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What's the difference between Devils and Demons?

Discussion in 'Theistic Satanism DIR' started by February-Saturday, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. February-Saturday

    February-Saturday Devil Worshiper

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    This is one of those contentious disagreements that I constantly see recur in pretty much any space where a wide variety of theistic Satanists congregate. I looked through this directory's history and was sort of surprised it wasn't already hashed out here. I'm not looking for argument, though, I'm just curious about how others approach the subject.

    1) Do you use either terms? If so, which ones, and how do you use them?

    2) Do you think there should be more agreement on terminology? Why or why not? If so, what would you recommend?

    Personally, I tend to use "demon" to refer to a wide variety of spirits and gods. The spirit of salt, the spirit of Mars (Barzabel), ancestral spirits, and so on. This is inspired by its Greek roots, and by its English use to refer to a wide variety of pagan spirits from earlier European strains of animism and shamanism.

    I use the term "devils" to refer to a more narrow category of spirits, also based on its Greek roots. It's what I use in place of words from other languages like "shayateen," "satanielim," "satans," "diaboli," or "sathanae" since I consider it to be a pretty close translation. I also use it to refer to most demons in Judeo-Christian demonology, like his majesty, King Paimon, or Asmodaeus.

    I would consider all devils demons, but not all demons devils. As far as I've been able to find, though, this seems to be a matter of my own opinion and there's no actual consensus on the differences between the two.

    However, I would note that in anthropology, "demon" tends to refer to a variety of malevolent spirits whereas "devil" has more specific religious connotations, in a similar way to how I've outlined them here.
     
  2. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    I probably only use the term 'demon' to make funny jokes to people. For me, there are basically spirits, gods, and dead people. There are tons of synonymous names that mean the same thing, but that's basically it. I tend not to use "demon" or "devil" because it implies some negative connotation and it feels kind of funny communicating with a healing demon. Some of it is theological as well as I don't embrace any of the Christian ideas on the subject. So, in that aspect, I don't view things a simple good/evil dichotomy and the terminology feels rather dated and useless.

    I think LHP writers mostly use these words to trigger normies.
     
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  3. February-Saturday

    February-Saturday Devil Worshiper

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    I think that's fair. Most of the LHP doesn't seem to view these figures as necessarily malevolent, so calling them demons and devils in that context can be a bit weird.

    I guess it's easier for me because I do see demons in a way that's pretty in-line with a lot of the negative connotations. I see them mostly as destructive tricksters that are meant to be overcome. If I work with a demon for health, I'm more likely to be making a sacrifice to it so it leaves me alone than I am to be making an offering to it so that it helps me.

    I don't see them as evil, but I do adhere pretty closely to Abrahamic concepts of them. That's probably why it's easier for me to use words that are ultimately pretty centered around Christianity.
     
  4. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretic, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    Well through my own practice I'd tend to see quote-unquote "Demons" as being basically Goetia type of entities. They are entities that have forms and identities that, whether they are part of us or not (whether we retain metaphysics or whether we psychological it is beside the point), have 'lives' of their own so to speak.

    "Devils" on the other hand, as you also mention Shayteen, are actually more of an abstract archetype (for a lack of a better term) which operate in the intermediary realm. Unlike Demons which have a kind of conscious identity, Devils don't, and aren't forms but rather clouds of consciousness that affect the waking state.
    In Shia Islam and in Sufism we would say that they are archetypal forms that live in the world of Alam al-Mithal. In Jungian psychology we would say that they are part of the collective unconscious, taking unconscious in an idealistic sense and not materialistic. Being nodes in the tendencies of the collective mind of humanity that draws it towards certain things, which manifest most visibly in our creativity and in our sociology/anthropology.
    In forms of Shamanism we also have other kinds of ways to explain them in relation to ourselves.
     
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  5. February-Saturday

    February-Saturday Devil Worshiper

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    I'm not sure that this is what the Ars Goetia actually teaches, in the broader context of the Lesser Key of Solomon and its use in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In that context, these demons are just forms that more visceral and carnal impulses take on when humans go to interact with them, very similar to (if not identified directly with) the Enochian cacodemons. It's why I personally prefer the Grimorium Verum.

    That said, technically all demons are goetic, so you might be talking about something else.

    I find that interesting. I agree with this perspective, and it's part of why I view myself as an animist rather than a polytheist.
     
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  6. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretic, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    Yep I would generally agree with that.

    I haven't worked with that grimoire before but I have read through it though, it's perhaps one of my future workings at some point ;)

    Well my reason for mentioning was more for attaching a kind of experiential reference to my own views. It's still complicated either way though, lol

    My model (being Shi'ite Batiniyya at the core, but Hermetic in the more outward occult tradition, with other aspects such as eccentric Satanism and Thelema, you'll see listed in my profile) is a more layered system of realms which are spheres within spheres. The most internal, the most hidden, is the Absolute itself (God or Satan, depending on the RHP or LHP leanings) and between the Material-conditioned (Humans and things similar), between the two are the subtle realms or 'worlds'.
    I use a phenomenological model nonetheless to unify the metaphysical aspects with the psychological aspects. This for me of course, is the case whether I'm talkin' demons or angels.
    The subtle realm is intricately interlaced with the material realm. Psychological realities are often very strongly metaphysical and collective realities.

    To clarify again though, Demons are basically self-aware entities within the subtle realms, possibly like ourselves, but they have different qualities compared to angels and other kinds of entities. These are what we interact with things like Goetic magic.
    Devils (Shayteen) on the other hand in my model are more akin to nodes within the collective, they are both internal and external. They are not interactable though in the semantics of my model because they are not self-aware conscious entities. To us we encounter them as sudden changes of thought patterns, states of mind, uncharacteristic tendencies and as far as RHP traditions teach; temptation as well.
     
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  7. Kapalika

    Kapalika ⛧♡ॐ Jaṭā wearing Succubus Queenॐ♡⛧
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    Devils are lawful evil and live in the Nine Hells and demons are chaotic evil and live in the Abyss... wait that's just in D&D and it's a dumb division lol

    Seriously though, etymologically one refers to a "slanderer" (devil) and one refers to more or less a kind of spirit guide ("Daemon") that was later... "demonized" lol

    As far as 1) I largely see it as a kind of negative term I tend to shy away from.

    2) I'm surprised there isn't more agreement and don't hear people speak much about devils in regards to demons.

    I tend to see a "demon" any spirit that would be, in Hindu terms, an Asura. A kind of spirit that sometimes competes with gods, it's an anti-god essentially or a manifestation in the other direction so to speak. Asuras are not always evil and can even worship devas. I kind of see the Goetic demons in this way, although in that context their ultimate "god" may be an Asura itself. I think of Satan as *the* God but it would I guess technically exist in a superstate of both god and demon, as it does with all other dualities. At some level the boundary between god and asura breaks down particularly when we are speaking of ones at similar levels of power as the more closer to source a demon/asura becomes the more it resembles a deva, although I think it would resemble a fierce form much more often that way.

    So with all that, ya, devil wouldn't be a term I really use except rarely as a euphemism for Satan.
     
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