On Sex Demons! Succubi and Incubi (An Edited Excerpt from my Upcoming Book: 7 Spirits)

In Chinese folklore, there exist certain beings that possess a peculiar set of abilities that are mostly utilized to seduce men into an early grave. A quick example is the Chinese fox spirit the Huli jing, or literally, the 9 tailed fox.

This spirit was said to possess the ability to take on the form of a beautiful man or women and through its perceived feminine or masculine wiles, would lure humans into sexual congress only to brutally remove their souls and take possession of their bodies.

Stories abound throughout the Asian continent of such beings causing all sorts of mischief and havoc wherever they went. The famous Taoist Chinese Mystic Guo Pu, described the spirit as such,

“When a fox is fifty years old, it can transform itself into a woman; when a hundred years old, it becomes a beautiful female, or a spirit medium, or an adult male who has sexual intercourse with women…and when a fox is thousand years old, it ascends to heaven and becomes a celestial fox.”[1]

Striking about the passage itself, other than how evocative the term “celestial fox” is; is the suggestion that these spirits attain their power after a progression of aging. The powers themselves aren’t innate so much as they are bestowed resultant from the attainment of a particular degree of life experience

Also illustrated by this passage, is the fact that not all of these fox spirits were of an evil nature. Just because they can do these things doesn’t mean that they are bound to repeat a pattern of destruction. There are more than a few stories of such beings actually facilitating the growth and success of human societies.

The ancient Chinese historian, Guo Pu, penned a book some time in the third century entitled shanghaiing. The book itself covers quite an expansive period of time but in one instance it details an example when a time of peace spread across the kingdom. In this particular event, 9 tailed foxes (Kyubi) appeared as a sign of harmony and, indeed, were taken as auspicious omens.[2]

In Japan as well, the notion of foxes as seductresses and mischief causers was seemingly introduced by the infusion of traditional Chinese stories as well as by the injection of Chan Buddhism into Japanese culture. Before this introduction, the Kitsune (Japanese for Fox) had a surrounding mythos portraying them as friends and lovers, not as tricksters and villains.

Even still, for the most part in common folklore, these spirits seemed to be at the very least viewed with reverence and even fear.

Something to draw your attention to is the distinctive sexual element these spirits possess. The utilization of powers of transformation to seduce men (and sometimes women) into sexual congress only to relieve them of their souls is a standard, almost universal description.

In the western world, particularly in southern Europe, there are a few examples of similar beings, the most recognizable of which are probably the sirens of the Greek myths. These strange sea bird/women hybrids were known to seduce sailors to the bottom of the sea with their beautiful voices. Certain myths surrounding mermaids tell of similar functions, luring the unwary to early graves.

These creatures, be they sirens, the Huli jing, or other entities that seduce those who would cross them into intercourse for the purposes of sapping their vital energy and eventually causing their death, are classified under a category of being that has generally been termed succubi or incubi depending on their apparition to the individual.

The words themselves are plurals of the terms Succubus and Incubus respectively. Succubus stems from the late Latin ‘succubare’. This meant something like “to lie underneath” generally implying the preferred position of such a being when it came to sexual congress. Succubi are always of the female variety

Incubi, conversely, are depicted as being male. The word stems from the latin ‘incubari’ meaning to ‘lie on top’, again indicating the preferred position of the spirit in sexual congress.

Where exactly the concept originated is, as it is with fairies, somewhat contested, though there seem to be two main schools of thinking.

The first of which has its origins in an ancient Jewish text called the Zohar. The idea was basically that Adam had a wife before Eve who was named Lilith. Unwilling to lay with Adam, Lilith fled Eden and found sanctuary with the angel Samael (or Satan for the Christian minded among us).

After a short time, Lilith and Samael wound up engaging in intercourse and producing a litany of children. These demonic babies then, at the command of their demonic parents, would enter into the world of humans in order to steal away the vital life essences at the time that men were at their weakest. This was generally while the victim slept or had sex with their spouses.[3] The theory goes that we would come to know these demonic offspring as succubi/incubi.

This model would eventually find its way into the Christian tradition and its view found favor much later in the wildly popular book written by the Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer in 1486, The Malleus Maleficarum, better known as, The Hammer of the Witches. Despite being roundly condemned by the authorities in the church, this book was a tremendous bestseller, outselling every book but the Bible for nearly 200 years.

Its author fomented his readers with wild and somewhat horrifying assertions that demons would actually steal the semen of dead men in order to impregnate women.[4] This, he argued, was the only way that demons and their kind could reproduce. His literal interpretation represented one of the clearest cases for a strict literal theological understanding of the succubi phenomena.

Another prevailing theory of the time was less rooted in strict literalist theology and can be seen through modern eyes as a sort of proto-psychological explanation, indeed this phenomenon was viewed by some as a sort of upwelling of inherent weakness and sinfulness by unguarded minds. This was actually the track taken by theologians and scholars both before and after the Mallus was published. As we mentioned, members of the Inquisition and the church at large roundly condemned the Mallus for both contradicting Catholic theology as well as promoting ethically questionable procedures without considering other points of view but they did not completely dismiss the phenomenon of witchcraft and succubi as unreal.

Rather, the main line of argument emanating from those conducting the inquisition from the Church’s point of view, was that the practice of witchcraft and the apparition of entities like succubi and incubi were in actuality delusions brought on, not by demonic possession, but rather by visits from the devil in the dreams of those afflicted, coaxing them to engage in sinful thoughts and actions. Of course, it was considered that only the weak in faith and those lacking in virtue would be afflicted by such conditions.

If we consider these occurrences now, through modern psychological terms, we could easily posit that the focus on the ideals of sexual purity and chastity which were so prevalent in the minds of those in the early medieval period were cause for tremendous repression of what some would call inherent lustful desire.

This repression in waking life seems to lead to an attempted expression by the psyche when the conscious mind of the affected was left unguarded during sleep. What the medieval theologians chalked up to visits from the devil, more modern psychologists understand to be the emergence of repressed aspects of the mind.

Outside of mainline Catholic theology there arose other explanations for the phenomena. In 1599, the future King James the first of England penned his book Daemonologie (Demonology) in which he argued that succubi and incubi were actually the same entity that manifested differently depending on the afflicted persons.[5]

This rationale represented a marriage between protestant Christian theology and the proto-psychological explanation. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that King James was onto the notion that repressed desires have no real “gender” as we understand humans to express, and that their form of manifestation and conceptualization is dependent on the individual undergoing the experience.

The sheer force of such repression, so our modern theory goes, would lead to the unconscious creation of a sort of thought-form whose appearance would greatly depend on the individual experiencing the condition (see section 2) which after a time would take on an autonomous element and become independent of the mind that created it.

It should be noted that the opposite has been proposed as well, indeed some mystical thinkers along with psychologists have posited that overindulgence in sexual thinking can also lead to the creation of this type of thought-form. Much as we reinforce addictions through repeated behavior, if we continually feed these beings, we become more likely to continue doing so.

Regardless of how this particularly lustful thought-form was created, once it had been formed it would then take up residence in the aura of the creator and continually feed on the sexual energies and thoughts of that person. This, in turn, would create a sort of feedback loop where the harder the individual attempted to repress or fulfill such sexual thoughts, the more power was delivered to the entity during sleep when the mind is unchecked and allowed to crave such things of an animalistic nature.

Regardless, be they creations of the demon queen Lilith and her consort Satan, or delusions brought upon weak minds by the devil himself, or constructs of the mind that have taken on lives of their own, or some combination of the three, the appearance of such beings and their corresponding experiences to the uninitiated, and even to fairly advanced adepts, can be something of a bother.

Considering that we live in an age where access to sexually explicit material is available on demand for anyone with a half-decent internet connection, the prevalence of these entities and indeed their ability to drain the life out of some has expanded quite considerably. This reality coupled with the fact that the minds of a great many people focused on the attainment of sexual gratification has led to an explosion in the number of succubi and incubi currently cohabitating this reality with us.

I can’t yet say if this is yet a positive or a negative trend, though I have my biases, permit me to say that the resurgence in these energies does seem to be a trend with no real sign of stopping or even meaningfully slowing down any time in the near future. If we look at the numbers surrounding pornography and sexual addiction, as well as myriad surveys on loneliness, social isolation and lack of general purpose all indicating more and more people swept up into isolated and auto-hedonistic lifestyles, we see over the past 50 years an absolute explosion in those afflicted with such conditions and are thus led to believe that the energies of the succubi and incubi are perhaps more at play today than they have ever been throughout human history.

This somewhat worrying trend has met some pushback from the great religions of the day as every single spiritual tradition I have ever come across (with the exception of some strains of Satanism and chaos magick) extol the virtues of retaining one’s sexual energy in order to channel it into productive, charitable, mentally stimulating and creative tasks. Of course, with the number of individuals proclaiming a religious identification falling like a stone through water with each passing day, the traditional bastion of faith and community, what may have once provided a sense of meaning and remedy to the situation, has been weakened like never before.

I make no defense of the great religions as they have only themselves to blame for such failings and I rejoice in the destruction of certain hateful doctrines among them, but I admit, I lament that the positive aspects of these faiths have are being cast aside as well. In this I can only say that it seems that we as a society have been unknowingly throwing the baby, along with the soap, the towels and the rubber ducky, out with the bathwater.

Returning to the point, the real detriment of interaction with incubi and succubi is that the individual is locked into a cycle of expending their sexual energy and thus is left impotent to complete the tasks in life that require higher energetic levels and focus. As with any addiction, constant focus on the gratification of a desire overrides the impulse to do, quite literally, almost anything else. Resulting from this environment and the general response to it is the diffusion of one’s vital energy into the ether rendering one further incapable to aspire to higher goals, leading to feelings of inadequacy and sorrow, which only reinforces a desire to feel good, in any way possible, resulting in further gratification of base desires and a further descent into the mire.

In contrast to what I admit is a decidedly pessimistic view, some authors would have you believe that succubi and incubi are in fact harmless and worthy of establishing relationships with. This is where I take a particular stand and where I may get into a bit of trouble with some practitioners in the wider community. I make no apologies for this. These people are either…

1. Delusional,

2. Woefully ignorant,

3. Mistaken in their assertion that they are dealing with a succubus (Purposefully created Tulpas, that is to say, sentient thought forms, are a common entity often mistaken to be succubi though they can have similar effects on the individual)

4. Sex and pornography addicts

5. Afflicted with a succubus or incubus themselves (misery loves company) or,

6. Role playing.

If there’s one thing to take away from this chapter it is the fact that such beings who ask for the life force of the individual in order to do nothing more than gratify their basest physical impulses are probably not to be considered one’s friends.

The newfound popularity of such books urging the practitioner to respect succubi and incubi, and even to treat them as friends or companions presents quite a worrisome trend in normalizing practices that can be very much to the individuals detriment. As best I can tell these authors are suffering from one of the above-listed conditions or are simply playing an edgy role to incite interest and prop up book sales. Their cunning would be laudable if it weren’t so destructive.

Part of the reason I am so irked by this rise in popularity amongst such subjects is simply because these beings are extremely difficult to banish once they worm their way into any given individual’s auric field. There have been myriad documented cases throughout the middle ages of monks and priests attempting to rid those afflicted through exorcisms and all manner of holy prayer. In a little more than half of the cases I have studied, these mechanisms were completely ineffective.

In a small but equally noteworthy number of cases, the attempts to banish such entities ended up actually exacerbating the problem.

The only bulletproof way I have encountered to rid oneself of a succubus is to fortify oneself with patterns and habits that effectively starve the beast out. If one is spending their days engaging in positive tasks, bettering oneself or their environment through prayer, or work, or creative expression, or ceremonial magick, or establishing healthy relationships, or engaging with family, or meditation, or jogging, or any real dedicated spiritual pursuit in order to make their lives and the lives of those around them just a little bit better, they are channeling their energy into considerably healthy objectives. Thusly, there is very little energy left over for such entities to feed on.

Neurologically speaking, this technique is basically light neuro-programming. The term “use it or lose it” comes to mind. If you consistently reinforce neural pathways that trigger sexual desire (through masturbation or casual sex or pornography or what have you) then the impulse becomes part of something called your default mode network. Basically, this network is what your brain defaults to when met with any new situation. It becomes your auto-pilot function. To return to the phone metaphor we used in the last chapter, these practices are effectively taking the succubi off of one’s “speed dial” function.

“Welcome to Divinity Inc. Please press 1 to engage in a meaningful expression of the soul.”

Likewise, if you set your default mode network to respond to new situations with prayer, hard work, fasting, compassion for self and others, meditation, etc. The patterns you develop will overcome your previous neuronal pathways, allowing those past patterns and networks to shrivel away and eventually recede into the dustbin of your neurological history.

As the Dutch philosopher Erasmus said, “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”[6]

Of course, some habits are better than others in overcoming the conditions that succubi and incubi bring on. For example, a dedicated practice of theurgy (invocation of the divine) will set the practitioner’s mind on their most positive ideal and will thus reinforce their commitment to overcoming their limitations. This might prove a more effective method than simply attempting to go exercise each time the urge to give up one’s sexual energies emerges. This is so for the reason that not only is the practitioner establishing a new habit (in the case of theurgy) but they are establishing a new conception of self. Whereas in the case of simply exercising, they are only relying on habit to overcome habit, but in the case of theurgy, they are relying on habit and a redefinition of self to overcome habit. This, as I have seen in several examples in my own life, is doubly effective.

That said, a combination of exercising the body, the mind, and the spirit never hurt anyone and by all accounts generally proves more effective than any single practice performed in isolation. When one, through an act of tremendous Will, can work in concert with all parts of themselves, unimaginable power may be obtained.

In closing this section, I want to make it clear that I am in no way denigrating the sexual experience. Sexual action is a demonstrably healthy thing when expressed in the appropriate situations. It is only when these elements get out of hand that things are likely to go awry. I think it’s safe to bring up that old phrase, everything in moderation; especially moderation.


[1] Xiaofei Kang. The cult of the fox: Power, gender, and popular religion in late imperial and modern China. (New York. Columbia University Press. 2006.) 276–324

[2] Richard E. Strassberg. A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. (Berkeley, CA. University of California press. 2002.) Chapter 14, Verse 16-17.

[3] The Zohar. Trans. Rav Michael Laitman. (Toronto, ON, Canada. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers. 2009) 459.

[4] Heinrich kramer, “Whether Children can be Generated by Incubi and Succubi, Part 1, Question 3” in Malleus Maleficarum. Edited by Reverend Montague Summers. (Windhaven Netword. 1999.) Retrieved from http://www.magicgatebg.com/Books/MalleusAcrobat.pdf

[5] King James I. Demonology of King James I. (Edited by Tarl Warwict. 2016.) 54-55, 62.

[6] Desiderius Erasmus. AZQuotes.com, Wind and Fly LTD, 2021. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/90473, accessed March 11, 2021.

Published by Nick

After spending several years studying economics in Washington D.C. Nick, who at the time was a militant atheist, experienced a vision of God. As atheists don't generally cavort with Gods, he figured that he should probably try to understand what the hell had happened to him. He has since spent the majority of his adult life studying religion. After the better part of a decade engaged in self-study, Nick graduated with a degree in Religious Studies from Naropa University in 2017. He's spends most of his free time involved with the great traditions of our time, doing his best to peel back layers of religious symbolism in order to get at the practical psychological teachings beneath the surface. Nick writes on matters of magick, spirituality and the occult from his home in Boulder, Colorado. He lives with his wonderful partner, several fish and an overweight but lovable feline.

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