… a thought making crooked all that is straight.

The demonic in me

In Arthur Versluis’ The Philosophy of Magic he writes:


“There is one aspect of invocation that must be reiterated: the difference between expulsion of the demonic and invocation of the daimonic… the invocation of devic or celestial influences implies the expulsion of the lower, bestial or demonic creatures which ordinarily inhabit the mind of man – the demons of desire and hatred… Each time we manifest desire or aversion, we are bringing to life, signing a pact with, one of the demons of ego.

The reason the true magus – in the vernacular – ‘consorts with demons’ is to expulse those inner forms of ego. Every instant, every day that one lives without having expulsed those demons is a day lived in a tacit pact with them…For these reasons, the popular image of the magician as one who ‘consorts with demons’ is at once ironic … and accurate…”

This passage struck a chord with me, not least because it was a topic I was discussing with a friend not too long ago. He said that anything in your life which controls you instead of you controlling it, is demonic and calls for some kind of exorcism. That in itself resonated as I feel that I am undergoing an exorcism of my past at the moment which is freeing me physically and mentally. I know a couple of people who have confided in me that they are scared of their own alcohol intake that it is potentially problematic and yet they do nothing to change the situation – this could be classed (according to the above definition) as a form of demonic possession. Compulsive eating is demonic as the sufferer of this condition is most definitely under the control of the disorder, not the other way around. The uniting thread seems to be compulsion, a forcing of our will away from the middle path, often away from what we know is good for us: a compulsion to self-harm through excessive food, excessive alcohol, dangerous relationships or >insert your chosen ‘sin’ here<. Although I know that some people may get their knickers in a twist about me suggesting even indirectly that their ‘weaknesses’ are demonic and they are in need of an exorcism, I hope that they can overcome the knee-jerk response (which may indeed be the inner demon recoiling at being uncovered!) and consider the concept. I find the idea of almost personalizing the compulsions within very interesting. We can often recognise the compulsion, the end-product as it were, but not know the origins which is why we throw ourselves into therapy or compulsive repetition of our errors – so easily one demon can become legion within us if we don’t deal with the original intruder; after all, once demon number one has settled into the comfort of an entrenched ego, why wouldn’t he send out a general invite to his mates?
Yes, I am being flippant, but the concept still holds and it is helping me compartmentalise a mess of feelings inside me. So once the demon is identified, the question is, what to do? I think that is a personal decision, and I would not give a generalised answer to that when someone may take it as law and run with the idea right over a cliff (metaphorically speaking … although isn’t that what Jesus did with the devil whose name was ‘Legion’?). I am still pondering the nature of my demons, and bizarrely the thought of them doesn’t scare me. Colin Wilson wrote a fantastically interesting novel called The Mind Parasites – creatures that have colonised the minds of all men [sic] and who control the fate of mankind by remaining hidden in the depths of the unconscious. After reading that book you never look at the dark, quiet corners of your own mind in the same way again! But where as these parasites frightened me, the concept of the demonic doesn’t. I am keen to know them, because once known, once I have their name, I will be able to oust them from my being and I find that a very positive thought; just as once I admitted that my illness was psychosomatic, rather than clasping a sweaty hand to my forehead and curling up in victim mode at the wasted years and torments of my own mind (!) I felt hugely rejuvenated and empowered. Real chronic physical ailments are sometimes manageable but never curable. By admitting the potential psychosomatic origins of my illness, I have unleashed a flood of energy and uncovered some dark corners with the light optimism: if it is in my mind, then I can conquer it and be well. If the compulsions are demonic, I can know them and expel them. Of this I have no doubt.

The other aspect to this concept is that ego and habit energy is the resting place and breeding ground for such demonic energies. So logically, a two-pronged attack both on ‘knowing your demons’ and on breaking down ego and habit energy would be the most successful. I feel that the last month when I was riding on an artificial high (as genuine as it felt at the time, it was un-real), I was actually surfacing the wave of my ego. It felt good, it felt great, if felt compulsively, addictively wonderful – like too much chocolate, too much coffee, too much sex. And ultimately it was ‘too much’ of everything, it took me away from the middle path and I lost myself in ‘feeling’. I brought a lot back from the journey – there are things I learned – but it showed me once again how deceptive the path of ego can be. We think we are being true to ourselves, when actually we are living a fantasy.

So there are a few essentials for me that come from the concept of the demonic: as Dion Fortune indicates in her book Psychic Self-Defence, the greatest protection is being very grounded in this life, being grounded enough to give a belly laugh at a good film. I am finding my Kundalini yoga supremely grounding; it is what broke the cycle of flying high-higher-highest and brought me gently back to earth. I am now incorporating a minimum of two meditation sessions a day, where I can tune back into myself and check how far I have strayed off the Beauty Path. And this new moon I shall be beginning some ritual work to face my demons. I have Sobek to my left and Anubis to my right, and I am more than ready to stare into the mouth of Apophis. May Osiris bless me and my path. It’s time to know the demons, and really know my Self.

© starofseshat 2008

7 responses

  1. naufragiobella

    I would like to link directly to this post from my blog. This is fantastic, well thought out and expressed perfectly. It’s beautiful.

    August 28, 2008 at 12:57 pm

  2. starofseshat

    Thanks naufragiobella. Feel free to link to me. I’d be interested in your blog too, if you fancy posting a link here to that.
    Really glad the text spoke to you too 🙂

    Postscript: I’ve just added you to my blog roll 🙂

    August 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm

  3. Peace Seshat,

    Lots of really interesting stuff here. Allah! At the moment, though, I’ve only got time to say that this subject really hits home with me.

    I recently had a very strong dream in which I sat across a desk from a fiery demon, which wanted to tell me its name – ‘all that is other than God’. So, I can really relate to this.

    I’ll add more thoughts later on, insha Allah.

    August 29, 2008 at 7:03 pm

  4. starofseshat

    Take your time. Your thoughts are always worth waiting for.
    Peace to you and those dear to you.

    August 29, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  5. Hemlock

    Hello Seshat,

    You have incredibly profound discussions here. I am so glad to have found your blog when I did as my husband and I were scratching our heads over the notion that alcoholism can be seen as a type of demonic possession. (Okay, I confess, it was because we watched the latest episode of True Blood.) This concept is an extremely arresting one, like self-improvement by exorcism. Where’s the self-help book about that?

    In fact, I have come across a ritual in Donald Michael Kraig’s book, Modern Magick, where you are required to see a weakness of yourself manifest as a being (which can be demonic) and then you banish it. Perhaps it can be comparable.

    Of another note, I am also reading a book by Arthur Versluis at the moment, called Magic and Mysticism and enjoying his insights very much.

    Warm regards from your new reader,

    October 22, 2008 at 7:37 am

  6. starofseshat

    Merry Meet Hemlock,
    I’m so please you’re enjoying the blog. The readers and commenters are half the joy.

    Yup, I have often read about manifesting an internal aspect and projecting it outwards to banish – although I have also heard of cases where this has gone very wrong. I think sometimes the mistake is in thinking that it is “just” an internal aspect and therefore not a “real” demon – once manifest it’s as real as any other and needs equal respect.

    Check out the post on the Thelemic Conference https://starofseshat.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/thelemic-symposium-oxford-2008/
    Charlotte Rodgers spoke about that in the context of Mayan Yoga (something I must get round to researching).

    Arthur Versluis is fabulous. I have that book and will be taking his Egyptian Mysteries with me to America.

    Look forward to hearing more of your comments.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:03 am

  7. Thanks Seshat! After reading your post, I am keen to try an intensive banishing ritual after I am done with my work this semester. However, I would not want to be ill-prepared. Do you mind sharing with me the experiences you have been privy to on how it has failed?

    Very happy to make your acquaintance
    and Blessed Be,

    October 23, 2008 at 2:24 am