A Spell to Find a Furry (or Finned or Feathered or Scaled) Friend

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Adopting a pet isn’t always an easy process. Filling out applications, waiting, and then meeting potential future family members can be as tiring and frustrating as it is rewarding. To ease the process, write the name of the type of animal you want to adopt on a blank piece of paper, and place it on your altar ( you can also make a general statement, such as “Let the right animal for me come to me”). Weigh the paper down with four stones: rose quartz for the love you will give and receive, smokey quartz for endurance of the adoption process, garnet for the commitment you will be making, and turquoise for the joy you will give and receive through the pet ownership. As you place each stone, speak your desire aloud:

Paw, claw, fin, or feather,
I know we will find each other!

Leave the message on your altar until your new family member joins you.

*Posted by Modern Witchcraft

Animal Magic: Spell Working

March 6, 2017 by

Working with animal spirit guides is one of my favourite areas of the Craft to work with and so I thought it made sense to put it all in a book – Pagan Portals Animal Magic will be published on 31st March 2017.

I would like to share with you some information from the book about working with animal magic in spells:

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Animal Magic: Spell Working

The magical power in each and every animal – living, extinct or mythical can be used to assist you in your daily life and can be utilised in spells to aid you in certain situations.

It is nearly impossible to read old collections of magic without seeing something using the energy from animals.  I don’t mean divination from entrails though…

Throughout history we can see illustrations of animals being used rather than the actual live creature for instance the Egyptians carried small carvings of cats with them as protection and a 13th Century Hebrew text suggests that carving a falcon onto a piece of topaz would ensure the goodwill of leaders, putting a lion on a garnet would bring honour and protection and a bat onto a bloodstone would bring increased power to magical chants.

Get creative, if you want to use the power of an animal for a spell – look around and see what you come up with.  Try small figurines, metal charms, pictures from magazines or the internet, product labels, badges, picture playing cards, carvings – the list is endless.

Think about the intent that you want to work your spell for and then ask yourself what animal you associate with that intent?    If your spell is for confidence you might like to draw on the magical powers of peacock or if you need the ability to overcome obstacles then bat or elephant would be an ideal animal to work with.

Some references of animals to use for particular intent:-

  • Call upon the hoarding instincts of the squirrel to help you with your finances.
  • Ask the dove to bring you love.
  • Or invite the courage and cunning of the wolf to help you through a difficult time.
  • Invoke a dragon of protection.
  • Butterfly emerging from a cocoon brings transformation.
  • Fly a winged horse on an astral journey.
  • Attune with the masculine spirit of the forest through the mighty stag.
  • Seek healing from the dolphin.
  • Find the courage of a lion for an interview or a situation that requires it.
  • Swan will bring grace.
  • Frogs or toads bring new beginnings (it’s a tadpole thing…).
  • Rat can help you overcome hatred.
  • Whale can bring balance and relaxation.
  • Horse to overcome obstacles (think about it jumping over fences).

 

Excerpt from Pagan Portals Animal Magic by Rachel Patterson

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2017/03/animal-magic-spell-working/

 

List of Oils Toxic to Cats

List of essential oils and kitchen oils toxic to cats. Most of these are quite common so clean up thoroughly after yourself and make sure windows are open! Also avoid burning/diffusing these oils in excess around your furry friends!!

 

Link: meowlifestyle.com/6-essential-oil-safety-tips-for-cat-owners/

 

Bastet

by 

published on 24 July 2016

Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women’s secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth. She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women and children. As with many Egyptian deities, she also played a role in the afterlife as a guide and helper to the dead although this was not one of her primary duties. She was the daughter of the sun god Ra and is associated with the concept of the Eye of Ra (the all-seeing eye) and the Distant Goddess (a female deity who leaves Ra and returns to bring transfromation).

MEANING OF BASTET’S NAME

Her name was originally B’sst which became Ubaste, then Bast, then Bastet; the meaning of this name is not known or, at least, not universally agreed upon. Geraldine Pinch claims that “her name probably means She of the Ointment Jar” as she was associated with protection and protective ointments (115). The Greeks associated her closely with their goddess Artemis and believed that, as Artemis had a twin brother (Apollo) so should Bast. They associated Apollo with Horus, the son of Isis (Heru-sa-Aset) and so called the goddess known as Bast ba’Aset (Soul of Isis) which would be the literal translation of her name with the addition of the second ‘T’ to denote the feminine (Aset being among the Egyptian names for Isis).

Bastet, however, was also sometimes linked with the god of perfume and sweet smells, Nefertum, who was thought to be her son and this further links the meaning of her name to the ointment jar. The most obvious understanding would be that, originally, the name meant something like She of the Ointment Jar (Ubaste) and the Greeks changed the meaning to Soul of Isis as they associated her with the most popular goddess in Egypt. Even so, scholars have come to no agreement on the meaning of her name.

ASSOCIATIONS

Bastet was extremely popular throughout Egypt with both men and women from the 2nd Dynasty (c. 2890 – c. 2670 BCE) onward with her cult centered at the city of Bubastis from at least the 5th century BCE. She was first represented as a woman with the head of a lioness and closely associated with the goddess Sekhmet but, as that deity’s iconography depicted her as increasingly aggressive, Bastet’s images softened over time to present more of a daily companion and helper than her earlier forms as savage avenger. Scholar Geraldine Pinch writes:

From the Pyramid Texts onward, Bastet has a double aspect of nurturing mother and terrifying avenger. It is the demonic aspect that mainly features in the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead and in medical spells. The “slaughterers of Bastet” were said to inflict plague and other disasters on humanity. One spell advises pretending to be the ‘son of Bastet’ in order to avoid catching the plague (115).

BASTET IS SOMETIMES RENDERED IN ART WITH A LITTER OF KITTENS AT HER FEET BUT HER MOST POPULAR DEPICTION IS OF A SITTING CAT GAZING AHEAD.

Although she was greatly venerated, she was equally feared as two of her titles demonstrate: The Lady of Dread and The Lady of Slaughter. She is associated with both Mau, the divine cat who is an aspect of Ra, and with Mafdet, goddess of justice and the first feline deity in Egyptian history. Both Bastet and Sekhment took their early forms as feline defenders of the innocent, avengers of the wronged, from Mafdet. This association was carried on in depictions of Bastet’s son Maahes, protector of the innocent, who is shown as a lion-headed man carrying a long knife or as a lion.

In Bastet’s association with Mau, she is sometimes seen destroying the enemy of Ra, Apophis, by slicing off his head with a knife in her paw; an image Mau is best known by. In time, as Bastet became more of a familial companion, she lost all trace of her lionine form, and was regularly depicted as a house cat or a woman with the head of a cat often holding a sistrum. She is sometimes rendered in art with a litter of kittens at her feet but her most popular depiction is of a sitting cat gazing ahead.

ROLE IN RELIGION & ICONOGRAPHY

Bastet appears early in the 3rd millenium BCE in her form as an avenging lioness in Lower Egypt. By the time of the Pyramid Texts (c. 2400-2300 BCE) she was associated with the king of Egypt as his nursemaid in youth and protector as he grew. In the later Coffin Texts (c. 2134-2040 BCE) she retains this role but is also seen as a protector of the dead. The scholar Richard H. Wilkinson comments on this:

In her earliest known form, as depicted on stone vessels of the 2nd dynasty, Bastet was represented as a woman with the maneless head of a lioness. The iconography of the goddess changed, however, perhaps as her nature began to be viewed as milder than that of other lioness deities (178).

Her cult center at Bubastis in Lower Egypt became one of the richest and most luxuriant cities in Egypt as people from all over the country traveled there to pay their respects to the goddess and have the bodies of their dead cats interred in the city. Her iconography borrowed from the earlier goddess Mafdet and also from Hathor, a goddess associated with Sekhmet who was also closely linked to Bastet. The appearance of the sistrum in Bastet’s hand in some statues is a clear link to Hathor who is traditionally seen carrying the instrument. Hathor is another goddess who underwent a dramatic change from bloodthirsty destroyer to gentle friend of humanity as she was originally the lioness deity Sekhmet whom Ra sent to earth to destroy humans for their sins. In Bastet’s case, although she became more mild, she was no less dangerous to those who broke the law or abused others.

THE TALE OF SETNA & TABOUBU

The Tale of Setna and Taboubu (known as “First Setne”) is a work of Egyptian literature composed in the latter part of the first millenium BCE and currently held by the Cairo Museum in Egypt. Although the story may be interpreted in many different ways, Geraldine Pinch argues that it can most clearly be understood as an illustration of how Bastet punishes transgressors.

In this story young Prince Setna steals a book from a tomb, even after the inhabitants of the tomb beg him not to. Shortly afterwards he is in Memphis, near the Temple of Ptah, when he sees a beautiful woman accompanied by her servants and lusts after her. He asks about her and learns her name is Taboubu, daughter of a priest of Bastet. He has never seen any woman more beautiful in his life and sends her a note asking her to come to his bed for ten gold pieces but she returns a counter-offer telling him to meet her at the Temple of Bastet in Saqqara where she lives and he will then have all he desires.

Setna travels to her villa where he is eager to get to the business at hand but Taboubu has some stipulations. First, she tells him, he must sign over all his property and possessions to her. He is so consumed with lust that he agrees to this and moves to embrace her. She holds him off, however, and tells him that his children must be sent for and must also sign the documents agreeing to this so that there will be no problems with the legal transference. Setna agrees to this also and sends for his children. While they are signing the papers Taboubu disappears into another room and returns wearing a linen dress so sheer that he can see “every part of her body through it” and his desire for her grows almost uncontrollable. With the documents signed he again moves toward her but, no, she has a third demand: his children must be killed so that they will not try to renege on the agreement and embroil her in a long, drawn-out court battle. Setna instantly agrees to this; his children are murdered and their bodies thrown into the street. Setna then pulls off his clothes, takes Taboubu, and leads her quickly to the bedroom. As he is embracing her she suddenly screams and vanishes – as does the room and villa around them – and Setna is standing naked in the street with his penis thrust into a clay pot.

The pharaoh comes by at this time and Prince Setna is completely humiliated. Pharaoh informs him that his children still live and that everything he has experienced has been an illusion. Setna then understands he has been punished for his transgression in the tomb and quickly returns the book. He further makes restitution to the inhabitants of the tomb by traveling to another city and retrieving mummies buried there who were part of the tomb inhabitant’s family so they can all be reunited in one place.

Although scholars disagree on who Taboubu represents, her close association with Bastet as the daughter of one of the goddesses’ priests makes this deity a very likely candidate. The predatory nature of Taboubu, once she has Setna where she wants him, is reminiscent of the cat toying with the mouse. Geraldine Pinch concludes that Taboubu is a “manifestation of Bastet herself, playing her traditional role of punisher of humans who have offended the gods” (117). In this story Bastet takes on the form of a beautiful woman to punish a wrong-doer who had violated a tomb but the story would also have been cautionary to men who viewed women only as sexual objects in that they could never know whether they were actually in the presence of a goddess and what might happen should they offend her.

WORSHIP OF BASTET

The goddess was worshipped primarily at Bubastis but held a tutelary position at Saqqara and elsewhere. Wilkinson writes:

The goddess’s popularity grew over time and in the Late Period and Graeco-Roman times she enjoyed great status. The main cult centre of this deity was the city of Bubastis – Tell Basta – in the eastern Delta, and although only the outlines of the temple of Bastet now remain, Herodotus visited the site in the 5th century BC and praised it for its magnificence. The festival of Bastet was also described by Herodotus who claimed it was the most elaborate of all the religious festivals of Egypt with large crowds participating in unrrestrained dancing, drinking, and revelry (178).

Herodotus is the primary source for information on the cult of Bastet and, unfortunately, does not go into great detail on the particulars of her worship. It seems both men and women served as her clergy and, as with the other Egyptian deities, her temple at Bubastis was the focal point of the city providing services ranging from medical attention to counseling to food distribution. Herodotus describes this temple:

Save for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of them a hundred feet wide, and overshadowed by trees. The temple is in the midst of the city, the whole circuit of which commands a view down into it; for the city’s level has been raised, but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. A stone wall, carven with figures, runs round it; within is a grove of very tall trees growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. A road, paved with stone, of about three furlongs’ length leads to the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about 400 feet wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heaven. (Histories, II.138).

The people of Egypt came annually to the great festival of Bastet at Bubastis which was one of the most lavish and popular events of the year. Geraldine Pinch, citing Herodotus, claims, “women were freed from all constraints during the annual festival at Bubastis. They celebrated the festival of the goddess by drinking, dancing, making music, and displaying their genitals” (116). This “raising of the skirts” by the women, described by Herodotus, had as much to do with freedom from social constraints as it did with the fertility associated with the goddess. As with many of the other festivals throughout Egypt, Bastet’s celebration was a time to cast aside inhibitions much in the way modern revelers do in Europe during Carnivale or in the United States at Mardi Gras. Herodotus presents a vivid picture of the people traveling to Bubastis for the festival:

When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands. As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town. But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say (Histories, Book II.60).

Although Herodotus claims that this festival outstripped all others in magnificence and excess, in reality there were many festivals celebrating many gods which could claim the same. The popularity of this goddess, however, made her celebration of particular significance. In the passage above, Herodotus makes note of how the women in the boats mocked those on shore and this would have been done to encourage them to leave off their daily tasks and join the celebration of the great goddess. Bastet, in fact, was second only to Isis in popularity and, once she traveled through Greece to Rome, was equally popular among the Romans and the subjects of their later empire.

BASTET’S ENDURING POPULARITY

The popularity of Bastet grew from her role as protector of women and the household. As noted, she was as popular among men as women in that every man had a mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or daughter who benefited from the care Bastet provided. Further, women in Egypt were held in high regard and had almost equal rights which almost guaranteed a goddess who protected women and presided over women’s secrets an especially high standing. Cats were also greatly prized in Egypt as they kept homes free of vermin (and so controlled diseases), protected the crops from unwanted animals, and provided their owners with fairly maintenance-free company. One of the most important aspects of Bastet’s festival was the delivery of mummified cats to her temple. When the temple was excavated in 1887 and 1889 CE over 300,000 mummified cats were found. Wilkinson, commenting on her universal popularity, writes:

Amulets of cats and litters of kittens were popular New Year gifts, and the name of Bastet was often inscribed on small ceremonial `New Year flasks’, probably to evoke the goddess as a bestower of fertility and because Bastet, like other lioness goddesses, was viewed as a protective deity able to counter the darker forces associated with the `Demon Days’ at the end of the Egyptian year (178).

Bastet was so popular that, in 525 BCE, when Cambyses II of Persia invaded Egypt, he made use of the goddess to force the Egyptian’s surrender. Knowing of their great love for animals, and cats especially, he had his soldiers paint the image of Bastet on their shields and then arranged all the animals that could be found and drove them before the army toward the pivotal city of Pelusium. The Egyptians refused to fight for fear of harming the animals and offending Bastet and so surrendered. The historian Polyaenus (2nd century CE) writes how, after his victory, Cambyses II hurled cats from a bag into the Egyptian’s faces in scorn that they would surrender their city for animals. The Egyptians were undeterred in their veneration of the cat and their worship of Bastet, however.  Her status as one of the most popular and potent deities continued throughout the remainder of Egypt’s history and on into the era of the Roman Empire until, like the other gods, she was eclipsed by the rise of Christianity.

http://www.ancient.eu/image/5342/

Cats In The Ancient World

by 

published on 17 November 2012

Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Archaeological excavations in the past ten years have provided evidence that the Near Eastern Wildcat is the closest relative of the modern-day domestic cat and was bred by Mesopotamian farmers, most probably as a means of controlling pests, such as mice, which were attracted by grain supplies. The writer David Derbyshire cites a 2007 CE research project in which, “the study used DNA samples from 979 wild and domestic cats to piece together the feline family tree. They looked for markers in mitochondrial DNA – a type of genetic material passed down from mothers to kittens which can reveal when wild and domestic cat lineages were most closely related.” This project was headed by Dr. Andrew Kitchener, a Zoologist at the National Museums of Scotland, who writes, “This shows that the origin of domestic cats was not Ancient Egypt – which is the prevailing view – but Mesopotamia and that it occurred much earlier than was thought. The last common ancestor of wildcats and domesticated cats lived more than 100,000 years ago” (Derbyshire). Dr. Kitchener’s findings built upon the evidence of cat’s domestication provided by the discovery in 1983 CE of a cat skeleton in a grave dating to 9,500 BCE on the island of Cyprus. This find, made by the archaeologist Alain le Brun, was important because Cyprus had no indigenous cat population and it is unlikely that settlers would have brought a wild cat, by boat, to the island.

The cat’s association with ancient Egypt, however, is understandable in that Egyptian culture was famous for its devotion to the cat. The export of cats from Egypt was so strictly prohibited that a branch of the government was formed solely to deal with this issue. Government agents were dispatched to other lands to find and return cats which had been smuggled out. It is clearly established that, by 450 BCE, the penalty in Egypt for killing a cat was death (though this law is thought to have been observed much earlier). The goddess Bastet, commonly depicted as a cat or as a woman with a cat’s head, was among the most popular deities of the Egyptian pantheon. She was the keeper of hearth and home, protector of women’s secrets, guardian against evil spirits and disease, and the goddess of cats. Her ritual centre was the city of Bubastis (“House of Bastet”) in which, according to Herodotus (484-425 BCE), an enormous temple complex was built in her honour in the centre of the city. Herodotus also relates that the Egyptians cared so much for their cats that they placed their safety above human life and property. When a house caught fire, the Egyptians would concern themselves more with rescuing the cats than with anything else, often running back into the burning building or forming a perimeter around the flames to keep cats at a safe distance. When a cat died, Herodotus writes, “All the inhabitants of a house shave their eyebrows [as a sign of deep mourning]. Cats which have died are taken to Bubastis where they are embalmed and buried in sacred receptacles” (Nardo 117). The period of mourning was considered completed when the people’s eyebrows had grown back. Mummified cats have been found at Bubastis and elsewhere throughout Egypt, sometimes buried with, or near to, their owners as evidenced by identifying seals on the mummies.

The greatest example of Egyptian devotion to the cat, however, comes from the Battle of Pelusium (525 BCE) in which Cambyses II of Persia defeated the forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh Psametik III to conquer Egypt. Knowing of the Egyptian’s love for cats, Cambyses had his men round up various animals, cats chiefly among them, and drive the animals before the invading forces toward the fortified city of Pelusium on the Nile. The Persian soldiers painted images of cats on their shields, and may have held cats in their arms, as they marched behind the wall of animals. The Egyptians, reluctant to defend themselves for fear of harming the cats (and perhaps incurring the death penalty should they kill one), and demoralized at seeing the image of Bastet on the enemy’s shields, surrendered the city and let Egypt fall to the Persians. The historian Polyaenus (2nd century CE) writes that, after the surrender, Cambyses rode in triumph through the city and hurled cats into the faces of the defeated Egyptians in scorn.

The Egyptians are also responsible for the very name `cat’ in that it derives from the North African word for the animal, “quattah”, and, as the cat was so closely associated with Egypt, almost every other European nation employs variations on this word: French, chat; Swedish, katt; German, katze; Italian, gatto; Spanish, gato and so forth (Morris, 175). The colloquial word for a cat – `puss’ or `pussy’ – is also associated with Egypt in that it derives from the word `Pasht’, another name for Bastet.

Cats are mentioned in the two great literary epics of ancient IndiaThe Mahabharata and The Ramayana (both c. 5th/4th century BCE).  In Mahabharata a famous passage concerns the cat Lomasa and the mouse Palita, who help each other escape from death and discuss at length the nature of relationships, particularly those in which one of the parties is stronger or more powerful than the other. In the Ramayana, the god Indra disguises himself as a cat after seducing the beautiful maid Ahalya as a means to escape from her husband. As was the case everywhere else, cats in India were found to be particularly useful in controlling the populations of less desirable creatures like mice, rats, and snakes and so were honoured in the homes, farms, and palaces throughout the land. That the cat was seen as more than just a method of pest control is substantiated by the reverence accorded to felines in the literature of India. The famous story of Puss in Boots (best known through the French version by Charles Perrault, 1628-1703 CE) is taken from a much older Indian folk tale in the Panchatantra from the 5th century BCE (though the character of the cat’s master has a very different personality in the older tale than the one in Perrault’s story). The esteem in which cats were held is also evident in the Indian cat goddess, Sastht, who served much the same role as Bastet and was as greatly revered.

A Persian tale claims the cat was created magically. The great Persian hero Rustum, out on campaign, one night saved a magician from a band of thieves. Rustum offered the older man the hospitality of his tent and, as they sat outside under the stars, enjoying the warmth of a fire, the magician asked Rustum what he wished for as a gift in repayment for saving the man’s life. Rustum told him that there was nothing he desired since everything he could want, he already had before him in the warmth and comfort of the fire, the scent of the smoke and the beauty of the stars overhead. The magician then took a handful of smoke, added flame, and brought down two of the brightest stars, kneading them together in his hands and blowing on them. When he opened his hands toward Rustum, the warrior saw a small, smoke-grey kitten with eyes bright as the stars and a tiny tongue which darted like the tip of flame. In this way, the first Persian cat came to be created as a token of gratitude to Rustum. The prophet Muhammed was also very fond of cats. According to legend, the `M’ design on the forehead of the tabby cat was made when the prophet blessed his favourite cat by placing his hand on its head. This cat, Meuzza, also features in another famous story in which Muhammed, called to prayer, found the cat asleep on his arm. Rather than disturb the cat, Muhammed cut the sleeve from his robe and left Meuzza to sleep. The status of the cat, therefore, was further enhanced by its association with a figure of divinity.

This was also true in China where the goddess Li Shou was depicted in cat form and petitions and sacrifices made to her for pest control and fertility. She too, was a very popular goddess who was thought to embody the importance of cats in the early days of creation. An ancient Chinese myth relates that, in the beginning of the world, the gods appointed cats to oversee the running of their new creation and, in order for communication to be clear, granted cats the power of speech. Cats, however, were more interested in sleeping beneath the cherry trees and playing with the falling blossoms than with the mundane task of having to pay attention to the operation of the world. Three times the gods came to check on how well the cats were doing their job and all three times were disappointed to find their feline overseers asleep or at play. On the god’s third visit, the cats explained they had no interest in running the world and nominated human beings for the position. The power of speech was then taken from the cats and given to humans but, as humans seemed incapable of understanding the words of the gods, cats remained entrusted with the important task of keeping time and so maintaining order. It was thought that one could tell the time of day by looking into a cat’s eyes and this belief is still maintained in China.

In Japan, the famous image of the `Beckoning Cat’ (the maneki neko figure of the cat with one raised paw) represents the goddess of mercy. The legend goes that a cat, sitting outside of the temple of Gotoku-ji, raised her paw in acknowledgement of the emperor who was passing by. Attracted by the cat’s gesture, the emperor entered the temple and, moments later, lightning struck the very spot where he had been standing. The cat, therefore, saved his life and was accorded great honours. The Beckoning Cat image is thought to bring good luck when given as a gift and remains a very popular present in Japan. The cat was regularly considered a guardian of the home and was thought to be the special protector of valuable books. Cats were often housed in private pagodas in Japan and were considered so valuable that, by the 10th century CE, only the nobility could afford to own one.

Although cats were kept by people in Greece and Rome, the appreciation for the animal as a hunter was not as great in those cultures owing to the Greek and Roman practice of keeping domesticated weasels for pest control. The Romans regarded the cat as a symbol of independence and not as a creature of utility. Cats were kept as pets by both Greeks and Romans and were regarded highly. A first century CE epitaph of a young girl holding a cat is among the earliest pieces of evidence of cats in Rome and, in Greece, the playwright Aristophanes frequently featured cats in his works for comic effect (coining the phrase, “The cat did it” in assigning blame). Among ancient civilizations, however, the cat was probably least popular among the Greeks owing to its association with the goddess of death, darkness and witches, Hecate. A much later development in Greek appreciation for the cat is evidenced in the legend that the cat protected the baby Jesus from rodents and snakes and so is accorded the best of spots in a Greek home but, originally, they do not seem to have been regarded highly.

Cats are thought to have been brought to Europe by Phoenician traders who smuggled them out of Egypt. As the Phoenicians are acknowledged to have extensively traded with every known civilization of the time, cats could have been spread around the region on a fairly regular basis. It is well documented that cats were kept on ships to control vermin during the time of the 15th century CE Age of Discovery and, most likely, they served the same purpose for the Phoenicians. If the Phoenicians did bring the cat to Europe, as seems very likely, they may have also introduced the Greek association of the cat with Hecate. The Greek myth which suggests this link concerns Galinthius, a maid-servant to the Princess Alcmene. The god Zeus seduced Alcmene and she became pregnant with Hercules. Zeus’ wife, Hera, was thwarted in her attempt to kill Alcmene and Hercules through the cleverness of Galinthius. Enraged, Hera transformed Galinthius into a cat and sent her to the underworld to ever after serve Hecate. This myth, then, associated cats with darkness, transformation, the underworld, and witchcraft and, in time, these associations would prove very unfortunate for the cat.

Although cats seem to have enjoyed their ancient high standing in European countries at first (in Norse mythology, for example, the great goddess Freya is depicted in a chariot drawn by cats and in both Ireland and Scotland cats are depicted as magical in a positive sense) the Christian Church, following their regular course of demonizing important pagan symbols, drew on the pre-existing link between the cat and witchcraft to associate cats with evil as personified in the Devil. By the Middle Ages, cats were demonized to the point where they were regularly killed across Europe. It has long been argued that the death of so many cats allowed the mice and rat populations to thrive and that the fleas these vermin carried brought about the Bubonic Plague of 1348 CE. While this theory has been disputed, there seems no doubt that a decrease in the cat population would result in an increase in the number of mice and rats and it is established that there was such a decrease in the number of cats prior to 1348 CE. Desmond Morris writes, “Because the cat was seen as evil, all kinds of frightening powers were attributed to it by the writers of the day. Its teeth were said to be venomous, its flesh poisonous, its hair lethal (causing suffocation if a few were accidentally swallowed), and its breath infectious, destroying human lungs and causing consumption” and further states, “As late as 1658 Edward Topsel, in his serious work on natural history, [wrote] `the familiars of Witches do most ordinarily appear in the shape of Cats, which is an argument that this beast is dangerous to soul and body” (158). The inhabitants of the European nations, believing the cat to be evil, shunned not only the animal but anyone who seemed overly fond of the cat. Elderly women who cared for cats were especially susceptible to punishment for witchcraft simply on the grounds of being so accused.

Cats survived these frenzied superstitions better than many of their human companions and, during the Victorian Age (1819-1901 CE) were again elevated to their previous high standing. Queen Victoria of Great Britain (ruled 1837-1901 CE) became interested in cats through the many stories of archaeological finds in Egypt being published regularly in England. Many of these stories included descriptions of the Egyptian reverence for cats, images of statues of Bastet, and the feline association with the gods and monarchy. The queen’s interest in the cat led her to adopt two Blue Persians whom she treated as members of her court. This story was carried by the newspapers of the day and, as Queen Victoria was a very popular monarch, more and more people became interested in having cats of their own. This trend spread to the United States and was encouraged by the most popular magazine in America at that time, Godey’s Lady’s Book. Published by Louis A. Godey of Philadelphia from 1830 -1878, this monthly periodical featured stories, articles, poems, and engravings and is perhaps best known for helping to institutionalize the practice of the family Christmas tree in America. In an 1860 article, Godey’s stated that cats were not solely for older women or monarchs and that anyone should feel comfortable in embracing the “love and virtue” of the cat. Cat popularity in the United States grew appreciably after Godey’s article. Cats first came to North America, it is thought, in 1749 CE, from England, to help control the mice and rat population but they seem to have been largely considered utilitarian until the Victorian Age.

Many writers of the age owned and admired cats. Charles Dickens was so devoted to his cats that he allowed them into his study and regularly allowed his favorite (known as The Master’s Cat) to snuff out the candle on Dickens’ writing desk even when the author was at work. Evidently, the cat would grow tired of Dickens’ attention being directed toward the page instead of to feline companionship and petting (Morris, 167). Mark Twain, William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Thomas Hardy were all great admirers of the cat and Lewis Carroll, of course, created one of the most enduring images of the feline through the Cheshire Cat in his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The first major Cat Show was held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871CE and appreciation of the cat was elevated to such a level that, for the first time, cats were given “specific standards and classes” which are still used to categorize felines in the present day (Morris, 148). Cat shows became increasingly popular after this event and interest in breeding and showing cats spread throughout Europe and North America. The first cat show in America (in 1895 CE) was so popular that it was held at the large venue of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. From agents of pest control to divine or semi-divine creatures, to incarnations of evil, and, finally, to house pets, cats have been the close associates of human beings for centuries. They continue to be valued companions for people across the world today and, in this, these individuals carry on the legacy of the ancients in their devotion to, and appreciation for, the cat.

http://www.ancient.eu/article/466/

How is This Allowed? Man Escapes Jail Time After Being Charged With Animal Cruelty THREE Times

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Earlier this week, a man stood before a Michigan court awaiting the charges for a case of animal cruelty. Kelvin Thomas of Oshtemo Township, Michigan went to court because police caught him training fighting dogs in his home. But when the time came for the judge to deliver his sentence, he learned that he would be let off with five years probation, an $8,000 fine. He would not be allowed to own any animals for five years — a mere slap on the wrist, considering that this was Thomas’s third time facing charges for animal cruelty. When all 50 states have animal cruelty laws that include felony provisions and the FBI requires all cases of animal abuse to be reported through a national database, how did this happen?

Sadly, just because animal cruelty laws have felony provisions does not mean that an offender will go to jail. In Thomas’s case, the prosecuting attorney convinced him to plead “no contest,” meaning he would concede to the charge of animal cruelty without admitting guilt, thus avoiding jail time.

This is all in spite of the fact that Thomas has gone to court a total of three times for charges of animal cruelty! Nearly a year ago, Thomas had ten dogs removed from his home after being accused of training fighting dogs. In 2013, he faced similar charges resulting in 30 dogs being removed from his home and he also faced similar charges in 1993. According to WWMT, Judge Gary Giguere, who oversaw the case, told Thomas in court “If you and the prosecutor had not made this agreement binding on the court, you’d be going to jail for a long time right now.”

The fact that Thomas was able to avoid jail time, in spite of multiple instances of having dogs taken away from him, is an absolute miscarriage of justice. He may have to pay a hefty fine and live the next five years under the scrutiny of law enforcement, but has a lesson been learned? Thomas’s repeat offender history is a clear indication that no criminal charge will likely ever deter him from forcing innocent dogs to fight for profit. If animal cruelty has felony provisions, then where is the justice for the dogs he has abused over the years and most likely, five years from now when he’s allowed to own animals?

Please keep in mind that if you ever suspect animal cruelty, law enforcement recommends that you do not take matters into your own hands. To learn more about what you can do if you suspect an animal of being abused, read the following articles:

 

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/man-escapes-jail-time-after-being-charged-with-animal-cruelty-three-times/

USES FOR CAT WHISKERS IN SPELLS

-getting out of tight situations

-guidance

-spell bags for balance

-spell bags for travel

-put them in your car to escape accidents “by a whisker”

-spells relating to eye health

**please don’t cut/forcibly remove the whiskers from your furry friend. Just keep a lookout for them in kitty’s sleeping space or on your floor, they fall out quite often**

Does anyone know any for dog whiskers? my dog sheds them all the time.

They’re used to pick up vibrations and sensory stimuli. So like, if it’s dark out and they touch a wall, the dog knows there is a wall there and doesn’t run into it.

So yeah basically dog whiskers can be used for protection, for awareness, grounding spells probably, detection magick, scrying…

*Source

Pet Aromatherapy And Essential Oils: What You Need To Know

Essential oils and aromatherapy are useful aspects of integrative veterinary medicine and as more people become aware of ways we can use our patients’ noses to assist their health, it becomes useful to learn a bit about the subject. And since animals and people are different, it is important to know how to properly use oils in pets so that we do not unwittingly harm them in the process. You should also always speak to a veterinarian before using any essential oils on your pet.

Essential Oils: A Brief History

Evidence suggests that the ancient Egyptians were the first to use essential oils. They developed distillation techniques and pioneered the discovery of medical and other uses of essential oils. At about the same time, the Indians and Chinese were also developing the use of plant materials in healing. Knowledge of oil use was passed on to the Greeks, as the famous doctor Hippocrates pioneered holistic therapies. The Romans continued this process. After the Roman empire fell, a Persian physician named Avicenna (approximately 1,000 A.D.) is credited with perfecting the distillation process.

During the Dark Ages of Europe, bathing was frowned upon and people used essential oils and herbals on the skin to cover bad odors as well as for their antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Church monks became educated herbalists and oil users during this time period, and monasteries became repositories of healing literature. During the Renaissance, the famous physician Paracelcus revived holistic therapies and used natural means as a cure for leprosy.

Modern oil usage dates to a French chemist and perfumer named Rene Maurice Gattefosse who is known for his accidental discovery of lavender oil’s ability to assist in the healing of burns. During the the second World War, another pioneer named Jean Valet used oils in the treatment of wounded soldiers. As research ensued, many properties of essential oils and plants were categorized and isolated. This process continues today with the pharmaceutical research of essential oils, which makes up a large part of botanical research globally. Recently, at the University of South Dakota, a student received her doctoral degree for pioneering work in ethnobotany, which examined veterinary essential oil use. American veterinary practitioners, such as Dr. Nancy Brandt and Dr. Melissa Shelton, are working to better codify oil use in animals.

Oils have been shown to have many possible desirable effects such as reducing anxiety and inflammation, fighting oxidative processes, battling toxins and fighting infections by inhibiting bacteria, fungi and viruses. Oil odors can also be used to affect mental states and memory. Modern doctors are looking for agents that will assist in management of resistant infections and cancer, and these natural products may well hold the key to several major advancements.

Essential oils contain a host of biologically active and powerful compounds. Used correctly, they are an indispensible part of integrative medical care. However, they can cause undesirable and even dangerous side effects, and people using oils medically should seek specialized training.

Oil Essentials

Plants manufacture oils for many reasons. Plants cannot move and escape predators and infectious threats, so they produce compounds that neutralize or repel pests and pathogens.

Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues. As with all compounds, some chemicals have a biological affinity for specific tissues, and doctors — or those knowledgeable about oil use — can use this property to select oils that will target specific tissues.

The compounds present in essential oils are powerful. Very small amounts of these substances can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. For example, lavender oil has powerful effects on the brain and creates a calming sensation. Small amounts of lavender oil can be used when traveling to calm pets or make them feel sleepy.

Some Safe Oils To Consider

Veterinarians are skilled in the diagnosis of disease in animals and should always be consulted — especially in situations where symptoms are severe or persist. Always tell your veterinarian what natural products your pet is using and involve him or her in these decisions. The following oils can be used in first aid and are safe for short-term use:

  • Lavender: Universal oil, can use pure or diluted. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, car ride anxiety and car sickness, to name a few.
  • Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn and nausea.
  • Fennel: assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue. Balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.
  • Helichrysum: Anti-bacterial, reduces bleeding in accidents, skin regenerator, helps repair nerves. Also useful in cardiac disease.
  • Frankincense: Has helped some cases of cancer. Works on the immune system. Has reduced tumors and external ulcers. Increases blood supply to the brain (although it can worsen hypertension so use caution).
  • Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. When diluted and used short term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats.

Cautions

While oils are useful in healing and affecting mentation, they are powerful and can cause a wide variety of adverse effects. Principles of safe use are recommended. The largest problem with essential oils is that they may contain contaminates or adulterants that make more serious issues arise. For this reason, one should only use therapeutic grade oils from reputable companies and verify the quality of oils before using them.

Animals have sensitive senses of smell, so in most cases it is best to use oils that are diluted and always provide an escape route. If a pet does not like an oil do not enforce its use. Cats are particularly at risk for oil reactions and in most cases we use oils very sparingly on cats. One drop of essential oil diluted in 50 drops of a pure dilutional oil such as grape seed oil is usually sufficient.

Since animals metabolize and react differently to essential oils, it is important to know about species-specific differences before using oils. One problem we see in our clinic involves people overusing oils. A person discovers essential oils and begins to diffuse the oils into their homes leading to an unintentional overdose for their pets. Lavender oil is highly useful, but it contains no antioxidant compounds and can therefore oxidize as it is stored. These oxidized alcohols can aggravate patients and lead to the development of allergic responses.

Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species. Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch, which are oils that should be avoided in cats. Cats should not receive melaleuca oil, and never put essential oils into the ear canal as they can damage cats’ delicate ear drums and nerves. Care is needed around eyes as well. Always wash your hands after handling oils to prevent accidentally getting them into your eyes.

To reduce the chances of sensitivity and organ toxicity, we generally use an oil for no more than two weeks and then provide a rest period. Under certain circumstances — like in the treatment of cancer — we will use oils for longer periods, but this is something best left to those trained in the use of oils.

Used properly essential oils can benefit people and our animal friends. Do you use essential oils in your family or with your pets or other animals? Tell me about that below. What company makes the oils you prefer? How did you learn about using oils?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-palmquist-dvm/pet-aromatherapy_b_877199.html

Familiar Binding Spell

A spell meant to strengthen the bond between a person and their familiar. 

Items required:

  • Safely harvested fur, whiskers, or toenail clippings from your familiar 
  • Your own hair or fingernail clippings
  • A crystal (or crystal chips) of your choice – personally, I would use Snowflake Obsidian because it reminds me of the markings on my bunny
  • Dried basil
  • Sea salt
  • A tiny jar or vial 
  • Brown thread or string 
  1. Add the taglocks for yourself and your familiar to the jar – if you can manage to actually tie the two together with string beforehand then that’s another viable option 
  2. Next, add the crystal you chose and a pinch of basil (love and protection) and sea salt (charging) as you focus on your intent 
  3. Seal the jar, wrap the brown string/thread around the neck of the jar, and tie it off
  4. Can be worn, carried on your person, or displayed somewhere you can always see it

(via lilacmistress)

Don’t Forget Pets At Samhain/Halloween

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First, practical advice. Secular Halloween can be a dangerous time for your pets if they spend time outside, especially black cats. Nefarious people have been known to kidnap, torture, or kill animals they come across outside during this time. It’s not common in my opinion but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep your pets indoors for Samhain/Halloween and this will also prevent trick-or-treaters from getting frightened by bigger dogs and such.

Now for the spiritual advice. Traditional Samhain observance is focused on remembering the dead, honoring their lives, and communing with their spirits while the veil is thin. We mustn’t forget the pets we’ve lost either. They’re often loving and present for many of us when humans are not.

A good way to remember your pets is to include them on your Samhain altars. I have a friend who kept dog collars from a weiner dog she lost to old age. With tributes and candles on your Samhain altar for your ancestors, you can do the same for your pets. A candle in the center of a collar would be nice, or a candle beside a photograph.

Another good way to include your pets is in the feast tradition. It’s tradition to set a place at the feast table for deceased loved ones, ancestors, etc. At the same time, you can set a place for your deceased pets with a food bowl where they would have eaten. As you tell stories about your deceased loved ones at the feast, tell stories about your deceased pets too.

Keep the memories of your pets alive.