“Speaking of the elementary, Porphyry says: “These invisible beings have been receiving from men honors as god…a universal belief makes them capable of becoming very malevolent: it proves that their wrath is kindled against those who neglect to offer them a legitimate worship.”
Homer describes them in the following terms: “Our gods appear to us when we offer them sacrifice…sitting themselves at our table, they partake of our festival meals. Whenever they meet on his travels a solitary Phoenician, they serve to him as guides, and otherwise manifest their presence. We can say that our piety approaches us to them as much as crime and bloodshed unite the Cyclopes and the ferocious race of giants.”
That latter proving that these gods were kind and beneficent daemons, and that, whether they were disembodied spirits or elementary beings, they were no devils.
The language of Porphyry, who was himself a direct disciple of Plotinus, is still more explicit as to the nature of these spirits. “Demons”, he says, “are invisible; but they know how to clothe themselves with forms and configurations subjected to numerous variations, which can be explained by their nature having much of the corporeal in itself.
Their abode is in the neighborhood of the earth…and when they can escape the vigilance of the good daemons, there is no mischief they will not dare commit. One day they will employ brute force; another, cunning.”
Further, he says: “It is a child’s play for them to arouse in us vile passions, to impart to societies and nations turbulent doctrines, provoking wars, seditions, and other public calamities, and then tell you ‘that all these is the work of the gods.’
…These spirits pass their time in cheating and deceiving mortals, creating around them illusions and prodigies; their greatest ambition is to pass as gods and souls (disembodied spirits).”
Iamblichus, the great theurgist of the Neo-platonic school, a man skilled in sacred magic, teaches that “good daemons appear to us in reality, while the bad ones can manifest themselves but under the shadowy forms of phantoms.”
Further, he corroborates Porphyry, and tells that “…the good ones fear not the light, while the wicked ones require darkness….The sensations they excite in us make us believe in the presence and reality of things they show, though these things be absent.”
Even the most practiced theurgists found danger sometimes in their dealings with certain elementaries, and we have Iamblichus stating that, “The gods, the angels, and the daemons, as well as the souls, may be summoned through evocation and prayer….But when, during the theurgic operations, a mistake is made, beware!
Do not imagine that you are communicating with beneficent divinities, who have answered your earnest prayer; no, for they are bad daemons, only under the guise of good ones! For the elementaries often clothe themselves with the similitude of the good, and assume a rank very much superior to that they really occupy. Their boasting betrays them.””
H. P. Blavatsky