When I was a young boy my father worked for the government. His job required our family to move every year to a different state. The move always took place in the summer and always meant that I had to wait to make new friends until school started in September. For me, summer meant always being pretty much alone.
Due to the secret nature of my father's work, we were always relocated to a rural community. I spent a great deal of my youth wandering the woods and canyons that surrounded the small towns where my family lived. My only companions were the animals and creatures that lived in the natural settings where I spent my summer days.
I quickly learned that it was necessary to remain still and silent in order not to scare away the wildlife. This state of mind bestowed many other gifts, although I was not totally aware of the benefits at the time. But it was there in those silent moments of observation and anticipation that I developed my ability to establish rapport and communication with other beings.
In order to remain silent and still communicate with those creatures that appeared before me, I began using mental pictures. If, for example, a squirrel appeared I would mentally "see" it come over to me. I would also envision a food treat available for the squirrel. Over the course of time I was able to consistently direct the movement and interaction of various creatures.
In time the woodland creatures accepted my nonthreatening demeanor, and I began talking to them in soft tones. Although they certainly did not understand my verbal language, I believe they did understand the energy of my thoughts and feelings as I spoke. I recall one episode in which I asked a blue jay to show me where I could find some raven feathers. The thought came back to me that there were three feathers. I asked where the feathers were, and the blue jay fluttered off. I followed and found a raven feather. The blue jay then repeated the behavior until I had collected the only three raven feathers I was able to discover in the woods that entire day.
I soon came to understand that I was embracing a very old tradition of the Witch in the woods and the Familiar spirit that kept his or her company. In the woods I also became aware that "wilderness" is the natural state of existence and that civilization removes a person from the direct free-flowing forces of Nature. In civilization humans become too busy to communicate with Nature. People spend most of their time maintaining or contributing to the infrastructure of their communities. Here they invest most of their time either working or becoming distracted with the many devices of modern culture that serve and entertain them.
Most animals and creatures, even those that live among humans in towns and cities, still largely maintain their primal relationship with Nature. Humans can form a connective relationship with an animal, and by extension, through the animal, the human can reestablish his or her primal connection with Nature. This is the essence of the relationship between the Witch and the Familiar.
Familiars—Physical and Nonphysical
To help people explore this ancient relationship I wrote a book titled The Witch's Familiar. The book examines various types of Familiar spirits and ways to work with them. Not all Familiars are physical beings. Some Familiars are spirit beings from other realms of existence. In my book the reader is instructed on how to work safely and productively with all types of Familiar spirits.
When working with Familiars, the Witch enters into the realm of magic. Essentially, magic is an occult science that deals with the accumulation, concentration, and direction of energy. As a focal point for the human mind, occultists have created over the centuries a variety of amulets bearing various symbols and sigils. Symbols and sigils serve as a type of sign language that allows for direct communication between humans and spirit beings.
Even in our everyday "non-magical" lives we all experience the power of symbols. One example is our reaction to a traffic light turning red as we are speeding toward the intersection. Other examples include a medical red cross, a badge, a uniform, and many other symbols that speak to us about the inner meanings behind the symbolic representation.
Familiar spirits react to various magical symbols because of what they represent and the authority behind the power of the symbols. In my book The Witch's Familiar I have created several seals bearing such symbols. This will provide you with the necessary tools to form a relationship with a Familiar spirit. Through this companionship with a Familiar you can greatly enhance your magical workings. Should you someday wish to work with a Familiar spirit, I believe you will find the days ahead to be filled with magic.