Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy:
V. Theurgy

C. Δεσμός 

Another theurgical operation is δεσμός (“binding”), in which a κλήτωρ (caller) invokes a god or daimôn to possess another person, called the  δοχεύς (recipient), θεατής (seer), or κάταχος (held-down one).  In principle this process is similar to the ensoulment of an image, but in this case the “tuned receiver” is a person.  It has the advantage that, by accepting the projection and becoming possessed, a human recipient can embody an autonomous divine personality better than an inanimate object can.  A “pure receptacle” will manifest the archetype with minimal contamination from their own complexes.

By activating the archetypes in the recipient, the mortal participates in the god’s ἐνέργια, that is, the divine actualization or activity; in this way the recipient is possessed and can speak for the god.

Children and naïve individuals are more likely to accept projections and become possessed, so they are traditionally recommended as recipients.  Also, they are more likely to be good recipients because their egos and personal daimôns are less likely to contaminate the interaction.  Nevertheless, being a seer is partly a practiced skill, which includes the ability to quiet the conscious ego and the personal daimôns.  The experienced θεατὴς may be called a “pure receiver” or “empty receptacle”; they are said to have ἐπιτηδιότης (fitness) and ἱερατικὴ δύναμις (hieratic power).

During the trance, the recipient may or may not be conscious of what transpires.  However, since the god is “in” both the caller and receiver, both projection and possession are typical; the caller will see and the receiver will feel the god’s presence.

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Last updated: 2006-04-22.