is moon goddess venerated by Ugric People of western Siberia. A shape-shifter, she is shown here manifested as a hare, an animal sacred to her. This appearance shows her lunar nature, for the hare is a lunar creature; many cultures, when looking at the moon, see the outline of the hare, who lives in the moon. The hare is often seen as an intermediary between lunar deities and humans, so the appearance of Klates in this form indicates her accessibility to her people. Klates is known as a fertility goddess and a goddess of rejuvenation. She is called upon by women in childbirth, for she is especially venerated as a promoter of the beginning of the life cycle. Although she is somewhat feared because she can determine people’s destinies, she is mostly revered for her gentle wisdom, She is a compassionate guide to the mysteries of life.
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Diana is the ancient Lady of the Beats, called by the Romans Lucina, Goddess of Light. As mistress of wild things she is especially responsible for anything young and vulnerable, be wild or human. She is goddess of solitude, comfortable with the wilderness and with the grate silences of nature. She represents the mystic, primitive identity of the hunter and the hunted. Diana, is a moon goddess, symbolizing the moon at its crescent phase. She stands for the virgin, a self-sufficient, free goddess who lives life on her own terms. Especially a goddess of women, she is related to all phases of female existence, from infancy to menstruation through birth nursing, menopause, and death. Diana stands for the part of us that is at home in the wildness, at home with our primitive, instinctual nature.
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We’ve all seen the images of witches with their loyal cat or toad by their side. These witches’ familiars help them cast spells, or in the case of Harry Potter, deliver the mail.
But what are familiars and why are they so important to ideas around witchcraft? And what unusual familiars can we find in history, beyond the stereotypical black cat?
We’re going to look at exactly that, so grab your nearest pet for company, get comfy, and come with me into the world of witches’ familiars…
As ever, hit play to listen to the episode, of keep reading below! Make sure you subscribe if you want to catch more content like this.
Fabulous Folklore with Icy – Witches Familiar
The folklore of the wicked witch and her diabolical animal familiar is a well-known and often repeated tale. When the seasons change and the nights get long it’s not uncommon to see images and symbols of a dark-cloaked witch with an evil black cat or toad at her side. This is a fantastic archetype of magic users wielding control over nature and animals, but it’s a far cry from the beliefs that started it all.
The concept of magical spirit creatures has resonated throughout history in creation myths, tribal traditions and religions, but it’s only relatively recently that magical animal and familiars became re-imagined as evil or dangerous companions. Historically, familiars or spirits were often seen as a type of guardian angel rather than an evil demon.
The Witch’s Familiar
Most people conjure up thoughts of the witch with cat or toad when speaking of familiars. In the days of widespread persecution of witches in Europe and North America during the Medieval and Early Modern periods, women accused of magic use and witchcraft were assumed to have a familiar, most often in the form of cats, dogs, owls, mice, newts or toads. These servants to witches were considered low-ranking demons, or even fairies. Legends of the time, British and Scottish contribution to the lore, said familiars fed on the blood of the women. The witches in turn used the animals for spell casting. The familiar could shape-shift, and spy on others. Many completely innocent pet lovers were persecuted for this ‘unnatural’ pairing, and the blame was placed on them for any kind of bad luck, such as milk spoiling or crops withering.
“During the Salem witch trials, there is little account of the practice of animal familiars, although one man was charged with encouraging a dog to attack by way of magical means. The dog, interestingly enough, was tried, convicted, and hanged.” Patti Wigington reveals in About Religion .
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If an illustration of a dubious event counts as fiction, then this late 1500s sketch could be the first reference to familiars:
The author is unknown, but there is a description here:
An image of a witch and her familiar spirits taken from a publication that dealt with the witch trials of Elizabeth Stile, Mother Dutten, Mother Devell and Mother Margaret in Windsor, 1579.
Whether the term “familiar” would have been used by the author at the time is unclear. However, the sketch was made some time after 1579 and in 1584 we find what is likely the first appearance of the term “familiars” in this context within the English corpus. This appears in the book Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft, edited by Reginald Scot. (This could be earlier than Malleus Maleficarum.)
The term appears in the very long subtitle of the book:
Proving the Common Opinions of Witches Contracting with Divels, Spirits, Or Familiars, and Their Power to Kill, Torment, and Consume the Bodies of Men, Women, and Children, Or Other Creatures by Diseases Or Otherwise, Their Flying in the Air…
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I have books about Witchcraft some I have had for years yet only getting around to reading them now. This is one of those books. “A Witch’s Book of Answers is an outgrowth of the Open Sesame e-list hosted by Cerelia and me, along with Ororo since 1999. This book is based on actual questions asked on the list over the years — and our responses to them.” As I am reading it the Muse, Callopie, who inspires and guides me quite often on what to post on here and WOTC, helps with spell wording, new rituals for Esbats and Sabbats, or basically anything I maybe writing, coloring, painting, etc in short is advises me or inspires me anytime I need or want to be creative, whispered in my ear that she would let me know what gems I should pass along to you from A Witch’s Book of Answers.
A Witch’s Book of Answers
By Eileen Holland and Cerelia
Page 5 — “Who can be a Witch? Anyone who can find his or her way to the Goddess — and is willing to spend the necessary time reading, studying, learning, and practicing — can be a Witch. A Witch must have patience, imagination,compassion, focus, and willpower.” by Eileen
Page 6 —- “What type of attitude should a Witch have? To me, the most important thing that anyone can believe is, “I like myself.” You must like yourself and respect yourself in order to like and respect others. You must be able to do this first, and then take responsibility for your actions.” by Cerelia
“A big part of being a Witch is having respect for yourself. This includes never allowing anyone to mistreat you, physically or otherwise. No Witch should ever tolerate violence or abuse.
I recommend this book for any witch that has a question but cannot find the answer. While this book does not answer every signal question about Witchcraft, The Craft, The Old Ways or whatever label I any you choose for your path because thank the Great Mother Father we do not follow a religion rather we walk a spiritual path that for the most part we forge a head they way we feel is right to us.
Changing Woman is perhaps the most revered of deities among Native Americans of the Southwestern United States. She is wholly benevolent figure, For it is Changing Woman who gives people their abundance and who provides the teachings that allow them to live in harmony with all things. In the initiation ceremony of Navajo women, the initiate takes in the power of Changing Woman so she might learn the values of love, hospitality, and generosity and know she herself is a source of food and harmony. Changing Woman received her name because she can change at will from baby to a girl to a young woman to an old woman and then back again. Very much alive today, she is tremendously nourishing goddess who teaches wisdom of nature and the cycles of birth and death.
More Information on Navajo Changing Woman
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Images of Changing Woman
Until we merry meet again Blessed be dear Sisters, Brothers, and Honored Guests.
This is another pagan song I have on my youtube playlist. It’s a little different because of the beat of the music and how the men sing the song
The Cauldron Born