Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Daimonic (May)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1461-1


The term daimonic, having its source in Greek literature [literally, the daimonion], refers to the inner urgings and warnings from the Gods, the pointer to the living out of one’s character or destiny. It was sometimes used also as a guiding spirit (thus external, but operating internally) sent at birth to accompany one throughout life.

May (1969) likened it to the urgings of one’s inner nature, akin to an aspect of the life force, saying “The daimonic is the urge in every being to affirm itself, assert itself, perpetuate and increase itself…[the reverse side] of the same affirmation is what empowers our creativity” (p. 123). Depending on the way an individual related to the power of the daimonic, May postulated it could be a force propelling one to the fulfillment of his or her potential or driving them in excess toward their ruin.

Hillman (1996) described it more as a callunique to each person, his or her “fate” or genius. Hillman believed that each person has a destiny,...


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DenverUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ilan Dar-Nimrod
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia