We will begin our discussion of historical support for taking spirits as lovers or wives with the famed Physician and Alchemist, Paracelsus. Lest you think he was some nut-job, he pioneered the discipline of modern day toxicology. He was born in 1493, of Swiss and German nationality, a true Renaissance Man. He was contemporary of Cornelius Agrippa, who was famous for his three book of occult philosophy and who was also an alchemist. Paracelsus insisted upon the observation of nature rather than depending upon the knowledge in books that was followed by rote and never questioned.
Alan G. Hefner writes at http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/p/paracelsus'_natural_spirits.html, (1)
Paracelsus, considering himself Catholic, went further and said some so-called demons are not supernatural in any sense, but merely "natural" beings: a mixture of human, animal, and spirit. To make such a statement then was daring if not maddening; no wonder Paracelsus had to refute accusations of sorcery, but his statement illustrates his humanity in an age of extreme brutality. It likewise represents the reason behind his work, On Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders, date uncertain, in which he does not just simply recount fantastical peasant tales, but diligently tries to fit them into his personal cosmological and ontological scheme. Paracelsus was well aware of superstition, for he said, "There are more superstitiones in the Roman Church than in all these women and witches..."; but what he heard he considered carefully in order not to treat it in a deaf-and-dumb manner. (1)
Paracelsus was a product of his Catholic beliefs as much as his investigative nature. He knew from his observations of nature and from his studies that not all spirits were bad but could be beneficial to man. He knew also that these beings sought out human companionship. Paracelsus believed is was so that they could receive Salvation via man's own salvation, but this was in my opinion Paracelsus trying to reconcile his Catholic beliefs with his upbringing.
Nymphs often look similar to men and women and it was not uncommon for them to try to marry a human. But these marriages usually turned out unfortunate. Gnomes were small, about "two spans"; salamanders were "long, narrow, and lean"; and sylvestres were "cruder, coarser, longer, and stronger" than humans. Mating between members in each group can occasionally give birth to monsters, just as in humans, which create some of the characters in myths. Sylphs bare giants, nymphs bare sirens, dwarfs are of pygmies, and will-o'-the-wisps come from salamanders. The birth of these monsters are sign of some calamity, Paracelsus stated, for instant, a giant might herald an earthquake. (1)He defends them also as being individuals just like us:
He never states that he sees the beings which he describes, but one is aware that he intuitively senses these sensatory beings. He further comprehensively describes these identities. There are like humans, may be good or bad: "They are witty, rich, clever, poor, dumb like we who are from Adam." They resemble humans, although different in proportion, because God made them in the image of man just as man is made in God's image. Paracelsus ascribes to them the same characteristics as man possesses. They have health and disease, similar customs, behavior, and speech; similar virtues which vary from better and coarser or more subtle and rougher; only in figure do they differ from men. Like man, they eat of their labor, and have wisdom to govern, justice to protect and preserve. (1)To their invisible state, Paracelsus found nothing unnatural in it - recognizing them also as an important part of nature. See The Elements and Their Inhabitants Pg 105, also at http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta25.htm (2):
Just as visible Nature is populated by an infinite number of living creatures, so, according to Paracelsus, the invisible, spiritual counterpart of visible Nature (composed of the tenuous principles of the visible elements) is inhabited by a host of peculiar beings, to whom he has given the name elementals, and which have later been termed the Nature spirits. Paracelsus divided these people of the elements into four distinct groups, which he called gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. He taught that they were really living entities, many resembling human beings in shape, and inhabiting worlds of their own, unknown to man because his undeveloped senses were incapable of functioning beyond the limitations of the grosser elements. (2)He goes on to define the nature of their bodies, and denies that they are truly spirits because they eat, and talk, act and sleep as well as marry and have children. They are rather a composite of spirit and matter both, a being that falls in between the world of matter and the world of spirit.
Paracelsus, when describing the substances which constitute the bodies of the elementals, divided flesh into two kinds, the first being that which we have all inherited through Adam. This is the visible, corporeal flesh. The second was that flesh which had not descended from Adam and, being more attenuated, was not subject to the limitations of the former. The bodies of the elementals were composed of this transubstantial flesh. Paracelsus stated that there is as much difference between the bodies of men and the bodies of the Nature spirits as there is between matter and spirit. (2)These beings were highly esteemed and even worshipped in Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, and India. Today however their existence is thought impossible or ridiculous within modern thought, but the belief and interactions with these beings are spoken of by many prominent thinkers and doers of the past:
The idea once held, that the invisible elements surrounding and interpenetrating the earth were peopled with living, intelligent beings, may seem ridiculous to the prosaic mind of today. This doctrine, however, has found favor with some of the greatest intellects of the world. The sylphs of Facius Cardin, the philosopher of Milan; the salamander seen by Benvenuto Cellini; the pan of St. Anthony; and le petit homme rouge (the little red man, or gnome) of Napoleon Bonaparte, have found their places in the pages of history. (2)
The Count de Gabalis, that famous figure within the book, "Comte de Gabalis" which can be found published recently, here. Takes a more enthusiastic approach to spiritual and sexual union with these 'elementals' though does continue to paint it in the broad Catholic brushstrokes of 'Salvation' for all beings. It is nonetheless an excellent example of how beneficial interaction with these spirits can be and how they can be ennobling upon the mind and thoughts and nature of the men and women they marry. It hints under the Catholic viewpoints and the not so subtle dismissal of it all by the scholar who is interacting with the flamboyant Count, that men and women too rise and evolve and benefit from these interactions with their races. I highly recommend reading several times. It is available free here at http://sacred-texts.com/eso/cdg/index.htm and here: https://archive.org/details/cu31924028957467
the second link provides the book in multiple digital formats so I find it much more useful.
Yet of succubi and incubi, Paracelsus was violently opposed, accepting the church's doctrine about them and unwilling to associate with them as thus learn that their natures were different than the bad press the church gave to these spirits. He also equates larvae or larvals as being equivalent to succubi and incubi:
The terms incubus and succubus have been applied indiscriminately by the Church Fathers to elementals. The incubus and succubus, however, are evil and unnatural creations, whereas elementals is a collective term for all the inhabitants of the four elemental essences. According to Paracelsus, the incubus and succubus (which are male and female respectively) are parasitical creatures subsisting upon the evil thoughts and emotions of the astral body. These terms are also applied to the superphysical organisms of sorcerers and black magicians. While these larvæ are in no sense imaginary beings, they are, nevertheless, the offspring of the imagination. By the ancient sages they were recognized as the invisible cause of vice because they hover in the ethers surrounding the morally weak and continually incite them to excesses of a degrading nature. For this reason they frequent the atmosphere of the dope den, the dive, and the brothel, where they attach themselves to those unfortunates who have given themselves up to iniquity. By permitting his senses to become deadened through indulgence in habit-forming drugs or alcoholic stimulants, the individual becomes temporarily en rapport with these denizens of the astral plane. The houris seen by the hasheesh or opium addict and the lurid monsters which torment the victim of delirium tremens are examples of submundane beings, visible only to those whose evil practices are the magnet for their attraction. (2)He goes on to vilify them...
In his De Ente Spirituali Paracelsus writes thus of these malignant beings: "A healthy and pure person cannot become obsessed by them, because such Larvæ can only act upon men if the later make room for them in their minds. A healthy mind is a castle that cannot be invaded without the will of its master; but if they are allowed to enter, they excite the passions of men and women, they create cravings in them, they produce bad thoughts which act injuriously upon the brain; they sharpen the animal intellect and suffocate the moral sense. Evil spirits obsess only those human beings in whom the animal nature is predominating. Minds that are illuminated by the spirit of truth cannot be possessed; only those who are habitually guided by their own lower impulses may become subjected to their influences." (See Paracelsus, by Franz Hartmann.) (2)
Yet of those who in the modern day have dared to form relationships with them, have been saved from suicide by their loving intervention, and giving new purpose to the forsaken amongst us. Indeed they motivate us to seek knowledge and achieve balance and discipline in our lives the longer we interact. Also, the base pull of physical sexuality while not ignored, deepens into a far deeper and more pure spiritual union and connection, where the human mind is elevated and ennobled with divine truths, as is the spirit. No finer example of this elevation that is brought into being than the documented experiences at this blog, http://asuccubuslovesme.blogspot.jp/2015/08/so-what-have-i-been-learning-lately-or.html . Far from a life reduced to ruin and base animal needs, rather the reverse is happening here. I could give many contemporary examples, but let's leave it at one for now. I propose that we stop seeing succubi as evil and equating them with larvae or larvals, empty spirits trying to fill themselves up - empty and lacking and hating everything that isn't like themselves. Is there a danger if you work with succubi that you can also attract larvae? Yes, because there is that similarity that close connection where the succubi like and feed upon the sexual. The difference is a very subtle one, but one beloved of a succubi or an incubus will be spiritually evolved and elevated rather than drained until nothing is left. Regular cleansing baths, and rigorous physical activity will keep larvals away and won't dismay the succubi or the incubus in the slightest - another indication of the distinct differences.
Yes, Succubi can be terrifying creatures, but they are also very good unto those they love, and whom love them back monstrous features and all. I believe the demonic calls to our very blood. Look back to the Sumerian and Akkadian origins stories http://history-world.org/sumerian_and_akkadian_myths.htm and tell me that isn't telling as to this draw to the demonic. Demons are quite literally family to man. I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be friendly and intermarry - as indeed we have for countless Ages.
|Credit: Wolf & Goat|
This kin-ship between succubi and larvae is a similar concept to the Pomba Gira's and the Exu of Quimbanda, though these also are their own with so many unique differences we might as well be comparing apples and oranges yet both are fruits right? The Pomba Gira's and Exu's as Kings and Queens of Hell, of their tribes and legions of spirits are not so far removed from the succubi, the incubi and indeed any other demons or daemons you would like to mention, some even have close kinship with each-other, yet I caution strongly that the Pomba Gira's and Exu should only be worked with in the context and the practice of Quimbanda - those that work with them receiving a consultas, initiation, and deferring to their Tata and the spirits themselves to advice within the space of this esteemed cult. For those that are interested to learn more about them, I am not an initiate yet, and folks would be well advised to seek out these gents instead.
- Jesse and Troy at: http://www.wolf-and-goat.com/Products/BrazilianQuimbanda/quimbanda.html,
- Nicholaj Frisvold at
They do not hold all the same beliefs and opinions of myself but we all have differences and these men I esteem very highly and think of them as mentors on the path. If you go to them, listen to their advice and heed it!
Returning to the proper topic however, we must chase more historic examples of engaging with spirit lovers. So we will next visit Reginald Scott who in 1584 intended to serve as an expose of medieval witchcraft has had rather the opposite effect in modern times - preserving many rituals and practices within his book, "The Discoverie of Witchcraft, wherein the Lewde dealing of Witches and Witchmongers is notablie detected, in sixteen books ... whereunto is added a Treatise upon the Nature and Substance of Spirits and Devils." Pertinent to our discussion is the pacts and rituals involving the 'fairy Sybilia' who during the course of the conjuration is both married and bedded complete with a wedding night! The rite was to reveal hidden treasure, but Reginald Scott completely missed that the treasure was not gold or silver or fine gems that was being referred to but rather the lady Sybilia herself and the knowledge and instruction, and the great skill in divination she brings to her husband. The name itself is a corruption of Sibyl of the Greeks and Romans. There were many living Sibyls known for their divinations and prophecies and they continue on now as before from the realm of spirit.
Returning to succubi however, At good ol' Wikipedia in the Succubus article (3):
Throughout history, priests and rabbis, including Hanina Ben Dosa and Abaye, tried to curb the power of succubi over humans. However, not all succubi were malevolent. According to Walter Mapes in De Nugis Curialium (Trifles of Courtiers), Pope Sylvester II (999–1003) - was involved with a succubus named Meridiana, who helped him achieve his high rank in the Catholic Church. Before his death, he confessed of his sins and died repentant.
- (8) Geoffrey W. Dennis, The encyclopedia of Jewish myth, magic and mysticism. p. 126
One story of a succubus was told by Walter Mapes in his De Nugis Curialium [Courtier's Trifles] (approx 1185) about Gerbert of Aurillac, who became Pope Sylvester II (999-1003). As a young man, Gerbert fell in love with the daughter of the Provost of Rheims. She rejected him, and he became despaired. One day he met a beautiful maiden named Meridiana who offered him sex, magical knowledge, and money if he would only stay faithful to her. He agreed and prospered rapidly becoming Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal, Archbishop of Ravenna, and ultimately Pope. All the while, he kept Meridiana secret, and she even forgave him when the Provost's daughter found him inebriated and seduced him one day. Finally, Meridiana prophesied that Gerbert would die as he celebrated mass in Jerusalem, which turned out to be a church close by possessing an alleged piece of the Cross. Realizing he was about to die, Gerbert made a public confession of his sins and died repentant. Mapes also noted that Gerbert's tomb in the Lateran sweats copiously before the death of a Pope. (4)Can they physically manifest? The answer is yes according to a French novelist J.K. Huysmans who had an encounter while staying at a monastery, retreating from the 19th century Parisian Occultism for some peace of mind (see source 4). The original source "Legends of the Succubus" seems to have since vanished. Perhaps an out of print book.
There are plenty of more sources but that will have to wait for another time. I hope this small article has helped provide some historical support to my claim that taking spirit lovers is not an unusual thing within sight of such sources to at least the Renaissance. There are earlier examples, but they take a bit more time digging up. and require chasing a lot more references. For this you all will have to wait for my eventual book drafts. I hope you enjoyed part two of this series, and we will finish with Performing Magic with the Aid of Spirits