Totems and Familiars?

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Totems and Familiars?

Postby sea sprite » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:32 pm

Hi everyone,

A couple of posts over the last couple of days have got me wondering about totems and familiars and how they differ.

From what I can gather, a totem is a creature that you feel a strong connection/kinship with and this becomes your totem animal. But, how do you 'get' a totem? Do you just choose what you feel most connected to, or do you link it to an experience with a certain animal? I know that Kit had an encounter with a hare that set her off on this path :D

I'm more confused about what a familiar is really. Do they generally take the form of an animal? How do you know if a creature is your familiar? Am I right in thinking that they usually live with you as a companion? Could I go and buy a cat (for example) and then call it ny familiar, or is there a much deeper connection that has to take place?

Sorry for all the questions! :oops: :oops: I'm just curious (and ignorant!) really!
sea sprite x

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Postby Brooke » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:37 pm

I'm interested in the replies as well Sea Sprite! I am also doing a lot of thinking about this :D

xx
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Postby kit » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:14 pm

Great topic! I don't know the "official" definition of a familiar (but then again, us Stonewylders don't do official, do we?) but I once had a black cat called Nero whom I really felt such a very deep affinity with that I think he may have been my familiar. I felt a really powerful connection with him. I've had lots of cats in my life, both before and after him. I love the two cats I have now very dearly, but it's nowhere near the same depth of understanding I had with Nero. We were almost telepathic. In fact we were telepathic. There were so many instances of this. For instance, wherever I was or whatever time I came home, he would without fail be waiting for me. My boys observed this and couldn't believe how he'd suddenly come back or wake up, and always be on the window sill waiting. It was nothing to do with the car, because I'd often arrive on foot. It was really quite uncanny.

He'd drive me mad at times of course, but it was such a deep thing between us. The night he was run over I kind of knew it was going to happen. But there was this awful inevitability about it. My mum had died the previous year, which was devastating, but I can honestly say I cried as much over Nero's death as I did hers. And that's not to belittle my grief for her. I was absolutely bereft when he died. As I said, I love Magus and Malik and they're wonderful cats, but they're only cats and not familiars. I hope you get a second chance because I really would love another familiar like my beloved Nero. I still miss him and it's seven years since he died.
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Postby sea sprite » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:24 pm

Thank you Kit and sorry to hear about the loss of Nero. It sounds like you had a real connection, which is what I always thought was the case with a familiar. I suppose if you go out looking for one, you'll never find it. I suppose that they appear in your life at the right time? Mmm, I'm thinking (typing!) out loud now :lol:

Of course, we don't 'do' official! :lol: :P I was just wondering if anyone could clarify the difference. I don't want to start a row :shock: :lol:
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Postby kit » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:34 pm

I think you're right, SS - they choose us at the right time, not the other way round. The minute Nero came into our house as a really tiny black kitten he jumped onto my lap and started purring. When my poor boys, who were only young then, tried to stroke him as he really was adorable, he growled and hissed at them! He was only eight weeks old (too young to be sold but the owners were keen to get rid of the kittens) but he was so fierce! Although he gradually accepted the boys, he made it very clear from the first minutes in our home that he belonged to me and I to him. It was very strange - never had that before or since.

I'd love to hear other people's experiences about this. It's a totally different thing to the relationship you have with a pet you love.
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Postby MPoppins » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:16 am

I'd never really understood what a familiar is until I met Lucy.

I was at a farm party and sat by the fire when a pretty springer spaniel appeared at my feet with a plastic bottle in her mouth. She put it at my feet, cocked her head to one side and looked up at me patiently. Of course I responded and threw the bottle and that was the start of our friendship. For the whole night I ran around the farm with Lucy, hiding in the grass and chasing each other around. I went to several parties over the year and each time spent most of them playing with Lucy.( I also began to realise that her "owner" was pretty special too!) Eventually though, I had to say goodbye as I was moving away. I will never forget how I cried as I backed the car down the drive and Lucy chased the car, I had to stop and get out and give her another cuddle. Looking into the rear mirror as I drove away I could see her watching the car. I cried for ages.

Happily Lucy's "owner" - I hate this term- and I carried on communicating via email and I made arrangements to visit. It was weird but as we all walked along the beach I had this very strong realisation of being in the right place, like de-ja-vu, and Lucy was very much part of it. I could go on for ages with this story I realise but to cut a long story short I now live with Lucy and "owner". As I have got to know her i feel that unlike other animals I have met and loved, Lucy is different. We understand each other, like telepathy and it's as though she has an old, wise soul. I learn from her and she looks after me. Lucy has never had to be on a lead, she is a free spirit and she chooses to be with us rather than the other way around almost. It's a hard thing to explain but I think it's just something you know when you meet them, these old souls come in different forms human and animal.

or perhaps i'm completely mad!!?? hehe
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Postby Beantighe » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:30 am

Not mad at all, Mary - I think you're very sane and sensible, and that's a truly heartwarming story. Lucy sounds a gorgeous little lady, and that's a really special relationship you have there.

Love Beantighe

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Postby creature » Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:45 pm

He He MP.

My story is the same.

I was going into my local pub on the Isle of Wight and I met this three legged mini yorkie. She just wouldnt leave me alone. I then met her Daddy. Who then became hubby and now Im Mummy.

We call her our Angel for bring us togeher.(albeit a very smelly one) :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:44 pm

what lovely stories! :D
here's an interesting page on wikipedia - you've probably seen it ... found it after thinking about Philip Pullman and his Daemons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Familiar#F ... _mythology

I always thought that a familiar was a "real" creature - ie one who you found or who found you and had a spiritual link with, and that a totem was the creature which most closely "represented" your spirit/yearnings
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

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Wikipedia

Postby cornmother » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:08 pm

Wikipedia......aaaargh!!

You can spend a lot of time putting a lot of carefully researched material on to Wikipedia, and anyone can come along and rubbish the whole lot. The original idea was a good one, but there are too many sick people out there who take pleasure in sabotaging good pieces of work.

So don't take everything you read there as accurate. Always go back to source and if possible, do your own research.

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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:27 pm

sorry just trying to be helpful - I'm not an expert in any of these issues - it's a quest for me too
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

http://wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk
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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:31 pm

I'll get my coat.....
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

http://wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk
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Postby cornmother » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:40 pm

ooooh, WildRose

Sorry! my comments were in no way aimed at you personally - far from it! I just wanted people to be aware that they shouldn't believe everything they read on Wikipedia - just take it with a whole cellar-full of salt!

Friends?? come back in and take your coat off.

:)

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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:45 pm

:lol: grumpy moment in a grumpy day :roll: taken my coat off!! xxxx and my grump x
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

http://wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk
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Postby MPoppins » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:50 pm

hehe...the thing is though Cornmother is what is knowledge hmm? Who do you trust? I have to say that when I am writing my dissertations for the masters I am studying I would certainly check my sources but for day to day trivia I reckon wiki is far more reliable than say a newspaper or the tv most of the time - at least the information isn't controlled in the same way...

...just being devils advocate...
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Love as though you've never been hurt,
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Clap with one hand.
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