Difference Between Guardian Spirit And Familiar Spirit And Evil Spirit
Guardian Spirit, in widespread belief, an attendant or tutelary spirit thought to protect a person or object. In ancient Greece such a guardian was called a daimōn, thought to influence a man for good or evil. Ancient Romans called it a genius (“begetter”), who assisted at the birth of every male child, protecting him through life.
In many American Indian tribes a boy approaching puberty was sent off alone to fast or undergo self-torture as a means to acquire a guardian spirit who would become his lifelong companion, bestowing power on the individual through dreams and visions. Occasionally this belief was extended, and the spirit became a totem for an entire clan. Belief in guardian spirits was also found among peoples of Africa and Australia.
In myth, hidden treasures, as well as mountains, crops, seas, and forests, had their guardian dragons, gods, spirits, or demons to be propitiated. In the Orient and India, ancestor worship was performed not only to pay homage to the dead but also to please these spirits.
Evil Spirit. a supernatural being thought to cause people harm or to induce them to do evil. Belief in such beings is widespread among the peoples of the world. The major religions differ greatly in the importance that they assign to a belief in evil spirits, but the priority may at times be very high—as was true, in certain ages, of Christianity’s devil. In general, it may be said that a belief in evil spirits has been found useful by humans, providing them with a handy way of accounting for misfortune, illness, death, and, especially, the wickedness of humans.
There are many variations in the qualities ascribed to these spirits. In parts of Africa tradition has it that some persons, often through inheritance, harbor in their bodies an evil spirit that is activated by its host’s feelings of envy and hostility. It is believed that, without the host’s knowledge, such a spirit may cause harm to the person envied. In medieval Europe witches were believed to operate by means of a consciously made pact with the devil.
Evil spirits may be thought of as never having had bodily form or to have once been human beings, or even animals. Evil spirits of the dead may be those of vengeful enemies or of wicked persons, such as witches. However, they may also be the spirits of dead relatives, who, although loved and loving in life, are believed to have become hostile and dangerous in death.
Evil spirits have been alleged to cause harm through many means. For example, illness or a certain state of altered consciousness may be attributed to “spirit possession”—that is, to the entry of a spirit into a victim’s body. The usual cure for this is exorcism, a practice that consists of an attempt to drive the offending spirit out of the body.