November Familiars (When All Feels Unfamiliar)


“It is the familiar spirit of the place;

It judges, presides, inspires everything in its empire; It is perhaps a fairy or a god? When my eyes, drawn like a magnet to this cat that I love…” Charles Baudelaire.

As we leave deep as the blue sea Scorpio, ending one of the most globally horrific and transformative months of the year, everything feels and here we are, exposed as a live wire. Yet the bright flame of Sagittarius has arrived, reminding us that what goes down will come up and that optimism is more necessary now than ever. I’ve been called a Pollyanna since childhood but even Pollyanna gets the blues. As a tarot reader, part of the journey is how often you’re confronted with your own issues; the cards practically mocking you from the table. Every year when November rolls around I hear stories of fear, family grief and disappointment; the impending holidays equal impending doom. When your familiar (blood or chosen) feels unfamiliar where can you turn for guidance and safe haven?


Some say a woman’s best friend is her cat and I would say perhaps it’s a poodle or a wild boar or any number of animal familiars (spirit animals as they’re more commonly joked about in popular culture.) From the ancient Egyptians who worshiped the cat-headed goddess Bastet to Native American lore, the concept of an animal being a magical guide is no laughing matter. Most recently in Japan, Tama, the Super Stationmaster Cat was elevated to a Goddess in a Shinto funeral for her years of reviving a failing railway station by her mere presence at the ticket booth. Animals provide not only comfort and companionship but can be a mirror for our own human actions giving us powerful information at times when no one else can.

Every evening I pass a cemetery on my nightly walk home, and for the entire month of November I have been greeted by three cats, one even following me up the street. Not being able to have a pet in my apartment has been a total nuisance because a cat truly is a witch’s familiar. One emotional week in particular, I stopped my usual cooing and cuddling and plopped myself down outside the cemetery gates and stared sobbing. The cats ran to me like clockwork every evening as tears streamed down my red face. Completely unfazed by residents passing by, I spoke unabashedly to the black and white cat, telling him all my recent anxieties about family trauma as he offered up his soft white belly. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of gratitude and sharing with loved ones but more often it’s not and hearing shared tales of woe from clients forced me to confront my own private pains. I couldn’t speak to anyone yet these wise felines became my personal therapists and reminded me that their unconditional love and magic is essential during the holiday season.


What animals are you meeting or dreaming about currently? Raccoons can be adorable thieves out for themselves or Robin Hoods bringing back food for their families. Snakes, a symbol of wisdom and sensuality are singular, cold-blooded and ruthless when they attack. Sweet beavers are faithful and hard working but for whom? Before bedtime, sit comfortably on the floor and burn a bit of Sweetgrass or Sage to honor the First Nations ancestors and all the wisdom that has been passed down from them. As you begin to close your eyes and breathe, take yourself to a forest of your own imagination containing favorite foliage and blossoms. Ask to be greeted by whatever animals can help you most at this time. If you don’t see any in the meditation don’t fret; it’s an exercise that becomes more potent on a regular basis. Before going to bed you can also ingest a tincture of Mugwort to enable lucid dreaming. Keep a notebook and pencil near your bed to take down any important messages. Also think about what animals you encounter in your daily routine, what they represent and how they affect you. As the seasons change so do relationships and situations so even more reason to pay honor and respect those beloved familiars that stay by your side steadfast, loyal and true.

Originally posted on Slutist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s