D: Lilith: Daimon or Demon

Daimon is from the Greek diamôn.

Socrates wrote of his daimon somewhat disparagingly when he said that sometimes his daimon played tricks on him and prevented him from the task at hand. Significantly, his daimon did not prompt him to do something else in its place. The daimon left it up to Socrates, in part so that Socrates retained his own authority and also that the daimon bore no blame. The daimon was often a feminine whisper –

Daimon can be seen as the higher part of a human’s spirit or as a gift, that inner voice that guides us if we care to listen well. It can be inspirational and enlightening …

Can the demons we deal with in our everyday lives be transformed? I imagine Lilith sitting in the depths of the Red Sea and plotting her revenge in the most demonic way possible. I feel like that sometimes when I fantasise about gouging out the eyes of the idiot driver who almost ran me over, or slicing off the extremities of women abusers, traffickers, child molesters. The depth of my feeling scares me. I acknowledge succumbing to self-destructive behaviour when I over eat like a demon. It is only afterwards when I reflect and digest my disgust at myself of over-eating completely unconsciously. I give a nod to Lilith when I see her in me, as a personification of the destructive demonic force – my ‘hunger’ for something that was there and which I did not acknowledge it for what it was, unconsciously turning it against myself.

Relating to Lilith in a more compassionate way, we can see in her, some of ourselves. We all get into horribly dark places at times when we feel unloved, unappreciated, unvalued, unfairly treated, exiled even from ourselves and we feel that dark, destructive and dangerous energy rising. Too often we act out our feelings of rage and despair, stuffing ourselves with food, whiskey, drugs, anything, to rid us, numb us, of those uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

 Lilith’s time alone in the depths of Red Sea was a time when all the demons invaded her. She must have felt the whole range of emotions experienced by us. 

What are we to do with that energy? Do we disregard it as too foreign to ourselves? Can we bring this dark Lilith energy out of the shadows and connect to it in a different way, releasing some of its demonic powers by acknowledging her? Any dark energy stored in darkness tends to become distorted and, if disregarded, turns against us to our detriment. 

We are in a sense daughters – and sons – of Lilith. We also experience deep wounding in our lives. Though the rose is a thing of beauty, its thorns prick and make us bleed. That pricking and bleeding can immobilise us. It is meant to …

Can the daimon appear to us in these times of sorrow? Are we open to the deeper messages, even if a whisper, that our soul is in need of receiving?


26 Comments on D Daimon or Daemon

  1. My first philosophic teacher introduced me to the idea of daemon around 1970 as we studied Greek philosophy. He had a positive view of daemon as the inner voice that leads us in the right direction. I’ve held on to that and listened for that quiet voice.

    I’m always searching for a compassionate response to my demons who get out of control when I ignore their whispered needs. Who doesn’t know that sense that all possible demons have invaded and are running the show? My own judgmental self becomes one of the demons, sometimes the leader of the pack, piling on the disgust. I agree with Pema Chodron that it’s best to sit with these energies and let them in because consciousness will eventually transform them. I hope so.

    • Thanks Elaine – daemon even has a softer sound.

      I love the idea of a compassionate response to the demons who rear their ugly heads, and as you say, ‘ignore their whispered needs’. I know this only too well and know full well my avoidance behaviour that comes into play. Not that I know it at the time … I’ll do anything to drown out the demons’ whispered needs … I’ll remember this phrase thank you …

  2. Hi, Susan – Great use of ‘d’ words to carry your story and message. I like your reply to Beth. If we could now add ‘dark chocolate’ that would be perfect!

  3. This series is a challenging journey Susan. I’ve often thought of the Lilith story as a call to stay in pristine alignment with one’s empowerment, even though one sometimes dips into the demonic depths there is always the Daimon whispering, or perhaps sometimes shouting, move through this, move through this, move through this.

    • Lovely image of Lilith moving Deborah thank you – though thick mud at times, and light breeze at others, but always moving …

  4. Thanks for this, Susan. This is the big question, isn’t it? How to first recognize, then consciously give a voice to dark daemonic forces, without causing harm to self or others in the process. Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned ~by our cultures and systems~ to think and behave in certain socially acceptable ways, making it easier to deny and project our personal and collective shadows onto others. Collectively, I’m thinking of the ongoing scapegoating of Russia by the US and UK, with other nations joining in

    As part of her journey, a conscious, self-aware,and intuitively tuned-in Lilith is capable of deep grief and profound remorse, and is far less likely to personally project or be exploited by opportunistic collective movements. Long before I’d ever heard the words “daimon/daemon” or knew of Lilith’s existence, I was painting, drawing, dancing and singing her.

    I’ve found art, poetry and advocacy (my efforts to inform) to be much healthier channels for my own inner daemons and for the dark feminine way of knowing, not knowing, being, and dealing with what is.

    In his book, “Love and Will”, in the chapter titled, “The Daimonic in Dialogue”, Rollo May writes of the creative process as it relates to the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel (symbolizing the daimonic), and has this to say:

    “We create out of a problem; the writer and the artist are not presenting answers but creating as an experience of something in themselves trying to work ~ “to seek, to find and not to yield.” The contribution which is given to the world . . . is the process of the search.”

    Thanks again for sharing your search. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post on Eve.

    • Thanks so much LB for your comment. ‘Processing’ Lilith is a task and a half and one of the lessons along the way is NOT acting out any destructive behaviours to one’s self or to others as you say. We’re too ready to blame the other or circumstances for our behaviour.

      I love what Rollo May says about the process because that’s what is is. Less the destination, more emphasis on the process and acknowledging & accommodating both daimon and demon.

      The ‘knowing’ and ‘not knowing’ – such a lovely paradoxical approach, thank you again 🙂

    • That’s an interesting way of putting it Miss Andi – to sleep and perchance to dream? Dream is also a daimon – inner guidance if one pays attention and truly listens though the demons may well appear in dreams – thank you for coming by ..

    • I’m trying to think of other D words .. I like ‘delicious’ like dark chocolate maybe? hmmm … but maybe too much of it and I’ll turn into a dumpling … 🙂

  5. I would want my inner Daimon to guide me today for the dark, distorted and dangerous thoughts have occupied a large space in my thoughts. Hope it can silence these demons.

    • Thanks Shilpa … may your inner daimon guide you .. although at least be open to it. The daimon and demon, tricky things. I’ve copied Susan’s earlier response: ‘I always find it so intriguing that daimon is so close to demon. We all have to sit and let both seep into our souls and deal with them…’

  6. Great questions, Susan. I want to believe I am open to deeper messages. Too often darkness intrudes, self made or not. Negative thoughts, bad examples. It takes courage. Full openness of the mind and soul. And so I keep trying. Thank you.

    • Thanks Silvia for your comment. It’s never easy all the time. All the more joy when there are lighter moments at least in my experience, which is also an opening of the soul. Although I know only too well about those dark thoughts and feelings.

    • I like what Susan said below, Jacqui ..

      ‘I always find it so intriguing that daimon is so close to demon. We all have to sit and let both seep into our souls and deal with them…’

      We have both within – a Mother Theresa and a Medusa ..

  7. Another excellent post! Oh my, I can so relate to the Demons. When I am depressed or angry I binge on cookies. Coming back to the apartment depresses me, and I do have to work at turning around that mindset. Watching my husband’s extremely low blood pressure issue scares me as I don’t want to continue being scared for the rest of his life. So, I SO can relate to the demons in life. My heart goes out to Lilith having to sit at the bottom of the Red Sea. Thank you for the education!

    • Thank you Gwynn … it’s pretty hard and scary to live with ongoing concerns not only about ourselves but also about others who are in our care. You’re called upon to use all your resources on an ongoing basis. It’s pretty draining and I feel for you. Food does have this ability to tamp down our real feelings of anger and depression as I also know only too well. Nutritious? Duplicitous for me sometimes ..

  8. This is a very challenging post Susan; there is daemon in us that is not visible at all as we keep pushing that inside trying to deal with the daemon on the surface only to realise that we need to work at the root and not the branches… I can relate to what you are saying about unconscious eating and I do not want to acknowledge that I have this eating disorder and I like the way Deborah has shared in her comment about her problem with bulimia and how she addressed her emotional problem to fight the battle… I think all of us are in the process of fighting with demons in our lives that do not allow us to live a life of fullness…..I think we must learn to acknowledge the demon, address it as it is part of our lives to be able to deal with it…. thanks for triggering these thoughts in me.. a lot of learning from you, thank you for sharing and looking forward to the next letter. E

    • Thank you Genevive. Deborah’s link on her battle with bulimia is heart and gut wrenching. I think of women friends of mine who have daughters and I’ve heard and seen with my own ears and eyes, the mothers decrying their weight or their bodies or their sagging skins or whatever in front of their daughters. Mothers need to break this perpetuating pattern so that these young women, their daughters can have more pride in themselves ..

      E will be on Eve ..

  9. I always find it so intriguing that daimon is so close to demon. We all have to sit and let both seep into our souls and deal with them…

    • Thank you Susan – an invisible thin thread between them – and not exclusive to each other as I think about your words –

  10. Dear Susan, Your “Lilith” themed posts are provoking a strong reaction in me, opening up deep stored away memories (hopefully for more closure!). I love the image you paint in words of Lilith sitting in the Red Sea plotting her revenge! Yes, I’m with you in your revenge fantasies of “cutting off” sexually abusive men’s bits!

    Okay back to demons! As a young woman I suffered from Bulimia, an eating disorder, so can relate deeply to overeating for long periods pretty much unconscious, only to wake up and have to vomit to get rid of the heaviness I felt within. For many years I felt that food was the problem but it wasn’t, it was never the problem.

    Emotional hunger was the real problem! The self-hatred and self-disgust I showed my body was appalling. I doubted I could ever beat this demon. From start to finish it took sixteen years to end, and what a life and death battle it became at times.

    Here’s a link if you would like to read more about how I beat my own dark, destructive and dangerous demon http://theliberatedsheep.com/food-never-problem/ Already looking forward to tomorrow and the letter E! Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.

    • My dear Deborah, your poem from September 2015 is absolutely gut wrenching and haunting. Almost disembowelling for me. Thank you for providing the link. It reminds me of Plath’s despair.

      You are absolutely right about the soul’s hunger which, not being satisfied, turns into something destructive. The latin word for apple is ‘malum’ which means ‘bad’ and that piece of fruit as food, is unconsciously translated (in my view) as food being bad. Eve’s taking the apple is regarded as sinful and therefore responsible for the downfall of mankind. Food – we stuff it down to mask/hide/deny our real feelings, from time immemorial …

      Life and death … graphically articulated by you, thank you. Blessings on your courage and poet’s heart. E will be on Eve – Lilith’s sister …

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