Demon worship, or demonism, is the belief that demons can have a positive effect on a person's life or the welfare of a community. As a faith system, it is persecuted across many nations on Micras. Many demon worshippers flee their native countries and birth families and congregate in new, self-chosen families. It is the official religion of the Community of Goetia. Many Goetic demonists hold a humanist viewpoint in their faith, placing special importance on fierce individualism, religious freedom, hedonism, seeking goodness and beauty, and focusing on improving life as it is rather than a morbid fascination with the afterlife or unseen gods.
Demons can be found in almost all Micran faith systems, from Cedrism, to Bovinism. Not all Goetics worship the same demons, but all Goetics are united in their worship of demonic beings and as a result, being outcasts in their nations of birth. This brings them together in fellowship, both as a local community and as a worldwide brother- and sisterhood.
Many Goetics follow deamons from the Cedrist tradition, who physically reside in Goetia with their queen, Kizzy Drakland. These Cedrist daemons were minor spirits exorcised from Demonsfall, a city in Shireroth believed to be founded on the site of the gates of hell. Using the Sword of Fire, Kizzy Drakland removed several of these demons and took them with her to Malarboria. Kizzy compiled the profiles of these demons in the Grimoindr, which lists the demons' powers and how a demonist may pledge themselves to gain the demon's favor. Her close friendship with the Kaiser Ayreon IV allowed her to keep her demonic realm, which was clearly against anti-daemonic laws. After a few years, uprisings, instability, and continued Imperial intolerance to her demons saw her forcefully exiled. In exchange for surrendering the Sword of Fire, she and the demons she exorcised from Demonsfall were allowed to leave Shireroth, and migrated to Cibola and settled in Goetia.
As a faith system forced to grow in hiding, demon worship is a deeply personal religion. There are very few universal practices or rites. Among the Goetics, each Family has adopted their own traditions and rituals. The Cliffbase CF dress themselves in animal skins, acting the parts of dogs, cats, bears, dragons, and snakes to link themselves to spirits of those animals. The Saints CF practice ritual binding, in serene and methodical environments, to remind themselves of the persecution they faced. The Navigators CF tie themselves to a large ship's wheel and flog each other until they experience demonic visions (or faint).
Demonists in other countries have their own traditions. Natopian demonists, neo-Helions, have adopted the beliefs of the extinct Elion-Ant'elion 'tribe' of central Klaasiya. They practice a symbolic form of cannibalism, mimicking the original Helions' actual cannibalism. The neo-Helions worship T'son the Undying Demon, the Blood Gutton, by tearing apart bags of fermented juice over human-shaped bagels, and praying for T'son to transform the bread into flesh and the juice into blood before ritually dismembering the bagel person and devouring it.
Divisions in Goetia
In the Community of Goetia, the world's only country that promotes demonism, there have been three waves of demonic practice. The three guards can be considered as sects or denominations.
The Old Guard, Old Ways or First Wave of demonism refers to the demonic practices, rituals, and traditions that flourished before the Great Revelation in 1661. Before the revelation of the Community of Goetia, demonic worshipers practices their rituals in small, secret cults or families. In these small, tight-knit families, a harsh power dynamic often existed with seniority often equated to superiority in the hierarchy. Fathers and Mothers often held total control over other members of the family, often called boys and girls, regardless of age. Of course, at the time, these severe power dynamics only existed during worship services and in the outside world, Fathers and Mothers had no actual power over their boys and girls, except that which were ceded to the family leaders. Sometimes you would have a Father directing a boy in a worship scene, and the boy was in fact a powerful member of the government, and the Father was merely an unemployed fat old slob. The assumption was that all demon worshipers participated on a safe, sane, and consensual level. Although the demonist families were small, secretive, and wary of outsiders, word would spread to untrue demonists, who joined families purely to take advantage of innocent and vulnerable people.
The Old Ways also require that every demonist profess allegiance to a demon. Entering into a contract with a demon was the highest expression of the demonic faith, and it superseded seniority in family dynamics. Demonic contracts gave the devotee access to the powers of the demon, but often at a very high price.
The New Guard, New Ways or Second Wave of demonism is a collection of beliefs, largely based on personal spirituality. It gained in popularity after 1671 after The Saints CF was discovered to have been Vanicly corrupted by John Babbit (aka Johan Johansson). This new way of demonism does not require one to profess allegiance to a demon and does not even require membership in a family. It is popular among the Goetics of Gathering Place which has attracted a large influx of demon worshipers after the assassination of Kizzy Drakland and even more after interest generated by the International Master Demonist Contest. Some see the New Guard as a way of increasing the profile of demonists worldwide. By showing demonism as a "safe" and introspective spirituality, it may allow demonists in other countries to practice openly without fear of reprisal. New Guarders seek to transform the public image of demonism to be accepting, inclusive, and self-descriptive.
The sudden surge of popularity of the New Guard, included the creation of several new families (Troglonauts, Gladius, and Crophaulers) and even a competing conference in the Community, the Northern Coordinating Council. The original families (Navigators, Cliffbase, and Gateway) stood aside as the New Way swept across the Community that has since been termed: The Old Scare. Everything and everyone associated with the Old Guard was forced to recant or be expelled. The new community leader, the Master Demonist, is charged specifically with modernizing the Community and rooting out the Old Guard. After the Reconciliation, all cycle families are considered to be free of Old Guard influence, although absence of Old Guard identity does not equate to identifying with the New Guard.
The actual demons that lived in Goetia were also absent, having returned to Demonsfall with Kizzy Drakland during the Kalirion Fracture and presumably simply stayed their or returned to Balgard. Only Andrea, Kizzy's half-demon daughter, and Ronove remained in the Community. Thus the impetus for worshiping actual demons fell dramatically.
The Middle Guard, or Third Wave began after the sudden and severe backlash against the Old Guard died down, many demonists began to recollect on what, exactly, was wrong with their original way of practicing demonism. They began to argue that certain old guard practices constituted the very essence of demonism. Others wondered how one can be a demonist if they aren't actively worshiping a demon, merely the "humanistic concept of demonism." Proponents of the nascent Middle Guard seek to blend the New Guard's hyper-awareness of consent and rooting out abusers, with the Old Guard's traditions and family dynamics strictly confined to time-limited worship scenes. Third Wave demonism does not support the rapid influx of immigrants to the Community, and prefers that new Community members stay in Gathering Place for awhile before seeking to join an existing familiy, or realize life in the Community is not for them and to return to their country of birth.
The moderate acceptance of the Middle Guard was helped, in part, by Andrea Drakland republishing the New Grimoindr with a balance of tame and horrifying demons to choose to worship.