Most people have heard the term before, I'm sure, but what exactly is a familiar?
In European folklore, familiar spirits were supernatural beings which were believed to aid witches in magick. According to the myths, they would be shapeshifters, usually animals, but also humans or humanoid creatures, until they later became associated with ghosts. They were also sometimes said to be temporary, physical forms of spirits or tricksters. In shamanism, astral travel was believed to be done in a special form outside of the physical shell of a human's body; this form was believed to be an animal's form.
While serving witches, they were believed to be evil, though when working for the cunning folk, the professional practitioners of folk magick from the medieval period to the early 20th century, they were believed to be good. Associated with demons and fairies both, familiars were believed to serve witches, protecting them as they came into their powers and giving magickal aid before forming a c