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Food of Demons


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#1 Fr George A.

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:20 PM

Hello friends,

Looking for some sources on the concept of demons 'eating,' particularly blood. Origen seems to teach this, and I have noted that 'food for the enemy' comes up in some of our hymnody. Just curious if anyone has read about this elsewhere.

Wishing you all a blessed Lent,

g

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

Beware of Devil's Food Cake!

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 19 March 2012 - 06:27 PM.


#3 Fr George A.

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:41 PM

During Lent especially! ;)

However, it is a serious question.

Beware of Devil's Food Cake!



#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:58 PM

St John of Damascus in speaking of angels and demons only makes mention of the "food" of angelic beings saying "They behold God according to their capacity and this is their food." As we know demons are angelic beings who have rebelled against God and thus their "food" must be of the same sort, however, I do not understand how they could be both separated from God and take their food from Him as well. Perhaps if we look at our own case (that of mankind) we can derive some kind of analogy. Our First Parents were sustained by the food of the Tree of Life. When they were exiled from the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life was no longer available to them, they were forced to eat of the fruit of the earth, which was corruptible and prone to death (hence the need to continually restore our "supply" of life energy by eating more food). Perhaps the demons also needed to find an alternate form of food as they are not able to or do not wish to "behold God" Who was their former food. We must also note, however, that plants share with man the bodily life and thus we have something in common with them. Angelic beings (in this case the fallen angels) do not share our nature (being incorporeal and immaterial) thus I don't know that they could feed off the blood of men.

Fr David Moser

#5 Fr George A.

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:39 PM

Thank you, Fr. David.

Strangely, there is the Tibetan Buddhist demon-feeding of Chöd http://www.everydayc...icingChod.shtml. This involves a visualization of human sacrifice. Pretty gruesome.

My present theory is that demons 'feed' off of those things stolen from God, be they sacrifices or worship. There is a spiritual energy in such acts that demons feed on in place of what they once received rightfully from God.

#6 Father David Moser

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:52 PM

Another aspect to my comments and your reply is that St Basil the Great implies that the soul is somehow carried in or tied to the blood. Thus the shedding of blood in a physical setting may have a corresponding spiritual or non-physical "shedding" of the energies of the soul. But this all pure conjecture and me talking about things I know nothing about at all.

Fr David

#7 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:32 PM

C.S. Lewis had some interesting conjectures on this in his book The Screwtape Letters where the demons feasted on the souls of the "damned". This was thus their main motivation for pulling us away from God. Made for an interesting story but I doubt there is much theological basis for it.

#8 John Mitchell

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:55 PM

Another aspect to my comments and your reply is that St Basil the Great implies that the soul is somehow carried in or tied to the blood. Thus the shedding of blood in a physical setting may have a corresponding spiritual or non-physical "shedding" of the energies of the soul. But this all pure conjecture and me talking about things I know nothing about at all.

Fr David


Much of the food that abstinence is prescribed for is due to the movements they trigger in the blood that are demonically inclined. Especially meat since it is wrong to kill.

#9 Father David Moser

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:36 AM

Much of the food that abstinence is prescribed for is due to the movements they trigger in the blood that are demonically inclined. Especially meat since it is wrong to kill.


I have issues with this on two points. First the "movements ... in the blood" that are addressed by fasting are not (necessarily) demonic, but rather fasting more properly addresses the passions which arise from our fallen nature (not the suggestions of demons). Fasting is and exercise in self-denial which weakens our susceptibility to temptation and which strengthens our will to resist temptation.

Secondly, it is not "wrong to kill" especially to kill animals. God Himself commanded the slaughter of animals for sacrifice. It is, according to the law, wrong to murder another person - but this really does not have anything to do with the killing of animals for food. From my reading of St Basil and the other Fathers, the reason that animal products are proscribed during the fasts is that the animal products themselves have the effect of reinforcing the baser passions (those that make us "like the beasts") in us. It has nothing to do with whether or not an animal is killed to produce meat. If there were a blanket prohibition on killing, would not we then be prohibited from eating anything since we "kill" plants to eat them.

Fr David

#10 Niko Barounis

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:02 AM

Very interesting subject!

Quick question slightly off topic.
What abt the monks who are constantly fasting meat.
Are they fasting so as not to "kill" or are they fasting as a scrifice to God.
i would think as a scrifice to God.

#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:08 AM

What abt the monks who are constantly fasting meat.
Are they fasting so as not to "kill" or are they fasting as a scrifice to God.


Monastics fast as a form of self denial and to contend with the passions - it is indeed a sacrifice, but it has a purpose in that self denial is the means by which we quell the passions and break their power over us.

Fr David

#12 Fr George A.

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:41 PM

I'm not entirely sure about the killing part, since monks are known to fish (Mt. Athos has several boats). Unless you are having a very exotic form of sushi, you do have to kill the fish at some point before eating it.

As mentioned before, there are matters of bloodshed, and I think that the slaughter of animals (mammals in particular) might be a little much for the gentle sensibilities of monks. But, I think also that the shedding of blood may have much more to do with it on a spiritual dimension.

I've heard of and witnessed (via YouTube) the slaughtering of pigs in Romania usually involves a small rite at the shedding of the blood. It does not appear to be a 'sacrifice' as much as a purification (c.f http://www.moldova.o...ns-616-eng.html). I don't know how widespread the practice is.

It would be interesting to get some information from monks in well-established monasteries to find out if there are any local teachings on the matter. We do know that certain activities do bring demons into monasteries, and this can be a real hassle for the monks. I recall reading somewhere about an HIV residence (Russia/Ukraine) attached to a monastery and the monks complaining that the residents were bringing demons into the monastery (and also behaving poorly).

Very interesting subject!

Quick question slightly off topic.
What abt the monks who are constantly fasting meat.
Are they fasting so as not to "kill" or are they fasting as a scrifice to God.
i would think as a scrifice to God.



#13 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:52 AM

Thank you, Fr. David.

Strangely, there is the Tibetan Buddhist demon-feeding of Chöd http://www.everydayc...icingChod.shtml. This involves a visualization of human sacrifice. Pretty gruesome.

My present theory is that demons 'feed' off of those things stolen from God, be they sacrifices or worship. There is a spiritual energy in such acts that demons feed on in place of what they once received rightfully from God.



So, from a cosmological perspective what is the solution for the demons and hungry ghosts? To exorcise and break the bond of the parasitic activity is obviously necessary, but then it does not seem like the final solution as they will continue to exist and be hungry for sustenance, and this is perplexing.

Perhaps, this is not our role and job, I don't know, nor do I understand anything about Buddhist tantric chod practices, but who could help fallen angels repent and become angels rightly living off of God's sustenance?

#14 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:58 AM

Perhaps the demons also needed to find an alternate form of food as they are not able to or do not wish to "behold God" Who was their former food. We must also note, however, that plants share with man the bodily life and thus we have something in common with them. Angelic beings (in this case the fallen angels) do not share our nature (being incorporeal and immaterial) thus I don't know that they could feed off the blood of men.

Fr David Moser


In reading this, I don't think 'blood' is only the 'physical' manifestation. For ancient Jews at least 'blood' also had subtler energetic 'life giving' sacred qualities, so if demons don't need the corporeal aspect of blood, they could very well be feeding off of the incorporeal energies ie life force associated with blood etc

#15 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:12 AM

but who could help fallen angels repent and become angels rightly living off of God's sustenance?


According to St John of Damascus,

What in the case of man is death is a fall in the case of angels. For after the fall there is no possiblity of repentance for them, just as after death there is for men no repentance


So according to St John, it is not possible for a demon to repent and become an angel of light again.

Fr David

#16 Jan Sunqvist

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:24 AM

According to St John of Damascus,


So according to St John, it is not possible for a demon to repent and become an angel of light again.

Fr David


If that is true, would would our compassionate Lord not finish their existence completely? If there is truly no hope for them, why would He allow them to be tormented themselves in eternity and allow the rest of the Creation to be tormented by them?

#17 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:45 AM

If that is true, would would our compassionate Lord not finish their existence completely?...


Their judgement is in God's hands, not ours. The very nature of angelic existence is beyond our ability to comprehend -we only know what God has revealed to us. The angelic host are the ministers of God - in other words they are tools that God uses to realize His will and plan. Even though the demons may have fallen from the light, are they still not used by God to achieve His purposes with us (see the interaction of the devil with God in Job - Satan unwittingly serves as the tool of God by which Job is refined).

Can demons repent - I don't know - but I know that St John of Damascus knows much more than I about such things and so I trust what God has revealed to him to be true.

Fr David

#18 Fr George A.

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:36 PM

A Spanish-speaking priest I'm friends with has been reading Fr. Antonio Fortea's work, Summa Daemoniaca (http://instrumentosc...daemoniaca.html). Obviously, we share a great deal with the RCC in this matter, and so far my friend hasn't found anything objectionable. Quite the contrary, his analysis lines up with Patristic sources rather seamlessly.

On the topic of demons' will to repent, he essentially places their condition as what humans will eventually achieve after this life: they have all been tried, and their deliberations are completed. They have chosen sides, and so there is no further inner debate for them. We, as people in fallen bodies, are still in a deliberation process, being unnaturally and synthetically separated from God through fallen and incomplete flesh.

Fr. Fortea says that, whereas men are judged by their deliberations and behavior apart from God, angels went through a process of being exposed to the unfiltered glory of God (whereas our experience is heavily filtered), and that they either were drawn to Him in joy or repulsed by Him. This process is described by the Fathers when they say that angels have free wills and deliberate, even with the capacity to be tempted, yet their choices are consistent with their primal choice either for or against God. We lack that consistency in the body until the Resurrection and receive the healing we need and the completeness lacking even in the Garden.

I believe the Fathers have wisely avoided spending too much time on the topic because their emphasis has always been on men taking responsibility for their own sins. Yet, I do think this is important to think about nowadays, as we are entering a time when people are utterly dismissive of the spiritual realm and see it as an unreasonable and illogical belief system full of wives' tales and superstition. ration and, in fact, brilliant men, have always believed in the spiritual realm, and it is important to understand their assumptions in order to better explain their rationales and better present the Divine Tradition to this materialistic generation.

#19 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:41 AM

"

Canon 2. If anyone criticize adversely a person eating meat (without blood, and such as is not meat that has been sacrificed to idols or strangled) with reverence and faith, as though he had no hope of partaking, let him be anathema." -- Council at Ancyra.

"One day St. Epiphanios sent someone to Abba Hilarion with this request, 'Come and let us see each other before we depart the body.' When he came they rejoiced in each other's company. During their meal they were brought a fowl; Epiphanios took it and gave it to Hilarion. Then the old man said to him, 'Since I took the habit I have not eaten meat that has been killed.' The bishop answered, 'Since I took the habit I have not allowed anyone to go to sleep with a complaint against me and I have not gone to rest with a complaint against anyone.' Hilarion replied, 'Forgive me, your way of life is higher than mine.'"


Edited by Bryan J. Maloney, 24 March 2012 - 02:59 AM.


#20 Stephen Hayes

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:09 AM

Beware of Devil's Food Cake!


And devilled eggs.

But seriously, though angels neither marry nor are given in marriage, in Genesis 6 we read of (presumably fallen) angels cohabiting with the daughters of men. So perhaps they can take part in some other human activities, like eating.




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