by Raven Grimassi, 2003
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Offers practical information that can be used now: A
Approachable & Easy to Understand: B-
In this informative book the author does a great job of answering the question, “What is a Familiar and how can it help me?” He also cautions the reader about the risks involved in working with Familiar and gives clear and concise directions about how to “reign in” troublesome Familiar spirits.
The book opens with a fascinating story of Grimassi’s personal experience with a pet Familiar. This set a tone of seriousness for the rest of the book, brought to a point by the following quote:
Summoning familiars is not a party game or something “witchy” to do on a Saturday night. Working with Familiars is a serious business and you can fully expect to encounter occult phenomena along the way.
The author continues with a history of the Familiar – what it is, how it was viewed by the Church and the Royal Court during the Middle Ages, and how it’s viewed by Witches today. I found this chapter very interesting – Grimassi’s extensive knowledge on the topic shines through and makes for an engaging read.
In chapter two, Grimassi instructs the reader on the different types of Familiars (physical and non-physical) and how to choose one. It’s here he also introduces his series of 11 magickal Seals for use in controlling Familiars. These seals are based on Pagan symbology, and have practical uses that extend beyond simply working with Familiars. This chapter alone makes the book a worthy addition to any Witch’s library.
In chapters three and four, information is given on possible uses of the Familiar including aiding in healing, magic, and in serving as guardian of your home.
The final chapter details parting with your Familiar – the circumstances under which this can or should occur and the responsibilities of the Witch when it does.
All in all, this was a great book I’ll refer to time and again. Throughout its pages I found several great exercises which uses extend beyond working with Familiars. One of these was a Wiccan adaptation of the Posture of the Pentagram (which to the best of my knowledge is more commonly used in Ceremonial Magick).
I gave it a B- in the “Approachable & Easy to Understand” category because some sections dealt with magickal concepts I haven’t yet encountered, and these took awhile to assimilate. It’s also for this reason I don’t recommend it to those who are very new to the Craft. There are basic elements of Wicca and general metaphysical principles one needs a firm grasp of before trekking merrily off into the astral plane in search of a Familiar – most notably how to protect yourself from unsavory entities. Like the author indicated, this isn’t something to do simply because it sounds interesting and you’re feeling a little “witchy.” It’s serious stuff.