Make your demons work for you, without selling your soul
by Jerry Hyde
My first ever memory, as a baby, is of being visited in the night by an angel and a demon.
Both were female.
They stood beside my cot, and the demon moved towards me. The angel reached out her arm to prevent the demon coming closer.
I was disappointed.
Demons are real.
Not the ones from horror films or the bible, I mean those that inhabit each and every one of us, for good or for bad.
The Romans believed in demons as maleficent, evil entities that caused trouble.
So, do I.
The Greeks believed in daimons who were guardian angels, the source of our goodness, our creativity, our genius, the ghosts of fallen heroes come to show us the way.
So, do I.
These energies that exist within us are neither good nor bad, how they manifest is up to us and takes enormous focus, consciousness, and discipline to use them for the benefit of ourselves and the world we live in.
The daimon of your creativity for example can be utilised for commitment and dedication, brilliance and genius, to bring forth a work of art, a successful business or relationship, a satisfying sex life, a baby.
The demon of your creativity can be used to lie, to cheat, to be devious, to deceive, to fuck around, to destroy.
These days most of us use the term ‘side’ rather than demon. He has a devious side. She has a dark side. There is such a lovely side to him.
There is no difference, I just choose demon because I find it easier to work with, to identify.
I have always prided myself in being my own boss.
And so, it was with some degree of irony I realised I was living under an illusion. I wasn’t in control of my life. The demon that decided I was going to smoke cigarettes even though I was frightened of the health consequences was the one in charge. The demon that decided I was going to spend all my money on drugs even though I has broke, was making important decisions on my behalf.
And perhaps most importantly, the demon that decided, even though I loved my wife and children with all my heart, that I would betray them with another woman, was the one in control of my destiny.
Now this might sound like an essay on irresponsibility, but I’m not suggesting for one moment this is the case. Because it was me that allowed my demons to run amuck, to run the show, to take over.
The idea that there are demons within me that I need to maintain mastery over, and that if I do, will serve me well, is nothing more than a useful motif for self-development.
I should state at this point that I am not a believer in the notion of ‘true self’, I believe we are all multiple personalities. Author James Fadiman in his book Symphony of Selves makes an important point – if there is such a thing as multiple personality disorder, there must be such a thing as multiple personality order.
And this is what I mean by the subtitle of the book – make your demons work for you without selling your soul. Harness the multitude of sub-personalities that dwell within you, get to know them, and make them work on your behalf.So many people flippantly use the term authentic, but unless you have explored the many personalities that make up just some of the cast of characters that are you, as long as they are running the show, you won’t even come close to authenticity.
We are all legion.
The book is divided into 3 sections, Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. Each section is divided into chapters, and at the end of each are exercises that if explored have the potential to bring about deep change.
I say deep change with an edge if cynicism. Having practiced psychotherapy, shamanism, tantra and psychedelic plant medicine for almost 27 years I have come to understand that real change is incredibly hard and requires more commitment than most people are prepared to take on. Generally speaking, those who say they want to change really mean they want the pain to stop. I was certainly one of them myself when I first entered treatment.
Above the door to the oracle at Delphi were inscribed the immortal words gnōthi seauton.
This has sometimes been misinterpreted as the search for the true self, which as I have explained - does not exist. We are not fixed beings, we are forever evolving, consciously or otherwise, but it is only with constant, curious self-enquiry that we can know who we are today and stand any chance of discovering who we are tomorrow.
With sex, drugs and rock and roll I chose 3 subjects that for me were essential to explore to gain mastery over my demons.
I was sexually abused. Raped by my best friend’s mother whilst ostensibly au pairing for her in the school holidays when I was 17.Every young man’s dream, as she described it, was actually a nightmare.
It took me decades to understand the harm it had done me. It’s still a work in progress. But much, much harder still was to ask myself the agonising, terrifying question – does every person who has been abused become an abuser?
No, no, no I wanted to scream, I’m not one of them, I’m… a nice guy.
But in choosing to go into the dark labyrinths of my sexuality I discovered that yes, of course I have behaved transgressively in ways that make me squirm and contradict my shallow notion of myself as a ‘good’ person. My boundaries in all aspects of my life have often been terrible, I’ve behaved in predatory ways with little or no consideration for the feelings of my partners, I’ve lied, I’ve cheated, I’ve pursued furtive and dark sexual experiences.
Am I a paedophile? No – I have no sexual impulses towards children.
Did my abuse infect me with toxic behaviours, yes it did.
And in facing that especially terrifying demon, owning, and recognising it, I feel much safer within myself and, dare I say it, on the road to recovery.
Drugs was a demon I overcame decades ago, but plant medicines are very different to narcotics and as a tools for exploring our unconscious - a notoriously difficult realm to navigate via conventional talking therapy - I have found nothing more powerful. In this section I describe some of my experiences, whilst also warning against their indiscriminate use. Messing with demons with a Ouija board is not something I would recommend to anyone, you need a seasoned exorcist if you’re going to attempt that work, and medicines like ayahuasca, iboga and 5meo DMT can serve that purpose if treated with the utmost respect.
The final section looks at how the rock & roll band is just a modern version of a hunting pack and explores the ancient hunter gatherer instincts and behaviours that are still very much alive within us all, but how the agricultural revolution and subsequent loss of culture and community not only causes immense pain for us individually but threatens the very future of our species and our planet.
And finally, the book explores the Greek idea of daemon as the ghost of a fallen hero and encourages the reader to align themselves with their own, to become the best version of themselves they can be.
Before it’s too late.
As the Buddha said – the trouble is you think you have time.
Empathy for the Devil is available from www.o-books and from wherever books are sold.
Empathy for the Devil
Yet again Hyde plunges into sex, psychedelics, hurricanes and heroes on a quest for the truth at all costs...
In this three part book Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, Hyde yet again plunges into sex, psychedelics, hurricanes and heroes on a quest for the truth at all costs, exploring issues of paedophilia, plant medicine, and community through narrative.
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