In ancient Greek, Daimôn (DYE-moan) can refer to any divinity from the High Gods on down, but Pythagoreans tend to restrict it to the Mediating Spirits between the Gods and us. Some Pythagoreans call the higher orders of Daimones the Angeloi (Messengers), because of Their special role as messengers of the Gods; the lower ranks are the Daimones proper and the Heroes. A fourth class comprises the Akhrantoi (the Immaculate or Undefiled Ones), who are Perfected Beings (including certain Sages), who choose to reincarnate so they can help humanity. All together, Pythagoreans refer to the Daimones as our "Betters"(Kreittones).
Daimones have an intermediate nature between humans and Gods. All three classes of beings are animate and possess reason. However, the Daimones are like the Gods in being immortal and like humans in having emotions. In contrast, the Gods are impassive, and humans are mortal.
Most of the Daimones reside in the Air, which, in cosmological terms, is the intermediate region between the earth, where we live, and the heavens, where the Gods reside. The Moon is the boundary between the aerial domain and the aetherial heavens, and so that is where Their Ruler, Hekate, has Her domain.
As a consequence of Their intermediate nature, Daimones serve as Mediators between the Gods and us, and They convey divine Providence (Pronoia) into the sublunary realm. In particular, They interpret the Gods' wishes for us and are the agents of divination, oracles, and rituals. They are ministering spirits who care for people, and are often called Savior (Sôtêr). (Recall that daimôn is from the Indo-European da-, to provide.) Many rituals are directed to Daimones (who have feelings and can be swayed), and They are thereby convinced to mediate with the Gods on our behalf.
angels-of-the-sunAccording to Pythagorean doctrine, the Gods reside in the Noetic Realm, the world of Platonic Ideas, so They cannot relate to us as individuals, but only as representatives of the Idea of humankind. The Daimones, however, being intermediate, participate in both the Ideal and material worlds, and so they interact with us as individuals. They know our personal and family histories, our personalities, and often our thoughts.
Each Daimôn is the offspring of a God, who is Their Arkhêgos (Leader, Progenitor, Originator), and thus a Daimôn combines the nature of a God with Its own individual characteristics. Therefore the Seira (Chord, Lineage) of a God includes His or Her Daimones, as well as the Successions of Sages already mentioned. (Nevertheless, all the Daimones are under the rule of Hekate, because Her station at the Gate of the Moon is above all the Daimones; She is Daimoniarkhês, Ruler of Daimones.) A God's Seira also includes various plants, animals, materials, words, etc. that are symbolically or sympathetically linked to the God; these are used in sacred magical operations directed toward the God.
Angel-blueAside from the many Daimones, with Their various offices, we each have a Guardian or Personal Daimôn (Idios Daimôn), who knows our innermost thoughts and accompanies us through life and through death between lives. Our Highest Self, which Pythagoreans call "the Highest Flower of the Soul," is our Inner Daimôn; some think It is the same as the Guardian Daimôn, but others, including myself, believe They are different.
We also have with us a Shadow Spirit, the Other Daimôn or Bad Daimôn (Kakos Daimôn), who is created from all the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and so forth that we have rejected as wrong. The Bad Daimôn cannot be banished, and if we imagine we have done so, we only fool ourselves, which generally leads to Kakodaimônia: Misfortune, misery, and even madness. It is better to come to know your Other Daimôn, so that you can satisfy His or Her needs without compromising your moral convictions; to this end, Theurgy is very valuable. (Your Guardian Daimôn and Shadow Daimôn both have the same sex as yourself, in most cases.)
We have other Daimones who are particularly concerned with us as individuals, such as Muses, who bring us inspiration, and Soul Guides (Psychopompoi, often of the opposite sex to ourselves), but there are also other Daimones who may possess us in counterproductive ways; it's best to become acquainted with them all, an important goal of Theurgy.
Interaction with Daimones
Of course, daimôn is the origin of the English word demon, but Daimones are neither good nor evil by nature. They carry out various offices for their Ruling God, which might or might not be to our benefit. Like forces of Nature, They are what They are. However, due to Their intermediate nature, They are subject to emotions, feelings, and passions, and in this They are unlike the Gods. Therefore They can be more capricious and unpredictable.invocation02
As mentioned, Daimones can possess us, other people, and even non-human things. This is not necessarily bad, for the Daimones are sources of Divine Power for us; when poets invoke their Muses, they are inviting Possession by Them. Nevertheless, unconscious or uncontrolled Possession can be undesirable, and so it is important to be aware of the Daimones. (Here, certainly, is one place where an experienced human Guide can help.) The Daimones can raise us up or drag us down.
There are various ways of entering into communication with a Daimôn, the simplest being to create Sacred Space, invite Their presence, and begin talking with Them. Later we will explore the more powerful methods of Theurgy. Although Daimones deserve respect, do not forget that we mortals also have a Spark of Divinity in us, and so you should never abandon your moral autonomy.
With a Daimôn as Mediator, we can enter into conversation with the God who is Their Leader (Arkhêgos); the Daimôn may either manifest the God or conduct Him or Her into our presence. As already remarked, Gods are remote from the mundane world, so we are often better off dealing with the Daimones who are Their Ministers, but for some purposes the God must be contacted.
One reason to have a Sustasis (Meeting, Compact) with a God is to learn about the Divine Realm. The goal should not be idle curiosity, but to seek Knowledge which can aid our cooperation with, and furthering of, Divine Providence. In particular, we can inquire from the Gods Themselves the techniques of Sacred Magic and Theurgy.
hekate-bwFor example, instead of trying to guess how best to invoke a Deity, or learning it from possibly unreliable sources, we can ask the God how They wish to be invoked. (Of course, They might not tell us, if They think we're unworthy; indeed, the Chaldean Oracles warn us that if an impure person seeks this hidden knowledge, the Gods will punish their presumption with misleading replies.) It is from such Divine Meetings that we have Inspired Texts such the Chaldean Oracles, which teach us these Arts.
One of the most valuable things that a God can teach a Mage are the Signs and Symbols (Sunthêmata, Sumbola) by which the Deity may be invoked. These are animals, plants, stones, colors, times, and especially secret characters and words, which belong to the God's Seira and attune the soul of the magician to the God.
Since Hekate is Daimoniarkhês (Ruler of Daimones) and is the Key Holder (Kleidoukhos) and Gatekeeper (Propulaia) at the boundary of the Divine Realms, She is the God most closely connected with Theurgic Rites, and so it is from Her we seek instruction in those Arts. (Indeed, it is primarily from Her that we have the Chaldean Oracles.) She controls the Daimones, who can assist us or impede our progress. However, the Pythagorean Succession as a whole is in the Seira of Apollo, for He is the God of Oracles and the Guardian of Truth and Illumination; Pythagoreans are in the Solar Lineage. See also the earlier discussion of Mediating Gods.
(Excerpt from the "Summary of Pythagorean Theology," with the special authorization of John Opsopaus)
ORDO AURUM SOLIS