Enter the Daimon


Inspired by Submerina’s latest post on her interactions with and search for her daimon, I decided to do some digging into what this daimon was all about. Now lest you think this is the latest New Age crackpot rage du jour, let’s hear from Socrates about his own daimon:

“The favor of the gods,” said Socrates, “has given me a marvelous gift, which has never left me since my childhood. It is a voice which, when it makes itself heard, deters me from what I am about to do and never urges me on.” He spoke familiarly of this daimon, joked about it and obeyed blindly the indications it gave.

So what, you may be asking (as well you should), exactly is a daimon? Glad you asked, friend. According to the Encyclopedia Mythica it is the Greek derivative of the word ‘demon’, but it connotes one “replete with knowledge.” The term translates as “divine power,” “fate,” or “god.” Daimons (from the Greek (δαίμων (daimôn))were considered to be lesser deities, minor gods. And they had knowledge. Of lots of things. Before you panic, we’re not talking hideous malformed hell-beasts bent on your eternal destruction. At least not all of them. In fact, Plato believed these were entities that attached themselves to us at our birth, something like the Christian idea of a guardian angel. I know my very Catholic aunt espoused a strong belief in hers, even knowing its name. According to her, all you have to do is ask and they’ll tell you. I’d have to dig up her letter to remember what she said her angel’s name is. But anyway…

In my research for my vampire novel, I’ve been digging into some relatively heavy-duty esoteric tomes, and drawing on A.E. Waite‘s “The Book of Black Magic” (among others) which devotes a chapter to naming some of the demons conjured in magickal rites. Some are more capricious than others, but some are quite helpful. For instance:

Vassago, a mighty prince, of the nature of Agares, who declares things past, present and future, and discovers what has been lost or hidden. He is good by nature.

Unsurprisingly, Vassago is often invoked by adepts of ‘white magic’ and for divination operations in particular. Others are not so benign. But one thing most have in common is that they impart some kind of knowledge, whether of astronomy, herbs, stones, liberal sciences, languages. Some have the power to kindle love between men and women, cause your enemies to love you, make someone invisible. Others are known liars and not to be trusted.

So I poked around the Alchemy Lab site some more (a word of caution about the site. It doesn’t lead you in any logical fashion from one page to the next, and that spinning cube of space on the home page might be a little nausea-inducing if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing), and found this nifty little quiz, and who can resist these things? My final score was 26 (-7 solar). This bit from the results leapt out at me:

At this moment in your transformation, you are experiencing a flood of images and feelings that have their origin in your own subconscious. As we become adults (or are “adulterated” ), many people feel they have lost a precious part of themselves and are leading inauthentic and superficial lives. Our souls despair trying to survive in a world of spiritual drought, and we have less psychic energy available.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been feeling like lately. Which of course begs the question of what to do to get that energy back and stop wanting to jump off the bridge? I have been neglecting my inner life in favor of the outer, it’s been a long time since I meditated. Maybe it’s time I started to listen for my own daimon.

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8 thoughts on “Enter the Daimon

  1. “Our souls despair trying to survive in a world of spiritual drought.” What a sadly adept description of our reality. I, too, have been feeling a dreadful, DREADFUL lack of energy and motivation. Sometimes it feels as though the life has been sucked right out of heart. I wish that whatever caused the spiritual draining would have kindly left me a little in my fingers. Then, maybe I could shut my eyes, and put my hands on “autopilot” for a short time. No such luck. I think you’re right, though, about the possible cause being a lack of inner reflection and too much focus on the external. I need to pick up my Bible again, rather than another novel. At some point, I started making the Sabbath about a day of reading rather than a day of rest.

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  2. Hi Jessica,

    It’s become so easy to put aside the things that nurture our souls in our frantic day-to-day lives. For me, more time to read would be welcome! 😉 Sometimes just being outside, feeling the elements, whether sun and warmth, or windy, chilly days, can re-energize me. At least for awhile. I find the stillness of meditation is such a complete break from everything, a chance to really shut out the world and decompress, I’m sorry I ever stopped. I really need to take more time for that.

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  3. I have trouble meditating b/c I can’t make my mind go still – there’s always something roiling around in there, and if it’s not a barrel of laughs it is at least usually interesting. I scored a 64 – apparently I am in the process of fermentation.

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  4. It definitely takes practice, but in many styles of meditation the purpose is not so much ‘stilling’ or forcing yourself to think of ‘nothing’, as simply stop actively working on something. Thoughts will always come, it’s more about not following them down the rat hole. Impressive score! (I think, not really sure what’s desirable on their little scale there?) I guess I’m not quite at ground zero, just in a murky state of mind these days.

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  5. Oooh, nice find! And great intro to the concept (unlike my own blundering in with guns blazing; bugger the background ;)) It is a fascinating – and yes, magical – experience and I’d love to see what you come up with. Soon, all the cool kids will be doing it. We’ll start a Daimon Revolution!

    I got Stage 3: Separation – Purification (http://www.alchemylab.com/separation.htm) which is so accurate for right now. There are days when I bounce back into Stage 2, but overall, this is where I’m at. Want to know something funny? The planetary association is… MARS. “Separation” is even more apt in light of the next blog entry I’ve got cooking. You’ll see and laugh along with me 🙂

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  6. I can hardly wait to see that entry! 🙂

    I guess I tend to be more procedure-oriented (maybe the result of growing up Catholic and having all that rigid doctrine?), so I wanted to think I knew what I was doing (haha!) to some extent before I dove in. I’ve had a couple of (for me) interesting experiences while meditating, sadly it’s one of those things that fell by the wayside in trying to keep up with everything I ‘should’ be doing. Time to get back to it.

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