Thursday, March 11, 2010

Controversy Over Demons

Well now that the blogs are all in a tizzy over Goetic evocation and demons in particular, I have decided to state a few of my own opinions on the matter. Over the past few months I have learned a lesson from adherents of the Left Hand Path, that it’s all too easy to judge a group of spirits by their class, even though like human personalities, they are actually unique individuals, and really need to be judged as such. To say that all Goetic demons are of a certain nature is to make a generality that is at best, inaccurate, at worst, a kind of prejudice. I admit that I have fallen into this trap, because magicians tend to categorize classes of spirits in order to place them into a greater context. However, all models and systems of categorization are heuristic devices that help one to understand what actually is a diverse and very loosely organized body of spiritual entities. Knowing a spirit’s alignment and determining its place within a spiritual hierarchy and class is an important tool for understanding and identifying that spirit, but its true identification can only occur when one has actually either invoked or evoked that spirit through some kind of magickal operation. This means that the old grimoires can’t be completely trusted in regards to how they describe and qualify specific demonic entities.

I am not going to name any names from the individual authors of these blogs, of course, since everyone who is commenting on this thread are experienced magicians in their own right. Magick can easily get out of control, but most of the time when this happens the magick just fails to really produce any verifiable effect. It’s also easy to blame magickal operations for being the cause of catastrophes, such as a house catching on fire, having an auto accident, causing the breakup of friendships or love relationships or any manifestation of bad health. Those of us who are committed and consistent workers of ritual or ceremonial magick can tend to paint our realities with too much literal and metaphorical magickal phenomena, since that is what we are particularly focused on.

Each situation requires a thorough examination, but I have found more often than not that mundane causes and chaotic accidents are usually to blame for the supposed “bad luck” that does occur from time to time to magicians. To blame one’s magick for disasters is probably all too dramatic and pretty difficult to refute or prove erroneous. When a magician makes such a statement they are no longer able to really objectively examine the facts. If my magick produced disasters that I had to suffer through (and I could objectively prove that it had indeed been the cause), then I would probably cease all magickal work for a while until I had discovered and corrected the flaw in my practice and operations.

I have often found that when accidents occur, it was a lack of magick that allowed them to happen without any warning or indication that something bad was going to happen. Also, magicians tend to believe their own tales of power, maintaining a kind of mythic perspective on the reality of their lives because it's more “magickal” to do so. But all human beings succumb to accidents, sickness, disasters and other unplanned events as well as unmitigated stupidity, and magicians are not immune to these occurrences either.

Getting back to the topic of demons, as a class they represent the unconscious forces and intelligences that exist both within and without human beings. However, some of them will impact and react with the unconscious mind of the operator in what could be judged as a harmful experience or an unleashing of an unconscious issue or complex. Whether or not a demon can have this effect depends on the quality of the unconscious mind of the operator and the exact personality of the demon that is evoked. Individuals who have a strong self definition and who have worked out many of their unconscious issues will probably not have the potential for encountering a demon that will produce in them a harmful experience. The older and more experienced the magician, the more likely that life itself has worked out a lot of that individual’s internal issues and complexes. However, everyone has an Achilles’ heel, so if one were to serially invoke all of the demonic spirits, eventually one would be found that produced a bad experience. The supposed bad experience could also be turned to one’s advantage, especially if it were used to work out that issue or complex it triggered, allowing it to be completely resolved.

Possession and obsession can be hazards that anyone who traffics with spirits could potentially experience. These are the risks that one takes to perform invocation and evocation. Either state can occur even with supposedly friendly spirits, depending on the psyche of the operator or one who engages in such experiences. Possession trance is not actually the same thing as being possessed by a spirit that one is invoking or evoking - being ridden by a godhead is quite different, even if the experience was not sought and produced unpleasant side effects.

In my unpublished treatise on Invocation and Evocation, I define these two terms in the following manner. I know that my definitions may be quite different than what others might believe or even how these terms are classically defined. Some may argue that spirits have as much a physical body as a human being. However, in my experience, spirits have a very different physical makeup and structure than a human being. The fact that they can assume multiple forms or even be completely invisible should give magicians a clue as to their actual physical quality.

“The primary difference between human consciousness and the consciousness of a spiritual entity is that the human egoic distinction between the self and not-self boundaries are sharply defined, based as they are on the physical body; whereas ego-less spirits do not have the same sense of distinctness and uniqueness. This is because a human being, like all living sentient physical beings, has a highly developed identity that is based upon that physical body. Human beings are only partially aware of their connection to other beings within the ocean of consciousness. The spiritual dimension of a human being resides within his or her higher self, wherein the experience of the unity of consciousness is primary. A spirit is aware of its union with all other conscious entities and uses its personal identity only as a means to focus itself so that it may temporarily function as an independent individual; otherwise it is only a participant in the undifferentiated mass of unified consciousness.”

“As stated above, a human being relies upon a highly evolved identity in order to function in the material world. A spirit uses an identity only for the purpose of functional differentiation, otherwise, it has no material identity. The danger to a human being from a spirit is the potential for a loss of identity or a loss of will. How this is accomplished is that the spirit may assume the mundane identity of the human magickal operator, or the spirit may enchant the operator, causing delusions and impassioned fantasies. When a spirit is said to have assumed a human's identity, what is meant by this is that it has entered that person's sphere of personal awareness and taken control of the normal egoic functions, thus taking possession of the individual's whole conscious being. Human beings may also experience delusions when a spirit is able to seduce their will and thus become far too influential, causing an obsession to occur.    

A spirit has an amoebic ability to attach itself to or completely engulf the consciousness of a human being. Because a spirit exists in an undifferentiated state of consciousness and has no restrictive physical component or material body, it does not understand the primitive necessity with which human beings require the maintenance of a distinct and unique awareness of self. Therefore, a spirit may possess or obsess a human being without harm to itself, but with dire consequences to those unprepared for an exposure to a spiritual being. However, a human being who has developed to the point of having an awareness of self that resides in the world of Atziluth would be immune to possession or obsession, but he would seem to have no personally distinct identity either. But this immunity would only include spiritual avatars and would not even include those who are even considered spiritual adepts. So therefore, you should take great care in dealing with spirits and assume the paramount responsibility to guard yourself from obsession or a loss of soul.

When a person has been possessed, he no longer functions as an individual, but is clouded and obscured by the consciousness of the spirit. Yet his own state of consciousness is twisted and distorted by a lack of normally occurring cohesive structures that are used to express his individuality in a coordinated manner. What remains is a fragmented self which cannot focus and is guided by whatever momentary impulse captures the imagination. The only remedy is an exorcism, which consists of withdrawing the interfering spiritual influence through an intercession with the ruling God-form, and causing the healing of the individual through purification, the restoration of the self-image through trance techniques, and an enforced period of spiritual fortification and retirement from all occult practices.

Obsession is easier to understand, but actually more difficult to rectify than possession. When a person becomes obsessed, she must be removed entirely from the source of her obsession and given other tasks to occupy her. All occult activity must be halted for a period of time until the danger of a relapse is past. Then the individual must undergo self analysis until the source of the obsession is discovered and its relevant issue resolved.

Both possession and obsession occur when a person's psychological issues are over stimulated. This causes the self to become vulnerable and then, subsequently, overwhelmed by the shadows of the unconscious mind that seek to extinguish its frail identity. Therefore, the disciplined adept continually deals with his personal issues and never attempts a magickal operation when depressed or emotionally distraught. Also, great care must be used when selecting others of lesser spiritual achievement to assist in an invocation. The adept is solely responsible for the welfare of his assistants, and he should discriminate against those who are psychologically unstable or unsuitable for withstanding exposure to supernatural phenomena. The performance of the magickal procedure for assuming a God-form ,which acts as a magickal identity for the magician, is the best means of safeguarding the self from possession or obsession. When you assume a God-form, you have taken upon yourself the protective grace and authoritative control to both direct and deflect the influences and powers of a spiritual entity. This is because the God-form is the primary archetype that governs the spiritual world and is, therefore, used in exorcism to extract unwanted spiritual influences. So long as you can maintain the connection to his God-form, a spirit cannot cause either possession or obsession.”

Since I have actually witnessed a few individuals who were possessed and even performed exorcisms, as well as counseled individuals who suffered from some kind of spiritual based obsession, I think that I can tell when someone is suffering from these maladies or not. I would judge that nothing that I have read so far in anyone’s blog would indicate to me that someone has succumbed to either obsession or possession. These are very serious maladies, and they usually require a fair amount of time for not only healing and recuperation, but also to avoid such an occurrence in the future. Once inflicted by one of these maladies, it can make it more likely for the victim to be inflicted again.

So, being balanced, emotionally and psychically clear as well as having powerful allies and intimately associated godheads are important if one is to ensure that neither possession or obsession can occur. I also tend avoid individuals who have a natural capacity for obsessive compulsive disorder, since they are prime candidates for obsession.

I think that these opinions and ideas will hopefully not only explain my perspective on the manner of demonic evocation, but also that possession or obsession can occur with any spiritual entity or process, regardless of whether it is supposedly positive or malefic.

Frater Barrabbas


  1. The potential for 'obsession' is so prevalent, regardless of what one is doing magickally, that it's relatively hard to recognize whether someone is 'obsessed to the point of no return' or just dealing with routine obsessional enthusiasm. Short of throwing up a specific Goet's seal and declaring it "God Almighty, now and forever," it isn't half as easy to spot as other thinks.

    On the other hand, paranoia is...

  2. @Jack - What you say is true. Obsession is easy to understand, once it's diagnosed, however, it may take quite a bit of time to manifest in a manner that makes it obvious, and by then, it has become a serious mental problem. I have found it easier to identify when someone is strangely obsessing because of a magickal operation, which is actually the point that I raised in my article.

  3. When I talked with Bune long ago he told me that he was specifically a demon and not a daemon. When I talked with Dantallion he told me he was neither demon nor daemon, but something else. From my understanding, it seems as though everything listed in the Goetic catalog shares some similarities, but the catalog also seems to be composed of several different species of similar things.

    I've seen some very bad possessions. A lot of times though these things can be fixed fairly easily. You could just yank a spirit out, although it isn't recommended. 9 times out of 10 though I find that a possessing spirit will leave on its own within a few hours at the most. Just keep the person seated, away from any weapons, and restrained if absolutely necessary. It's also very helpful, if you believe someone may be at risk, that they have some item they've personally enchanted, be it a ritual tool or even something simple like a crystal. Family heirloom ritual tools work well too. If they hold it, the energy of the item often times will be enough to even the person out and help them regain control. The earlier that this is done during the possession, the better it works. However a person can easily fight an unwanted possession. It doesn't take much magical training to force something out of you and regain control.

    Obsession meanwhile is such a vague term that it borders on near useless. Technically even talking to any kind of spirit fits certain definitions of obsession. In my experience the term has been used a lot by certain people to try to deter members of the community from actually practicing magic. Essential acts like channeling and sensing spirits is considered highly dangerous and almost always a sign of obsession.

    Personally I think its mostly the creation of armchair magicians trying to persuade other people not to attempt what they can't do.

    In my opinion these are not serious dangers. The mental training and introspection exercises that almost all practitioners will go through early in their practice should render most obsession attacks nearly impossible. Meanwhile possession can be effectively fought off with a little practice. The only real danger comes from someone else becoming possessed by something powerful enough for full body control. However in my experiences these types of things are usually strong enough to hurt and kill just as well without a host body.

  4. I've seen a few cases of practitioners (and non-practitioners) being either possessed or dealing with obsession. Obsession is more difficult as it can wax and wane, or be a light obsession. I find these sorts of thing happen from the dead 100 to 1, then with Daemons/Demons.

    It is interesting how you contrast us with them, ego vs no ego. I was contemplating recently if any of the various entities we work with do ever have egos. If we look at mythology, it makes one wonder at times.

    Again, nice to read writings from someone who most obviously has vast experience with various spirits.

  5. Excellent post. You've definitely given me some food for thought.
    To cut to the chase since I lost this post once before:
    Freud was the psychologist who dealt intensely with the matter of subconscious processes and the existence of a subconscious mind.
    Now, the subconscious mind is almost universally accepted as fact.
    Therefore, could an entity not take advantage of a person's perception, whether correct or otherwise, and either possess them or make them obsessed?
    Generally speaking, the subconscious is seen to be either a repository of all depraved urges, problems, life experiences, ad infinitum. also, it is generally held that humans cannot access the subconscious through direct means.
    Now, seeing this is the case, could an entity take advantage of that perception and use it as a backdoor so to speak?

    Just as a sidenote since you'd mentioned OCD, I'm currently a psychology major and notice that many mental disorders can be symptoms of problems going far beyond neurology or physiology.