Dojo Darelir, the School of Xenograg the Sorcerer

Tag: demons

Terrifying Initiation Ordeals

May 17, 2022

…But Zarathustra escaped from prison and also from attempts to murder him. He lived to fight many battles against the forces of evil, battles where he pitched his magic powers against the powers of evil sorcerers. Later he became the archetype of the wizard, with a tall hat, cloak of stars and an eagle on his shoulder. Zarathustra was a dangerous, somewhat disconcerting figure, prepared to fight fire with fire.

He led his followers to secluded grottoes, hidden in the forests. There in underground caverns he initiated them. He wanted to provide them with the supernatural powers needed to fight the good fight….

Zarathustra prepared his followers to face Ahriman’s demons, or Asuras, by terrifying initiation ordeals. He who fears death, he said, is already dead.

It was recorded by Menippus, the Greek philosopher of the third century [B.C.E.], who had been initiated by the Mithraic successors of Zarathustra, that, after a period of fasting, mortification and mental exercises performed in solitude, the candidate would be forced to swim across water, then pass through fire and ice. He would be cast into a snake pit, and cut across the chest by a sword, so that blood would flow.

By experiencing the outer limits of fear, the initiate was prepared for the worst that could happen, both in life and after death.

The Secret History of the World, Chapter 10

Author’s emphases are in italic. Mine are in bold.

The Demon Who Makes Trophies of Men

September 22, 2021
When I was little, we found a man. He looked like…like butchered. The old women in the village crossed themselves, and whispered crazy things—strange things: “El diablo cazador de hombres”. Only in the hottest years this happens…and this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skin; and sometimes much, much worse.
El que hace trofeos de los hombres” means “the demon who makes trophies of men”.

— “Predator” (1987)

Exorcism in Babylonia and Assyria

May 1, 2008

All down the ages good and evil have been in opposition as two contending forces in perpetual conflict, so that the ritual of expulsion has been an essential element in sanctification and the impulsion of spiritual power and insight. Consequently, in this dual task of getting rid of evil in order to secure good the exorcist has exercised a function complementary to that of the seer. Not infrequently, as we have seen, the medicine-man or shaman has been responsible both for riddance and induction, and at a higher cultural level in Babylonia and Assyria the soothsayer and exorcist originally were hardly distinguishable. In the process of time, however, the driving out of demons from human beings and buildings by incantations and ritual expulsions were separated from the interpretation of omens and astrological portents. This was necessitated by the development of an elaborate system of demonology entailing jinns, ghouls, vampires, malignant disembodied ghosts (edimmu), and vast hordes of hostile spirits (utukku, galla, labartu, labasu and ahhazu, lila, sûdu and lamassu) which lurked in graves and solitary places, on mountains and in dens of the earth, and in marshes. They roamed about the streets, sliding through the doors and walls of houses, and were borne on the wings of the mighty winds that swept the land. Wherever they occurred they brought misfortune, sickness and death in their train. Small wonder, then, that the exorcist was in constant demand. Thus, the cuneiform texts from the middle of the third millennium [B.C.E.] onwards bear witness to the numerous incantations employed to expel evil spirits and the ghosts of the dead. In the case of the latter the exorcist threatened that no rites would be performed on their behalf until they had departed:

(Whatever spirit thou may be), until thou art removed:
Until thou departest from the man, the son of his god,
Thou shalt have no food to eat,
Thou shalt have no drink to drink.

E. O. James, The Nature and Function of Priesthood, p. 49

Emphasis mine.

Demons Fight in Vain Against the Order of Nature

January 12, 2002

Demons were powerful, capable of killing man and beast, but they could not altogether destroy life, nor could they permanently disrupt the order of nature. An eclipse of the sun might cause panic; but ultimately the sun emerged victorious from this struggle against evil, for did it not rise and set day after day, with the seasons following one another, bringing sowing and harvesting? Man stimulated the rhythm of nature by incantation, dance and gesture; and the stars moved in accordance with immutable laws as if to bear witness to the harmony of the world….

Kurt Seligmann, The History of Magic and the Occult, p. 4

Forgetful Gods

December 11, 2001

From time immemorial, man has felt himself to be confronted with evil supernatural beings, and his weapon against them has been the use of magical rites. Spirits lurked everywhere. Larvae and lemures lived beneath the earth; vampires escaped from the dead to attack the living; Namtar (pestilence) and Idpa (fever) plagued the cities. Night was ruled by the demons of evil, of the desert, of the abyss, of the sea, of the mountains, of the swamp, of the south wind. There were the succubi and incubi, carriers of obscene nightmares; the snare-setting Maskim; the evil Utuq, dweller of the desert; the bull demon Telal; and Alal the destroyer. People’s minds were dominated by malign demons who demanded sacrifices and prayers. But the sages of ancient civilizations knew also that good spirits existed, ever ready to come to the rescue of the afflicted. In the higher magical religions, the priests conceived a supreme deity, a wise controller of the world’s harmony….

In the broad plains [of Mesopotamia], on terraces of temples and towers, the priests scanned the night sky, pondering over the riddle of the universe—the cause of all being, of life and death. They offered their prayers to the spirit of Hea, the earth, and to the spirit of Ana, the sky. By conjuration, by the burning of incense, by shouts and by whispers, by gesture and by song, the priests sought to attract the attention of the fickle gods who had forever to be reminded of the misfortunes of mortals. “Remember,” the incantations were always reiterating: “Remember him who makes sacrifices—may forgiveness and peace flow for him like molten brass; may this man’s days be vivified by the sun!—Spirit of the Earth, remember! Spirit of the Sky, remember!”

Kurt Seligmann, The History of Magic and the Occult, p. 1

Emphasis mine.