Review: The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned by Michelle Belanger (1st Ed.)
Posted On April 7, 2021
Explore more than 15,000 demons from Western Occult traditions in this book, The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned. Renowned occult and paranormal expert Michelle Belanger compiled a book of western demons that you can use to expand your occult knowledge. Over the years, Michelle Belanger has had numerous radio and television appearances, including her time spent on Paranormal State, HBO and the History Channel. She also spent time investigating and working with the vampire community, helping others to accept vampirism as a magical identity.
In this massive tome are listings of demons from western magic, myth and ceremonial magic. Belanger gives general guidance in the forward about working with demons, mostly from a historical perspective. In the beginning of her book, Belanger talks about the ancient grimories, and how ceremonial magicians approached summoning demons. She teaches the basic idea that to know something’s name is to have power over it. This book provides not only the names of demons but also a brief overview of their histories. The Dictionary of Demons provides an excellent starting point for any kind of adventure that you may want to have with the demonic realms.
All though this is not a how-to book, it provides a starting point if you want to learn more about a demon’s origins. As a reference book you will find this very handy to have in your magical library. While some entries are not too detailed, you might discover a demon you have never read about before and it will provide you a starting point for more study.
For those of you who enjoy classical wood cut and pen and ink illustrations, there are plenty sprinkled throughout this book. The Dictionary of Demons also includes entries for grimories, giving a brief history of their known origins, like when and where they were written and what they were originally intended for.
Those of you who are involved in the practice of Demonolatry may find this book to be useful because you will be introduced to a variety of demons.It could help to expand your working knowledge or provide an outlet for new experiences.
Not all of the demons in this book are considered to be evil or dark in nature. Some of them are more of a genius spirit rather than a dark force.
The Dictionary of Demons is not light reading – it goes on for more than 300 pages of entries. In the back sections are useful references to help you navigate this book in an intuitive way. She lists infernal correspondences, meaning that you can research a demon based on it’s attributes. Whether it is disease, decay, lust, or money, she lists each corresponding demon. This may come in handy if you are looking for general demons that you can bring into your own personal army or if you are seeking a specific result.
Also included is a listing of planetary and elemental correspondences. You might find this useful especially if you plan on working with demons in rituals. This makes it easy to plan ritual work with demons based on a simple elemental formula. In addition to this is a chapter on demons and decons of the zodiac, which appears to be gleaned from Eliphas Levi’s system. There are several different formulas from other authors for this system but Belanger does not list why this is the one she chose to represent in her book. A comparative study might have been interesting but then again, one could write a whole book on the deacons, themselves. A dictionary or encyclopedia is not meant to be a comparative study.
At the end of the Dictionary of Demons is a comprehensive bibliography that you might find useful for further reading and reference. I always appreciate occult authors that leave a bibliography for their readers. Overall, this book is a delight to have in a magical library and could prove useful to those that are seeking to delve into the demonic arts.
Reading through books like this reminds me of the endless search for knowledge in the occult and how one lifetime is simply not enough to be able to experience all the weird and wonderful things that the occult has to offer. While Belanger offers nothing new in the context of occult knowledge she has smartly compiled it all into one book for easy reference, which is rare to find.