In Zoroastrianism, Aeshma is the demon of wrath, rage, and fury. Aeshma’s epithet is “of the bloody mace.” He is the fiercest of demons and is responsible for all acts of aggression and malice, whether committed in war or drunkenness. He has seven powers that he can use for the destruction of humanity.

In the hierarchy of Zoroastrian Daevas that mirrors a similar hierarchy of divinities, Aeshma is opposed to Asha Vahishta, the Amesha Spenta, or good spirit, who embodies Truth. Aeshma’s chief adversary is Sraosha (Obedience), the principle of religious devotion and discipline. Aeshma distracts people from proper worship. He interferes with the souls of the dead as they approach the Chinvat Bridge to the underworld.

The creator God, Ahura Mazda (later Ohrmazd), created Sraosha to counter Aeshma’s mischief and protect people from his attacks. Sraosha ultimately will overthrow Aeshma. In medieval texts, Aeshma is made a commander of dark forces by Angra Mainyu (later Ahriman). He is swallowed by Az, the Demon of avarice.

Aeshma can be driven away by the recitation of a prayer from the Vendidad, a Zoroastrian text. The Demon Asmodeus of Hebrew lore may be based in part on Aeshma.

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The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 2009 by Visionary Living, Inc.

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