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History and Functions of Demonology


A Brief History of the Development of Demonology before the Advent of the Protestants.

Middle century demonology could be divided between two currents that have to do with what rights and social positions the Devil had.

The first "movement" comes from early Christian tendencies to restrict people's rights hence the devil represented the enlargement of such rights. The second "movement" occurs as a reaction to the attempt to explain the devil and his position in the world without undermining the godly power of... well God. First gives equivalent power to both the God and the Devil to create and destroy while the second describes the devil as a deceiving figure that creates illusions.

The devil in the meantime chomps on popcorn enjoying himself how the followers of the first and the second are biting at each other's throats.

Ultimately, both of those movements merged into a single "science" that would occasionally contradict itself. In early and medieval Christianity, especially in the so-called "dualistic heresies", the notion of a creator devil is clearly expressed, which is a force opposite to the divine. So, for example, the Marcionites (one of the early Christian movements recognized as heresy), in addition to practicing celibacy and asceticism, believed that the creator of our material world was the devil, and not God at all. According to their doctrine, man also belonged to the material world, along with the immortal soul. It is at the moment of the spread of such "heresies" that orthodox demonology arises - a doctrine designed to reject the significance of the devil in the hierarchy of otherworldly forces. The unfortunate horned one was left with neither creative nor organizing functions - yes, in other words, nothing at all, except for the desire to deceive everyone and deliver maximum inconvenience to the human race. There was, however, one significant problem in orthodox demonology - this doctrine did not explain the origin of evil at all, instead referring, like Jean Bodin, to the book of the prophet Isaiah, which stated that there is no other power than God, and that's it. including darkness and evil created by him. Which, alas, does not at all fit with the concept of all-goodness, but for further inquiries in those years it was possible to rattle at the stake if a quote from a holy book does not suit you as a universal answer.

Excuse me, I am getting carried away. There are two dates that are important for the formation of Demonology:

1) Cathedral in Braga or the First Braga Cathedral. It took place in 561, in 563 the canons adopted by him were approved by Pope John III. The event is curious in that it was then that a detailed definition of the devil was finally given, which was considered the most canonical right up to 1215. According to this definition, the devil - one of the angels created by God, does not have the essence of the creator and does not dicit eum ex tenebris emersisse (did not rise from darkness on his own). However, it was still believed that the devil is the beginning and focus of the very essence of evil. The Council condemned all those who believed in the creation of the material world by the devil and recognized them as heretics, and also dismissed the version that the birth of fruits in the mother's womb is the work of demons. But human intercourse was still considered a sinful act, even if they recognized that the demons had nothing to do with it! Go understand these churchmen...

2) Tours Cathedral(813) - here they recognized the actions of magicians as a fraud, regarding them as "illusions" caused by the devil. In addition, the concept of dualism (the existence of two opposite sides of equal strength, at war with each other) has also received criticism and has been recognized as heretical. In short, they finally decided that the devil is no match for God, and just something hisses out of his well, and does not act as a serious opponent. To be honest, the criticism of the concept was a little strange and extremely sophistical, but, apparently, the clergy got it.

Thus, the thinkers of those years came to a rather curious conclusion: the devil is contained in God. The devilish beginning is necessary for this world, because without darkness there is no light and balance is needed in everything. A similar decision was also caused by the remaining contradictions between theology and folk beliefs: after all, instead of cleaning out centuries-old traditions and folklore with fire and the Bible, one can pretend to be smart and say that it was intended that way.

The period when the presence of the devil in the world was talked about especially loudly was the 15th-17th centuries, the time of the persecution of witches. At the same time, from a formidable, terrible and unnameable character (for a long time it was believed that the mere mention of the devil could seriously ruin the life of a righteous Christian), the horny one turns into a participant in buffoon productions and the hero of jokes. The public idea of ​​the devil, in general, until the romanticization that overtook him in the 18-19 centuries, fluctuated greatly, exposing either a terrible master and prince of this world, or a fool and disgusting nonentity.

"Scientific" demonology denies the possibility of the existence of a half-man, half-demon, and, in general, a mixture of demonic and divine. The folk tradition not only allows this possibility, but also welcomes it. Despite the stubbornly defended by the church position that demons are not capable of childbearing, the legends about the children of incubi and succubi, half-demons, aroused genuine interest and sympathy.

Early demonology emphasized that the devil and demons, although capable of physical harm, still harm humanity at the level of the psyche and metaphysics - by deception, illusions and pressure. In the 11th-13th centuries, according to the teachings of the scholastics (Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Lombard and others), the devil from the figure of the tempter as a very concrete and definite being turns into an abstract concept of evil and becomes depersonalized. From this, the idea of ​​multiplicity and omnipresence would later grow. And it was at this time that the thesis was put forward that the cause of evil is free will, not subordinate to God.


Then Came the Protestants!

The Protestants, led by Martin Luther, took a fairly moderate position regarding the devil and his servants (compared to the rest of the churchmen, since there was enough tin here too). Luther believed in incubi and succubi, had no doubts about the ability of the devil to take on a physical form, but did not believe in flights and communication with the demons of witches, and also recommended not to get involved in their pursuit. In addition, Luther gives the domain of anger and the emotions associated with it to the control of the devil - any human aggression, as he believed, is a consequence of the influence of the devil.

Paracelsus stands out strongly in his view of the nature of demons - for him these are not creatures of evil, but "wild creatures", in many respects similar to people. It forms an alchemical quadriga - each "chaos" (element) is inhabited by "demons" of a certain kind: sylphs in the air, undines in the water, dwarves in the earth and salamanders in the fire. The alchemist treats all these creatures extremely kindly. And the church soon begins the persecution of alchemists.

By the end of the 16th - beginning of the 17th century, the weight of the figure of the devil begins to gain strength again. He again becomes, largely thanks to the occult, heresies and alchemy, the ideas of which spread much faster than traditional beliefs, the creator of illusions, the tempter, the deceiver and immaterial force. Such a concept is very clearly reflected in the work of Erasmus Francis "Infernal Proteus, or a thousand-skilled artist." It is in this book that the devil first receives the nickname "god's monkey" (that is, the one who mimics God), and is also called a mockingbird and a comedian.

The development of scientific-rational thinking and an increased interest in medicine helped to strengthen this view of the nature of the devil: from now on, the devil was credited with the authorship of all dangerous hallucinations and illusions that adversely affect the human soul and gradually deprive him of reason, undermining the psyche.

Theology with such views, as already mentioned, tried to fight (not particularly successfully, because it is precisely such views that have survived to our times). The reason was simple: this theory completely removed responsibility for their actions from witches and demoniacs, turning them from "defendants" into "patients", from evil creatures into those suffering from mental illness.

The position of Johann Wier (or Weier - discrepancies, excuse me) is interesting regarding the question of witches. He was the first to introduce a consistent medical view of witches and witchcraft into demonology. Well, as far as it was possible for those years.

Vir, in his treatise "On the Deceptions of Demons" (1563), partly devoted to the author's journey to Africa, where he observed local witches, distinguishes between magicians (magus), who consciously surrendered to the devil, and therefore bear full responsibility for this, and witches (saga vel lamia) - unfortunate women whom the devil fools, taking advantage of the weakness of their spirit. Therefore, he suggested that witches be punished only if they cause serious harm to society, and not for the very fact of existence. And, if possible, treat. This treatise had a huge influence on the minds, was reprinted many times, and in many ways contributed to the gradual reduction of witch hysteria among the masses.

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The rapid development of natural science in the 17th century shook the very belief in the devil and caused the transformation of his image, in an attempt to adapt to "rational" thinking. The following postulate became the principle of this thinking: “it is not worth declaring as intrigues of the devil those phenomena that can be explained by natural causes.” We owe this formulation to the physician Maresco, a participant in the case of the witch Martha Brossier.

In addition, the devil lost the status of a metaphysical being and became a factor inherent in the world order, equivalent to the laws of nature. A similar statement was quite logical for that time: the “demons of the planets” cause diseases not because they are evil creatures and hate humanity, but because they are built into the cosmic system and this is their function. As for fire, it is a function to burn the hand thrust into it.

And, simultaneously with the process of "rationalization" of demons and the devil, the trend towards humanization and attribution of individuality gained momentum, which corresponded to the Renaissance views on free will. It was not the differences between man and the devil that became more important, but what united them - passions, secret desires and other "worldly", which, in fact, constitutes a person. And, at the same time, the devil himself becomes equal to man, but not as a terrible otherworldly force.

This tendency reaches its apogee in Balthazar Becker's treatise The Enchanted World (1693). Analyzing the Bible, the demonologist comes to the conclusion that the devil is only able to be present in the context, and his influence on the human world is negligible. And, therefore, we can do without the devil at all.

In parallel, the inscribing of the devil not into the nature of the world, but into the nature of man continues - for example, Thomas Lodge argued back in 1596 that the devil is every person.

Speaking of literature... A huge contribution to the formation of the demonological tradition was made by such thinkers as Dante Alighieri and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. But about them - a little later. Special thanks to Lord Byron who had a hand in the romanticization of the image of Lucifer!


Identifying Demon Class

Now that we have a good background in the history of demonology, let's understand their classifications.

Almost all variants of typification of demons go back to Neoplatonic ideas - the lower the rank of the demon, the closer it is to the material world and the more closely connected with the natural elements.

For example, the classification of Michael Psellos suggests six types of demons:
1) Higher ("leliuria", leliouria), living in the "area of ​​rarefied air above the moon."
2) Demons "aeria" (aeria), living in the air under the moon.
3) Demons "hthonia" (hthonia), living on earth.
4) Demons "enalia" (enalia), inhabiting the water.
5) Demons "hypochthonia" (hupohthonia) - we have them underground.
6) Demons "misofaes" (misofaes), who hate the light and reside in the most remote depths of hell.

At the same time, only the last three classes of demons are harmful, which are absolutely devoid of intelligence, and their minds are like animals. But with the rest, you can even try to negotiate.

A very, very boring classification, which not everyone liked even in the Middle Ages. However, due to its relative simplicity, it has taken root for a long time and has been interpreted by various thinkers.

Many theologians and inquisitors believed that the higher the demon is in the hierarchical ladder, the higher the punishment that awaits him in the future. Succubi and incubus are traditionally considered lower demons, since their sphere of activity is as mundane as possible and refers to carnal passions, but not to spiritual torment.

In addition to the "natural" classification, demonologists have come up with a system of ranks for hell, very similar to the angelic hierarchy adopted in the Christian tradition.

The systematization of the demonic ranks was carried out by the already mentioned Johann Wier and the English priest Robert Burton. The latter, by the way, wrote a curious treatise called "The Anatomy of Melancholy." The surname obliges, you will not say anything.

So, according to Veer and Burton, we have the following picture.

Demons of the first rank: Pseudo-gods (falsi dii). Simply put, the higher demons, called names similar to angelic ones. They are proud, powerful and wish to be revered as gods, they are able to accept sacrifices and offerings, as well as give gifts to those who sacrifice. These include, for example, Beelzebub.

Demons of the second rank: Spirits of lies (spiritus mendaciorum). This type of demon can take possession of oracles that have fallen into a trance and fool people with divinations and predictions, sometimes true and sometimes not. By mood.

Demons of the third rank: Vessel of iniquities (iniquitatis vasa). Creative department of hell. Responsible for the invention of vicious arts and evil deeds. They invented distilling, pornography and gambling. Funny guys, apparently.

Demons of the fourth rank: punishers of atrocities. Vir, unfortunately, has no information about them. Burton says that Asmodeus belongs to them, but in general they are evil vengeful creatures with whom it is better not to joke.

Demons of the fifth rank: deceivers. Help magicians and magicians to work miracles.

Demons of the sixth rank: the lords of the air. It seems that Vere and Burton were running out of fantasy... These demons "mixing with thunder and lightning spoil the air and bring infection and disaster."

Demons of the seventh rank: furies. They sow wars and strife, finding great entertainment in them.

Demons of the eighth rank: spies.They are engaged in dripping on people's brains, reminding them of the sins they have committed, which drives them to despair.

Demons of the ninth rank: Individual entrepreneurs, they are simply called "tempters". They are engaged in taking the fate of one particular person into their own hands and diligently corrupting him, trying to get a soul.


Unwanted Visitors

In the Middle Ages it was a challenge to not bring external infections home, whether it be the plague or a demon... All methods presented in this article are historically recorded and are not conjectures of the writer. But that doesn't mean they work. I can definitely say that some of them are pretty ridiculous. Reported for informational purposes only.

The peasants were not particularly perverted by rituals. According to popular beliefs, you can summon some simple demon in the following ways: whistling in the dark, drawing this demon, reading a prayer backwards in front of a mirror (that’s another rhetoric exercise) or ... swearing. Yes, obscene language lovers, you summon several demons every day! Feel the power of hell in your veins? You can also write a note with a wish and throw it into the air at night - after all, at night it is downright teeming with demons.

There were also more complicated methods. One of them advises to slaughter a black chicken at the crossroads and bury it there. This, however, is also not very difficult - a chicken in a bag, a knife in his bosom, a deserted intersection - and that's it. And here's the next one...

Now I will tell you about my favorite way to summon a demon. He is loved because as soon as you start thinking about putting this action into practice, you immediately understand how ridiculous it is.

So. First, you need a church. Obviously to make the demon feel more comfortable. The second point is a ram. No, not a stupid colleague, but an animal. Better - black, but normal will do. The third point is darkness. For example, you can wait for the night.

If everything you need is available, then you should come to the church with a ram at night and drive it around the building. How many times and in what direction - is unknown. One night, drive clockwise, and if there is no result, then the next one is counterclockwise.

There are many questions about this method. For example, how do you get a ram, which is known to be a rather stubborn animal, to run in circles? Should you run with him or away from him? What to do if the ram suddenly stands up on the third lap - start from the beginning or just drive on? What if he runs away from the church? How to explain your actions to a stunned church watchman?

Trying to create something like this now, you are guaranteed to summon as many as two brigades of demons. One - in uniform, the second - with a stretcher, a straitjacket and haloperidol.

Another way is to write a note in the blood of a Jew and throw it into the fire. It seems that it will be easier to drive a ram.

Doctor Faust in the original legend (not in Goethe's arrangement) called the demon in the evening, in the forest, at the crossroads of four roads. He drew on the ground with a stick "several circles and two side by side so that these two were drawn inside one large circle." That was enough for the devil to appear to him. The devil had low requests for art in the past...

Peasant and folklore notions of the ease of contact with a demon can be contrasted with demonologists' records of overly complex rituals.

Here is a small digression. The summoning ritual itself, from a symbolic point of view, is the point of breaking with the old life and the beginning of a new one, and therefore is permeated with many objects and actions that contain a hidden meaning. It is necessary, for example, to use only absolutely new items that have never been used. The ritual itself should begin at midnight - the first moment of the beginning of a new day, or with the first rays of dawn, which symbolizes the beginning of a new life.

One of the variants of such a ritual sounds like this: with a new, unused knife, it is supposed to cut a young vine of wild hazel, on which sheets have never blossomed. This should be done at the moment when the sun has just begun to appear above the horizon. Then, having found a secluded place, draw a triangle with charcoal, place consecrated candles at its corners, writing holy names around the perimeter. The caller himself is supposed to be inside the triangle and in no case outside. More often, however, it was advised to draw a circle or even three concentric circles. As you may have guessed, the figure with candles and letters is a protection from a demon that appears after reading the magic formula.

The summoned demon is usually not overjoyed to have been summoned. You are sitting, which means you are minding your own business, and here - a hoba! Some idler calls. Wants something else. So he would have hit him in the forehead ... Therefore, the one who appears will try in every possible way to confuse the caster. The very appearance of a demon may be preceded by strange sounds and phenomena: sudden gusts of wind, squeaks and knocks for no reason, barking dogs or cries of domestic birds. A cat can still scream, but a cat that decides to scream will not ask if you summoned a demon. He did everything without you.

In no case should you lend anything to the demon that has appeared - neither a small coin, nor a cloak, nor, moreover, food. Any transferred item will be a pledge of the soul of the caster. And, of course, you can not leave the defensive piece. The demon, by the way, may try to kick you out of there.

And, of course, you need to send the devil to his mother as soon as he agrees to fulfill your desires. Without delay.

There is a common legend that the performance of a theatrical play in which the devil or demon is present can summon it. There were rumors that often during the productions of "Faust" among the actors playing devils, a real devil could get in. Such superstitions are still alive - in some theaters they are afraid, for example, to stage "The Master and Margarita", and the shooting of the film of the same name has become overgrown with speculation and rumors of a mystical persuasion.


Trust a "Good" Demon

Are there, according to Medieval considerations, good demons? The official doctrine unequivocally states that there aren't any. But folk beliefs, Agrippa and Giordano Bruno are not so categorical.

Belief in good demons, benevolent towards people, coexisted with the Christian doctrine from the very moment of its inception. The Church, of course, opposed - for example, on September 19, 1378, the Sorbonne condemned everyone who supported the idea of ​​​​the kindness of demons as heretics.

The Renaissance brought the flowering of Neoplatonism and esoteric-mystical teachings, and with them the strengthening of faith in the goodness of some of the dark spirits. Strictly speaking, a good demon is called a "eudemon". Many thinkers of this era believed that it was impossible to know the secrets of the universe without otherworldly help. And very many, according to their own testimonies, used this help.

So, Agrippa of Nettesheim argued that many demons are kind or indifferent towards people. Giordano Bruno believed that in order to achieve higher knowledge, which can only be obtained by leaving the earthly limits, cooperation with benevolent demons is necessary.

The practice of turning to horned assistants on issues of education and intellectual overclocking becomes widespread and routine in the Renaissance. The Carmelites of Bologna (monastic order) during their sermons openly proclaimed from the pulpit that there was nothing wrong in addressing demons with questions about the future.

This, of course, did not lead to anything good for the Carmelites.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 occultismubc

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