01 May 2012

Book Review - Feeding Your Demons

I just finished a fabulously shadowy book called Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione that I heartily recommend to anyone interested in shadow work at any level.  The book is about the psychological technique of looking at our “demons” and nourishing and satisfying them rather than battling or repressing them.  In essence, it’s shadow work in a psychological rather than magickal framework.  

Allione bases her techniques in the Chod practice of Tibbetan Buddhism.  She outlines a five step process of identifying and visualizing your demon, asking in questions and trying to get to the root of it, and then feeding it.  I like the fact that she clearly distinguishes between hearing what the demon says it wants and identifying what it actually needs in order to progress - something that is a huge part of shadow work.  So often we think that what we want is what we actually need, when it can be just the opposite.  Looking at our problems as demons is an interesting and quite effective way of separating ourselves from those problems and allows us to look at things from a fresh perspective.  The approach of feeding, rather than battling, those demons is essentially the same as integrating our shadows.

Allione looks in depth at many different kinds of “demons” that can afflict people.  She looks at just about every ill in life as a potential demon and something that can be dealt with using her five step process - everything from disease and depression to addiction and abuse.  Her examples are very interesting, but I must admit I skimmed through the sections on demons that I didn’t think applied to me because reading about people doing the same thing in different circumstances gets a tad old.  That being said, I think all the examples are very necessary and that everyone will be able to find something that really resonates in there.  

The only other minor issue I had was the book’s distinctively Buddhist slant - and that’s only because I’m not Buddhist.  I completely respect the Buddhist view that attachment to the good things in life can be as destructive as attachment to the bad, but it’s not something I embrace.  Perhaps I haven’t reached the stage in my life where I’m ready to see through that particular lens; maybe I never will.  Just because I don’t embrace that view doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable and I think that all shadow workers would do well to at least explore those arguments.  

Overall, I loved this book and found it to be incredibly valuable.  I fully intend to explore Allione’s techniques and look forward to giving them my own witchy spin.

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