Talk:Familiar spirit

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Counter-Sources & The "Familiar" in Context...[edit]

Hey, I was wondering why the ground-breaking and highly acclaimed work of profs. Emma Wilby (Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic), Eva Pocs (Between the Living and the Dead), Georg Luck (Arcana Mundi), and Carmen Blacker ("Japanese Witchcraft" in V. Newall's [ed.] The Witch Figure)--among others--have not yet been broached in this article? For the most part, these authorities show how extensive this belief in Familiars is, and that those beliefs are unequivocally wide-spread, almost certainly having their roots in shamanism. The feedings of a Familiar (often with bread, milk, butter, or even blood), the housing of a Familiar in a vessel, often like a Cauldron or kettle; the Familiar's ability to find lost items, to be able to heal the sick, or even (more infrequently) cause harm are all highlighted in these specialist studies that examen Britain, Hungary, and even Japan, etc. In Blacker's study of the Japanese Familiar, in particular, she shows not only these identical motives, but is able to trace the Familiar back thousands of years using I Ching documents to a form of shamanism known as Ku.

However, despite this unequivocal evidence, far more prosaic scholars, employing a psychological model in terms of pathology have speculated (which is a blatantly specious argument, in light of this evidence, I must add) that the Familiar is a psychological--indeed, it seems Freudian, to me--example identifying the individual libido of a repressive culture during the Early Modern period. This rather emphatic declaration is in his article, “Dangerous Spirits: Shapeshifting, Apparitions, and Fantasy in Lorraine Witchcraft Trials” printed in the collection of essays, Werewolves, Witches, and Wandering Spirits: Traditional Belief & Folklore in Early-Modern Europe, ed. by Kathryne A. Edwards.  Sixteenth-Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 62.  (Truman State University Press, 2002). Personally, albeit's superfluous, I prefer prof. David Leder's article, in which he proves just how wide-spread the evidence for Pocs' and prof. Claude Lecouteux's (Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages) general scholarship and evidence really is! But, that's just a brief digression on my behalf...

Haven't the time to write anything in this entry at the moment, but I may in the future.

After reading this article about familiars, it has come to my attention that the person or persons who wrote the article may be a little too "familiar" with the line separarting enlightened knowledge and fanatical ranting.

Feel free to edit it. Wikipedia is designed so that people can change articles to make them better.

I will have my entry on the historiography finished very soon. I encourage and welcome any feedback or critisism and I would like to start a discussion on the concept of the Familiar and how it has changed throughout history. - Davidal

Heh. I created the article on Jhereg, followed it to the Vlad Taltos article, added a note on how Vlad's familiar is Loiosh, then thought "hm, I wonder what's in the article on familiars?" - and lo and behold, the article on familiars already mentions Loiosh. So cool. DS 14:04, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As a student at SDSU striving for a degree in history I was lucky enough to have been educated by Professor Pollard. Professor Pollard displays a vast amount of knowledge in Witchcraft. During class one day, she caught my attention when discussing familiars. I researched familiars for my final report and found some problems with the familiar entry on Wikipedia. The entry does not give specific location. Next, does not show the court evidence of familiars. Third, does not show the scary side of familiars and what they ate. Also does not have information that distinguished between the different types of familiars. Equally important there was no reference section and no entry on the scholarship behind familiars. I fixed the problems to the best of my knowledge and kept a neutral viewpoint. Hope my contribution helps readers understand the interesting facts about familiars. Thanks Klofty

No, I had to figure out what you wrote in your mess of poor grammar only to find it less than enlightening while failing to discern fact and fiction. In addition, there are footnote links with no destinations, as a reference section seems not to exist. This article is in need of a serious rewriting. 03:07, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Seeing as the Familiars (band) page does not exist, can we get it removed? 20:55, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Specifically, for the "further information" thing at the top of the familiar spirit page. 20:56, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

completed the historiography section[edit]

Hey Everybody! I completed the historiography section and have now imcluded all the citations. Its just a brief overview but I hope I can contribute to the legitimacy of the "familiar" page and eventually get it entered into the Wikipedia sponsored Occult section. Let me know what you think! -Davidal —Preceding unsigned comment added by Davidalvsgoliath (talkcontribs) 18:01, 15 December 2007

author of "Puddle Head"?[edit]

Who is the author of "Puddle Head"? The synopsis follows. I removed it from the article, because it is far too long for the already long Familiars in art, music and literature section. --Jtir (talk) 13:20, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

In the short story, "Puddle Head", which is no longer in print, the main protagonist, Joshua, has a familiar named "Reed Bones" given to him as a gift from his deceased father.
Joshua named the familiar, "Reed Bones", which resembles the skeleton of a person with severe deformities and some of the bones have holes in them that whistle when the wind blows, like a reed pipe.
Later Joshua discovers from the keeper of the Skin Tablet, which is an arcane book of magic, that "Reed Bones" actually IS his father.
His father, whose real name is Jayce, informs Joshua that the effigy of "Reed Bones" is all that remains of his former self after he was tortured in the nether regions of the pit.
Joshua is known to carry around the bones OF Reed Bones in a faded green silk bag.
Whenever Joshua sings the song or recites the lyrics from a song called "The Chimney Sweepers", the bones begin to take on a life of their own and re-corporate into the effigy of Reed Bones.
Not much else is known about the main plot of this story as it has been out of print now for at least 35 years.
The information written here was taken from the synopsis out of an old back order catalogue.


Curious, do we need the 'in modern fiction' section, when we have the 'Familiars in art, music, and literature' and the mention of most of it is covered in the art, music and literature section already? Also, there's repeated mention of Runescape, where the mention of RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons covers that, as well as a double posting of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Honestly, if the mention of Runescape isn't taken out, we might as well add GURPS, nearly every Final Fantasy game, and quite a few other RPGs should we add them too? Same for mention of Riviera, Azure Dreams, GODS, Kingdom of Loathing,Ragnarok Online, Warhammer 40k,Super Robot Wars, and Summon Night. All needless clutter, by the mention of roleplaying games as a generalization, don't you think?Mysticwarloc (talk) 06:31, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal: Familiar spirits in popular culture and Familiar spirit[edit]

Given we have appearances from ancient folklore and witchcraft etc. through to modern in popular legend of this fictional creatures, this was a needless and arbitrary split in the first place. Regardless of validity of content, I think the material in not distinct or notable enough to warrant a separate page.


  1. Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:51, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
  2. Strong Support, GenQuest (talk) 23:57, 4 November 2012 (UTC)


  1. Mintrick (talk) 14:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


Same old song and dance. Familiar spirits are an essential part of witchcraft in its early forms, and this article does a solid job of covering what that means. The list, however, is utterly uninformative, and consists of obvious allusions to this well known myth. The list has far more in common in structure and content with the articles in Category:In popular culture than the article Familiar spirit. Mintrick (talk) 14:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

  • The IPC article contains no citations and most of the content has nothing to do with this article. I'd support deleting that outright for a lack of a defined and notable subject, while building from the ground up a single prose paragraph of a cited summary of the spirits in popular culure in this article. ThemFromSpace 19:33, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Totally agree with that. I rather prose paras with tying themes than lists anyday. Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:33, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I have boldly merged this content back into this article, since the discussion seems to have turned to the merit of specific content. Since this is now a "what should we keep" discussion, it seems best to move all the content here and have it discussed in relation to the rest of the article content. Please cleanup content as necessary. --NickPenguin(contribs) 14:39, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Anyone noticed this article? Familiar animal Seems like a clear merge case. FunkMonk (talk) 13:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Post mortem[edit]

I do advise anyone before reverting this that we need some reliable sourcing. I will find some sometime. Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:41, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Hi all! :) I think that the Agathion (a specific type of a familiar spirit) article be merged into this article (Familiar spirit). I think that the content in the Agathion article can easily be explained in the context of this article, and nothing would become too big, as this page is short and Agathion is a one-sentence stub. If everyone agrees, could someone who knows how to merge articles do that?JonathanHopeThisIsUnique (talk) 20:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Off-topic chat[edit]

Extended content


Can the Norse Fylgja be considered familiars? Or are they more like guardian angels?-- (talk) 17:37, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

This article talk page is for discussing improvements to the article, not for general discussion of the article's topic. - SummerPhDv2.0 01:04, 10 July 2016 (UTC)