Neoteric Necromancy : Death Sorcery in the Digital Age

What comes to mind when you hear the word Necromancy? Do you think of ghoulishly gruesome grave robbing under the light of the full moon? Do you picture only sinister sorts enslaving the deceased and making them do their bidding ? Well if so, then you only know of the sordid past of the ancient practice known as Necromancy.  But what of this arcane art in these modern times? Do people still revere and utilize the death current in occult operations? They most certainly do. While Necromancy does indeed have roots in many ancient cultures, this sector of the occult sciences is far from dead.

Of 13th century origins, Necromancy comes from the Greek nekromanteia, nekros “dead” and manteia “divination”.  Necromancy is prophecy using the spirits of the deceased and works of sorcery involving the use of human remains and the death current . Necromancy has much in common with ancestor worship. Ancestor worship refers to the reverance and honoring of the dead via a variety of rituals and offerings in exchange for assistance , guidance , etc and has been practiced from Africa to the Americas to everywhere in between.  Figures like Erichto of Thessaly, John Dee and Roman emperor Nero are some of the more infamous  ancient practitioners of Necromancy whose dark rites still permeate the minds of many.  Long considered a “black art” due to it’s ghoulish practices in the middle ages, many will still recoil at the term Necromancy, picturing desecration and the commanding of the dead to do one’s bidding. For a time, such rites fell out of favor.

Since the mid 19th century and the rise of spiritualism with its seances ,  Necromancy has remained present albeit well cloaked in the shadows. An early 20th century book, Spiritualism & Necromancy proclaimed that ancient Necromancy and Spiritualism are identical.  On Samhain, a Pagan sabbat in which the spirits of the dead are thought to walk the earth, some attempt communication with those they have lost.

As time has advanced industrially and technologically, it would appear that society has shifted away from practices such as Necromancy. For many, death is still something to fear and not explore in a metaphysical context. The Necromancer shuns this fear and is one who tunes into that which is known as the death current or death energies. Some work with the ancestors, Daemons and/or psychopomps,while others work directly with the death current itself eschewing any entities.  Present day Necromancer’s such as Leilah Wendell distance themselves from the gruesome ancient origins of Necromancy. In her “Necromantic Ritual Book”, she asserts that the Necromantic rituals in her book contain no “..brutality, desecration of the dead or any other practice that one would consider the antithesis of reverence.”

S. Connolly, a Daemonolater and Necromancer mentions in “Honoring Death: The Arte of Daemonolatry Necromancy” popular television shows from the 2000s like “Medium” and “The Ghost Whisperer” ,where the lead in both shows was a medium. Connolly asserts that all highly successful Necromancers are mediums, for mediums are conduits to the realm of spirit. In 2004s “The Chronicles of Riddick”, an action/sci fi film set 505 years in the future, the Necromongers are a religious empire based on Necromancer like traits and even shares a prefix with Necromancy, necro meaning death.  New converts wear tattered and decayed robes like the ancient Necromancers.

Today, modern Necromancers like Leilah Wendell, S. Connolly and Sorceress Cagliastro use a mix of ancient and modern methods to share their knowledge and personal Necromantic practices via authoring books and online activity ; Wendell has The Azrael Project; a site that sells art and hosts a Necromancy forum, S. Connolly has a youtube channel and Sorceress Cagliastro hosts a podcast as well as gives classes online.
With the internet, one may legally obtain human remains instead of grave robbing, join forums to discuss the art and converse with other Necromancers, take classes on Necromancy online listen to podcasts, find long out of print texts about Necromancy to read, watch videos online discussing techniques , information, and make virtual shrines to ancestors and/or psychopomps.  Death sorcery is alive and well in this digital age.

The New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Michael Greer , pg. 324, 416
The Necromantic Ritual Book by Leilah Wendell , pg. 3
Spiritualism & Necromancy by A. B. Morrison pg. 11
The Witches’ Book of the Dead by Christian Day , pg 106
Honoring Death: The Arte of Daemonolatry Necromancy, pg. 9
http://riddick.wikia.com/wiki/Necromonger_Empire

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1 Comment

  1. […] An earlier version of this article appeared on crashdolley as “Neoteric Necromancy: Death Sorcery in the Digital Age.” […]


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