What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

JackDaydream wrote: October 10th, 2021, 1:32 am myths, stories, religions, and dreams
Down with all those spectral figures
Darting about in a purplish fog,
Those ghostly phantoms that are wraithlike,
Shadowy, incorporeal, insubstantial,
Disembodied, unearthly, otherworldly,
And downright spooky.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

JackDaydream wrote: October 8th, 2021, 2:39 am I am asking this partly as a fun question
What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

They are Halloween!



She frowns, “Lo, the woods are growing dense, filling with mist and shadowed goods.”

“What’s that fuss, behind us?”

“An old witch has just sprung up, to our rear, she being the specter of fear, and of all that is worrisome here.”

The witch asks, “What is your deepest fear?

We don’t answer.

The witch continues, “Do I ask of the air? Hell, death? Which shall it be? How about Heaven? Is that it? All three?”

“I banish you,” I say, “for death is merely the natural end of all living things of nature’s blend. What has no death has no life principle! My turn to live would never have come about, to ripple, if it were not for the deaths before, of people. As for Heavens and Hells, those are what we create within ourselves, as we can turn our souls outside in, to create a Heaven or Hell from within. Hell surely arrives when we make our own difficulties, in life’s wake, when we our common sense forsake. However, I do have one fear that’s grown, although just one alone.”

“What is that fear?, the witch pleads. “My hopes suddenly rise in pitch, but my form is ready to fade, for your anxiety unmade.”

Angelina cuts in, “I’ll answer for him, as his partner, for I am his opposite twin and can think his thoughts. His one and only fear besought is that of not living well, as ought!”

I add, “So, with that answer furnished, witch, you, the specter of fear must vanish, like the mist, cold, on the morning wind unrolled.”
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JackDaydream
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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.@PoeticUniverse

Another interesting concept aside from angels and demons is the idea of ghosts. I have never seen one but I know many people who claim to have seen them. My own understanding of ghosts based on some reading of theosophy is that they are not literally disembodied spirits of the deceased. Rather, they are related to disturbance of energy fields in the environment related to people who have died, especially associated with traumatic deaths. Some sensitive individuals are able to perceive such energies in the environment and buildings.
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JackDaydream
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

Post by JackDaydream »

@PoeticUniverse

Regarding witches, I have friends who believe in witches too and even know someone who believes that she has been cursed in the past. But, many people are superstitious. I remember one psychiatrist who I worked with, who was so inclined to label anything 'spiritual' as being 'mental illness making an odd remark to me. I was saying how quiet the ward where we worked on was on an occasion. He almost shouted at me, 'Don't say that, Jack, or you will jinx it'. I find that rationality and superstition often coexist together in a strange way.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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The Horrit Witch

They take an overgrown side-path to the haunt of a known sorceress. The signs say ‘Enter All Who Welcome Death!’ but still they continue, for they need clues. The witch meets them at the outer gate and bids them to enter.

They gallop to the entrance of the evil place but as they arrive they see her to be already inside, a trick, but enough to unnerve any squire who knows not of the use of doubles and twins. The abode is crawling with Tarantulas; it has the desired effect on Bogar and Hargrave. “Oh!” says Hargrave. “Woe!” says Bogar.

“Do not believe all that you see,” whispers Percevale to the squires; “Merlyn has revealed many magic tricks to me.”

“We seek Thorelf the Viking!” announces Hargrave.

“Purchase the spear that bleeds.” reveals the witch. “It is but one link in a long chain that may strangle you or save you! And seek the land of ice and fire!—it is far to the north—there you may find Thorelf’s wake that will take you to him across the ocean desert of despair. And you, Percevale, you would have found love on a foreign soil—However, you will not survive to use the clues I have given you!”

And with that admonition, all sink to their knees and thence to the floor, overtaken by the fumes coming from the witche’s pot. The fumes are not deadly, for the witch does not derive power from killing men, but only from controlling them.

No, this witch rules by chemistry: the very air is drugged with gases. The price of information is sometimes dear, for she means to enslave them. The squires cry out as their heads fill with visions of demons and creatures so hellish as to defy description on this printed page. Logic and good sense are stilled, as terror reigns and begins to take over the squires’ souls.

But, the King’s heart is tested and grown strong. Before reason escapes altogether, a calmness of thought occurs to Percevale: “if that which cannot happen, does indeed seem to be happening, then one must be experiencing a non-reality—a dream perhaps or something akin to it—”

To test his theory Percevale closes his eyes. “Aha! The demons are still there.” They are but put in his mind, he realizes, and are hallucinations induced by potions, not really very different from night dreams.

The Knight King arises calmly from the floor, ignores the visions, grabs the two squires, and exits the hovel, holding them firmly in the night’s embracing chill until their minds have cleared and their lungs are free of the witch’s potion.

The witch’s slaves and legions are not allowed to follow, lest their minds be cleared as well. “Why is it,” thinks Percevale, “that those with second sight and such rare powers, those who could be so useful to the world, often fail to use their powers wisely. He turns and stands before the witch’s hovel and vows to someday find the power to return and destroy it!

They ride through the night without sleeping, for their hearts are still beating quickly. The morning finally dawn on the squires and they see that nature is new and that the grass is now green. Renewal is at hand; nature is reinventing the world.

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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

Post by stevie »

JackDaydream wrote: October 10th, 2021, 1:58 pm @ stevie

I think that I interpreted your initial response as being more along the lines of the view that people look for logical explanations and this may lead to wishful thinking about angels and spirit guides. The point which I am making is that religious experiences are spontaneous experiences of what Rudolf Otto describes as 'the numinous'.
I don't think that there are "religious experiences" that are different from any other experiences. I think that experience is just the correlate of learned verbal behaviour, i.e. it is conditioned.
JackDaydream wrote: October 10th, 2021, 1:58 pm One aspect of this kind of experience is spoken of by Julian Jaynes in his, 'Origins of the Bicameral Mind'. He argues that ancient people experienced consciousness differently from people of the present time and heard 'voices'. He goes on to say that people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may be experiencing a throwback to a stage of consciousness more common in ancient times. He sees this form of consciousness as being based on less of a clear distinction between inner and outer, with the projection of ideas onto figures of gods and other 'spirit' beings. It is hard to know whether his understanding of ancient thinking is correct, but I find it a useful point of view for reflection.
For me what is called "experience" is just another aspect of evolution. So "survival of the fittest" covers all possible views of self and the world.
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JackDaydream
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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@PoeticUniverse

I like the story and I do read some fantasy fiction, including Marion Zimmer Bradley and Tolkien. They speak of mythical depths, but they may exist independently of physical existence even though they are wired within the brain as symbolic realms. The shamans speak of journeying to upper and lower realms, and others speak of the astral plane. Even though they are experienced as inner experience, perhaps they have an independent existence, and I think that was what Jung meant when he spoke of the idea of an 'objective psyche'. It is not necessarily separate from physical reality but beyond it in some way.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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JackDaydream wrote: October 11th, 2021, 12:45 pm I like the story


The Rites & Wrongs of Spring

The trio comes to a road that is blocked by the passing of a spring carnival. It is the annual “Rites of Spring Celebration”, doubly raucous this year because it also celebrates the recent victories of war. There are tumblers, troubadours, circus acts and the like, and it is well attended with drunken revelry.

A vendor on Bogar’s right is selling sacred objects for unbelievably low prices and Bogar takes opportunity of the journey’s pause to investigate the bargains. His attention is first brought to a piece of the venerated wood of the true cross, brought here by the vendor himself after he had gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and secretly excavated the hill of the Holy Sepulcher at night whilst a cathedral was being built over it. Bogar parts with some valuable coins and buys a worthless piece of wood.

He also purchases a nail from that same cross. It is still incrusted with Christ’s blood. He buys also a portion of the actual crown of thorns, a shredded part of the tablecloth used at the last supper, a bone from St. Peter’s arm, a piece of the manger, some drops of the Virgins own milk sealed forever in a glass vial, and a tin cup used by Joseph of Aramithea to catch the blood of Jesus on that first Good Friday.

Having spent all of his riches, he is about to return when he spots a golden box with a crystal lid, containing a purple cushion on which lays a piece of rusted iron, triangular in shape with a long sharp point.

“This,” said the vendor, “is the tip of the spear that pierced the side of the Saviour!”

After much consultation with Hargrave, Bogar obtains a loan and makes the final purchase. The riding junk-pile returns and Percevale examines the haul with horror.

“Throw all of this rattling junk away!” the King insists.

“But most of this is from the true and holy cross, sire!”

“Squires,” replies Percevale, “I’ve seen enough pieces of the true cross to construct twenty fine sailing sloops of war and still have enough wood left over to build a bridge over the Usk river. What is that cup? Good God, we’ve found the Grail again! Fling it to that beggar by the creek who is sipping water with his hands!”

The squires quail at the King’s rage and let their treasures fall to the ground, but the King is laughing on the inside at the squires’ folly and soon they all break into hearty laughter. But the laughing stops abruptly as they all notice that the box containing the spear tip is now quite full of blood.

“Keep the spear tip,” replies Percevale with haste, remembering the words of the first witch, “and attach it to a fine and sturdy stick, for the Crimson Spear has been returned to me when I need it most.”

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JackDaydream
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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@PoeticUniverse

You are so aware of the power of 'stories' and mythos. Do you think that mythos is as opposed to logos is important in the construction of human meaning and purpose?
PoeticUniverse
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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JackDaydream wrote: October 12th, 2021, 5:55 pm You are so aware of the power of 'stories' and mythos. Do you think that mythos is as opposed to logos is important in the construction of human meaning and purpose?
Sure, and we gravitate toward the entertaining world of fantasy in order to be able to feel more, as the characters therein, than from the everyday mostly mundane events, first as children watching cartoons and making up imaginary worlds with other children, and then as adults writing stories and watching movies. The religions even made up one of the greatest fairy tales of all, ignoring the contradictions much like we did for those in cartoons.

The Curse of the Death-Crone

As Percevale approaches the witch’s land, he sees the shield and helmets of those who came and died before him. He clutches the Crimson Spear close and continues his approach. “Now, Bogar, you wait here and if I do not come out within two days, then come in after me.”

Percevale feels the watch of gloom as he enters the territory of the witch. Knowing that he is being watched, he does not turn around to alert the watcher, but slides quickly and unbeknownst into the woods at the next turn. Taliesin glides noiselessly, silent and invisible in Percevale’s mind!

Percevale peers in a window and sees a pitiful sight. The witch’s slaves are from the world of the deformed and misshapen—those who are most easily enslaved, plus a Giant. Next, plans are made and a good night’s sleep is taken.

In the morning a huge menacing giant blocks Percevale’s path, but there is something very human and caring, yet guarded, in the giant’s eyes. To test this theory, Percevale aims an arrow at the Giant’s dog, and the Giant pleads with Percevale not to shoot it. Apparently the giant is too large to fully feel the effect of the witch’s controlling drug, and Percevale speaks to the giant softly: “You could easily escape this witch’s spell and be free!”

The Giant replies: “You are correct; I stay only to protect my misshapen friends from further harm, and indeed I will help you kill the witch if you will but insure the safety of my friends!”

“I am King of Britain and the safety of all my subjects concerns me. Just keep your bewitched friends in check while I do battle with the witch and soon you shall all be free or I’ll die trying.” Such sincere words were very well understood by the Giant.

Now Percevale faces the witch, but not alone, for Taliesin has joined with him in mind, and the bleeding spear is at hand.

“’Tis the accursed Crimson Spear for Avalon!” she cries. “Take it from my sight, I can not bear to look!”

But Percevale holds it all the more firmly as she tries to wrench it from his grasp with the powers of her mind. She fills his minds eye with evil sights of monsters, but ever still does he hold the red shaft; it is now bleeding profusely and its blood is pooling on the ground. For a day and a night, the battle of the minds continues, Percevale and Taliesin barely holding their own and growing evermore weary, and feeling at each instant that they cannot last another moment.

Meanwhile, no potions are being dispensed to the enslaved; they drink but the purest of water and so they are slowly regaining control over their lives. Towards morning, the battle draws to its climax as Avalon’s grandson is assaulted with every trick known to sorcery by Avalon’s daughter gone astray; but Taliesin has studied under the master Merlyn and Percevale has the strength of ten because his heart is pure.

And then it is over. As the witch crumples to the ground, defeated at last, she finds those last ounces of strength that comes at the time of dying and uses it to place the curse of the Death-Crone upon our hero: “Percevale, from death’s doorstep, I, the Death-Crone, curse you with my last breath; I curse you with the worst misfortune that may befall a man: that you will never find love or be loved ever again—until rocks flow like water, until the day comes that the sun does not rise, until the new moon is seen with the naked eye, until the planet Mercury is seen at high noon, until fire is seen in water, until it snows in Cisalpine Gaul on a summer day, until all of the above events happen on the same day within a month from this very day! In other words, you will never ever find love or be loved!

“So then, when these events do not happen, for they cannot happen, you will not only be unloved nor able to give love, but you will also find the world to be filled with hate towards you, and you will soon die and forever wear the foolscap of eternal shade, for no man can live for long without love!”

The witch dies, the King is cursed, but the enslaved are free!
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Sy Borg
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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JackDaydream wrote: October 10th, 2021, 2:39 pmRegarding witches, I have friends who believe in witches too and even know someone who believes that she has been cursed in the past. But, many people are superstitious.
Learning more about science freed me from the invisible terrors of superstition and other forms of irrational thinking that plagued me as a child.

The most important aspect is questioning yourself - your assumptions, biases and blind spots. I find that believers in the supernatural tend to honour their thoughts far more than non-believers, who are more likely to view their thoughts as possibilities to be considered than immutable Truth dilvered from on high. The latter approach is how I thought as a superstitious youngster. In time, each wrongful, superstitious supposition I had was broken down by reasonable and credible scientific explanations.

It still bums me out to some extent that "there is no Santa Claus", so to speak, but hope springs eternal :) Still, I don't want "Santa" to exist badly enough to accept unproven assumptions. The old cliché remains true, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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@Sy Borg

I am not sure if ever believed in Father Christmas as a child and I was rather surprised when I started school and found that most of the other child. But, I was brought up in a background in which I was taught about the fall of the angels and the fall of mankind.

This did colour my thinking and I have questioned a lot about psychic phenomena, as well as angels and demons etc. This was based on experiences, such as hynagogic and hypompic dream states, in which I saw various beings at times. However, I would not say that I think that such experiences can be taken at face value. I find Jung's ideas and interpretations of the symbolic nature of such experiences. I know some people who do take the experiences in a really literal way. Also, I imagine that it may be different for people who see or hear things in waking consciousness rather than in dreamstates. It must be very confusing, especially even talking to others about such experiences because they are often viewed as 'being symptomatic of psychosis'. Of course, there is a danger when people do take certain experiences literally and I have known and worked with people who do have religious psychosis and it can be frightening for the individuals. For example, I have known a couple of people who have thought themselves to be 'fallen angels' or even the antichrist.. Often, such experiences come in the context of having been brought up in a strict religious background, but, sometimes, people who have not been brought up with any particular system of religious beliefs have similar experiences too,
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Sy Borg
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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Jack, many people have wondered in youth whether they were Christ too. Without the bounds of scientific thinking, everything is possible. There are no rules, which can be frightening. The mindset reflects the frightening and relatively unknown environments our early ancestors lived in, where something might pounce out at you at any moment.

So, without sufficient knowledge, people become confused between subjective ideas and the objective possibilities. Subjective domains are obviously real, just that they exclusive rather than general.

So angels and devils exist as tendencies, like the little cartoon characters on an ambivalent character's shoulder - discipline v temptation. When thought of in terms of game theory, angels and devils would represent the tendency to cooperate vs the tendency to exploit.
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JackDaydream
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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@Sy Borg

I can see that 'angels and demons' is bound up so much with the nature of fear and its psychology. I also know people who worry so much about 'the devil'. Even my own vivid 'dreams' were in the context of experiencing a lot of stress, as well as lacking sleep and not eating properly. The final one sounds trivial, but I include it because there is a whole tradition of fasting, associated with visionary mysticism. I believe that lead to all kinds of strange entities being seen, and this is demonstrated in the gargoyles seen within churches.

I will admit that my own thinking around this area shifts. I read a mixture of literature ranging from esoteric, anthropology and psychology, especially Jung on the collective unconscious. However, while using this site and another one, I am aware that many see Jung's outlook as extremely outdated. The reason why I began this thread is because I see such a gulf between academic philosophy and the category of 'mind, body and spirit' literature. They are two very different angles, and I am sure that people come to them with a contrasting approach, but, still, I wonder how such divisions may be explored meaningfully and critically in a way which is helpful for individuals who are genuinely trying to make sense of inner experiences.
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Sy Borg
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Re: What are angels, demons and spirit guides?

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Jack, I'm also interested in the gulf between the official and the esoteric bodies of knowledge, whereas today's tendency is to back one body of knowledge or the other in a tribal manner.

The two peak experiences I had did not involve entities, but at those times I was not stressed or fasting. The common denominator was that, preceding the experiences, I felt unusually good. Fantastic even. Rather, they involved extraordinary bliss, an powerful sense of being unconditionally loved and completely understood (nut no entities, as such), and a period afterwards when I was unusually mentally clear and managed to solve various existential problems I'd had before by simply thinking them through calmly and clearly.

I am content to be agnostic about it all. I also disagree with Jung on evil. I think evil is ultimately immaturity. The most vicious and ruthless organisms on Earth are simple creatures that operate without much awareness; they just attack because that is their unchallenged inclination. People can be like that in a relative sense. Clueless and lashing out. Their naievte of the "evil" - the immature minds amongst us - does not make make evildoers any less dangerous, of course. I treat them as I would treat any powerful entropic force - get the hell away :)

I think the antidote for those plagued with the existence of angels and demons is to learn more about nature. Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene opened my eyes to dynamics of life I'd not considered. I was especially taken with the honesty of Dawkins's arguments. If he didn't know something or wasn't sure, he'd admit it. If his peers disagreed with him, he did not rubbish them or their claims (as he did with theists later in impatience), but he presented their ideas fairly and the reasons why he disagreed, all the while admitting that he isn't necessarily right.

Whether supernature is true or not, I do know that focusing more on the science of nature and less on supernature will weaken the latter's impact, and even eliminate it.
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