Free Download: A Course in Demonic Creativity

Where does creativity come from? Why do ideas and inspiration feel as if they come from “outside,” from an external source that is separate from us but able to whisper directly into the mind? Why have so many writers throughout history — and also composers, painters, philosophers, mystics, and scientists — spoken of being guided, accompanied, and even haunted by a force or presence that not only serves as the deep source of their creative work, but that exerts a kind of profound and inexorable gravitational pull on the shape of their lives?

These are all questions addressed by A Course in Demonic Creativity: A Writer’s Guide to the Inner Genius. The book’s starting point is the proposition that we all possess a higher or deeper intelligence than the everyday mind, and that learning to live and work harmoniously and energetically with this intelligence is the irreducible core of a successful artistic life. We can call this inner force the unconscious mind or the silent partner. We can call it the id or the secret self. But muse, daimon, and genius are so much more effective at conveying its subversive and electrifying emotional charge, and also its experiential reality.

Your unconscious mind truly is your genius in the ancient sense of the word, the sense that was universal before it was fatefully altered several centuries ago by historical-cultural forces. Befriending it as such, and interacting with it as if it really is a separate, collaborating presence in your psyche, puts you in a position to receive its gifts, and it in the position to give them to you.



About the Author

Chapter One: Perspiration Meets Inspiration, or The Return of the Muse

A species of divine madness • Waiting and working • The inner alien •
Rehabilitating the muse • Daimonic creativity in an age of apocalypse

Chapter Two: A Brief History of the Daimon and the Genius

The Greeks and their daimones • The Romans and their genii • Daimons in the
modern world • From daimons to demons (and angels) • Your daimon and your
destiny • My personal daimonic passion, and yours

Chapter Three: A Writer’s Guide to the Psyche

The whole truth • The ghost in the attic • Conscious and unconscious: “You” and
your inner other • “Our souls, our psyches, are themselves partly alien” • The inner
division of labor: Daimonic creator, egoic editor • Meet the demon muse • The
psychic reservoir • The practice of the presence of the genius

Chapter Four: Getting to Know Your Creative Demon

Spiritual vs. secular • The first technique: Morning writing  • The second
technique: Dialogue between the ego and the unconscious • The third technique:
Read your life like a work of art • The fourth technique: Take a life inventory • A
personal illustration • Knowing and loving your creative force • Doomed to be
artists, or Keep the channel open

Chapter Five: The Practice of Inner Collaboration

Kipling’s daemon and “the blackest ink” • For your demon’s pleasure • Fifty pens
for H. P. Lovecraft • Trial and error • A fragile muse, a delicate inner relationship •
Drift, wait, obey

Chapter Six: Divining Your Daimon’s Rhythm

The creative process: A review • The importance of trusting the process and its
timing • This “enormous and powerful part of your nature” • The myth of
constant output • Finding your natural creative condition • Toll booths, radio
aërials, and the blessing of silence • Dreams and nightmares

Chapter Seven: The Art of Active Waiting

Lessons from religion • What wants to be said through you •
Waiting, working, and courting the muse

Chapter Eight: The Discipline of the Demon Muse

Daimonic guidance: The unbidden voice of the beyond within • Daimonic vs.
demonic • Actors, artists, and mass murderers • The daimon’s language:
Involuntary feelings and images • The demon with a typographic mind •
“A generally intensified emotional sensibility” • Trusting the coherence of your
deep self • Finding your own way




(NOTE: The Demon Muse website referenced on the cover is no longer in operation.)


This book was developed from material published at the website Demon Muse (created and run by Matt Cardin) from 2009 to 2011. It was made publicly available for free under a Creative Commons license. The site was permanently closed in 2013, but the ebook has been left available. It has been downloaded more than ten thousand times.