The concept of an animal as a pet is a modern one. Those who possessed this concept of interspecies friendship ahead of their time often found themselves condemned for witchcraft on grounds of familiarity with demonic creatures like cats, birds, rabbits, black dogs, reptiles, and amphibians. Sounds like what you’d find for sale in any local pet store? Well, familiar animals are exactly that: familiar. The classic witch’s cat, rabbit or toad, a familiar is an actual, individual animal with whom one can live and share an intense psychic, personal bond. If this characterizes a relationship you have ever had with an animal, then you have had a familiar, regardless of whether you engaged in magical practices together. A dog who won’t sleep unless it’s under your bed, the cat who follows you from room to room, the bird who spends the day perched on your shoulder: these all qualify as familiars.
A familiar’s presence may be sufficient to spark and enhance your magic, whether there is any conscious active involvement or not. For others, the psychic and magical bonds possible between animal and human create profound power and satisfaction.
In general, familiars are creatures who can realistically live with you: cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, toads, and snakes are most typical. Those living and working closely with other species—those species that usually do not live among people—may discover psychic and magical bonds, as well. Wild animals that remain wild can also qualify as familiars, though invariably they choose you rather than the other way round. These include those birds or bees that, taking a liking to someone in the family, stop by daily. Scandinavian witches traditionally favored flies as familiars. Wild dolphins occasionally single out an individual human and initiate a relationship. It is not unknown for people living on the edge of woods or in a wilderness place to develop a special relationship with an individual creature.
A familiar is a specific, individual creature with whom you have established a psychic bond. Of course, this limits the creatures with whom you can magically interact. What if your magic requires a rhinoceros or crocodile? What if it requires a dragon or unicorn?
A familiar may be considered an animal ally but animal allies transcend the boundaries of familiars. Animal allies are a form of spiritual relationship: because the relationship may occur entirely in the realm of spirit, any animal may be approached. The presiding spirit of the animal may also be approached, rather than any individual creature.
A person may have as many familiars and/or allies as needed.
Among the oldest existing human artifacts are the beautifully detailed prehistoric cave paintings, indicating the profound magical link between humans and animals. Small portable images of specific animals, usually crafted from clay or stone, have also been used since ancient times for assorted magical purposes, especially healing, hunting, and protection, and pursuit of enhanced psychic power.
The Zuni, a Native American people from New Mexico, have turned this tradition into an art form. Zuni stone fetishes, miniature carvings of specific animals, were originally created for ceremonial and hunting purposes. Today most are intricately carved, displaying the creator’s artistry and skills. Originally, this was not the case: Earth provided the artistry and the magic. Traditional fetish-carvers searched for stones where the shape of the creature was already apparent. At most, minimal shaping was needed to see the animal within. Because the stone charm is discovered, rather than consciously created, the animal spirit is given the opportunity to choose you rather than the reverse.
- Search for similar stones. You will recognize one when you see it; like holed-stones these are gifts from Earth.
- Charge and consecrate your stone fetish by placing it in a magic box together with images, food, and magical botanical activators. Traditionally corn pollen was used to feed and activate the fetish; use whatever seems appropriate and sacred to you.
- When not in use, keep your fetish protected in its box or container. Feed it on schedule to keep it activated and powerful.
Animal Communication Spell: Eve Oil
Eve Oil may be used to assist and enhance communication with animals.
- Place apple blossoms, dried pomegranate seeds, and snake root in a bottle.
- Cover with sweet almond and jojoba oil.
- Dress candles with this oil to accompany visualization as well as actual physical communication.
Familiar Consecration Spell
To cement and/or formalize the psychic bonds between you and your familiar:
- Cast a circle large enough to hold you, your familiar and any magical tools that you wish simultaneously to consecrate (these may include leashes, collars or similar pet paraphernalia, as well as spell components or ritual tools).
- Burn frankincense on the periphery of the circle.
- Sit within the circle, with your familiar, until you feel that it’s time to come out.
- Repeat as needed.
Live dangerously! If your familiar is a cat, cast your circle with dried catnip, and instead of frankincense, burn diviner’s sage to enhance your powers of prophesy. Let the cat play, while you allow yourself sudden bursts of inspiration.
Although you can bring any animal into your home, you cannot force it to be your familiar. This profoundly affectionate relationship, built on love, respect, and personal chemistry, must develop independently. Likewise, animal alliances cannot be forced.
They may, however, be requested. Many believe that we are each born with the alliances we need, whether animal, botanical, or spirit. The key is to discover these alliances and learn how to work with them for maximum power and benefit.
Various methods exist for discovering allies and requesting new relationships. Many cardbased divination systems exist. Animal allies also manifest themselves in your dreams. Any animal or species that appears consistently to you, whether in dreams or in waking life, may be an ally, or may potentially become one.
If you desire a specific alliance, request it via a combination of your altar and visualization:
Animal Ally Invitation Spell
- Choose a focal image for your altar, something that represents your ally for you. Use a toy, a photograph, or an image. It is more crucial that it resonates strongly for you than that it be a literal depiction.
- Surround it with objects or images that would normally be used to lure this creature. A dish of honey, for instance, summons a bear. Make the invitation as strong as possible.
- If you can find candles in the shape of your desired ally or its food, add them to the altar.
- Grind cinnamon and frankincense together and burn them as a spirit-summoning incense.
- In addition to Step 2, offer literal food (a dish of milk for a snake, for instance). Alternatively, burn images of appropriate food.
- Relax. Let your eyes go slightly out of focus and await visitations.
- Try this for up to thirty minutes a day, until you receive results.
Although this spell requests a waking vision, realistically your response may still occur during your dreams: have paper and pen by your bedside to record any significant dreams.
Sometimes familiars and allies are discovered for you.
In traditional Mexico and Central America, many shamans and witches are believed able to transform themselves into animals, known as nagual. A coyote observed walking down the road may be a regular coyote or it may be a witch in disguise. In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, however, a different concept exists. The nahual (as it is spelled in Oaxaca) is perceived to be a guardian spirit acquired at birth, a sacred gift from parents to their child.
Animal Ally Spell (Leni-Lenape)
Sometimes a more concrete familiar is desired. According to a Leni-Lenape Indian tradition, babies are given a living, tangible animal ally, rather than just an abstract protective spirit. Usually a puppy or kitten is chosen, or some other appropriate companion animal. The animal is treated as a pet and encouraged to be the child’s companion. These pets are not shared: every child has his or her own. This is a life partnership.
- Should the animal die, it is perceived as having been a buffer for the child, essentially having taken the “hit” meant for the child, particularly if the child has been threatened by illness or accident. The animal is buried with ceremonies, releasing the child from the relationship. The child is given another pet immediately
- Should the child die, funeral rituals release the animal from the bond
Animals may also be dedicated to specific spirits, not just to humans. This creates a profound triangular relationship between human, spirit, and animal. In an indigenous Siberian ritual, the animal dedicated to the deity lives a charmed life:
Animal Spirit Dedication Ritual
- A specific animal is chosen to be dedicated to a specific deity.
- Purify the animal with juniper incense.
- Sprinkle it with wine.
- Decorate the animal with ribbons in colors associated with the specific spirit.
- The animal is returned home or to its flock. It is now never ridden, worked, or eaten, but is instead treated exceptionally well (or at least left alone to enjoy life) as a gesture of sacrificial devotion. This treatment may be extended over the creature’s entire natural life or for a specified period of time, although this must be stipulated from the first initiation of the ritual.
Circle of Healing
Cast a circle with blooming thistles: demarcate the entire circle or place one bloom in each of the four cardinal points. Bring the animal within the circle in order to intensify the effects of any healing or cleansing spells.
Saint Benedict’s Healing Spell
In his lifetime, Saint Benedict persecuted pagans and witches. One wonders how he would have reacted had he known that, centuries later, he’d be magically petitioned to assist ailing animals?
Burn a white candle dedicated to Saint Benedict and offer him a glass of brandy or Benedictine. Make your petition of healing; Saint Benedict’s animal ally is the crow. Look for the appearance of a crow to indicate a response to your petition.
Masterwort Strength Spell
Masterwort allegedly imparts greater physical strength and has thus been used to assist beasts of burden. Place masterwort in an amulet bag and attach to the animal as desired.
Crossroads Lost Animal Spell
A Russian method for calling lost animals home involves journeying to a crossroads, where, magically speaking at least, roads merge and separate and you never know who or what might turn up from any direction at any time.
- Go to a crossroads.
- Face west, the direction of the setting sun.
- Bow from the waist nine times.
- Do this three times, for a total of twenty-seven bows, calling the animal as you normally would, and also chant prayers and petitions and recite sacred texts.
- Don’t stop calling and/or petitioning until three series of nine bows each are complete, then take ten steps backward without turning around.
- Turn around and go home.
When an animal goes missing, one common immediate response is to post signs requesting information and assistance from others. This next Russian spell takes that notion a step further: assistance is requested from Earth’s various spirit powers, so that they will locate and send your animal back home. As with standard signs, a reward is posted. Should the spell work, be sure to pay it. (The Forest Tsar is chief of all woodland spirits; the Water Tsar is chief of all water spirits, and so on. Adjust the spell if necessary to suit your circumstances.)
Magical Sign Animal Spell
Write messages on three pieces of birch bark (one for each of the nature tsars) as follows:
I’m writing to the Forest Tsar and the Forest Tsarina and their small children.
I’m writing to the Earth Tsar and the Earth Tsarina and their small children.
I’m writing to the Water Tsar and the Water Tsarina and their small children.
I’m writing to inform you that [INSERT YOUR NAME] has lost a[INSERT COLOR, GENDER, DESCRIPTION] [INSERT TYPE OF ANIMAL INCLUDING AS MUCH DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL AS YOU FEEL IS NECESSARY TO IDENTIFY AND DISTINGUISH YOUR ANIMAL FROM OTHERS].
If you have him/her please send him/her back without delaying one day, one hour, one minute, one second.
If you don’t comply with my wish, I swear to pray and testify against you.
If you comply with my wish, I shall give you [INSERT SPECIFIC PLEDGE].
Fasten one message to a tree in the forest. Bury the second in Earth. Attach a small stone to the third and throw it into some living water.
The animal is expected to find its way home shortly.
Animal Candle Protection Spell
- Find or create a candle shaped to resemble your companion animal.
- Carve the animal’s identifying information, protective runes, or other symbols onto it.
- Anoint the candle with Protection Oil and burn.
If the candle is too cute to burn, get two. Maintain one permanently, while burning the second.
Animal Image Protection Spell
Use an actual photograph of your pet or if unavailable, choose something, another image, statue, or candle bearing a strong resemblance for this spell.
- Paint protective runes, hieroglyphs, or other symbols onto the image.
- Anoint with Protection Oil.
- Keep the image in a safe, discreet spot, touching up periodically with Protection Oil.
As an alternative, you could trace invisible runes, sigils, or protective hieroglyphs onto the image with Protection Oil.
Assorted Spells to Protect Domestic Animals From Malevolent Magic
- Build your barn near birch trees
- If the barn is already standing, transplant birch trees nearby
- Adorn the birch trees, or other nearby trees, with red and white ribbons
- Surround the barn with lilies and primroses. (Maintain them, replacing as needed.)
- Bury a hatchet, sharp side up, under the barn’s threshold, so that the animals must walk over it as they enter and depart
- Horseshoes protect animals as well as humans. Post them over the barn door. The Hungarian method is to draw a horseshoe over the barn door using black chalk
- Keep a piece of real silver in a dish or bucket of water, out of reach of the animals. This may be a small charm or a real silver coin. Once a week, sprinkle the animals with this water, then replace with fresh water
- Sprinkle the animals with Rose of Jericho Water once a week
Animal Conjure Bag Protection Spell
Create this charm for any companion animal that sheds teeth.
- Collect the animal’s baby teeth and place within a conjure bag.
- Add a coin minted in the animal’s birth year if known, otherwise substitute a lucky medal or charm plus a tag with the animal’s name or initials scratched into the metal.
- Keep the bag in a safe place for protection.
Egg Cleansing Spell
Just like people, animals need periodic ritual protective cleansings. (See Cleansing Spells.) Fumigations and asperging, the most popular methods for people, are equally effective for animals. However this may be easier said than done: try explaining to horses or cats that wafting smoke over them is really in their best interests. The following may be easier to accomplish:
- Rub the animal with a whole, raw egg in its shell, working from head to tail and down, rather than up, the legs.
- Flush the egg down the toilet for a house pet; otherwise, dispose of the egg outside the home or barn.
Hair and Wax Protection Spell
- Collect one hair from the head and one from the tail of every animal you wish protected. (Substitute one feather each from head and tail for each bird.)
- Melt wax.
- Add the hairs to the wax.
- Remove the wax from the heat source and allow it to harden.
- If possible, now lead all the animals needing protection around the perimeter of their home, in a sunwise direction. A minimum of two people is required for this: the person leading the parade holds the block of wax in one hand and a sacred image in the other. The person bringing up the rear drags an axe on the ground behind.
- When all animals have safely returned home, bury the wax in a safe, secret place.
Child’s Dog Hair Medicine Bag
- Fill a medicine bag with loose dog hair.
- Add any other lucky charms, as desired.
- Give to a child to wear or carry for protection.
Greyhound Spirit Protection
A home where a well-cared-for, happy greyhound lives will allegedly never be haunted by malicious spirits.
Pacify Threatening Dogs Spell (Christian Pow-Wow)
Pow-Wow strongly incorporates the use of spoken charms. This one is used to soothe a threatening dog and provide protection—excellent for those forced to walk past a snarling, snapping canine.
The charm must be repeated three times before you reach the dog (or the dog reaches you!)
Dog, hold thy nose to the ground!
God has made thee, me, and hound.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Then form the sign of the cross three times.
This spell as recorded in 1820 by John George Hohman in his definitive Book of Pow-Wows: The Long Lost Friend, omits the last line of the charm, but includes the crosses.
Pacify Threatening Dogs Spell (Pagan-Friendly Version)
Historically, there have always been two movements within the Pow-Wow community: those who emphasize Christian orientation and those who do not. Rhymes were adapted as needed and continue to evolve. This pagan-friendly version calls upon those Greek divinities that exert great influence over hounds:
Dog, hold your nose to the ground!
Creator made you, me, and hound
In the name of the triple goddess, Selene, Artemis, and Hecate
Repeat three times. The cross, as a pre-Christian symbol of protection, may still be formed. A pentacle, crescent moon, downward-facing triangle, or other shape may also be substituted, as desired.
Stop Dogs Barking Spell
Place leaves of hound’s tongue in your shoes, beneath your feet. Alternatively, carry within a charm bag.
Sweet Nature Dog Collar
Sew a piece of flint and a piece of coral inside a dog’s collar to protect against illness and ill temper.