Hello Shadow Folk,
Today I have a special treat for you. Alan Baxter, author of RealmShift and MageSign, is here to discuss demons and where to find them as a part of his 10 day blog book tour. So without any other further ado, here’s Alan!
As part of my blog book tour, Joan was kind enough to give me one of her Demon Friday slots. I’ve used demons in my fiction before, often cropping up in my short stories and there’s one particularly demon infested part of my first novel, RealmShift. My demons are usually figments of my own dark and twisted imagination, though often informed by the Judeo-Christian model, particularly in RealmShift. So, rather than write about any particular demon, as Joan usually does with her Demon Friday posts, I thought I’d write something a little more generic and talk about demons in general; what they are, why they are and where to find them.
Demons are something of a maligned entity. Most people in the western world, which is based so heavily on the Judeo-Christian mould, will hear “demon” and think “evil”. In the Christian mythology particularly demons are considered to be fallen angels and therefore patently evil. Perhaps the most famous demon is the Devil himself and he is usually considered the antithesis of the holy personification of god, therefore very bad.
But are demons really all bad? While most mythologies and folklore will have them as rather malevolent entities, the concept of the demon as pure evil is something that Christianity took from other traditions and used to its advantage. Something Christianity has been doing rather successfully for centuries.
Demons (or daemons, from daimon) appear as far back as Plato in ancient Greece, but were not considered evil back then. The word demon is thought to derive from the Greek daimon which is thought to come from the verb daiesthai, meaning “to divide, distribute.” In ancient Greek the word was used to mean “spirit” or “higher self” – not necessarily evil or malevolent, potentially useful and benevolent. The evil attachments seemed to originate in the oldest versions of the Hebrew and Greek Bible. Somewhere along the line, the concept of the spirit represented as the demon was connected to a concept of an evil entity.
Removed from the Judeo-Christian mythologies, demons are often found in occultism and used more as reference points for certain psychological tendencies. Rather than an entity in itself, a demon is often representative of an inner process and invoked to explore that process. Some occult traditions will even blur the two and consider the psychological process to be manifest in the form of the demon, with the demon’s name and traits a method to categorise and explore the occultist’s own internal psychological dimensions.
Many other cultures and traditions will recognise beings that we would equate with demons. Mythologies such as Hinduism and Islam have their supernatural entities (Asuras and Jinns respectively) which are essentially demons to Judeo-Christian eyes. These beings act in many ways like the malevolent demons of the Judeo-Christian mould, but also often have varying attributes of benevolence or mischief rather than evil.
Whatever tradition we take our demons from, they are very ripe fodder for fiction. The fallen angels that strove for prominence over man and were removed from the sight of God in the Christian mythology is full of excellent metaphor for storytelling. The Jinns of the Islamic mythology being conjured and tasked with fulfilling the conjuror’s will offer excellent plot opportunities, from the simplest genie of the lamp tropes to the more complex ideas of manifest psychological aberrances.
The subject is deep and far reaching and researching the concept of the demon is fun in itself. Just remember not to get too deeply tied down with the concept that all demons are evil devils. Perhaps a good thing to remember is the ancient Greek description from Plato’s Symposium: “supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes”. And even that quote and this article only begin to scratch the surface of the subject.
Alan Baxter is the author of the dark fantasy thrillers RealmShift and MageSign.
RealmShift has been described as “inventive”, “action-packed”, “thought provoking”, “a novel I am loathe to put down”, “fast paced and full of vibrancy”.
MageSign has been called “a fast-paced ride through a visceral reality which holds a mirror up to today’s apathetic society”, “a fast paced supernatural adventure that will leave readers rethinking how they view the Cosmos”, “…a gritty tale of blood rituals, mystery, and mysticism… grabs hold of the reader and doesn’t let go.”
Both books are available from indie publisher Blade Red Press in multiple formats at multiple locations:
Print editions from Amazon.com
Kindle editions from Amazon.com
Print editions at Amazon.co.uk
Muliple format ebooks from Smashwords.com
RealmShift – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376
MageSign – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1072
You can also contact the publisher directly at http://www.blade-red.com