Western Civilization has had a documented problem with demonization. Many of the demons known by name in Judeo-Christian practice are derived from old gods of Asia Minor—Astaroth from the Phoenician Astarte, Beelzebub from the Philistine Baal, and so on. The tendency to condemn all spirits as evil is far from a historical issue for those unfortunate to get on the wrong side of certain fundamentalists. Modern Pagans have more than enough reason to worry about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Even so, few spirit workers would claim that mystic/occult work is harmless. A beginner is often urged to learn Basic Psychic Hygiene—e.g., how to ground, center, and shield—long before interacting with gods or spirits, and not without good reason.
Like with human beings, you cannot trust everyone. There are spirits who do not have your best interests in mind. There are spirits who masquerade as gods, ghosts, muses, and even other spirits. Others have written more effectively about this, so I won’t reinvent the wheel.
Among the most infamous of these, in my practice, is referred to as the Devourer.
Some would argue he should be regarded as an evil god, if a small one, but allowing him that term grants him a legitimacy that I fear would ultimately be harmful. The Devourer is not to be mistaken for a god maligned unfairly by a competing practice—though he will claim to be one in a heartbeat, if it suits him.
The Devourer is not so much truly stronger than the average malicious spirit as he is more patient, intentional, and skilled at manipulation. I would say he is a parasite, but it seems he walks the line between a parasite and a parasitoid—he takes as much as he can get away with, but not to the point of death, except when there is nothing more to take.
He is exceptionally skilled at deception, often pretending to be a popular god. He especially seems to prefer a young and attractive mask to encourage vulnerable people to allow him to take advantage of them, frequently sexually. This is very distinct from consensual sexual activity—the Devourer does not care about your consent.
People are less likely to apply the same rules of consent when having an sexual interaction with a “deity” than they would if they were having sex with another human. The combination of getting the attention of a “god” and the pleasure he can convince you that you must be experiencing override any sense that you don’t necessarily like or want it.
He is controlling. He will not be satisfied with a devotional practice that leaves plenty of space for self-care. You are a tool to be used. Your needs and wants are not important. Only his use for you has any importance. You are to be like a compass needle with him as North: in all things, in everything, you must point toward him and his desires. But he has better things to do than look after you.
He gaslights with aplomb, aiming to make those who trust him unable to trust anything else, even their own instincts. He is skilled at isolating people from any support they might have, not by forbidding them outright, but with the most discreet pressure campaign—negative comments, little digs, ways to make the worshiper believe it was their own decision. Disagreement with his opinions, no matter what they are, is not an option.
Eventually, it seems, his campaign is successful. He infects his “devotees” with the mindset he wants them to have, and this bleeds over into their interactions with other humans; he enjoys and encourages this abuse by proxy. He feeds off of suffering, especially sexual suffering—it can be said to be his favorite food.
This further abuse is, unfortunately, the main way to determine where his influence has spread. If these “devotees” were actually worshipping the god they believe they are worshipping, they would not be engaging in the sexual and psychological abuse of others. It would not be something their god would call them to—or permit.
Not every god is a Fluffy Caring God. I comprehend this. Some godworkers overwhelmingly prefer a Work relationship, being the instrument of divinity without an emotional connection. I am not criticizing this. What I am saying is, there is a difference between “special snowflake narcissism”, and recognizing that you have the right to basic respect with all entities. If a god or spirit is abusive, you do not have to accept it. It is not okay, and you are not being unreasonable by drawing a line and saying “no”.