Cats are Magical Creatures ^_^

hishida-shunso-cat-under-plum-blossoms

This is, I’m sure, no surprise to any cat owner. Lol. But I’ve been realizing the last few months, exactly how magical these little furry murderers can be. Lately, I’ve become fascinated by folktales and fairy tales where cats are, in some way, the heroes. This all started as my ancestor practices with my paternal, Lithuanian line deepened. Gabija, the Lithuanian Goddess of the hearth and fire, can take the form of a cat and many of my ancestors really seemed to like them. I started getting pushed to get a cat of my own, so my husband and I adopted a little old lady cat from a local shelter. That was eye opening.

I’ve noticed that she wards the house. Whenever there are jagged, miasmic, or negative energies about, she will be our first warning. Even before we pick up on anything, Elena (our cat) is alert and through her behavior gives us warning. When we are divining, she will come from wherever she’s at in the house, sit and watch without interfering with the mat, and when we’re done, she’ll wander off again. She also seems to help at managing the energy of the house. As I’ve been reading about the role of cats in folklore, Lithuanian and otherwise, my respect for the little creatures has skyrocketed. This is an animal I’ve always liked, but never really considered in terms of a working ally. So, I’m kind of shocked to find myself, as a vitki and spirit worker, thinking “cats are cool.” Lol. I’ve even seen friends’ felines engaging in behavior that to my eyes and senses looks an awful lot like prayer.

Cats are of course, associated with magic in much of the folklore I’ve been reading. They are clever and dangerous; they are also often protective. In ancient Egypt, they were sacred. In Japan, they are believed to bring luck and wealth into a dwelling. I think they do. Also, I firmly believe they bring out the best in people. I said recently, only half joking, that all diplomatic negotiations should take place in a room full of cats! When we respond to them, they make us better humans.

Finally, there are two movies about cats that I’d highly recommend. The first is a Turkish film called “Kedi” that traces five stray cats throughout their meanderings around Istanbul. It also shows the sweet and caring way random people respond to them. The second is “Cat Nation,” a documentary about the popularity of cats in Japan. It’s a beautiful example of animism in action at times.

I also recommend “The Cats of San Martino,” a short story by Ellen Steiber in the anthology “Black Heart, Ivory Bones.” It’s a re-imagining of an Italian folk-tale about the King of the Cats. I love this tale. There’s also the book “The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles” by Kij Johnson, a beautiful book that makes me wonder about the stories cats tell about themselves.

I’m still pondering this. In the meantime, those of you who have cats, tell me your magical tales. ^__^.  And if you have any books or stories to recommend, feel free to post here.

 

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Posted on October 15, 2018, in Lived Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I loved Kedi! If you haven’t seen it already, you should watch The Cat Returns – a Girls Underground anime movie about the weird land of cats.

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  2. Thank you, Dver.:)

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  3. I do some work on a local reservation, and there is an interesting belief among the natives there about pets in general, but especially cats and dogs. It is believed that a cat or dog can “take on” part of your fate for you. For instance, if a man falls ill but has unfinished business, and his dog cares for him, the dog may choose to fall ill and take a premature death in that man’s stead. It seems like everybody up here has a story of an animal acting as a sort of guardian in that regard.

    As for stories and fairy tales, the childrens’ book “The Cat Who Went To Heaven”, based on a Buddhist fable, is one of my favorites.

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    • I completely believe that some pets can choose to take on sickness and other things, of their own free will. I had a very special dog who I quite literally honor for saving my life. She did live to a ripe old age (15), but she was a particularly strong being (having known other dogs), and her love and protection during the darkest and most difficult time in my life…..I really have no words that give her gifts justice! She was there for me when the people in my life struggled. I know some people may scoff, but I have a section of my Ancestor altar to her (and other special pets), and often raise a memory horn to her.

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  4. Tailchaser’s Song

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  5. I’m surprised no one else has yet recommended this, but Neil Gaiman’s Sandman had an issue called “The Dream of a Thousand Cats” that was pretty good, if one likes Gaiman and that particular story…! And wasn’t there a Stephen King-based film called Cat’s Eye that also featured a cat that protected its owner from some little supernatural beastie? (There was also a Gaiman short story about such, where he brought in a stray cat, and it was pretty beat up, and then it protected him personally from The Devil…?!?)

    Yeah…cats. I’m more of a dog person myself, but there are some neighborhood cats around the apartment complex here, and I sometimes stop and talk with this one that is very vocal. 😉

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    • Oh, and one I forgot but you should totally see if you haven’t: The Secret of Kells, which is much better than many people give it credit for (because they don’t know how very steeped it is in medieval Irish tradition!), but one of the best parts about it is that it has Pangur Ban, the most famous white Irish cat ever (!?!), as a major character who does some awesome things. Make sure you watch through the end credits, as Mick Lally (who plays Brother Aidan) reads the original Old Irish poem, “Pangur Ban,” in Old Irish…which is from the 8th century, if I remember correctly…Anyway, you’ll love it, and I’ve been told by many that it is even better if certain legal cannabinoids or other entheogens are operating within one when viewing, though it’s pretty mind-bending at parts even without them! 😉

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  6. I’m very much a dog person, but I do know a few cats who I love to bits. They’re great pets and can be very responsive to stimuli us stupid humans tend to miss. Though I still don’t want a cat of my own. Litter boxes are gross, LOL.

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  7. I’ll bet Sannion is happy about getting a cat. As I’m sure has occured to him, one of the animals that can represent Harlequin is the cat along with the monkey

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  8. The Japan Society of New York had an exhibit of art and other materials about cats several years ago that was really good. Here’s a promo vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc_7-YjFoeg . The day I went into the city to see it, my boss also apparently went into the city for the exact same reason, and we encountered each other in one of the exhibit rooms lol. She’s even more into cats than I am.

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  9. Kij Johnson also published “Fudoki,” half of which is a Japanese noblewoman telling her life story as she prepares to retire to a Buddhist nunnery, the other half her tale of a little tortoiseshell cat who was turned into a human by the gods and searches for her place in the world. It’s been a few years since I read it, but I remember liking it a good deal.

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  10. I’ve had cats all my life. I do think they are one of the domestic (I say this lightly – scientific studies have confirmed they aren’t completely domesticated!) animals that have some of the strongest spirits around, with the abilities to hang around past death very easily: back and forth through the veil. If they choose, of course.

    My mother and I once saw the ghost of a cat. I was four, but the fact that we both saw him at the same time was amazing. We were at the house of a family friend, and I heard a meow, and I turned my head to see a black and white cat vanish in thin air. My mom went to follow it into the laundry room, where it vanished again. My mom told the hostess “I didn’t know you had a cat!” She got a funny look on her face, and said she didn’t have a cat. We described the cat to her, and she grew more astonished. She said that her daughter’s cat had recently passed away, a black and white cat, and that he loved sleeping in their laundry room. She showed us a picture of him, and the cat in the picture had the same exact splotched markings of the cat we saw.

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  11. I adore all animals.. and I have managed to collect quite a few cats over the years. At one stage I was up to caring for 6 – four of whom were strays who decided to stay with me (as in.. actually move in!).

    I have come to believe that they absolutely are little furry murderous guardians / sentinels – as much as I have never been that keen of calling them familiars.

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