Many people often wonder if black cats are synonymous to witches, and it’s easy to see why. Ever since the olden days, black cats were believed to be the familiars of witches. Now if you’re a Wiccan, you know it’s not exclusively cats that can be familiars, but not everyone is Wiccan (not everyone is awesome like that)!
This association is not all positive. People who fear witches 9 times out of 10, also fear black cats because they think of them as bringers of bad luck. Anyone who has ever invited a cat into their lives know the joy and positive luck that a black cat brings. I mean, there is no NORMAL and AVERAGE black cat. They are just special in their own way that cannot be likened to any other animal or familiar.
So where did this fear and connection come from?
Christianization of Rome
When Rome became Christian, anything that had anything to do with pagans and Paganism were demonized. This gave birth to the concept of the Devil.
Pagan practices were usually passed down by women, and that's why women were believed to be more susceptible to evil than men. Women are also more likely to have a closer relationship with black cats than men, probably because they stayed home most of the time! Women kept cats as pets and loved them and talked to them.
The Middle Ages
This association persisted in the Middle Ages. Cats are nocturnal in nature. Witches honor the Moon Goddess and perform spells and rituals under her light. This probably strengthened the connection between black cats and witchcraft.
Salem Witch Trials
During the Salem Witch trials, ownership of a cat was already considered evidence of worshipping the Devil, which to them, was synonymous with witchcraft. So Witchcraft became equivalent to Devil Worship. Cats were believed to be messengers of evil or the Devil taking the form of a cat; and they were punished accordingly: by being burned alive.
There is still a popular Christian belief that if a black cat crosses your path in the street, you should either choose a different direction or walk around the cat's path. This is still widely believed today, probably because Christianity is now widely spread.
Black Cats and Witches
What is up with black cats and witches then? Why do we go so well together? Well, because we have the knowledge that the black cat actually represents the Divine. We also know that goddesses took the forms of black cats, namely the Egyptian Goddesses Bast and Isis. The priestesses would even spoil cats back then because they were representatives of the goddess. I think this explains the “royal” nature of cats.
The black cat is also associated with the goddesses of the Moon like Hecate, Diana, and Luna. The daughters of Diana, her priestesses, would dress in black robes made from the fur of black cats due to their association with the goddess.
If there is one animal that shares the same fate as the witches, it would be the black cat. We both have an understanding of the black cat completely and vice versa. Black cats, just like witches, were all part of the natural order of things until we both became maligned in folklore and superstition.
Just like the black cats, witches became symbols of evil when the people let themselves be ruled by the fear of the Devil. The Church lumped black cats and witches together in their war against Pagan traditions and customs.
Black cats are our familiars because a black cat and a witch are two peas in the same pod. Because more often than not, it is the black cat who forms a psychic bond with us witches, us human beings. And our black cat familiar becomes our assistants in our magick and rituals.
Do you have a black cat in your life? We would love to hear about you and your little one in the comments section below! :)