Monday, February 13, 2012

"Is Your Pet a Familiar?" Guest Post by Donald Michael Kraig

Note by Devin O'Branagan: In San Diego, in the late 1970's, I belonged to a circle of special friends that included Scott Cunningham, Raven Grimassi, and Donald Michael Kraig. We worked in circle together and often joked that there must have been something in the ritual wine that inspired us to all become writers. I am proud to have my good friend, Donald Michael Kraig (author of Modern Magick) as my guest blogger today:

Although it happened over two decades ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was in high school and still living with my parents and brother is a small, West Los Angeles home. We had a small back yard—very small—but instead of a wall behind us there was only a chain link fence opening to an enormous, well-tended yard, making our small yard look huge. We had the benefits of a large back yard without the trouble to keep it looking nice.

We also had a family pet, a dog named “Rummy.” Actually, he was the third dog of that name. All of them were mutts that were mostly cocker spaniel. The brownish color of their coats, similar to the color of rich rum, was the source of the name. Well, and the fact that my father worked for Rums of Puerto Rico also had something to do with it.

Every dog has its own personality. Rummy III was mostly quiet except on two occasions. If someone went by the house he would go crazy, barking up a storm. If it was an adult coming by, he was ready to attack. If it was a child, he wanted nothing better than to go out and play. He loved children but hated new adults.

The other time he became highly active was when we, his family, came home from being out of the house. He’d bark, run around, and jump up on us in greeting. We’d have to gently put our knees into his chest to get him off of us. This wasn’t like a sudden knew or a kick, it was a determined but gentle shove. We’d also have to pet him and compliment him to get him to calm down.

Psychic Pets
Is your pet psychic? I have no doubt that Rummy was. Living in Los Angeles, my father commuted, by car, to work. Every late afternoon hundreds of cars of every make and model would drive by our suburban home. We never knew exactly the time my father would arrive home from work because the traffic could be good or quite bad. And yet, every day, five days a week, about four or five minutes before my father drove into our driveway, Rummy would start to go crazy, running around the house and barking. He wouldn’t stop until my father had shoved him off with a knee and then spent a few minutes petting him.

How did Rummy know? Could he really tell the difference between the sounds of the engine in the car my father was driving from the engines of other cars? I don’t think so. And when my father got a new car Rummy was still able to perform this feat. My only skeptical solution is that the dog had some psychic bond to my father and could sense him when he was close.

But this wasn’t the only instance of Rummy’s psychic abilities. He seemed to do very well on his own, only asking for attention if I were feeling down or depressed. How did he know that I needed him to come up and stick his nose into my hand, asking for and giving affection at just that time? What could he detect and how did he know to choose to act on it?

The most amazing bit of psychic activity he exhibited had to do with my grandmother. She was over 70 and had fallen and broken her hip, requiring hip replacement surgery. We decided to have her come and live with us for a few weeks until she could live more independently.

We brought her home from the hospital. Rummy jumped on my mother and me, then on my father. Now, he was only about 20 or 25 pounds, but it could have been a disaster if he had jumped on my rather frail grandmother. After making the rounds of us, we were frankly terrified that he was going to jump on her. Instead, he looked at her quizzically, then put his muzzle into her hand and gently rubbed against her hand.

How did he know? Did he sense something in her? Did he sense our worry and then acted appropriately? What amazing psychic senses did he have that would allow him to do these things?

According to the book, The Witch’s Familiar by Raven Grimassi, a familiar is an intelligent spirit that would dwell within the physical body of an animal. A Witch could get information and advice from such a familiar.

Well, I’d say that many of us have pets with amazing abilities that we can only call “psychic.” Grimassi gives one explanation as to how they seem to know what to do at important junctures in our lives.  But it is only one solution to this phenomenon.

I know Rummy was, in some way, psychic. Now I live with a dog that is mostly a beagle mix. His personality is completely different from Rummy’s, and yet he, too, exhibits psychic abilities. When we have guests in our home, “Charlie” will inevitably lay next to a person who is ailing, as if he is trying to help heal the person with his own doggie energies.

What about your pet? Is he or she your familiar? Does it have inexplicable abilities? Please share some of your experiences at Facebook or Twitter. Also, please visit my website at