This post is long, long overdue. Here I am talking about my quest for settledom and not a single contemplative post. It's high time that I present my opinion on the concept that fuels this (rather stagnant) blog.
My concept of the four corners of daemonism is one that I've been over countless times, with myself and others. For me, the idea of the daemon has four basic pillars that form its foundation.
No. 1 Pullman
Although I don't like putting Pullman first, I think I ought to because that, I think, is what people associate the daemon with the most. Pullman was the one to first use the word "daemon" to describe these animal companions, although his daemons are fundamentally different from our own.
First and foremost, they are not real
. Pullman's daemon's are purely fictitious, and while they are the basis for three novels, they are not completely developed. Pullman, himself, has admitted that there are many fundamental parts of the daemon that he's never created. How are they born, for example? He doesn't know. How are they named? Not covered by any book.
Pullman's daemons are not our daemons, and frankly I don't see ow people can base their concept of their daemon on his books. The other most important difference between the two ideas is corporeality. While in Pullman's fictional world daemons can be felt and touched, ours are nothing more than a part of our mind. So, while in Pullman's books daemons settle roughly at the age of puberty, or physical maturity, real daemons are settled at mental maturity. The physical and the mental are very much different. How can a physical daemon and a mental daemon be the same?
Though they are very different, Pullman's daemons must be included as a cornerstone for a few reasons. First, the name. Pullman used a Greek word describing a spirit or demigod (be it beneficent, malignant, neutral, or a guardian) to give a name to his creations. Most daemians still use this name, as it fits.
Another is the animal form of daemons. Though some daemians wouldn't say that a daemon can settle only as an animal, a general consensus to this effect has been reached in the daemian community. However, because our daemons are not limited to rules of physicality, they can take any form imaginable. A saucepan is not an unreasonable form for a real daemon to take.
So, the issue of daemons "based on" Pullman's books is a two-sided one that can be argued differently. While I respect those who say that they follow the "rules" of Pullman's world, I don't agree with them 100%.
No. 2 World Religions
According to modern anthropology, there were several ancient cultures whose religion and beliefs shared aspects with daemonism. I am no anthropologist, nor do I ave any first-hand evidence of any of the facts that form this argument, but I'll present what I know in the light that I take it. I won't be going into much detail, but I encourage any and all of you who read this to look into these points.
One religion that I have read about is the Meso-American Nagualism. Apparently, it was quite widespread in its day, and so will not be consistent throughout its area. One of the ideas of this religion, however, was that of the tonal, and animal guide. In some cultures, only shamans had a tonal, but in some it was an aspect of the common man's life as well.
The tonal, I believe, was dictated by days of birth. It was also believed that the day of birth dictated personality, so the form of your tonal was a reflection on one's character, much like the daemon.
Also, it was common for children not to be told of a tonal until they had come of age and become a mature adult. This is similar, though not exactly like, the settling of daemons.
While the tonal is the closest example of a daemon-like idea, the Norse fylgja also shared themes with our daemons, though much fewer.
No. 3 Socrates
Socrates' writings make a small column of the foundation, though one worthy of brief mention. In some of his writings, Socrates discussed a being, his daimon as he called it, that spoke to him alone. Though today the daimon would be put down as a conscience or "voice in the back of the head", Socrates believed that his daimon was a gift from the gods to him alone. His daimon gave him advice, like our daemons do, that he and even his friends came to value highly.
No. 4 Carl Jung
Unfortunately, I cannot claim to be an expert (or anything close to an expert) on the psychologist Carl Jung's theories. My knowledge of these is basic to a fault, so some of the things that I discuss here may be plain wrong. If you notice this, please shoot me a comment and correct me.
In my view, there are two aspects of Jungian theory that can be applied to daemonism, the animus/anima and active imagination.
The animus and anima are, according to Jung, the male or female aspect of our personality. Women have a male side, the animus, while men have a female side, the anima. Jung encouraged contact with these aspects of ourselves in order to achieve full self-awareness and acceptance.
Another concept is that of active imagination. I have only, so far, seen it in the context of dream exploration, where the dreamer revisits a dream to continue it and better understand its meaning. However, the way in which Jung writes about it is highly reminiscent of the daemian's concept of projection. It is the rejection of all feelings of embarrassment and silliness to basically day dream and talk to imaginary friends as a child does.
Followers of Jungian theory, like daemians, can achieve entertainingly high levels of confidence and self-awareness trough these small changes in perception.