Throughout history, stories of devils and demons
have terrified and intrigued people of many different cultures.
These demons often take horrific forms, much like the observers' own
nightmarish visions, but occasionally they do appear as humanoid.
Excluding popular Western culture's depiction of the devil as a single man
in a red suit, the population of Fallen Angels varies from great monstrous
beings to beautiful, even god-like, winged forms. Lucifer, for one,
who is often listed as both the first-created and the first defiant angel,
is said to be beautiful beyond words. (An example, perhaps, of the
old adage, "you can't judge a book by its cover.")
Unfortunately, in any dissertation of the Fallen, one must pause to note that
many of those listed as "Fallen Angels" were actually deities of proto-Semitic
tribes, including the Babylonians and Sumerians. One ready example is the
dread demon Astaroth, who undoubtedly stems from Astarte, the Syrian goddess of fertility.
How this lush female entity underwent a transformation of personality--as well as a
sex-change--has been lost to history. It is easy to imagine, however, that
early Judaic culture observed the deities of their surrounding neighbors to be
demons, since their religion centered on a single deity by a different name.
It is, perhaps unfortunately, this rather narrow view that the modern world has
inherited--and thus, former gods are now demons.
Origins aside, it is generally acknowledged that the Fallen behave in unfriendly,
deceitful or even maleficent manners. Their goal is personal glory or power,
with little regard to others.
The mage Solomon of the 15th century (not King Solomon as it is often believed) put down
a list of categories for the Fallen. These are:
- Thamiel, the Double-Headed Ones - leader, Satan and Moloch
- Chaigidel, the Shells - leader, Beelzebub
- Satariel, the Concealers - leader, Lucifuge / Lucifer
- Gamchicoth, the Disturbers of Souls - leader, Ashtaroth / Astarte
- Golab, the Incendiaries - leader, Asmodeus / Samael the Black
- Tagaririm, the Disputers - leader, Belphegor
- Harab-Serapel, the Ravens of Death - leader, Baal
- Samael, the Jugglers - leader, Adramelech
- Gamaliel, the Obscene - leader, Lilith
- Amalekites, Geburim, Raphaim, Nephilim, and Anakim - leader, Nahema
Naturally, these are not the only demons that exist. Other systems divide the demonic
heirarchy into a group of 72, while others place all demons under a central King.
Picture: Paul Giotto, "The Devils Cast Out of Arezzo" (before 1300)