An animal used in spellcasting, often thought to be more than just an animal but a spirit in animal form.

However familiars are more than just a tool for magick. A familiar is the spellcaster's companion and in many cases friend. The two share a mental bond, frequently of almost telepathic level. The two share a life-bond, a symbiosis as it were; there is a mutual agreement between them. The arrangement is *not* the spellcaster just *using* the animal, but the creature agrees to lend the human his/her powers when needed, in return for life-long protection and care. Except in incredibly incredibly unusual circumstances, familiars are taken *one* at a time because of this life-bond. To "disown" your familiar by taking another is the highest level of betrayal imaginable.

Familiars must be animals, one spellcaster cannot take another human as a 'familiar'--*will* gets in the way; the presence of sentience in some odd way negates the ability to be a familiar. This is *not* to say that the familiar animals are stupid or unthinking; rather they think and act on an emotional/intuitive/instinctive level rather than a cognitive one.

Common familiars are cats, owls, and (if you believe in them) small dragons. Also taken not infrequently are rats, bats, and toads. There are one or two recorded cases of skunks as familiars as well. Familiars are not *limited* to these animals; rather these species tend naturally more towards psychic planes and so are able to provide the needed talents, but any animal *can* have familiar potential and any species can have its representative.

Familiar is also the name of a Linux distribution for the iPaq handheld and similar StrongARM based mobile devices. It is something like a cut-down Debian distribution. It comes with a package manager, called ipkg, which is very similar to the Debian package manager in that it can download packages itself, and automatically downloads all required dependencies. A full installation of Familiar is approximately 20 megabytes, this includes all your favourite Linux commands, X, Python, gtk and various media players. It leaves you with about 12 megabytes to play with (there seems to be a clustering of mobile devices with the following specs: 206MHz StrongARM, 32MB Flash, 64MB RAM, 240x320 VGA screen).

Familiar is supported in a number of ways by the remnants of Compaq, by, for example, providing web space for the project at:

Its big brother is Initimate (geddit, Familiar is something that follows you around, an Intimate is like a more capable familiar).

Fa*mil`iar (?), a. [OE. familer, familier, F. familier, fr. L. familiaris, fr. familia family. See Family.]


Of or pertaining to a family; domestic.

"Familiar feuds."



Closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion; well versed in, as any subject of study; as, familiar with the Scriptures.


Characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible.

"In loose, familiar strains."


Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Shak.


Well known; well understood; common; frequent; as, a familiar illustration.

That war, or peace, or both at once, may be As things acquainted and familiar to us. Shak.

There is nothing more familiar than this. Locke.


Improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate.


Familiar spirit, a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend at call.

1 Sam. xxviii. 3, 7-9.


© Webster 1913.

Fa*mil"iar, n.


An intimate; a companion.

All my familiars watched for my halting. Jer. xx. 10.


An attendant demon or evil spirit.


3. Court of Inquisition

A confidential officer employed in the service of the tribunal, especially in apprehending and imprisoning the accused.


© Webster 1913.

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