Tag Archives: daimon

Demonic Possession

I have spent the last two posts clarifying some thoughts on demons and, hopefully, knocking off some of the obscuration on this topic. Succinctly, demons are what occultists call sub-lunar spirits, that is, rather than being heavenly beings (i.e. angels) they are ‘closer’ to the earth and its denizens, including human beings. There are a number of categories of sub-lunar spirits; demons seems to fall into the class of spirits that are involved with processes of destruction and dissolution. As such, they get a “bad rap” from a society that fears the process of decay and seeks to hide from and ignore it. This “bad rap” is also the result of the incursion of Abrahamic religions, most specifically Christianity, and their insistence on categorizing anything outside their narrow pantheon as ‘evil’.

Make no mistake though, there is nothing la-dee-da about a demon. This class of spirit is powerful (as many a magician can readily attest) and not to be trifled with. What the demon is not, is innately ‘evil’. As I have pointed out, human beings would be in a fix if they could not tear down the structures that they create and start over. If the forces of destruction and dissolution did not exist, this planet would become uninhabitable at a rapid rate.

Still, the church and popular media continue to promote the idea of demons oppressing and/or possessing people. On the far right wing of the Christian church, I have heard claims that simply being exposed to the ‘wrong’ sort of music can lead to demonic interference in a human life while more conservative elements of the church seem to view demonic interference as a rare but very real phenomenon. Popular media have used the phenomenon to scare people for years, most notably with films like The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose as well as the antics of TV ghost hunters looking for better ratings.

Can a demon possess a human being? Absolutely. Magicians of the Left Hand Path are actually known to perform demonic invocation (i.e. calling the spirit into themselves) so that the spirit can impart some of its power to them. Such possessions are every bit as real as the Vodoun practice of being ridden by the Lwa and they yield very powerful results. They are also, I will note, the result of years of magical practice and discipline and not something that any mage would undertake lightly.

Do demons attempt to possess people as they are walking down the street minding their own business? No. Here’s a simple way to look at this. The demon is one of the 900 pound gorillas of the Otherworld. It pretty much goes where it wants, when it wants and it does its job with efficiency. Human beings are only of tangential concern to it since they are the source of some of its work. The demon has no real reason to deal with people unless they intrude themselves into its world.

Which leads to the next question. Do demons ever engage in hostile possession? Yes. The average person driving to work in the morning, doing their daily tasks and coming home to dinner and some TV has nothing to fear from the demonic realms (barring natural disasters and the like). It is people who walk into the Otherworld at times – mages, shaman, high level psychics – who may attract the attention of demons. Even then there is no guarantee. It all depends on what ‘neighborhoods’ you frequent on the Otherside and, even if you do attract demonic attention, 99% of the time they will ignore you. They have work to do, after all.

1% of the time, however, the world walker may draw their attention. In most cases, one would deal with a demon as one would deal with any powerful dignitary one encountered in this world – respectfully. Good manners go a long way wherever one happens to walk and polite acknowledgment of a demon and a respectful query as to why they happen to be in a certain place will usually yield an equally polite rejoinder and the two beings will go their separate ways, none the worse for wear, unless the human is involved with something that happens to be in opposition to the demonic purpose. In that case, negotiations need to ensue but, most likely, the human is going to need to back away from the 900 pound gorilla and re-think whatever they are involved in. It is those rare cases where a human, usually through some religious hubris, thinks that they can command a demon or work at cross purposes to it, that result in scattered cases of real demonic oppression/possession.

Most so-called cases of demonic interference have absolutely nothing to do with the demonic. As I have said, there are many different ‘species’ of sub-lunar spirits and not all of them are friendly or neutral toward humans. I’ve nicknamed this class of spirit the Intruders. Since these beings live close to the earth plane, they are very aware of human beings’ religious peccadillos and use those beliefs against them. The one thing that all these so-called possession cases have in common, is that somewhere along the line the victim opened a door to the Otherworld or attracted the wrong sort of spiritual attention in some way. This can be something as simple as being an uncontrolled natural medium or dabbling in the ‘Black Arts’ as a rebellious teen.

Once the Intruders decide that someone might make a tasty snack (remember these beings tend to feed on fear and associated emotions), they set about creating a scenario that will evoke that emotion in the person. If the victim happened to grow up in the church (or has seen too much popular horror media), then the Intruders are likely to use that imagery to provoke maximum terror. The fear, of course, tears up the human’s natural psychic defenses and makes them available for spiritual incursion – something an Intruder will do to create terror in the people around the victim and, if the spirit is hostile enough, to eventually kill the victim.

Thankfully, despite the work of the modern media to persuade us otherwise, these instances are also rare and can be dealt with using magical banishing and protection techniques.

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More thoughts on Demons

In my last post, I spent some time talking about demons and what they actually are. I linked to a couple of excellent blogs that indicated that demons were and are simply spirits/forces that are more closely linked with the processes of destruction and disintegration in our universe. These beings serve their purpose just as the angels do and our fear and moral judgement of them derives more from our discomfort with their processes and their similarity to us.

I would take these ideas a little farther here and note that much of the issue that we have with demons now derives from their association, in Abrahamic religions, with the Adversary of God, sometimes known as Satan. I could go the route of completely denying the existence of Satan which would be technically true but this would be an oversimplification. Satan does exist but not as an independent entity and he does not lead hordes of demons to make human lives miserable.

Without writing a book, let me say simply that Satan is a very powerful thought form that derives from the Christian (and to a lesser extent, Jewish and Muslim) need for a place to house all the ‘evil’ they perceive in the world. Since their god is, by definition, ‘good’ and the source of all ‘good’, and, whether they like it or not, ‘evil’ exists in the world, it became necessary to invent an Adversary who opposes god and upon whom all the bad stuff could be piled.

As a side benefit, the Christians could also claim that the Tempter lured them away from the path whenever they strayed (the devil made me do it defense) AND that any spirit that did not fit into their narrow cosmology was a minion of Satan known as a demon. Thus, Christians could rid themselves of wide swathes of pagan gods and other spirits that pagans worked with simply by claiming that they were demons sent to tempt the poor pagans into unimaginable sin. Never mind, of course, that their own god was originally a Semitic storm lord with a bad temper whom they had tamed down over time. But I digress.

Given that the Christian Church and, to a lesser extent, the other Abrahamic religions have been unrelenting in their insistence on the reality of Satan and his minions over the course of history and that these religions have had a major influence in the West, it is no wonder that ‘demons’ got a bad name. The original Greek word for demon was daimon which simply referred to a spirit and the terms agathodaimon and kaikodaimon (good spirit and bad spirit) referred simply to whether the spirit in question was acting to your benefit or not. Note: I am not a Greek scholar so please pardon spelling if it is not absolutely correct.

Now, if you spend any time around magicians, you will quickly learn that, while these people often consort with angels (and some of them even make a whole magical career out of doing so), there are quite a number who also evoke and work with ‘demons’. Their reasons for doing so seem quite clear – as I mentioned, the daimonic realms have a long association with human beings, have a much clearer idea of what our daily lives are like, understand the whole idea of living in a physical body and have a tendency to deliver on requested work with an expediency that one rarely sees in an angelic working. In other words, the daimonic spirits get things done. The trade off seems to be that they can be very literal and require some careful limits. There is no moral judgment placed on spirits, either angelic or daimonic; they are interfaces with which to work with certain energies.

What magicians do recognize though is another reason why demons and the daimonic realms get such a bad name. As I have said continuously throughout this blog, just as there are hostile people in our world, there are spirits in the Otherworld who are hostile and may be especially unhappy with humans for a number of reasons. Those spirits, whom I have dubbed the Intruders, love the Christian thought form of Satan. What better way to scare the life out of people and make their lives miserable than by posing as a “demon” in the Christian sense of the word in a society that, despite its secular humanist trappings, still has a great number of people who were at least raised in the Church? In addition, there are many levels of parasites in the Otherworld and some of the higher level ones have gotten in on the fun in order to produce the fear which feeds them. All of these Intruders have jumped on the Satanic bandwagon in order to further their own agendas.

So, you see why I flinch when some TV ghost hunter starts attributing phenomenon to a “demon”. If this individual had done the research, they would be able to reach beyond the prevailing paradigm in this culture and recognize that, just as there are all kinds of different people and animals in the world, so too the Otherworld is loaded with different “species”, some of whom are harmless and some of whom are predatory. This fact is why I harp on the idea of knowing what you are dealing with when going into any sort of paranormal event and, if you do not have the tools of discernment necessary to sort the spirits, having someone on your team who can.

Next time, I am going to discuss the idea of ‘demonic possession’.


Demons

I almost entitled this “Demons: The Real Scoop” but decided that I was going to talk about more than just what a demon is in occult thought. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember a post from some time back called Types of Spirits – A Small Primer. In that post, I stated:

“Demons” – Most of the so-called “demons” are actually daemons or faery/djinn of the Unseelie variety busily working out their malice toward human kind. However, if one deals with the darker aspects of the paranormal/occult, one will eventually run up against a creature which seems to be the exact opposite of an angel. Rather than being a creature of radiant light, totally aligned to the will of “God” (however you see that), these beings seem to gather darkness around them and to delight in the destruction, on all levels, of human beings. . .

In some areas of the blogosphere (mostly amongst occultists), there has been an ongoing discussion of this subject. Two very erudite posts on this subject can be found on the blogs of Josephine McCarthy, the noted writer on visionary magic, and Ian Corrigan, another respected writer on pagan topics. While these two writers do not agree with my above quote completely, I find myself in complete agreement with what they have to say. I encourage you to read these two posts thoroughly and to really consider them.

Looking back on my own post, I see that I was still writing about demons from the vestiges of my Judeo-Christian upbringing. At the time of writing that post, I felt that, if I were going to write about angels, a phenomenon with which I have had direct experience in the Otherworld, then I had to balance them off with demons. After more research both academic and practical, I have to say that this was a mistake. The creatures that some call demons are, in fact, members of the daimonic realm; the difference is that they are the spirits of the “sub-lunar” realms that frighten us.

We in the United States (I can not speak for other countries) have developed a cult of youth and beauty. People in this country spend ridiculous amounts of money trying to superimpose a totally unrealistic image of beauty on themselves and refuse to face the fact that, genetically, we just cannot all look like super models or actors (male or female) no matter what we do. We worship at the altar of their youth and good looks and, as soon as they begin to age, with a few exceptions, they are cast aside for the next “hot property”.

On the other end of the scale, while we set our eyes firmly on the young, we do our best to ignore the old and, worse yet, death. It used to be that everyone above a certain age had seen a beloved relative or friend die, at home, surrounded by kith and kin. No longer. Nowadays, many people die in hospitals, surrounded by technology designed to keep them alive past the point where their body has given up. Once death has occurred, bodies are covered and removed as quickly as possible and then disposed of with as much haste as families can manage. Very seldom do we see the old custom of laying someone out, having their relatives tenderly prepare their bodies and attending to the dead in vigil.

Plainly, we have been trained to view youth and impossible good looks as the ideal and to hide our faces from old age and death. And yet . . . the occult traditions have always told us that death is a birth into new life and birth is a gateway to death.

In the Otherworld, there are forces of creation and manifestation and there are forces of destruction and dissolution working together in an ongoing recycling effort to ensure that nothing in this universe ever goes to waste. We have no trouble with the angels, who work on the creative side but we start to flinch when we come to the daimon/demons who are responsible for tearing things down and taking out the trash (as well as other functions we can only understand if we have converse with them). Mr. Corrigan does an excellent job, in his blog post, of tracing the descent of the daimon to the demon and his work there is, again, well worth reading.

So, the “demon” meets with our rejection because of its part in the natural order but there is more to it than that. We also fear the demon, I think, because these spirits remind us of ourselves. An angel is, as Ms. McCarthy notes, a rather ‘point and click’ type of spirit. The angelic orders have their functions and they perform them admirably but they are not the most approachable beings in the Otherworld. While magicians certainly do work with them, to good effect, the work is most often conducted on the angel’s terms since these spirits do not/cannot really negotiate and do not really have any idea what it is like to live a human life in a human body.

Demons, on the other hand, have a long history of interaction with people, tend to have more of a personality and certainly have a deeper understanding of what our lives are about not only from the interaction but quite possibly as the result of having had relations with us in the past (take the Nephilim as an example). Because they are creatures aligned more to the forces of dissolution and because they interact in a more “human” manner, they hold a mirror up to us and show us that we really are not as virtuous and civilized as we sometimes think we are.

While I no longer view the demon as a creature bent on human destruction, they certainly are capable of bringing that destruction about in as impersonal a manner as the general giving the command for a drone strike. If we look past our fears (and I include myself here), however, I think that we will see that this class of spirits is much maligned and is every bit as necessary as the angelic orders. Where would we be if there was no one to take apart old structures, clear the area and make way for new building?