The origin of demons and their orders

Jewish Concepts: Demons & Demonology
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They would find a weak point of conscience and work on it interminably. They would invade "every nook and cranny of privacy, work on every weakness and credibility, claim awesome powers, lie, make promises, and then undermine the patient's will.

Van Dusen also found that the "hallucinations" could take over a patient's eyes, ears, and voice, just as in traditional accounts of demon possession. The entities had totally different personalities from his patients' normal dispositions, which indicated to him that they were not simply products of his patients' minds. Some of the beings had ESP and could predict the future.

Often they would threaten a patient and then cause actual physical pain. The demons were described in a variety of shapes and sizes, but generally appeared in human form, ranging from an old man to alleged space aliens, but any of them could change form in an instant. Some were so solid to the victims that they could not see through them.

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At times the patients would become so angry at the apparitions that they would strike at them — only to hurt their hands on the wall. Van Dusen made detailed studies of 15 cases of demonic possession, but he dealt with several thousand patients during his 20 years as a clinical psychologist. In his opinion, the entities were present "in every single one of the thousands of patients.

Where Do Demons Come From?

One of Van Dusen's conclusions was that the entities took over the minds of people who were emotionally or physically at a low ebb. The beings seemed to be able to "leech on those people because they had been weakened by strains and stresses with which they could not cope. Considering once again some of the implications of Swedenborg's thoughts and works, Van Dusen commented that it was curious to reflect that, as Swedenborg has suggested, human lives may be "the little free space at the confluence of giant higher and lower spiritual hierarchies.

Man, thinking he chooses, may be the resultant of other forces. Crim, Keith, ed. The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions.

The Origins of Demons

San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, Karpel, Craig. New York : Berkley, Kinnaman, Gary. Angels Dark and Light. Ann Arbor , Mich. Mack, Carol K. Montgomery, John Warwick. Powers and Principalities. Minneapolis : Dimension Books, Van Dusen, Wilson. Some years ago, Richard Cavendish, an eminent demonologist and student of the so-called black arts, observed that "[b]elief in the existence of evil supernatural beings" is so widespread that it "seems to be instinctive" p. Whether, as Cavendish suggests, these beliefs are in fact instinctive is still very much an open question.

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Kashgar is a philosophy as well as a store. Sproul R. A President of Hell with the command of twenty-nine legions of demons. A Duke of Hell commanding thirty-seven legions of demons. Theologians remind their followers that as mortal beings they are in the midst of a great spiritual warfare between the angels of light who serve God and the fallen angels who serve the forces of darkness — and that their souls may be the prize for the victors. He is depicted as a beautiful man riding a winged horse. Witchcraft and magic.

However, human beings do indeed appear to have a deep-seated penchant for explaining misfortune by attributing it to evil and malicious spirits and deities — that is, to demons. Such beliefs can be documented in virtually every known human society for which adequate information exists.

This essay explores some of the more salient manifestations, modern as well as ancient, of this well-nigh universal component of several belief systems. In the great majority of cases, demonic figures occur in conjunction with their opposites, that is, beneficent deities to whom worshipers turn for succor when misfortune strikes or when in need of assurance that crops will grow, illness will be avoided, and prosperity will continue.

One of the earliest documented examples of such a pair can be found in ancient Egypt in Osiris and his demonic brother Seth. Dating from Old Kingdom times — b. He was also a reflection of the arid desert that presses in on either side of Osiris's domain: the fertile Nile Valley. Seth was jealous of his brother and, through trickery, caused his death.

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A demon is a supernatural and often malevolent being prevalent historically in religion, . The exact definition of "demon" in Egyptology posed a major problem for . declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terri[fy] all the. Christian demonology is the study of demons from a Christian point of view. It is primarily based . It is also believed that demons torment people during their life or through 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. . of horrible aspect in his Historiarum sui temporis, Libri quinque (History of his.

However, with the help of Isis and their son Horus , who was iconographically represented as a falcon-headed man, Osiris was resurrected and ascended to heaven to become the judge of the dead. Meanwhile, Horus and Seth struggled mightily. It was one of the first examples of a supernatural conflict between good and evil, between a demon and his diametric opposite Horus later became identified with the pharaoh, who was worshiped as a god incarnate. The falcon-headed god finally prevailed, and Seth was killed and dismembered.


But the latter remained a quintessential demon, the template, as it were, for a great many later Western demonic figures. Another extremely important ancient demon can be found in the Iranian figure Angra Mainyu, or "Evil Spirit," later known as Ahriman, who was paired in early Iranian mythology, especially as shaped by the prophet Zarathustra or Zoroaster , as he was known to the ancient Greeks , with the beneficent deity Ahura Mazda , the "Wise Lord," called Ormazd in Middle Persian.

Although they were not held to be siblings, Angra Mainyu and Ahura Mazda were believed to be engaged in an ongoing cosmic struggle, both for world hegemony and for each individual soul. The most extreme variant of this good-evil dichotomy was promulgated during the third-century c. According to the Manicheans, who emphasized free will , one could choose to follow the evil Ahriman, who might ultimately defeat Ormazd in their final, apocalyptic confrontation.

The origins of Satan and related figures are complex. The word satan itself simply means "adversary" in Hebrew; in his earlier manifestations as Lucifer, the "Light-Bearer," who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven cf. Isaiah 12 — 15 , he is not unlike the Greek figure Prometheus, albeit negatively valued.

However, as the Zoroastrian theology of evil incarnate came to permeate post-exile Judaism, the Rebel evolved into a full-fledged evil adversary, in effect a malevolent twin of Yahweh who presided over the corrupt world of the senses. Several centuries later, this evolution was greatly facilitated by the emergence of Gnosticism from Greek gnosis, "knowledge" , a heretical movement that emerged in Alexandria and elsewhere in the early years of the common era. Gnosticism held that the mortal realm was created by a fool called the Demiurge, a corrupt if not totally malevolent pseudo-deity the Gnostics identified with the God of the Old Testament.

This rejection of God linked Manichaeism to Gnosticism, but for the Gnostics the "real" world, that is, the world of the senses, was evil, and their goal in life was to escape it and return to the Pleroma, or "Fullness," a light-filled spiritual realm that was the antithesis of corrupt mortality. These ideas, although roundly condemned by the early church fathers, from Athanasius to Augustine, lingered on and reappeared in the twelfth century in southern France in the Cathay heresy, which was brutally suppressed during the infamous Albigensian Crusade It was out of this heretical crucible, which also came to include the "pagan" witchcraft beliefs that incited such intense persecutions between the mid-thirteenth century and the end of the seventeenth century, that Satanism as we know it today emerged.

Indeed, the idea that a divine adversary who governs the sensate world is the "true" god still persists in cults such as the late Anton Szandor LaVey's — Church of Satan, founded in San Francisco in , and the Temple of Set , founded in by Michael Acquino b. The idea that people are susceptible to possession by demons persists in the Roman Catholic ritual of exorcism, so graphically depicted in the film The Exorcist Such beliefs are, of course, by no means limited to the West. Islam conceives of the demon Iblis as Allah 's prime adversary, aided by a host of malevolent spirits called jinn the English word "genie" derives from this Arabic word , who are capable of all manner of mischief.

What Are Fallen Angels?

Moreover, a great many non-Western cultures also share a belief in demonic figures. In Japan , demonic figures that have the ability to possess human beings and cause them great harm are called oni. There are a great many varieties of oni, not all of whom are really evil; however, most of them are at least mischievous. Among the more dangerous oni are animal spirits, including fox spirits, who are believed to be especially malevolent and are held responsible for a wide variety of personal misfortunes.

Moreover, they are extremely difficult to exorcise. Hindu mythology is replete with demonic figures, the most famous of whom is the evil raksha, or demon, Ravanna, king of Sri Lanka , and abductor of Sita, the devoted wife of the demigod Rama. Indeed, the plot of the ancient Indian epic known as the Ramayana, which spread throughout much of Southeast Asia during the early centuries of the common era, turns on Rama's conflict with Ravanna and Sita's eventual rescue — once again, an account of an epic struggle between good and evil, although Ravanna and Rama are not conceived as siblings.

In the high Andean plateau, or altiplano, of Bolivia , as June Nash reports, the local miners believe that the mountains are haunted by a demon called Huari, whom they refer to as Tio, or "Uncle," and who must be propitiated to avoid cave-ins and other calamities.

This reflects another important dimension of demonology: the propitiation of evil forces and beings so as to preclude disaster and misfortune.

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A further example of this ambiguous attitude toward evil figures can be found in Afro-Caribbean religions such as Santeria and Voodoo, where the orishas, or deities, are considered both evil and beneficent, depending on the context. Both good and evil manifestations of the gods are found in the pantheon and are regularly the recipients of sacrifices. Although for the most part absent in fully evolved Judeo-Christian demonology, this ambiguous attitude toward evil and the propitiation of what we might consider demons is an integral element of folk religious beliefs in a great many parts of the non-Western world — as well as in classical antiquity, where, for example, the ancient Greek god Pan was both benevolent and capable of creating havoc, whence the English word panic.

From ancient to medieval necromancy

Although the majority of demons in most cultures tend to be male, female demons, she-devils, and the like are also common. One of the oldest examples of such a figure can be found in the Sumero-Babylonian demon Tiamat, wife of the primordial being Apsu. The supreme Babylonian god Marduk engaged in an epic struggle with Tiamat and, after finally defeating her, created the world from her corpse. Ancient Greek mythology abounds with evil female creatures, from the Gorgons, the most famous of whom was snaky-locked Medusa, whose glance could turn a mortal into stone, to the monster Python, whom Apollo killed at the site of Delphi , to the equally bloodthirsty female Sphinx, whose riddle Oedipus managed to solve, causing her to drop dead.

In Shinto mythology, Izanami-no-Mikoto, the wife of the primeval male figure Izanagi-no-Mikoto, changed into a raging demon after she died giving birth to the Fire-god, Kagu-Tsuchi, and descended into Yomi, the land of the dead. When Izanagi visited Yomi in order to bring her back to life, she led a band of female demons, the so-called Hags of Yomi, against him and almost succeeded in killing him.

Iranian demonology

More recently, medieval European folklore knew the succubus, a demon or evil spirit who seduced unwitting mortal men and produced demonic offspring. In recent years, since accounts of UFOs and space aliens have become widespread in Europe and especially the United States , some fundamentalist Christians have asserted that these presumed extraterrestrial visitors are in fact manifestations of Satan and his demonic horde. Indeed, according to this contemporary "school" of demonology, those persons who claim to have been abducted by aliens and forced to have sex with them are believed to be victims of the same demonic possession that was reported in premodern times, which also frequently had a strong sexual component.

In sum, demonology continues to persist in this otherwise secular age, just as it has since the dawn of human culture. Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York : Berkeley Publishing Group, Duchesne-Guillemin, J. The Western Response to Zoroaster. Westport, Conn. Fairman, H.