Familiars I am sure you are familiar with the typical figure of the witch and her black cat

. Witches have been using animals to help them with their magical works for a very long time. It is said that the familiar is the animal that the witch has. The familiar lives with the witch and assists him/her in magical works. Traditionally cats are associated with witches. Other animals, like dogs, rabbits, horses, and snakes, can be familiars too. However, your pet is not necessarily your familiar. A familiar represents all the good qualities of that animal, and it is attuned to the witch. It provides the witch with a link to the animal kingdom and the essence of his/her power. However, witches cannot always work with physical familiars due to many reasons. Perhaps the most common one would be space limitation. Let's face it, who can keep a tiger in his/her house? Totems The practice of using animals is of Native American, shamanic, and tribal origins. Shamans believe that animals are messengers of the Great Spirit. They are on Earth to teach you something. The Great Spirit shares information with you through visions and dreams using animals to represent what you should do. More and more witches are adapting this concept to their witchcraft practices. This is so because humans have always had a fascination with animals and their abilities and cunning. Totems are not specific animals but mystical powers. Totem animals are sought in the astral world. Witches choose those power animals that closely represent their higher selves. In other words, power animals are chosen by their affinity to the witch. Most new witches and pagans ask me how many totem animals one can have. Our personality has many facets, so you're likely to have more than one power animal. However, I suggest that you begin to work with one power animal at the time. Bear in mind that totem animals may come and go out of your life as you grow. So do not feel bad if you see the Bear Spirit disappear from your life, and instead the Fox Spirit appears. There are those power animals that might stay with you for the rest of your life, but others may come and go as need be. Welcome those that come to you for the new experiences they will bring into your life. Bless and thank those that go. According to Native American tradition, each person in connected with nine animals that will accompany him/her on his/her path through life and nurture his/her talents and abilities. Each animal has its own special power and message, for each animal has a powerful spirit and an inherent skill. I have written of a witch ‘choosing’ her totem. Actually, it’s the Animal Spirits that choose a person to be a companion to and a friend to, not the other way around. You can not think, 'gee a bear is cute or powerful and I like what it represents so the Bear will be my Animal Totem'. No, the animal will choose you and make itself known to you. You will only need to pay attention to discover what your totems are. The Animal Totem that comes to you offers you power and wisdom if you will learn to communicate with it, with respect, trust, and understanding. Developing a relationship with a live animal totem takes time, practice, patience and could be very dangerous. Having an animal totem does not mean that you are to pet the animal or even

be with it physically. Having an animal totem means that you have lessons to learn and a powerful spiritual friend. The characteristics of a specific animal are often rubbed off on those who have it as a totem, for example if your totem is a badger, you are most likely an industrious person, while if it is a snake, you are most likely cunning and changeable. We often harness the natural power and energy of our totem. This energy may come in many forms, but is often closely associated with the attitude and habitat of the animal itself. The relationship you have with your totem also depends on its energies and attitude. Relationships with your totem animals are strongly based on the emotional, spirituality, physicality, and psychological characteristics of the animal you are dealing with. Each totem has inherent skill and power. Each totem has inherent blindness and weakness. This will be represented by the inner energy and spirit of the animal with which you are dealing. The best ways to find your Totem Animals are to keep your eyes open to new animals that come your way in everyday life and through meditation.

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