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By: Lillianth Invictus

Symbolic Meanings:

Mystery and Intrigue Powerful Psychic Abilities Astral Projection

Strength & Sensuality Strong Personal Magic Courage and Determination

Have you ever been owned by a Black Cat? If you have, then you are already aware of the depth of their mysticism. If not, I highly recommend seeking one out and encourage it to join your home. Black Cats have wonderful personalities and a huge capacity for love and loyalty. They are more of a companion than a pet as they exude wisdom and cunning, while maintaining a charismatic aloofness. Their strength and courage are attributes they don’t mind sharing with you, if and when you need their support.

A Love/Hate History

Black Cats have the worst unfounded reputation in the animal kingdom. Born out of fear and extremely bad press, the downfall of these beautiful creatures most likely originated from ancient Greece, where Hecate, a chthonic Goddess of Witchcraft, the Underworld and the Moon, was assisted by a Black Cat as her familiar.

The Goddess Hecate with her familiar
The Goddess Hecate

The fear of Black Cats grew and overran Europe with superstition and paranoia during the Middle Ages. These docile creatures were seen as the bringers of the Bubonic Plague. Thousands of cats, black especially, were killed in an effort to slow the spread of the illness. Ironically, by doing so, this contributed to the spread of the disease since there were no cats around to kill the rats who were the actual carriers of the plague.

Of course, the most famous of dark and sinister acts against Black Cats came during the witch hunts of Europe and America. Christianity turned positive traditions with Black Cats upside-down by associating them with Satan, witches, evil, and any other negative things that came to mind. Black Cats were seen as accomplices to witches and warlocks and often suffered the same fate as those accused of witchcraft.

The black cat as the witch’s familiar in the 17th century, woodcut. Mary Evans Picture Library
The black cat as the witch’s familiar in the 17th century, woodcut. Mary Evans Picture Library

They were seen as demons or shapeshifters, sometimes being accused of being a witch in disguise. The "Vox in Rama", a document issued by Pope Gregory IX in 1233, accused Black Cats of being a link to the devil. This document marked the beginning of the inquisition, a witch hunt that lasted centuries and claimed the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

All that being said, there were and still are pockets of admirers scattered around the world. For instance, in both Scotland and Ireland, Black Cats are seen as good luck. If one happens to pay you a visit at your home, it signified good luck and prosperity. Sailors adored Black Cats as their presence on the ship seemed to bring calm seas and good weather. Their skill at catching rats and mice was considered a bonus as well.

A black cat, I’ve heard it said,

Can charm all ill away,

And keep the house wherein it dwells

From fever’s deadly sway.

~ Welsh Folklore Rhyme 1896

A statue of the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast
The Cat Goddess Bast

The most notable of societies that revere the Black Cat is found in Egypt. For millennia, Black Cats have been kept in the houses of peasants and nobles alike as they are considered a manifestation of Bast, an Egyptian Cat Goddess known for her powers of protection and fertility. A daughter of the Sun God Ra and Isis, she was seen as a defender of the Pharoah and of her father. One of the most significant members of her family was Wadjet, one of the oldest Egyptian Goddess that hailed from the Southern Delta. As Bast was from the Sun, Wadjet was known as the “Eye of the Moon”.

Legends and Mythology

The significance of Black Cats in our society can be measured by the stories and beliefs surrounding them. There are thousands of myths, superstitions and lore from all around the world. Let’s explore some:

Celtic Mythology: The Sith or Sidhe, a large Black Cat with one white dot on his chest or belly. Sith was considered a fairy or witch depending on the tale, and he could transform nine times, anytime he wished. Folklore tells us that the Sith can claim souls before they move through the Veil unless distracted by mourners telling riddles or playing music. His is not an overtly evil figure as he blesses homes on Samhain that leave him a bit of cream during the night.

Persia: Pestering a Black Cat brings harm because it is part of your spirit-self given as a companion and helpmate in Earthly realms.

Scotland: Place Black Kittens on your porch. They ward off misfortune and attract positive events.

Early America: Black Cat bones have magical powers for attracting good fortune and power.

Ireland: A Black Cat crossing your path in the light of the moon portends serious, potentially life-threatening illness.

Arabia: Jinn take the form of Black Cats, who have seven lives.

A Jinn manifesting as a Black Cat

England: A Black Cat walking in front of you takes your troubles with them. If a Black Cat visits your inn, welcome him nicely and he will bring more patrons. Give a black kitten to a newly married couple as a charm for an excellent marriage.

Japan: Single women adore black cats as they consider them a good luck charm for love. Black Maneki Neko cats are used to ward off evil.

Italy: If a Black Cat jumps in bed with a sickly person, they are likely to die.

France: Crossing paths with a Black Cat means something magical is about to happen.

Northern Europe: The Norse Goddess Freyja drove a chariot pulled by a pair of Black Cats.

Appalachia: Rubbing the tail of a Black Cat on a stye would make it go away.

Russia: The appearance of a Black Cat on your path will bring you good luck and prosperity.

Powers and Portents

The Magic of Black Cats is a well hidden secret in modern times. Black Cats are known to bestow their companions with strength and flexibility. A Black Cat can help move you through dark times by providing that emotional shoulder to lean on. With such an air of confidence, they care little for what others think and can help you rise above all the negativity. That being said, they are proud creatures and they take pride in their appearance. If you are avoiding self-care, a Black Cat can show you there is no need to deny yourself of some pampering.

A King of the Night

If you feel the pull of a magical path but can’t seem to find your way, call upon the power of the Black Cat to guide you. They have strong ties to all that is esoteric and can help you discover hidden mysteries and open locked doors. When you need help in making decisions that carry a considerable risk, a Black Cat can show you how to maintain balance and remain steady on your feet.

Black Cats are known to wander into dreams and visions. Their appearance usually signifies a lesson in independence, intuition and embracing the supernatural. They are pathfinders and appear to guide you through the chaos when you seem lost or uncertain. Because of their association with the darkness and the powers of the moon, they serve as a protective guide when, at times, dreams take us to other worlds or dimensions. The appearance of a Black Cat often symbolizes the Feminine side of yourself and may point toward a need to reconnect with the Divine Feminine. If a Black Cat nips at you in your dream, it’s a reminder to trust your intuition and remain aware. If it seems frightened or overly alert, it may represent your insecurities. Showing tenderness to a Black Cat in your dreams means you will soon receive a pleasant gift or act of kindness. Failing to acknowledge or ignoring the presence of these nocturnal guides may result in confusion, indecision or lack of motivation when dealing with crisis or other problems.

In the Present

In this modern area, Black Cats are still looked upon as something to be feared. Sadly, over 70% of abandoned cats are black and they are less likely to find a forever home compared to cats of other colors.

A Black Cat in an Animal Shelter

We are still taught that a black cat crossing our path is considered a bad omen. Actually, the appearance of a Black Cat is all about your perspective. Even though they are seen as a bad sign, a Black Cat is nothing more than a messenger. We should be appreciative of the fact they are still willing to warn us of things to come, even though our treatment of them has been less than desirable. As they say, “Don’t shoot the messenger”. However, there have been attempts in the United States and the United Kingdom to shine a much brighter light on these dark and beautiful felines.

In the UK, the Government has adopted several cats from shelters to serve as royal mousers. Gladstone, a Bombay of exquisite stature, was named Chief Mouser to the HM Treasury in June of 2016.

Gladstone.  Chief Mouser to the HM Treasury

President George W. Bush and his wife Laura was owned by a beautiful shorthair named India or “Willie”. The former President and First Lady lived with India for nearly two-decades. In the UK, October 27 has been designated as ‘Black Cat Day’. British and Irish alike celebrate the virtues of black cats and they encourage people to adopt them. In the United States, August 17 is ‘Black Cat Appreciation Day’. Wayne H. Morris created the day in honor of his late sister, June, who was owned by a Black Cat named Sinbad. Since Black Cats are least likely to be adopted from shelters, almost 30% of cats that are euthanized are black.

So before you cringe at the sight of the next black cat that crosses your path, take a moment to appreciate the majesty of the creature before you. It is there for a reason, in most cases it would be wise to take heed and be nice. You never know what tidings it is bringing you.

Be sure to check out our awesome collection of Black Cat bits and bobs, especially our Black Cat Incense!

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