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We're all acquainted with demons, aren't we? Sometimes they are more subtle than the Devil in person. They are those things that clutch at us, strangle us, force us to obey them. They control us with great delight, and finally they own us. Demons are certainly as much around today as they were in Jesus' day. They are more subtle, perhaps, and so we think we have outgrown them. Because we call them by other names, we have a way of missing them. But there is still a great force surrounding us that tries to push us into what is not of God.
~ Klaus Von Reinherz

Demons, also known as Devils or Daemons, are spiritual beings that inhabit dark realms, the most common being Hell. They are also the archenemies of the angels, as the two sides seem to be the antithesis of one another.

These creatures commonly serve as antagonists in a number of theological stories, mythologies, folklore and fiction. The term demon is believed to have originally been a positive term for any spirit lesser than a god in status, but higher than humans in power.

Overview

Traditionally, demons were considered either fallen angels, unclean spirits or degenerated lesser gods; though the word now has evolved to refer to any malevolent spiritual entity. Demons are similar to monsters in their frightening, chimerical appearance. Unlike monsters however, demons exist as malevolent spiritual beings instead of physical ones, who are directly involved in spiritual warfare against the forces of God and humankind.

Throughout history, demons have been responsible for corrupting human relations and power structures, leading the world into a cycle of spiritual turmoil that has been passed down through the generations. Demons are known to work on the personal level, animating and exploiting the greed and selfishness within individuals in order to manipulate them into contributing to evil and the destruction of humankind. Humans, animals, and even supernatural beasts that roam the Earth tend to be wary of demons, as the infernal creatures are known for their proclivity to engage in cruel and malicious attacks on any lifeform they believe to be weak and vulnerable.

Demons can also be seen as metaphors for natural disasters, affliction and cruelty, the most prominent of which are the "Seven Deadly Sins" of Christian tradition: demons are also used to describe inner-fears and anxieties found in the minds of all people, demons that must be defeated in spiritual warfare in order for the inner spirit to be awakened.

Appearance

Demons take on a variety of forms and appearances, though nearly all demons are described as ugly, chimerical beings of nightmare. Demons are known to manifest in forms that combine the attributes of several wild beasts in order serve as apex predators; as a result, demons tend to possess wings, claws, horns.

Particularly powerful demons will also tend to have appearances that can induce madness and even death upon mortal onlookers. As such, whenever these demons are summoned they appear in forms that are, according to Dantalion, "compartmentalized" meaning that they reduce their true forms to a lesser but still frightening form, compressing their power enough to enter the mortal plane without any side-effects to both the conjuring party and space surrounding them similarly to angels. These forms could also be contained via specific symbols and magic circles as well.

Regarding the color of a demon's skin, the most commonly associated colors are a sickly white, blood red, or pitch black skin. When demons appear in the shape of animals, they will appear as a black version of the creature. Certain demons have also been known to disguise themselves as humans and gain an incredible amount of influence in the human world in a short span of time, whether it be among the wealthy upper-class, the criminal underground, or the offices of national power.

Hierarchy

In Hell, demons are organized under their masters in legions. Every legion of demons contains 666 demons, all ready to strike out whenever needed. It is a rather a complicated system of hierarchies in Hell, but according to some calculations, the estimated the number of demons is 44,439,622, divided into 666 legions, each legion composed by 6,666 demons, and all of them ruled by 66 hellish dukes, princes, kings, etc.

Gregory of Nyssa, in the 4th century, believed in the existence of male and female demons and supported the idea that demons procreated with other demons and with human women. Other scholars supported the idea that they could not procreate and that the number of demons was constant. With how many demons are in Hell, it most likely that either breed or are born in Hell's environment.

In Hell, matters of the highest importance are discussed within the Stygian Council. This Infernal gathering of demonic dukes, princes, kings, and other nobles, is held within the capitol of Hell itself, Pandemonium. The highest ranking demons sit upon the Black Hemisphere at the center of the Stygian Council, resting upon thrones that signify their position as the rulers of Hell. These individual demons are known as the Seven Kings of Hell, the highest ranking among them being the Satanic Triumvirate made up of Beelzebub, Lucifer and Satan.

Powers and Abilities

Demons have a vast and wide variety of demonic and supernatural power with many demons being so powerful they could threaten humanity as a whole. The power of these demons, however, is dependent on their ranks within Hell's hierarchy as the only demons that hold power to destroy the human race are the original ones like the Seven Kings of Hell; they are not classified as demons but more-so fallen angels thus explaining their superior power over pure demons.

While regarded as demons, fallen angels are distinguishable from the beings that were born or resided in what came to be known as Hell rather than being true demons. Since angels are traditionally superior to demons, the fallen angels, whom still wield the power they once had when in Heaven, are stronger than natural born demons and are even believed to be on par with high-ranking angels.

Some demons are powerful enough to even warp the environment itself with their very presence, corrupting entire cities in mere moments with their corrosive demonic influence. Demons with such powers are rare and few, though it is speculated that such demons are capable of corrupting entire realms to their twisted will depending on their mastery over this form of reality warping and the amount of time invested in corrupting said realm.

  • Summoning: Because of their inherent physical and mystical abilities, most known demons view themselves as superior to humans, and as such wish to rule over them. Despite this, demons can be summoned and even controlled through magic, though this is highly dangerous. Demons with a strong enough will is capable of either shattering the control the conjurer has over them, or twisting the conjuration spell in order to summon the would be conjurer to their demonic realm instead. Some demons themselves have demonstrated the ability to conjure other demons, whether it be as reinforcements against the forces of good, or in order to summon some higher ranking demon in order to slay it and usurp its position within the demonic hierarchy.
  • Possession: Demons are particularly infamous for their ability to possess mortal vessels, as it is one of their preferred methods of mocking God and His creations. Descriptions of possessions often include convulsions, fits of violence, and levitation, while other descriptions include the possessed individual having access to hidden knowledge (gnosis) and foreign languages (glossolalia), drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, the sudden appearance of injuries (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength. While an individual is possessed, their soul remains trapped within their own mind, imprisoned by some inner struggle that the demonic entity has managed to exploit in order to gain entry. To break free from possession, the person must be able to face their own inner fears and struggles so that they may expel the demon that has taken control. Those who are strengthened in their convictions are able to repel a possession.

Types of Demons

Various species of Demon are known to inhabit the lower planes of existence, the majority of which fall under the command of Satan and the Armies of the Abyss, which wage a perpetual war against the Angels and several other forces of law and order including the Council of Godheads and the Holy Trinity.

Fallen Angel

The most powerful among "demonkind" include the Seven Kings of Hell; who are not necessarily classified as demons but often associated with them due to their rulership over them and their longstanding elite status within the hierarchy of Hell. Known as the former servants of God, the Fallen are infamous for either willingly forsaking their role in Heaven or has somehow becoming corrupted to the point of being banished from the celestial realm. It is believed that these angels fell from grace after following Lucifer in his rebellion against God.

It is even stated that Lucifer managed to convince a one third of the angelic host to side with him during the War in Heaven, thus, currently one third of the original angels dwell within the pits of Hell. After the fall, they seemingly lost their angelic power and status, and were twisted into demonic beings, though unlike demons born in Hell, many of the Fallen retained some of their angelic features, allowing them to pose as false gods before ancient humans. Some stories tell of how relations between fallen angels and humans led to the birth of the Nephilim, a race of Giant savages that engaged in constant violence and conflict amongst themselves and ancient human until they were wiped out during the Great Flood.

Incubi and Succubi

Incubi and Succubi are, respectively, male and female demons who are described as being wickedly beautiful embodiments of lust and seduction. Incubi often appear as incredibly handsome, slim, and athletic men, cultured and highly intelligent. They appear to know a myriad of information on topics of politics, theology of various religious, and demonology of the Judeo-Christian faiths. The natural form of a Succubi is that of a very shapely woman, sometimes large wings and demonic features such as horns, a tail, hooves or fangs like a Vampire.

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