posted on Mar, 23 2003 @ 06:24 PM
I've always been under the impression that familiars were commonly believed to be the animal forms taken by spirits that worked with witches.
I've always understood familiar spirits to be spirits who were "familiar" with certain personal secrets or family facts and would give that
information to a medium.
Below, I've added some basic information about this:
The Old Testament Hebrew word for those with familiar spirits meant a bottle, since they were regarded as a vessel for the inspiring demon. The New
Testament Greek word was equivalent in meaning, and whether they were fakers, or actually possessed by a spirit, the people of God were to have
absolutely nothing to do with them.
The word "familiar" is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits
as their servants ready to obey their commands.
According to The Bible record, sorcerers, or necromancers, who claimed the ability to contact the dead were said to have a "familiar spirit." The
word "familiar" in this usage is derived from the Latin word familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was intended to imply that they had
spirits as their servants, ready to obey their commands, which for some of them may have been partly true - but the spirits were demons. The rest,
like the many carnival "mediums" today, either had hidden human (or in modern times, electronic) assistants, or were skilled ventriloquists who
could fake the sound of a voice coming from the ground, or from "thin air."
What draws a person into involvement with familiar spirits? The appeal of the occult is usually either curiosity or a desire for that which is
hidden. One may have fascination with the supernatural, but may not know how to differentiate between the supernatural realm of God and that of
Satan. Almost everyone wants to know what the future holds in store. It is easy, therefore, to be drawn into a scheme that claims to hold the key to
knowing the unknown.
A familiar spirit is the designation of a specific type of evil spirit. It is so classified because of its chief characteristic: namely, familiarity.
It is a relationship, a familiarity, with a person or personality. For example, a woman, whom Paul encountered in Macedonia, had a familiar spirit
which gave her powers of divination. (Acts 16:16-18)
Familiar spirits are common amid the practices of spiritism and witchcraft, but their activity is by no means limited to persons and practices so
obviously occult. Evil spirits are personalities. They can reason, decide, express emotions and communicate. Personalities have the capacity to
relate to one another. Two human personalities can form a relationship; and, through communication and communion, that relationship can be enhanced.
Likewise, a person can form and develop a close relationship with an evil spirit. When a person forms a relationship with an evil spirit (which can
be done either willfully or through ignorance), he then has a familiar spirit.
Communication is the chief characteristic of a familiar spirit. The spirit responds quickly to the summons of the medium. A medium, such as the witch
of Endor whom Saul consulted (I Sam. 28:7), is a go-between which forms a communication link between the earthly world and the demonic realm. Thus,
anyone who becomes a channel of communication for an evil spirit is a medium. He has a familiar spirit.
A familiar spirit is something that a person has, because it is a personality identified with a certain individual. In the same sense that one has a
book, a friend or a cold, one can be personally identified with a demon spirit.
A familiar spirit and a spirit of divination are very similar in nature. A familiar spirit is usually involved in the areas of (supposed consultation
with the dead), spirit mediums, clairvoyancy and trances.
The ability to contact the spirits is often passed from one generation to the next within receptive families. The word familiar comes from the root
word, family. Many, it seems, have been enticed by the desire to communicate with departed loved ones.
Sorcerers or necormancers, who professed to call up the dead to answer questions, were said to have a familiar spirit (Deut. 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; 2
Chr. 33:6; Lev. 19:31; 20:6; Isa. 8:19; 29:4). Such a person was called by the Hebrews an "ob", which properly means a leather bottle; for
sorcerers were regarded as vessels containing the inspiring demon. This Hebrew word was equivalent to the pytho of the Greeks, and was used to denote
both the person and the spirit which possessed him (Lev. 20:27; 1 Sam. 28:8; compare Acts 16:16).
The famous magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926), a man who it could be said knew "every trick in the book," exposed a great many of them as frauds
during his lifetime while attempting to communicate with his dead mother. The effort to make contact between the living and the dead continued even
after Houdini himself died. Houdini and his wife agreed to an experiment in which the first of them to die was to communicate with the survivor. When
he died in 1926, his widow spent the rest of her life waiting for the message, that by her own admission in 1943, never came.
Halloween, formerly Hallow Evening, started out to be called the 'Death of the Year' by the Celts, hundreds of years ago. They believed that on that
day, ghosts of the dead returned to haunt those who hadn't given them proper remembrance and worship. These ghosts came in the form of bats and owls
and ghouls and goblins, flying through the night, angrily causing terror and destruction wherever they went, and not only to those who were guilty.
Those unfortunate enough to have to venture away from home, light, and family, carried candles within hollowed out turnips which had been carved with
frightening, scowling faces, in the hopes of keeping away these angry spirits.
When Christianity reached the area, the Church used this pagan holiday, as it did so many others, for it's own good. Instead of simply being
'haunted' by ghostly evil, the Church decided to celebrate the lives of those were especially worthy of remembrance. Martyrs were 'sainted' -
made worthy of human worship, and the day was a celebration of their sacrifice for the cause of Christ.
Eventually, the day became All Saints Day, a day set aside to remember and worship all those made saints by the church (not all martyrs), but soon the
original reason was remembered and an additional day was added the day after, further watering down the original meaning. 'All Soul's Day' is the
day to remember those 'who've gone before us', a time of respect and remembrance of our loved ones, much the same as Memorial Day in the US. Thus
'Halloween' is 'Hallow Evening', the day before the celebration of the dead.
Predicitng with includes those who are replenished from the east (Masons and Mormons facing east in their temple worship): rituals (Isaiah 2;6),
astrologers (Daniel 2:2), tea leaf reading, tarot card readers, palm readers or any form of psychic predictions. The Bible refers to all preceding as
sorcery, magic (Daniel 1:20) and witchcraft (Micah 5:12)