A Selection of Familiar Shapes

On the Shapes  in Nature Taken by Familiar Spirits
“The deed was signed in the blood of the witch and horrible ceremonies confirmed the compact. Satan then gave his ally a familiar in the form of a dog , ape , cat , or other animal , usually small and black , and sometimes an undisguised imp.”Terri Hardin, Treasury of American Folklore: Our Customs, Beliefs, and Traditions
Owl- The Old Hag of Night
The owl witch is an old one.   These familiars are well endowed with witching art and are in the service to the darkest mothers the world over.  As a familiar, thy serve witches as messengers, as trackers, as omens and as guides for necromancy.  Owl familiars are not to be treated lightly, and ought to be given their freedom to move.  Their ultimate service is to the dark mothers, those queens of underworld and inferno and so their wisdom must be respected.  Unlike some familiars which are sometimes brought to heel by force, this one is selective and requires wooing.
The most important creatures in American witchlore were familiars; demon servants that took the form of living animals in order to surreptitiously serve the enchanters.  Familiars were indispensable in casting spells, but by disguising themselves as normal beasts of the wilderness, the spirits could move undetected through the countryside, spring upon innocent citizens and performing evil assignments.”- Sally Smith Booth, The Witches of Early America

 Mouse & Rat- Little Devils
The rat and mouse class of familiars ought to be approached carefully and with planning.  Many spirits, shape-changers and demons take the shape of rats and mice for their work, and a familiar in this shape often works in company with others.  Offerings of food and shelter are often enough to draw a whole nest of hard-working familiars who will nuisance any neighbor you despise.  They can be politely reasoned with through well-written letters but are quite difficult to get rid of.  If this familiar appears, the witch will move swiftly and with cunning, and be given access to hard to reach places.
Rabbit- Jack-in-the-Graveyard
To select this familiar spirit, one need not obtain the foot.  Witches appear as rabbits quite often, and familiar spirits of all manner wear the skin of a rabbit to hide their true faces; it is one of the easiest forms to attain and familiars to encounter.  They are a lucky, swift and self-preserving friend, a valuable spirit.  Rabbit witches are not to be crossed, as harming one brings an instant hex, unless a silver bullet is used.
Frog and Toad- The Living Thing Within
Though a selector of familiars would recognize lizards, toads and frogs as components to hex work, they are also valuable familiars.  A familiar who takes this form is long associated with our kind and provides a plethora of innate gifts such as healing prowess, weather reading, communication with other spirits and usefulness in the production of elixirs and potions designed to harm others.  The killing of toads and frogs is taboo, as witches often take these forms.
Cat- Ye Olde Familiar
By bone and by black fur, the cat is an old mask of the practitioner and a highly prized form for a familiar to take.  Those who wander out of their skins and into another will find the cat an easy form to shape, and as a familiar spirit, the cat is quite loyal and powerful.  Its very bones emanate with the power of invisibility, initiation, conjuring and divination.  A familiar in the shape of the cat will guard a witch but only at its own leisure.

Horse- The Nightmare
The horse as a familiar spirit or wearing it's shape will give the witch a distinct advantage in nightriding, shapeshifting and travel.  Witches may even be able to turn humans into horses to use as they please as though they are familiar spirits themselves.  This familiar can assist a witch in dreamwork and flight.
Hog- Swine Haint
A hog is a form often taken by the witch, and witches are known to bewitch pigs belonging to others, but they are also a permissible familiar spirit that can perform tasks for witches of all manner.  They are wise, unassuming and will serve as a suitable specter for the night-riding hag witch.  A hog bewitched or a familiar hog can torment others by spoiling their crops or spoiling their dreams with the squeals of unholy songs.  A witch hog is hunted by silver bullet and pokeberry, so these things ought to be avoided.

Mole- The Magician
The selection of the mole for one’s familiar spirit is a bloody affair. Familiar moles evade the law, harbor the gift of invisibility, the healing virtues that take away disease, and general command of the magical arts.  This familiar is promised to remove obstacles and block other witches from being a burden.  The difficulty of this familiar is attainment, as it must offer itself, or, be taken.  If the former, this bond is forged in roots and dirt; if the latter, the mole must be crushed in the left hand and the heart and or liver consumed quickly before the paws and teeth are removed and set to dry.
Beetle- The Death Watcher
A familiar who takes the form of the beetle is one who is well adept to traversing the keyhole.  It is the teller of death, rain, thunder and will be useful in delivering forewarnings as a familiar.  Its gift is that it may wander in small places and keep watch without notice.  The black beetle will climb into beds and pinch one’s enemies and will find their way back to the witch even in the deepest darkness. Sadly, the beetle familiar is easily captured in an anti-witching bottle.

Familiars, whether shaped as ghastly specters or as everyday animals, were not thought capable of sustaining themselves without nourishment.”- Sally Smith Booth, The Witches of Early America

The Odd Shape
These can take the shapes of specters, winds, lights or shadows, or, fantastical shapes. Some of the devils and imps of witchlore which appear to witches and non-witches alike look like fireballs moving on the wind, or appear as dust-devils kicked-up on a breezeless day. Some may have the ability to take on shapes we recognize in our animal kingdom while others take rare and strange forms unnatural to our perspective. These spirits may appear before a witch in forms simple and strange, silly and odd, or so terrible it nearly breaks the mind to try and comprehend. The sacred geometry of some spirits is a fascinating thing; that the spirits in their unseen forms can be greater in size than imagination, smaller than reckoning and can be in shapes that twist the eyes and stun the mind. They can be twisted and terrible, wrenching to behold, the very stuff that inspired the horrors of hells’ mythology or perhaps celestial beauty. Their bodies can be infinite fractals winding in and out of themselves, undulating with the deeper maths of the universe, or simple and senseless things- barely imagined, barely there, a simple wisp of an idea lost on the wind. A spirit is not always a familiar face, sometimes, it is so vastly foreign that we are instantly repelled. What is beauty in one universe can be a nightmare in another and the shapes of familiar spirits can take these drastic and diverse forms, but most typically, entities appear in forms suitable to our world; our animal and plant and mineral allies, aspects of nature that can trick our eyes and the eyes of others.

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