It’s been approximately 11 days since I started my work with the Agathos Daimon, and so far, it’s been turning out quite well. So I’ll talk about my personal reflections on it so far, with the results in a forthcoming post.
The Agathos Daimon is primarily regarded as a tutelary spirit, one who has been assigned to a person upon birth. I personally suspect that this is where the concept of a guardian angel originated, especially since the term angelos simply means messenger. While many accounts conflate it with Zeus and Dionysus, some others regard it as a separate spirit entirely, which is the focus of my practice.
With its patronage of vineyards and grain fields, its connection with earthly powers are quite clear. But there is more than what meets the eye with these relationships, for these are both liminal lands – cleared from the wild by man, yet ever close to its primal forerunners. Their status as reliable foundations for an individual’s fortune and success (especially both their direct and indirect ability to support a person’s supply of food and drink) made the Agathos Daimon a vital spirit to praise and appease, lest nature reclaim what is hers.
It’s iconography is equally significant: a young man bearing a cornucopia and a bowl in one hand while the other bore a poppy and an ear of grain, a snake wound about its chest (which would later be conflated with the lion-headed serpent in syncretic Egyptian practices). The statue would often be depicted almost naked, its genitals proudly on display – a confident, prideful show of passionate male virility. In one hand, it holds the bounty of the land, whether it is given or asked for. In the other, the poppy it holds is a herb significant to many mystery cults for its power to give otherworldly visions, while the grain could be used to also signify the presence of ergot – another entheogen favored in ancient times.
Lastly, its connection to the sun must also be pointed out. As mentioned in its prayer, “you who are a young man with the rising sun and an old man with the setting sun”, it possesses a form of solar authority – not as all-encompassing, perhaps, as more formalized solar figures, but formidable nevertheless in its own right. It can be considered a psychopomp of sorts, ferrying one across the seas of fate in the span of a lifetime.
And this is just scratching the surface of the mysteries the Agathos Daimon possesses. I have to dive deeper into its depths, especially with its connections to Tyche (as husband) and its similarity to intercessory spirits such as the HGA. One thing is left to say: Io, Agathos Daimonon!