Phil Hine on personal demons

Personal demons are latent structures within the psyche, unresolved complexes and repressed ‘voices’ thrown up by the ego as a defensive measure. They act seemingly independently of our conscious volition so that we experience them as beyond our control. These structures are habitual emotional or behavioral patterns which are experienced, at times, as problematic—something which has not been successfully integrated, possibly because it has resisted examination or analysis, or through lack of awareness of a habit or pattern, or indeed, how to deal with it. In Tantric practice these ‘demons’ are known as Kleshas—and the process of working with them is known as Klesha-Smashing.

In a broad sense then, Demons are blocks of behavior—emotional and cognitive responses to life situations. To give an example, Jealousy: in this context, Jealousy is less some tentacled monster that arrives suddenly from another dimension, but rather a response to a situation—you come out of a workshop and have a row with your partner because it seems to you they’ve been responding to the speakers’ flirtatious behavior. Personal demons are summoned into stressful situations. If jealousy is an issue for you, then when you are presented with the evidence which confirms and supports your fears about this issue, out pops the Jealousy Demon in a flurry of accusations and emotional storms.

Unlike the traditional demons from the Grimoires, Personal demons often do not have a shape, sigil, or name, yet they can exert tremendous power over us. And, like the more traditional demons, they can be identified, bound, and, through magical procedures, transformed into something which works for us, rather than against us. This is where ‘Conquering’ comes in.

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