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8th - Demonic (Beebe)

According to John Beebe

I often use the term demonic/daimonic personality to convey that the archetype associated with the most unconscious of regions of the mind can deliver insights that are of the highest value, as well as depreciating and undermining ones. It is truly an area of ourselves that is both devil and angel.
The demonic personality is usually the locus of our most unyielding and unconscious flaws of character. When we act beastly, it is often through this archetype and its associated function-attitude.
Beast is the demonic/daimonic personality, which in life, unlike the Beast at the end of most versions of the fairy tale, does not transform into a handsome prince. This most incorrigible of our function-attitudes stays a beast, but one that to some extent can be tamed through the anima’s solicitous and energetic care.
Although we commonly feel excruciatingly self-conscious about the inferior function (the anima and animus can amplify that self-consciousness to the point of projecting that everyone is noticing our clumsiness in this area), it is important to realize that most of us are quite unconscious of the impact on other people of the functions carried by the opposing or demonic personality.
These less-inhibited parts of our functioning are among those that others experience negatively. They form the realistic basis of the ‘unfair’ judgments we sometimes experience ourselves receiving from others. It would be wiser for someone receiving such a judgment to say to him or herself, ‘That person has seen my shadow.’[1]

According to Michael Pierce

The sub-primitive function completely disappears into the mists of the unconscious. It is the function which the type has the greatest trouble understanding properly, because it is so thoroughly taken for granted.


The sub-primitive, like the soil above a seed, presents a challenge for it to overcome, and thus catalyzes its growth. It represents an aspect of life which the personality is truly at a loss to deal with. It is often hidden from view, only to suddenly unveil itself in a test of one’s preparation. Thus, the aspect of life overwhelms the individual, and they are forced to either adapt or wallow in stagnation.

Positions and Oppositions

The sub-primitive function, as the progenitor of the primitive function, is therefore granted reverence as well; however, like Wakinyan, it is not therefore a comforting entity. In fact, alienation from the primitive function is illusory, insofar as the primitive and dominant function are two sides of the same coin. But the sub-primitive function represents a truly alienated part of the human being, and, as such, entails certain responsibilities of being human that the individual, due to their personality preferences, struggles to consistently fulfill. Every step towards approaching these responsibilities represents profound development in the individual’s maturity.[2]

According to Carol Shumate

The archetypal complexes

The demonic/daimonic archetype, at its worst, exhibits a subterranean movement that undermines others and ourselves, and at its best, operates like divine intervention.

The relationship to the self and to others

The spine—functions

Like the opposing personality complex, the demonic/daimonic archetype has the force of an entire personality. Beebe (2014) said that the eighth archetype (and its function) only emerges when the inferior function disappears: “Then it’s as if a door into another territory takes you beyond the limit of the conscious world.” Beebe (2004/2017) has described how an undeveloped inferior function can be overwhelmed by the eighth function; when that happens, the personality takes on a demonic cast: “To the degree that the inferior function has not been taken up as a problem by the individual in the course of the development of his consciousness, it is no match for the demonic aspect of the unconscious” (p. 46). Kalsched’s case studies demonstrate how the appearance of an angelic figure in patients’ dreams can be beneficent for a while but can become demonic and persecutory, just as the eighth function in Beebe’s model can have both demonic and angelic manifestations (Beebe reserved the term “daimonic” for the latter). Kalsched’s (2013) explanation of this aspect of every child’s psyche shows why this archetype is the lowest and the worst yet potentially also the best: “The light and dark angels represent the light and dark side of the same archetypal defense. The great ‘protector’ in the self-care system is also a ‘persecutor’” (p. 118). Kalsched compared this archetype to the three-headed demon guarding Dante’s inferno named Dis. Dis was originally known as the light-bringer, Lucifer, now fallen into Hades as bringer of darkness. Dis in Latin means to divide or negate, and Kalsched (2013) observed that its clinical manifestations are: “dissociation, dissociative identity disorder (DID), disavowal, disconnection, disease, even disaster” (p. 87). And yet, even the demonic Dis has a purpose in the psyche, which is to keep the child alive until the child is old enough to tolerate knowledge and awareness.[3]


[1] Beebe J. (2016), Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type: The reservoir of consciousness
[2] Pierce M. (2020), Motes and Beams: A Neo-Jungian Theory of Personality
[3] Shumate C. (2021), Projection and Personality Development Via the Eight-Function Model
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