On Demons, Daemons, and Daimons

“Daemon est Deus inversus”

(A demon is God inverted)

Demons, Death, and Disease

Demons, real demons aren’t the figments of our imaginations.

They aren’t beneath our beds or hiding in dark closets. They aren’t the nightmarish ghouls that haunt our dreams and awaken us to a heart beating beyond the capacity of the thoracic cavity.

They aren’t always shadows of the mind, scenes from last year’s horror movie, or the obscenities spiritual zealots scream upon the faces of a reality that merely disagrees with their religious convictions. What they arguably claim as demonic scenery is simply their inability to realize wonder, a deprecation of Mystery, a lack of appreciating self-expression, and their own misinterpretation of art.

Demons, real demons are the undeniable torments that we will face in life. Demons we actually cannot escape. Encountering realistic limitations -life’s capacity to constrict and eliminate viable potentials beyond our human control: physical disability, sickness, disease, mental anxiety, spiritual abyss, existential crisis, and worst of all: the loss of family, losing our loved ones, those who love us, is nearer to the mark of any type of satanic being than any ghoulish figure we can construe in our imaginations.

In truth, it is not death that scares us most. Loneliness idle, that dreadful feeling of being absolutely helpless, stagnant, trapped in a dark room, where it seems no one cares about you and your existence save for themselves, and even worse that no one can or will help us in our sufferings is closer to our greatest anxiety. It’s realizing that the world is not sympathetic to your personal bouts of decline, disenfranchisement, depression, or dysfunction. It’s about seeing that nobody least of all yourself can aid you anymore than you can first and foremost heal yourself, including having enough preparation in humility to allow yourself help in the first place.

It is the death of a loved one that we cannot bring back. It is unchanging circumstances. Permanency. It is suffering unannounced, out of an abyss we cannot fathom, the self-shocking kind of suffering bore out of spontaneous wrath, a drawn out approach to agonizing torture. It is terror unleashed. This is the God we fear. Awe-struck to self-demise, tormenting one unto an experiential plane of nothingness quite beyond the tangibility of our manifested comprehension, we experience the entirety of our intrinsic nature, including its lack of entity. Into our non-capacity, our vacuousness attempts to shutter but all that shakes is the mind.

Demons, Daimons, and Daemons

These instances, insights, and realizations are the daimons of enlightenment we cannot escape. It’s an awakening to how terribly we’ve split reality, in fact a clarity upon how badly we’ve lacerated the propriety of our being. It’s easy waking up from a nightmare and holding onto the person we love most, clenching arms around one another or cuddling from behind (trying to somehow possess the Infinite beyond physical grasp) and yet by the way our loved one lays still and peaceful beside us, we are certain this is Heaven. Who am I to disagree? Even in our hectic dreams of being chased and falling down upon the shadowed shores of our subconscious, the nightmares of something happening to our loved ones resolve to awakening beside them – a reminder to us that presently all is truly well, and we are here. Is this not divine?

Turning on the bedroom light, looking under the bed, and double checking the lock on the front door are needless safety measures and petty mind tricks. Real demons haunt us day in, day out, and never will they resolve in the harrowing sound of windy tree branches scrapping across the window pane at midnight. We pray to be released from their grasps, yet they always prevail by wreaking continuous misfortune upon believers who lack self-knowledge. When God falls silent and the dark night approaches, archetypical daimons, actual demons, the ghouls and goblins existing before any known measure of sin was ever to be written down by a human hand, aim to break that divine streak within us. Their shadowy countermeasure is our own vice (and thus our own virtue), to choose between, our own capacity to rise and fall above and below the various levels of paradiso consciousness and purgatorio consciousness. Thus, the demons we inherently fear are of the same materia as the angelic saving graces of our very prayer. Our choice determines their nature and thus the nature of our own becoming.

Heraclitus Of Ephesus, who was born about 540 B.C.,[5] wrote:

ēthos anthropōi daimōn

— Diels fragment 119 (in Agamben & Heller-Roazen 1999) [2]

which is translated as, the character (ēthos) of a human (anthropōi) is the daimōn, or sometimes the character of a person is Fate, and the variation An individuals character is their fate (idem “Man’s character is his fate”).[2][6][7] 


What terrifies us is our own connection and power to the divine, the power to create/destroy our very lives and those of others.  So crucial is this understanding that many of us cannot grip or bare the burden of our responsibility to understanding the process as a whole. We cannot imagine having such an ability of control over our lives; we cannot bare the realities of our creative power. Living in the safeties of excuse and blame are quite easier than taking reign over our lives.

In our realizations of this power, our false conception of self is so severely shocked to a one-pointed array of fright that the boundaries of self are pushed beyond one’s relative capacity, resolving in a catapulting of one’s projected self-image beyond the wherewithal of normality. This truly lacerating process may lead to self-fracture whereby an imbalancing of extremes is placed upon the individual forcing him/her to cling entirely to either vice or virtue in varying scenarios. Lacking a wholesome approach, this necessarily leads to denial and rejection of the other realm. Our repression and avoidance of daimons must be overcome, accepting that not only does the power of the demonic live (seen typically as our lower recesses) within our control, but so too the power of the divine virtues of our inner nature can be enacted. We must choose: both or none. Prayer is no longer an option; our satanic Devil is nothing without a pedestal God . We are forced between abandoning the soul, our inner daemon, or accepting it wholly as is. The only viable option is of course, choosing the soul, i.e. we must not repress, but address and acknowledge the call of the daimonic within us. The immaterial intellect must begin integrating itself beyond measures of good and evil and rejoin the manifested world. Here begins the process of embracing the daimonic.

In the words of psychologist Rollo May,

“The daimonic is is obviously not an an entity but refers to a fundamental, archetypal function of human experience — an existential reality in modern man, and, as far as we know, in all men. The daimonic is the urge in every being to affirm itself, assert itself, perpetuate and increase itself. The daimonic becomes evil when it usurps the total self without regard to the integration of that self, or to the unique forms and desires of others and their need for integration. It then appears in excessive aggression, hostility, cruelty — the things about ourselves which horrify us most, and which we repress whenever we can or, more likely, project on others. But these are the reverse side of the same assertion which empowers our creativity. All life is a flux between these two aspects of the daimonic. We can repress the daimonic, but we cannot avoid the toll of apathy and the tendency toward later explosion which such repression brings in its wake.

We must rediscover the daimonic in a new form which will be adequate to our own predicament and fructifying for our own day. And this will not be a rediscovery alone but a recreation of the reality of the daimonic. The daimonic needs to be directed and channeled. Here is where human consciousness becomes so important. We initially experience the daimonic as a blind push. It is impersonal in the sense that it makes us nature’s tool. … consciousness can integrate the daimonic, make it personal.


Demonic Last Resorts (Integration and Individual Retort)

“And who are the heavenly beings? They are the personifications of those dynamic, driving powers within our selves.”

-Joseph Campbell

The demons of pain and disease are obvious. I am diminished in my attempts at treading ever so lightly in their daily avoidance.

The demons of pleasure trick their way into the body and blood stream slowly ensuing its demise through addiction and physical dependency. Nicotine poisons my lips, throat, and lungs. I cannot move without coffee. I repeat, I cannot move without her love.

A tasty food squeezes the body tight. A drink loses air. Water, we need more water! Alcohol hath run me dry.

Even the thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and can lead to healthy ruin. More! I must know more in my secluded affair. Where hath society gone?

When reading turns into madness, what’s left to learn? The demonic urge of mental masturbation can be as paralyzing as any car accident.

Misery unto joy, despair, and below that even more joy can be found if only we can re-solidify ourselves.

So too the faint glow of happiness’s smile, the joy of innocent youth, begs at aging corruption.

Every solution awaits retort, your retort. Our hard-earned attempts to memorize fact over fiction change slowly over time. Facts change occasionally into fiction, and fictions can easily become more of a reality than anything we’ve ever known. Our views change, we change, and thus who we think we are actually lacks permanent structure. Who am I hints at who am I becoming which compares to who I have been which connects to who I want to be one day. So many different who(s) we’ve been and none the same. Yet in time, we feel more solidified in who we are. We are certain we know ourselves. Opening up to the daimonic process within us begins to question the solidity of our self-image. We must come to understand the reality between demon and daemon, the fact that spirits are not out their against us, but at war within us causing us to be against the world. Focusing on the development of higher capacities within us including developing a value-structure, cultivating self-discipline, managing our individual will-power, and cultivating the intellect can aid us in our battles against the daimonic undertow.



Jazz As An Outro (For Shaking Those Incurable Demons)

A tap dancer’s shoes groove to the beat.

Ah; there is the bass and with it goes a boom.

Then the trumpet from the jazz players hand sliding across the keynotes

Sparkling footsteps from glossed black shoes glide across the floor.

Tuba, bassoon, and the scream of the horn.

Orchestra fades into the background.

And bore from some holy light comes the keys.

Sweating forehead, black and white alterations with a touch of golden hammers bouncing on string.

A foot pedal leads them out.

With a tap, tap, tap,

About Stephan Stansfield

Stephan is the owner, creator, and editor of Peregrine Poise.
He is currently traveling and teaching around the world. When he is not helping others discover their true potential, he finds time to surf, read, and reflect on the important issues of living a good life.


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