You’ve most likely wondered at some point in your life: what are the true meanings of ghosts, spirits and demons? Below is a brief explanation of these terms and what they mean.
We tend to use the word “ghost” and “spirit” interchangeably but there is a strong difference between them. According to the late Hans Holzer, professor of Parapsychology and writer of around 119 books on the subject, “Ghosts are similar to troubled human beings, incapable of reasoning for themselves. … Spirits on the other hand are the surviving personalities of all of us who pass through the door of death in a relatively normal fashion.”
Ghosts are beings who are tied to the location of their death, usually a sudden, traumatic or tragic one, and they often don’t realize that they are dead. In most cases, they have “unfinished business” as the deceased person does not accept or even understand the way in which they died. The briefest form of unfinished business can be as innocent as a person being attached so strongly to their home that they cannot leave it behind and pass over. Known as “caretakers”, they want to stay to make sure the building is being taken care of properly by future owners and also to their approval. At the end of the scale, unfinished business can take the form of dark energy when a person’s death is extremely violent and unexpected. These beings are not necessarily malevolent, many are mischievous and benevolent who don’t know where they are. In order for them to return home, they need to be guided to their guides on the other side by a spiritual healer for example.
Spirits, on the other hand, are not tied or stagnant to one place. It is believed that spirits are discarnate entities, meaning that they are the soul that has survived when a person dies and no longer has a physical body in which to reside. They are free to move from one dimension to another and can return to us at free will. Often it is just a genuine, emotional tie to a loved one, such as wanting a family member to know that a deceased relative is okay, that can be the cause of a visit by a spirit.
Surprisingly, only a small percentage of paranormal sightings are true ghosts. The majority of them are really sightings of what we call “residual energy” — when an emotionally charged or tragic event is being replayed over and over again, at the same spot, and at the same time affecting other people’s energy in their auric field.
Demons (“maras” in Sanskrit) are not the bloodthirsty ghouls waiting for us in dark corners; these demons are within us. They are energies we experience every day, such as fear, illness, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties, and addiction. Things that drain our energy and block us from being completely awake is a demon. The approach of giving form to these abstract inner forces and feeding them, rather than struggling against them, was originally articulated by an 11th-century female Tibetan Buddhist teacher named Machig Labdrön (1055–1145). The spiritual practice Machig developed was called Chöd, and it generated such great results that it became very popular, spreading throughout Tibet and beyond that border. All of us carry demons inside. We catch fleeting glimpses of them, sometimes we witness them in full frontal chaos, but mostly, we ignore and bury their existence either out of fear, guilt or pure shame. Discovering and owning our demons is a vital part of our spiritual journey. As psychotherapist Steve Wolf said: “Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore.” The Shadow can be a source of richness,acknowledging it can be a path to healing and an authentic life. In other words, the Shadow isn’t just the wounded part of us, the demon, but the path towards a more authentic life. In order to repair, heal, and grow on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level, we need to practice Shadow Work. Shadow Work is a spiritual practice that aids us to become whole again. It works on the premise that you must take responsibility for your Shadow, rather than avoiding or repressing it, to experience deep healing and soul evolution.