Omens

The Prophetic Cat Sneeze


Some Italians believed that a cat sneeze meant good fortune for all who heard it.

In other parts of the world, a cat sneeze on the morning of a wedding meant the couple would have a happy marriage. On any other day, however, it signaled rain.

If a cat sneezed three times in a row, some were convinced that everyone in the house would come down with a cold.

(At my house, a cat sneeze is prophetic of the need to dust!)

Cat Symbolism and Lore

Even the most common household cat has a mystique about it and the potential for the supernatural powers that man has ascribed to cats for thousands of years.

At various times, and in different places, it has been regarded as a holy or a diabolical beast, as a bringer of good fortune or as an omen of evil. In antiquity it was sacred to more than one divinity.

Artemis / Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt was associated with the cat, also notorious for its hunting skills. The followers of Diana revered cats because they were under her special protection, and because she once assumed that form. So too, in pagan Scandinavia, Freya, the goddess of love and fertility, was associated with them, her chariot was drawn by them.

Typically, in Western civilizations, the cat (particularly if it is black) belongs to the witch; it is her familiar, her companion and her alter ego. As such, the cat shares magickal secrets and arcane knowledge which, of course, she cannot explain to mere mortals, since they don’t speak her language. There is an unspoken communication between the witch and her grimalkin that transcends any language used by other creatures.

In the Saga or Eric the Red, there is a very complete description of a witch or prophetess that was a mistress of rune-craft, the art of reading the runes. Part of the description of her costume includes a hood “lined with white cat skin” and “cat-skin mittens.”

When it sleeps, the cat curls itself into a circle with its head touching its tail, making a shape that is very similar to the ouroboros. Like this ancient mythical creature, the cat is a symbol of immortality.

Cat Symbolism and MagickThe Ancient Egyptians regarded the cat so highly that they revered it as a deity. The Egyptian Bast, or Pasht, was cat-headed and attended by cats, and consequently every member of the cat family was loved and venerated in ancient Egypt. To kill one was sacrilege. When a household pet died, its owner shaved off his eyebrows as a token of mourning and performed funeral rites for it.

Bast was the cat goddess, and mortal cats whose fur was of three different colors, or who had eyes of different shades were honored in particular for their Bast-like appearance; it is not just the black cat that holds power. Bast is often depicted with a knife in her paw, having beheaded Apophis, the enemy of the Sun.

Egyptian priests believed that cats carried the magnetic forces of nature and so close proximity to the creatures enabled them to access these powers. If a cat died a natural death in the home, the Egyptians would shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning.

It was in ancient Egypyt that the belief began that a black cat crossing your path brings good luck. The opposite tradition began in the Middle Ages in Europe.

Cats fared badly during the dark times of the Middle Ages because of the association between witches and cats. Black cats were believed to be witches in disguise. An alternative belief was that after seven years of service to a witch, a black cat would turn into a witch. Consequently, a black cat crossing your path was an indication of bad luck, as the devil was watching you.

The cat does not an honorable reputation in the Buddhist tradition either. Because it was absent at the physical death and spiritual liberation of the Buddha, it is viewed with suspicion as a base, earthly creature, lacking respect, which really should have been present at such an auspicious occasion. The only other creature that was not there was the serpent.

The link between the cat and the serpent comes in the Kabbalah, too, and also in Christianity; in pictures where the cat appears at the feet of Christ it carries the same negative imagery as the snake.

In Islam, cats are regarded favorably unless they are black, in which case they are viewed with great suspicion since djinn can transform themselves into black cats. Additionally, the magical powers of the cat are ambivalent, used either for or against man, this refers to the indifference with which a cat treats its prey.

In the Western tradition of cat lore, the animal has nine lives, whereas its Eastern cousin has to manage with only seven.

A Persian belief about the cat echoes the idea of the witch with her familiar. Some people are born with a hemzad,  a spirit that accompanies the person throughout his or her life and takes the form of a cat. That its blood is particularly powerful for writing charms further underlines the universally “magical” nature of the cat.

In Africa, too, the clairvoyant powers of the animal are renowned, and so medicine bags made of cat skin are imbued with supernatural powers.

Interestingly, the cat is not in the Chinese Zodiac. One folktale explanation is that heard Buddha saw Cat playing with mice for fun and did not allow that kind of sin into the zodiac.

Another folk story tells that Cat and Rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although they were poor swimmers, they were both quite intelligent. To get to the meeting called by the Jade Emperor, they had to cross a river to reach the meeting place. The Jade Emperor had also decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal as they arrived to the meeting.

Cat and Rat decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of Ox. Ox, being naive and good-natured, agreed to carry them both across. Midway across the river, Rat pushed Cat into the water. Then as Ox neared the other side of the river, Rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first. So he claimed first place in the competition and the zodiac.

Borrowed from: Sigils Symbols and Signs

The Cat as a Magickal Ingredient

Egyptian priests believed that cats carried the magnetic forces of nature and so close proximity to the creatures enabled them to access these powers.

  • Ruler: Bastet and/or Freya
  • Type: animal
  • Magickal Form: alive, whiskers, hair

This animal is the most common of the witches’ familiars. They are very sensitive to occult workings and wise in the ways of the goddess. In order to make the cat a familiar, it must taste the blood of the witch.

The correct way to do this is to let the cat become your familiar in his or her own time. You will know when this occurs, as he or she will take a good hard bite out of your hand, cheek, or leg and draw blood. Voila! You are now bonded for eternal life.

Cat’s are excellent weather forecasters, and can be used in various methods of divination.

When a cat drops a whisker, place it on the altar for good luck. It is very bad luck to cut or pluck a whisker from a cat. Cat hair may be obtained by rubbing the back against the grain. Add the hairs to gamblers’ luck potions to increase your chances of winning.

  • Black cats are very lucky indeed and you will be blessed when one crosses your path.
  • Red cats and calico cats bring money.
  • A Gray cat will protect you.
  • A Siamese cat will bring laughter into your life.

Borrowed from: Magickal Ingredients

Ailuromancy – Divination With Cats

Ailuromancy or aeluromancy , also known as felidomancy, is a form of theriomancy. It is divination using cats’ movements or jumps to predict future events, especially the weather.

Cats have been revered as magical since the time of the ancient Egyptians. One of the most common methods of ailuromancy utilizes the movements and behaviors of a cat to predict upcoming weather patterns.

Weather forecasting With Cats:

  • A cat washing itself is believed to be a forecast of rain.
  • If a cat sneezes it will rain.
  • If the cat turns its tail to a fire or any substituting heat source, it foretells a possible change in weather, particularly the coming of heavy rain or hard frost.
  • If a cat sits with its back to the fire, it is a sure sign of frost.
  • If a cat curls up with its forehead touching the ground, it indicates that storms will happen in the near future.

Other forecasts:

  • To see a cat wash behind its ears is a sign that a visitor will call.
  • If a fisherman’s wife keeps a black cat in her house, her man will return safely from sea.

Gloom and doom:

  • If a cat leaves a house when there is illness within, and will not be coaxed back, the sick person will die.
  • A sick person will die if he or she dreams of cats or sees two cats fighting.
  • If a cat sneezes three times in a row, everyone in the family will come down with a cold.

Your cat may also assist in divination:

Leave a door open and think of a question that can be answered yes or no. Call your cat into the room and notice which paw it first places on the floor. If it is the right forepaw, the answer is yes; if the cat steps with the left, the answer is no.

Borrowed from: Divination

Weather Forecasting – Feline Style

In almost every country where they were known, cats were believed to have mystical powers, and among other things, to be able to foretell and control the weather. Here is a list of what can be expected weather-wise based on cat behavior and actions:

  • When cats run about wildly, or claw at carpets and cushions, wind is coming.
  • A cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means bad weather is coming.
  • When the pupil of a cat’s eye broadens, there will be rain.
  • A cat washing itself is believed to be a forecast of rain.
  • To throw a cat overboard causes an immediate storm at sea.
  • If a cat sneezes it will rain.
  • If the cat turns its tail to a fire or any substituting heat source, it foretells a possible change in weather, particularly the coming of heavy rain or hard frost.
  • If a cat sits with its back to the fire, it is a sure sign of frost.
  • If a cat curls up with its forehead touching the ground, it indicates that storms will happen in the near future.
  • If a cat continually looks out a window on any day, rain is on the way.
  • Sailors believed that if a cat licked its fur against the grain it meant a hailstorm was coming; if it sneezed, rain was on the way; and if it was frisky, the wind would soon blow.
  • A German belief says that mistreating a cat can cause a rainstorm to occur on the clothes you’ve hung out to dry.
  • It was a popular belief that cats could start storms through magic stored in their tails – so sailors always made sure that they were well-fed and contented.
  • If a cat licks its fur in the opposite way that it naturally lies, there will be significant rain.
  • Alternatively, if the cat calmly and smoothly washes itself, expect fair weather.
  • Forgetting to feed your cat on your wedding day is an invitation to the rain.
  • To see a cat eating grass foretells rain.
  • Anyone who makes cats his enemy is certain to be accompanied to the grave with wind and rain.
  • If the cat tears of the cushions or carpet with its claws, it is a sign that wind is coming, as we say, “the cat is raising the wind“.
  • If cats are playing in the house and an unusually lively way, windy or stormy weather is approaching.
  • If the cat while washing its face draws its paw over its forehead it is a sign of good weather. If not, it means speedy rain.
  • Indonesians and Malays believe that if you wash your cat it will bring rain.

Borrowed from: Divination

Dreaming About Cats

There is quite a bit of lore on the meanings of cats in your dreams. Some of it is conflicting, and in order to find the true meaning in your own dream, it’s important to know what cats mean to you personally, and what the prevailing folklore about cats was during the time you were growing up.

Some General Ideas

Some say that cats in dreams are a symbol for your intuition, and that the health of the cat indicates whether you are heeding or ignoring your intuition. A dream about a sick cat, then, might mean that you need to listen to your intuition more and rely less on intellect.

Other interpretations claim that cats in dreams symbolize femininity, softness, an independent spirit, creativity, power, misfortune, vulnerability, bad luck, deceit and falseness.

An aggressive cat might suggest difficulty with the feminine aspect of yourself. Being afraid of the dream cat implies there is some fear associated with your femininity. A dream feline may be a symbol for someone in your life who is “catty” or malicious. Being scratched by a cat in a dream suggests that you feel threatened.

Dreaming that you cannot find your cat is a metaphor for your independent spirit, and that you feel someone or something is holding you back from being free. Saving a dream cat’s life suggests that you are reclaiming your independence and power.

To see a frisky cat playing in your dream suggests a need to be more carefree and playful in your own life. Cats in your dream can reflect your need to feel loved, or your fear that you’re being untrue to others so they will love you. A house full of cats in a dream represents excessive illusions or things that you believe to be untrue.

Dreams about a wild cat may indicate that a neighbor could be dangerous or that you will have some sort of dispute with them. Dreaming about fighting with a cat could be a warning that you’ll be robbed or cheated in some way, whereas cuddling with a cat in a dream suggests that your enemies can be “tamed.” A cat biting you in a dream symbolizes the loss of something, typically relating to those closest to you.

Dreams about Kittens

Although adult cats are usually associated with independence and self-reliance, kittens are seen as helpless beings. Dreaming about kittens, then, could indicate that you are feeling vulnerable, scared or need help.

When women dream about cats, the felines are thought to be a symbol of how she views herself. This includes not only her physical body but also her intuition, independence, creativity and her relationships with men.

Men Dreaming of Cats

When a man dreams about cats, the felines are said to symbolize his attitude towards women, or how he thinks women perceive him. A purring cat means the man thinks women find him attractive and he feels comfortable around women. A hissing cat suggests that he feels rejected by women or that there are problems in his relationship.

More Lore on Cat Dreams

  • If you dream of a tortoiseshell cat, you will be lucky in love.
  • If you dream of a ginger cat, you will be lucky in money and business.
  • If you dream of a black and white cat, you’ll have luck with children; may also mean the birth of a child.
  • If you dream of a tabby, you will have luck for your home and all who live there.
  • If you dream of a multicolored cat, you will have luck making friends.
  • Dreaming of white cat means good luck.
  • To dream of a white cat means luck in creativity, spiritual matters, divination and spellcraft.
  • A dream of two cats fighting means illness or a quarrel.
  • Seeing a black cat in your dream indicates that you are experiencing some fear in using your psychic abilities and believing in your intuition.
  • To dream of a gray cat means to be guided by your dreams.
  • If you dream about a cat with no tail, then it means lost independence.
  • If you dream of an aggressive cat, it suggests that you are having problems with the feminine aspect of yourself.
  • To dream of being badly scratched by a cat means sickness and trouble.
  • To dream of a black cat is lucky.
  • If you heard the noise of alley cats in your dream, it is a warning to avoid an indiscreet acquaintance in your immediate circle.
  • If you hear the scream or the mewing of a cat, a false friend is trying to do you harm.
  • To dream of seeing a cat and snake on friendly terms signifies the beginning of an angry struggle.
  • Dreaming of a cat is sometimes regarded as a sign of bad luck in the future.
  • American folklore has it that dreaming of a white cat is good luck.
  • It is said that to dream of cats is unfavorable as this denotes treachery.

Borrowed from: Divination

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― Colette

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