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Full Version: "demon" and "hell" -- mean...?
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I'm not entirely certain how to enter into this conversation without giving away what I've been reading, here. Maybe I should just get to the point.

I've come to the thought that there is a difference between a hell-being (or "demon") and a Demon (as relates to Traditional Demonolatry).

If you're wondering how I got here...a couple of things set me off, a few weeks ago, and it threw me back into my Protector state, which is associated with Satanism and Demons. I appear to still be somewhat there. Last night the thought arose that if I did have history as a hell-being, it would explain my focus on demons, pain, anger, and my past focus on darkness, plus the aversion to accessing past-life memories, and the reinforcement from spirits I do know that maybe I don't want to see these memories (though the latter could easily just be my mind reinforcing itself through "external" validation).

I've also begun reading Jung...so I am no longer entirely certain, if I ever was, that the "spirits" or "Demons" are external. I recall reading something that said, "It's all in your mind -- it's just that your mind is a lot bigger than you think," though I really can't recall where that would have been. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

As a note, I am not entirely certain what even I mean by "hell" or "demon". But I have been reading around...

In my experiences with Satanism and Demonolatry, I've found a lot of people -- and this goes for both religions -- for whom said religions are a stepping-stone on the way to someplace else. I've also found a lot of people who associate Satan and Demons with Darkness, scariness, and Evil, and the latter three concepts seem to be the main reason why they're there. This is...not really the reason I'm there.

But then...I don't have a really Christian understanding of...any of this, even though I'm using terms that Christians have appropriated or redefined. That is, what does "hell" mean outside of a Christian context? What does "demon" mean? Do I have to research codified religions to find out, or is there some other nebulous definition, or is there actually a hell and are there actually demons, and the various codified exhortations not to go to hell and not be a demon, just refer to this? The major problem is that hell and demons are associated, nearly universally, so far as I can see...with the ideas of moral transgressions, or of failed ways of being, and associated with the concepts of punishment for these moral transgressions. This, in turn, focuses on methods of social control and the upholding of an established or nascent order...

So what do I mean by "demon" or "hell"...hmm. I'll think on it. I'm being called away, but I'll be back later.

I used to be so gung-ho that "demon" was a misappropriated term; demons were not creatures with horns and a pitchfork that were Satan's cronies from the bible, no sirree! Demons were chaotic beings of energy and they had nothing to do with the bible.

Then I realized I'm appropriating a term that has been used for Satan's-minions-of-hell-Biblical-blah for centuries now... to be my little own definition.

I've come to understand since then that you could look at "demon" the same way you could "happiness" -- everyone's got their own definition of it -- and I've also come to understand that there are so many labels that can fit me aside from "demon." With all the forms I find familiar, all the shapes and attributes I can shift in and out of, I'm not even sure if I really fit into the "demon" mold as well as I initially clung onto.

As for "hell..." well, I've never heard a positive connotation to the word. But, hell, I'd never really heard a positive connotation to "demon" until I used it myself.
It kind of makes things clearer to realize that what Traditional Demonolatry calls "Demons" (capital "D") are often the Deities of religions other than Christianity (specifically? unsure) which have been demonized. Like Sumerian Deities. The entire "demon" trope in Christianity seems to be something that's relatively new -- used to capture the attention of potential converts. "Centuries" is not a long time, in the scheme of things.

And as I've heard, and if I recall correctly, the term "Satan" is only used twice in the Bible...so Christian talk of "Demons" and "the Devil" are basically disproportionate to the core text of the religion, and could be seen as popular culture.

When I was initially labeling myself a demon, I can recognize at this point that there was some negative self-valuation going on there, which isn't so much there now. I can also see that the term "demon" (little "d") is rather nebulous. People think they know what you or I mean by it, but generally they don't -- much like any other subcultural or reclaimed pejorative term. It also tends to be a charged term -- generally a negatively charged term.

After all of that, I do wonder if it's best to call myself "demon," especially since, with my current experience, I do not hold as strongly to the term anymore. Non-Otherkin who crowd around the term "demon" (not to mention the term "Satan") do seem to frequently ...not be people I want to associate with. Not implying anything about the people in the Otherkin community, because that *is* different. But every time I've asked, "why call something in particular a 'demon,'" or "what is a demon," I've not been met with a substantive rational response.
Just a quick note, as I don't have much to say. The other night, I was thinking back on the Spiritualism movement (and possibly minorly Theosophy [which was looking for universal commonalities to faith]), which -- unless I'm mistaken, would have been around the same time period as Jung...(I haven't checked my parallels yet, so can't be sure)...

I realized that when Christian missionaries went to other parts of the world (like, say, Japan) and found people there showing reverence to nature spirits/deities, those nature spirits and/or deities (kami) would probably have registered as either angels or demons. Because the Christian god was unknown in those areas, though, I think it would be more likely that these spirits the local inhabitants might revere/respect/fear would have been seen as, "demons," to the outsiders, as there was an absence of the Christian god.

Taking a bit of pop culture as an example:

When we get translators using the term "demon" without careful consideration, you get things like Inu Yasha, which just might spring from the roots of overlaid and retranslated cultural imperialism (though I'm not sure how much it can be called "imperialism" in Japan). This seems to be a case where local beliefs and values were first redefined by Westerners (at least among some -- there is a New Yorker article which focuses on a group of Jesuits in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing which ended WWII), and then reported back to Westerners, translated back out into Western terms. Thus we get a "dog demon" which is very much not like a Western demon, except for the fact that he's a relatively powerful not-fully-human spirit and is not under the control of the Abrahamic god. It sounds as though these categories alone, taken together, qualify him as a "demon" in Western eyes. (As for a nuanced discussion of the terms "youkai" or "youma" or "han-you" or "yasha," I don't have the Japanese language skills to comment. But I know there is such a thing as "Japanese Spiritualism" [it was in a controlled vocabulary in a library when I looked it up -- unfortunately the book is in Japanese], so that is a start.)

Hence the question "what does 'demon' even mean?" when you get references to "demons" all over Japanese pop culture and they are pretty much only marginally related to the "demons" of Western culture -- excepting that they've usually suffered (likely a Buddhist influence), and the fact that "demons", going back in time, appear to have originally been spirits and demi-powers of other cultures which were not Abrahamic -- like ancient Near-East (Akkadian, Babylonian, Chaldean) powers.

Though then there is also the Zoroastrian influence, which I'm seeing more clearly now with some of the trouble which is coming out of the Middle East: in which there is a clear choice to do what is considered right (for humans) or wrong (for humans). There are some people who are seriously intent on doing wrong (for humans), in a way that I really can't fathom any justification for, other than actually being committed to Evil in some form. I have read it was only in a late stage, however, that Evil was personified in Zoroastrianism into a Deity of Evil-to-Humans, that being Ahriman; whereas the Deity of Good-to-Humans was Ahura Mazda and had been for a while.

I'll leave this here for now, and if this thread needs to be moved into the "Religion" subforum, I'm OK with that.
ave u checked out 'daemon' as used by greeks?it means more like 'genius'Herman hesse's novel 'damian' -was 50 years ago i read it and dont remember it -but something to look at for other meanings connoted by word.
Hi Agnes,

I actually do know about the Hellenic use of the term "daemon/daimon", though I can't say I've deeply researched it. I did remember it after I wrote my last entry here, and just didn't update -- though I am not certain whether the "daemon" concept as used by Greek philosophers preceded the Greek concept of "lesser spirits" of other cultures (particularly Near-East). I do know that the concept was still in use in Art up to the Renaissance, when the term "genius" was relocated from an external spiritual source (the "genii") to the artist themselves. The Greek definition of lesser spirits is ...somewhat in use, currently, though only among a tiny minority. Personally, my philosophical system isn't Classical (though democracy is nice -- in theory); so while I do (for example) have a book on ancient Greek beliefs (as backed up by translated source texts), to be honest it isn't that engaging. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> It's alien to my world.

I have thought of looking back into this, though. It might be good fuel for stories, even if I decide not to "believe in" it. In any case, it probably makes more sense than the pop-culture thing we've got going on now where senseless evil = "demonic". Evil which makes no sense, though, that's not necessarily "demonic;" it could just be "crazy." I would expect a method and reason behind demonic evil, you know, some actual intelligence.

Back to things I have a clearer grasp of...

There is also the Daoist sorcery angle...which -- in one of my textual examples, seems to have been a cultivation of Yin (throw a bunch of poisonous animals into a jar; keep them there until they kill and eat each other and there's only one left; use the survivor's poison as the most potent poison)...not to mention anti-Buddhism. <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue --> Uh...right, well.

This has actually given me an angle to write on what happens to those who (theoretically...) were supposed to gain supernatural powers in their pursuit of Buddhahood (no? but it's normal! waaah!), and then instead of renouncing them (as one is expected to do), one decided to use them, instead. Like what happens if you get an ex-Buddhist warlock? (Darth Vader?)

Yeaaah...well. For some reason, I mesh better with East Asian mythos, might be due to my cultural upbringing; might be due to past life heritage (that is, I may be used to/familiar with it; this being why I'm drawn to materials on Ancient China and India). But I don't have access to source texts in either Japanese or Chinese because they're hard languages to learn to read (and I have been reluctant to try for literacy in Japanese [which I'm closer to], for fear I'll start to talk with weird accents like Siri, due to lack of an in-person teacher). There is a place I can go for Chinese fiction in English, now that I'm thinking about it, but the store is pretty small.

Anyhow...I do kind of have issues with being drawn to the Yin of many things (in addition, now that I think of it, ...I wonder if creativity is considered Yin?). In Western thought, this basically encompasses demons...but my primary exposures to ideas of "demons" aren't Western, and they've probably just been called "demons" for translation purposes. What it is that I'm actually after is less clear, because of the translation issue and the fact that I only have a solid grasp on one language (with partial to minimal functionality in two others).

I, uh...I should get to bed...
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