Demonology
Overview
Demonology is the systematic study of demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 relating to superhuman
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 beings who are not god
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

s. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent beings of all kinds. The original sense of "demon", from the time of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 onward, was a benevolent being, but in English the name now holds connotations of malevolence.

Demons, when regarded as spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

s, may belong to either of the classes of spirits recognized by primitive animism
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

; that is to say, they may be human, or non-human, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body.
Encyclopedia
Demonology is the systematic study of demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 relating to superhuman
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 beings who are not god
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

s. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent beings of all kinds. The original sense of "demon", from the time of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 onward, was a benevolent being, but in English the name now holds connotations of malevolence.

Demons, when regarded as spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

s, may belong to either of the classes of spirits recognized by primitive animism
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

; that is to say, they may be human, or non-human, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body. A sharp distinction is often drawn between these two classes, notably by the Melanesians
Melanesians
Melanesians are an ethnic group in Melanesia. The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia were likely the ancestors of the present-day Papuan-speaking people...

, several African groups, and others; the Arab jinn
Jinn
Jinn are supernatural beings in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings.Jinn may also refer to:* Jinn , a Japanese band* Qui-Gon Jinn, a character in the Star Wars universe...

, for example, are not reducible to modified human souls; at the same time these classes are frequently conceived as producing identical results, e.g. diseases.

The word demonology is from Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 , daimōn, "divinity, divine power, god"; and , -logia.

Prevalence of demons

According to some societies, all the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits, each ruling a certain "element
Classical element
Many philosophies and worldviews have a set of classical elements believed to reflect the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. Most frequently, classical elements refer to ancient beliefs...

" or even object, and themselves in subjection to a greater spirit. For example, the Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 are said to believe in spirits of the sea, earth and sky, the winds, the clouds and everything in nature. Every cove of the seashore, every point, every island and prominent rock has its guardian spirit. All are potentially of the malignant type, to be propitiated by an appeal to knowledge of the supernatural. Traditional Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

n belief posits that countless demons inhabit the natural world; they fill household objects and are present in all locations. By the thousands they accompany travelers, seeking them out from their places in the elements.

In ancient Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, demonology had an influence on even the most mundane elements of life, from petty annoyances to the emotions of love and hatred. The numerous demonic spirits were given charge over various parts of the human body, one for the head, one for the neck, and so on.

Greek philosophers such as Porphyry
Porphyry (philosopher)
Porphyry of Tyre , Porphyrios, AD 234–c. 305) was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre. He edited and published the Enneads, the only collection of the work of his teacher Plotinus. He also wrote many works himself on a wide variety of topics...

, who claimed influence from Platonism
Platonic realism
Platonic realism is a philosophical term usually used to refer to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals or abstract objects after the Greek philosopher Plato , a student of Socrates. As universals were considered by Plato to be ideal forms, this stance is confusingly also called...

, and the fathers of the Christian Church
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

, held that the world was pervaded with spirits, the latter of whom advanced the belief that demons received the worship directed at pagan gods.

Many religions and cultures believe, or once believed, that what is now known as sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is paralysis associated with sleep that may occur in healthy persons or may be associated with narcolepsy, cataplexy, and hypnagogic hallucinations. The pathophysiology of this condition is closely related to the normal hypotonia that occurs during REM sleep. When considered to be a...

, was a form of physical contact with demons.

Character of the spiritual world

The ascription of malevolence to the world of spirits is by no means universal. In Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

, the Mpongwe
Mpongwe
The Mpongwe are an ethnic group in Gabon, notable as the earliest known dwellers around the Estuary, where Libreville is now located.The Mpongwe language identifies them as a subgroup of the Myènè people of the Bantus, who are believed to have been in the area for some 2,000 years, although the...

 believe in local spirits, just as do the Inuit; but they are regarded as inoffensive in the main. Passers-by must make some trifling offering as they near the spirits' place of abode; but it is only occasionally that mischievous acts, such as the throwing down of a tree on a passer-by, are, in the view of the natives, perpetuated by the class of spirits known as Ombuiri. So too, many of the spirits especially concerned with the operations of nature are conceived as neutral or even benevolent; the European peasant fears the corn-spirit
Vegetation deity
A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity...

 only when he irritates him by trenching on his domain and taking his property by cutting the corn; similarly, there is no reason why the more insignificant personages of the pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

 should be conceived as malevolent, and we find that the Petara of the Dyaks
Dayak people
The Dayak or Dyak are the native people of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily...

 are far from indiscriminating and malignant, being viewed as invisible guardians of mankind.

Types

Under the heading of demons are classified only such spirits as are believed to enter into relations with the human race; the term therefore includes:
  1. angels in the Judeo-Christian
    Judeo-Christian
    Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

     tradition that fell from grace,
  2. human souls regarded as genii
    Genii
    Genii , a plural form of genie, which is an alternate spelling of jinnī , are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings...

     or familiars
    Familiar spirit
    In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic...

    ,
  3. such as receive a cult (e.g., ancestor worship),
  4. ghost
    Ghost
    In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

    s or other malevolent revenants.


Excluded are souls conceived as inhabiting another world. Yet just as gods are not necessarily spiritual, demons may also be regarded as corporeal; vampire
Vampire
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

s for example are sometimes described as human heads with appended entrails, which issue from the tomb to attack the living during the night watches. The so-called Spectre Huntsman of the Malay Peninsula is said to be a man who scours the firmament with his dogs, vainly seeking for what he could not find on Earth -a buck mouse-deer pregnant with male offspring; but he seems to be a living man; there is no statement that he ever died, nor yet that he is a spirit. The incubi
Incubus (demon)
An incubus is a demon in male form who, according to a number of mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have intercourse with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus...

 and Succubi
Succubus
In folklore traced back to medieval legend, a succubus is a female demon appearing in dreams who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual intercourse. The male counterpart is the incubus...

 of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 are sometimes regarded as spiritual beings; but they were held to give proof of their bodily existence, such as offspring (though often deformed). Belief in demons goes back many millennia. The Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 faith teaches that there are 3,333 Demons, some with specific dark responsibilities such as war, starvation, sickness, etc.

Ancient Near East

In Babylonian mythology, the seven evil deities were known as shedu, or "storm-demons". They were represented in winged bull form
Bull (mythology)
The worship of the Sacred Bull throughout the ancient world is most familiar to the Western world in the biblical episode of the idol of the Golden Calf. The Golden Calf after being made by the Hebrew people in the wilderness of Sinai, were rejected and destroyed by Moses and his tribe after his...

, derived from the colossal bulls used as protective genii of royal palaces, the name "shed" assumed also the meaning of a propitious genius in Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

ian magic literature. It was from Chaldea that the name "shedu" came to the Israelites, and so the writers of the Tanach applied the word Shedim
Shedim
Shedim is the Hebrew word for demons. The word shedim appears only twice in the Tanakh, at and . It was possibly a loan-word from Akkadian in which the word sedu referred to a protective, benevolent spirit...

  to certain Canaanite deities. They also spoke of "the destroyer" (Exodus xii. 23) as a Lord who will "strike down the Egyptians." In II Samuel xxiv; 16 and II Chronicles xxi. 15 the pestilence-dealing angel, that is spirit, called "the destroying angel" (compare "the angel of the Lord" in II Kings xix. 35; Isaiah xxxvii. 36).

Judaism

While historical Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 never "officially" recognized a rigid set of doctrines about demons, many scholars believe that its post-exilic
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

 concepts of eschatology
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

, angelology, and demonology were influenced by Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

. Some, however, believe that these concepts were received as part of the Kabbalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 tradition passed down from Adam, Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

, and the Hebrew patriarchs. See Sefer Yetzirah
Sefer Yetzirah
Sefer Yetzirah is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah...

.

The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 declares that there are 7,405,926 demons, divided in 72 companies. While many people believe today that Lucifer
Lucifer
Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

and Satan are different names for the same being, not all scholars subscribe to this view. Use of the name "Lucifer" for the devil stems from a particular interpretation of , a passage that does not speak of any fallen angel but of the defeat of a particular Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

ian King, to whom it gives a title that refers to what in English is called the Day Star or Morning Star (in Latin, lucifer, meaning "light-bearer", from the words lucem ferre). In and elsewhere, the same Latin word lucifer is used to refer to the Morning Star, with no relation to the devil. It is only in post-New Testament times
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...

 that the Latin word Lucifer was used as a name for the devil, both in religious writing and in fiction, especially when referring to him prior to his fall from Heaven.

There is more than one instance where demons are said to have come to be, as seen by the sins of the Watchers and the Grigori
Grigori
The Watchers is a term found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, and later sources, which is connected to angels...

, of Lilith
Lilith
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, found earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts. However, Lowell K. Handy notes, "Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view...

 leaving Adam
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

, of demons such as vampire
Vampire
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

s, impure spirits in Jewish folklore
Jewish mythology
Jewish mythology is generally the sacred and traditional narratives that help explain and symbolize the Jewish religion, whereas Jewish folklore consists of the folk tales and legends that existed in the general Jewish culture. There is very little early folklore distinct from the aggadah literature...

 such as the dybbuk
Dybbuk
In Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a malicious or malevolent possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person.Dybbuks are said to have escaped from Sheol or to have been turned away for serious transgressions, such as suicide, for which the soul is denied entry...

, and of wicked humans that have become demons as well.

Christianity

Christian demonology is the study of demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s from a Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 point of view. It is primarily based on the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 (Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

), the exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 of these scriptures, the scriptures of early Christian philosophers and hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

s, tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

, and legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s incorporated from other beliefs.

A number of authors throughout Christian history have written about demons for a variety of purposes. Theologians like Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 wrote concerning the behaviors Christians should be aware of, while witchhunters like Heinrich Kramer
Heinrich Kramer
Heinrich Kramer also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institoris, was a German churchman and inquisitor....

 wrote about how to find and what to do with people they believed were involved with demons
Witch trials in Early Modern Europe
The Witch trials in the Early Modern period were a period of witch hunts between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, when across Early Modern Europe, and to some extent in the European colonies in North America, there was a widespread hysteria that malevolent Satanic witches were operating as...

. Some texts are written with instructions on how to summon demons
Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons...

 in the name of God and often were claimed to have been written by individuals respected within the Church, such as the Lesser Key of Solomon or The Grimoire of Pope Honorius
The Grimoire of Pope Honorius
The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, or Le Grimoire du Pape Honorius, is a 18th to 19th century grimoire, claiming to be written by Pope Honorius III. It is unique among grimoires in that it was specifically designed to be used by a priest, and some of the instructions include saying a Mass...

 (although these the earliest manuscripts were from well after these individuals had died). These latter texts were usually more detailed, giving names, ranks, and descriptions of demons individually and categorically. Most Christians commonly reject these texts as either diabolical or fictitious.

In modern times, some demonological texts have been written by Christians, usually in a similar vein of Thomas Aquinas, explaining their effects in the world and how faith may lessen or eliminate damage by them. A few Christian authors, such as Jack Chick
Jack Chick
Jack Thomas Chick is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books...

 and John Todd
John Todd
John Todd may refer to:*John Todd , early Virginia official, Kentucky soldier, and great-uncle of Mary Todd Lincoln*John Blair Smith Todd , delegate to US Congress from Dakota Territory...

, write with intentions similar to Kramer, proclaiming that demons and their human agents are active in the world. These claims can stray from mainstream ideology, and may include such beliefs as that Christian rock
Christian rock
Christian rock is a form of rock music played by individuals and bands whose members are Christians and who often focus the lyrics on matters concerned with the Christian faith. The extent to which their lyrics are explicitly Christian varies between bands...

 is a means through which demons influence people.

Not all Christians believe that demons exist in the literal sense. There is the view that the language of exorcism in the New Testament is an example of what was once employed to describe the healings of what would be classified in modern days as epilepsy, mental illness etc.

Islam

In Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, the devil Iblis or Shaytan was a Jinn
Genie
Jinn or genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. Religious sources say barely anything about them; however, the Qur'an mentions that...

 (humans are created from Earth, Angels from light, and jinn from 'smokeless fire'). The jinn, though, are not necessarily evil; they could be good-doers or sinners just like humans. Since the jinn and humans are the only kinds of creation who have the will to choose, the followers of Iblis could be jinn or human. The angels, on the other hand, are sinless and only obey the will of God. In the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, when God Ordered those witnessing the creation of Adam to prostrate before him (Adam), Iblis refused to do so and was therefore damned for refusal to obey God's Will.

Buddhism

Traditionally, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 affirms the existence of hells peopled by demons who torment sinners and tempt mortals to sin, or who seek to thwart their enlightenment
Bodhi
Bodhi is both a Pāli and Sanskrit word traditionally translated into English with the word "enlightenment", but which means awakened. In Buddhism it is the knowledge possessed by a Buddha into the nature of things...

, with a demon named Mara
Mara (demon)
In Buddhism, Māra is the demon that tempted Gautama Buddha by trying to seduce him with the vision of beautiful women who, in various legends, are often said to be Mara's daughters. In Buddhist cosmology, Mara personifies unwholesome impulses, unskillfulness, the "death" of the spiritual life...

 as chief tempter, "prince of darkness," or "Evil One" in Sanskrit sources.

The followers of Mara were also called mara, the devils, and are frequently cited as a cause of disease or representations of mental obstructions.
The mara became fully assimilated into the Chinese worldview, and were called mo.

The idea of the imminent decline and collapse of the Buddhist religion amid a "great cacophony of demonic influences" was already a significant component of Buddhism when it reached China in the first century CE, according to Michel Strickmann. Demonic forces had attained enormous power in the world. For some writers of the time this state of affairs had been ordained to serve the higher purpose of effecting a "preliminary cleansing" that would purge and purify humanity in preparation for an ultimate, messianic renewal.

Medieval Chinese Buddhist demonology was heavily influenced by Indian Buddhism. Indian demonology is also fully and systematically described in written sources, though during Buddhism's millennium of direct influence in China, "Chinese demonology was whipped into respectable shape," with a number of Indian demons finding permanent niches even in Taoist ritual texts.

Hinduism

Hindu mythology include a range of spirits (Vetalas, Yakshas, Bhutas and Pishachas) that might be classified as demons. These spirits are souls of beings that have committed certain specific sins. As a purging punishment, they are condemned to roam without a physical form for a length of time, until a rebirth. Beings that died with unfulfilled desires or anger are also said to "linger" until such issues are resolved. Hindu text Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 gives an account of nature and habitats of such spirits including how to persuade/control them. There are occult traditions in Hinduism that seeks to control such spirits to do their bidding. Hindu text Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana is one of the Puranas which are part of the Hindu body of texts known as smriti. It is a Vaishnava Purana and its first part contains a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds...

 details other kinds of punishments and judgments given out in Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

; this also given an account of how the spirit travels to nether world.

Occult

Practitioners of ceremonial magic
Ceremonial magic
Ceremonial magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by...

 sometimes attempt to constrain and command demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s to do their bidding, using methods such as the Goetia
Goetia
refers to a practice which includes the invocation of angels or the evocation of demons, and usage of the term in English largely derives from the 17th century grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section...

 and The Book of Abramelin. The demons are often those mentioned in Christian demonology. These practitioners do not necessarily worship demons, but seek to deploy them to obtain their goals. Other followers of the occult do worship demons, and some refer to their religion as "demonolatry." Demonolators consider methods such as the Goetia
Goetia
refers to a practice which includes the invocation of angels or the evocation of demons, and usage of the term in English largely derives from the 17th century grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section...

 very disrespectful towards the demons, and possibly dangerous for the operator. They instead use forms of prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

, magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, and ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 which petition the demons, asking for their aid rather than commanding them.

Demonolators are not identical to practitioners of Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism
Theistic Satanism, sometimes referred to as Traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil Worship, is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship. Other characteristics of Theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is...

. They worship other demons (such as Belial
Belial
Belial is one of the four crown princes of Hell and a demon in the Bible, Jewish apocrypha and Christian apocrypha...

 and Leviathan
Leviathan
Leviathan , is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. In Demonology, Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper . The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature...

) either alongside, or instead of Satan. Some demonolators say that their form of demonolatry is a tradition, often familial, that is not related to the modern religious and philosophical movements collectively referred to as Satanism. Not all of the occultists who worship demons use the word "demonolator" to describe themselves, nor do all belong to the specific group mentioned above.

Zoroastrianism

In the Zoroastrian tradition, Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

, as the force of good Spenta Mainyu
Amesha Spenta
' is an Avestan language term for a class of divine entities in Zoroastrianism, and literally means "Bounteous Immortal" The noun is amesha "immortal", and spenta "furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy" is an adjective of it...

, will eventually be victorious in a cosmic battle with an evil force known as Angra Mainyu
Angra Mainyu
Angra Mainyu is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman.-In Zoroaster's revelation:...

 or Ahriman.

See also

  • Conjuration
    Conjuration
    Conjuration is used in many video games, mainly RPGs, where it is usually referred to as summoning.* A notable example is the Final Fantasy franchise which incorporates summoning of monsters to fight alongside the characters....

  • Deal with the Devil
    Deal with the Devil
    Deal With The Devil is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Lizzy Borden released in 2000 .A return to form, featuring a cover by Todd McFarlane.2 covers were recorded...

  • Demon
    Demon
    call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

  • Exorcism
    Exorcism
    Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

  • List of theological demons
  • Pentagram
    Pentagram
    A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes...

  • Nicolas Remy
  • Spirit world
    Spirit world (spiritualism)
    The spirit world, according to Spiritualism, is the world inhabited by spirits. Though a concept of a spirit world is in the constitution of most religions, it is not "itself the religion". Whereas religion regards an inner life, the spirit world is regarded as an external environment for spirits...


External links

  • Religious Demonology: Demonology from a Roman Catholic perspective, written by a member of the International Association of Exorcists.
  • Demonology by James I: plain text version of King James' important work on Demonology.
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