The words devil and demon are not English words by origin, but were borrowed from Greek. The English word demon was taken directly from the Latin daemon, which, in turn, goes back to the Greek daimon or daimonion. In Pagan Greece, a demon was a kind of immaterial or spiritual Being who occupied a position in the universe somewhere between the realm of humanity and that of the gods, and could travel and exist into either realm. Demons also were believed to serve as intermediates between humans and gods, relaying messages or demands from either party to the other. It was at one point believed that a mere human could not directly communicate with the gods and needed to commission a demon to relay their requests. With this in mind, it must be noted that demons were always regarded as having their own minds and could not be controlled, they acted on their on accord. A demon could either chose to aid a human or not, they were and are not simple messengers. In ancient times, demons were not seen as malevolent, they were either benevolent or indifferent towards humanity.
The Greek word daimon was also barrowed into Latin as diabolus. As Latin evolved into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, the Latin word became diable in French, diablo in Spanish, diabo in Portuguese and diavolo in Italian. Like many things, the meanings of the words demon and devil were greatly changed and were poisoned by the coming of the monotheistic religions., Judaism and Christianity. The Hebrew scriptures (including some books that the rabbis would later reject) were translated into Greek by Greek speaking Jews, this took place as early as the 4th century, before the Christian era. This old Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible is usually known as the Septuagint. It has an enormous influence on books of the New Testament, which were also written in Greek. In the Septuagint the kind of spiritual Being that the Pagan Greeks referred to as a demon, identity became twisted. The name demon (daimon or daimonion) was still used but more often, however, became interchanged with the work angel (angelos). The Greek word angelos simply means messenger and it originally, according to the ancient Greeks, referred to ordinary people who carried messages. When applied to demons it, the word emphasizes upon only one of the functions these Beings have. It became forgotten that demons act upon their own will and not the will of humans, unlike angels who act upon the will of Yahweh or any powerful magi who is able to control them, angels do not act on their own accord. In the Septuagint, as in the New Testament, the similarity noted between angels and demons is that they each hold no moral difference. Each can behave in manners and preform acts, that can be seen as being either “good” or “evil” It must be noted that despite the popular belief that angels are good because they are “Yahweh/Gods” messengers and that demons are the evil messengers of the Devil , has no basis in the Bible. This misconception is a Christian and Jewish belief that developed much later on.
Demonizing the Old Gods: For monotheists, the many gods and goddesses of the Pagan Greeks could not be thought of as actual Gods, but had to be called by some other word. The early Christians, like the Jews, had no doubts about the existence of these gods, but they saw them as subordinate Beings under heir One God. Since the word demon originally referred to spiritual Beings subordinate to the Pagan Gods, Jewish monotheists extended its range to cover Pagan Gods as well “For all the Gods of the Pagans are demons”, so claims the Septuagint (Psalm 95:5). *In Hebrew and English Bibles, this is Psalm 96:5. Christians soon followed suit, beginning with Paul “Pagan sacrifices before images of their Gods are sacrifices to demons (daimonia), not to God” (I Corinthians 10:20). Christians were to shun these sacrifices, which are a form of idolatry, as hey would shun any sin. Basically, it is jumped to the notion that all Pagan Gods are evil Beings, and one small jump further turns every demon into an evil Being. And, this is in brief why demons are popularized even today as being “bad” and anything dealing with angels to be “good”
In Summary: Demons, have been with us almost since the dawn of time, the Beings known as angels came into existence during the rise of monotheistic religions. Many new to the occult today, tend to confuse angels and demons as being the same type of spiritual Being, even some, who have been upon the study of the occult sciences for many years, tend to make this error as well. From the above article, we can see where this confusion came about and how those in today’s modern age, looking for answers within the realms of the occult, can make this mistake. Religious authorities throughout the centuries have always found ways to twist and bend the ancient myths, along with the meanings of various terminologies, so to suit their religion’s structure and stories. How the original meaning of what a demon is and how it has become degraded, is a great example. For the record: Demons and angels might be Beings that ride upon the same frequency, however, this does not mean that they are the same species. Demons hold their own intelligence, their own mind, and will. Demons are primal. Angels hold none of this, their existence when compared with demons, is rather new. It is the false teachings and lies of the three dominant monotheistic religions of this world who falsely claim demons to be evil and inferior. With proper research into occurrences within ancient history and myth, pre-dating these religions, one can see through the lies told by these religions. Demons are divine, meaning that they are godlike, in some cases, depending on the demon, can be seen as lesser gods (know that some claimed to be demons, were once known as ancient gods, but got “demonized” by monotheistic religions, while others always have been actual demons). Demons have been around since the beginnings of the Earth, they are before and above humanity, but are slightly under the primordial Gods (which are few).
*This article is from a section of my upcoming book on Satanism and Witchcraft. It has also been previously published as part of my work in a scholarly journal, and was presented in my book “Faces of Lucifer”.
Copyright Kindra Ravenmoon.