To the ancient Greeks daimons were intermediary spirits between human beings and the gods, acting as spiritual advisors, and were not necessarily evil; literately daimon means 'divine power', 'fate', or 'god'.
Daimons were important in Neo-Platonic philosophy, more like a demigod rather than an evil spirit. In the Christian reception of Platonism, they were identified with the angels.
The claimed existence of guiding spirits or guardian angels escapes experimental verification. According to séance-room communications, everyone has guiding spirits and they are often relatives who have risen to a high spiritual level in the beyond.
Probably the best historical example of the alleged existence of guiding spirits is the one of Socrates daimon, who forewarned him of dangers to come.
In Theages Plato has Socrates say,
‘‘By the favor of the Gods I have, since my childhood, been attended by a semidivine being whose voice, from time to time, dissuades me from some undertaking, but never directs me what I am to do.’’
In the Apology Socrates further notes,
‘‘This prophetic voice has been heard by me throughout my life; it is certainly more trustworthy than omens from the flight or the entrails of birds; I call it a God or a daimon. I have told my friends the warnings I have received, and up to now the voice has never been wrong.’’
The word demon, that today identify an evil spirit, evolved from daimon/daemon. For many centuries, demons occupied a respected place as intermediary spirits between mortals and gods. But that all changed with the arrival of Christianity. Just as the Church transformed the old Pagan horned gods of fertility into their Devil, so did it turn all demons into hideous creatures of evil, unclean spirits, and agents of Satan.
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Sources: (1) Masello, Robert, Fallen Angels. . . and Spirits of the Dark, The Berkley Publishing Group; (2) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (3) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (4) Melton, J. Gordon and Shepard, Leslie A. (editors), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group; (5) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group.
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