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The Islamic jinn , for example, are not reducible to modified human souls. At the same time these classes are frequently conceived as producing identical results, e. According to some societies, all the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits, each ruling a certain " element " or even object, and themselves in subjection to a greater spirit. Every cove of the seashore, every point, every island and prominent rock has its guardian spirit.

By the thousands they accompany travelers, seeking them out from their places in the elements.

Demonology - Wikipedia

In ancient Babylon , demonology had an influence on even the most mundane elements of life, from petty annoyances to the emotions of love and hatred. The numerous demonic spirits were given charge over various parts of the human body, one for the head, one for the neck, and so on. Greek philosophers such as Porphyry , who claimed influence from Platonism , [9] and the fathers of the Christian Church , held that the world was pervaded with spirits, [3] the latter of whom advanced the belief that demons received the worship directed at pagan gods.

Many religions and cultures believe, or once believed, that what is now known as soothsaying , was, or is, a form of physical contact with demons. The ascription of malevolence to the world of spirits is by no means universal. In Central Africa , the Mpongwe believe in local spirits, just as do the Inuit; but they are regarded as inoffensive in the main.

Passers-by must make some trifling offering as they near the spirits' place of abode; but it is only occasionally mischievous acts, such as the throwing down of a tree on a passer-by, are, in the view of the natives, perpetuated by the class of spirits known as Ombuiri.

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So too many of the spirits, especially concerned with the operations of nature, are conceived as neutral or even benevolent; the European peasant fears the corn-spirit only when he irritates him by trenching on his domain and taking his property by cutting the corn; [12] similarly, there is no reason why the more insignificant personages of the pantheon should be conceived as malevolent, and we find that the Petara of the Dyaks are far from indiscriminate and malignant, [3] being viewed as invisible guardians of mankind.

Demons are generally classified as spirits which are believed to enter into relations with the human race.

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As such the term includes:. Excluded are souls conceived as inhabiting another world. Yet just as gods are not necessarily spiritual, demons may also be regarded as corporeal; vampires for example are sometimes described as human heads with appended entrails, which issue from the tomb to attack the living during the night watches.

The so-called Spectre Huntsman of the Malay Peninsula is said to be a man who scours the firmament with his dogs, vainly seeking for what he could not find on Earth: a buck mouse-deer pregnant with male offspring; but he seems to be a living man; there is no statement that he ever died, nor yet that he is a spirit. The incubi and succubi of the Middle Ages are sometimes regarded as spiritual beings; but they were held to give proof of their bodily existence, [3] such as offspring though often deformed. The Zoroastrian faith teaches that there are 3, Demons, some with specific dark responsibilities such as war, starvation, sickness, etc.

In Babylonian mythology , the seven evil deities were known as shedu , or "storm-demons". They were represented in winged bull form , derived from the colossal bulls used as protective genii of royal palaces, the name "shed" assumed also the meaning of a propitious genius in Babylonian magic literature. They also spoke of "the destroyer" Exodus xii. Traditionally, Buddhism affirms the existence of hells [18] peopled by demons who torment sinners and tempt mortals to sin, or who seek to thwart their enlightenment , with a demon named Mara as chief tempter, "prince of darkness," or "Evil One" in Sanskrit sources.

The followers of Mara were also called mara , the devils, and are frequently cited as a cause of disease or representations of mental obstructions. The idea of the imminent decline and collapse of the Buddhist religion amid a "great cacophony of demonic influences" was already a significant component of Buddhism when it reached China in the first century A.

  1. I. Demonology. Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Complete Works.
  2. Letter to Jimmy.
  3. Paranormal Research Society of New England | Demonology;
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For some writers of the time this state of affairs had been ordained to serve the higher purpose of effecting a "preliminary cleansing" that would purge and purify humanity in preparation for an ultimate, messianic renewal. Medieval Chinese Buddhist demonology was heavily influenced by Indian Buddhism. Indian demonology is also fully and systematically described in written sources, though during Buddhism's centuries of direct influence in China, "Chinese demonology was whipped into respectable shape," with a number of Indian demons finding permanent niches even in Taoist ritual texts.

In this context demons are considered by Buddhists to be beings possessing some supernatural powers, who, in the past, might have practiced Dharma , the Buddhass teaching, but due to practicing it incorrectly failed to develop true wisdom and true compassion , which are inseparable attributes of an enlightened being such as a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. In his autobiography, The Blazing Splendor, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche , a prominent Tibetan Buddhist master of the 20th century describes encounters with such beings. Therefore, depending on the context, in Buddhism demons may refer to both disturbed mind states and actual beings.

Christian demonology is the study of demons from a Christian point of view. It is primarily based on the Bible Old Testament and New Testament , the exegesis of these scriptures, the writings of early Christian philosophers and hermits , tradition , and legends incorporated from other beliefs. Some scholars [ who? In contrast, the early Enochic tradition bases its understanding of the origin of demons on the story of the fallen Watchers led by Azazel.

Scholars [ who? While in the beginning of their conceptual journeys Azazel and Satan are posited as representatives of two distinctive and often rival trends tied to the distinctive etiologies of corruption, in later Jewish and Christian demonological lore both antagonists are able to enter each other's respective stories in new conceptual capacities.

In these later traditions Satanael is often depicted as the leader of the fallen angels while his conceptual rival Azazel is portrayed as a seducer of Adam and Eve.

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  • A number of authors throughout Christian history have written about demons for a variety of purposes. Theologians like Thomas Aquinas wrote concerning the behaviors of which Christians should be aware, [28] while witchhunters like Heinrich Kramer wrote about how to find and what to do with people they believed were involved with demons. In modern times, some demonological texts have been written by Christians, usually in a similar vein of Thomas Aquinas, explaining their effects in the world and how faith may lessen or eliminate damage by them.

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


    Vedic Scriptures include a range of spirits Vetalas, Rakshasas , Bhutas and Pishachas that might be classified as demons. These spirits are souls of beings that have committed certain specific sins. As a purging punishment, they are condemned to roam without a physical form for a length of time, until a rebirth.

    Beings that died with unfulfilled desires or anger are also said to "linger" until such issues are resolved.

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    There are occult traditions in Hinduism that seek to control such spirits to do their bidding. Hindu text Garuda Purana details other kinds of punishments and judgments given out in Hell ; this also given an account of how the spirit travels to nether worlds. Islam has no doctrinal hierarchy of demonology. You can also use it to keep track of your completed quests, recipes, mounts, companion pets, and titles! This site makes extensive use of JavaScript.

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