I don’t typically pay attention to how many people are reading what I write here or on Facebook. I probably should, but the statistics feed my anxiety. For example, accidentally clicking the wrong tab this morning showed me how many people had disliked my Facebook page over the last month—and when. I didn’t need Sherlock Holmes to figure out why. I’d used the word ‘demon’ in every one of those FB posts.
But even though I know why people left, I guess I don’t fully understand. I write about witchcraft and Paganism openly. I suspect a good number of the people who like my page are probably witches or Pagans themselves. Last time I checked, neither group was especially well-liked by the bulk of society. The general public believes a huge amount of bullshit about them, and some idiots can be downright cruel. Just ask the witch in Winnipeg whose store keeps being vandalized.
While I won’t pretend to know how she feels, I’ve even had Wiccans say things to me along the lines of I will “steal your children at Halloween to ritually sacrifice them,” all because I’m a Daemonolater. Like Dominique Smith, “I know it comes from a place of ignorance, but it’s 2017, this is not 1717. We should be better than this, and it’s disappointing that we’re not.”
I realize ignorance can only be fought with knowledge. Most of today’s witches and Pagans weren’t raised in “alternate religions” and it could be that a few are having difficulty leaving Christian dogma behind. At the risk of losing more “likes,” let me take a moment to sum up what Daemonolatry is—regardless of how you spell it.
What is Daemonolatry?
At its most basic level, Daemonolatry is the worship of demons. Nothing more and nothing less. Daemonolators do not worship the Christian devil, however. Since many demons started as ancient Pagan gods, most Daemonolators feel that their deities have been unfairly villainized by the church. Unfortunately, the Satanic Panic of the 1970s cemented the stereotype of animal sacrificing devil worshippers in the eyes of the public. Although prominent Wiccan writer and former police officer Kerr Cuhulain thoroughly debunked conspiracies of Satanic cults spread across North America, discrimination against Daemonolators continues among even Cuhulain’s own Pagan community. This is due largely to the misinformation floating around about demons in general and Daemonolatry in particular.
What Are Demons?
The word demon comes from the Greek daimōn. Homer’s use of theoí (“gods”) and daímones indicates that these two words originally had similar meanings, but later writers helped distinguish a difference between the two through showing daímones as “knowing or wise” beings that “distribute destinies.” By the time of Alexander the Great, the Greeks believed everyone possessed a personal daimōn that would guide, motivate, and inspire them to greatness. Numerous people today look to their guardian angels for that support. Daemonolators turn to their own deities—daemons or demons—for the same.
What Do Daemonolators Do?
Daemonolators work with patron or “counterpart” demons just as Wiccans work with patron deities. Unlike Wiccans, they do not typically commit to both a patron and matron. This is because Daemonolators believe the “All is One,” and that demons are an expression of a single divine energy source beyond gender. Therefore, a demon that presents as male to one practitioner may show up as a female to another. Patron or counterpart demons help Daemonolators identify strengths and weakness in themselves, overcome obstacles in their lives, and provide spiritual comfort. Elders advise new Daemonolators to spend at least a year studying and getting to know different demons before making this life-long commitment.
Daemonolators can and do establish relationships with demons besides their patrons. These will sometimes last only a short period or may develop into an ongoing partnership. The exact nature of these partnerships depends on the personalities of the practitioner and the demon in question, of course, as well as what they wish from one another.
Truly, those wishing to research the demonic “pantheon” will find it as diverse as any other group of gods. They will find love, fertility, wisdom, and prosperity demons just as easily as they will discover demons who oversee war, sickness, revenge, or cruelty. Like most beings, demons appreciate loyalty, honor, and respect. More importantly, Daemonolators believe that demons benefit from their offerings, prayers, and other spiritual acts even if they do not require them for survival. Of course, demons treated poorly may respond in kind—if they will have anything to do with you at all. In this way, demons are no more evil or capricious than anybody else.
What Do Daemonolators Believe?
While keeping in mind that no essay can sum up an entire tradition, please remember that Daemonolators do not work with the demons described in the Bible. In some cases, Daemonolators may worship deities with the same names, but they do not worship them with any Christian or Judaic biases in place.
Within the context of Daemonolatry, Satan isn’t the adversary of the divine. Instead, Satan is the Divine / the Source of All that Was, Is, or Ever Will Be. Few if any Daemonolators believe in the demonic possession made famous by the horror industry. When they wish to bless an area or rid themselves of negative energy, they do so in the name of their patron demon or Satan because Satan is their source for all things natural in the cosmos. Bad apples exist within Daemonolatry as they do in all religions, but Daemonolators are just as law-abiding and rule-following as people of any other faith are.
Spiritual Daemonolatry usually centers on the observance of holy days as well as prayer and meditation. Many Daemonolators also practice magick, though the type may differ from person to person. Daemonolatry rituals are similar to those of both Wicca and Ceremonial Magick, although Daemonolators cast circles to balance the energy raised within rather than for protection. That said, magick is not a mandatory part of Daemonolatry. Those who wish to add spell-work to their practice may do so as they choose, following their own interests and inclinations.
While some Daemonolators may prick their fingers with a diabetic lancet and offer a few droplets of blood to their deities, others may gift baked goods, alcohol, or devotional art to the demons instead. Traditional Daemonolator S. Connolly has written a guidebook aimed at helping Daemonolators with special requirements modify their spiritual and magickal rituals as desired.
Just as Daemonolators must decide whether they wish to use blood (or even incense) in their ceremonies, they must also consider the ethics behind such controversial practice as cursing. It can be tempting to judge immediately upon first hearing about this sort of magick, especially if you do not know that some other Pagan traditions curse too. In addition to binding people who have caused them harm or reflecting negativity back at them, Daemonolators will curse their own destructive emotions and habits in an effort towards self-improvement. When someone’s behavior truly warrants a curse, however, such as in the case of a rapist or murderer, Daemonolators are told to curse such individuals without regret or suffer the effects of the curse themselves. Because of this possible side-effect, Daemonolators do not throw curses around without great forethought and some will not curse at all.
Most Daemonolators practice alone, although a few establish their own paths or join larger Pagan groups. Initiation is available through the Temple of Atem online but isn’t necessary. Self-initiation and self-dedication rites are as official as group initiations. Initiates become adepts through personalized study and working directly with the demons themselves.
Why Do We Never Hear About Daemonolatry?
Sadly, both the public at large and a good deal of the occult community continue to view Daemonolatry with suspicion. Since few Daemonolators risk outing themselves for fear of losing their jobs or worse, this remains completely understandable. Until generational Daemonolators began publishing their grimoires, or personal spiritual and magical books, there simply was no way for outsiders to read anything easily accessible about the tradition. Historical texts like The Lesser Key of Solomon perplex many students with their antiquated language, while modern volumes written by atheistic Satanists focus on the manipulation tactics rather than spirituality. Thankfully, writers such as S. Connolly, Ellen Purswell, B. Morlan, and M. King have spoken openly about their practices and the organizations to which they belong. May they be the first of many to come.
Connolly, S. The Complete Book of Demonolatry. DB Publishing. Arvada, Colorado. 2005.
GenDem Group. Demonolatry.Org: By Demonolators, For Demonolators. Website established 2011. Accessed regularly since 2010 and for this article on 20 Sept. 2016.
Infernus. Introduction to Demonolatry Basics I. Weblog post. The Shadow Self – A Journey Into the Occult Facebook Page. Facebook, 09 Aug. 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.
Purswell, E. Goetic Demonolatry. DB Publishing. Arvada, Colorado. 2010.
Scott, Torey B. An Introduction to Modern Demonolatry for Wiccans & Neo-Pagans. Weblog post. Infernal Dialogues. Blogspot, 11 Sept 2008. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.
Please Note: The spelling of DAEMONOLATRY varies between those who practice it. Some articles use the most common spelling in their titles for search engine optimization purposes.