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Animal Magic: Its More Familiar Than You Think
and animals have worked magic together in many ways, some of which were a part
of everyday life. In agricultural lands,
animals worked the magic of providing our survival through the winter. They provided food and materials used in all
facets of the community.
a time before cars, trains and planes.
People were somewhat bound to their homeland since walking cross-country
seemed an endless journey. But then, on
horseback, people could easily explore.
Some say that the use of horses led to the major shifts in political and
spiritual history, as one tribe invaded another with mounted soldiers, forever
society and religion. For better or
worse, horses changed the course of history.
in industrial times, we've worked with animals.
You've heard the expression "a canary in a coal mine." Miners used canaries to detect problems with
the air quality, oxygen level, and presence of invisible poison gas. Canaries were more sensitive to these threats
and could alert the workers.
animals are not unfamiliar to the myths of Old.
For example, Odin used two ravens to fly around the world and report
back all that they saw. Could this
symbolic tale be rooted in a form of divination used at the time? In ancient
understanding these mythic animals, we must know the context in which they were
viewed. For example, thousands of years
from now, historians might not understand the exact emotions we attach to
symbols when we say someone is a deer, or a jackass. Remember that next time you read the myths of
Bast, or Cerberus, or even the American Eagle.
most magical people think of familiars as their household pets, the little ones
who provide joy, insight and companionship -- not to mention shed all over
black clothing and robes! Animals in
general are closer to nature than we are.
They remember their instinctual ways easier than we do. Why limit this to pets? The animals around us in the field can share
our magical moments? Did we encounter a
gentle and curious deer along our first walk in the woods? Did geese fly overhead and squawk their
applause for our lovemaking? How do
these animal events speak to you? You can
merely visualize your magical animal, like a totem guide or imaginary
friend. (And you'll never need to pay
for a vet!)
in myth or reality, an animal's unique traits can teach us specific lessons in
nature. Can we learn by watching an
animal hunt? Protect its young? Weave webs?
Float from one flower to another, tasting a mix of sweet nectars? Or nest and lay the fragile egg of new
limit your familiars to just animals.
Why not a plant? Plants teach us
about laying roots, growing wild, turning to face the light. Plants show us new ways to branch out, bear
fruit -- or wither, fall and provide a subtle new start for others. Are we any different?
not have an object as a familiar? Are
not all things in nature alive? Can an
old gray boulder show us anything about weathering the tests of time? Can Granny's old wristwatch teach us about
the most familiar idea comes when you know that you already hold all these
special qualities within yourself. We
too have animal ways, branch out like plants, and live the lessons of solid
tangible form no differently than Granny's watch. Familiar means family, being One with
another. Knowing you are One with all
things makes everything seem quite familiar.
And everything will look to you, knowing that it too is part of the