The Oxford Dictionary defines a daemon as: (in ancient Greek belief) a divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans.
The Abrahamic religions are pretty clear on their feelings about demons, but are not so clear on what demons specifically are. Some say they are fallen angels, others suggest the unfortunate offspring of angels and mortal women, but there are many more interpretations. One thing is certain, they believe them to spirits of some form.
In Japan, the Oni (their version of demonic beings) were also originally spirits without form, but these were shapeshifters that often took the likeness of an ogre. They were believed to cause disasters and diseases.
The Arabian djinn (commonly referred to as genies), are a formless spirit (often translated to demon) that is sometimes good sometimes evil.
The Buddhists have a spirit being they refer to as “preta” the “hungry ghost”. It is a spirit with an insatiable hunger often for whatever it was that corrupted them in their past life. Again, these are shapeshifters. The Japanese, Chinese and Hindus have adopted this spirit into their own cultures. In Japan there is a celebration for these spirits where offerings are made in the hopes that the offerings will feed the spirits hunger and they will be released from their affliction.
This is just a small taste of the hidden true natures of demons. I hope that this small glimpse helps you to realize that the general public’s view of these spiritual beings is quite limited.
In my own experience, demons – or however you wish to refer to them – are not always ‘evil’. The ones I have interacted with are what I would call corrupted souls. Their original being may have been human, fae, angel or any other being you can think of, but somewhere along the road they lost a part of themselves.
When astral projecting or journeying, we can risk the possibility of leaving a part of our astral selves elsewhere. This same danger is sometimes something we walk into willingly by making agreements to give part of ourselves to another being in order to get something we want (anybody else seeing a correlation to selling your soul?) I would call this a corruption of the soul.
It is my belief that demons are spirits made from this corruption, and like the boar god Nago from Princess Mononoke, once corrupted they transform into a demon or a “hungry ghost”. This is the saddest part of their story, I think. It is their hunger that tells us that they are missing a part of themselves and are seeking to fill that void by feasting on other things.
While this is a desolate fate, we must always be careful when interacting with demons. Like addicts seeking their next high, they will do anything to feed their hunger, often inflicting pain and suffering on others. And yet, we must remember what they truly seek is to be made whole, and, like the Japanese, I think we should seek to help them find wholeness in a safe way.
I have met people possessed by demons because they made foolish decisions and didn’t protect themselves, but I have also met demons who have incarnated. Yeah, I have met people who were not possessed but had a demonic soul themselves. These individuals are not bad people, they are simply seeking to be made whole.
While I certainly wouldn’t suggest avoiding working with demons, I would caution that when working with demons it is important to protect yourself. Demons are shapeshifters and can make themselves completely alluring and beautiful, but they are still dangerous and should be treated as such.