Tag: featured demonology

Demons in Buddhism

Julie Carter

Julie Carter

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I only lived there until I was four. I next lived in Boise, ID and after that, Edmonds, WA. I graduated from Edmonds High School and went on to Everett Community College where I studied Theatre. I have been married for 36 years and have three grown children and a granddog, who is also grown.
I have had several jobs in my life due to moving around for my husband's job, including: Trade Administrator for a barter type company, selling newspaper advertising for the local newspaper and I taught Theatre to high school kids.
I love The Eagles, and I also love to read, play cards and the paranormal.
I'd like to go on an investigation sometime. For now? I'm content to soak up as much as I can from NPS.
Julie Carter

Latest posts by Julie Carter (see all)

There are many supernatural beings in Buddhist literature. Many are referred to as demons. Demons serve many purposes in Buddhism which gives us a different aspect of how they affected Buddha and his struggles to reach enlightenment. Demons represent everything a Buddhist wishes to transcend.

Ancient artworks depict vivid and ominous images. These likenesses have been found in long abandoned caves in the Himalayas; beautiful murals on their walls. Colorful paintings, sculptures and ceremonial ritual objects that are found in museums. All attest to the Buddha’s confrontations with demons.

The Wrathful Deities – are ferocious demonic beings. Terrifying forms, many of them baring fangs, drinking blood or wearing garlands of severed heads. Though these hideous, hair-raising images seem contradictory to Buddhist ideals, they are not the personifications of evil or demonic forces. Rather, the Wrathful Deities are benevolent gods, symbolizing the tremendous task to vanquish evil. These beings inspire determination, destroys negativity and ignorance and instills fear in the enemy. These deities are an embodiment of the “Demonic Divine” and serve as protectors and guardians of the Buddhist faith.

q3Oni – the Oni are great horned demons who appear in a variety of colors. They have three fingers and three toes. Oni is represented as having enormous, thick, misshaped bodies often having the head of an oxen or horse. Sometimes they can be found with three eyes, as well. This demon is a torturer and jailer in the Buddhist hell. Oni is responsible for illness and disease. Buddhist priests performed annual rituals in order to keep the demons at bay. The Oni are cruel and lecherous entities often said to swoop down from the sky to steal the souls of those who lay dying.

Blue Three Eyed Oni

Preta – the Sanskrit word for Hungry Ghost is “Preta”, which means “departed one”. Hungry q2Ghosts are pitiful creatures with enormous empty bellies and pinhole mouths. Their necks are so thin they cannot swallow, so remain hungry. These beings are insatiable; the greedy ones, trapped in agony. The Preta are reborn entities or spirits that are trapped by the evil deeds they have done. Hungry Ghosts are associated with compulsion, greed, addiction and obsession. Preta Hell

Mara – the personification of evil and temptation. Mara is one of the earliest non-human beings to appear in Buddhist scriptures. Mara is a demon, often referred to as the “Lord of Death”. Mara personifies the fulfillment of desire of the “Triple Thirst”; the thirst for existence, the thirst for pleasure, the thirst for power.

Mara’s role in Buddha’s path to enlightenment is significant. The soon-to-be Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama sat in meditation. Mara, the demon of evil and temptation; the seducer; the provider of sensory pleasures; the master of delusions and bringer of spiritual death brought his three daughters, Desire, Fulfillment and Regret to seduce Siddhartha. Siddhartha remained in meditation. Then Mara called upon his army of demons and monsters to attack him. Yet Siddhartha remained untouched.

q1Finally, the Lord of Death claimed that enlightenment seat rightfully belonged to him and not to the mortal Siddhartha. Mara’s horde of demons cried out together, “I am his witness!” Then Mara challenged Siddhartha, “Who will speak for you?”

Mara Attacking Siddhartha

Then Siddhartha placed his right hand on the earth, and the earth spoke, “I bear you witness!” With that, Mara disappeared. As the morning sun broke the horizon, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment and became the Buddha.

In contrast to western representations, the demons of Asia are primarily the powerful ancient spirits of nature, who require recognition and appeasement. Many offerings are set out to this day to placate these demons.

q

Buddha Achieves Enlightenment

Sources:

Dorjeshugden.com

Nortonsimon.org

Lizaphoenix.com

Barbara O’Brien – About.com

People.opposingviews.com

Faeriesight Blog Spot

Julie Carter

Julie Carter

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I only lived there until I was four. I next lived in Boise, ID and after that, Edmonds, WA. I graduated from Edmonds High School and went on to Everett Community College where I studied Theatre. I have been married for 36 years and have three grown children and a granddog, who is also grown.
I have had several jobs in my life due to moving around for my husband's job, including: Trade Administrator for a barter type company, selling newspaper advertising for the local newspaper and I taught Theatre to high school kids.
I love The Eagles, and I also love to read, play cards and the paranormal.
I'd like to go on an investigation sometime. For now? I'm content to soak up as much as I can from NPS.
Julie Carter

Latest posts by Julie Carter (see all)

Hindu Beliefs on Demons

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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rakEvery belief system seems to include the alleged existence of demons. As you will notice, National Paranormal Society is compiling a series of articles detailing how those who follow each belief system view demons, and exploring whether or not any proof of demons exists.

“According to scholars, the evolution of Hinduism may be divided into three periods: the ancient (6500 BC-1000 AD), the medieval (1000-1800 AD), and the modern (1800 AD to present). Hinduism is commonly thought to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilization. (“Theories About the Origin of Hinduism”, article taken fromHinduismabout.com). The name was taken from the Indus River, along which the peoples who are believed to have developed Hinduism were settled. Hinduism, a polytheistic religion (believing in more than one God or deity), ranks fourth in order of most prevalent worldwide.

According to Hinduism Facts, each living creature, human or not, has a soul. “The soul travels through 84 million species” before earning entrance into a human body. The soul is then reincarnated into another body based on the karma during life; this new body could be that of human or another creature. The soul is to strive to reach unity with the Supreme Soul, a state of Nirvana.

There is “no equivalent of Satan in Hinduism. Hinduism has a universal Brahman which pervades all things good as well as evil…there are only three principles or entities that exist in reality…Brahm (God), Jeevatma (the countless souls) and Maya (the material energy).” (HinduismStackExchange) “All the ‘demons’ in the Hindu religion are classified under the ‘soul’ category. Due to their Karmas (actions) they are born in those wicked races and have such sinful propensities…no one can be equal to God, thus, there is no room for any independent being to work against the will/design of God in Hinduism. (ibid)

“Hindu scriptures state that any person performs actions only according to his will. Of course, these actions are shaped by his company and atmosphere, but there never is any inherently evil being whispering sin into his ears. In fact, Hinduism denies the very idea of evil. Evil, according to the Hindu scriptures, is non-existent. There are three modes of nature – sattva, rajas and tamas. The demons and other cruel people are said to be possessed of tamas, but even they can overcome this darkness by purifying their mind through association with sattvic matter/personalities.” (ibid) Tamas refers to the concept of lethargy, ignorance, darkness or death. It is not a demonic entity, or an entity at all. Rather it is the lowest of the forms of energy in both Hinduism and Buddhism. (dictionaryofspiritualterms.com)

KALI: “Kali is an angry form of Shakti (Shiva’s consort). Here the statement that Kali is a demon is only correct if the word “demon” is understood in its ancient touch. Her fierce depictions are only based upon her need to fight against desires of one’s ego. She is misunderstood by Europeans and Americans, and her “demonic” attributes are artificially given to her by people from other cultures. She is not a demon… She is included here only with purpose to invalidate this” depiction. (“Hinduism Is” by Sanatana Dharma)

In summary, Hinduism seems to refute the opening premise of this article, which I have allowed to remain above as it relates to the purpose of this series of articles. Hinduism does not teach the existence of demons per se, but rather only the negative actions cognizantly chosen actions of humans along their soul’s journey toward Nirvana. Such behaviors result in negative karma and a regression to a lower form upon death and reincarnation. The soul then has another opportunity to correct the bad karma and move back to a higher form in its next life.

Sources:
HinduismFacts
Hinduismabout.com
HinduismStackExchange.com
“Hinduism Is” by Sanatana Dharma
dictionaryofspiritualterms.com

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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Islamic Beliefs on Demons

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

demon6Every belief system seems to include the alleged existence of demons. As you will notice, National Paranormal Society is compiling a series of articles detailing how those who follow each belief system view demons, and exploring whether or not any proof of demons exists.

Islam is the second most commonly practiced religion in the world. Dating back to 622 AD, Islam is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (570-632AD), who is considered by Muslims (those who practice Islam) as the last of the prophets of Allah, according to EncyclopaediaBritannica (britannica.com). These teachings given to Muhammad are detailed in The Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam.

THE JINN: The Qur’an references the creation of entities called Jinn, which were said to be created from smokeless flame or fire for the purpose of worshipping Allah. Abdul Barr in his book, “The World of Jinn and Devils” states that there are different types of Jinn. Most relevant to this article are the aamar, who live among man; the shaitan who are evil and work against man; and the stronger, more dangerous afreet. Barr goes on to describe shayteen, or “satan” or “devil”, defined as jinn and man who are disbelieving and disobedient.

Similar to the story of creation of man in Christianity and Judaism, the Qur’an teaches that Adam was created the first man, and was made from clay. Allah instructed the angels and jinn to prostrate themselves before his creation Adam. One of the jinn, Iblis (Satan), refused to prostrate himself before Adam and was banished from the heaven by Allah. The Qur’an references shaytaan (plural of shayteen) as being both jinn and human in form, human followers being “hizh”. Followers, both disobedient jinn and man are condemned to hell by Allah. The Qur’an states that the influence of the jinn who chose to be disobedient is in whispering evil into the hearts of man. These whispers are intended to lead man to commit acts contrary to their faith. Some are said to be possessed by Jinn. Those who practice Islam are encouraged to whisper “I seek refuge in Allah” when shaytaan whisper to them, in order to repel the entity.

“The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence.” (Invitation to Islam) This article further states that some jinn chose to be Muslim while others chose not to follow Allah, but rather to follow Iblis. “That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allah has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like.” (ibid) The article further discusses the possibility that what humans have perceived as aliens may in fact be jinn; likewise that alleged demonic possession is also the work of evil jinn, as well as activities that fall under the category of the occult.

DEMONS: The Qur’an does reference Muhammad and Jesus casting out demons. There is disagreement among Islamic scholars, however, regarding whether demons and jinn are 2 distinct entities, or one and the same. Their actions and abilities to possess a human, as well as cover great distances in seconds and take on various forms are the same.

BUT DO THEY EXIST? As in other belief systems, there is no undeniable proof that jinn or demons exist. While anecdotal evidence is plentiful, personal experience, from a scientific standpoint, is not considered proof. The first link provided alleges to be proof of a jinn lurking in a mosque:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7wkrAIZIHM. However, it appears to simply be a person on all fours dressed in black.

The second link provided depicts an alleged possession of a woman by a jinn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkwffkJiSVE. A number of possible natural explanations for this alleged possession may be presented to debunk. An investigator would need to consider Tourette Syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurological/psychiatric disorder which at times presents with uncontrolled inappropriate verbalizations, which are frequently strained (possibly due to the individual’s attempts to fight the verbal tics; possibly simply a part of the disorder itself). Other physical conditions may manifest with strained speech as well, such as cerebral palsy and other disorders which impact the vocal musculature. Outright fraud must also be considered. The woman who is alleged to be possessed is not present in the video; therefore we have no idea what is in reality transpiring. Unfortunately falsified evidence is quite common in the paranormal, and therefore cannot be ruled out. In short, there remains no irrefutable evidence of demons under the Islamic belief system.

Sources:
The Qur’an
IslamicAwareness.net
“The World of Jinn and Devils” by Ibn Abdu Barr
Britannica.com (Muhammad Prophet of Islam by: Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
The Jinn (In the Qur?an and Sunnah) by Mustafa Ashour
The Jinn by Abu Al Hasan (Al Jumuah Magazine)

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

Demonology according to King James

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

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For a historical perspective of demonology, I’m going to provide some summary points for a book King James I (who commissioned the King James Bible) commissioned in the late 1500s titled: “Daemonolgie”. At that time, the people of England and Scotland lived in fear of the devil and witchcraft. To this end, King James commissioned this book which is set into 3 parts: part one is scripture which he believes validates the existence of the devil, part two is on sorcery and witchcraft, and part three is on spirits that trouble humanity.

One of the theories based on 2. Cor. 11. 14. states that, “Diuel is permitted at som-times to put himself in the liknes of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that Sathan can trans-forme himselfe into an Angell of light” (James, 4). The skill is equated to that of a modern day illusionist. “the Deuill may delude our senses, since we see by common proofe, that simple juglars will make an hundreth thinges seeme both to our eies and eares otherwaies then they are” (James, 24). To this end, there was a separation of magicians and necromancers from witches and sorcerers.

In Book 2, sorcery and witchcraft are defined as, “ I say, some of them rich and worldly-wise, some of them fatte or corpulent in their bodies, and most part of them altogether giuen ouer to the pleasures of the flesh, continual haunting of companie, and all kind of merrines, both lawfull and vnlawfull, which are thinges directly contrary to the symptomes of Melancholie, whereof I spake, and further experience daylie proues how loath they are to confesse without torture, which witnesseth their guiltines, where by the contrary, the Melancholicques neuer spares to bewray themselues, by their continuall discourses, feeding therby their humor in that which they thinke no crime” (James, 30). James claims that witches use their knowledge mostly from a desire for revenge, worldly riches, or to satisfy their cruel minds by hurting men (James, 35). To this end, witches were able to utilize the powers of the devil to punish people by: causing children to misbehave utilizing “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), make people sick, and haunt houses and the inhabitants of houses (James, 47).

Necromancers were said to share the ability of the Devil to possess dead bodies (James, 41). He also mentions that “the soule once parting from the bodie, cannot wander anie longer in the worlde, but to the owne resting place must it goe immediatlie, abiding the conjunction of the bodie againe, at the latter daie” (James, 41).

Amongst the more modern label of demons, Incubi and Sucubi are described in Book 3, Chapter 3, “The description of a particular sort of that kind of following spirites, called Incubi and Succubi: And what is the reason wherefore these kindes of spirites hauntes most the Northerne and barbarous partes of the world” (James 66). There are indepth references to people being physically violated by these spirits as well as those who, “while we are sleeping, intercludes so our vitall spirites, and takes all power from vs, as maks vs think that there were some vnnaturall burden or spirite, lying vpon vs and holding vs downe.“ (James, 69). This bares a startling resemblance to the scientific phenomena of “night terrors”.

Lastly, James references Matthew 12 and Mark 3 to describe how the “Dæmoniackes” possess humans and the effects of possession. In Matthew, the possessed became “blind and dumb”; however, the possessed were restored through Christ/God and prayer. James sites that for all of these cases, the way to rid spirits and works of the devil is to “The one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselues by amende ment of life from such sinnes as haue procured that extraordinarie plague” (James, 60).

Source:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/kjd/

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

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The monastery of the devil

Luciferby Αναστασία Μεγρέμη

In Argolida, an abandoned monastery creates fear among the citizens. The monastery of St. Dimitrios the Egg one (my apologies for the clumsy translation) found its name from an egg. Before the monastery was built the builders wanted to find a strong foundation for it. There is a big isolated rock just below the mountain and they liked it. To test it, they prayed to St. Dimitrios and then threw an egg from the top of the hi.The egg did not break. So they built the monastery there.

In the monastery many years ago five monks lived there. Suddenly, they started to die one after another from a heart attack and they were buried there. After that it was abandoned. According to witnesses, after some time, a group of kids went into the church and saw the walls full of occult symbols, all the saints paintings and pictures were black like they were burned even though no one reported a fire. And on the floor, the monks’ bones were uncovered from the graves. Most of the symbols were satanic in origin. The villagers knew that satanic rites took place in the monastery but no one talked. The ministry however took action and cleared the walls of the symbols. The energy though still remains…

Someone that is curious enough to visit is warned by the villagers even about the road leading to it. Strange voices that come out of nowhere have been reported and a negative energy is felt.

Another thing that is quite strange is the reports of two figures on the rocks above the monastery; the one is of Satan and the other of Virgin Mary. It is controversial whether the two figures are actually seen on the rocks and according to many, no man could have painted that. The voices are still heard and the energy of the monastery remains a mystery…

Non Religion & Demonology

the-inferno-canto-9When we hear the term ‘demonology’ we tend to cringe … The term demon (or daemon) you will find will literally translate as such: an evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormenter in hell. What most people may not know about demonology is that it was considered a field in science in early modern Europe which is in part quite responsible in forming a rigorous and rational investigation into the natural world. Some of these contributions include contributions to nature, medicine and religion.

To understand in large; we must first distinguish demonology from witchcraft. In the middle ages; demonology was generally practiced by an intellectual elite. Charges of witchcraft were usually leveled at people further down the social hierarchy. These ideas of demons were grounded within Aristotelian ideas such as hot-cold and wet-dry and of course the four elements—earth, air, water and fire. Humoral medicine would have mapped easily onto this scheme. The study of demons was, in other words, a completely natural project.

Now that we are discovering some of the differences between the two as established in the middle ages, let’s fast forward to the 21st century.

In modern medicine we know a lot about various ‘would-be’ symptoms of a possible demonic case. For example; we can use modern knowledge of the medical field to know when we are seeing a seizure, or even a case of mental disorders. Back in the ancient times the Neolithic society and most people believed that mental illness and abnormality were due in large to demons. If for example a man has continual seizures, he would have been viewed as under a possession where then trephination or other religion ceremonies would have been used to treat the mental illness. There were some societies such as ancient Rome where many believed that mental illness was a punishment from the gods. If you angered the gods, this would therefore lead to you or a family member to suffer from mental disorders.

Now that we have the bricks set, and we kind of have an idea of what demonology is about I would like to approach beliefs (the whys and why-nots!)

Although the bible often references demons, there are those who simply don’t believe at all, or even those who will accept the existence of a demon before they would any religion. In all of my years of study on this particular subject, I have found that it is widely believed that demons lurk nearby and are waiting for you to fall into that solitary weakness or oppression. In some circles, it is easier for people to accept the existence of a demon than it is to accept any religion.

It is of this author’s opinion (and certainly the opinion of various scholars) that a demon presence can be easily accepted o’er a religious belief because we see a lot of human suffering, mental illness, and oppression all around us on a daily basis. We don’t often see reminders of a Promised Land or even Jesus Christ as often. This is not the result of it not being there, or because it doesn’t exist, but more so because we tend to focus more on the darker shades of life as opposed to the other. Popular media can as well become a culprit in this cycle of beliefs. Demons have become quite popular in recent media such as television shows, video games, blockbuster movies, books and even music. Because of these various levels of information coming at all angles, it opens doors for the non-believers to accept and believe that demons can and do exist even if they don’t have belief in religion.

So, why do others believe?

Mark 5:1-13 (new King James Version)

5 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

In some cases, the New Testament had talked with them about demons and what Jesus has spoken to them. However. These passages may also make a believer of Jesus not believe in demons at all. A Christian for instance has been taught that Jesus Christ has power over demons and this could lead some to believe that maybe all of the demons have since disappeared through time. Certainly the Old Testament talks a little more about demons and modern believers tend to feel that demons don’t exist at all even though they are well aware of the devil and his presence.

The teeter totter seems to never quite get a balance as we delve into demonology in a whole and there is no true equilibrium. In the 21st century we are more aware of medical reasons that can outweigh signs of a demonic presence. These facts alone begin to lay brick for those who don’t believe in demons at all and then we can sit back and observe that the belief of demons has been around since the first ever documented word of mankind.
Can it boil down to individual perception? Absolutely!

No two people are ever going to agree on every belief and religions view (or a lack thereof.) We can peel back the layers on anything presented and point out the why-nots and then continue to add opinion or theorize based solely on the perceived view we had obtained with the initial observation. It’s very easy to assume that if someone has reported a demonic case that perhaps it’s simply a mental illness. For some it’s very easy to assume that demons are floating in the air unseen just waiting for their way in. Not everyone who believes in demonic possession believes in religion even though it is believed in large the two go together. In any case, the best approach would be to research and study. Many argue that demonic possession doesn’t afflict people today. Some theorize them as having relation to alien civilizations and the list goes on.

I will leave you with this:

(1)Demonology is a real field of study, frequently misunderstood by those on the outside looking in. To be a demonologist involves a thorough and detailed approach, often working with the faith of the Demonologist. Demonology was originally simply the study of demons and nothing more, however as time has gone on demonology has changed to become a spiritual field in which people feel called to work in. The evolution of demonologists has left us with a field of spiritual warriors and such notable people as the Warrens who brought it to modern attention.

References:
(1) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+5%3A1-13&version=NKJV
(2) http://www.pachs.net/blogs/comments/really_demonology_was_a_science/
(3) http://study.com/academy/lesson/reforms-in-abnormal-psychology-demonology-through-humanitarian-reforms.html

Christianity

Alexander LaFountain

Alexander LaFountain

Sr. Director/Demonology Dept Chair at National Paranormal Society
Alexander LaFountain is a Demonologist based out of Texas. He was a member of Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations when he lived in Georgia and became a member of the Afterlife Research Team when he relocated to east Texas. He spent the last several years studying demonology and handling demonic based cases. He is also working towards becoming a Catholic Priest in the Independent Catholic Community.
Alexander LaFountain

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AnamelechThe devil is a very familiar creature to most Christians. The devil (or Satan, Lucifer) is a fallen angel (a demon) who leads an unknown number of fellow fallen angels who oppose God. The common Christian belief and teaching, is that Lucifer was once an angel who let his pride get the best of him. Lucifer (with his pride as the driving force behind his decisions) managed to get 1/3rd of the Heavenly Host to rebel against God. Lucifer led his army in a cosmic battle against God who in turn sent out an army led by St. Michael the Archangel. Lucifer and his followers were ultimately defeated and cast down to the earth. Jesus Christ actually refers to the falling of Lucifer to the earth in Luke 10:18, “And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

Lucifer, along with those other fallen angels, became twisted and perverted by their fall. They retained though many of their angelic powers but found that God had placed limits on what they could and could not do. Even in their fallen state, the demons are subject to God’s will like any other part of creation. They roam the earth seeking people to victimize as St. Peter points out in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Christians are taught that the best way to combat against the Devil and demonic forces is through our faith. Most Christians refer to Ephesians 6:10-17 as the way in which one can defend and move against demonic forces.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.

But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval. Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God.

Christians believe that through our faith in God we can not only defend ourselves from demons but we can also fight back against them. Many Christian denominations feature offices or people who are trained in that denomination to handle demonic cases. In Catholicism for example, Exorcists are Priests who have undergone specialized training that equips them for ministry work that involves possessions and demonic issues. Different denominations have different ways of approaching spiritual warfare though so not all agree on who can and cannot participate in certain areas of spiritual warfare.

In Christianity prayers to the Lord are used to drive away demonic forces and commands in the name of the Lord are also used. It is stressed however that faith in the Lord is the ultimate key to defending from and driving away demonic forces. Through Jesus Christ, Christians believe that we have the authority to rebuke demons. Lack of faith in Jesus Christ means that one has a lack of authority in rebuking demonic entities as pointed out in Acts 19:13-16, “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”

Demons in the Christian religion are seen as fallen angels who possess a lot of supernatural power. They, like humanity, have free will and at one time decided to rebel against God. Demons, unlike humanity, do not have the ability to repent of their sins and thus are stuck with the decisions that they made. This is one reason for their hatred against humanity. They also hate humanity because we are made in God’s image and thus we reflect God which is a constant reminder of what they lost. They also hate humanity because of humanity’s relationship to God and God’s ultimate love for humanity. This inspires jealousy in them and they also believe that by destroying humans one by one, they can get even with God.

Alexander LaFountain

Alexander LaFountain

Sr. Director/Demonology Dept Chair at National Paranormal Society
Alexander LaFountain is a Demonologist based out of Texas. He was a member of Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations when he lived in Georgia and became a member of the Afterlife Research Team when he relocated to east Texas. He spent the last several years studying demonology and handling demonic based cases. He is also working towards becoming a Catholic Priest in the Independent Catholic Community.
Alexander LaFountain

Latest posts by Alexander LaFountain (see all)

Spiritism

Courtesy of:  http://www.religionresourcesonline.org

spi1Spiritism is a philosophical doctrine, established in France in the mid-nineteenth century.

Spiritism, or French spiritualism, is based on books written by French educator Hypolite Léon Denizard Rivail under the pseudonym Allan Kardec reporting séances in which he observed a series of phenomena that he attributed to incorporeal intelligence (spirits). His assumption of spirit communication was validated by many contemporaries, among them many scientists and philosophers who attended séances and studied the phenomena. His work was later extended by writers like Leon Denis, Arthur Conan Doyle, Camille Flammarion, Ernesto Bozzano, Chico Xavier, Divaldo Pereira Franco, Waldo Vieira, Johannes Greber and others.

Spiritism has adherents in many countries throughout the world, including Spain, United States, Japan, Germany, France, England, Argentina, Portugal and especially Brazil, which has the largest proportion and the greatest number of followers.

Character of Spiritism

Many spiritists see themselves as not adhering to a religion, but to a philosophy with scientific inspirations and moral consequences. Allan Kardec refers to Spiritism in What is Spiritism? as a science dedicated to the relationship between incorporeal beings (spirits) and human beings. In the other hand, many spiritists don’t see any problem about calling it a religion as well.

Spiritists pray to God, who is seen as the ultimate cause, or source, of all things and beings. Spiritist doctrine argues that if God is perceived as a natural and somewhat necessary hypothesis within the Spiritist paradigm, that does not constitute religious reasoning.

The Spiritist moral principles are in agreement with the ones taught by Jesus (according to Kardec), Francis of Assisi, Paul the Apostle, Buddha and Gandhi. Spiritist philosophical inquiry is concerned with the study of moral aspects in the context of an eternal life in spiritual evolution through reincarnation, a process believers hold as revealed by Spirits. Sympathetic research on Spiritism by scientists can be found in the works of Sir William Crookes, Ernesto Bozzano, the Society for Psychical Research, William James, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine winner Charles Richet, Prof. Ian Stevenson’s group at University of Virginia , and Prof. G. Schwartz at University of Arizona.

Precursors

spi2Developments leading directly to Kardec’s research were the famous Fox sisters and the phenomenon of the Talking boards. Interest in Mesmerism also contributed to the early Spiritist practice.

Emanuel Swedenborg

Emanuel Swedenborg (January 29, 1688 – March 29, 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, seer, and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. Then at age fifty-six he entered into a spiritual phase of his life, where he experienced visions of the spiritual world and claimed to have talked with angels, devils, and spirits by visiting heaven and hell. He claimed of being directed by God, the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal the doctrines of His second coming.

From 1747 until his death in 1772 he lived in Stockholm, Holland and London. During these 25 years he wrote 14 works of a spiritual nature of which most were published during his lifetime. Throughout this period he was befriended by many people who regarded him as a kind and warm-hearted man. Many people disbelieved in his visions; based on what they had heard, they drew the conclusions that he had lost his mind or had a vivid imagination. But they refrained from ridiculing him in his presence. Those who talked with him understood that he was devoted to his beliefs. He never argued matters of religion, and if obliged to defend himself he usually did it with gentleness and in a few words.

The Fox Sisters

Sisters Catherine (1838–92), Leah (1814–90) and Margaret (1836–93) Fox played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism. The daughters of David and Margaret Fox, they were residents of Hydesville, New York. In 1848, the family began to hear unexplained rapping sounds. Kate and Margaret conducted channeling sessions in an attempt to contact the presumed spiritual entity creating the sounds, and claimed contact with the spirit of a peddler who was allegedly murdered and buried beneath the house. A skeleton later found in the basement seemed to confirm this. The Fox girls became instant celebrities. They demonstrated their communication with the spirit by using taps and knocks, automatic writing, and later even voice communication, as the spirit took control of one of the girls.

Skeptics suspected this was nothing but clever deception and fraud. Indeed, sister Margaret eventually confessed to using her toe-joints to produce the sound. And although she later recanted this confession, both she and her sister Catherine were widely considered discredited, and died in poverty. Nonetheless, belief in the ability to communicate with the dead grew rapidly, becoming a religious movement called Spiritualism, and contributing greatly to Kardec’s ideas.

Talking boards

Just after the news of the Fox affair came to France, people became even more interested in what was sometimes termed the “Spiritual Telegraph”. In the beginning, a table spun with the “energy” from the spirits present by means of human channeling (hence the term “medium”. But, as the process was too slow and cumbersome, a new one was devised, supposedly from a suggestion by the spirits themselves: the talking board.

Early examples of talking boards were baskets attached to a pointy object that spun under the hands of the mediums, to point at letters printed on cards scattered around, or engraved on, the table. Such devices were called corbeille à bec (“basket with a beak”). The pointy object was usually a pencil.

Talking boards were tricky to set up and to operate. A typical séance using a talking board saw people sitting at a round table, feet resting on the chairs’ supports and hands on the table top or, later, on the talking board itself. The energy channeled from the spirits through their hands made the board spin around and find letters which, once written down by a scribe, would form intelligible words, phrases, and sentences. The system was an early, and less effective, precursor of the Ouija boards that later became so popular.

Franz Anton Mesmer

Franz Anton Mesmer (May 23, 1734 – March 5, 1815) discovered what he called magnétism animal (animal magnetism) and others often called mesmerism. The evolution of Mesmer’s ideas and practices led James Braid (1795-1860) to develop hypnosis in 1842.

Spiritism incorporated and kept some practices inspired or directly taken from Mesmerism. Among them, the healing touch, still in Europe, and the “energization” of water to be used as a medicine for spirit and body.

Doctrine

Basic books

The basic doctrine of Spiritism (“the Codification”) is defined in five books written and published by Allan Kardec during his life:

  1. The Spirits’ Book — Defines the guidelines of the doctrine, covering points like God, Spirit, Universe, Man, Society, Culture, Morals and Religion.
  2. The Book on Mediums — Details the “mechanics” of the spiritual world, the processes involved in channeling spirits, techniques to be developed by would-be mediums, etc.
  3. The Gospel According to Spiritism — Comments on the Gospels, highlighting passages that, according to Kardec, would show the ethical fundamentals shared by all religious and philosophical systems. This may be the first religious book to acknowledge the existence of life elsewhere in the Universe, based on Jesus’ saying “The houses in the realm of my father are many” (John, 14, 1-3).
  4. Heaven and Hell — A didactic series of interviews with spirits of deceased people intending to establish a correlation between the lives they lead and their conditions in the beyond.
  5. The Genesis According to Spiritism — Tries to reconcile religion and science, dealing with the three major points of friction between the two: the origin of the universe (and of life, as a consequence) and the concepts of miracle and premonition.

Kardec also wrote a brief introductory pamphlet (What is Spiritism?) and was the most frequent contributor to the Spiritist Review. His essays and articles would be posthumously collected into the aptly-named tome Posthumous Works.

Doctrine

The five chief points of the doctrine are:

  1. There is a God, defined as “The Supreme Intelligence and Primary Cause of everything”;
  2. There are Spirits, all of whom are created simple and ignorant, but owning the power to gradually perfect themselves;
  3. The natural method of this perfection process is reincarnation, through which the Spirit faces countless different situations, problems and obstacles, and needs to learn how to deal with them;
  4. As part of Nature, Spirits can naturally communicate with living people, as well as interfere in their lives;
  5. Many planets in the universe are inhabited.

The central tenet of Spiritist doctrine is the belief in spiritual life. The spirit is eternal, and evolves through a series of incarnations in the material world. The true life is the spiritual one; life in the material world is just a short-termed stage, where the spirit has the opportunity to learn and develop its potentials. Reincarnation is the process where the spirit, once free in the spiritual world, comes back to the world for further learning.

Relation to Jesus

Jesus, according to Spiritism, is the greatest moral example for humankind, is deemed to have incarnated here to show us, through his example, the path that we have to take to achieve our own spiritual perfection. The Gospels are reinterpreted in Spiritism; some of the words of Christ or his actions are clarified in the light of the spiritual phenomena (presented as law of nature, and not as something “miraculous”). It’s only because of our own imperfection that we can’t achieve similar things; as we evolve, we will not only understand better, but we will be able to do similar things, for all spirits are created equal, and are destined for the same end.

Evolution and Karma

Spiritist Doctrine stresses the importance of spiritual evolution. According to this view, we are destined for perfection; there are other planets hosting more advanced life forms, and happier societies, where the spirit has the chance to keep evolving both in the moral and intellectual sense. Although not clear from Kardec’s works, later spiritist writers elaborated on this point further: it seems to them that we cannot detect more advanced life forms on other planets, as they are living in a slightly different “plane” from ours, in the same way the spiritual plane is superimposed over our own plane. There is STILL no scientific evidence to back this claim.

Mediumship

The communication between the spiritual world and the material world happen all the time, but to various degrees. Some people barely sense what the spirits tell them, in an entirely instinctive way, while others have greater cognizance of their guidance. The so-called mediums have these natural abilities highly developed, and are able to communicate with the spirits and interact with them by several means: listening, seeing, or writing through spiritual command (also known by Kardecists as automatic writing). Direct manipulation of physical objects by spirits is not possible; for it to happen the spirits need the help (voluntary or not) of mediums with particular abilities for physical effects.

Spiritist Practice

Kardec’s works do not establish any rituals or formal practices. Instead, the doctrine suggests that followers adhere to some principles regarded as common to all religions. The religious experience within spiritism is, therefore, largely informal. The exception to this is The National Spiritist Church of Alberta. This Church (which is fully recognized by the government as a religious denomination) has a Holy Communion Worship Service and a Marriage Ceremony in addition to the more standard Kardecist study groups.

Meetings

The most important types of practices within Spiritism are:

Regular Meetings – with a regular schedule, usually on evenings, two or three times a week. They involve a short lecture on some subject followed by some interactive participation of the attendants. These meetings are open to anyone.

Medium Meetings – usually held after a regular meeting, only those deemed prepared or “in need” of it are expected to attend.

Youth and Children’s Meetings – once a week, usually on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings, are the Spiritist equivalent to Christian Sunday schools.

Healing

Lectures – longer, in-depth lectures on subjects thought to be “of general interest” which are held on larger rooms, sometimes at theatres or ballrooms, so that more people can attend. Lecturers are often invited from far away centers.

Special Meetings – special séances held in relative discretion which try to conduct some worthy work on behalf of those in need

Spiritist Week and Book fairs.

Church Services (in the case of The National Spiritist Church of Alberta – in Canada)

Source:
http://www.religionresourcesonline.org/religious-beliefs-wiki/Summary_of_Spiritism

Poltergeist hauntings versus Demonic hauntings

Kelly Timmons

Kelly Timmons

My name is Kelly Timmons. I am 35 and from Montreal, Canada. I have had an insatiable curiosity for all things paranormal since a young age. I have been actively searching for answers and for the truth in all things paranormal.
Kelly Timmons

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poltergeist-haunting-122013zzThe word poltergeist comes from the German words “noisy spirits”, although poltergeists are not actual spirits. Poltergeist activity centers around an individual and is believed to be caused by the sub-conscious mind of that individual. It is in effect the sub-conscious release of psychic energy that are triggered when the individual is under extreme emotional, psychological or/ and physical stress.

A poltergeist haunting is very chaotic and very noisy. Which because of this can often be mistaken for a demonic haunting. Some of the symptoms of a poltergeist haunting are similar to demonic infestation. There are however differences between the two.

Some signs of poltergeist activity:

  • Disappearing objects : objects are moved or vanish (including heavy objects)
  • Objects levitating or thrown
  • Knocking
  • Violent banging on walls or doors, etc
  • Electrical interference
  • Footsteps
  • Physical attacks ( scratches, bruising,, being pushed, punched, etc..)
  • Doors opening and closing
  • Feelings of being watched
  • Voices ( include growling, snarls)

Now let’s take a look of some sign of demonic infestation:

  • Banging (often in groups of 3’s)
  • Knocks ( often in groups of 3’s)
  • Footsteps
  • Destroying of religious objects
  • Activity violently increases during prayer
  • Foul odors ( sulfur, feces, rotting flesh, urine)
  • Violent physical attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Objects moved or thrown (including heavy objects)
  • Apparitions
  • Voices
  • Feelings of being watched
  • Mood swings ( with no medical explanations)

As you can see there are many similarities between a poltergeist haunting and demonic infestation. On the other hand, there are many differences also. In a poltergeist haunting apparitions are never seen, but in cases of demonic infestation many have reported seeing apparitions of creatures and of shadow-men. Poltergeist simply cause chaos and there is no strategy or pattern to the chaos that they cause. Demons however, always have a plan, a strategy and always have an end result in mind.

Kelly Timmons

Kelly Timmons

My name is Kelly Timmons. I am 35 and from Montreal, Canada. I have had an insatiable curiosity for all things paranormal since a young age. I have been actively searching for answers and for the truth in all things paranormal.
Kelly Timmons

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Demonology According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology

Courtesy of: http://www.encyclopedia.com

saThe study of demons or evil spirits; also a branch of magic that deals with such beings. In religious science it has come to indicate knowledge regarding supernatural beings that are not deities. The Greek term daimon originally indicated “genius” or “spirit,” and claimed to have had intercourse with his daimon. However, with the advent of Christianity it came to mean a malevolent spirit entity. Demonology was especially developed during the Middle Ages.

According to Michael Psellus (1018-ca. 1079), author of De Operatione Daemonum Dialogus, demons are divided into six main bodies: the demons of fire; of the air; of the earth; those of the waters and rivers, who cause tempests and floods; the subterranean who prepare earthquakes and excite volcanic eruptions, and the shadowy ones who are somewhat like ghosts. (St. Augustine (354-430 C.E.) considered all demons under the last category.) Psellus’s classification is not unlike the system of the Middle Ages, which divided all spirits into those belonging to the four elements: fire, air, earth, and water (salamanders, sylphs, gnomes, and undines, respectively).

Early Concepts of Demonology

The medieval idea of demons, of course, evolved from ancient Christian and Gnostic belief, especially from the accounts of demons in the Bible. Among the Jews, the gods of the surrounding nations were called demons, and those nations were condemned for making sacrifices to demons instead of to the one God, Yaweh (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37). The Christian New Testament speaks of demons as inferior spirits who operate as subjects of the devil. Such demons can take possession of a human being causing various illnesses and physical ailments. Demons were named as causative factors in disease in a prescientific age.

Demons have an expansive role in the biblical record. They can affect the behavior of swine (Matt. 8:30-32) and speak with a knowledge beyond that of an ordinary person (Mark 1:23-24). Biblical authors did understand demons as objectively present in the world and pictured the apostles as trying to drive them away. Considering demons as having an objective existence placed many questions about the nature of their origin, existence, operation, and habitation on the theological agenda. By the third century, the angel Lucifer, who fell from heaven (Isa. 14:12), was identified with Satan, and the fallen angels with demons.

The Gnostics (who competed for members with the early Christians), imitating Plato’s classification of the orders of spirits, attempted a similar arrangement with respect to a hierarchy of angels. The first and highest order was named seraphim; the second, cherubim; the third was the order of thrones; the fourth, dominions; the fifth, virtues; the sixth, powers; the seventh, principalities; the eighth, archangels; and the ninth, and lowest, angels.
This classification was censured by the Christian church, yet almost outlived the pneumatologists of the Middle Ages. These scholars—studying the account in which the angel Lucifer rebelled against heaven (Isa. 14:12), and that in which Michael, the archangel, warred against him (Rev. 12:7)—long asked the momentous question, “What orders of angels fell on this occasion?”

At length it became the prevailing opinion that Lucifer was of the order of seraphim. It was also asserted, after laborious research, that Agares, Belial, and Barbatos, each of whom deposed angels of great rank, had been of the order of virtues; that Bileth, Focalor, and Phoenix had been of the order of thrones; that Goap had been of the order of powers; that Purson had been of both the order of virtues and the order of thrones; and that Murmur had belonged to both the order of thrones and the order of angels. The pedigree of many other noble devils was likewise determined.

As the centuries progressed, theologians began to inquire, “How many fallen angels were engaged in the contest?” This was a question of vital importance, and it gave rise to the most strenuous research and to a variety of discordant opinions.

Others asked, “Where was the battle fought—in the inferior heaven, in the highest region of the air, in the firmament, or in Paradise?” and “How long did it last?” These were difficult questions, but the notion that ultimately prevailed was that the engagement was concluded in exactly three seconds, and that while Lucifer, with a number of his followers, fell into hell, the rest were left in the air to tempt man.

A newer question rose out of these investigations: whether a greater number of angels fell with Lucifer or remained in heaven with Michael. Noted scribes were inclined to think that the rebel chief had been beaten by a superior force, and that consequently devils of darkness were fewer in number than angels of light.

These discussions, which for centuries interested the whole of Christendom, exercised the talents of some of the most erudite persons in Europe. The last objective of demonologists was to assess Lucifer’s routed forces and reorganize them into a decided form of subordination or government. Hence, extensive districts were given to certain chiefs who fought under the general Lucifer.

There was Zimimar, “the lordly monarch of the north,” as Shakespeare calls him, who had his distinct province of devils; Gorson, the king of the South; Amaymon, the king of the East; and Goap, the prince of the West. These sovereigns had many noble spirits subordinate to them whose various ranks were settled with all the preciseness of heraldic distinction. There were devil dukes, devil marquises, devil counts, devil earls, devil knights, devil presidents, and devil prelates.

As a picture of the infernal kingdom was constructed, it was determined that the armed host under Lucifer had been composed of nearly twenty-four hundred legions, of which each demon of rank commanded a certain number. Beleth for instance, who has been described as “a great king and terrible, riding on a pale horse, before whom go trumpets and all melodious music,” commanded 85 legions; Agares, the first duke under the power of the East, commanded 31 legions; Leraie, a great marquis, 30 legions; Morax, a great earl and a president, 36 legions; Furcas, a knight, 20 legions. The forces of the other devil chieftains were enumerated after the same manner.

The Appearance of Demons

The strange and hideous forms connected with the popular image of demons were derived from the descriptive writings of the early demonologists, who maintained that demons possessed a decidedly corporeal form and were mortal, or that, like Milton’s spirits, they could assume any sex and take any shape they chose. In the Middle Ages, when conjuration was regularly practiced in Europe, devils of rank were supposed to appear under characteristic forms by which they were as well recognized as the head of any ancient family would be by his crest and armorial bearings.

Along with their names and characters were registered the shapes they were said to adopt. A devil would appear like an angel seated in a fiery chariot or riding on an infernal dragon and carrying a viper in his right hand; or he would assume a lion’s head, a goose’s feet, and a hare’s tail; or put on a raven’s head and come mounted on a strong wolf.

Among other forms taken by demons were those of a fierce warrior, or of an old man with a hawk in his hand riding upon a crocodile. A human figure would arise having the wings of a griffin or sporting three heads, two of them like those of a toad and one like a cat’s; or displaying huge teeth and horns and armed with a sword; or exhibiting a dog’s teeth and a large raven’s head; or mounted upon a pale horse and exhibiting a serpent’s tail; or gloriously crowned and riding upon a dromedary; or presenting the face of a lion; or bestriding a bear while grasping a viper.
Other forms were those of a goodly knight, or of one who bore lance, ensigns, and even a scepter, or of a soldier, either riding on a black horse and surrounded by a flame of fire, or wearing a duke’s crown and mounted on a crocodile.

Hundreds of such varied shapes were assumed by devils of rank. In his Sketches of the Philosophy of Apparitions (1824), Dr. S. Hibbert comments:

“It would therefore betray too much of the aristocratical spirit to omit noticing the forms which the lower orders of such beings displayed. In an ancient Latin poem, describing the lamentable vision of a devoted hermit, and supposed to have been written by St. Bernard in the year 1238, those spirits, who had no more important business upon earth than to carry away condemned souls, were described as blacker than pitch; as having teeth like lions, nails on their fingers like those of a wild-boar, on their fore-head horns, through the extremities of which poison was emitted, having wide ears flowing with corruption, and discharging serpents from their nostrils. The devout writer of these verses has even accompanied them from drawings, in which the addition of the cloven feet is not omitted. But this appendage, as Sir Thomas Brown has proved, is a mistake, which has arisen from the devil frequently appearing to the Jews in the shape of a rough and hairy goat, this animal being the emblem of sin-offering.”

The form of the demons described by St. Bernard (1090-1153) differs little from that which was no less carefully portrayed by English writer Reginald Scot 450 years later, and, perhaps, by the demonologists of modern times. “In our childhood,” says Scot, “our mother’s maids have so terrified us with an ouglie divell having horns on his head, fier in his mouth, and a tail on his breech, eies like a bason, fangs like a dog, clawes like a beare, … and a voice like a roaring lion.”

The Powers of Demons

Although the leading tenets of the occult science of demonology may be traced to the Jews and early Christians, they matured through communication with the Moors of Spain, who were the chief philosophers of the early Middle Ages. There was much intercultural exchange between the moors and the natives of France and Italy. Toledo, Seville, and Salamanca became the great schools of magic. At Salamanca discourses on the black art were, in keeping with the solemnity of the subject, delivered within the walls of a vast and gloomy cavern.

The instructors taught that all knowledge and power might be obtained from the fallen angels. They were skilled in the abstract sciences, in the knowledge of precious stones, in alchemy, in the various languages of mankind and of the lower animals, in belles lettres, in moral philosophy, pneumatology, divinity, magic, history, and prophecy, it was told. The demons could control the winds, the waters, and the influence of the stars; they could raise earthquakes; induce diseases or cure them; accomplish vast mechanical tasks; and release souls from purgatory. It was said that they could influence the passions of the mind, procure the reconciliation of friends or foes, engender mutual discord, induce mania and melancholy, or direct the force and objects of sexual affection.

Hierarchy of Demons

According to Johan Weyer, the prominent sixteenth-century Protestant demonologist, demons were divided into a great many classes, into regular kingdoms and principalities, and into mobility and commoners. According to Weyer, Satan was by no means the great sovereign of this monarchy; this honor was held by Beelzebub. Satan was alluded to by Weyer as a dethroned monarch and chief of the opposition; Moloch was called chief of the army; Pluto, prince of fire; and Leonard, grand master of the sphere. The masters of these infernal courts were Adramelech, grand chancellor; Astaroth, grand treasurer; Nergal, chief of the secret police; Baal, chief of the satanic army.

Weyer maintained that each state in Europe also had its infernal ambassadors. Belphegor is assigned to France, Mammon to England, Belial to Turkey, Rimmon to Russia, Thamuz to Spain, Hutjin to Italy, and Martinet to Switzerland.

According to Weyer’s calculations the infernal regions contained an army of 7,405,926 devils and demons, organized into 1,111 divisions of 6,666 each.

One of the strangest authorities on demonology was surely Alexis Vincent Charles Berbiguier, known as “the Scourge of the Demons,” author of the three-volume encyclopedic work Les Farfadets, ou tous les démons ne sont pas de l’autre monde (1821). In this great study, he describes the infernal court: “This court has representatives on earth. These mandatories are innumerable. I give nomenclature and degree of power of each: Moreau, magician and sorcerer of Paris, represents Beelzebub; Pinel, a doctor of Saltpétrière, represents Satan; Bouge, represents Pluto; Nicholas, a doctor of Avigum, represents Moloch.” But Berbiguier was not just a theorist, since he claimed to have caught thousands of demons, impaling them on pins like a butterfly hunter and sealing them in bottles.

Modern Demonology

Belief in demons possibly reached its lowest ebb in the nineteenth century, though occultists such as William Barrett proposed their own demonic hierarchies. By the beginning of the twentieth century, demonology was unfashionable, even in occult circles, but during the occult boom of the 1960s and 1970s, the theme of demonic possession was revived in conservative Christian circles and given widespread coverage in books and movies like The Exorcist, by William P. Blatty. The idea of demons became a divisive force in the church, with some churchmen reviving rituals of exorcism and others remaining adamant in their unwillingness to endorse ancient concepts of demonology. At any rate, the sensationalist aspect of possession by demons is in keeping with the apocalyptic character of modern life, and demons have once again become part of theological discourse.

Source:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Demons.aspx#1

Mananiti or Aniti

Courtesy of:  www.guampedia.com

mani

First people

Taotaomo’na, (Taotaomona) the people of before, refers to ancestral spirits that inhabited the earth along with the living. Ancient Chamorros believed the world around them was full of spirits who provided both daily protection and assistance in their tasks, but also created dangers and problems. Guma’ siha (houses) were built, families were raised and tinanom siha (crops) were harvested and planted through harmonious cooperation between Chamorros and the anti (spirits) of their ancestors.

The connection between Chamorros and these spirits has changed over time, primarily due to cultural changes that came about from Spanish colonization and Christianization. Slowly over time, these spirits have changed from the ante of ancestors to the wily ghosts, devils and demons that play tricks or cause harm to Chamorros today.

Taotaomo’na can be defined in three different ways, each definition depending upon the amount of familiarity or distance between these spirits and living Chamorros. I will give a brief synopsis of the first two types but for the purposes of this article we will focus on the third type which is how Chamorros today view Taotaomo’na.

Our elders and family
Taotaomo’na as i mañainå-ta yan familiå-ta
Taotaomo’na is therefore a term which could refer in general to all the spirits of Chamorro ancestors, to all of those who have come before. In this definition, these spirits played a huge role in the daily life of Chamorros offering assistance and protection with all sorts of daily tasks. These spirits were treated as members of the family and were referred to be name or through terms of endearment. Given this intimate arrangement, these sorts of taotaomo’na were thought to dwell on thetåno’ (land) of their descendants or thought to inhabit ancestral skulls or maranan uchan which Chamorros kept in baskets in the rafters of their guma’saga’(homes).

Those who came before
Taotaomo’na as i manmofo’nå-ta
Taotaomo’na also refers to the ante of ancestors whom Chamorros could no longer connect themselves to through genealogy. These were remote spirits, which could not be easily counted upon for help as if members of a clan, but instead had to communicated with primarily through intermediaries such as makanas. Makanaswere “spirits counselors” or “medicine men” who could be bartered with or compensated to seek the counsel or assistance of spirits. Makanas would beseech the dead on behalf of the living to bring stunning victories in battle, good luck in harvesting or fishing. If things were amiss in a family, and nothing but tragedy was befalling them, they could enlist the aid of a makana to find out from thetaotaomo’na what offense they had made or sins they had committed to deserve this treatment or why their ancestral spirits had abandoned them. A makana could also be enlisted in order to turn spirits against a rival or enemy clan.

Those who are evil and cruel
Taotaomo’na as i mantailayi (manailayi) yan manmala
Lastly, in the definition which matches closely to the way Chamorros think of them today, taotaomo’na are mananiti or aniti, pesky, troublesome and sometimes evil spirits. This definition is heavily influenced by Spanish Catholicism and does not view taotaomo’na as the spirits of Chamorro ancestors, except perhaps as pagan, evil spirits of their ancient uncivilized past. In this version taotaomo’na are not gracious, giving or helpful, but are instead notorious for hurting people and playing tricks on the living. These taotaomo’na are not to be trusted at all, but rather feared.

mani2Duendes, a Spanish word, are one such type of taotaomo’na. They are small, dwarf-like people, who go naked or wear clothes made of hagon siha (leaves). They are most well known for luring unsuspecting children into the halom tano’ (jungle) by taking the shape of a chichirika (a red fantailed bird), singing songs to them, or by offering them gifts or treats. Once captured a child would be shrunk down to such a small size that those looking for them would easily step over them or walk right by them completely unawares. When a child is eventually found they usually suffer fromchetnot manman, meaning they will stare into space with a blank and empty look. To fix this, they will have to be taken to a suruhånu or a pale’ (priest).

Taotaomo’na would often haunt or be associated with certain areas or objects, such as the halom tano’, latte sites, and trongkon nunu (banyan trees). Those who entered these spaces without proper permission, or who behaved tai respetu (without respect) once in them would be subject to the anger and tricks of the spirits who called that area home.

In some instances a violent and tragic death will forever link a spirit to the site of its death.

These sorts of taotaomo’na are able to take different human, animal and material forms when they interact with the living. They can appear as binådu (deer), ayuyu(coconut crabs), ga’lågu (dogs), and even paluma (birds). One famous taotaomo’na is the Utak or Itak which is a large white-tailed bird with a shrill call, which is heard throughout the village each time an unmarried girl becomes mapotge’ (pregnant).

Taotaomo’na also appeared as human or in close human form, sometimes taking the appearance of familiar people such as relatives, but other times appearing tai ulu’(without head) or tai mata’ (without face). They sometimes have an alluring smell akin to fadang (frederico palm) or lime or ilangilang (a fragrant tree). Other times the smell can be repulsive like basula (trash) or take’ (feces). When speaking it can appear as ngokngok or incomprehensible speech, or even hissing or the sound of branches being snapped and rubbed together. In other instances their speech is simply older and archaic Chamorro.

Taotaomo’na have the ability to cause the living to become terribly ill. They do so byde’on (pinching), akka’ (biting) or pacha’ (touching). If a taotaomo’na wishes to make you ill it can make you become feverishly sick (chetnot maipe’), turn you into a zombie and put you into a deep trance (chetnot manman) or cause parts of your body to swell up. When a person has been touched by a taotaomo’na with the intent that they become ill, finger, nail or teeth marks may appear on a person’s body, in colors such as yellow, brown or purple. Some taotaomo’na have control over wind, rain, lighting and thunder. These are called lamlamtaotao and can shape and change the weather to incite fear in the living.

As this definition of taotaomo’na is something to be feared and resisted, Chamorros have compiled lists of how to repel these spirits and keep them away because they cannot stand to come into contact with them. Some colors are said to repeltaotaomo’na while others are said to attract them, but this depends primarily on the particular affinities of the spirits involved. Salt is thought to weaken taotaomo’na, which is one reason why they are found primarily inland in the halom tano’ (jungle) and not along the coast near i tasi (the sea).
In the early twentieth century, a Chamorro man who was gaitaotao and unbeatable in wrestling, was supposedly vanquished after his opponent sprinkled salt around the ring before their match. Money, sacred religious objects and even the guma’ yu’us(church) itself are thought to be objects or places which taotaomo’na cannot touch or stand to be near.

www.guampedia.com/taotaomona-taotaomona

Shinto Demons

Courtesy of: http://mentalfloss.com/

ke11. Kiyohime

Kiyohime was a young woman scorned by her lover, a monk named Anchin, who grew cold and lost interest in her. Realizing he had left her, Kiyohime followed him to a river and transformed into a serpent while swimming after his boat. Terrified by her monstrous form, Anchin sought refuge in a temple, where monks hid him beneath a bell. Not to be evaded, Kiyohime found him by his scent, coiled around the bell, and banged loudly on it with her tail. She then breathed fire onto the bell, melting it and killing Anchin.

 

ke32. Yuki-onna (Snow woman)

There are many variations of this popular Japanese tale. Yuki-onna is usually described as having white skin, a white kimono, and long black hair. She appears in snowfall and glides without feet over the snow like a ghost. She feeds on human essence, and her killing method of choice is to blow on her victims to freeze them to death and then suck out their souls through their mouths.

 

 

3. Shuten Dōji

Shuten Dōji is described as more than 50 feet tall with a red body, five horns, and 15 eyes. There’s no need to fear this demon, though. In a legend from the medieval period, warriors Raikō and Hōshō infiltrated Shuten Dōji’s lair disguised as yamabushi (mountain priests) to free some kidnapped women. The oni greeted them with a banquet of human flesh and blood, and the disguised warriors offered Shuten Dōji drugged sake. After the demon passed out, the warriors cut off his head, killed the other oni, and freed the prisoners.

ke74. Yamauba (Mountain ogress)

Also originating in the medieval period, yamauba are generally considered to be old women who were marginalized by society and forced to live in the mountains—who also have a penchant for eating human flesh. Among many tales, there is one of a yamauba who offers shelter to a young woman about to give birth while secretly planning to eat her baby, and another of a yamauba who goes to village homes to eat children while their mothers are away. But they’re not picky; they’ll eat anyone who passes by. Yamabuas also have mouths under their hair.

5. Uji no hashihime (Woman at Uji Bridge)

In another tale of a woman scorned, Uji no hashihime prayed to a deity to turn her into an oni so she could kill her husband, the woman he fell in love with, and all of their relatives. To accomplish this, she bathed in the Uji River for 21 days, divided her hair into five horns, painted her body red with vermilion, and went on a legendary killing spree. Besides her intended victims, anyone who saw her instantly died of fear.

ke46. Tengu

Tengu are impish mountain goblins that play tricks on people, featured in countless folktales and considered purely evil until about the 14th century. They were originally depicted as birdlike, with wings and beaks, though now the beak is often replaced with a comically large nose. They are known to lead people away from Buddhism, tie priests to tall trees and towers, start fires in temples, and kidnap children. Many legends say the tengu were hypocritical priests who must now live the rest of their lives as mountain goblins as punishment. Locals made offerings to the tengu to avoid their mischief, and there are still festivals in Japan dedicated to them today.

7. Oiwa

A revenge story made popular by the famous kabuki drama Yotsuya kaidan, Oiwa was married to a rōnin (masterless samurai) named Iemon; he wanted to marry a rich local’s daughter who had fallen in love with him, and, in order to end their marriage, Oiwa was sent a poisoned medicine. Though the poison failed to kill her, she became horribly disfigured, causing her hair to fall out and her left eye to droop. Upon learning of her disfigurement and betrayal, she accidentally killed herself on a sword. Her ghostly, deformed face appeared everywhere to haunt Iemon. It even appeared in place of his new bride’s face, which caused Iemon to accidentally behead her. Oiwa’s spirit followed him relentlessly to the point where he welcomed death.

ke28. Demon at Agi Bridge

This story begins as so many horror stories do: With an overly-confident man who boasted to his friends that he didn’t fear to cross Agi Bridge or the demon rumored to reside there. As oni are known for their ability to shape-shift, the demon at Agi Bridge appeared to the man as an abandoned woman. As soon as she caught the young man’s eye, she transformed back into a 9 foot green-skinned monster and chased after him. Unable to catch the man, the demon later changed into the form of the man’s brother and knocked on his door late at night. The demon was let into the house and, after a struggle, bit off the man’s head, held it up and danced with it before his family, and then vanished.

9. Kuchisake-onna (Slit-mouthed woman)

In an urban legend from 1979 that swept through Japan, Kuchisake-onna wears a surgical mask and asks children if they think she is beautiful. If they say yes, she takes off the mask to reveal her mouth slit from ear to ear and asks the question again. The only way to escape is to give a noncommittal answer, such as “you look OK.” Barring that, you can distract her with certain Japanese candies. But if the children say yes again, she will cut their mouths to make them look like her.

ke510. Aka Manto (Red Cloak)

With a demon for just about everything, why shouldn’t the Japanese have a few for their bathrooms? Aka Manto, one of the more popular demons, hides in women’s bathrooms. In one version of the story, Aka Manto asks women if they would like a red cloak or a blue cloak. If the woman answers “red,” Aka Manto tears the flesh from her back to make it appear she is wearing a red cloak. If she answers “blue,” then he strangles her to death. Unfortunately, if you encounter Aka Manto, there may be no escaping: Some versions of the story say if you don’t answer or if you pick a different color, he will immediately drag you to hell.

Source:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/59737/10-horrifying-demons-and-spirits-japanese-folklore

Yenaldooshi

Courtesy of:  www.deliriumsrealm.com

yendIn Navajo mythology, skin-walkers, also known as Yenaldooshi, are witches who wear coyote skins and travel at night. They appear naked, wearing only masks and jewelry, and tend to live in caves, storing recognizable human heads on shelves.

Yenaldooshi gain power by killing a close relative, sometimes even a sibling. They are known to desecrate sand paintings by urinating, spitting, and defecating on them. They also practice cannibalism and necrophilia. Yenaldooshi are also said to be able to create a pollen from ground human infant bones that when sprinkled on sleeping Navajo families, causes sickness, social problems, and death.

Yenaldooshi are often detected by the presence of strange noises, barking dogs, or dirt falling from the hogan ceiling (as they try to sprinkle their pollen on unsuspecting families). They can be shot or caught. If they are not caught, a singer (hataalii) or medicine person can protect the family.

Coyotes were known to weaken a hunter by throwing their skin on him. By doing so, the Coyote takes on the appearance of the hunter. Coyotes do this out of desire to sleep with the hunter’s wife. During the time while the Coyote lives with the hunter’s wife, the hunter is immobilized in the position of a sleeping coyote. The wife will eventually realize the Coyote is not her husband because the Coyote is lazy and over time, the house comes to smell of Coyote urine.

Source:  http://www.deliriumsrealm.com/yenaldooshi/

Confucianism Part 2

06_SYM_ConfucianPartly because of the vitality of the feudal ritual system and partly because of the strength of the royal household itself, the Zhou kings were able to control their kingdom for several centuries. In 771 bce, however, they were forced to move their capital eastward to present-day Luoyang to avoid barbarian attacks from Central Asia. Real power thereafter passed into the hands of feudal lords. Since the surviving line of the Zhou kings continued to be recognized in name, they still managed to exercise some measure of symbolic control. By Confucius’ time, however, the feudal ritual system had been so fundamentally undermined that the political crises also precipitated a profound sense of moral decline: the centre of symbolic control could no longer hold the kingdom, which had devolved from centuries of civil war into 14 feudal states.

Confucius’ response was to address himself to the issue of learning to be human. In so doing he attempted to redefine and revitalize the institutions that for centuries had been vital to political stability and social order: the family, the school, the local community, the state, and the kingdom. Confucius did not accept the status quo, which held that wealth and power spoke the loudest. He felt that virtue, both as a personal quality and as a requirement for leadership, was essential for individual dignity, communal solidarity, and political order.

The Analects as the embodiment of Confucian ideas
The Lunyu (Analects), the most revered sacred scripture in the Confucian tradition, was probably compiled by the succeeding generations of Confucius’ disciples. Based primarily on the Master’s sayings, preserved in both oral and written transmissions, it captures the Confucian spirit in form and content in the same way that the Platonic dialogues embody Socratic pedagogy.

The Analects has often been viewed by the critical modern reader as a collection of unrelated reflections randomly put together. This impression may have resulted from the unfortunate perception of Confucius as a mere commonsense moralizer who gave practical advice to students in everyday situations. If readers approach the Analects as a communal memory, a literary device on the part of those who considered themselves beneficiaries of the Confucian Way to continue the Master’s memory and to transmit his form of life as a living tradition, they come close to why it has been so revered in China for centuries. Interchanges with various historical figures and his disciples are used to show Confucius in thought and action, not as an isolated individual but as the centre of relationships. Actually the sayings of the Analects reveal Confucius’ personality—his ambitions, his fears, his joys, his commitments, and above all his self-knowledge.

The purpose, then, in compiling these distilled statements centring on Confucius seems not to have been to present an argument or to record an event but to offer an invitation to readers to take part in an ongoing conversation. Through the Analects Confucians for centuries learned to reenact the awe-inspiring ritual of participating in a conversation with Confucius.

One of Confucius’ most significant personal descriptions is the short autobiographical account of his spiritual development found in the Analects:

At 15 I set my heart on learning; at 30 I firmly took my stand; at 40 I had no delusions; at 50 I knew the mandate of heaven; at 60 my ear was attuned; at 70 I followed my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries. (2:4)

Confucius’ life as a student and teacher exemplified his idea that education was a ceaseless process of self-realization. When one of his students reportedly had difficulty describing him, Confucius came to his aid:

Why did you not simply say something to this effect: he is the sort of man who forgets to eat when he engages himself in vigorous pursuit of learning, who is so full of joy that he forgets his worries, and who does not notice that old age is coming on? (7:18)

Confucius was deeply concerned that the culture (wen) he cherished was not being transmitted and that the learning (xue) he propounded was not being taught. His strong sense of mission, however, never interfered with his ability to remember what had been imparted to him, to learn without flagging, and to teach without growing weary. What he demanded of himself was strenuous:

It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go deeply into what I have learned, inability to move up to what I have heard to be right, and inability to reform myself when I have defects. (7:3)

What he demanded of his students was the willingness to learn: “I do not enlighten anyone who is not eager to learn, nor encourage anyone who is not anxious to put his ideas into words (7:8).

The community that Confucius created was a scholarly fellowship of like-minded men of different ages and different backgrounds from different states. They were attracted to Confucius because they shared his vision and to varying degrees took part in his mission to bring moral order to an increasingly fragmented world. This mission was difficult and even dangerous. Confucius himself suffered from joblessness, homelessness, starvation, and occasionally life-threatening violence. Yet his faith in the survivability of the culture that he cherished and the workability of the approach to teaching that he propounded was so steadfast that he convinced his followers as well as himself that heaven was on their side. When Confucius’ life was threatened in Kuang, he said:

Since the death of King Wen [founder of the Zhou dynasty] does not the mission of culture (wen) rest here in me? If heaven intends this culture to be destroyed, those who come after me will not be able to have any part of it. If heaven does not intend this culture to be destroyed, then what can the men of Kuang do to me? (9:5)

This expression of self-confidence informed by a powerful sense of mission may give the impression that there was presumptuousness in Confucius’ self-image. Confucius, however, made it explicit that he was far from attaining sagehood and that all he really excelled in was “love of learning” (5:27). To him, learning not only broadened his knowledge and deepened his self-awareness but also defined who he was. He frankly admitted that he was not born endowed with knowledge, nor did he belong to the class of men who could transform society without knowledge. Rather, he reported that he used his ears widely and followed what was good in what he had heard and used his eyes widely and retained in his mind what he had seen. His learning constituted “a lower level of knowledge” (7:27), a practical level that was presumably accessible to the majority of human beings. In this sense Confucius was neither a prophet with privileged access to the divine nor a philosopher who had already seen the truth but a teacher of humanity who was also an advanced fellow traveler on the way to self-realization.

As a teacher of humanity Confucius stated his ambition in terms of concern for human beings: “To bring comfort to the old, to have trust in friends, and to cherish the young” (5:25). Confucius’ vision of the way to develop a moral community began with a holistic reflection on the human condition. Instead of dwelling on abstract speculations such as man’s condition in the state of nature, Confucius sought to understand the actual situation of a given time and to use that as his point of departure. His aim was to restore trust in government and to transform society into a flourishing moral community by cultivating a sense of humanity in politics and society. To achieve that aim, the creation of a scholarly community, the fellowship of junzi (exemplary persons), was essential. In the words of Confucius’ disciple Zengzi, exemplary persons

must be broad-minded and resolute, for their burden is heavy and their road is long. They take humanity as their burden. Is that not heavy? Only with death does their road come to an end. Is that not long? (8:7)

The fellowship of junzi as moral vanguards of society, however, did not seek to establish a radically different order. Its mission was to redefine and revitalize those institutions that for centuries were believed to have maintained social solidarity and enabled people to live in harmony and prosperity. An obvious example of such an institution was the family.

It is related in the Analects that Confucius, when asked why he did not take part in government, responded by citing a passage from the ancient Shujing (“Classic of History”), “Simply by being a good son and friendly to his brothers a man can exert an influence upon government!” to show that what a person does in the confines of his home is politically significant (2:21). This maxim is based on the Confucian conviction that cultivation of the self is the root of social order and that social order is the basis for political stability and enduring peace.
The assertion that family ethics is politically efficacious must be seen in the context of the Confucian conception of politics as “rectification” (zheng). Rulers should begin by rectifying their own conduct; that is, they are to be examples who govern by moral leadership and exemplary teaching rather than by force. Government’s responsibility is not only to provide food and security but also to educate the people. Law and punishment are the minimum requirements for order; the higher goal of social harmony, however, can only be attained by virtue expressed through ritual performance. To perform rituals, then, is to take part in a communal act to promote mutual understanding.

One of the fundamental Confucian values that ensures the integrity of ritual performance is xiao (filial piety). Indeed, Confucius saw filial piety as the first step toward moral excellence, which he believed lay in the attainment of the cardinal virtue, ren (humanity). To learn to embody the family in the mind and heart is to become able to move beyond self-centredness or, to borrow from modern psychology, to transform the enclosed private ego into an open self. Filial piety, however, does not demand unconditional submissiveness to parental authority but recognition of and reverence for the source of life. The purpose of filial piety, as the ancient Greeks expressed it, is to enable both parent and child to flourish. Confucians see it as an essential way of learning to be human.

Confucians, moreover, are fond of applying the family metaphor to the community, the country, and the cosmos. They prefer to address the emperor as the son of heaven (tianzi), the king as ruler-father, and the magistrate as the “father-mother official” because to them the family-centred nomenclature implies a political vision. When Confucius said that taking care of family affairs is itself active participation in politics, he had already made it clear that family ethics is not merely a private concern; the public good is realized by and through it.
Confucius defined the process of becoming human as being able to “discipline yourself and return to ritual” (12:1). The dual focus on the transformation of the self (Confucius is said to have freed himself from four things: “opinionatedness, dogmatism, obstinacy, and egoism” [9:4]) and on social participation enabled Confucius to be loyal (zhong) to himself and considerate (shu) of others (4:15). It is easy to understand why the Confucian “golden rule” is “Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you!” (15:23). Confucius’ legacy, laden with profound ethical implications, is captured by his “plain and real” appreciation that learning to be human is a communal enterprise:

Persons of humanity, in wishing to establish themselves, also establish others, and in wishing to enlarge themselves, also enlarge others. The ability to take as analogy what is near at hand can be called the method of humanity. (6:30)

Confucianism Part 1

Courtesy of: http://www.britannica.com

06_SYM_ConfucianConfucianism the way of life propagated by Confucius in the 6th–5th century bce and followed by the Chinese people for more than two millennia. Although transformed over time, it is still the substance of learning, the source of values, and the social code of the Chinese. Its influence has also extended to other countries, particularly Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Confucianism, a Western term that has no counterpart in Chinese, is a worldview, a social ethic, a political ideology, a scholarly tradition, and a way of life. Sometimes viewed as a philosophy and sometimes as a religion, Confucianism may be understood as an all-encompassing way of thinking and living that entails ancestor reverence and a profound human-centred religiousness. East Asians may profess themselves to be Shintōists, Daoists, Buddhists, Muslims, or Christians, but, by announcing their religious affiliations, seldom do they cease to be Confucians.

Although often grouped with the major historical religions, Confucianism differs from them by not being an organized religion. Nonetheless, it spread to other East Asian countries under the influence of Chinese literate culture and has exerted a profound influence on spiritual and political life. Both the theory and practice of Confucianism have indelibly marked the patterns of government, society, education, and family of East Asia. Although it is an exaggeration to characterize traditional Chinese life and culture as Confucian, Confucian ethical values have for well over 2,000 years served as the source of inspiration as well as the court of appeal for human interaction between individuals, communities, and nations in the Sinitic world.

The thought of Confucius
The story of Confucianism does not begin with Confucius. Nor was Confucius the founder of Confucianism in the sense that Buddha was the founder of Buddhism and Christ the founder of Christianity. Rather Confucius considered himself a transmitter who consciously tried to reanimate the old in order to attain the new. He proposed revitalizing the meaning of the past by advocating a ritualized life. Confucius’ love of antiquity was motivated by his strong desire to understand why certain life forms and institutions, such as reverence for ancestors, human-centred religious practices, and mourning ceremonies, had survived for centuries. His journey into the past was a search for roots, which he perceived as grounded in humanity’s deepest needs for belonging and communicating. He had faith in the cumulative power of culture. The fact that traditional ways had lost vitality did not, for him, diminish their potential for regeneration in the future. In fact, Confucius’ sense of history was so strong that he saw himself as a conservationist responsible for the continuity of the cultural values and the social norms that had worked so well for the idealized civilization of the Western Zhou dynasty.

The historical context
The scholarly tradition envisioned by Confucius can be traced to the sage-kings of antiquity. Although the earliest dynasty confirmed by archaeology is the Shang dynasty (18th–12th century bce), the historical period that Confucius claimed as relevant was much earlier. Confucius may have initiated a cultural process known in the West as Confucianism, but he and those who followed him considered themselves part of a tradition, later identified by Chinese historians as the rujia, “scholarly tradition,” that had its origins two millennia previously, when the legendary sages Yao and Shun created a civilized world through moral persuasion.

Confucius’ hero was Zhougong, or the Duke of Zhou (d. 1094 bce), who was said to have helped consolidate, expand, and refine the “feudal” ritual system. This elaborate system of mutual dependence was based on blood ties, marriage alliances, and old covenants as well as on newly negotiated contracts. The appeal to cultural values and social norms for the maintenance of interstate as well as domestic order was predicated on a shared political vision, namely, that authority lies in universal kingship, heavily invested with ethical and religious power by the “mandate of heaven” (tianming), and that social solidarity is achieved not by legal constraint but by ritual observance. Its implementation enabled the Western Zhou dynasty to survive in relative peace and prosperity for more than five centuries.

Inspired by the statesmanship of Zhougong, Confucius harboured a lifelong dream to be in a position to emulate the duke by putting into practice the political ideas that he had learned from the ancient sages and worthies. Although Confucius never realized his political dream, his conception of politics as moral persuasion became more and more influential.

The concept of “heaven” (tian), unique in Zhou cosmology, was compatible with that of the Lord on High (Shangdi) in the Shang dynasty. Lord on High may have referred to the ancestral progenitor of the Shang royal lineage, but heaven to the Zhou kings, although also ancestral, was a more generalized anthropomorphic god. The Zhou belief in the mandate of heaven (the functional equivalent of the will of the Lord on High) differed from the divine right of kings in that there was no guarantee that the descendants of the Zhou royal house would be entrusted with kingship, for, as written in the Shujing (“Classic of History”), “heaven sees as the people see [and] hears as the people hear”; thus the virtues of the kings were essential for the maintenance of their power and authority. This emphasis on benevolent rulership, expressed in numerous bronze inscriptions, was both a reaction to the collapse of the Shang dynasty and an affirmation of a deep-rooted worldview.

Source:

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Confucianism

Demonology from a Christian Based Perspective

Alexander LaFountain

Alexander LaFountain

Sr. Director/Demonology Dept Chair at National Paranormal Society
Alexander LaFountain is a Demonologist based out of Texas. He was a member of Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations when he lived in Georgia and became a member of the Afterlife Research Team when he relocated to east Texas. He spent the last several years studying demonology and handling demonic based cases. He is also working towards becoming a Catholic Priest in the Independent Catholic Community.
Alexander LaFountain

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NPS - Demonology

What is demonology and what is the Christian perspective on demons and their activity? Demonology is essentially the study of demons and their activity. Demons are fallen angels that harbor a great hatred for humanity. They have never been human and never will be. They are fallen angels that decided to join Lucifer in his rebellion against God. Lucifer (along with 1/3 of the Heavens Host) was defeated by St. Michael and cast to the earth with all the angels that followed him. They roam the earth seeking souls to ruin and St. Peter warns us to be on guard against them.

They have many abilities and powers that we humans do not have. However through the grace of Jesus Christ we can cast them out. Demons have free will (having been created as angels) and are very old. They are immortal beings that do not die, get sick, or grow old like we humans. However they are limited in that they are not on God’s level. They do not know all things nor are they capable of being everywhere at once like God is. They are created creatures and they can not surpass their Creator no matter how much they wish too.

Demons hate human beings for a few reasons. The first is that they hate us because God loves us. They desire to get back at God and so by leading souls to ruin they feel they are getting their vengeance. Second reason is that we are made in God’s image. Every time they see us, they are reminded of God and what they lost. They hate the image of God and wanted to destroy it, thus they vent this hatred on us since they can’t actually destroy God. Lastly, God’s love for us is unparalleled in all of His creation. God loved humanity so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of mankind. God established a new covenant with mankind that freed us from the chains of eternal death and ushered us into everlasting life through Jesus Christ. No other creature can boast of such a thing because God offered this gift to mankind.

Demonologists are people who specialize in helping people in demonic situations. They are usually lay people who deal with infestation, oppression, and report possible possessions to Clergy. They are called by God to this ministry and Demonologist take such callings very seriously. They spend a lot of time studying demons and their activity as well as getting hands on experience by actually getting involved in cases.

Demons ultimately desire to lead souls to ruin. However we have protection through God. We can turn to our Clergy, Demonologist, Deliverance ministries, etc and receive spiritual help in the name of Jesus Christ. Demons may be powerful and immortal beings, but they are not greater then God and through Jesus Christ we can overcome the wiles of the enemy. Demons are masters of deceit and manipulation, they know all our weaknesses but through Jesus Christ we can find the strength to stand against their attacks. This is why it is so important to keep our faith in God strong at all times, as St. Peter cautions us to do.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Alexander LaFountain

Alexander LaFountain

Sr. Director/Demonology Dept Chair at National Paranormal Society
Alexander LaFountain is a Demonologist based out of Texas. He was a member of Ghost Watchers Paranormal Investigations when he lived in Georgia and became a member of the Afterlife Research Team when he relocated to east Texas. He spent the last several years studying demonology and handling demonic based cases. He is also working towards becoming a Catholic Priest in the Independent Catholic Community.
Alexander LaFountain

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Abaddon (Apollyon)

Apollyon (top) battling Christian in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.

Apollyon (top) battling Christian in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

From Christianity and Judaism, Angel of death, destruction, and the netherworld. The name Abaddon is derived from the Hebrew term for “to destroy” and means “place of destruction.” Apollyon is the Greek name. In MAGIC Abaddon is often equated with SATAN and SAMAEL. His name is evoked in conjuring spells for mali- cious deeds. Abaddon is the prince who rules the seventh hierarchy of DEMONs, the ERINYES, or Furies, who govern powers of evil, discord, war, and devastation. Originally, Abaddon was a place and not an angel or being. In rabbinic writings and the Old Testament, Abad- don is primarily a place of destruction and a name for one of the regions of Gehenna (see HELL). The term occurs six times in the Old Testament. In Proverbs 15:11 and 27:20, it is named with Sheol as a region of the underworld. In Psalm 88:11, Abaddon is associated with the grave and the underworld. In Job 26:6, Abaddon is associated with Sheol. Later, Job 28:22 names Abaddon and Death together, implying personified beings. In REVELATION 9:10, Abaddon is personified as the king of the abyss, the bottomless pit of hell. Revelation also cites the Greek version of the name, Apollyon, prob- ably a reference to Apollo, Greek god of pestilence and destruction.

FURTHER READING: van der Toorn, Karel, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der
Horst, eds. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.

Amon

AamonFALLEN ANGEL and the seventh of the 72 SPIRITS OF SOLOMON. In HELL, Amon is a strong and powerful marquis. He appears first as a wolf, but on a magician’s command, he will take on the shape of a man with a raven’s head and dog’s teeth. He accurately tells about the past and the future. He makes men and women fall in love with each other, and he settles disputes between friends and enemies. He rules over 40 LEGIONs of DEMONs.