The Magical Cat

Cat said ‘I am not a friend, and I am not your servant. I am the Cat who walks by himself, and I wish to come into your Cave.’

Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories.

The cat is a creature often associated with magic, from the sacred cats of ancient Egypt to the archetypal storybook witch with her cat familiar. Aloof, knowing and mysterious, her eyes seem to promise secrets – no wonder the Celts thought you could see fairyland by gazing into a cat’s eyes. We all need a little magic in our lives.

The cat is a paradoxical creature, capable of intense concentration when stalking her prey, but who also knows how to relax completely, curling up before the fire and falling asleep in seconds. She is a wild and bloody huntress, but can be playful and kittenish, a home loving lady who insists on high standards of personal hygiene. She does not waste energy chasing here, there and everywhere – she might miss the clues that reveal her true target. She listens to every whisper on the wind, sniffs the air for every scent, and watches carefully for the slightest movement. She waits quietly until she sees what she really wants, and when it is within her grasp, she moves like lightening, and with one graceful pounce clasps it within her paws. She is a sensuous creature who might purr at your feet or turn and scratch you.

There are numerous Celtic references to cats, but these do not refer to the domestic moggie, which only arrived in Britain with the Romans, but to the wild cat, a larger and more aggressive creature that still inhabits the Scottish Highlands. In Celtic narratives, cats are mysterious, often supernatural, and usually ferocious. The most powerful was Cath Palug, born in Anglesey of the magical white sow Henwen [an aspect of the hag goddess Ceridwen]. It wreaked havoc about the land until King Arthur and his foster brother Cei destroyed it.

Because cats had a connection with the powers of the moon and the Otherworld, they were considered oracular. Even today, old country folk view cats as predictors of the weather, saying that if a cat washes its ears or sneezes, it is sure to rain

Cats have two associations with fertility. Firstly, they can produce several litters a year, and secondly they prey on the rodents that can devastate the pantry or grain stores, thereby protecting both the home and the harvest. In some places, the cat was a representative of the corn spirit, and children trampling cornfields were warned that the phantom cat would get them.

You might as well try to fathom the enigma of the moon goddess who is both virgin and crone, who creates and destroys, or understand the eternal mystery of woman, who is all of these things and more. She is much more than she seems. Cat reminds you that deep within you is a secret self, untamed by the world and its experiences, complex, individual, and needing to be fulfilled.

© Anna Franklin

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Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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