Animals; familiars, totems and spirit allies

April 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm (magic, metaphysics, philosophy, religion, shamanism, Uncategorized)

As a person who feels closer to my cats than I do to most people, animals are a very big chunk of my spiritual outlook.  Christianity has relegated them to the status of beasts, but it is my most fervent belief that they are just as intelligent and have just as much worth, if not more so than humanity as a whole.  They can teach us quite alot, about simplicity, about humility and about compassion.  They did not surrender their instincts like we did, and they are still very much listening to the grand design that is Nature.  As such, there is a lot to be learned from them and what their myriad shapes and forms stand for.

Right now I have two cats, Yoda and Gugnir, and they are very much my familiars.  Familiars are pretty much animal allies, they’re usually pets, but their role is far more honorable and deep.  They are your friends, and they will lend their energies to whatever work you are doing if you learn to recognize and treat them as such.  When ever I cast a circle for spellwork, if the two of them are not already in the room, they’ll beat the door down to get in, and complain loudly at said door about my oversight.  They have stuck with me through circumstances that most “pets” would not be so loyal through.  I had to have them live outside for six months because I had no place to live, and the only place I did have to stay, i couldn’t have them inside.  They stayed, through that and through living out in the woods on several occasions.  There is a bond there that goes far beyond mere “ownership”.  I let them know their honored place, by giving them gifts (a little catnip goes a long way:) ) and by never debasing them.  They have a statue of Bast in her cat form next to their dishes and I think it is safe to say that they get the message.  Familiars can be any animal, a dog, a mouse, a bird, a snake, it does not matter.  You can also garner yourself wild friends too.  Everywhere I live I attract cats, and my other half Josh, has wild animals regularly walk up to him (a muskrat and a sparrow among others)  At my initiation, I had a buck walk right up to me, look at me, and then disapear into the woods.  Which brings me to the other half of this subject, spirit allies and totems. 

The fact that I had a deer walk out of nowhere and come within a few feet of me when I pledged myself to the life long service of the Lord and Lady was a two-fold message.  One, that I was now allied to the natural world, and by my service I could enjoy the blessings and protection of Nature, and two that my magickal service would be colored by the deer totem.  Totems are what an animal archtypally stands for, qualities that a person who has a particular totem embodies.  Spirit allies are very similiar to totems, I think the only real distinction is that you can have an animal be your ally, without it being your totem.   Deer stand for innocence and gentleness, and the elk, a relative of the deer and another totem of mine stands for strength and nobility.  I have been told by more than one source, by people who have no knowledge of what I have seen, that I am a natural innocent.  I simply do not think in jaded pessimistic terms.  I am openhearted to the point of being stupid, and most of my work, has an innocent utopic flavor to it.  I have had many people note my strength, and my ability to carry myself with grace through some of the worst experiences a person can have.  Totems are related to augery, in the sense that if you see a particular animal outside of the normal frequency or circumstances, it is a message.

Animals are wonderful for the simple fact that they put us back in touch with the Natural world that too many of us are too far removed from.  I love looking into my cats eyes when the light hits them just right and they glow, for I am looking into another world.  A world of fierce ruthlessness, but that is spectacularly beautiful at the same time.  When you look at your furry, or scaly of feathery buddy next time, think about it, and let them speak to that primal side of you.

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