It is the Goat Headed God Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, who gives knowledge of the Familiar Spirit. The ways a Familiar Spirit can manifest itself to a witch are many. Sometimes they appear unbidden when a practitioner is in need or distress, and sometimes they are sent by the Horned One in response to a prayer or plea. A Familiar Spirit can be a demon, angelic being, lares, or other lesser power. In most cases they are said to be able to manifest in corporeal form. Some are even said to be shape shifters and able to take on multiple physical forms. Some are animals like the proverbial cat, dog, or toad, the Familiar Spirit possessing their physical body. A stray animal that just shows up and exhibits an extraordinary bond with you could be a Familiar Spirit. However a Familiar Spirit appears to you, be aware it is a profound gift from the Horned One. You will know beyond any doubt when one enters your service. The connection will be electric. It’s with a smile when I think back upon all of the small children I have known who have had “invisible friends”, that special person or creature that only they are able to see and communicate with. The Horned God shows interest in all of the Great Goddess’s Third Children, even the small and young.
Familiar Spirits often serve as guardians, helpers, and reservoirs of power that can be drawn upon to strengthen spells and curses. They lend moral support, commune, and act as guides during astral travel. They watch and they listen. They will usually maintain their service until either the witch dies, or they are destroyed. Some have even been known to continue service along family lines for multiple generations. It is entirely proper for you to name your Familiar Spirit, and it does not matter if others know, for it is a rare event indeed for even a witch bound to their Familiar Spirit to know its “true name.”
If you are actively seeking the gift of a Familiar Spirit, it is recommended that a prayer be offered on Esbat, under the light of the full moon, beseeching The Goat Headed God for the boon of a Familiar Spirit.
- In preparation it is recommended that you fast from the dawn prior to the Esbat to the dawn after.
- No Circle is necessary for this working.
- The location of this ritual should be outdoors and in an area that will be free from interruption and prying eyes.
- If you have an animal you wish a Familiar Spirit to possess, have it nearby in a cage. If the Horned One grants you a Familiar Spirit, it may choose it as a host, or it may not.
- Have a ritual cup and some dark ale at the ready.
- When the moon is visible in the sky it is proper to proceed.
- Kneel and face north.
- Light a small fire, and have plenty of small pieces of wood available to feed it throughout the ritual.
I invoke thee Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, my Morning Star.
Ignite the Flame betwixt thy horns Great Goat God,
That the path may be illuminated and I shall be found from afar.
That a union can be forged between flesh and spirit.
Cernnunos, Dark Master, I pray thee, send forth a Familiar Spirit,
That we might be bound together in Craft and Blood.
Feed the fire and begin a soft chant: Great Goat God, send forth a Familiar Spirit.
Continue this chant, for hours if need be, keeping your small fire fed. Allow your senses to roam and the chant to carry your awareness to your surroundings. A Familiar Spirit can appear at any time, in actual physical form or in spirit. Avoid preconceptions and your desires to color what type of Familiar Spirit answers your call. Let the Spirit choose you. Watch and listen as you chant, and when a figure does appear you may cease chanting and commune in speech or thought. If the Familiar Spirit chooses to be bound to you it will answer, if not it will depart. If none appear, do not worry, as you may have been observed and still under consideration. The Familiar Spirit may appear to you at a later time. You can continue this ritual on each full moon thereafter until a Familiar Spirit answers your call.
Whether or not you have success, make an offering of dark ale, holding a cup of it up, and say:
Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, my Morning Star, I offer my thanks for lighting the way.
Drain half of the ale, and pour the rest out on the ground in front of you. The ritual is complete.