The Guardian Daemon

May 21, 2006 by  

A fascinating traditional concept is the notion of the entity assigned to be keeper of our soul, whose single task is to guard it against harm, and to aim us, in our imperfect incarnation, toward our destiny. The entity, of course, is the Guardian Angel, or as it was known to the ancient Greeks, the Guardian Daemon (this word did not used to have the negative meaning it carries today; rather, it meant “spirit”). You might think of the popular Lindberg image of the white-robed female angel hovering protectively over a small girl and boy crossing a precipice. However, while protection is an important part of the Daemon’s function, its most important role is to ensure that our souls gain the maximum benefit from our life.
In Platonic theology, souls are assigned their lives before they are born, a process involving both choice and chance, since each soul receives a lot to stand in line and gets to choose a life from innumerable ones spread before it. The lot represents chance, while the choice of life represents the free will to choose our life prior to birth. At least partially, a soul chose a particular life for a reason, in order to experience a particular set of circumstances. The Guardian Daemon ensures that the soul meets its objectives and, most important, gains something by the experience.

Not all Guardian Daemons are equal in effectiveness, since not every soul learns their lessons fully or completely during their sojourn on earth. This is not due to one Guardian Daemon being inferior to another, but rather to the quality of the soul’s perception. For some people, the Guardian Daemon shouts in their ear, while for others, he may as well be shouting across a busy street. Astrologically speaking, this is all in the strength or weakness of the receiving instrument, or the soul in question. Iamblichus, in “On the Mysteries,” writes that the Guardian Daemon may be found in a chart, by looking for the Lord of the Geniture, since that is our strongest planet and our best card. However, he cautions that the planet itself is not the Daemon, but rather provides a means to the Daemon.
I am inclined to see the overall strength of the Lord of the
Geniture as our willingness to follow the Guardian Daemon’s promptings. A powerful Lord of the Geniture indicates that the person can hear clearly; a weaker Lord of the Geniture shows some fuzziness in the reception.
Too, every person’s Guardian Daemon is different in nature. It is said of Socrates that his Guardian Daemon had a constraining nature, whereas for most people the Guardian Daemon incites to action. For most of us, it is when we do not listen to our Guardian Daemon’s promptings, we tend to become mere lumps of clay. For the very tiny minority of souls like that of Socrates, the Guardian Daemon must actually restrain the soul from pouring out its divine essence too quickly, and from expiring too soon to give the rest of the world any benefit of its wisdom. It is as though the vast majority of mankind was walking uphill to achieve wisdom at the top of the mountain, while Socrates walked downhill and told of those he met about what he saw at the top. Our Guardian Daemons must push us upward, while that of Socrates had to act as a brake so that he did not descend the mountain of knowledge without conferring any benefit on the rest of us.

How, then, do we find the Guardian Daemon and his nature in the chart? Manilius, in his Matheseos (IV.XVIII) suggests we take the Part of the Spirit (the formula is opposite that of the Part of Fortune, so Asc + Sun – Moon) and observe what planets aspect the part. The role of the Guardian Daemon is to bring out the best in us, so far as our natal charts allow it. I would thus look for the Lord of the Geniture (the planet with the most essential and accidental dignities in the chart) as a way to communicating with the Guardian Daemon.

By doing things in accordance with the planetary nature of our Lord of the Geniture, we naturally emphasize our best side and leave our weaknesses by the wayside. If our Lord of the Geniture is Venus in Libra in the 7th, we can expect that we need to cultivate Venusian relationships to be at our best. Perhaps the guidance from the Guardian Daemon will come through our relationship with others. The planet that is Lord of the Geniture is the overall “flavor” of the Daemon, while the house placement shows in which area of our life he can best manifest.


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