Melitta, being awesome, recently posted about the Agathos-Daimon vs. the HGA. The post is pretty cool, all things told.
Unfortunately, she also quoted me. And when I read the words that I had written, I wanted to find my previous self and punch him repeatedly in the face for relying on intellectual twaddle... Despite the fact that this blog is mostly composed of intellectual twaddle and, like, sigils. But what-the-fuck-ever, right?
So, grabbing what she'd selected:
“Above the daemon level of reality was the Agathos-Daemon, or Good Daemon.”
What I meant to say is that the Headless Daimon is cosmic, and not a tortured earth-bound Daimon or anything of the like. The ritual also deals with those daimons*, and I'll come back to them in a moment for a few reasons.
“It is this mythological being that is the basis of the Holy Guardian Angel insofar as most modern practitioners of magick might be concerned.”
That is incorrect on many levels. First, given the cult titles attributed to other deities and their reference as its name (“You are Osoronnophris...” “I am the messenger of Pharoah Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the Prophet of Israel...”) should make this assertion's sheer wrongness clear in the context of the ritual. We could argue that the Headless Daimon has the attributes of Iapos and Iabas and Osoronnophris, but that isn't what the ritual states in the least.
Smith's commentary that I quoted earlier from the Demons of Magic also makes this clear: “So this earth god is Bes and he [is] also agathos daimon. Bes and [the] agathos daimon and the headless god are very closely intertwined. That was easier to do because as you all know agathos daimon is serpentine. Agathos daimon is a well recognized god, who has well recognized cults in Egypt also elsewhere in southern Italy and the like.”
So, it's a God in it's own right, just as the ritual goes on to state in lines 120 on:
“I call upon you awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit,” (VM) “Holy Headless one, deliver him, NN, from the Daimon which restrains him...” “He is the lord of the Gods...”**
My assertion was only partially correct***, and while I've been trying to correct that for a while... I kinda needed to make it clear that I've realized, several times over, just how wrong it was.
Back to the other daimons, quoting the Preliminary Speech to be said before beginning the ritual:
“Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly, or aerial, or earthly, or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.”
Note the lack of fiery spirits being in the list. Of all the daimons brought up in the context of the ritual, only the Headless One is given fiery attributes. (“I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal Fire...” “I am the one whose mouth burns completely.”) This lack actually is a distinguishing feature, and one I puzzled over for a while until it dawned on me that this was fairly decent evidence that the ritual is not influenced a great deal by Neo-Platonism. The daimons do not correspond to the four roots/four elements, but rather to their locales. Furthermore, I continue to be interested in the “top down” progression, followed by the more immediate and possibly localized daimons (depending on whether the magician was near the Ocean or a Sea or not). My brain keeps insisting that this is the very essence of magic using the vision of our world as two interlocking domes with us in the middle, but I'm still not sure. I wish I could find proof, but I suppose that in the end, it doesn't matter.
* Potentially, at least. The function of exorcism pretty much precludes that a good reason to be beseeching the Headless God, aside from a desire for power, is having a pissed off spirit harassing you. Or one that's just annoying. Or malign. Etc. You don't typically ask to restrain Daimons that help you out.
** Were we to take every ritual that states this literally, at least within the substance of the PGM/PDM, we'd end up with a pretty huge list of Lord(s) of the Gods. LOL.
*** [EDIT]: It is an amalgamation possibly including: the Agathos-Daimon, Bes (in the other rituals where the Headless Daimon shows up, at least), Osiris, Seth-Typhon (I still don't trust Stephen Flowers), and maybe whatever else the magicians of that era felt comfortable applying to the entity for reasons of flattery or just because it was that awesome to deal with. All in all? It's your friend. And it can command daimons should the need arise. And being in its presence alters your subtle body, too, if my abarrant experiences are to be trusted.