I get a number of requests from people who want to know what resources they should look into as they begin their study of “demonology.” I never really know how to respond because the question is so broad it virtually has no meaning. Put another way, the literal definition of ‘demonology’ would be the study of ‘demons,’ but that assumes there is one concrete definition of a demon.
Personally, I see demonology as the study of humanity’s perception of and obsession with “evil” – and that is highly subjective and varies from culture to culture. It’s very difficult to study that without your focus quickly turning theological. And everyone has an opinion when it comes to theology. You have several millennia of Rabbis and Church theologians grappling with their understanding of how God could allow ‘evil’ to exist. The results range from a malevolent spirit that actively lures people away from God (a Fundamentalist’s Satan) to a more psychological “ego” like the Jewish concept of yetzer ra (that part of the self that strives to fulfill selfish needs without regard to others). And that’s barely scratching the surface of Christianity and Judaism. Add concepts of ‘evil’ from Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and every other belief system out there that has existed at one time, and you’ll be busy for several lifetimes.
To me, demonology is a study of human nature. Many of the writings on demons and evil are written in allegory or symbolic language simply because the author has this gnawing psychological ‘demon’ (ie thought that consumes all other thoughts) and expresses his anguish poetically. For others, the political situation of their environment is the motivation. Countless “cosmic” battles have been described between the righteous (those under siege) and the heathens (those attacking) prophesying how the righteous will overcome this setback and be victorious.
There is also a philosophical component to this. The question of evil and alternatively, whether there is a God or not has been discussed and debated by countless believers and non-believers. Pick up any basic Philosophy of Religion textbook and you’ll have a wealth of information at hand. Or, you can go the psychoanalytic route – pick up any of Carl Jung’s writings for starters.
Now, if the question was simply a thinly veiled “how do I summon a demon,” your best bet is probably with Thelema or a similar ceremonial magickal practice. Though I can assure you that your studies will not be easy – those well versed in occult lore have at least dabbled in a number of esoteric traditions including Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Yoga, Zen Buddhism, and the like. There’s no incantation spell you can recite while lighting a few candles and some incense and expect to get real results.
Magickal practice involves purging yourself of your own personal “demons” – all those underlying issues and misconceptions that have been holding you back from knowing and achieving your Will. You probably don’t even know what they are right now, but they’re there. Pick up some books by Aleister Crowley (like his classic Liber Aba) or The Goetia or a number of other texts in a similar vein for more info.
If you’re interested in any long term course of study, you need to ask yourself what it is that you really want to know. Pick a single topic and try a google search or pick up a few books. You might also take a philosophy, anthropology or religious studies class at your local college.