A person sent me an email asking a variety of questions, and they are questions that beginners ask me repeatedly. So rather than constantly answering the same questions, I thought it better to answer this latest round of questions through the blog. So let’s have a look at this at a beginner level.
The first question that was posed to me is this:”Do u think demons and Satan are good or evil? I ask u this because there are lots of people in this that dont believe in evil or simply think different.”
Firstly, ‘you’ is spelt y o u, not u. (yes, I am that nightmare high school teacher). Demons and ‘Satan’ are two different things. Satan is a creation of a dualist religion, and in inner work it is not a being that one comes across: it is essentially a thought form created by successive religious human focus.
I would classify demonic beings as being bad, dangerous, powerful, disruptive and damaging. I would not classify them as evil as such, and the concept of evil itself is open to wide interpretation depending upon perspectives. Demonic beings do exist and tend to destroy, break down, degenerate things/people/power depending upon what type of demonic being we are talking about. There are many different types. Whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends on who is on the sharp end of their actions and what the long term consequences of their action are for others.
Rather than look at this from the inner/behind the scenes view, which is my usual way to explaining things, for beginners it would be easier to understand the concepts if we look at the outer expressions of these beings. In easy terms, angelic beings assist the creation, maintenance, and future path of a person, a civilisation, a land mass etc. Demonic beings assist in the breaking down, destruction and elimination of a person, civilisation, or land mass. Sometimes this delineation of roles is reversed.
To us as humans, birth, creation, and stasis are ‘good’, breaking down and being destroyed is ‘bad. But if we have overpopulated a land mass and every other creature or living thing is being threatened, then the demonic action of destroying the humans is good for every other living thing. Just as introducing predators back into an area brings about balance, so demons do their job too.
In the case of an individual, i.e. a manic mass murderer who tortures children, are they possessed by demons? Now we are getting into more complicated areas and there is no straight ‘sound bite’ sentence that can answer that question. (I now hear the groans of those raised with an education of twitter and facebook – they want instant easy info… good luck with that one).
What is perceived in the western world as a ‘demonic possession’ is often the creation of Hollywood – bad demons move into nice girl, girl becomes monster, nice priest grapples with demons, girl eats the priests face off etc. What we think of as a demonic possession can actually be a wide range of different scenarios ranging from mental illness, to drama, to parasitical manipulation, to true demonic possession, or a demonic person. The first two, mental illness and drama/attention seeking, which often go together, makes up about 80% of what presents as possession.
The next 15% is often a possession by one of a variety of spirits, from parasites, land beings, deities, elemental beings etc. These types of possessions present in a variety of ways and happen for a wide variety of reasons. From the perspective of the being, it is often about a free meal. They feed off of the emotional responses of the person they are possessing and will often drive a person to the far reaches of their natural personality in order to get a meal. But they cannot go beyond the reaches of the individual’s personality. Often beings have the capability to by pass the self regulation aspect of a person’s brain, the bit that stops you throttling everyone who pisses you off.
Some beings that move into a person do not have that intent, rather they want the vehicle, but often the type of spirit does not match up to the type of body, and problems arise as the being struggles to operate the body.
These types of possessions happen either because the person is missing a layer of natural inner immunity (as though they have a layer of skin missing) and are therefore vulnerable, or because of rapidly shifting hormones, as in puberty. Puberty is a very vulnerable time, and for some, it is also a time when mental illness triggers. This can make the person more vulnerable to an infestation and it is not uncommon to see a presentation of mental illness and possession at the same time. This scenario becomes a lot more common when you add in the ingredient of a teen messing with various forms of magic that they have absolutely no understanding of. Similarly, drugs that alter the consciousness in a major way can make an already vulnerable teen an easy meal. The perfect storm of hormones, drugs and mental illness is a sadly all too common occurrence. Many kids afflicted this way eventually manages to kick the being out of them. As the hormones begin to balance, the body kicks into gear and makes itself less tasty: the being moves out and goes looking for its next meal provider. Some times they have to be dragged out kicking and screaming, and other times the host happily keeps the being for the long term.
Demonic possession is a different thing again and in reality is quite rare. There are a few main types of demonic possession that present in humans and other mammals. The major difference between a true demonic possession and a parasite possession is that the demonic being is not looking for a meal; rather it is looking to achieve something. That something usually means, from our perspective, destruction. That is one of their main job descriptions.
One type of possession is where the demon finds a host that has the capabilities of destruction within the person’s personality and it pushes that latent capability in order to achieve something.
Another type is where the demonic consciousness enters a whole group of people in order to move a society in a particular direction. The demonic being/s move the group mind in a specific way in order to bring about destruction, which is their job.
Sometimes a demonic being accidentally gets ‘stuck’ in a human. These accidental ‘move ins’ tend to involve demonic beings that do not usually operate through humanity. Remember, it’s not all about us: these beings are a part of creation; they have a function in regards to everything that lives, grows and dies.
Lastly there are some people who are more demon than anything else. They are not possessed, they are not ‘ill’, it is just who they are.
Because of films, tv and religious dogma, we have a very narrow view point on what these beings are and what they do. We see films about possession and think that is the only thing that demons do: they are there to tempt us, to grapple with us and to take us over. Yes those things happen, but it is a tiny percentage of the whole picture. The picture painted by more modern religions (Christianity etc) is designed to keep people away from these beings, which is understandable as every population has its large underbelly of dumb asses. Most idiots who play with magic at the most surface level will not come into contact with demonic beings, but they will attract lots of parasitical beings, which will happily move in and feed from the idiot.
Older religions did work with demonic beings as part and parcel of balance, and magic also works with these beings in the same way. But before the vast commercialisation of magic and webinars on how to command demons to get what you want, this type of work was the domain of adepts who knew exactly what they were doing and had good reason. Think of it in terms of nuclear power. It can be considered good in the hands of a nuclear physicist and bad in the hands of a spotty ego driven curious teen. Before this turns into a book, let’s have a quick look at the second question that dropped into my inbox this morning.
“Greek,Egyptian,Nordic,ect do they exist? Are they good or bad? That’s my huge question can i work without a problem with Greek deities? What are they supposedly in front of the true God? Angels? Good spirits?”
I am presuming the first part of this question refers to deities and not humans….. the short answer is yes, they do. Are they good or bad? Both – do your research; know your deity before you start messing with them. Can you work with deities without a problem? Yes if you know what you are doing and have good reason to do it. If you do not know what you are doing and are just curious, then either you will be totally ignored by the deity and the most that will happen is a parasite turns up instead. Or you will tap into that consciousness and will get slapped at some point if you are playing at it.
What are they supposedly in front of the ‘true God’? They are deities. By true god I am presuming this writer is referring to Divinity, the creator power. Deities, unlike Divinity, are a part of creation, just like we are, the tree is, the planet is. They are not angels or good spirits, they are deities, gods and goddesses. They are more powerful than we are, they can be good or bad, depends on who they are and how you behave with them.
For some reason when people come to magic, they disengage their basic skills and logic. Beings, gods, spirits, magical paths are all looked at in black and white, good or bad. Life is never ever one or the other, it is always a mix. We have good and bad within us, how we choose to operate dictates which is the more prominent. Everything in creation, and I mean everything, has good and bad depending upon perspectives. My cat is cute, friendly, watches over my sick neighbour, will place a paw on my leg when I am stressed.. I consider him to be a ‘good’ cat. But if you happen to be a rat or mouse, then it is different. Not only will he capture the rat, he will taunt it, play with it, torture it, often for hours before finally ripping it to shreds. Is that evil? Is that demonic? I am sure the rat would say yes. But in truth, it is simply nature. And that is the same for deities, demons, spirits. They are a part of nature with all its inherent qualities of creation and destruction. To understand this, lose the Disney channel in your mind.
Fantastic blog post! I do not know anyone else that can articulate views as clearly and as interestingly as you, love your books, love your work, and now i love your blog!
Thanks Brian. It is a very complicated subject which makes it hard to reduce it down to basics for a beginner. But hopefully this will start the process of de programming that is so endemic in western culture and religion.
Just Stellar, Josephine! Reduced it to a finer point than I have ever been able to see. And I know, that point is just the “tip” of so much more…….Thank you for your Experience, Knowledge, and Clarity of Purpose:-)
Reblogged this on Dyflin Witch.
Things are so much more complicated than people make them out to be. I have said the same thing about good and bad for years using wolves and rabbits. A wolf killing a rabbit is evil to the rabbit and the rabbit’s young, but to the wolf’s pups and the wolf itself, it is natural, necessary and good. The wolf must do what it is made to do and the rabbit must try to escape. But if the wolf did not kill and eat the rabbit, the rabbits would reproduce so that they would destroy much of the vegetation and the health of the land. I say this while listening to Coyote yipping out there in the woods in the pre-dawn.
Here is a similar example, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” from ecology and one of my favorite thinkers and writers, Aldo Leopold: “I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”
very true Lance, and is a basic principle that many do not look at. Thanks!
Great post, Josephine. Thank you!
I found this statement very interesting too: “Lastly there are some people who are more demon than anything else. They are not possessed, they are not ‘ill’, it is just who they are.”
Does this relate to stories of people who are said to be “changelings” or having fairy or demon blood (like Merlin is supposed to have)? Or is this more like a “walk-in” where a human soul leaves its body, as in utter despair, and something else takes it over? It may sound kind of weird to some, but I have occasionally met people who seemed to be not much more than a sort of cardboard cutout, and some, if you look them in the eyes, it is like they are wearing a mask and there is something inhuman in there.
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for the most part I do not think they are walk ins, rather it is the spirit born. I have also looked into the eyes of some people and children and seen something very non human looking back. It is not really a topic I tend to write about because of the sheer weight of the ethical consequences that such writing can trigger.
Understood, and ’nuff said
That weight is not for most of us to carry, I do agree with you both (Jossephine and Lance)….I feel that I am so fortunate to not know those “evil” types, and I do believe that there are those who run “interference for me” for which I am so thankful:-)
So if the teen years are risky because of hormonal craziness I would assume the same goes for menopause. I’m almost 40 and also a beginner. What would you say I could do (or avoid) during this vulnerable time to make myself less “yummy”?
Hello Josephine, I really enjoy your works!
I would like to ask something that must be on some people’s minds.
Let’s say for instance that you want to improve your financial situation so you start making offerings to Jupiter who is associated with wealth and ask for his help. Or you want a better love life so you work with Venus in a similar fashion. Are these considered good reasons to work with a deity? I think historically these were common requests to them by many people. Is it more likely that you will just get parasited so you better stick to mundane methods of achieving your goals?
It would be interesting to know what is the nature of these beings. Were they created by divinity for a specific purpose? Are they the consciousness of natural phenomena? Or could they just be thought forms created by man that they evolved into big and powerful beings from centuries of worship?
These are very pertinent questions. Would you mind if I answer them in a blog post (you name removed for your privacy of course)? It is a question that many ask, so a blog post might be easier and more useful.
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Yes Josephine, a full post would be definitely more appropriate!
Thanks, very good!
I would love an in-depth look at angelics.
George, I have just realised that most of the ‘what is’ question about deities has already been addressed in my book ‘Magic of the North Gate’ (chapter 7) as are questions about shrines, offering etc to various spirits. I am trying to avoid repeating what is the the books and addressing things that got missed, or were not in enough depth, specifically for beginners.
Duh! I can be a dork sometimes 🙂
OK, I got the book and it looks quite interesting!
Cool, once you have read it, if you still have questions, we can take it from there. But the information that you are looking for is scattered throughout the book as well as Chapter 7. Jx
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So, Josephine, are you planning a book on this topic (don’t mind if I am being pushy :-)………….
Now that you’ve talked about the good & the bad, what about the ugly 🙂 ?
It may be slightly off topic, but I am interested in what your take is on how “monsters” from folklore may present themselves in certain land masses and/or in the inner worlds?
This was quite an “endarkening” read.
I am quite intrigued by the idea of people having an aspect of their nature that is not human. Could you elaborate on that a little more, please? How do they come to have this aspect? I have often met people and looking into their eyes I would wonder the same, you just know there is something there. Do you think the whole of their essence that is spirit/demon or just a strand of it? I often wonder if such people are aware of it and whether this nature hinders social integration or gives them an advantage in navigating their way through life?
I am conscious that similar ideas are capitalised on by “charismatic” Christianities in Africa resulting in the persecution and murder of children (“witch children”) for the financial gain of “pastors,” and that this is also spreading to African communities in the U.K.
That is why it is better left alone. Too many people in history have used such ideas as justification to get rid of individuals or whole groups of fellow human beings.
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my thoughts exactly, which is why I will not be expanding upon this issue. x
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With regards to puberty being a vulnerable time. I had a premonintion that a vacation spot would contain some hidden danger this weekend on our family vacation. The place surprised me on arrival when it synced up with a bad dream from months ago. I went in prepared and looked for the danger. In the basement I found a “magic shop” in the shop was a book on how to “draw” a demon. I am no expert, but the symbols seemed to make sense. A circle in a triangle, or vice versa cant recall, with various glyphs and sigils on all sides. The finished “drawing” included a joke, “now you can ask him about the stock market.” This shop and items were marketed towards children as part of a rather cool looking interactive role playing game. Also the basement sold mainly sugar products so in a worst case scenario you could have a bunch of sugar high pre pubescent children “drawing” demons on a vacation.
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Good reply on T. E.’s article. He was probably a bit predisposed to either misunderstand this article or not read it fully because of some of the people he knows. Either way, he missed the mark completely!
I’m just wiping the coffee off of my laptop screen … I must learn to not try and drink/read at the same time 🙂 You make a very valid point there and yes, I too have just realised the connection and the loaded element to that post. I do not like being used by some ‘ladder climber’ to score brownie points. I hope this young man can chew everything he bites off.
Please don’t assume I’m a ladder climber or that I wrote that post to score Brownie points with a person I take classes from on occasion. I don’t agree with everything he writes or does either. I actually find your blog quite insightful and enjoy reading it. I’ve read one of your books and favorably reviewed it on amazon and look forward to reading others in the future. I don’t particularly care one way or another about the ongoing feud between you and R.J. Stewart. What I do care about is learning and becoming a better magician. I appreciated the comment you left in response to my post and look forward to your response.
Taylor, I had to assume the reason for your post was an emotive rather than intellectual one as I still find it hard to understand that someone who is literate can so misread or misunderstand something. Though saying that, now you have questioned the difference between the word daimon and demon, I am beginning to realise you did not know there was a difference, (and that they are in fact two very different things) and that is understandable. There is precious real enquiry into the subject matter in modern magical writing and a great deal of bad writing/misunderstanding. So if I was unfair in my judgement of your motives in the situation, then I apologise.
I appreciate the apology and also the continued dialogue on my blog. I’d certainly be the first person to admit that there are gaps in my magical education and I appreciate you calling me out on it over on my blog entry. I also agree that a lot of modern magical writing is not as rigorous as it should be. I’ve put your suggested reading on my to read list and will be reading it soon.
A good place to start would be Iamblichus – De Mysteriis
Stay away from all the 15th/16th/17th century writings as most are total bunkum (the equivalent of today’s Dark Fluff). And look up the tomb images from the Egyptian Book of Going Forth by Day. Don’t bother reading the books on it, everyone puts their own spins… the pictures tell you what you need to know in regards to underworld (demonic) beings, in their one of many actions (in a context of death and the underworld)
Thank you Josephine – I wouldn’t know WHERE to begin, and I can’t EVEN imagine all the work that you have done, that points seekers in the direction already trod both in the past and in the 21st century by you. I am still reading The Northgate, and it is such new material for me. It will take time to digest, and even then, I wonder if I am understanding it all. Again, thank you for all that you do and share so freely:-)
Here is something else to help you. This text is from Plato’s Symposium, which includes the discussion between Diotima and Socrates, as she teaches him the types of consciousness between mortal and immortal: Daimons and Daimonion (to be god like).
Click to access diotima_and_demeter_as_mystagogues.pdf
I’ve never sat down and read the discussion between Diotima and Socrates but I will now! I have to say, I enjoy Taylor’s blog too. He’s intelligent and willing to try things out for himself instead of just accepting other peoples word. I like investigators, delvers and eagerness to get the hands dirty. It’s not the only way to learn but it can increase comprehension dramatically. I learned some more from this dialog between you two. 🙂
That is a good point Janet, people who are willing to delve should be encouraged. Maybe I was a bit harsh, but it does get very frustrating sometimes when people misunderstand.
Well, at our age, we’ve earned the right to be cranky with the youngsters sometimes. (you know, we’re really not that old, just feels that way..haha).
Josephine, based on your exchange with Taylor, I’m wondering what your opinion would be on why some people seem to be able to work with demons for years (like the Goetic demons) and suffer no ill effects, whereas other people do seem to end up having bad experiences. There are experienced magicians on both sides of the fence as to whether it’s wise to work with these beings or not.
Kevin, that’s a good question.
That is a good question. It is all in the details… working methods, reason for working with them, your own body and mental health, knowing what you are doing, when, where and how you approach it. I have worked with them for years and been fine, but then I do tread carefully and it is usually for very specific reasons like guardianship, land work, drawing out disease, working in death, working with magical tools etc.
The ones who seem to blow themselves up tend to be either unstable, using drugs, not knowing what they are doing and slavishly following grimoires, bullying/threatening them, or using them to get laid, get a job, get more money etc. The all time classic was a magician who came to me after he had invited a demonic being to live within him so he could be all powerful…. that got messy. Duh.
I only found it incongruous that Talyor chose to write his response post saying that demons/daimons/call them what you will are all, in his experience, real cool guys who’ve never given him any trouble, if treated with respect, and only Christians or the inexperienced would think them negative in any way, just days after he, as an editor at a publishing house, had to pull a book slated for publication because its author was arrested as a pedophile and being exposed as a long standing creep. That there is what I call a demon, personified, or at the very least a parasitical entity. But I read this whole ugly story and all the comments.
One only had to read the author’s Amazon reviews to find several women noting that his books on faerie and fairy tales expressed a truly sick and nasty view of young girls.
It must have been deeply disturbing and embarrassing for Taylor, and that may be the emotive element, but I bring this up not as dirt but because it is the most sadly fitting reiteration of your admonition. Discernment is always at a premium, and there are always gaps in one’s vision, and good boundaries and protected spaces are so important. But becoming a mother changes one’s perspective so much, or at least it did mine. One gets a certain hawk-eyed vision for any potential threats on the horizon or playground and the urge to warn the kids off their more blatant stupidities. Also a willingness to fend off, fight off or take out any threats to the young, if one is healthy, strong, and hasn’t had one’s senses clouded by power, hierarchy, flattery, or oppression. I am glad you took the time to answer that question for beginners, and I, for one, am emailing this post to my 19 year-old self, and I hope she’ll read it and not be offended. At least, I think that the internet existed back then.
Thankyou for your reply and there is something in there that I had not thought on consciously. Because I had kids, and also taught teens/young adults for years, I am aware of the messes they can get themselves in to, so whenever I put out beginner stuff (the advanced stuff just makes youngsters glaze over for the most part) I always err on the side of caution and point out possible dangerous horizons. I forget that many authors/writers etc have not had children and therefore do not have that sense of warning or awareness for the need for warning.
One author who made a comment that beginners are just not informed but are intelligent is incorrect…. young folks with no sense and lots of hormones, mentally ill folks, dumb folks…. beginners are the same as the rest of the public: a wide mix with many variables and a writer has to take into account those variables.
Thanks for bringing that into focus Brenda!
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I have a question about deities and politics, which may just serve to show my own inexperience and foolishness, but I feel compelled to ask it anyway. It just so happens that I was planning to work with Marduk, when I read the chapter in “Magic of the Northgate” which implies that this isn’t such a good idea, as Marduk is essentially unbalanced.
While I completely understand what you are getting at, I am also stubborn, and I can’t help but wonder if the process that leads to a power grab can’t be reversed, allowing the deity to become more balanced. In the case of Marduk, for example, what about also working with Sarpanit, his consort? Perhaps it may be arrogance to think an individual could reverse patterns that were created by many over a long period of time, but I have to wonder why there shouldn’t be some counter-process to the process that tends to corrupt deities through power games.
An example might be Jesus Christ–it does seem that there are gnostics who are working with Yeshuha + Mary Magdalene together as equals, and of course view him as simply some kind of saint rather than a godman who rules over the universe. This type of subversion is of particular interest to me personally, since I was raised in a Christian fundamentalist household and certain archetypes were ingrained deeply in me. This also reminds me of, for instance, the way African Traditional Religions syncretized their deities with saints.
Now, there is a deeper level to this question, and that relates to the kabbalistic concept of Yechidah, which involves reuniting the fragmented aspects of divinity. So at a deeper level, I wonder if there exist possibilities to engage in mystical service whereby humans can actually assist deities in some way to become more balanced or evolved–without implying that I am actually at a level of practice where I am ready for such an undertaking.
“In the Gate of Conciliation, I appeared with Marduk,
In the Gate of Joy I kissed the foot of Sarpanitum…
Who but Marduk revived him as he was dying?
Besides Sarpanitum, which goddess bestowed his breath of life?
Marduk can restore to life from the grave,
Sarpanitum knows how to rescue from annihilation…”
POEM OF THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFERER
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That’s an interesting question, Gematria 358, and I would love to hear Josephine’s take on that idea of assisting deities into wholeness – which would be entirely theoretical for me, since I have no sense of acquiring the requisite skills in this lifetime, lol. But I am interested in the idea of the spiritual evolution of Deities in general, because it seems obvious to me that they do, in fact, evolve.
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