I had a Black Cat Familiar

Yes, once upon a time, I embodied that witchy stereotype. I had a black cat familiar. You must note that this sentence is spoken with the very same kind of wistful nostalgia you can hear in Meryl Streep’s voice at the beginning of “Out of Africa”, when she says, “I had a farm in Africa.” It was a magickal time. It was during the glory days of my witchdom! Yes, I’m sort of joking, but not entirely. Her name was Raven.

Raven kitty

That’s her, sitting under my Co-Exist banner, back at Odyssey Ridge.  I rescued her one Yule when my daughter wanted a cat.  We were visiting PetSmart (I love that company!) and Lo, there was the Humane Society adoption van out front.  We stepped into the van and in the very first cage was a beautiful, long-haired, green eyed, black cat named Raven.  Seriously, that was already her name.  Was I set up, or what?  We brought her home, of course, and equipped her with a collar depicting moons and stars.  She fit right into our pagan home.  But this was not my daughter’s cat.  (We had to eventually get her another one – but that’s a whole other story!)  Raven and I bonded from the start.  I have had a lot of pets over the years.  And I’ve loved them all.  But this was something else, something more.  Raven responded to my emotions, even my thoughts.  She wanted to be nowhere more than in the middle of the circles I cast, in the middle of my altar room and on my lap. She was soft and sweet and affectionate.  I don’t know if I’ve ever heard this said about a cat, but she was kind.  I never saw her put her claws out, ESPECIALLY not on skin.  She would take her very fluffy, soft paws and touch my face gently.  She would cuddle up close at bedtime and lick my nose.  If I happened to turn my face away (just out of a desire to sleep!)  she would put her paw on my cheek and pull my face back to her. (My daughter once told me to stop “making out” with my cat!)   I felt that her presence enhanced my workings.  And I long for that relationship again.  Our journey together, at least in this lifetime, ended a couple of years ago.  And even in death, she sent me much needed messages.

Well, my life has seen quite a bit of upheaval since then.  I’m in a new state, in a small apartment.  And recently, perhaps, in part, because of that nostalgic feeling, I adopted a new black cat.

Nyx

This is Nyx.  Yes, she’s beautiful.  And, yes, because of her gorgeous ebony color, I named her after the primordial Greek Goddess of the Night.  The name I gave her might have been a mistake, in hindsight.  She keeps us up half the night!  Granted, she’s still a kitten, but it’s getting old!  (Or perhaps I’m the one who’s getting old.)  Shortly after bringing her home, I spotted this meme on Facebook:

The Night

It kind of sums up her personality.  I’ve had cuddlier lizards.  She’s cute and all, don’t get me wrong!  And it’s really adorable how she has the German Shepard all cow-eyed and totally under her control.  But she’s not real lovey-dovey with people!

Further, while Raven was obviously a witch cat, I’m pretty sure this one is fundamentalist Christian.  She can’t get far enough away when I sage or cast circle.  She gets a very suspicious look on her face when I light a candle or burn some incense.  I’m not talking a “curious” look.  That would be normal.  She looks suspicious and a little worried, like maybe her affiliation with me will cause her eternal damnation.

Also, she likes to chew on things!  I swear, sometimes I think I’ve brought home a Labrador puppy!  She has chewed through 4 phone chargers, 3 purse straps and even some of my clothing!  She tears around the house like a maniac, throws her litter all over and pounces on our unsuspecting, unprotected feet in the middle of the night!   Don’t worry! She has a good home here.  I’m keeping her!  She also does some really cute and cool stuff.  For example, we have a patio with a four foot wall.  She sits on the top of the wall and watches the birds, the people the dogs, the world.  She stays there.  It’s really kind of unique and cute.  She enjoys watching the swirly water in the toilet when it’s flushed.  She leans her front paws and body on the edge and peers down into the bowl as it goes.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to learn how to flush it herself soon.  (Hmmm…. herein may lie the solution to the kitty litter problem!)   And I know it’s really wrong to compare new relationships to old ones… but I can’t help it!  I’m hoping she grows out of the crazy destructive phase and becomes a little more affectionate.  We’ll have to wait and see.   Clearly, my life lessons in patience and tolerance are not yet at an end.  I will allow her to grow into the kitty she’s destined to become.  I’ll wait.

But that won’t stop me from picking her up and smushing her and kissing her and forcing some cuddles on her in the mean time!

If you have a familiar, be very grateful.  I’ve only ever had one.  …  well… so far..

New Moon Magick

darkmoon

So, today is New Moon or Dark Moon.  This is a time for those of us who feel and live by the phases of the moon to turn inward.    Some say that this is not the time for magick or spells.  I disagree!  But I do believe that the magick performed should be focused on inner wisdom, or self improvement of some kind.  This particular new moon is in Sagittarius, which is a wonderful thing, ladies and gentlemen!  Many of us have been experiencing malaise, financial difficulties, road blocks of some kind that have caused us to stagnate a bit.  THIS is the time to break through that feeling!  Fiery Sagittarius combined with the energy of the Dark Moon affords us a rare opportunity to take a new look at our goals and dreams.  The atmosphere in which to surround this look is optimism and hope.  This is the time to renew your quest with enthusiasm!  I intend to renew mine!  And my dear witches, please do not aim too low.  This is the moment when you could launch something of which you’ve dreamt but never spoken!  That vision of your future that is too preposterously wonderful to even share; the one for which you might be laughed at.

If there are three words to describe the energy of this new moon they are, “Go For It!”  And that, you should.  So,  my plan is to conduct a small meditative ritual which I would like to share with you.  In my belief system, calling on deities at this time is not appropriate, but you know your relationships, and please feel free to modify this idea to your use.

This is best done at night.  (The moon stays dark for a couple of days so don’t panic if you can’t do this tonight.)  If not at night, a darkened space will do.

Your supply list is rather short.  You’ll need a mirror of some kind.  Hand held is fine, but the bigger the better.  Also, the darker the better.  If you have a black mirror or a scrying mirror use that.  You may also use the reflective surface of water in a cauldron or dark colored bowl.  A candle or two will do for lighting.  You will need a comfortable place to sit and your imagination.

A scrying mirror, for those who are not familiar, has a dark (usually black) reflective surface in which to gaze and divine information.  Anyone who gazes into a crystal ball is said to be scrying.  Below are a couple of examples of scrying mirrors I’ve made.

wiccan mirror                                                      Leaf mirror

Bless and cleanse your space in whatever way you see fit.  As a wiccan I will cleanse with sage, holy water and a circle cast.  What follows is the circle cast I use during dark moon rituals.  Feel free to use it or modify it to suit your needs.

Circle Cast

“I seal this circle, as I intend; To travel Inward, my veil to rend;  A Realm of safety, I create;  On this darkened side of the sacred gate; Here NO spirits, uninvited;  May pass this boundary, by my will ignited!”

If  you are new to circle casting, while you speak this incantation, you would use your own hands or fingers (or athame or wand or tool of your choosing)  to focus on a point in the distance and create a sphere around yourself.  In your mind’s eye you would visualize this sphere materializing out of flame or a kind of electric glow. (Personally, I usually see blue flame.)  And you would cast the sphere from your imagination in a clockwise circle around yourself, until you feel completely enclosed and safe.

Since, for dark moon, we will be traveling inward and may become unaware of the space and energy surrounding us here in the mundane, it is important to feel protected and safe.

Light your candle or candles.  If it is your wish, call in your deities or protective or helpful spirits or powers.  When you feel totally comfortable and safe in your surroundings, relax and prepare to go into meditation.  Whatever your ritual for that is, if you have one, do that now.

You will be meditating while gazing into the mirror.  When you do so, I want you to see the BEST you there is.  See the Divinity housed in your soul.  Envision yourself without harsh judgment, without criticism.  See yourself as the MOST Powerful, MOST Beautiful, MOST Wonderful Being that you are.   See the TRUTH of you!

witch and mirror                                                               see the truth

Recognize your power, beauty, authority, wisdom, compassion.  Acknowledge whatever it is that will help your goal the most.

As you gaze into the mirror allow your physical gaze to soften, and let your mind’s eye take you to a sacred, beautiful place.  Envision the space, the circumstances which are the perfect launching pad of your dream.  Keep your goal in mind and begin to visualize what it looks like when that goal is achieved.  Don’t view it like a film, view it as a participant.  You have won!  See that!  See it with every bit of detail you can conjure.  Feel the emotions of having succeeded in the face of all that adversity!  See the glory that this goal will bring to you.  I want you to make this experience as vivid as possible.  Incorporate smells, physical sensations, sounds and tastes as well as sight!  Stay in that glory for as long as you can.  Stay there until you believe it.  At this point, you may also want to try to visualize some steps which need to be taken to start you on your journey to victory.  Think about the mundane actions which must be taken to get you there.  See yourself accomplishing those tasks that lead you to your ultimate goal.  See those tasks as easy, fun, enjoyable, simple steps to take.  Do not envision them as obstacles.  They are not obstacles.  They are simply tasks.  Know that you are capable of this dream.  You would not have been given the vision of this outcome, if you were not up to the task.  Know this.  You will experience hope, optimism and JOY, during this meditation.  You shall not allow self doubt or self criticism!  See yourself going for it, and accomplishing it!  And, above all, FEEL how that FEELS!  You WIN!  You win BIG!

When you are ready, you can close your circle however you see fit.  I leave you with this image of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory!

Nike

And I say to you, like the giant corporation named in her honor,  “Just Do It!”