Hereditary, the feature film debut of writer/director Ari Aster, received an unprecedented amount of buzz after screenings at Sundance, SXSW, and The Overlook film festivals; more than one reviewer predicted it’ll be considered this generation’s The Exorcist. My personal assessment: It’s the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. You can read my entire spoiler-free review below.
When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.
Now that Hereditary has been released nationwide, all moviegoers can finally discuss the terrifying intricacies of a movie sure to be canonical (those who were able to endure it, that is)—and there’s a lot to unpack. From the film’s incredible technical execution to Toni Collette’s Oscar-worthy performance and some staggeringly deep subtext, expect Heredity to be studied and analyzed on par with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
One aspect of the film worthy of its own exploration is King Paimon, the malevolent entity revealed to be at the center of the Graham family’s harrowing ordeal. In Hereditary’s gut-wrenching conclusion, we’re introduced to a deity described as “One of the 8 Kings of Hell”. An earlier flip through a book of incantations stated he’s a demon associated with mischief capable of bestowing copious riches upon those able to summon him.
Since he’s on course to become the next Pazuzu, I found myself incredibly curious about this deity—especially since I’d never before heard of it. “Is King Paimon an invention of Ari Aster,” I wondered, “or does this fiend have actual Biblical roots?”
While there’s no easy answer to questions surrounding his origins, rank, and abilities, King Paimon is indeed a documented demon whose name appears in numerous 12th to 17th Century grimoire (black magic textbooks), including The Dictionnaire Infernal, The Book of Oberon, and The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic. And yes, he’s always referred to as King Paimon, as simply referring to him as Paimon is likely to draw extreme ire.
While usually only described in general terms, the most extensive description of King Paimon comes from The Lesser Key of Solomon, a Latin text published in 1641. There, he’s indeed confirmed to be a king though portrayed as extremely subservient to Lucifer. King Paimon sits upon a Dromedary (an Arabian Camel) with a glorious crown, almost always surrounded by hordes of devotees clamoring his praises and sounding musical instruments. His voice is a mighty roar, though his elocutions can be difficult to interpret for all but the most studied.
As for his powers and the “gifts” he’s supposedly available to bestow?
“This Spirit can teach all Arts and Science, and other secret things. He can discover unto thee what the Earth is, and what holdeth it up in the Waters; and what Mind is, and where it is; or any other thing thou may est desire to know. He giveth Dignity, and confirmeth the same. He bindeth or maketh any man subject to the Magician if he so desire it. He giveth good Familiars, and such as can teach all Arts.” (Source)
Basically, if you have a question, King Paimon has an answer. Knowledge is definitely a powerful and potentially valuable tool.
While this is the most detailed account of King Paimon, other references to the powerful demon vary dramatically. For example, The Lesser Keys of Solomon state he presides over 200 legions of warriors while The Livre des Esperitz credits him with a relatively pitiable 25 battalion. Some sources claim he was a former member of the celestial lordship Dominion before becoming a fallen angel while other sources claim he was once a cherub.
As for King Paimon’s rank within the hierarchy of Hell: He ranks 9th in The Goetia, 22nd in Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and The Dictionnaire Infernal, and (quite confusingly) both 3rd and 6th in Liber Officium Spirituum. Whatever the case, he’s clearly a super-powerful mother-fucker who shouldn’t be messed with by the likes of you and me!
Interestingly, King Paimon is often described as having a very feminine face, despite his rough and intimidating voice. This dovetails into studied occultist Carroll “Poke” Runyon’s theory that the demon was co-opted from Middle Eastern, female, pagan goddess related to Isis. (Source)
While King Paimon is certain to become the subject of continued examination in the wake of Hereditary’s coming successes, there are some who have been keeping his name alive in the Internet Age. A woman calling herself Renav runs KingPaimon.com and even considers him her “patron demon”. Last October, she discusses their relationship in detail:
“The last couple of years I have become very close to King Paimon. He was my Mentor Demon for 2 years, he taught me a lot of things, he was there when I needed him without asking and he helped me in many ways. I know him and I trust him, so I decided to ask him to be my Patron Demon.”
Renav also discusses her invocation of King Paimon, which is absolutely chilling (especially if you’ve seen Hereditary):
“I construct the Circle, light my candles and I called the Elements. I had His sigil in front of my scrying mirror and a paper with my dedication already written. Then I burn the dedication. While the paper was burning I looked at the mirror and I saw His face crystal clear! I felt the need to kneel before Him, so I kneel and I started to cry… I must have cried for at least 15 minutes when I felt something touched my head and say ‘Redemption my daughter. Stand up’.”
You can read the Renav’s full account, HERE.
Unfortunately, a YouTube search for a video discussing King Paimon and his historical roots turned up nothing. Surprisingly there are plenty of videos that will take you through the steps necessary to invoke him—but you’re on your own with that. Besides, anyone who’s seen Hereditary won’t be in any hurry to invite this hideous monstrosity into their lives!
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