Demons are usually portrayed as these very malevolent negative evil entities, and that is usually where the similarities stop between all types of entities that we consider to be demons. From the understandings that I’ve gained from my practice, and the experiences I have had overtime I feel that the moniker of demon does not really have that much of a meaning outside of the Christian faith, or other forms of religious systems that recognize entities with specific “objective” moral values.
Most spiritual entities that are considered to be demons seem to be that way in order to generalize the moralness of the spirit species that they belong, and the judgment, and justification for which individual spirit species are considered demon seems to be based off of the religious values, and views of the christians, or another forms of religious system.
Even the definition of demon lacks in any form of description of the entities, and focuses usually more on the morality, or alignment of these entities. According to wiktionary the two definitions of demons that are relevant to our purposes and they’re many variants are:
An evil supernatural spirit.
- An evil spirit resident in or working for Hell; a devil. [from 10th c.]
- (now chiefly historical) A false god or idol; a Satanic divinity. [from 10th c.]
A neutral supernatural spirit.
- A person’s inner spirit or genius; a guiding or creative impulse. [from 14th c.]
- (Greek mythology) A tutelary deity or spirit intermediate between the major Olympian gods and mankind, especially a deified hero or the entity which supposedly guided Socrates, telling him what not to do. [from 16th c.]
- A spirit not considered to be inherently evil; a (non-Christian) deity or supernatural being. [from 19th c.]
As you can see from these definitions the term demon usually refers to evil, or neutral spiritual entities, and is completely based off the moral value that spirit species is assigned, and there seems to be no other characteristics that link these entities together under the term of demon. It also seems that a lot of the use of the word demon in relation to other cultures comes from translation by abrahamic practitioners, or cultures that were greatly influenced by abrahamic practices, or by the other culture is religious conversion which led to them looking at different entities through a abrahamic lens.
Because of all this I do not choose to use the word demon when it comes to understanding spirits in spirit work, because I do not see it as a useful categorization. Because of this moral dependency in order to categorize an entity as a demon, it doesn’t seem to have much relevance to a practitioner of moral relativism such as myself, and it requires you to believe in an objective “good”, and “evil” for the concepts to have any value. It also labels entire forms of entities as demonic or evil generalizing their entire spirit species which does not allow for understanding, and learning about these entities in a constructive, and positive manner.