(Genius of Antonius Pius, source)
The Genius and the Evil Daimon are entities with a long history in the Western Mystery Tradition. The idea of the good and evil spirits assigned to people is so ingrained in the American culture that I grew up watching cartoons that frequently showed a character with a little angel with a harp on one shoulder and a little red devil with horns and a tail on the other, each giving the person advice. More often than not, the character would listen to the devil. How typical of mankind.
2.7.1 – The Genius
The term “Genius” as I’m using it in this post loosely comes from Agrippa’s Third Book of Occult Philosophy, chapter xxii. Technically, “Genius” is supposed to refer only to one part of the three-fold good Daimon that preserves the person it’s assigned to. The three parts are the Holy part, which is roughly speaking the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) of the Abramelin ritual, the Genius or “Nativity Angel,” a Spirit whose nature is determined by the placement of the stars at birth, and the Daimon of your Profession, who influences how successful we are at our chosen line of work. Agrippa refers to all three parts singularly in the title of the chapter, “That there is a threefold keeper of man.” Since it’s a singular entity, and he only gives instructions on deducing the name of a Genius, and not the HGA or Professional Demon, I’m referring to all three parts of this one entity as the Genius.
The earliest reference to the Genius that I’ve found so far is in the Corpus Hermeticum, written in Hellenized Egypt. In The Divine Pymander, it says:
54. I (the LOGOS, Pymander, shepherd of Men) … come unto men that are holy and good, pure and merciful, and that live piously and religiously; and my presence is a help unto them. And forthwith they know all things, and lovingly they supplicate and propitiate the Father; and blessing him, they give him thanks, and sing hymns unto him, being ordered and directed by filial Affection and natural Love. And before they give up their bodies to the death of them, they hate their senses, knowing their Works and Operations.
This is the Logos talking about how he works with those who are pious. While it might look like a bit of a stretch, the Logos and the HGA are of the same Spirit. In Agrippa’s record written roughly 1200 years later, this corresponds to the Holy part of the Genius. Agrippa frames it thus:
The holy Demon is one, according to the Doctrine of the Egyptians, assigned to the rationall soul, not from the Stars or Planets, but from a supernaturall cause, from God himself, the president of Demons, being universall, above nature: This doth direct the life of the soul, & doth alwaies put good thoughts into the minde, being alwaies active in illuminating us, although we do not alwaies take notice of it; but when we are purified, and live peaceably, then it is perceived by us, then it doth as it were speak with us, and communicates its voyce [voice] to us, being before silent, and studyeth daily to bring us to a sacred perfection. Also by the ayd [aid] of this Demon we may avoid the malignity of a Fate…
Agrippa says of the Genius specifically:
…when the soul is coming down into the body, it doth out of the quire of the Demons naturally choose a preserver to it self, nor only choose this guide to it self, but hath that willing to defend it. This being the executor, and keeper of the life, doth help it to the body, and takes care of it, being Communicated to the body, and helps a man to that very office, to which the Celestials have deputed him, being born.
In other words, the Genius is what can guide you to the roles and responsibilities you are incarnated to accomplish.
In addition, being the only part of the threefold keeper of human beings that you can get the name of from your horoscope, the Genius can also be used to establish conversation with the rest of the threefold keeper, including the HGA and the Daimon of your Profession. By “used,” I mean you can converse with it through conjurations and establish a relationship, discovering the things that are needed to be done in your life to prepare you for the next step in your Work.
As you Work with your Genius, a momentum builds up. You don’t have to choose to be a decent, pious person always choosing to do good and be kind to small furry animals, or help old ladies across the street. You don’t have to choose to be offended by injustice when you see it. You don’t have to try to find wisdom or insight in your studies. And you don’t have to make yourself seek your Race and Value in God.
Instead, you find yourself naturally doing these things. You find character flaws revealed, and the means to change them. You find yourself naturally pursuing Virtue over Vice. You stop sabotaging your progress towards your goals, and you find yourself knowing and understanding things intuitively about yourself and others around you. Glimpses of the future come in sureties felt in evaluating potential outcomes of situations. Mysteries unravel before your very eyes.
This spirit’s influence on your life can be enhanced through practical exaltation of the spirits name, which I’ll discuss below.
2.7.2 – The Evil Daimon
Heading back to The Divine Pymander, it goes on to say:
56. But to the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, and covetous, and murderous, and profane, I am far off, giving place to the revenging Demon, which applying unto him the sharpness of fire, tormenteth such a man sensible, and armeth him the more to all wickedness, that he may obtain the greater punishment.
57. And such an one never ceaseth, having unfulfiled desires, and unsatisfiable concupiscences, and always fighting in darkness; for the Demon always afflicts and tormenteth him continually, and increaseth the fire upon him more and more.
Here is the Evil Daimon, sent by God to punish the wicked with insatiable desires. My experience with this entity leads me to believe that this Demon drives you to the point where you have to turn to God to find relief from your passions, or die of despair or overdose. If you refuse to do so, when you die you return as a more brutish man, or an animal, or even a plant according to Plotinus. The further from God you turn in your life, the further from God you result in your next, each incarnation resulting in less and less opportunity to turn from God until you are a plant with no choice but to turn to the Sun to live.
People always have some degree of a relationship with this spirit. Like the cartoon characters listening to the little red demon on their shoulder, we have spent our lives listening to and following the advice of the evil daimon. A momentum builds up with the Evil Daimon just like with the Genius, and soon you find yourself surrounded by chaos and madness, if you give too much into the temptations this spirit whispers to you.
Like the demons discussed in Section 2.6, The effects of the Evil Daimon can be curbed.
2.7.3 – Working With the Genius and the Evil Daimon
To Work with these entities, the first thing you’ll need is their name. These are discovered through your horoscope, as discussed in Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 3, at the end of chapter xxvi:
There are also the Arabians, and many others, and some Hebrews, who finde out the name of a Genius by the places of the five Hylegians, and making projection alwayes from the beginning of Aries, and the letters being found out according to the order of Hylegians with the Astrologers, being reduced into a known order, and being joyned together, make the name of a good Genius: but they draw the name of an evil Genius from the opposite Hylegian places, projection being made from the last degree of Pisces against the order of signs.
Ok, did you catch all that? No? Well, fortunately I’ve got a spreadsheet I use to make the process a little easier. I don’t know how the renaissance magicians managed without the power of modern technology.
I’ve got all the Hebrew letters associated with the degrees for the Good Genius and the Evil Daimon lined up with their appropriate degrees. To determine the name, you get a horoscope of the your birth, and write down the degrees of the sun, moon, ascendant, and part of fortune. Then you find the syzygy, and that’s the fifth letter of the name. The syzygy is the location of the moon at the closest full or new moon to the date you’re charting. To find this, you get another horoscope of the time of the nearest full or new moon, and write down the degree the moon is in. Pretty simple, eh?
No, not really. It’s a bit of a pain in the hindquarters, honestly. But this is worth it.
Once you’ve got their names, you can conjure and commune with your Genius by creating a Lamen of the spirit. Spell out its name in Hebrew in a circle with the names of God written around the perimeter. I use the Celestial Script from Agrippa, and the Lamen looks like this (That’s YHVH in the script, you’d need to change the name to use it):
Poke a little hole in the top, and you wear it during the ritual. Conjure the spirit in a crystal or other scrying medium and you’re all set.
On the flip side, you’ve got the Evil Daimon’s name. I intend to bind mine in a lead-lined spirit pot.
In fact, I’ve got this idea for a multi-purpose talisman. I’ve got a log that I’m carving to serve as a means to exalt the Genius and bind the Evil Daimon at the same time. I’ll be burning incense and candles in the top where the Genius name is inscribed in gold leaf, and the Evil Daimon will be bound in the hollowed-out, lead-lined base.
It should look something like this when I’m done: