Samhain's Sirens: Day 8, October 9

Hello again! We hope you're enjoying the Samhain Season as much as we are! 

We have some fantastic offerings for you today!

As always, Serena is here to help you. Send her an email or use the contact form at the top of this page.

Ready to play? Then, let's get to it!

Today, we honor Buddy Holly.

Today's blog comes to us from the lovely Loren Morris (Saga) of Saga's Cottage.

The Familiar Familiar

My own familiars, Hecate (front) and Hocus aka Kissy (back)

The witch's familiar is most often seen as the hunched and hissing black cat on the end of the broom during a witch's flight on many Halloween decorations. Just where do those visions of the cat come from?

I've seen various comments over the past couple of months on facebook pages regarding familiars. Comments about the witch's cat, or comments saying that an animal isn't really your familiar, that its really a spirit so everyone needs to stop calling their cat a familiar.

So, which is it? Can your faithful cat that loves to join you in ritual really be your familiar, or the bird that sits on your shoulder during meditation?  Or are only imps or spirits that you have called, are they the only real familiar that you can have?  Well, all of these examples are. I have a spirit familiar. It is stationed as guard for my home. I also have 5 cats, but only 3 of them join me in ritual. So, even though I have 5 pets, I only consider those 3 as my physical familiars.

This article is going to be about our physical friend familiars. Our cats, our dogs, our birds, our toads, etc.

The History of the Familiar 

It was believed that the familiar was given to the witch by the devil. Witches were supposed to care for the familiars, so any marks on the witches' bodies could be where the familiar fed on the witch's blood. Familiars were thought to be sent out to wreak havoc and bring sickness and death.  Cats were believed to be the favored familiar form for witches.

Witchcraft accusation was very politically motivated. It helped to get rid of enemies, and gain land and other possessions. Of course, since the cat, especially the black cat, was considered to be a witch's familiar, it would have been killed along with it's owner.

Cat-burning did appear to be a favorite pastime in medieval France. After the cats were burned the people would take the ashes home for good luck. I guess they didn't realize that in itself was a form of witchcraft.  However, in regards to sweeping cat massacres that were caused by a papal bull, Summis desiderantes affectibus, ordered by Pope Innocent VIII, I cannot find truth to it. I have read the bull and it makes no mention of cats. What it does do is officially recognize witchcraft.

Queen Elizabeth 1 reportedly had dozens of cats (or just one cat in a basket, according to which one you read) burned to symbolize the releasing of demons.

You can read more about cat burning in France.

In the Chelmsford witch trials during the 16th and 17th centuries, the only connection between the accused was a white spotted cat named Sathan that could reportedly talk. This white spotted cat was the devil in cat-form which was fed bread and milk and kept in a basket. A toad and a black dog are also mentioned in these trials as familiars.  You can read more here:

Chelmsford Witch Trials

There were two Essex women that had mice as familiars. They all had names, as did all the other familiars of accused witches.

Elizabeth Clark, a poor one-legged woman, confessed to having five familiars. They included a kitten, a spaniel, a black rabbit, a polecat, and another creature that was described as being greyhound-like with an ox's head and broad eyes. It could also turn itself into a headless 4-year-old child. Since Elizabeth was the first victim of the Witchfinder General, I'm sure he tortured her endlessly to extract such information.

You can read more here: Matthew Hopkins

Pyewacket was also a name given by Elizabeth as belonging to an imp. The Witchfinder General said that no human could come up with that name.

The Witchcraft Act of 1604 made it illegal to commune with familiar spirits.

The only mention in the Malleus Maleficarum of familiars is that they aid their witches in everything. It did not tell how to deal with the familiar.

During the Salem tragedy, 20 people were executed, and 2 dogs were also hung.

You can read more here: Salem 

Familiars in Literary and Film:

Just a short, incomplete list of familiars in literary and film works. 

Shakespeare's Macbeth:  A brinded cat, Graymalken is the familiar of the first witch. A toad, named Paddock is the second witch's familiar. An owl, Harpier, is the the third witch's familiar.

T.H. White gave Merlin an owl familiar in The Sword and the Stone. The owl always came when needed.

Pyewacket is the sleek, modern Siamese cat that belonged to the witch, Gillian, in Bell, Book and Candle. 

The winged monkeys that belonged to Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.

From the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore had Fawkes, the Phoenix; Harry had Hedwig, the owl; Hermione had Crookshanks, the cat; Ron had Scabbers, the rat; Voldemort had Nagini, the snake.

Salem, the talking black cat, from the Sabrina The Teenage Witch series.

The familiar for Miss Price in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a black cat.

Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service  had a black cat familiar named Jiji

Familiars in Modern Times:

As I said before, the modern witches don't just limit themselves to the cat. Some have snakes, spiders, dogs, birds, and even toads.

Many don't believe that the familiar can be a physical pet, but is instead a spirit, such as an imp.

I don't feel you need to empower your familiar with some kind of special energy or powers. I believe they bring their own magic with them.

Since three of my cats are always drawn to my magical workings, I only regard those three as being familiars. I've never "pressured" any of my cats to be such, and I've never brought them into my circle. Rather, they've always made their way there themselves and they usually just end up sitting and watching. Bob, my oldest cat, could care less. He has never made his way over, or even looked. Its not his thing. Hecate, my long haired Siamese, loves it. As soon as she see me getting my circle ready she runs and sits down for the entire duration and doesn't move from her chosen spot until it is over. The other two are in and out. Kissy loves to hang out and he will often sit through the whole thing. Gaia, Hecate's sister, has recently begun to show the same interest as Hecate and she will perch beside Hecate. Retrograde Moon Demon is on the same wavelength as Bob. Its not her thing, either.

Whether or not my cats have some kind of "attunement" to my work, I can't say, but I do enjoy having them there. They also seem to enjoy it, so I'm sure they add their "energy" to my work.  It works out all the way around.

Gillian Kemp has written an awesome spell book entitled The Good Cat Spell Book. She has a brief history of cats as objects of worship and different sections filled with spells. She also has a section on feline divination. The book comes with cat oracle.

A great book to read regarding your magical cat is by Ellen Dugan, The Enchanted Cat. She includes many spells and information in it, like the Kitten Blessing Spell and ideas for connecting with your cat.

Another great book to read is by Raven Grimassi, entitled The Witch's Familiar: Spiritual Partnership For Successful Magic I touched on it briefly in a previous blog that can be found here. He covers more the spirit familiar than of the physical familiar, however he does include an appendix of classic familiars which has a great list and information on physical familiars.

Brightest Blessings,
Loren (Saga)

Sweet Corn Bread
*Great with Game Day Chili

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400*.  Grease a 9” baking pan

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Stir in egg, milk and oil until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 mins.

*you can use brown sugar or a combination of brown and white to make the flavor richer.

Today's Giveaway is from Loren at Saga's Cottage!

It is 9x11 1/2" handpainted wood familiar plaque. Two cat familiars sit next to a crystal ball that holds the cosmos inside. The white familiar has rune of protection, Algiz, painted on the collar charm. The black familiar has the rune of strength, Uruz, painted on its collar charm.

Here’s how to enter: You have until 6am EDT tomorrow to enter. Drawing is held by random number generation and winner will be notified in email (that's why you have to have an email address listed). Announcement will be made on the October 10th blog post at 9am EDT.

Note: These giveaways are open to the U.S., Canada and where allowable. Void where prohibited. Canadian residents, please pay close attention as by law, you have to use a different set of rules. Not to worry, we have you covered :)

1. Go to the Vendor Page: Saga's Cottage Find your favorite item, come back here, and tell us about it in the comment section. (1 entry)

2. Blog about this giveaway (make sure you link back here), come back and leave us a link to your blog. (1 entry)

3. Tweet about this giveaway (link to us, please), come back, and leave us a link to your tweet (1 entry)

4. Be a follower of this blog. Make sure you let us know in the comments (1 entry)

5. Like the Samhains Sirens Facebook page. Tell us that you did (1 entry)

Note: If you want your entries to count as separate entries, you must post them separately. If you post 1 comment with all three on it, it will only count as 1 entry.

Canadian residents, by law, instead of the above, you must answer the following question to be eligible:

What is 0x0?

What's cool about being a Canadian? You automatically get 5 entries per giveaway for just answering 1 question! You still have to give us an email address :)

The winner of the October 8 giveaway from author Samantha Curtin is:
Engie Willow

That's it for today's offerings. We hope you found them satisfying! Tune in tomorrow to find out who won, and for more music, recipes, giveaways and fun!


  1. Oh - I love the Hecate, Goddess of Witchcraft pendant!

  2. My favorite item is the "Entering Familiar Territory" plaque! So it would be perfect if I won this giveaway :P

  3. Last time, I chose the blue version of the "Familiar Territory" plaque - so this time I'll go for the Blessed Samhain plaque. ~ Lynda

    1. I love the background for the blue one, too :)

  4. - my tweet for today's entry.

  5. I like Samhain's Sirens on Facebook!

  6. I tweeted about the giveaway!

  7. I follow the blog :)

  8. I like Samhain Siren's on Facebook!

  9. My favorite item at Saga's Cottage is Loren would be the other Familiar Territory plaque with the black cats! Beautiful!

  10. Good post today!
    Gosh...I love the Familiar Territory plaque... and the Pan necklace, Witches Brew Trespassers, Mushroom Fairy, the Hecate painting, and A Girl's Best Friend... (too much to choose from♥) robyncha (at) yahoo

  11. I blogged about the giveaway!

  12. I follow SS!! robyncha (at) yah..

  13. I "like" the SS FB page
    robyncha (at) yah..

  14. I tweeted about the giveaway!

  15. I follow this blog!!

  16. I like (and love!) the Samhain's Sirens Facebook page! soto.adelina

  17. I tweeted the giveaway at robyncha (at) yah..

  18. My current favorite is the Owl pendant. Esp. this time of year, as it reminds me of my late maternal grandmother who collected owls. I follow this blog, as well as Samhain's Sirens on FB under Jonquil Alexia. Lovely photos of your kits :)

  19. Thank you for the great blog - my favourite (other than today's offering) is the Visitor

    1. I love the Visitor! I have plans to create another Ouija painting, I just haven't had the time :)

    2. And please don't forget to leave your email if you are entering the giveaway :)

  20. I love the Hecate Art Puffy Glass Necklace from Saga's Cottage!

  21. Blog entry done:

  22. I follow this blog

  23. and, finally, tweeted :

  24. Here's a blog entry about today's entry!

  25. Those handpainted plaques are knockouts, but for some odd reason, every time I tried to click on an item, I received the "oh, snap" page. This has happened before, so it may be my browser. At any rate, I'm going to email Samhain's Sirens with a good and proper email addy.

  26. And I wrote about this giveaway in the post "Thoughts on Familiars" on my blog The Gratitude Journal of Ms Lilypads at

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Dang it, I tried to delete the second comment (because it was the same as the previous comment). And after all this, I still didn't say which was my favorite item in the Saga Cottage's etsy site -- my favorite was the plaque with the two black cats entitled "You are entering familiar territory."

  29. And finally, I am a follower of this blog!

  30. The answer is 0!

  31. I absolutely love the Witches Familiar Hand Painted Plaque with the two black cats!!! The plaid background is fun and I just so happen to have two beautiful black cats ;)

  32. I'm a follower of the Samhain's Sirens blog =D

  33. I 'Like' the Samhain's Sirens FB page =D

  34. My fav is the Witch's Brew Trespassers Wood Plaque! Just love it!

  35. I follow the Samhain's Sirens blog

  36. I liked Samhain's Sirens on FB

  37. My tweet about Samhain's Sirens

  38. my email

  39. I love the Hecate necklace on Saga's Cottage. It is so beautiful. I actually love it all but if I had to pick one. Hehe.

  40. I have liked Samhain's Sirens on facebook.

  41. I am a follower of this blog. I read it every day at lunch!

  42. Ms C is having a give away though S,S...

    The above tweet is what I post on my twitter page...

    Yes I blog about the give away being offer by Ms C and mt piece I like is a painting called “Hecte”
    Of course I like Samhain Siren facebook page.

    Coffee is on

  43. All of Loren's artworks/pieces are beautiful! This time around I will pick the lovely Blessed Samhain Plaque (:

  44. I have tweeted about this giveaway.

  45. I am a follower of this blog.

  46. I have liked Samhains Sirens on Facebook (:


    I would be interest in the bug spray....Like Lily facebook page,,,,,tweet about the give away (link above).....Stop in once again at the ss on facebook.
    Blog about the give away,,,,Coffees On


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