In occultism, entity refers to any personality you work with in a magical context. Usually it acts as a catch-all term for spirits, gods, demons, or even elementals (although this last tend to be less personified than the others.) A thought form is an entity created by a magician or magicians, usually with intent…and sometimes completely by accident. Sometimes, in fact, a thought form can erupt without any guiding intent from a magician.
When a thought form erupts/comes into being without guiding intent, it’s usually the result of collective belief. Most of the time, someone directs that belief somehow. The person or persons directing may or may not be what we would see as magicians, but since they direct the energy produced by attention and stimulated belief, they end up serving the same purpose.
My favorite example of this is the powerful collective belief in Jesus Christ, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth. While minimal evidence supports the existence of such a person (and what there is is circumstantial at best) from the perspective of a practicing occultist, it doesn’t matter a whit whether there was a Jesus of fact because there is a Jesus of fact. After centuries of collective belief, entire civilizations that have based their cultures around the idea of a man who died on a cross for sins and a litany of creative energy poured into expressions of and inspirations by the Christ story, it is, in the magical world, only natural for this Jesus Christ to show up whether on the road to Galilee or in a grilled cheese sandwich. ((I have had a long, loving and deeply personal relationship with this entity. It is ultimately out of love and friendship for this particular Christ that I can not, under any circumstances, ever again identify as a Christian. I am grateful for this unusual gift: freedom from the first thing in our culture that is used to make women and men miserable (in that order) by the very source/excuse for it.))
Other entities that have emerged from shared thought forms could include Santa Claus (though with muddled power thanks to cultural concept mixing), Lady Liberty or, less popularly, Squat ((the lady of parking)).
In reading Marriage Shock: the Transformation of Women into Wives, I found that Dalma Hayn sussed out a shadow entity. Taking the forms and expressions of Donna Read and Lucille Ball, this entity is known as the Wife, and she does indeed haunt most married women. Powered by Victorian ideals of a wife sacrificing her personhood wholly upon the altar of marriage and fed into by layers of ideas about women needing to be perfect at all times, she haunts married women, especially newly married women. She’s what prompts us to stop going dancing, to try to impress mother-in-laws we don’t give a flying fuck about and to, above all get serious. She carries with her a serene, Stepford smile and a deafening inner scream that married women – and the newly engaged – can hear. She’s all about the “you’re a WIFE now,” and with that conferred social status a suppression of our sexuality, our personality and our sense of FUN. She’s what transformed my former friend Julia into a vapid moron who could only discuss chandeliers and floor plans. She’s the reason Beth became convinced that divorced women were ALL suspicious, especially me. She’s what prompts women who had great relationships with their boyfriends to hide their vibrators and suddenly use sex for negotiation with their husbands – even though their husbands were the boyfriends that enjoyed them as was.
WIFE is the Queen Bee of Queen Bees. She’s a nasty piece of work. She got her teeth into Hera, even before the Victorians began telling women to sell their souls for an undefined place in heaven (that Revelations states not a one will get anyway.) She’s the core voice that makes us call women who enjoy themselves sluts, who makes us when we marry become moralist busybodies and is, from Hayn’s perspective, one of the very reasons the odds against marriage are so terrible. The women whose marriages last? They married for fun. Everybody else is do dominated by WIFE that their lives suck from the inside out, because they’re so determined to project the Happiness Lie to the rest of the world.
I seriously doubt Hayn would consider Wife from a literal perspective; Hayn writes her as an archetype that has lived in the minds of every woman in the west. Even Emily Dickinson (never married) and Virginia Woolf knew her faux-angelic shadow and fake smile. She produces inauthenticity, limits creativity and makes marriage a terrible place for women.
It tempts me to create a ritual to banish the wife. She’s certainly gotten her teeth in my shoulder more than once.