(Satan, fallen angel – Gustave Dore, illustration in Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost – Source)
Introduction in origins
What and who are Demons? Fallen angels, Gods, spirits?
The word demon comes from the greek word daimon and the roman word daemon, which used to mean a spirit intermediate between men and gods. An important passage in Plato’s Symposium, where Socrates and Diotima speak about Eros and the Great Daimon, presents us this intermediate nature, but also how the Daimon interacts with the Gods and Humans, and how the human knowledge of divination, initiation and magic proceeds from it.
They were neither good nor bad. In fact, they were pretty much what we now know about guardian angels, spirits who used to protect and guide people. To the great philosopher Plato as well as Socrates, these were similar to the guardian angel which were assigned to you at birth. However, the notion of the daimon is older, dating back to Homer and Hesiod and most probably before, being in the oral tradition before the written texts of the Greeks. It was first associated with a God or a Divine Power, as we can observe in the passages of Homer. In Hesiod’s Works and Days, the daimon is used to indicate “the souls of the men from the Golden Age, who after the end of their generation became the guardian spirits of the men of today.” (Humberto Maggi, Daemonology, Hadean Press, 2015). The term was not very clear and it was open to interpretation, as we can see in the many different descriptions done by many of the ancients, including Empedocles, who considered that daimones are “special spiritual beings that can, when committing a certain mistake, be exiled for a time in human form” (ibid., 7) and who considered himself to be a daimon due to his way of life. Since there was no clear definition, many have described them in various terms or views, from that of Olympian gods, to providence, to genius or even angel, as I shall present later in this article.
They were similar to what the arabs called jinn/djinn, or genies, which were Fire Spirits who were neither good nor bad, but who eventually revolted against Allah (Iblis/Shaitan was the first fallen angel, one of the 72 Djinn and the only one who did not revolt, yet refused to bow to Adam). The Hellenistic greeks decided there were two types of daimons, one type being the agathodaimon, which was the good spirit, and the other was the kakodaimon, which in turn was evil. The graeco-egyptian texts which form the Corpus Hermeticum, more exactly the The Divine Pymander talk about the “Bonus Genius, or good Demon” and the “revenging Demon”, ideas which have been discussed in the article 2.7 – The Genius and the Evil Daimon. All of this changed with the rise of Christianity which eventually named all demons evil, and angels good, however this was not until a later time. In the early days of Christianity, the demon was still associated with the genius (the idea of the guardian angel for example, appeared in Christianity around 3rd-4th century and was inspired from Plato’s daimon). The theologian Origen was the one who proclaimed that the demon is in fact a negative spirit, and angels are those who are good.
The solomonic tradition of the grimoires presents some of the demons as being fallen angels who wish to return to Heaven, such as Phenex, the 37th spirit of the Goetia who “hopes also to return to the Seventh Throne after 1,200 years more, as he said unto Solomon“. Focalor, the 41st spirit of the Goetia “hath hopes to return to the Seventh Throne after 1,000 years.” Agares, the 2nd demon of the Goetia was once of the order of Virtues. What is interesting in the solomonic tradition is that many grimoires hesitate to call them demons, instead they refer to them simply as spirits.
If we look at the descriptions of some of the angels, we could easily confuse them with demons if we didn’t know they are serving God. Many of them have been described as being unmerciful, punishing people and demons and bringing death, and many of them have been described as being made of fire (like the jinns, who are being made of smokeless fire. however, in Islam jinns are inferior to angels, as they can sin, whereas angels are without sin) such as Raguel, Uriel or Samael. In Islam, Azrael is the angel of Death, the only one who survives at the End of Time. On the other hand, if we look at some demons we might confuse them with angels. These confusions are normal to someone with little to no knowledge of angelology and demonology, since none of the spirits are actually just good or just evil. Good and evil are only human concepts, which theologians and priests tried to use in order to describe these beings. The Renaissance magicians believed that our world is between Heaven and Hell, and in order to elevate ourselves and learn about the Divine we also need the help of demons, because they are also part of God’s Creation, as everything is, and that they are not exclusively evil, since God cannot create evil.
The rabbinic literature on the other hand is harder to explain, but in it there many examples of angels who later became demons, such as Lilith, Samael and Ashmedai (Asmoday, Asmodeus) which are the most known.
Some say they are angels who rebelled against God along with Lucifer, or the Fallen Angels who have chosen to take the wives of men and taught us the arts, the crafts, science and magic under the lead of Azazel and Samyaza, as described in the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch).
Others say they are the Old Gods, who appeared in most of the religions and cults from ancient times but under different names. Many examples of old gods who became demons exist, such as Baal, Eurynomous, Astarte, Moloch, Nergal etc.
Even though many centuries have past since the first contacts that humans had with demons, their origins aren’t certain not even today . The most accepted theological theory is that Demons have been initially angels who declined from their holy essence, however the history of religions as a scientific method of research has shown many of them being gods borrowed from older religions.
Certainly, the most familiar fallen angel is Lucifer so, as a result, many people came to believe that the other Demons (initially angels) have fallen because they have chosen to join him. However, I believe that not all the Demons known at the present moment have shared the same fate – While literature shows that most of them are fallen angels, but it is possible that they have “different ages”. What I mean is that they might have become Demons much later and from other reasons than joining Lucifer’s “cause” (they too have free will, just like us).
Also, it is not obligatory that Demons have been initially angels – a good example in this case is Lilith who was initially human but now she is considered to be a Demon.
About demons and their role
Christians and practitioners of “white magick” look up to them as negative entities; modern demonolators view them as forms of energy to which they gave names so that they may work with them (it’s important to specify that modern demonolators don’t worship Demons. they only work with them); traditional demonolators consider them to be real entities with free will, just like satanists think of Satan.
The fact that we are more independent and knowledgeable is said to be a result of the interactions between Demons and Humans. It is believed Satan encouraged man not to respect the laws of God and to be free. To outrun any limits of knowledge and power. The Serpent (associated with Lucifer, Samael or Lilith) in the garden of Eden made humans taste the fruit of knowledge, thus giving them the knowledge of good and evil. The angels who came to Earth and took human wives have taught people the arts and sciences, according to the Book of Enoch as stated earlier in this article.
The grimoires show us that they continue to help us in just about any problem, and that they can be of great use to the elevation of humankind, if done with precaution.
Demons have been summoned by people for many reasons. They teach us the secrets of arts, science and magic. When having contact with demons, we must maintain different relationships with them. Either for learning the magical arts, either for protection, for revenge and so on it is said they have been helping humans since the dawn of time, even before their unholy fall (when they were angels/archangels).
Belonging to the Spiritual/Astral World, they to not have a certain form, an aspect through which we can recognize them. Because of this, every time we get visual manifestations from them it is possible to appear in different ways; of course, this also depends on the Demon’s preferences: some of them choose a different appearance each time they show themselves, others oscillate between few appearances (it is possible that they appear each time under a different appearance but, occasionally, this appearances may repeat), others appear the same every time and others, prefer not to show themselves at all. Yet, in spite of this lack of precise appearance, they can easily be identified depending on other senses. For example, when invoking a Demon you can feel his presence (that of course, if he responded to your call) because of his energy. This, however, is a very disputed idea in the circles of solomonic and traditional magicians, who believe that without the physical appearance of a Demon, the ritual is not a success. Certainly there are other criteria left, but I will not dwell upon this problem more than I already have.
(Demon Asmodeus/Asmoday in Dictionnaire Infernal by Collin de Plancy – source)
Demon – Human contacts. Demonic hierarchies. Demonolatry.
If we’d take in consideration the Bible, the first human-demon contact took place in the Garden Of Eden in the moment when Lucifer (or Lilith, or Samael in other traditions) convinced Eve to bite the Forbidden Fruit. Then, it is very possible that other Demons would’ve interacted with humans and there are voices who affirm that some ancient gods have been, in fact, Demons who interacted with people who started to worship them and “promoted” them at the rank of gods (idolatry).
Essentially, it is impossible to say how long its been since man became aware of the Demon’s existence and how long it took him to discover who he’s dealing with. However, it is certain that the beginnings of Daemonolatry (Demon Worship) are situated somewhere between years 100 and 400 (our era) when the writing known as “Testament of Solomon” first appeared; this book describes how King Solomon has been helped by Demons (the Djinn) to construct the first Temple by commanding them with the power of a magical ring given to him by the Archangel Michael. Biblical legend says that Solomon has fell into the sin of idolatry when he started building temples for the gods of his pagan wives, and “went after Ashtoreth (Astaroth?)”, “after Milcom” and “Molech (Moloch?)”.(1 Kings 11:1-8)
Based on more familiar hierarchies, we could observe that people’s interest for Demonology and Demonolatry grew a lot beginning with the Middle Ages. Today there are many demonic hierarchies known – some familiar (like Goetia, Michaelis’, Psellus, Pope Honorius III, etc. to the late demonolatric Dukante hierarchy) and some less familiar (personal hierarchies).
Many times I’ve met persons who were convinced by the fact that these hierarchies have a value in Hell and were vexed by the existence of such a big number of hierarchies. I want to say that this is a confusion: hierarchies have been created by Demonologists and Demonolators based on their own experiences and other traditions. It is impossible that a Demonolater could get to know all the Demons (many Demons are still not known). And then, each Demonolater conceives differently the Demons he works with. An example in this case would be the demon Sallos from the Goetic hierarchy and demon Rosier from Dukante hierarchy; each demon was chosen to represent love in the hierarchy he belongs to because that is what the authors of these hierarchies believed– but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other Demons that could represent the thing that we call love.
There would be a lot more to talk about demonic hierarchies, but I prefer not to get into details. Yet, I’d like to get back over a small aspect that I’ve mentioned above:
I’ve classified hierarchies in familiar hierarchies (or common) and personal hierarchies. Some people prefer to work with hierarchies created by others, while others prefer to work with their own hierarchies. I tend to agree more with the second category, because it can get to better results; between the practitioner and the Demon there must be a tight relationship to get to better results, and to knit a tight relationship between them there must be some compatibility. It’s exactly like every day life – even if you respect a person, to be able to keep a tight friendship, you need more then respect to get it work .