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Thread: How do you contact a familiar?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph View Post
    I don't know about the witch trials, but in the Medieval Grimoire tradition and dating as far back to the period of Graeco-Egyptian magic (as evident in the collection of magical texts dating between 2nd Century B.C.E. to 5th Century C.E. today known as the Papyri Graecae Magicae), the term "familiar" is used to denote a supernatural assistant under the control of the magician or witch. Such familiar spirits can be bound to physical bodies (i.e. an animal) or totemic objects (i.e. an amulet) - to be called upon by the Magician or With to do his or her bidding.

    There are many spells in the Papyri Graecae Magicae designed to help the practitioner summon and bind a spirit to become his/her familiar. Also, as Selah pointed out several Grimoires mention specific spirits that when summoned will grant the magician a familiar (i.e. the most famous of these being the Lesser Key of Solomon).
    Medievial Grimoire tradition? And this is something you personally practice? Or were you meaning the Golden Dawn's Magical Grimoire tradition? Because other than an odd radio interview, I can find no reference to Medievial Grimoire Tradition.

    Umm no Selah didn't say that, but ok read into it as you wish. As well, people need to remember wikipedia is not a qualified resource. So I'm going to have to call for a citation

    I am sure, as you are quoting the PGM, then you are fluent in ancient greek and more than capable of translating the original (well argued as to authenticity) texts? Right? Oh wait, you can read the original german translations? Another note, anything translated is subject to mistake. I mean just look at the bible.

    In any event, the texts do not refer to a familiar, they refer to aquiring supernatural assistance and or assistant. BIG DIFFERENCE. HUGE! The term familiar is not translated from those texts. People have inferred it. There are a lot of arguments that the PGM actually is for demon practitioners. I mean have you read this?

    http://hermetic.com/pgm/

    We can split hairs and say a "supernatural assistant" and a "familiar" are the same thing, but since you really can't find reliable information on familiars without D&D or Harry Potter references, it's kind of hard to say for sure.

    So you can say you are right, and I can say I am right it really doesn't matter. My point was do not claim bullshit from the freaking witch trials as "historically accurate".

    I based my response on my own personal knowledge and what I was taught. Don't discount me just because I don't follow a fancy path with a pretty name.

  2. #12
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    I think this entire thread has gotten out of control.

    A Familiar is in fact a spirit that is traditionaly embodied in an animal. It is there as a companion and a means of aid in communication with the other side and as a watcher of your protection.

    You DO NOT feed them blood if its a cat you feed it cat food etc etc etc.

    Many times however this will not be an animal that lives with you but who makes its presence known when it is necessary to communicate with you. Such as a bird that seems to always come around when your casting your circle somewhere in the wilderness. There are times when this animal decides to take up residence with you.

    They are not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination and many people function just fine their entire life without one.

    There are also things which could be considered a "familiar" in a liberal sense if your not steadfast to the idea of a familiar being embodied in a living thing. This would be an animal spirit guide which communicates with you telepathically and the like and as a means of respect for this entity you keep a "totem" of this creature.

    The act of commanding or summoning ANY SPIRIT animal human or other is something best left to people who are WELL VERSED in Ceremonial High Magick.

    This has nothing to do with a familiar regardless what you may have thought you read in an alleged grimoire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Symandinome View Post
    I think this entire thread has gotten out of control.

    A Familiar is in fact a spirit that is traditionaly embodied in an animal. It is there as a companion and a means of aid in communication with the other side and as a watcher of your protection.

    You DO NOT feed them blood if its a cat you feed it cat food etc etc etc.

    Many times however this will not be an animal that lives with you but who makes its presence known when it is necessary to communicate with you. Such as a bird that seems to always come around when your casting your circle somewhere in the wilderness. There are times when this animal decides to take up residence with you.

    They are not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination and many people function just fine their entire life without one.

    There are also things which could be considered a "familiar" in a liberal sense if your not steadfast to the idea of a familiar being embodied in a living thing. This would be an animal spirit guide which communicates with you telepathically and the like and as a means of respect for this entity you keep a "totem" of this creature.

    The act of commanding or summoning ANY SPIRIT animal human or other is something best left to people who are WELL VERSED in Ceremonial High Magick.

    This has nothing to do with a familiar regardless what you may have thought you read in an alleged grimoire.
    Please refrain from being snarky about other's paths. I am a hereditary witch and my path is as valid as yours.

    I read nothing in an "alleged grimoire". My grandparents raised me on my path and nothing you have said here coincides with what I was taught.

    That being said, I'm done with this thread and people trying to scare people with bs.

    Must be WELL VERSED in High Ceremonial Magick MY ASS.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by )O( ~ Khara~ )O( View Post
    Medievial Grimoire tradition? And this is something you personally practice? Or were you meaning the Golden Dawn's Magical Grimoire tradition? Because other than an odd radio interview, I can find no reference to Medievial Grimoire Tradition.
    The Grimoire Tradition proper has nothing to do with the Golden Dawn. It is practicing the magic of medieval to early Renaissance grimoires as they were written without the lodge-magic influence of the Golden Dawn. Yes, I do practice this form of magic and have been for years. You will often find it classified as "Solomonic Magic" because many of the grimoires claim to have originated from the biblical King. My preference (along with those who have a similar stance to mine) is to call it Grimoire tradition because 1) There is no way to substantiate the claims of origin; and 2) We want to differentiate our form of practice from those who loosely interpret the grimoires into their own lodge-style of magic (i.e. the OTO, the OTA, and the G:.D:.).

    On a side note, and out of curiosity, what radio interview are you referring to?

    Umm no Selah didn't say that, but ok read into it as you wish. As well, people need to remember wikipedia is not a qualified resource. So I'm going to have to call for a citation
    Yes, actually she mentioned the Goetia. The Goetia is one of the chapters of the Lesser Key of Solomon and in it there are several spirits identified that will grant the summoner familiars.

    No wikipedia reference here. You can merely find the appropriate text looking under the chapter of the Goetia (see for example Paimon and Buer among others who "give good familiars").

    http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/goetia.htm

    I am sure, as you are quoting the PGM, then you are fluent in ancient greek and more than capable of translating the original (well argued as to authenticity) texts? Right? Oh wait, you can read the original german translations? Another note, anything translated is subject to mistake. I mean just look at the bible.
    Well, actually I have indeed studied ancient Greek (and Hebrew for that matter) in high school and college and while not fluent I consider my knowledge of the languages adequate enough to read texts. Nonetheless, the original greek and demotic manuscripts are not published, so I am looking at the Betz edition. Indeed, I agree with you 100% about things being lost in translation.

    In any event, the texts do not refer to a familiar, they refer to aquiring supernatural assistance and or assistant. BIG DIFFERENCE. HUGE! The term familiar is not translated from those texts. People have inferred it. There are a lot of arguments that the PGM actually is for demon practitioners. I mean have you read this?

    http://hermetic.com/pgm/
    Here is an example from the Betz edition of the PGM I. 1-42:

    "A [daimon comes] as an assistant who will reveal everything to you clearly and will be your companion and will eat and sleep with you"

    ...followed by the specifics of the rite to call forth that spirit. Yes, we can argue semantics that familiar and companion are or are not the same thing (no difference in the greek word) but regardless the PGM is one of the earliest records of a magician obtaining a companion to aid him/her in his/her work . Is this not the role of a familiar as defined in the majority of magical traditions?

    Also, daemon in greek does not translate to demon, but rather "spirit".

    So my question to you is what is this BIG DIFFERENCE that you refer to?


    We can split hairs and say a "supernatural assistant" and a "familiar" are the same thing, but since you really can't find reliable information on familiars without D&D or Harry Potter references, it's kind of hard to say for sure.
    What are you talking about? What D&D reference? What Harry Potter reference? You are merely lashing out because my stance and that of the grimoires goes against yours.

    So you can say you are right, and I can say I am right it really doesn't matter. My point was do not claim bullshit from the freaking witch trials as "historically accurate".

    I based my response on my own personal knowledge and what I was taught. Don't discount me just because I don't follow a fancy path with a pretty name.
    Likewise, the definition of familiar in the grimoires from which I practice is precisely what I have stated. I am merely pointing out another common use of "familiar" as you yourself have. Nobody is attacking your tradition or your practice. No need to take it so personal, this is after all a forum for discussion, is it not?
    Last edited by Christoph; April 14th, 2011 at 04:41 PM. Reason: added link
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by )O( ~ Khara~ )O( View Post
    The only historically accurate information from the witch trials is that a lot of people were killed for no reason.

    I cannot believe you would continue such obvious bullshit propaganda. I mean really, you just posted something that is complete crap and saying it is history is an insult to people who actually follow the path everywhere.

    Nice way to take us back a few hundred years. BRAVO!

    I'm not sure why you are angry at me. All I did was provide you with information regarding how a familiar was originally viewed by the witch finders of that period.

    I am sorry if you think that it's complete crap, but it's really not my fault that you don't like my answer. Familiars have never been pets; that is a modern invention created during the rise of Neo-Paganism. You can call a familiar whatever you wish, but if you want me to lie to you and tell you that a familiar was never a spirit and it actually was something different (like a pet or something like that)? I am sorry, I can't because to do so I would have to be lying to you and to everyone on this forum. It's not to scare you; there are occultists who understand this and still practice High Magic and call on the Goetia for familiars.

    Namaste

    Selah
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    "Remember your spirituality" - Ganesha to a friend in a dream, 2008



  6. #16
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    My understanding of familiars has always been that they were a spirit conjured or created by a witch to assist them. They are drawn upon for energy. I don't think anyone would want Fluffy or Fido to be used as a reservoir.
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    This brings up an interesting question...is there a more unified or centralized definition of familiars? Or is this one of those areas that's more open to interpretation and a wide variety of ideas?
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiresSong View Post
    My understanding of familiars has always been that they were a spirit conjured or created by a witch to assist them. They are drawn upon for energy. I don't think anyone would want Fluffy or Fido to be used as a reservoir.
    Yeah, kinda like creating a servitor Only it isn't an alien spirit, it's a part of you that has broken off to basically do your bidding. It's really cool.

    http://www.cantrap.net/theory/serv.html Me likey cantrap!
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  9. #19
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    Yes, this thread seems confused.

    In my understanding animal companions are not familiar spirits. The identity of animal companions with spirit companions was an error of the witch-hunters, unrelated to traditional magical practice. Of course one generation's error *can* become the next's tradition...

    The term 'familiar' is just an archaic term meaning 'close companion'. It could just as easily be rendered 'assistant' or 'henchman' and it doesn't come from occult tradition. A nobleman's secretary was referred to as his 'familiar'. A magician's familiar is a spirit companion that aids in spirit-contact and practical magic, and provides practical advice on doing magic. Cristoph has been on the money on this. Familiars are obtained by conjuring them, or by conjuring a greater spirit and being given a lesser servant as a familiar. From this latter we get the witch-hunter's notion that Satan gives a familiar to his newly initiated witches.

    As Cristoph said familiar spirits are often housed in some material object. I could see using a living animal, but my modern ethics get a little tweaked by that. I prefer to use eidolons and images for such allies, if they need to be grounded. My animal buddies are just my hairy little room-mates.

    It's pretty silly to suggest that the Grimoire Tradition is inaccessible or hard to authenticate. Medieval, renaissance and early-modern grimoires are readily available in scholastic, critical editions, and there is a large community of modern magicians busily using those methods to work practical and spiritual magic. Grimoire magic is unrelated to the Golden Dawn, though it does feed rather directly into Gardner's witchcraft, and into cunning-folk traditions as well.

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