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Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
Estelore
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Post: #1
Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
I imagine there must be a thread of the sort someplace around here. Daemons aren't an original concept, but they were used to profound and delightful effect by Phillip Pullman in his trilogy His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass).
The gist of it is that a Daemon is the visible, mostly-physical, talking-animal representation of your conscience and your subconscious mind (basically your Id and Superego both) personified outside your body, while your body is busy with just the Ego business. The Daemon has a name, and is typically either a gender opposite yours, or a gender to which you are romantically attracted the most. The Daemon is your best friend, constant companion, other half of your soul, your psyche...

...and yeah, it's a coot widdle aminal.

Socrates actually claimed that he could see and talk to his Genius/Daemon/Daimon (same thing, different linguistic origins), and that she was a very good counselor.
[Some people identify a female Genius as a "Juno", this is only technically accurate in cases of the woman being married/mothering; male Geniuses were just as accurately called the "Jupiter" if the man was a husband/father. Nomenclature really isn't the point of the thread, so I'll move on.]

As you can infer from the Socrates reference, the concept of seeing your conscience following you around is older than dirt.

Pullman took the concept and ran with it, and upon re-reading the books, his version is taking on deeper meanings for me.
In Pullman's story, everybody can see everybody else's Daemon, and the Daemons of children are constantly changing shape, according to mood and situation.
On reaching "adulthood", the Daemon stays in one shape permanently.
The form an adult's Daemon holds says something incredibly profound and meaningful about that person, and you can tell who they are instantly by seeing that Daemon.
It is taboo to touch somebody else's Daemon, because the creature is literally a visible, tangible external piece of their soul and true core identity.

Here's the kicker, though, for me...
the Daemon CHOOSES to stay in that one shape. Why?
When the child first experiences true romantic love, and genuinely understands how it feels to love and be loved, and the first time that person allows another person to touch their soul (in this case, literally!), then the soul itself remembers that feeling, and it wants to remember it forever by holding the form it held when it was first touched lovingly (romantically) by another person.
The child exchanges innocence for identity, and the Daemon is fixed in his/her lifetime form. This is called "settling". The kid that tested every possibility for who they COULD be... has "settled" on one that they can live with being, because it's the version of themselves that was loved best by the person who loves them.


Interestingly enough, the story goes on to say that when the person dies, the Daemon cannot go into the next world/life/void/whatever. It stays on-planet and eventually kinda' just dissolves into the air, lacking a person to follow around (the other half of themselves). The person's Ghost, the half of their soul that stayed in their own body during life, is lead to the next world/life/void/whatever by their Death, who is also the same gender as their Daemon.
It's kinda' an abstract visual way of saying that when you give up your body in death, your identity is fundamentally not the same. Your lack of material form makes your material Daemon and your body no longer meaningful to you, and now you are a Ghost, and your Death is your new spiritual companion, the thing to complete and balance you on the other side.

*shrug* Pullman was an atheist while writing the trilogy, so make of it what you will. As for me...

...my Daemon is Ayden; he is a very comfortably settled carpenter bee/least weasel. My fiance has Silke, a settled female snowshoe hare. It is darkly amusing to us that any attempt to find an image of both in one place will inevitably bring up images of a tiny white ermine gorging himself on a slaughtered hare. <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue --> >_<
Fortunately, our relationship is markedly less... predatory. :]

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2011-01-09 5:44
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kahoku
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Post: #2
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
This reminded me of a test I took looong ago: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/tests/the-golden-compass-daemon-test">http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/tests/th ... aemon-test</a><!-- m -->

I've heard about people who can see/hear/feel their daemons. One person explained them to me as a construct to access your subconscious more easily. That sounds nice and I actually considered creating such a construct myself but never got around to doing it. I have a lot of voices in my head anyway...

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2011-01-09 12:42
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Estelore
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Post: #3
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
I've had the vague scaffolding for such a construct in place for a long time, but only fairly recently did I decide to really flesh it out for the first time since I was a little tyke (the imaginary friend stage).

Later, after my angelish headmates started taking up space and mental resources, I kinda' stuffed the imaginary companion away in cold storage. Recently, I've been getting a bit fed up with how frequently the headmates have been using survival- and socially- based drives as motivators for me to follow through decisions that I don't entirely agree with.
Solution? Pull the fuzzy buddy out of storage and make a few adjustments: divide out the "id" and "superego" aspects, the things that are purely motivated by either survival and other physical urges OR by social norms and ethics (essentially my survival instincts and my conscience both) and delegate them into the construct of a daemon. Let him have his own face, voice, name...

...and when it comes time to make a decision, and I can objectively watch the angels try to tweak id or superego as a way to manipulate my decisions...

...I can more easily tell them to stuff it.

It's hardly perfect, but it's already been working swimmingly. Not sure how well other multiple systems (especially those with more members) would do with it, though. *shrug*

[Image: Full%2Bsystem%2Brearranged.png]
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2011-01-11 22:11
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Chimera
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Post: #4
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
I’ve know of the concept of dæmons for several years now, and actually first heard of them on a therian forum. To me, daemonism is just an imaginary friend/ mental construct that embodies part of a person’s mental though process that changes singular monologue chatter (“My alarm went off… need to get… need to get dressed…where’s my shoes?) into a dialogue (“My alarm went off.” “Yep, and that means you need to get up.” “Fine now let me get dressed.” “Wait, where are your shoes?”)

My daemon is named Danteberos and by default talked the form of a Hovawart. I mostly talk and project (see my daemon moving around me) for entertainment and mental stimulation reasons anymore, though the duo dialogue does help keep my mind more on track.

When I came to the hard realization that my headmates (not my daemon by far) weren’t just ‘voices’ anymore but had actual individuals now. I kind of forgot about the daemon concept in my confusion of slowly beginning getting used to sharing Front with them and coming to full terms with identify as being part of a median system. It wasn’t until recently I started talking and projecting my daemon again periodically.

I personally like this sites overall explanation as well - here

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2011-01-11 23:47
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Post: #5
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
Ah, this place has a thread too. <!-- s:o --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_surprised.gif" alt=":o" title="Surprised" /><!-- s:o -->

I'm a daemian; I first learned of the concept two or three years ago, though I had already read The Golden Compass by then.

My daemon's name is Korroko (Ki for short; he says "Hello" to you guys). I mostly converse with him; we don't project very often, or very well for that matter.

He's helped me sort out my inner thoughts quite a bit. I'll admit that I'm not all that fond of the attitude of much of the community of The Daemon Forum, though, hence why I mostly lurk instead of posting.
2011-03-05 22:13
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Estelore
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Post: #6
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
Yeah... TDF sometimes could use a serious attitude adjustment... but on the whole, it's what most of its members want as a place to hang out online, and a handful of the mods are genuinely excellent people, so I have a hard time feeling too bothered by the occasional psychological jabs and unexpected moments of closed-mindedness that turn up.

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2011-03-07 2:54
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Post: #7
Re: Daemons (Animus/Anima/Genius) His Dark Materials
Exactly. On the whole, they're informative; it was through them that I first learned the concept of "real" daemons.
2011-03-07 3:36
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