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Can possession by a spirit or demon sometimes be beneficial

Hello =)

Do please forgive how long it’s taken me to reply – tumblr ate my first mini essay on the topic.

To
answer your question, I think it very much depends on the definition of what
demons, spirits, ghosts, gods or anything else that supposedly has the power to
possess you is.

If
you believe possession makes someone convulse, gibber in tongues, spew
pea soup, and do that icky spine-breaking contortionist spider thing… then no,  possession is definitely not beneficial.

But
that’s a very weird medieval-Christian horror-film take on a widespread, varied, and millennia old rag-tag basket of beliefs.

A
lot of Renaissance scholars of ‘natural philosophy’ (folk like John Dee et al who
studied the Lesser Key of Solomon and similar texts) believed that various
princes and generals of hell could be invoked to teach astrology or mathematics
or any number of other subjects. As far as they were concerned, being possessed
of a demon was like using google to cheat in a pub quiz – very much frowned
upon, but great if you could get away with it.

(As
a side note, don’t get me started on the mainstream modern Christian idea of what devils and demons are.
It’s hugely inaccurate and I could rant about it for days. The Abrahamic
monotheistic mythos is a mess, seriously.)

In
more shamanic traditions, being possessed by a spirit can be good or bad depending
on the spirit. In many parts of Africa, it’s traditionally believed that a witch can send a
spirit of sickness to plague someone. But equally, in North America
and Siberia there are many tales and some rituals dealing with imbuing
someone with a beneficial spirit – one of strength or knowledge.

Taking
a broad overview of history and geography into consideration, I would say there
are likely as many beliefs and stories about beneficial possession as there are
about malevolent possession.

Interestingly,
in my forays into folklore, I’ve never read a story where someone was possessed
by a ghost. Spirits of the dead are raised and appear – sometimes corpses are even animated –
or messages are delivered to the living via dreams and portents. But no one
living is ever taken over by a ghost. That seems to be an invention of the
modern spiritualist movement when mediums would cough up handkerchiefs and
pretend they were ectoplasm.

Lastly,
and on a personal note, I was once possessed by Bast (that was a fun afternoon)
and Ammit (that was… an evening) if you’re inclined to believe that sort
of thing. (Either that or my brain was being spectacularly weird in a way it
never has before or since.) But that’s probably a tale for another day…

Source: Tales of Necromancy

by cnkguy
Can possession by a spirit or demon sometimes be beneficial

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