When midnight drew near, and the robbers from afar saw that no light was burning, and that everything appeared quiet, their captain said to them
that he thought they had run away without reason, telling every one of
them to go and reconnoiter.
So one of them went, and found
everything quite quiet. He went into the kitchen to strike a light, and
taking the glowing fiery eyes of the cat for burning coals, he held a
match to them in order to kindle it. But the cat, not seeing the joke,
flew into his face, spitting and scratching.
- The Bremen Town Musicians
spell works best if a bit of cat hair or a naturally-shed cat’s claw
can be obtained, but substitutions can be made, particularly if the
caster suffers from allergies!
In a glass bottle or small jar, combine the following:
Palmful of Juniper Berries
Pinch of Cumin
Spoonful of Red Peppercorns
10 Small Pins, preferably rusted or bent
Seeds of 1 Hot Pepper of Choice
Cat Fur or Claw
a real cat is not available for donations of fur or claw, a simple
picture of a cat can be placed into the container. Something
ferocious-looking would be appropriate.
Take the jar around the house and touch it to all the exterior doorjambs and windowsills. As you do, speak softly to it:
Eyes like coals of burning fire Let all intruders taste your ire Claws as hard and sharp as steel Here and gone, but feeling real If uninvited in they come With tooth and claw, defend our home
the jar where it won’t be disturbed, or bury it beside your doorstep.
(Note: If you move away, you will need to retrieve the jar and either
empty it to dismiss the spirit, or take the jar with you.)
aware: this spell summons a guardian spirit to look after your home. You
will need to feed and keep it to a certain extent, as you would with
any other creature sharing your living space. A simple saucer of milk
and slice of bread every once in a while should do the trick. (These
offerings should be left out overnight, then quietly disposed of in the
It will also be important to notify the guardian spirit
of anyone who is allowed to be in the home when you’re not there, such
as friends or family or housesitters. Otherwise, the spirit will take
any interloper as a potential threat and try to drive them out.
- From the forthcoming book, “The Sisters Grimmoire” by Bree NicGarran and Anna Zollinger
My man Godfrey here has figured out that the best way to take up space in my bed without being rolled over on or kicked is to wrap himself around my head. He does seem to understand that being used as a Kindle stand is the price of being ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS; you’d be surprised how long he holds still for this.
(And in case you’re wondering, I’m rereading Ready Player Oneto get myself psyched up for Armada, which is finally coming out this summer, hooray!)
One of those bizarre and cruel European traditions involving animals was the practice of cat burning, which originated in the Middle Ages. At the time cats were often symbolic of evil and dark magic. Thus it was not uncommon to celebrate the holidays by burning cats, I kid you not. Throughout most of Europe cat burning died out after the Middle Ages. However in France the tradition of cat burning carried on, growing stronger until around the mid to late 18th century. Typically on the summer solstice of June 24th, in which St. John was celebrated, a large bonfire was made in the city square in which dozens if not hundreds of cats, contained in barrels, wicker baskets, or sacks would be flung into the inferno. One of the largest and most popular annual cat burnings was the inferno at Paris, attended by French monarchs, nobles, politicians, and much of the French court. In 1648 King Louis XIV himself had the honor of personally kindling the cat burning bonfire. Different cities and regions had different practices, as described by the historian Robert Darnton in his book The Great Cat Massacre,
“A favorite object was cats — cats tied up in bags, cats suspended from ropes, or cats burned at stake. Parisians liked to incinerate cats by the sackful, while the Courimauds (or "cour à miaud” or cat chasers) of Saint Chamond preferred to chase a flaming cat through the streets. In parts of Burgundy and Lorraine they danced around a kind of burning May pole with a cat tied to it. In the Metz region they burned a dozen cats at a time in a basket on top of a bonfire. The ceremony took place with great pomp in Metz itself, until it was abolished in 1765. … Although the practice varied from place to place, the ingredients were everywhere the same: a “feu de joie” (bonfire), cats, and an aura of hilarious witch-hunting. Wherever the scent of burning felines could be found, a smile was sure to follow.“
Another eyewitness was a priest and secret atheist named Jean Meslier,
"Among other things, these mischievous, brutal madmen make [the cats] cruelly suffer harsh and violent tortures in their entertainments and even in public celebrations; they tie up nipping cats to the end of some pole they set up and at the bottom of which they light the fires of joy where they burn them alive to have the pleasure of seeing the violent movements and hearing the frightening cries that these poor unfortunate beasts are forced to make because of the harshness and violence of the tortures.”
The practice of cat burning was eventually banned in many cities around the mid 18th century, and finally nationally abolished during the French Revolution.