By Vexen Crabtree 2003
This page is a look at how I would approach the concepts of eidolon and Daemon as found in BCE Pagan Mystery religions and early Christian Gnosticism, in particular on the account of these concepts by Freke & Gandy's Jesus Mysteries hypothesis. The Satanist's aims are similar to initiates who pursue gnosis, but deviate by intentionally keeping an attachment to the Earth symbolized by the Aspect of Belial, Crown Prince.
“The Pagan sages taught that every human being has a mortal lower self called the 'eidolon' and an immortal Higher Self called the 'Daemon'. The eidolon is the embodied self, the physical body and personality. The Daemon is the Spirit, the true Self which is each person's spiritual connection to God. The Mysteries were designed to help initiates realize that the eidolon is a false self and that their true identity is the immortal Daemon.
From the eidolon's point of view the Daemon appears to be an independent Guardian Angel. Initiates who still identify with the eidolon, therefore, do not experience the Daemon as their own true Self, but as a spirit guide whose job it is to lead them to their spiritual destination.
In ancient Egypt the Daemon had for millennia been pictured as a Heavenly Twin of the eidolon. This image is also found in Gnosticism.”
Gnostic sage Mani describes his own Heavenly Twin and how he realized that this is what his guardian angel was. Two early Christian texts, The Acts of John and The Pistis Sophia both describe Jesus (one by quoting Mary) as having a twin that came down from Heaven and guided him, yet were 'one and the same being'2.
Satanism and the terminology of Freud can be utilized to teach us that the eidolon is the ego, and that separation from ego is false path to salvation. Daemon is super-ego. None work when separate from the others... i.e., pursuing a purely spiritual self, or, renouncing the world is damaging to the self as a whole.
“The Goal of Gnostic initiation was, likewise, to bring the lower self into union with the Higher Self, for it is when they are made one that enlightenment occurs. [...] When the human self and the divine "I" are interconnected they can achieve perfection and eternity.”
Aside from the rather hopeful claims on what this unison can gain, I don't doubt the general benefits of this holistic combination. A Freudian would say that either rejecting our ego, or rejecting our moralizing super-ego, would both create a personal imbalance. It is healthier to keep synergy in union, rather than create mental dissonance in partial self rejection. Assuming a more Eastern outlook for a moment, this perfect union would then cause liberation from the world, from the samsaric cycle of rebirth. Freke and Gandy state that "in the Pagan Mysteries it was believed that a soul progresses towards the realization of Gnosis over many lifetimes", meaning that the same perfection would result in a final gnosis and escape according to the mystery religions too.
However, this escape is not a Satanic aim. The combination of these concepts, if they were true, would be best done with the wilful, conscious and intentional retaining of attachment to the world in order to prevent escape. Psychologically, such self empowerment is valid and healthy. But, the idea of escaping from life, achieving perfection or otherwise leaving this world, is a problematic for Satanists, who for the most part don't believe such things are possible, and even if they were, wouldn't want to achieve them:
The cycle of rebirth into this world is something that should be escaped from, according to Buddhist and Hindu style religions. Continual rebirth is called samsara, and escape from this should be the ultimate destiny and goal of all living beings. But no so with Satanists.
There are not many religions that embrace the world as it is, that are materialistic and hedonistic: Satanism is definitely one of them. The first of the nine Satanic Statements is that "Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!". Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, explained "the difference between indulgence and compulsion. Indulgence can be controlled, compulsion controls." and hence argued that a Satanist, although indulgent, is not controlled by the passions4.
Clearly such a hedonistic approach places Satanism squarely within the world-affirming category of religions. Other doctrines accord with this too; the emphasis on this world and the denial of any other spiritual realms, and the focus on science and intelligence. The scholar Asbjørn Dyrendal surveyed Satanism and agrees that "both rationalist and esoteric Satanisms are primarily world-affirming forms of self-spirituality. They see success in society and the world as it is as a valid and desirable goal"5. So, from The Satanic Bible:
“Life is the one great indulgence; death the one great abstinence. To a person who is satisfied with his earthly existence, life is like a party; and no one likes to leave a good party. By the same token, if a person is enjoying himself here on earth he will not so readily give up this life for the promise of an afterlife about which he knows nothing.”
Satan, then, represents our ties to this world, our ego, successes, the things we want to do in this world. Satan is the things that keep us tied to this world, not wanting to escape it. It represents the fact that we're not willing to give up worldly things for spiritual goals ('Spiritual pipe dreams') attained for an afterlife. Suicide is never an option for Satanists - we fight to the end, we do not want to escape from reality!
This attachment is necessary if we are to remain sensible, functional beings, especially given the final revelation given to initiates of the Mysteries:
“Although it appears as if each person has their own Daemon or Higher Self, the enlightened initiate discovers that actually there is one Daemon shared by all - a universal Self which inhabits every being. Each soul is a part of the one Soul of God. To know oneself therefore is to know God.”
This is a irreconcilable difference in theology to LaVey Satanism. There is certainly no "universal daemon" shared by all. There, the mysteries have strayed into mumbo jumbo. But the way is clear if we drop the superstitious elements of pagan and white light religions, and concentrate on what is real for our conclusion!
It would be true for a Satanist to say that by knowing yourself you know God, but untrue to say that all people share a common God. In other words, union of eidolon and Daemon is true to the self, but then to say that the Daemon is an absolute good connecting all people is a white light imbalance. All people create their own gods, in accordance with their needs and character, so that no two gods are the same. If a person wills their Daemon concept to be unified with a universal spiritual, mystical Daemon then they have become imbalanced.
The Crown Prince of Belial Is The Balancing Factor in the Union of Eidolon and Daemon: The precise way in which a Satanist who identifies naturally with his eidolon would embrace his Daemon would be in a closed sense, a strict combination with the Earth as a hook, with Belial as a magnet, and therefore retain balance: "Belial is the carnal side of man, the lust, sex, pleasure and therefore the principal drives that make living worthwhile". Should the sky, the sun or an idea of a universal god be the will of their self, then they are not a Satanist but a theist who believes in God. A Satanist embraces reality, the Earth, materialism, and therefore embraces the LaVeyan concept of Satan.
While Plutarch, Plato and gnostic texts describe this life as a prison, Satanists consider it a party! I may be a biased person to say so, but I think the Satanists have got something right if they don't want release from this life!
Current edition: 2003 Mar 19
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism
All #tags used on this page - click for more:
LaVey, Anton. (1930-1997) Founder of the Church of Satan.
(1969) The Satanic Bible. Paperback book. Published by Avon Books Inc, New York, USA. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966..
(1992) The Devil's Notebook. Paperback book. Published by Feral House, CA, USA.