Still, I had never before known feline love. Oscar doesn’t take to just anyone, and though some of his love and devotion may have been rooted in the little bits of smoked ham I started feeding him, I choose to believe that he came into my life for a reason.
Interestingly, in the book Secondhand Spirits I had already named my character’s familiar Oscar. Now does that seem like a coincidence as well?
One major difference, though: Lily’s familiar in Secondhand Spirits is a goblin/gnome-like critter who transforms himself into a miniature pot-bellied pig.
Who ever heard of a piggy familiar?
Three witches riding a pig (The Witches of Northamptonshire 1612)
Pigs have been identified as powerful witches’ familiars throughout much of the world. Pigs are smart, live close to homes in traditional villages, and “go wild” easily even if raised in captivity.
Also, pigs “root” in the earth, turning over dirt, rocks and sod to find their treasures. According to Judika Illes’ Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, root-working is an ancient form of magic associated with great botanical knowledge:
The term “root-worker”…implies power and knowledge and a special relationship with Earth and her protective spirits…once upon a time, it was not considered safe to disturb the Earth, unless one knew proper rituals and had received permission to dig.
In Greek mythology, Circe lived on the island of Aeaea and was known for her knowledge of botanical potions. She was fond of transforming her enemies, or those who had offended her, into animals. Notably, she turned Odysseus’ men into swine.