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Are Demons Real?

By Brandy Williams

[Snip] European (Graeco-Roman) Paganism acknowledges the existence of spirits. “Demon” derives from the Greek word “daemon”, a spirit midway between people and deities. Daemones could be either hostile or helpful to people. The Latin word “angelus” described the same sort of spirit; this word passed into English as “angel”. Eventually “angel” came to mean helpful spirit and “demon” described a hostile spirit. Contemporary ceremonial continues that division, with angels treated as powerful beings friendly to humans, while demons are lesser beings, indifferent or mischievous or actively hostile.

Medieval grimoires treated demons as fierce spirits with powers that could be harnessed to the magician’s will through compulsion. This is called “goetic” magic and has its own rituals, tools, invocations and banishings. The most famous and popular book of goetic magic is the Lesser Key of Solomon the King which lists 72 demons who can be invoked to assist the magician in specific tasks such as finding lost items, telling the future, locating a fortune, and procuring love. Other demons have loftier powers such as teaching the sciences and mending friendships. The demons are described in meticulous detail; they are expected to physically appear to the magician in the course of the operation.

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