Daimon: Ancient Greek: δαίμων: “god”, “godlike”, “power”, “fate” (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(classical_mythology)]
From https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Daimon A spirit full of mana often an inward mentor, a source of inspiration, and a moral guardian to an individual.
I remember the first time I was consciously aware of that voice nagging me about my worthlessness. Sometime around 2001, during my counseling psychology program, I remember standing at my pantry when that threshold guardian, always disguised as a protector, said very loudly and clearly, “Who do you think you are? You can’t possibly do something like this!” I, of course, contemplated quitting; I knew I couldn’t possibly complete a master’s degree since no one in my family had that level of higher education and I had taken nine years to barely make it through a bachelor’s degree years earlier. What WAS I thinking?!
Then, I gently talked the guardian down, went back to making lunch, did my homework. I stayed, gambling I had nothing to lose since I had already begun accumulating student loans and had to do something to make better money than waitressing and waiting for acting gigs.
Since that day, I’ve been conscious of how that threshold guardian, the daimon, loves to shake me up. It taps into the haunting from childhood, trying so hard to keep me from feeling harm again. Yet, it uses old wounds, shaking its finger at me, “don’t be vulnerable or something terrible will happen.” For every accomplishment I celebrate, that little daimon has ten childhood hauntings to remind me to tread carefully, if at all.
Then, fourteen years later while writing my dissertation, it got louder and started winning. I decided to research psychological healing processes utilizing my memories, my perspective of my childhood trauma. The process of writing a memoir and listening to my story stirred me up differently as I deepened into my memories. I had been to therapy for years, was a therapist, yet my process over the years had been about how to understand the perpetrators. I was there, but I kept telling their story and understanding why they were the way they were from their wounds. This was the first time in my life I really sat with my experience, my life, my memories, the absolute depth of my suffering.
It was so very painful. I procrastinated and my chair reminded me I was percolating. I got sick and Romanyshyn reminded me in The Wounded Researcher I was heeding the call. I felt paralyzed and I’d return to Jung and The Red Book to remember I could go into the wound, still live my life. Perhaps, I hypothesized, I could change my perspective about who I could become by facing my relationship with this self-appointed protector, threshold guardian, daimon.
Then, in the darkest moment of the night, during the depth of the darkest pain I was avoiding, I awakened to this chant repeating over and over,
~You have nothing to offer to this world. You have nothing to say in this world.~
I was shaking, sweating, feeling the anxiety that I had finally met the truth. I had come to the end of this journey. I lay there for hours in the dark wrestling with the fear.
Then I boldly faced this daimon. I had designed my research to meet the imaginal and allow it to arise in dreams, art, and creative writing. I realized I was in the research, fully. I had to be willing to meet the past with the present. I got up and began drawing it. Blackening in the abyss I was afraid to fall into, the threshold guardian, the daimon protecting me from crossing that precarious bridge into an unknown future.
This is my daimon. I know what it looks like; I know what it feels like. In the moment of meeting I no longer need be paralyzed by my innermost fear. My re-search did change my life, my perspective. I still face this threshold guardian, the daimon every day and I sit in the room with others’ while they face theirs. Yes, our culture incorrectly appropriated the daimon into a demon to control us and silence us, so we often flee from the intuition it carries. Yet, while facing these fears and doubts spoken through the threshold guardian, we step up and engage our lives by standing up to old wounds and being the Self now, ready to embark upon new ideas and adventures.
My daimon, that will always rise to face self-doubt, is not a negative presence. It’s working so hard to keep me safe. When I listen to it and wrestle it, I realize my power and tenacity and it steps aside. It says, “you’re ready for this one and I’ll be there when you get ready for a big growth, big change.” When life is really going full steam, it’s there every hour! I know now, when it shows up it’s my inner mentor encouraging me to leave that past behind and move into a new future, inspiring me to heed the call to adventure.