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Book Review: Embrace of the Daimon by Sandra Lee Dennis, PhD

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Embrace of the Daimon by Sandra Lee Dennis has been revised since it was first published in 2001. A lot has happened in the past decade that made the author’s decision to do this revision. The news is rampant with sex scandals. The media is bringing more violence and sexuality into our day-to-day lives. This includes what we see in video games, in the news, in books, movies and television. It is everywhere. If we don’t learn to embrace the darker aspects of ourselves then we miss out on an opportunity to attain a higher level of awareness. By gaining an acceptance of the aspects of ourselves that frighten us, we can learn to grow and attain a higher level of consciousness. By repressing and avoiding dealing with the dark archetype we actually give it more power and in doing so we become weaker. This is when it can seem to transform itself from daimonic to demonic.

Daimons are described as “messengers of the gods” who would connect heaven and earth by exchanging messages between the human and divine realms. When Dr. Dennis started doing work with them through imaginal visitations, she found that they deepened her connection to life. Initially, however, she found the images that she was seeing to be horrifying. But she also discovered that they revealed information to her from our collective psyche because many of them seemed to be coming from our ancestral or collective history. Delving deeper into Jungian based psychology, she found that these connections bring sense to what we are experiencing.

Through writing this book, Dr. Dennis shares a tremendous amount of personal information about her self and the dark visions that she was seeing so that we can gain a better understanding of her experiences and the value in applying this information to our own lives. I found her willingness to share these dark visions to be helpful because they made me realize I am not alone in having this experience. If she didn’t go into such depth, I might not have been sure that her visions were as dark as some of mine have been. She also does a great job of analyzing what she has experienced. By bringing these thoughts to light, and analyzing them it reduces the impact of the darkness surrounding them.

While Dr. Dennis discusses the ways in which we can embrace the “Daimon,” I personally would not be comfortable in embarking on this journey without professional help. Her book has helped me to understand the importance and the path to leading myself to wholeness, yet I also realize that I would not do well in embarking on this adventure on my own. I think that it is incredibly important that Embrace of the Daimon is read, especially by mental health professionals, so that we can learn how to use this aspect of ourselves to heal and grow.

I also found it interesting that the title, Embrace of the Daimon, was unsettling to me. If it was a romance novel, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. Yet I think this is the point that the author, Sandra Lee Dennis, is trying to make. If I feel it is okay to immerse myself into a darkly erotic novel, I don’t feel disturbed. Yet, to read a non-fiction book that is written about embracing the darker aspects of myself, I feel some discomfort. It is kind of funny because it is these aspects of myself that I feel draw me into enjoying fiction in which characters have actually embraced their daimons!

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