what is a familiar spirit and how to recognize it

Familiar Spirit , What Is it?

Familiar: Well known from long or close association. “their faces will be familiar to many of you” in close friendship; intimate. “she had not realized they were on such familiar terms” synonyms:informal, casual, relaxed, easy, comfortable, a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.

Familiar Spirit: The word familiar is from the Latin family, meaning a “household servant,” and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them. These are familiar spirits.

Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; and Deuteronomy 18:9-14 refer to “mediums and familiar spirits” and forbids being involved with them, as they are an abomination to the Lord. A medium is one who acts as a liaison to supposedly contact or communicate with the dead on behalf of the living. In reality mediums are contacting demons who convince the mediums that they are “familiar” and can be trusted and believed. The practices associated with mediums and familiar spirits were banned in Israel, and the punishment for practicing such things was death.

Familiar spirits and spirit guides are under the control of their master, Satan. They influence people to spread lies and deceit in order to thwart the kingdom of God. To knowingly open oneself to the work of demons is an evil thing: “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in [a] fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12a).

Some avenues through which demons or “familiar spirits” can gain entrance into a person’s life are divination, transcendental meditation, visualization, necromancy, witchcraft, drugs, and alcohol. These are all activities that believers are exhorted to avoid. Instead, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, with love, with joy, and with the fullness of life that comes from Jesus Christ. We are also to be on guard, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Familiar spirits – What are they?The term “familiar spirits” is used nine times in the King James Version of the New Testament in reference to demons. The idea literally refers to demons that are close or familiar to a person, such as a medium or sorcerer. 

The first mention of this phrase is found in Leviticus 19:31: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God” (KJV). God’s people were not to consult with mediums or fortunetellers. Leviticus 20:6 notes God’s opposition to involvement with people who communicate with evil or familiar spirits: “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people” (KJV).

Deuteronomy 18:10-11 offers the next mention of familiar spirits, stating, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer” (KJV). Again, the term is used in connection with a fortuneteller, a practice forbidden from God’s people under the Law of Moses.

In 1 Samuel 28:3 and 9, we find King Saul had removed witches, wizards, and mediums from Israel. Verse 3 states, “And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land” (KJV). Yet in desperation Saul sought a medium so he could summon the spirit of Samuel for help during a difficult time. The result was a judgment that soon took the life of Saul and his sons.

In 2 Kings 21:6, King Manasseh’s reign was described as evil: “And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger” (KJV). Consulting evil spirits was listed alongside witchcraft and child sacrifice. During King Josiah’s reign, his reforms included removing those who consulted familiar spirits (2 Kings 23:24).

The final two times familiar spirits are mentioned in the King James Version are found in Isaiah. Isaiah 8:19 says, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” (KJV). God called His people to consult Him, not other spirits. Isaiah 19:3 adds, “And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards” (KJV). God foretold of judgment upon those who consulted evil spirits.

Familiar spirits are evil spirits, or demons, that have no place in the life of a Christian. We are to live by God’s Spirit and stand against the spiritual forces of evil as we seek to live for the Lord (Ephesians 6:12).

According to Compelling Truth I have provided you with some very vital information regarding familiar spirits in the above paragraphs. So now I present to you my personal experience. A missionary from our district in Southern Arizona was visiting our church one Sunday morning. After service I approached her to say hi, introduce myself and be in the presence of what I thought was this great woman.

When she busted my bubble with the words, “you have a familiar spirit ” well it blew my mind, I begin looking up familiar spirits definition. Asking various ones what did it actually mean to have a familiar spirit. This comment left me speakless, but with many questions plaguing me. After all the praying and trying my best to live according to the bible. Being mindful others or esteeming others more than myself. But this is what I get, spiritual crushed by someone who didn’t even know me. One who walks around acting as if they had an authority on others spirituality.

When I tell you, you must be spiritually rooted and grounded or know who you are or whose you are, I mean just that. Your hope, your faith, or your confidence is in Christ. You must read and study God’s word. Fasting and praying is essential. Waiting to hear from God Himself. The best way to know who you are and what God requires from you will only come from taking time to get familiar with the Bible, and ultimately a intimate personal relationship with God.

Throughput your walk with Christ, many people will try to prophesy to you, and say to you something that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I remembered when a different missionary told me I was losing weight because I was back on drugs. The only thing about that situation was, that I never did drugs. Basically she lied on God, when she made that comment. But was I supposed to tell her she was lying? I guess I could have said her information was inaccurate. But I was so surprised it left me speakless.

Now that I am much older, and a little more out spoken, I can now express myself in a very mature Christian manner today. Trying not to embarrass that person. So I say to you, know who you are, be confident, and stop negative feedback immediately, especially if it concerns you and is not true.

ENCOURAGE YOURSELF: According to Jude 20-25 King James Version (KJV)

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


  1. Very interesting post! As someone who used to be in the new age, I know about familiars very well. I always thought they were a little weird, like why would you want a random spirit so close to you that you will never be able to control? Anyway, thanks for adding the appropriate Bible verses to go with your post, I appreciate that! 😊


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