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Encyclopedia > Familiar spirit
"The Love Potion" by Evelyn de Morgan: a witch with a black cat familiar at her feet
"The Love Potion" by Evelyn de Morgan: a witch with a black cat familiar at her feet

In early modern English superstition, a familiar spirit, imp, or familiar (from Middle English familiar, related to family) is an animal-shaped spirit who serves for witchery, a demon or other magician-related subjects. Familiars were imagined to serve their owners as domestic servants, farmhands, spies, and companions, in addition to helping bewitch enemies. These spirits were also said to inspire artists and writers (compare Muse). Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Linux (IPA pronunciation: ) is a Unix-like computer operating system. ... Familiar Linux is a replacement for Windows CE on iPAQ machines and other personal digital assistants (PDAs). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 386 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (451 × 700 pixel, file size: 91 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Evelyn de Morgan (British, 1850-1919) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 386 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (451 × 700 pixel, file size: 91 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Evelyn de Morgan (British, 1850-1919) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman... The Love Potion is a 1903 painting by Evelyn de Morgan depicting a witch with a black cat familiar at her feet. ... Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter. ... For other uses, see Witchcraft (disambiguation). ... An imp is a mythological being similar to a fairy, frequently described in folklore and superstition. ... The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus (breath). // The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath (compare spiritus asper), but also soul, courage, vigor, ultimately from a PIE root *(s)peis- (to blow). In the Vulgate, the Latin word translates Greek (πνευμα), pneuma (Hebrew (רוח) ruah), as... For other uses, see Witchcraft (disambiguation). ... “Fiend” redirects here. ... In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek , Mousai: perhaps from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- think[1]) are a number of goddesses or spirits who embody the arts and inspire the creation process with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional music and dance. ...


Familiars are considered an identifying characteristic of early modern English witchcraft, and serve as one feature setting it apart from continental or New World witchcrafts. Frontispiece of Peter Martyr dAnghieras De orbe novo (On the New World). Carte dAmérique, Guillaume Delisle, 1722. ...

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Familiars in European and British mythology

Familiars are most common in western European mythology, with some scholars arguing that familiars were only present in the traditions of England, Great Britain, Scotland and France. In these areas three categories of familiars were believed to exist. Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total... Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic and Scots1 Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Monarch Queen Elizabeth II...

This man in Rhumsiki, Cameroon, tells the future by interpreting the changes in position of various objects as caused by a fresh-water crab through nggàm[1]. Divination is the practice of ascertaining information from supernatural sources. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total...

Types of familiar spirits

The most common species identified as familiars are cats ( particularly black cats), owls, dogs, and sometimes frogs, toads, crows or hares. In later cases, familiars moved to more ethereal forms, often taking the shape of a "black man" thought to be representative of Satan. In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity. ... Binomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Synonyms Felis lybica invalid junior synonym The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Families Strigidae Tytonidae Ogygoptyngidae (fossil) Palaeoglaucidae (fossil) Protostrigidae (fossil) Sophiornithidae (fossil) Synonyms Strigidae sensu Sibley & Ahlquist Owls are a group of birds of prey. ... Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ... Distribution of frogs (in black) Suborders Archaeobatrachia Mesobatrachia Neobatrachia - List of Anuran families The frogness babe is an amphibian in the order Anura (meaning tail-less from Greek an-, without + oura, tail), formerly referred to as Salientia (Latin saltare, to jump). ... Families At least 9, see article. ... Species See text. ... Jack rabbit and Jackrabbit redirect here. ...


Familiars are generally animals. They usually have some magical power or are simply there to advance the story. Dangerous familiars are in the forms of weasels, puppies, and toads.[2] Familiars were also animals or birds that sucked witch’s blood. The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Magic and sorcery are the influencing of events, objects, people and physical phenomena by mystical, paranormal or supernatural means. ...


On the eastern side of England, in places like Suffolk familiars are said to be more common. Eastern familiars were cats, ferrets, mice, moles, toads, and dogs. Familiars sucked blood and were known to eat bread, raw meat, and drink milk. Suffolk (pronounced ) is a large historic and modern non-metropolitan county in East Anglia, England. ...


Witch trials

The most evidence of familiars comes from the English and Scottish period during the 16th century and the 17th century. The court system that tried witches was known as the Essex witchcraft trials. The Essex trial of Agnes Sampson of Nether Keith in 1590 displays proof of a divinatory familiar. This evidence shows Sampson being tried for high treason and the court wants to prosecute Sampson for attempting to use witchcraft on King James VI. The court documents Sampson for stating familiar spirits came when she called it and resolved her doubtful matter. Another evidence of a familiar appearing in an Essex trial is that of Hellen Clark tried in 1645. This court documented Hellen and she stated that the devil appeared as a familiar in the form of a dog.[3] (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... Essex is a county in the East of England. ... James VI and I King of England, Scotland and Ireland James VI of Scotland and I of England (Charles James) (19 June 1566–27 March 1625) was a King who ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland, and was the first Sovereign to reign in the three realms simultaneously. ...


The English courts reflect a strong relationship between the witch and the familiar.


Prince Rupert's dog

During the English Civil War, the Royalist general Prince Rupert was in the habit of taking his large poodle dog, named "Boye", into battle with him. Throughout the war the dog was greatly feared among the soldiers of Parliament and credited with supernatural powers, evidently considered a kind of familiar (see Prince Rupert). The English Civil War consisted of a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians (known as Roundheads) and Royalists (known as Cavaliers) between 1642 and 1651. ... Look up Royalist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... for the city in British Columbia, see Prince Rupert, British Columbia Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), soldier and inventor, was a younger son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart, and the nephew of King Charles I of England. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modelled after that of the United Kingdom. ... for the city in British Columbia, see Prince Rupert, British Columbia Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), soldier and inventor, was a younger son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart, and the nephew of King Charles I of England. ...


Familiars in modern fantasy

In many modern fantasy stories, a magician's familiar is a magical creature. In many cases the power of the familiar is directly proportional to the power of the magician. Smaug in his lair: an illustration for the fantasy The Hobbit Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... otheruses|Magician}} The Enchanted Garden of Messer Ansaldo by Marie Spartali Stillman: a magician makes his garden bear fruit and flowers in winter. ... The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Magic and sorcery are the influencing of events, objects, people and physical phenomena by mystical, paranormal or supernatural means. ...


The form taken by the familiar is also influenced by the personality of its master as in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, though the comparison is not perfect, the nature of Pullman's dæmons being dissimilar from standard notions of a familiar. The relationships between familiars and their masters vary by story. Some familiars do not have free will and are nothing more than tools of their masters while others are willing servants who can make their own decisions and would leave their masters if mistreated. The trilogy (U.K versions), in order of succession from left to right. ... Philip Pullman CBE (born October 19, 1946) is an English writer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Familiars in art and literature

  • Familiars were mentioned in Shakespeare's Macbeth, as the witches called their familiars.
  • In the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, djinns and other demons are summoned and serve as a passive manifestation of a magician's power as opposed to any true arcane skills used directly.
  • In vampire fiction (Salem's Lot, Blade, etc.), familiars are humans who were promised immortality by a vampire lord in exchange for services of some kind.
  • In The WB television series Charmed, the star characters possessed a familiar for the first half of the series named Kit the Cat, who was a white Siamese with blue eyes.
  • In the Earthsea books, Ged has a mouse-familiar, an "ottak". There are references to several other familiars, including ravens and boars.
  • In the Harry Potter series there are a number of characters possessing beloved pets similar to familiars, though the term is never used. Note that the three pets students are allowed to have in school are an owl, a toad, or a cat, three common types of familiars.
  • In the Philip Pullman book series His Dark Materials, dæmons are similar to familiars.
  • In the animated television ReBoot, the character Hexadecimal had a "verminous" familiar named Scuzzy.
  • The Marvel Comics character Satana had a familiar named Exiter who died while trying to save his mistress.
  • In the British comedy programme The Mighty Boosh, Bollo, who is the "oldest ape in captivity" is the Shaman Naboo the Enigma's familiar.
  • In Riviera: The Promised Land, a Game Boy Advance game, the main character Ein has a familiar named Rose (who looks like an ordinary black house cat).
  • In another PlayStation game, Azure Dreams, the basis of the gameplay is centred around recovering monster eggs that become the hero's familiar when hatched.
  • In the computer game GODS, a familiar is an unlockable pird of prey that follows the protagonist attacking enemies.
  • In the browser-based MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing, familiars are like pets can be obtained to assists a player in various ways, from healing to attacking to increase drop rates.
  • In the Karin (anime), Karin's sister Anju control a horde of bat familiars that watch over Karin throughout the day. She is also accompanied by many doll familiars, most notably "Boogie" whom she often carries around with her.
  • In Rob Schrab's "Twigger's Holiday", Twigger has a humanoid familiar named Josh who often barks like a dog. Twigger's girlfriend Michelle also has a humanoid familiar who meows like a cat.
  • The plot of the Japanese visual novel Fate/stay night, tells the story of a war between magicians and their "servents", heroic spirits which can be rendered as familiars.
  • In the Japanese anime Zero no Tsukaima, all of the 2nd year students must summon their own familiar. The heroine's familiar turned out to be a human.
  • Familiar is the name used for a common, bat-like monster in Ragnarok Online. They can be summoned by the MVP Boss, Dracula.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, space marine librarians, chaos sorcerers, and inquisitors can choose familiars as equipment.
  • A dog and cat prowl a dark alley, pausing to inspect a corpse, in the opening sequence of the 1986 horror/mystery film Angel Heart, foreshadowing the appearance of the sinister Louis Cyphre and his attorney.
  • Masaki Andoh from the Super Robot Wars game series has two cat familiar spirits, a female black cat named Kuro and a male white cat named Shiro. They also help him in combat, piloting Cybuster's Hi-Familiar remote weapons.
  • In the book "The Bridge" by Iain M. Banks the familiar lives atop the barbarian's back and helps him in a few ways, ranging from spells to advice.
  • Alucard from Hellsing has cerberus-like shadow dogs for familiars.
  • In the Manga/Anime Negima! the main character Negi Springfield has a white ermine named Albert Chamomile commonly called "Chamo" as his familiar.

The mythology of the Familiar were also portrayed as antagonist in the TV series Dark Angel, starring Jessica Alba. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Macbeth and Banquo meeting the witches on the heath by Théodore Chassériau. ... Steven Brust in 2004 at Minicon 39 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ... Genie is the anglicized word for the Arabic jinni. In Semitic mythology and Islamic religion, a jinni (also djinni or djini) is a member of the jinn (or djinn), a race of spirits. ... In role-playing, participants adopt characters, or parts, that have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. ... The Wizard is a magician character class in many role-playing games and computer role-playing games. ... A character class represents a characters archetype and career in some role-playing games. ... Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D or DnD) is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) currently published by Wizards of the Coast. ... Salems Lot is a horror novel by Stephen King, written in 1975. ... Blade is a 1998 vampire movie adapted from a comic book. ... The WB Television Network, casually referred to as The WB, or sometimes as The Frog (referring to the networks former mascot, the animated character Michigan J. Frog), is a television network in the United States, founded as a joint venture between the Warner Bros. ... Charmed is an American television series that ran for eight seasons on The WB. It was produced by Aaron Spelling and is about three sisters who are the worlds most powerful good witches, known throughout the supernatural community as The Charmed Ones but known to everyone else as the... A Siamese kitten at two and half weeks Seal point Siamese kitten (traditional siamese) The Siamese is one of the first distinctly recognised breeds of Oriental cat. ... Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a 1988 film directed by James Signorelli. ... Cassandra Peterson (born September 17, 1951) is better known for her on-screen persona Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ wearing a black, gothic, cleavage-enhancing gown as host of Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation. ... Serialized in Nakayoshi Original run August 2003 – April 2007 No. ... Sailor Moon , officially translated as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) is the title of a famous media franchise created by Japanese manga artist Naoko Takeuchi. ... A metaseries includes series of stories which include references to each other and some overall similar chronological or cast backdrop, but are not similar enough to be considered direct sequels. ... Luna. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Spoiler warning: Diana is the name of one of the feline characters in the Japanese anime series Sailor Moon. ... Cover to 1991 Bantam Books paperback edition of A Wizard of Earthsea, illustrated by John Jude Palencar Earthsea is a fictional realm created by Ursula K. Le Guin for her short story The Word of Unbinding, published in 1964, but that became more famous in her novel A Wizard of... This article is about the Harry Potter series of novels. ... DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. ... Klarion the Witch Boy is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe character first seen in the pages of The Demon in 1973. ... Morgana is the daughter of Morgaine le Fey, and a villain who battled Wonder Woman. ... Philip Pullman CBE (born October 19, 1946) is an English writer. ... The trilogy (U.K versions), in order of succession from left to right. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... ReBoot was a Canadian CGI animated series that was produced by Mainframe Entertainment, created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell and John Grace, with the striking visuals created by Brendan McCarthy after an initial attempt by Ian Gibson. ... Marvel Comics is an American comic book line published by Marvel Publishing, Inc. ... Satana from the Witches series, drawn by Mike Deodato. ... The Mighty Boosh is a British cult comedy about two friends who go on magical adventures. ... The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... EIN can stand for: Employer Identification Number, a number assigned by the United States Internal Revenue Service to all employers. ... The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (SOTN) is a Japanese action-adventure game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo and published by Konami for the Sony PlayStation video game console. ... Azure Dreams is a PlayStation videogame developed by Konami and released on 30 June 1998. ... Kingdom of Loathing (KoL) is a humorous, browser-based, multiplayer role playing game designed and operated by Asymmetric Publications, including creator Zack Jick Johnson and writer Josh Mr. ... Karin (かりん) is a Manga drawn by Kagezaki Yuna. ... Rob Schrab is a comic book creator, actor, writer, and film producer. ... Fate/stay night ) is a Japanese eroge visual novel game created by Type-Moon, which was originally released on January 30, 2004. ... Zero no Tsukaima lit. ... This article is about Sabrinas appearances in comic books. ... Alexander the Great Philip II of Spain Napoleon Bonaparte For other uses, see World domination (disambiguation). ... Ragnarok Online (Korean: 라그나로크 온라인), often referred to as RO, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by GRAVITY Co. ... This article is about the tabletop miniature wargame and the fictional universe in which it is set. ... Angel Heart is a 1987 horror movie written and directed by Alan Parker, starring Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet and Robert De Niro. ... Masaki Andoh Masaki Andoh (マサキ・アンドー) is a fictional character in the Super Robot Wars series. ... Super Robot Wars: Alpha Gaiden, one of many SRW games released by Banpresto in Japan. ... The Cybuster is an original mecha which originated in the Banpresto strategy Role Playing Game series Super Robot Wars. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Hellsing is an anime and manga series by Kouta Hirano. ... Vaarsuvius is a major character in the webcomic The Order of the Stick, written by Rich Burlew. ... The Order of the Stick, nicknamed OotS, is a comedic fantasy webcomic based on pencil and paper roleplaying games, particularly Dungeons and Dragons, and its accompanying system, D20 . ... Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of fantasy, horror and science fiction. ... The Dreams in the Witch House is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Negima! a manga written by Ken Akamatsu, same creator of Love Hina. ... Negi Springfield (ネギ・スプリングフィールド Negi SupringufÄ«rudo), is the main character of the manga/anime Negima: Magister Negi Magi ). He is the homeroom and English teacher of Class 3-A (formerly 2-A) of Mahora Academy Middle School. ... The ermine (Mustela erminea) is a dark brown weasel, with a distinctive black-tipped tail. ... The phrase Bell, book, and candle refers to an archaic method of excommunication for one who had committed a particularly grievous sin. ... John William Van Druten (1 June 1901–19 December 1957) was an English dramatist, best known for writing light comedies. ... Pyewacket was one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Maningtree, Essex, UK. Hopkins claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of...

  • In Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service, Kiki is a young witch in training who owns a black cat named Jiji. Jiji can speak in human languages to her, but when Kiki's magic abilities start to fail, she can't understand Jiji, and he speaks in Cat.
  • In the short story, "Puddle Head", which is no longer in print, the main protagonist, Joshua, has a familiar given to him as a gift from his deceased father.

Joshua named the familiar, "Reed Bones", which resembles the skeleton of a person with severe deformities and some of the bones have holes in them that whistle when the wind blows, like a reed pipe. Later Joshua discovers from the keeper of the Skin Tablet, which is an arcane book of magic, that "Reed Bones" actually IS his father. His father, whose real name is Jayce, informs Joshua that the effigy of "Reed Bones" is all that remains of his former self after he was tortured in the nether regions of the pit. Joshua is known to carry around the bones OF Reed Bones in a faded green silk bag. Whenever Joshua sings the song or recites the lyrics from a song called "The Chimney Sweepers", the bones begin to take on a life of their own and re-corporate into the effigy of Reed Bones. Not much else is known about the main plot of this story as it has been out of print now for at least 35 years. The information written here was taken from the synopsis out of an old back order catalogue. Miyazaki can be: Miyazaki prefecture Miyazaki city of Miyazaki prefecture Name of famous Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki Takiri Miyazaki, an athlete Tsutomu Miyazaki, a serial killer and otaku A common Japanese family name. ... Kikis Delivery Service (, Witchs Delivery Service) is a 1989 anime film, produced, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki . ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Living Maromi Doll Dog-like creature created by Tsukiko Sagi from the very dark Paranoia Agent anime series. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

  • In the anime D.N.Angel, With (Or Wiz in the English version) is Dark's familiar, in the form of a dog and rabbit cross-breed.

See also

This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Yekyua is a class of Yakut spirits that remain hidden until the snow melts in the Spring. ... Yakuts, self-designation: Sakha, are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. ... Shikigami (式神) are a kind of spirit summoned to serve a practitioner of onmyōdō, much like a western familiar. ... The Onmyōji (陰陽師, lit. ... An imp is a mythological being similar to a fairy, frequently described in folklore and superstition. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ M. A. Murray, “Divination by Witches’ Familiars.” Man. Vol. 18 June 1918. 1-3.
  2. ^ Frances Dolan, “Dangerous Familiars.” (Ithaca and London: Cornell University press,1994) 175.
  3. ^ M. A. Murray, “Witches familiars in England.” Man, Vol. 18 July 1918 1-3.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Confronting Familiar Spirits (4451 words)
Familiar spirits are common amid the practices of spiritism and witchcraft, but their activity is by no means limited to persons and practices so obviously occult.
The Hebrew word for "familiar spirit" is ob, meaning "a leathern bottle." To the ears of the ancient Hebrews, the hollow sound of a familiar spirit, speaking through a medium, sounded as though it were coming out of a skin bottle.
She began to play with an imaginary friend, a familiar spirit, named "Genie." Interestingly, Genie (a derivation of jinn) is one of a class of spirits which assumes various forms, exercises supernatural power, and serves his summoner.
What Familiar Spirit Are Mormons Following? (1186 words)
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.
As the evidence clearly indicates, every time the expression “familiar spirit” is used by God, it refers specifically to the presence of evil, derived through witchcraft or mysticism that does not come from God.
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