Engaging the Daimon/Jinn
Daimon is the Greek derivative for the term demon. In this sense the term "demon" means "replete with knowledge …" The term 'daimon' means "divine power," "fate" or "god" … They were considered intermediary spirits between men and the gods. Good daimons were considered to be guardian spirits, giving guidance and protection to the ones they watched over. Bad daimons led people astray.
– Alan G. Hefner
Genii is a concept in Roman religion from which our word "genius" comes and which originally meant a tutelary deity, an incorporeal spirit presiding over the destiny of a person, and later became a peculiar mental talent. As "genius" (its root being the Latin genere) means to generate, to beget, so the daimonic is the voice of the generative process in the individual. The daimonic is [that] unique pattern of sensibilities and powers which constitutes the individual as a self in relation to [the] world.
– Rollo May
Love and Will
New York: W.W. Norton, 1969, p.125.
The idea of demons is as old as religion itself, and the word demon seems to have ancient origins. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the etymology of the word as Greek daimon, probably from the verb daiesthai meaning "to divide, distribute." The Proto-Indo-European root *deiwos for god, originally an adjective meaning "celestial" or "bright, shining" has retained this meaning in many related Indo-European languages and cultures (Sanskrit deva, Latin deus, German Tiw, Welsh [Duw])…
Meeting the Personal Daimon
The archetypal entity we have, over the centuries, named daimon, dwells within us as a psychospiritual principle, generally unknown, unseen, and unacknowledged—the mysterious power behind our competence and creativity, the dark presence behind our failures, faults and addictions. Seen or unseen the daimon/demon has a powerful influence on our spiritual and intellectual development.The daimon is variously known as jinn, guardian spirit, guide, guardian angel, angel. Perhaps there is a daimon for each of our geniuses, be it writing, the arts, business, parenting, or mysticism etc.
During my training analysis in Eidetic Imagery I was privileged to see the disquieting image of a jinn driving an addict to do more and more drugs until he broke free to the other side of the addiction (health or death). Additionally, I witnessed a jinn coercing a mother to repeat the same damaging behaviors again and again, until she began to see the disastrous effects of her actions. In this sense the jinn becomes the arbiter of karma, bringing home to us the laws of action and reaction, cause and effect—by whatever means necessary. Yes, I found these images disturbing. Gradually the judiciousness underlying the jinn's " actions" became apparent. Chogyam Trungpa called this ruthless compassion. The quality of the jinn's existence is a measure of our intellectual and spiritual development. We hope that, through diligent inner work, the jinn need not resort to such extreme measures with us.
I took great care to try to understand every single image, every item of my psychic inventory … so far as was possible—and, above all, to realize them in actual life. That is what we usually neglect to do. We allow the images to rise up, and maybe we wonder about them, but that is all. We do not take the trouble to understand them, let alone draw ethical conclusions from them. This stopping short conjures up the negative effects of the unconscious.
– C.G. Jung
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p.192.
An effective way to begin to avail oneself of the gifts of this formidable archetype is to cultivate a relationship with him/her. Jung developed a method he called Active Imagination as a means engaging the daimon's wealth of knowledge and judgment. Active Imagination is a technique of dialoguing with the Unconscious, using automatic writing as a structure. If it seems more appropriate to your personality you may have the dialogue aloud. This has the drawback of your not having a written record of the conversation, unless you have a good-enough recall to record it later. A quiet meditative state is useful for beginning. You might start by asking the daimon a significant question, perhaps one that has not responded well to other methods of solution. Then begin writing or speaking with as little judgment as possible, being open to any response.
As with any practice, there are pitfalls. Robin Robertson (Mining the Soul: From Inside Out, Robin Robertson, Nicholas-Hays, Inc., 2000), a Jungian analyst, isolates at least two obstacles: one danger lies in not opening to the unconscious and editing the content of the conversation before the message becomes clear. The other danger is becoming so inflated with the "magic" of the dialogues that we fail to receive them as challenges to our belief systems and invitations to action.
Joan Poelvoorde, a professional psychotherapist in Manhattan (NY) offering relationship, personal growth, anger management, creativity, shamanistic & Imago Relationship Therapy