Muses And Daimones

Muses And Daimones

Demon, by Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel

By means of personifications my sense of person becomes more vivid for I carry with me at all times the protection of my daimones: the images of dead people who mattered to me, of ancestral figures of my stock, cultural and historical persons of renown and people of fable who provide exemplary images–a wealth of guardians. They guard my fate, guide it, probably are it. “Perhaps–who knows,” writes Jung, “these eternal images are what men mean by fate.” We need this help, for who can carry his fate alone? -James Hillman

We all have different phases we get into. I, personally, have several predominant muses/daimones that have been with me all my life. Their influences upon me increase and diminish like the ocean tides. For example, from January to September of this year, my Philosopher/Mystic daimon held sway over me. I wrote more in that period than I ever have in my life, including when I was in college. It was an amazing ride! In September, I developed a case of Bell’s Palsy, which seemed to signal the waning of the Philosopher/Mystic daimon and the rising of a god of Music, a musical daimon. While I was writing all those articles, I listened to very little music, which was very odd for me. I have been a music fanatic and wannabe musician most of my life.This daimon has also waxed and waned throughout my life. These two gods never totally leave me, but their influences rise and fall continuously. I also have a computer technology daimon that led me to my current career. There are others, but these are the predominant gods that rule my fate.

While I am in one of these modes, I am totally consumed with the subject matter at hand. I am currently in the grip of the daimon of Music. I’ve been going back to my roots, listening to lots of old music that inspired me as a child to play guitar, and also listening to some bands I’ve never spent much time with. It’s very pleasurable, but I haven’t been concentrating too much on my studies or my writing. The god of Philosophy usually flourishes in mid-winter. Being shut in so much because of the cold weather puts me into a more contemplative state and my mind is flooded with ideas to write about.

This is nothing new. The Greeks wrote about this experience over two thousand years ago. The daimones are Beings who make up our Souls. They are intermediate entities that bridge the gap between physical and spiritual. They are angels who deliver messages to humans from The All. A character in Plato’s Symposium, Diotima, puts it this way:

All that is daemonic lies between the mortal and the immortal. Its functions are to interpret to men communications from the gods—commandments and favours from the gods in return for men’s attentions—and to convey prayers and offerings from men to the gods. Being thus between men and gods the daemon fills up the gap and so acts as a link joining up the whole. Through it as intermediary pass all forms of divination and sorcery. God does not mix with man; the daemonic is the agency through which intercourse and converse take place between men and gods, whether in waking visions or in dreams (quoted in Dodds, Pagan and Christian In An Age Of Anxiety, pages 86-7). 

One thing that interests me is that the World Soul, the macrocosm to our microcosm, is also, by course, subject to the influences of the daimones. What is this like? Is this why the world suffers times of great suffering or great blessing? Europe saw a Dark Age, but also witnessed a great Renaissance. The daimones can bring both good and evil. Can we influence these for good instead of evil? Is this why we pray?

I’ll be thinking about those questions in the future, but, right now, I have an old Allman Brothers album I want to listen to. 🙂


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