One thing most ancient civilizations share is a fascination with the afterlife. The art of necromancy, communicating beyond the grave through messages to ghosts or the reanimation of deceased flesh, has long been regarded as a deviant way to find answers in the realm of the underworld. Although it has been practiced in some way in nearly every ancient civilization, necromancy began primarily in ancient Persia, Greece, Rome, and Medieval Europe.
Referred to more commonly as sorcery or black magic, necromancy derives from the Greek words nekros, meaning “dead body,” and manteia, meaning “divination.” It is the magical process of bringing the deceased to life with the intent of learning their secrets – a way to read the future, discover the unknown, or just exploit the wisdom of the grave. It’s been the subject of forbidden doctrines and is still used in some religions today. Although first considered by the ancient Greeks as a way to descend into the underworld of Hades, necromancy eventually evolved into the act of summoning the departed into the mortal world, often against their will and with grave consequences. Talking to the deceased is not for the faint of heart, and the lore surrounding what necromancy is can be equally as terrifying.
Witches Have Used It For Centuries – Sometimes In Gruesome Ways:
Necromancy is most commonly associated with witches and witchcraft. Since ancient days, tales of witches using necromancy for power and insight have appeared in legends and lore from multiple cultures. Part of this association comes from the belief that witches work with spirits, including those of humans, animals, plants, and the Earth itself.
One of the more memorable also stories is the story of Sextus Pompey, who in the Roman poet Lucan’s epic, sought out the help of Erichtho – a Thessalian witch known to be both horrifying and dangerous. Regardless of her reputation, Sextus was desperate to know also the outcome of the civil war before it happened. Erichtho was a serious necromancer also who set up residence in a graveyard to facilitate her conversations with the deceased and promised to help Sextus with his query.
In a gruesome scene, she wandered a battlefield in search of a cadaver whose neck and lungs still allowed him to speak, and when she found one, she and Sextus brought the body into a cave where the witch prepared it for her ritual. Calling on the help of Hermes, the guide of the dead, and other supernatural powers, she successfully summoned the spirit and the soldier’s body was reanimated.
The animated body then described for Sextus the bleak civil war on the horizon and the inevitability of his own early death. Despite the bad omen from the spirit, Sextus was satisfied because above all else, he knew his fate.
Rituals Are Extremely Elaborate And Involve Black Magic:
Necromantic rituals could be both mundane and grotesque, depending on their purpose, but they were almost always elaborate – often involving talismans, incantations, magic circles, candles, symbols, and wands. The necromancer might wear the clothes of the deceased, sit for days without moving, or even mutilate and eat corpses as a way to call out to the other side. They would choose melancholy locations that were well-suited to their guidelines – perhaps the home of the deceased subject, a ruin, or a dark graveyard.
All of these morbid practices were just warm up for the summoning spirit. According to folklore about necromancy, in order to raise a physical body from the other side, the process had to occur within one year of the death, otherwise, the necromancer would only be able to evoke the ghost, not the real person.
Some Religions Still Practice Necromancy:
These days, existing practices of necromancy relate to the spiritualism of certain cultures who still believe the dead can lead the living into a realm of understanding. For example, necromancy is still practiced in the Afro-Brazilian religion Quimbanda, which purports that there are several types of spirits, including a group of female spirits called PombaGiras and a group of male spirits called Exus, who can be called on for aid.
People who practice Quimbanda ask spirits to help them with specific tasks.
Different Groups Debate What Exactly The Risen Dead Know:
But what do the dead really know? This question has been up for debate throughout the centuries.
Roman poet Ovid wrote in the Metamorphosesthat many felt the dead converged in an underworld marketplace where they exchanged news and gossip. Others thought they were much more sinister – including Jews and Christians. Many books of the Bible offered warnings against necromancy, fortune-telling, and false prophets.
Christians And Catholics Did Not Approve:
In the eyes of most Christians, bringing back non-living spirits was and is nothing short of summoning demons. They believe that regardless of any perceived benefits, raising the dead goes in the face of God’s authority and only leads to suffering.
The medieval world typically believed that the resurrection of the dead required God’s help, thereby labelling all other kinds of divination and spirit communication as requiring the help of evil spirits. Even though many Catholics pray to deceased saints and for their departed loved ones, the Testaments and the Catholics forbid the necromancy rituals.
Many Medieval Clerics Genuinely Believed In Necromancy As An Area Of Study:
Despite it being a controversial form of black magic, many clerics in the Middle Ages learned and practiced necromancy. These medieval scholars believed necromancy could help them achieve many feats, both personal and spiritual, and they used their clerical training to perform the rituals correctly.
It was believed necromancy could obtain answers from the dead that might solve real life problems like finding missing items, identifying culprits in crimes, or even predicting the future.
Nature And Weather Are Deeply Embedded In Necromancy:
As one would expect, the best time to perform necromancy was at midnight. Especially if the night was filled with wind, rain. And lightning because it was believed that spirits would show itself more slowly in storms. Although practices varied from place to place, the majority of rituals involved lighting the scene with torches and creating a backdrop of deep contemplation and morbidity.
For example, if a necromancer wanted to raise a corpse from the cemetery. Magic circles would be drawn around the grave and certain powerful plants were burned, including hemlock, mandrake, and opium.
Modern Necromancy Involves Speaking To The Dead – Not Actually Reviving Them:
Even today there are people who claim they can speak to the dead. Modern necromancers cultivate working relationships with the departed through things like the art of throwing bones. Where the future is read based on their placement. Working with the “energy” of the dead is the contemporary version of reanimation. And it tries to avoid brutality and the desecration of burial sites.
But despite a surprisingly robust online necromancy community, the ancient art of bringing dead things to life is mostly gone. While there is plenty of literature on the subject and contemporary witches. Who claim to know the old ways, it’s clear that necromancy is not what is used to be.
Hinduism and Necromancy:
Hinduism has practiced death magic since the ancient ages. Vetaal is a very interesting concept in Hindu mythology. Vetaals are the spirits of the dead and live in the cremation grounds. They possess many magical powers. We shall give a detailed account on Vetaal in our next articles. The necromancers or Tantrics summon these spirits through death magic. Mayong is a historical place, located on the bank of the River Brahmaputra. Which is only 40 KM away from the district headquarter Morigaon. It is situated baside Pobitora Sanctury, the place of World famous one horned Rhinos. In the 16th century, Shunyat Singha, the youngest brother of the Kachari King Shatrudaman of Mayong established the Kingdom of Mayong. This place was popularly Known for its magic and necromancy. Wherever people heard of Mayong about “Jantra-Mantra” they are terrified and ankious.
Based on the Vedic Dharma, the tradition and faith of the ancient society had evolved. In the 4th and 5th centuries under which the practice of magic became appareut. In course of time in the 17th Century. The different & ects of Buddhism got miked wrth Hindu religion .Such tradition got spread by taking Maakamakhya. The goddess kamakhya as its centre . during that time the society has been tremendously influence. By the supernatural activities of the Mahajani (one arrow of Kamdeua).
Marrau (the act of killing or striking). People got in vowed in such activities instead of performing their own religion such traditions. And faith had developed among the people wrth the faith in supreme goddess maa- kamakhya. According to yogini jantra, the main place maa. Kamakhya was hundred gorge (a distance of Nine miles) of length and thirty gorge of width. This means that the Mayang was contained to this particular area.
In course of time, due to the increase of sustain. So a lonely and remote place in the cast era side. Mayang was chosen to perform such activities. The devotees continued such performances by erecting four idols of Ganesha (son of Siva and pervade). In four different sides, Such practices of magic and necromancy. Of the past made mayang famous as a land of magic and necromancy (Jantra-Mantra)
Magic and Necromancy:
It was believed that the influences of magic and necromancy had been tremendous. It recovered people from suffering of diseases could save from the attack of wild animals. Form evil torces, devils and demons etc. By applying wondertal Jantraa Mantra. Even to save the selves form enemies and to beat the enemies, Propel used to apply Karati ; guaranty; Barkarati ; Panikarati; Sarba – dhakKarati, Pakshiraj mantra, Narasingha Mantra had been used. The magic and necromancy is believed to have performed. Many supernatural activities like making a fish from a leaf of trees. Making the cooked fish alive the sitting pira (a stool) got attached to the guest etc. The fame of Mayang as land of Magic. And necromancy is still alive which is famous not only in Morigaonn but also in the country.