Witches and Cats, Something Familiar?

Witches and cats have been associated with one another since at least the time of religious persecution in medieval Europe.Religious bigotry has often utilized the ploy of changing the heroes and gods of “other” faiths, into devils and villains.

It is a sad fact that the noble cat once protected and worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, became despised and persecuted from before the 10th until the 18th century.

One of the earliest records of such atrocities is the ceremony of "Cat Wednesday" which took place in the city of Metz in Northern France. Hundreds of cats were burned alive in the belief that they were witches in disguise. How horrible ignorance can be! Just because something is beautiful and exotic does not mean it is to be feared or reviled!

Yes, cats are mysterious, and their eyes hold mysteries that no man will ever solve, but that is part of their timeless appeal and to a large extent why the Egyptians worshiped them!

Due to Papal influence in the 13th century, horrible acts of atrocity were carried out on humans and felines, all in the name of The Church. Black cats in particular were believed to be agents of the devil, especially if owned by an elderly woman (crone).

There is an old Celtic belief that felines had once been human and had been changed into cat form as punishment for wickedness. Sadly, felines were sometimes tied up with silver ropes because it was believed that they could somehow magically protect one’s treasures.

When the Catholic Church’s beliefs blended with Celtic lore, it became almost assumed that any cat was likely a witch's familiar. Not that cat’s cannot be familiar, or that witches are bad, for I know better, but that is a subject for another page, if not another site entirely. )0(

It is a horrible truth that in the 16th and 17th centuries, tens of thousands of witches and cats were put to death in Germany, 75,000 in France and more than 30,000 in Great Britain.In this barbaric and brutal time, cats were often tortured, along with their unfortunate human companions, before being burnt, drowned or buried alive.

Cats and Halloween

Witches and cats have had a long association with Halloween. According to one popular author, "Because cats are nocturnal creatures and do their roaming at night, they were seen as the servants of witches and out to harm those that the witches had cursed. It was also believed by some that witches had the supernatural power to change into cats and so more easily carry out their wicked deeds and escape detection".

Well now, let me set the record straight. Halloween or Samhain is a holy day for witches. So of course, witchcraft is associated with this holiday. In Paganism, Samhain is not used for evil at all, but to remember and honor the dead.

The veil is thinner between the realms of the living and the dead on this night, and attempts to “pierce the veil” and contact those who have passed have the most chance of success on October 31.

As for the cats, they are naturally psychic and intuitive creatures, with a far greater understanding of us, and our practices than most would give them credit for.

And yes, they can indeed be fine witches companions and familiars, however there is no evil involved, and believe me, if it were possible in any way to transform oneself into a cat, I myself would happily give up my thumbs to do so!

For More About Paganism and Witches, Visit The Urban Pagan

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