I’d like to open a discussion, but I have a some requests (requirements) if you would like to partake (which I hope that you will!). I sprinkle those in throughout the prompt.
Demonology is a vast and complicated field. I admit to my own troubled relationship; it is largely sloppy theology when we hear mentions of demons. I have long held that demon language functions in three co-equal ways:
1. To account for physical and mental phenomena that could not yet be described scientifically, i.e. epilepsy, schizophrenia. See, for example, the story of Legion in Mark 5.
2. To account for the innate, perhaps intrinsic darkness that attenuates the human experience.
3. To describe the pain and irrational decision making that can come with damaging behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse; I have come to understand that this manifestation of evil is expressed on a continuum that includes domestic and sexual violence, and other such disturbing and opprobrious behavior.
Keep in mind each of these references is rooted in understanding the origins as internal; I certainly appreciate the Buddhist notions of seeds of mindfulness and seeds of affliction: which ones do we water?
Most of my life has been spent exploring and affirming these varous explanations/interpretations, but notice that is leaves out a HUGE concept: evil/demons being external, volitional, and capable of attack/haunting. I’ve generally regarded that as superstition or sloppy thinking. I absolutely affirm that my own long history with mental illness, both in my family (both sides) and in myself, has made me hostile and resistant. Demon talk reminds me of the members of my historic community who were put in cages and lobotomized in the name of my religion.
My beautiful, fucked-up, damaging, liberating, horrid, transcendent religion.
Deep breath. I’m really putting it out there. And here’s the caveat, I need y’all to be kind and really think before responding on this aspect. I’m nervous because this is…yeah.
I believe that I was attacked by demons about three years ago; I was asleep when I felt the sheet pull off of me. Miriam was not in the room. I felt something move across my body, I froze up and then, well, I was attacked. I was no longer asleep, at least not in the conventional sense. Almost as though I knew in my bones–in the Greek sense of gnosis–I started fighting the demon with scripture verses, and (here’s where it gets kinda embarrassing), I was yelling “the power of Christ compels you!” Like, legit big old preacher voice yelling (Mimi would say she could hear me across the house and over the TV but knew that waking me up would be bad; it would, I might have hit her unintentionally, of course, but mental illness is real, yo). This kept up for what seemed like hours, but probably was much less than that; I can’t conjecture, my sense of time was completely cattywampus. Suddenly, the presence was gone, my eyes shot open, and I was covered in sweat but my skin was clammy, almost frigid. The sheets were soaked. I was exhausted, but felt a power coursing through me. Not human power. Not controlling power. I can’ quite describe it. I think I, for a moment, glimpsed totality. Like I felt the big bang.
After that night began the journey of which most of you have seen the manifest fruits. The diagnosis. The breakdown. THe tats, the beard, the hair; a friend today said–I don’t know if I agree, but I deeply respect her and she don’t play with ish like dis–that she feels like I have deconstructed the ego in advanced and authentic ways. Meh. I sometimes feel consumed with myself, but that is another rabbit hole.
It has been three years. I have only told one other person this story, and I feel moved now to start talking about it. I legit believe I was attacked by demons, and ever since then I have felt increasingly closer to God. I can honestly say that I submit completely to Christ, at least I earnestly try to; there is not one area of my life that does not bear the mark of Jesus. Not saying I’m holy or anything like that, but I am saying that I encountered something that seemed to come from the very sourse of evil, and because I have been marked by good (God) I was able to endure. It is an experience that both repels and fascinates me. The emotional memories are complicated, too. But that is too personal. Yes, there actually are things I don’t write about 😉
I know this sounds nuts. I know. And I know that I am nuts–it’s okay, it’s my personal n-word–and this was back when I still drank and there are numerous possible explanations other than some beasts from another world decided to come and play footsie with me.
But it is my truth. The facts may be wrong, but it is my truth. I’ve always dismissed notions of otherworldly occurrences or appeals to demons as lazy theology. I’ve held back telling this story because I was embarassed, even ashamed; however, it is a part of my journey I need to own and I feel strongly God requires I lay this bare and ask for your loving, but honest feedback. What do you think?