Black Cat Power, Part 1: Origins & Witches

**UPDATE 10/12/2014: This is my most popular and most visited article! In light of this, I fully intend to write more on this subject. Black cats are definitely very awesome. The much promised part two is already written, but last year after the passing of my beloved Mr. Snuggles (photographed below) I lost the cheer to write with my usual passion.  Soon I will write with celebration!**
What is up with black cats and Witches, eh? Why do we go so well together? Are we good luck? Or are we all bad luck?  What special powers, if any, do we share together?  These questions and more I’ve been asked, but one question I’ve been asked the most, one my mother was the first to ask me is, “Do you have a black cat because you’re a Witch?”   My answer comes with an embarrassed laugh; “No” and I didn’t quite know how to explain why.  Yet I understood why it was a common question,  considering that every Halloween the most recognizable cliché symbolic image is one that pairs witches dressed in black next to their faithful black cats. But how did that cliché get started in the first place? I don’t think it’s just coincidence or a pop culture creation derived only from Old English literature.  

I almost forgot it was Friday the 13th this last weekend until Mr. Snuggles and I, out for our usual walk to check the mail, were stopped by two of our neighbors.  The ladies excitedly remarked how awesome it was for me to walk around with a black cat on Friday the 13th, pointing out that I was responsible for allowing my black cat to cross their path. “Well, then,” I snarkingly replied, “better be sure to give ’em a cuddle for good luck. Mr. Snuggles is a ladies’ cat!” I then added that black cats bring speedy marriages to single ladies.  “REALLY?!”  They giggled with joy, not about to believe me, but, hey, it’s a nice good luck charm, in’it?  So they, never having heard about that legend before, and me always looking for an opportunity to tell a tall tale, indulged in the magic.  Mr. Snuggles enjoyed the women’s attention like any mister on the prowl would.  When I brought him home, his fur was thick with ladies’ perfume. That’s my little lover!

I’ve discovered that, stereotype or not, the black cat is not really associated with bad luck as has been believed.  What can be believed is black cats inspire mystery and power, and their long association with Witches both historical and mythical is no coincidence.  Black cats are the tiny ‘house panthers’ we invite into our homes, providing reminders of the great unknown — little shadows of the jungle beyond — and those eyes, those sharp claws, like sickle moons to poke the skin!  I don’t know about you, but my black cat, no matter how cute he is, is still wild and fierce, the hunter that never goes to sleep.  And I, his Witch, is a Daughter of Diana/Selena/Hecate, Isis/Bast/Hathor, and a host of many goddesses of the Moon, all of whom regard the cat as sacred representative of the Divine.  Together, cat and Witch, no matter the color of our skin and fur, go very well together.  But why specifically is the black cat most identified with the Witch?

How Black Cats & Witches Became a Perfect Pair

Black Cats

  • Ancient gods took the forms of, and were occasionally personified by black cats, specifically the Egyptian Goddesses Bast and Isis.  The Greco-Roman Goddess Diana Triformis and Tergemina — Selena/Luna (full moon, mother), Artemis/Diana (waxing moon, virgin), Hecate (dark moon, crone) — especially Diana often appeared in the form of a black cat.  Black cats, being the representatives of the goddess, get spoiled by the priestesses.
  • Associated with goddess Diana and many goddesses associated with the Moon, including a few gods who ruled the Sun, all cats became symbolic of fertility and women.  The Daughters of Diana, her priestesses, dressed in black robes, some made from the skins/fur of black cats for their powerful association with the goddess.
  • Black cats symbolic of magic and darkness after the goddess Diana, who later would be known as Queen of the Witches, when her cult went underground and eventually faded from history.
  • Before the Dianic cult is dead in the north, Rome became Christian and soon anything having to do with the pagan gods must be done away with.  The Black Cat, symbol and companion, often personification of the goddesses of fertility and magic, soon gained a bad reputation.  No longer a symbol of life, the black cat became harbinger of bad luck and death.
  • Domesticated and no longer revered as gods in fur coats, cats had a job: to get rid of vermin.  This gave them the power to protect the homes of humans from parasites and disease-carrying rats.  They also had another job: provide companionship to the lonely, becoming the favorites of the widows and elderly.  Women especially loved their cats, so cats became known as “house cats” just as wives are “housewives.”
  • Black cats were accused of being Witches because; they had black fur,  they had strange sexual lives, they howled, they were scary, their growl was otherworldly, women kept them as pets, women talked to them.
  • Black cats are thought to be Witches in animal form and are hunted down and destroyed by the thousands.
  • Black cats are thought to be the personification of the Devil.
  • Black cats hunted by gypsies and sorcerers for their magical properties.  It was believed that they had psychic power and were the preferred form that demons and other spirits liked to possess when called upon to complete a task for a magician.

Witches

  • People revered the Sun and Moon and considered them gods.  Later the followers of lunar and solar divinities associated specific animals with them.  The cat, particularly the black cat, represented the Moon.  People domesticated cats not just because they were good at keeping vermin away, but they made great companions.  Roman goddess Diana transformed into a black cat several times, becoming her priestesses’ favorite temple consort.
  •  The ancient Dianic Cult (possibly ones like it) spreads throughout the known world, going as far north as the British Isles.  Goddesses from other cultures could be easily identified with the Virgin Diana.  Her priestesses wear robes of black, black representing the color of the earth, womb, and the night sky.  Black cats were revered for this holy association.
  • Diana’s religion went against patriarchal rule because its chief leaders were women.  The Daughters of Diana go underground and worship in secret.
  • Celtic version of Hecate (Diana’s crone form) known as Nicneven was worshiped when a multi-cultural intermixing of Celt, Goth, and Roman faiths were accepted.  The Diana/Hecate cult survived “with considerable vigour” in Scotland until the 18th century, but was fading before the Medieval persecutions.  Hecate/Nicneven could transform into creatures — a black cat come to visit could be the dark goddess come as a warning of death to come.
  • After ancient pagan mystery cults fade into obscurity, and/or their followers wiped out by invading cultures, some evidence suggests that their healing and magical ways were passed down between women.  The cures and spells were called Witchcraft by the Saxons who had a distaste for it, considering it treason and a sin.  It wasn’t punishable by death until the 13th century.
  • Women were accused of being Witches because; they had sex, they gave birth, they lived longer than men, they seemed to love animals — especially their cats — more than they did their husbands.
  • Women are accused of being Witches mostly because they are women.  They are said to take the forms of black cats nine times in their lifetime.
  • Witches are thought to commune with the Devil who takes the form of a black cat.
  • It was believed that every Witch was supposed to have a black cat present with them at all times.  A spirit assumed the body of the black cat to perform the Witches’ tasks of maleficia against their neighbors.

The Witch & Black Cat Share the Same Fate

Both the Witch and the black cat have their origins in ancient religions where they were revered, later to be much maligned in folklore and superstition. They became symbols of evil after people let themselves be ruled by fear of the Devil. Women were most accused of Witchcraft, and black cats were usually accused to be their accomplices by the Church, an institution that adopted ritual and creed from solar and lunar theogonies where the fertility symbols of woman and cat were regarded as sacred (even though women were not often considered citizens in patriarchal cultures that worshiped multiple gods). The Church was zealous in its war against the traditions and customs left remaining that it could not assimilate into its theosophy. Any practices not officially sanctioned by the Church were so illegal, not only were they a sin, they were punishable by death like a treason against God. In the Medieval period, suspected witches and their black cats (including any other animals associated with them that had black fur) had to be tortured and destroyed because they were the last remaining icons of a dreaded past that could not completely be vanquished. Perhaps it was feared, more than the Devil, that a revival of the pagan faiths would lead people to discover links between the Virgin Mary and the Virgin Diana, and worse yet, realize that Christianity was the same in essentials as the religions of antiquity?!

If the Witch and her Black Cat shared the same fate at the stake, what future do they share today? Well, modern Witches love their animals, no matter what the color of their fur. Even though we are far removed from the persecution of the violent past, we now live in an age where the image of the Halloween witch and black cat are cartoons — cute or grotesque, few people are aware of the history behind the symbolism and just accept it as harmless fanfare. Are we honoring the women and cats who were sacrificed by dressing up in a mockery of them? Are we not perpetuating the centuries of degradation by continuing the custom of parading their homogenized image everywhere on Halloween? Or am I taking this all too seriously? I just don’t want to consider it a joke.

The Black Cat and Modern Witch Relationship: Are We True Familiars?

Go ahead and roll your eyes at me, but I am a modern-day Witch living with a black cat. We are familiars in the sense that we are like two peas occupying the same pod. We may be a walking stereotype together, but I didn’t plan it that way. Mr. Snuggles found me late one Midsummer’s Eve 2008 (I’m telling the truth) while I was on a walk around the block. I was very depressed that night, wishing for true love, and he came leaping out of the darkness with high-pitched cries of distress. No sooner did I turn to him, did he jump up on my leg and climb up into my arms with a heart racing so fierce, I thought he would burst. Needless to say, my rescuing him was also his rescuing of me! He had fallen out of a window and was lost, desperate to find home. I was feeling empty and lonely, desperate to find someone to love. Later I would save his life when he nearly died from an infection, and he would save mine when I nearly fell into a diabetic coma.

An animal familiar is not a spirit familiar.  Even though there is a history of diabolical spirits conjured into the bodies of black cats, and into other animals, used by sorcerers to do their bidding, such an idea is not only frowned upon, it’s just not done today by Wiccans and other magicians.  The modern Witch loves and takes great care of her animals.  Animals are considered our equals on earth and even the ones we eat we believe should be treated well before we take them into our bodies.  Each animal has within them power and abilities we do not possess, so when we do eat them, and wear their skins as covering, we engage their spirit, and their special qualities pass into us temporarily as a gift from the sacrificed animal.  But don’t get the wrong idea about that, we do not sacrifice animals, we do, however, believe that some animals sacrifice themselves so we can survive. Animals have souls like we do and they can reincarnate just as well.  We need to honor them as we honor all life.

A belief passed down to me from my Menominee father is that our ancestors can come back to us in the form of animals.  The short life span of animals explains why they can only be with us for only a little while.  The animal/ancestor temporarily lives with us to look after us and give us the comfort we needed that they could not give us because either they were dead before they got to know us, or because they didn’t give it to us while they were alive.  The Great Spirit allows this to happen in order for their souls to make amends, and for us to find peace when we feel most alone and sad.

The 21st century animal familiar is not a spirit at all but an animal who forms a psychic bond with a human being.  The animal chooses whether or not they want to have this very close relationship with us.  Not all animals are so interested because they are average creatures who are more into doing the things their species like to do.  An animal familiar shows more than average intelligence and feels more at home with human beings than with other animals.  They are rare individuals with unique abilities that set them apart, or even above, members of their own species.

The modern Witch cannot will or “call” an animal familiar, it comes of its own will and appears unexpectedly in one’s life.  It may even disappear out of our lives unexpectedly as well.  Furthermore, the animal may seem to reappear or be reincarnate in our lives again in the form of another animal that closely resembles it years later.  The last four cats in my life have all been black cats that all look the same.  Friends think this is particularly weird!  But I do not visit the local shelter to pick a cat, nor do I adopt one based on the color of their fur, and I don’t deliberately choose one that looks exactly like the cat I had before.  I let the cat decide if they like me or not before I bring it home.  My cats are not slaves to me.  I don’t keep them like pets, I pretty much treat them like “people” in fur bodies.

Familiars are not pets.  I don’t believe animals should be pets either.  But I’m not above it all to rule out all the mundane reasons why my cat found me when he did and why we bonded so well.  But (go ahead and roll your eyes again, laugh, too) I’ll take one step further and tell you that the relationship I share with my black cat is a true love as real and special as a romantic one.  I consider Mr. Snuggles like my child, but he’s also my companion, my little lover who is constantly at my side.  I wasn’t sure he would be a magical assistant until he decided to participate in ritual.  He does not always want to get involved, but when he does, it amazes me.  When he began to do this, I improvised rituals to include him and it enhanced the experience and my awareness.  Psychically we have lent each other our consciousness.

It may sound crazy, but I’m not out to change anyone’s mind, or impress upon anyone that what I have with Mr. Snuggles is real or not.  We are simply a Witch and a Black Cat in love, and our relationship works whether or not you choose to believe in it.  No matter!  I listen to Mr. Snuggles and watch his responses.  His senses are sharper than mine and he tells me things with his body language and infinite tones of “meow” about what is going on around us.  Sometimes I feel very clumsy compared to him.  He’s smarter than me, I swear.  I could keep you up all night talking about him.

So, What’s Up with Black Cats & Witches?!

A few last-minute quick facts as to why this image is so common:

  • More black cats survive in a litter more than do cats of any other fur color. This may be due to a stronger immune system, or the color may help them hide from predators.
  • Black tomcats are more successful hunters because they blend better in the shadows. There may even be more black toms because there are more black cat survivors in a litter.  Maybe they’re the toughest, too.
  • The fear that black cats will be abused keeps them from getting adopted, especially around Halloween. But statistics show that it’s not only black cats, it is ALL cats in general who get abused EVERYDAY for no reason. Adopt a black cat because they are more common than you think and end their shelter time because they will be there longer than the rest of the strays.
  • The Black cat is a symbol of anarchism used by Industrial Workers of the World to warn employers that they better back off from messing with their employees.
  • Black cats were they symbol for not just revolutionaries, but Bohemians in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century. Witches, too, have notoriously hung out with the counterculture crowd, so it’s no wonder having a black cat around further pushes the point that all things related to the black cat are cool, daddy-O!
  • Long after the devilish stigma, Hollywood turned the image of the Witch and Black Cat into both a horror and cartoon icon, further implanting, along with literature, the idea that all witches have black cats. From this idea spread many stories about all kinds of fantasy witches and their faithful black cats, so popular that even today’s Wiccans think they’re cool.
  • A pop culture over-saturation of gothic and swords-and-sorcery fantasy sexy witches with their black cat familiars adds more fuel to the fire of imagination about the stereotype. Even though it can be annoyingly trite, Witches young and old today are still attracted to this fairy tale imagery and can’t resist using these images as their avatars online.

As usual, I have gotten overly prolific about this subject material, so I’ll have to break it up into two parts. Coming next: Black Cat Power, Part Two: All the Luck!

Resources:
The Cat in the Mysteries of Religion and Magic, by M. Oldfield Howey, pub. by the Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., 1930
The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky, pub. by the Theosophical Publishing Company, London, 1888.
The Book of the Dead Trans. by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A.,D.I., L.D., pub. by Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner, London, 1923.
Celtic Researches by John Davies, pub. about 1630.
Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft by Sir Walter Scott, pub. by John Murray, London, 1833.
The Witch Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray, pub. by the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1921.
Legends of the Gods by E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., etc., pub. by Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner, London, 1912.
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, pub. by Facts on File; 2nd edition (1999)
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker, pub. by HarperOne; 1 edition (November 30, 1983)
The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects by Barbara G. Walker, pub. by HarperOne; 1St Edition edition (November 2, 1988)
The Once and Future Goddess: A Sweeping Visual Chronicle of the Sacred Female and Her Reemergence in the Cult by Elinor W. Gadon, pub. by HarperOne (November 29, 1989)

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33 thoughts on “Black Cat Power, Part 1: Origins & Witches

  1. Hi Val. Interesting read. I feel I should speak up on this part: “An animal familiar is not a spirit familiar.” This implies that there are two different kinds of familiars, animal and spirit, but that’s not historically true. The word “familiar” in this sense is short for “familiar spirit” and always, always meant a spirit, never a physical animal. Of course, modern witches are welcome to redefine it, but historically it was never cats as such.

    To clarify, you wrote, “Even though there is a history of diabolical spirits conjured into the bodies of black cats, and into other animals…” I’ve never heard of any practice like that. The historical familiar was not a spirit put into the body of a cat (you mean some kind of possession?), it was a spirit that took the appearance of a black cat or black dog, or literally hundreds of other appearances.

    There was no physical animal body involved in the traditional idea of a familiar.

    1. I should clarify: I referenced this from an old book on cat lore that quoted from even older sources about gypsies keeping black cats as vessels to embody demons. Here is the quote:

      “It was believed that every sorcerer, witch, and gypsy was supposed to have a black cat present with them at all times. The black cat, it was assumed, was the preferred physical form for the demon to embody. Once the demon was inside the black cat’s body, it would perform the witches’ tasks…” from The Cat in the Mysteries of Religion and Magic by M. Oldfield Howey, chapter XXV Cat Genii and Familiars

      In the next part I’ll discuss the mythology of demon cats and possessed cats, quite a fascinating history I knew little about. And, yes, it wasn’t just the spirit taking the form of an animal, the spirit often possessed the body of the animal, or the magician or witch took the form.

      There is NO physical animal body involved in the traditional idea of familiar, BUT a new “type” has been defined in modern Witchcraft. This type of familiar is based on the concepts of animism — that there are no true separations between the physical and spiritual — animals, humans, spirits, etc., and each has its own unique soul, but we can share soul energy with each other. Every physical thing is spiritual in nature, but not everything spiritual is united together. We can have spiritual/psychic relationships with other souls whether they are living in a body or are in spirit form.

      The concept of a physical or animal familiar is not really “new” to tribal peoples but is not historically traditional in western magical practice. I don’t want to bring race into it, but culturally I’ve had a difficult time trying to balance between the two belief systems. Eventually I had to go with my own personal experience — giving credence and respect to both ways, yet still voicing what I feel is right.

      Not all Witches agree on what they term is a familiar, too. Some go by what is pure fancy, some go by the traditional like you do, then there are those like me who are influenced by American Indian traditions that teach us animals can bond with us spiritually here on earth…

      Does that make sense? I hope so. It’s a fine line to walk, trying to respect different views at once.

  2. I find that very interesting. Does Howie give a citation for that? I’ve never seen the idea of demons possessing cats in the folklore, and I wonder whether Howie is making it up, got it wrong somehow, or actually has a source that says that and I’ve just never seen it before.

    1. I’ll track it down for you, just give me some time to do so. I’ve got to catch up with some artwork tonight.

      I came up with an interesting question for your Familiar series at altmagic.com… hope that piques your interest. Catch you then!

    2. Okay, I believe I quoted it from the wrong book! The quote is from Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, second edition. Here are the sources she references (other than Howie’s book):

      Enemies of God, by Christina Larner, pub. by Chatto & Windus, London, 1981
      Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, by Maria Leach, ed. and Jerome Fried,assoc. ed., pub. by Harper & Row, New York, 1972
      Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey Russell, pub. by Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972

      One other thing to note: Owls and toads were also said to embody demons and spirits, not just appear in the form of these creatures. This I have heard spoken of many times before, but this is the first official book I’ve been able to quote it from.

      Sorry for the mis-quote. I was distracted. I do not multi-task very well! 😉

    3. Another thing to tell you about Guiley’s witchcraft encyclopedia: I am in one of the photographs in that book, quite accidentally, I might add (I didn’t know until many years later). On page 358 in the second edition, dancing a traditional English morris dance around the Beltaine pole with my fellow Circle Sanctuary community members, along with the Oak Apple Morris Dancers, I barely appear in the back seemingly underneath an ash tree in the far distance to the left. My face is almost covered by someone waving their handkerchief! My little split second of fame. 😛

  3. hi
    my black cat called sassie has just past away she was around 18 years old & she found me when i went to a recurred shelter looking for a cat for my sister

    she was a little scruffy kitten when my sister picked her up she struggled but when i took her out of my sisters arms she calmed down looked at me strait in the eyes & i just knew we had to be together & at that moment i new we would be sole mates

    she was my best friend we had gone throw so much together
    I’ve always felt drawn to black cats but sassie was amazing & i feel she had been here before
    she pasted away on Friday the 13th i don’t know what to make of the fact she past away on this day or if there cloud be any link

    her ashes will stay within the family & her ashes will be berried with me when i die that’s how strong i feel we were meant to be together

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your special one’s passing. I believe cats, like every other living being in our lives, have souls and will come and go in our lives for a reason. Rescuing them is also saving ourselves. May your kitty rest in peace. Remembering her is honoring her everyday.

      Friday the 13th is just another day, only us silly humans made it weird and different because of religious superstition. I consider it a lucky day, actually. This year we had 3 Friday the 13’s and that’s a record! If you believe it’s a special day, then it is special. Perhaps it means that your beloved feline left on this day to give even more special meaning to you — to tell you that a turn of luck is coming for you — black cats are considered lucky cats in many cultures.

      Treasure the memory of your cat.

      I will soon be publishing the next part of Black Cat Power. Yay! I hope you’ll come visit my blog again to check it out. Thank you for sharing with me your most heartfelt thoughts.

  4. Well written with good resources. I am going to reblog this if that is ok with you. And btw i am a witch and my companions are two black cats, Shadow and Spider. They are like a second sense to me and let me know what is going on outside the house, whether visitors, bears, or just a hungry possum. Blessings.

    1. Thank you! Not a problem. And thank you for giving me credit, too. I knew you were a Witch as well *winks* so you’re welcome company here! I love cats, and especially spiders as well, but I could never keep spiders in cages (in fact I even leave cobwebs hanging in the corners of my walls for good luck). Having companions that have keener senses than you do is always good to have around because they let you know what is going on that you can’t see, hear, or taste. I watch their behavior. Some people believe I am watching animals for divination. This isn’t so. I am watching and listening to them each day to know what is happening. If more people did that… well, they would know more about what is going on in the atmosphere around them, wouldn’t they?

      Once again, thank you for following and sharing!

    2. One other note: I will, before the end of this week, post the second part of this series. I’ve been meaning to post it SOON but each day I planned to, some major event happened in the news to steal the thunder and, by the time I get time to concentrate on editing/polishing the article, it’s the holidays! Ugh. No matter. Before the end of this year, it’ll be here. 🙂 Part Two: Luck, Lore, & Magic! (all the really good stuff)

      1. Looking forward to that. Btw my gf is part AmerIndian and he dad taught her a lot of stuff, and i have been used to blending European witchcraft with what the native spirits communicate with me and it mixes together really well. She of course does the same but better. Blessings.

  5. Great post 🙂 thanks for sharing it. I found as I’m posting something also related to black cats, please stop by and visit! I would love your opinion on it.

  6. I really loved your post. It was just what I was looking for. I am doing a paper on black cats and how they got to bad wrap of being bad luck. This was so much help to me. Thank you.

  7. I’m not sure, but I think you have to unsubscribe from the comment notifications from this blog post only. Once you sign up to be notified whenever new comments are added about this particular post, you’ll get the notices, yet I’ve never heard of anyone getting them 4X the amount you are. That’s not something I’m in control of! Sounds to me like a WordPress.com glitch? Could be. So sorry that’s happening to you.

    I just discovered I had most of my replies to my blogs all going into my spam folder! I have been missing most of the comments people make to my blog. I was wondering why I wasn’t getting much feedback. So I’ve been doing some investigating to get some bugs out of the system.

    Thank you for alerting me to this problem. Please don’t let it keep you away from visiting again. It’s been a long while since I’ve written but I plan on getting back into the swing of things with a big site update soon!

  8. I am really sorry about your pain. I do not have have children, but my two black cats are my babies and would not bare life without them, so I think I know how you are feeling.

    But canyou answer a tiny question? I have been feeding 3 feral cats in my neighborhood, and they are also white or tuxedo and was wondering if there is some reason why I attract black cats. I know I can see some things like spirits or demons and my grandmother told me she was a witch and I was too. Is there a connection of being a witch and black cats seeking us?

    1. Hi, there! Thank you for your kind words.

      It is my speculation that black cats, and darker furred animals in general, are far more numerous, making it easier for them to survive as hunters. Black cats are easier for us to point out, and since many Pagans and Witches wear a lot of black (LOL!) we’re easy to spot, too! Maybe that has something to do with it.

      I’ve had a lot of black cats adopt me in my life, but not all of them are completely “black” — some have spots and tabby stripes underneath their dark fur — catch a black cat sunning itself and you may see the difference!

      Happiness, love, and peace to you and your fur babies.

  9. But witches weren’t bad? They were not evil?
    If I am not wrong then they were the ‘wise women’ who had amazing powers of healing? But soon when the tribes of nomads known as indo europeans invaded the western world from East. They were warrior people who brought with them a strong belief in aggressive male Gods of war. And over the centuries the belief in their male Gods came to dominate the ones in the female deities.

    Correct me if I am wrong?

    1. You’re not wrong. You understand it. Let me flesh a few more thoughts out here that I didn’t fit in at the time I first wrote this blog post…

      They weren’t just the wise women, they were also wise men, “wise” people, crafty folk who were nicknamed “witch” — those that bend, or twist fate (as well as other meanings) as part of a bad publicity campaign to destroy them. Many weren’t even so-called “witches”, just simple folk who happened to be named enemies — once named their land was taken after they were burned/destroyed.

      Not saying any tribe or culture was perfect, or not acknowledging each side had differences. It doesn’t matter what culture called the other. Today the title of “Witch” means altogether something different, watered down, akin to wisdom and healing — the empowerment attributed to people(s) who are much maligned simply because they are practicing religions and spiritual arts that are from the culture that was from “the enemy”.

      “Witches” were considered evil because they were the enemy, and even today some shy away from using this word because “Witch” and “Witchcraft” is still considered aligned with Satan, all this only according to fundamental Christianity that seeks to wipe out any belief system that threatens it.

      Monotheism, belief in one god, in European history, specifically in one male god, made it especially hard on women. Women with strong beliefs, talents, and any kind of power were suspected of being Witches because only men, being made in the image of a male god, could possible be superior. According to the creation story of Adam and Eve, their male god made it so women were punished for even being in existence — women who helped with childbirth, who eased other women’s pain, and even today women who are in the business of assisting with reproductive rights, are thought to be going against god’s will/plan.

      So, yeah, you got the idea.

      1. I read all this while researching for my project, but you made it more clear for me.
        Feels good to know that I am going in the right direction.
        Reading everything about witches really changed my perspective towards them. I believed them to be evil and despised them. But, now I have really developed these good feelings for the wiccan!

        Thank you very much.
        Its good to finally find someone who actually guided me in the right direction because here, at India, people don’t really know much about all this.
        Thanks again for being a saviour for me!
        I seriously did not know how to present the content during the final presentation, but yea, You just gave me a really amazing speech which I hope will be loved by everyone (including the faculty)
        And I hope I can say it all? I mean if you dont mind?
        (I will mention the source, cause thats what they ask for in the end!)
        *Giggle* 😀

      2. Yes, please, you can use me as a source. I am a Wiccan, or you can also call me a Witch, living in the U.S.A. and, as I’ve said, we’re not the fantasy kind nor the evil depictions of Christianity, not even close to the monsters of other cultural icons either. Just good people who practice a spiritual tradition based on the pre-Indo-European religions where the ancient gods and nature were revered. But nowadays, at least in North America, we also blend in the spiritual practices of the American Indian as well. I am Menominee and Chippewa Indian, so my spiritual and religious practices go hand in hand with Witchcraft.

        I feel I have to make this distinction nowadays because I know in different cultures “Witches” can mean something else entirely than they do here in the U.S., and still in some parts of the world you can get hurt or killed. Again, it’s the same belief that someone, always not an actual “witch”, is doing black magic against someone’s family land and the evidence is because they are doing well while their neighbors are starving. I read about this going on in places in Africa. Real witch hunts and trials going on in this day and age! Very scary. I thought we had evolved beyond that.

        But it is good to share with you, and it encourages me to continue to share, and write, more about some of my practices and experiences. Oftentimes we find out we all have a lot in common. Peace and comfort to you, friend! I pray your project goes very well!

  10. First, why cant I reply to your comment?

    And second,
    I still cant believe that I am actually interacting with a Witch – No, Wiccan!
    Its a very happy feeling.
    The whole day I have been telling my family and my peers about you, and really bluffing – ‘Hey, do you know? I interacted with a wiccan. Have you ever? no? but I did.And she loves cats like I do’ and my parents literally told me to shut up after a point of time.
    Your blog has become a daily visit for me.I love it so much!
    And you guys, you are so…i dont even know the right word because mysterious can be interpreted in a negative way, but yea something like that.
    I am so damn fascinated checking back every hour if you replied to my comment and somehow missing it when you actually reply. *Apologies*
    I mean, its so magical – the spells you guys perform. Sometimes I wish I could too, but I doubt my own self about using it for the negativity (Oh I can be the real evil witch) !
    Jokes apart, I believe the same as you do, as in the witches part.People still look at the term ‘witches’ as a negative one. Even I did, before getting involved in this project because I never knew all this about the witches, their history,the fierce some witch trials, cat killing. How can someone even kill such an innocent creature as a cat.

    But hey, tell me one thing, are Mayans in any way related to the witches? Like they do not exactly perform spells but the prophecy that goes with them is a mystery to me.

    The existence of witch hunts is a mere shame on human society, its the 21st century we are living in, far away from those cruel times of hunting and burning.
    You should underground yourself sometime (joking only) *giggle*

    And, thanks for you wishes.
    I could really need a “Witch’s” blessing at this time.

    Do visit my blog –
    http://know-about-black-cat.blogspot.in/
    Made it for the same project and will be going off the blog once the faculty update my grades. I am planning to create a new blog on my own cat, her behaviour, daily activities, my past cats and all about that. But, for the time being this is what it is, and yea I took inputs from yours too (forgiveness my lord.)
    Do take a look!

    Thanks for being so kind and helpful towards me.
    Its like a very big ‘ehsan’ (as we call it in Hindi meaning ‘favour’ ) that you are doing on me. I hope if there’s any way I can pay you back for the same?

    Hugs and kisses to your cats! 😀
    Good wishes to you!

    1. Aw, first off, I monitor all of the comments and replies that are made on my site in order to filter out spam and the weird people who often leave strange and/or hassling messages.

      We’re not “mysterious” people at all, just normal folks! Spells are “energy work” like spiritual healing, praying, chanting, all done with props and intention, a very Western and European way of magic/religion. For us, your Hindi ways are considered much more mysterious and magical, simply only because you are different from us! We get just as excited hearing from people like you, so this is a nice equal cultural exchange.

      I am happy that you are discovering the truth about Witches and Wiccans today.

      We are in no way related to any other culture, including the Mayans. American Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism is a sub-culture, meaning it is not connected to any one ethnic origin other than based upon the principles and tenets of belief of pre-Christian cultures from Western Europe origin. In the U.S., Native American shamanism and Irish spirituality have greatly enhanced the beliefs and practices. You’ll find a lot of our gods and goddesses revered especially from the Celtic (Irish), Egyptian, and Greco-Roman cultures, even though many of us are not from those cultures. We even pray to and worship some Hindi ones as well!

      We especially love our animal companions, of course. I can’t imagine my life without them!

      I have friends here in the U.S. who are Hindi, too. I will keep in touch and check out your website sometime soon. It may take me awhile. I have not written on my blog in a very long while since I have not been feeling well. I hope to get back to writing soon. With your enthusiasm and encouragement, it helps me to realize I have something special to share with people like you!

      Thank you!

  11. the “black cat witch syndrome” is exactly that !!!! the cats that sometimes bless the lives of Witches are NOT simply black. they are wise spiritual beings with ANY colours…. the colour itself usually reveals what type of magic the Cat is bringing into the Witches life…. so, I hope one day this “syndrome” is destroyed, and revealing the TRUE reason cats are with Witches….. NOT everything IS black and white !!!! their is always OTHER colours to contemplate in the spiritual vibrational universe.

    1. My thoughts have always been that cats, in general, have always been associated with witches, and women, for many reasons, mostly due to prejudice and not because of any supernatural powers. However, it is the innate abilities of cats, women, and witches (both men and women who practice The Craft) that bring them together.

      1. Cats are indeed the creatures and companions of Witches and NOT men… men have NO understanding of Cats in any way….. which is why Witches and cats always serve each other….. and NOT men. there are Feminine Secrets that ONLY Cats can impart to womyn and this has NOTHING to do with MEN whatsoever…. and TRUE witches know this, on ALL levels….

      2. Love brings Cats into our lives when it is necessary for our evolution. Cats are Divine Creatures who capture our hearts and help us evolve. They are our teachers, companions, Lovers, and guides… and there are those of us who are NOT human and come from different star systems that exists AS cat beings… How lovely this is. I wish one day, people would see Cats for what they truly are: Our Teachers and guides and not animals that can help us do magic !!! How limiting this is for the Feline. They are beyond such trivial matters such as spells and magic. Far far beyond.

      3. Interesting thoughts. Thank you for that. I never meant to suggest that cats are only meant for magical assistance, I only stated that because of their mysterious nature, humans have long associated them with magic and myth. As we have evolved over time, we have come to appreciate cats for more now for whom they truly are: felines — ! And, yes, they are teaching us everyday something new.

        I have written more on this subject but took a long exit from my blog due to personal matters. It’s my intent to come back and revisit this subject. My apologies for not having gotten back to finish! Thanks again for commenting. This article has been my most popular and I owe it to you, and all my readers, to come back!

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