(The Torment of Saint Anthony, painting attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti, cca. 1487-1488. Source)
In the Neo-Platonic tradition, in the grimoires that comprise it, in the writings of Hermes Trismegistus that frame it, and in the writings of Agrippa that provide the most comprehensive resource of the modern occult, there are mentions of demons, maleficent spirits that cause trouble. I would personally rather believe that all spirits are basically neutral, and they don’t have any ill will in and of themselves towards humanity. Unfortunately, the Neo-Platonic writings (and my experience) fail to support this belief.
Going back thousands of years, mankind has known that there are spirits that are out to make life miserable for humans. It’s in the Bible, the Hesiod, and in the African Traditional Religions. From the steppes of Siberia to the Amazon rain forest, shamans deal with evil spirits every day. Modern cultures have lots of rational ways to explain away the existence of demons, from anti-Christian rhetoric that says the Church is to blame for misrepresenting gods of other cultures (which is true, to a degree), to psychological models that say they’re all in our heads (which is also true, from the perspective implied by the notariqon ARARITA). Regardless of the veracity of these explanations, the pragmatic truth is that if you are doing magick regularly, you will run into spirits that will behave as if they are Demons.
2.6.1 The Role of Demons
Fortunately, we have the benefit of thousands of years of occult research on our side. We know from sources like the Bible and the Divine Pymander that the evil spirits are under the authority of God. If you’re into paganism, you’ll find in the story of Pandora’s box that evil spirits contained in a divine spirit pot were sent to plague mankind by Zeus after Prometheus gave us fire. They’re serving god. In the Divine Pymander, Pymander tells Hermes that the Evil Daimon is sent to the impious to drive man further away from the Logos by filling the senses with desire for more sensations than can ever be appeased. In the Bible, evil spirits are sent to set up kings to fall, to reveal the glory of God.
They are sent by God into the world to wreak havoc in the lives of those who are ignorant of God. Their primary victims are those who have grown ignorant of their Race and Value in God and instead of seeking their Source, people who seek satisfaction in the things of the material world. Demons serve as tempters, bringers of illness, and they serve to create situations that result in spiritual advancement. They perform evil acts, but they do them to draw people closer to God.
2.6.2 How Demonic Influence Manifests
In your life, you’re going through all kinds stress that I can’t begin to know about. Job insecurity, financial woes, emotional problems, and sickness plague us all. Most of the people reading this blog have it pretty good compared to poorest of the poor on the planet, but that doesn’t make the problems we face any easier to bear in the moment.
I don’t believe every bad thing that happens is the result of a demon, but they do happen to be present every time bad things happen. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, really. They could just be attracted to bad things… sure… that could be it…
Alright, I really do think all bad things that happen are the result of demonic activity. I’m a Christian, for Christ’s sake. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers, principalities, and wickedness in high places.” It’s the simple truth.
They set the stage for pain and suffering, they sit at the edges of our sphere whispering thoughts that sound a lot like our own, speaking fear and doubt and anger and anguish and despair into our minds. They entice our senses with lights and shining things. They use the people at work like pawns to challenge us, to bring us to the brink of catastrophe. They influence kings, presidents, princes, senators, congressmen and women, people in power across the lands of the earth to create a realm that will drive those with an understanding of their race and value closer and closer to the Logos within.
Pretty nasty, really. And as annoying as hell.
2.6.3 How to Deal with the Bastards
Demons are under God’s authority. God’s within. We deal with spirits in every ritual. We have the names of the demonic princes from Agrippa’s Book 2, chapter 7. We know how to make talismans and spirit pots. They can only do what they’re allowed to, and God sets the boundaries.
The fastest way to lessen the effects of the evil spirits is to put the Demonic Kings in spirit pots and bind them with melted lead sealed with the Names of the four Elemental Kings. I’ve got a makeshift version of this on my altar at the moment. It hasn’t completely eliminated bad things from happening, but it sure has cut down on the extremes of my emotional reactions to bad things when they come. That in itself robs the demons of their powers over us and our lives.