Many of us have animal guides and messengers bringing us wisdom when needed, and some of us have companion animals with us at all times, bringing their special magick: unconditional love, companionship and perhaps a little healing!
It has been said that having a companion animal is a natural way to reduce blood pressure and anxiety, and it is no surprise to see many a companion cat or dog at a seniors’ home or convalescent centre.
Many people also have strong relationships with service animal companions (primarily dogs but also others such as miniature horses, birds, and pigs). A service animal is trained to assist a person with a disability, and you may be familiar (!) with those serving as guides for the visually challenged, as anti-anxiety companions, as autism support, and as support for those prone to seizures. (More info on service animals here).
Our witchy sisters of the past were often said to have familiars (short for “familiar spirits”), such as black cats, crows, owls, toads, hares and other animals. European lore says the familiars were shapeshifters taking animal form, and would assist witches in their magical practices and rituals. And when I see how much our moggies are drawn to the energy of my sacred tools, altars and card decks, I sometimes wonder if they are my familiars! I know they are definitely healers for me. They always seem to know when I need a cuddle or companionship, or just know where a physical pain might be.
French poet Charles Baudelaire apparently considered cats quite magical. I love these words from his poem “Le Chat” (The Cat), from his 1857 volume of poetry “Fleurs du mal” (“Flowers of Evil”). Click here to read the full poem.
C’est l’esprit familier du lieu;
Il juge, il préside, il inspire
Toutes choses dans son empire;
peut-être est-il fée, est-il dieu?
A familiar figure in the place,
He presides, judges, inspires
Everything within his province;
Perhaps he is a fay, a god?
Perhaps you have a magical animal companion in your life?
What is your relationship to the animals in your life?
What role do they play?
The header images above are my companion animals, from L to R:
- Pearl and newly adopted brother Mouse sharing some together time
- Merlin (now deceased), always drawn to my sacred tools and card decks
- Merlin overseeing a new altar
- Pearl, as a nursemaid after my knee replacement surgery
I know that even neither my dog or cat are “official” therapy animals, they definitely reduce my anxiety.
Thank you Nathan!