Saturday, October 22, 2016

February Totems: Cat

In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain.  These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. February's totems are Cat, Willow, and Owl.

The totemic associations are as follows:

Cat – (Cath) mystery, magic, secrecy, independence, sensuality
Willow – (Saille) divination, lunar magic, healing, night
Owl – (Comhachag) wisdom, magic, night, inner visions, change


The Cat is an animal of mystery and magic, largely because she is more active and communicative at night. She is capable of observing multiple worlds (physical and non-physical) at one time without making decision or passing judgment. She is very independent, accepting affection on her own terms and warning of caution and respect. The Cat is also a symbol of guardianship, attachment and sensuality.

The Cat is shown in folk tales from around the world. In ancient Egypt, the Cat had special privilege. Bast was shown as a Cat or as having a Cat’s head. In Scandinavia, the Cat was associated with Freya (Goddess of fertility). Her chariot was pulled by the cats Bygul and Trjegul (Beegold/Honey & Treegold/Amber). Shasti (Hindu childbirth Goddess) was shown riding a Cat.

In Celtic world, warriors carried the skin of a wild Cat. The Cat’s qualities of curiosity, 9 lives, independence, cleverness, unpredictability and healing would have been helpful to a warrior.

Because Cat can see and work in spirit world (which lead to the Church torturing and killing thousands of cats in Britain and France) it was believed that witches could take form of Cats. This lead to the belief that a witch’s pet Cat was her familiar (spirit in the form of a Cat).

The Cat is associated with the Goddess and the feminine. Brighid had a cat as a companion. Cerridwen (as the great sow Henwen) gives birth to a wolf-cub, eagle, bee and kitten. The kitten grows into the Palug Cat – one of the 3 Plagues of Anglesey.

The Cat is a fierce guardian (guardian of Otherworldly treasure) in the immrama of Maelduin. And the Celts have many sightings of Cath Sith (Faery Cats), which are Big Cats.

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