This last March I presented a workshop at Paganicon on working with Familiar Spirits. It was an awesome class, with a great turn out. At the end, the audience was able to ask questions, one of which has stuck with me. You see, in my discussion I talked about how to find and form a working relationship with a Familiar Spirit. There are a number of ways Familiar Spirits show up in our lives and how we in turn relate to them – or how the working relationship functions. The relationship between a Witch and and their Familiar tends to be intimately close and symbiotic, with each benefiting from the other. But what happens if, over time, you come to find that the relationship just isn’t working out? How do you break-up with a Familiar Spirit?
There are several possibilities as to why you may need to end the relationship with your Familiar Spirit. Maybe they aren’t holding up their end of the agreed upon deal or perhaps you’ve come to find that you’re unable to keep up on your end. It could be that your Familiar Spirit has become out of control or that the relationship has otherwise grown toxic. So how do you start the break-up process? The best advice I can give is to think of this like breaking-up with a romantic partner – how would you want that experience to play out? It’s best to be kind and respectful, to use clear and honest communication. If you need help finding a place to start, try following these three steps:
- Talk to your Familiar Spirit. Inform them of your thoughts and feelings – why is that you want to end the relationship? Is there anything that can be done to repair the bond? Are there steps that either of you can take? Sometimes talking about the issues can lead to positive solutions that actually strengthen the relationship. If the answer is no, move on the step two.
- Discuss with your Familiar Spirit what it will mean for your relationship to be over. Will there be any further or future contact? Is there someone you can pass your Familiar onto?
- Give thanks to your Familiar Spirit. Speak words of gratitude and given them one last offering.
Additionally, it would be a good idea to perform the following ritual as a way of magically severing your ties. You will need a length of black cord, two small pieces of paper, and a white candle. To begin, write your name upon one of the pieces of paper and that of your Familiar on the other. Roll up the papers and tie each to one of the ends of the black cord. Then, holding the cord taunt over the candle’s flame, intone the following spell:
What once was bound,
Is now unwound,
Our bond be ceased,
With peace released.
Allow the middle of the cord to burn away, separating into two pieces. You may then burn the two pieces or bury them in the ground.
What happens if your Familiar Spirit won’t leave? If you’ve talked to your Familiar and kindly asked it to depart, but it refuses, you will unfortunately have to take harsher measures. The following ritual can be performed in order to banish a Familiar Spirit. You will need a piece of paper and a bowl containing a mixture of sage, wormwood, vervain, and mandrake root. To begin, write the name of your Familiar Spirit upon the paper. Next, mark it with a drop of your blood, symbolizing your connection. Light the paper on fire, dropping it into the bowl and intoning the following spell:
Familiar Spirit I banish thee,
From my life departed be,
As this fire burns your name,
Back you go from whence you came.
Allow the fire to burn out completely, knowing that the Familiar Spirit has been banished from your life.