Is spiritualism associated with witchcraft and necromancy

Necromancy Origins, Features, and Famous Necromancers

The necromancy or necromancy is a method of divination that involves communicating with spirits. Derived from the Greek terms Necrowhich indicates "body or matter"; and Manteiawhich means "prophecy" or "prophecy". It used to be a common practice in civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Persians.

This practice was mostly used for predicting the future, to demonstrate the survival of the soul after death, or for the acquisition of some kind of superior knowledge. It was performed by manipulating viscera or any affiliation of the deceased.

It was also carried out through rituals for the summoning of spirits; therefore it is considered a branch of prophecy. Currently, necromancy is associated with black magic, mythology, demonology, and witchcraft; is even associated with ritual practices from Africa such as voodoo and other branches of spiritualism.


  • 1 Origin and History
    • 1.1 Appearance of the word
  • 2 Necromancy, the Bible, and Christianity
    • 2.1 Necromancy and Religion
  • 3 main features
  • 4 famous necromancers
  • 5 literature on necromancy
  • 6 references

Origins and history

Necromancy is a common practice in ancient civilizations. So it is not possible to pinpoint the origin of this practice.

The historian Strabo in his work Geographica refers to the term necromancy by drawing attention to the practice of divination by the dead used by the Persians.

However, evidence of its existence has also been found in Babylon and Egypt. In fact, the origins of necromancy are believed to come from the process of embalming mummies.

For example, in Mesopotamia, complex and intricate processes were performed by rituals Manzazuu, a kind of Babylonian priest charged with calling on the spirits.

On the other hand, in ancient Rome necromancy was called "the aruspicina", which was thought in honor of the gods slaughtered divination or prediction of the future by examining the internal organs of animals.

There are even records of Roman emperors like Drusco, Nero, and Caracalla practicing necromancy.

In both Greece and Rome it was believed that the best places for communication with the dead were in caves, volcanic regions, or near lakes and rivers, as they were points that were near Hades.

Appearance of the word

The first appearance of the word was in the work of Homer, The Odyssey. In the story, Ulises - under the instructions of the powerful priestess Circe - descends into the underworld by invoking the spirits to know the reasons why he cannot return home.

A number of necromantic elements are described in the book:

- Performing rites around a well with fire during the night.

- Potions with various ingredients, such as the blood of sacrificed animals, to contact the spirits.

- Prayers to invoke spirits and gods of the underworld.

Necromancy, the Bible and Christianity

The practice of necromancy is forbidden in the Bible because it is an insult and an abhorrence of God. The prohibition was so strong that death could be considered a punishment for anyone who did it.

The most famous case of necromancy, however, is the story of King Saul conjuring up the spirit of Samuel.

The Philistines had surrounded Israel, and Saul sought advice from God, but did not answer him. In the midst of desperation, Saul went to Endor in search of a priestess who would allow him to communicate with the soul of Samuel.

Saul could see it thanks to the descriptions of women and when the soul of the deceased appeared, Samuel told him that because of his disobedience he would be defeated and killed.

Necromancy and religion

Although Christianity does not use the word necromancy, some authors believe that religion takes into account some aspects of this practice. Indeed, there are books that recommend performing rituals and practices as a product of cultural exchange with pagan peoples.

It should be noted that for some experts prophecy is an interpretation of perceptual processes. However, they are concepts that provoke discussion.

Key Features

- The rituals are extremely elaborate, as in most cases they contain talismans, magic circles, melancholy and dark scenes and even special clothing for the occasion.

- The main character in this process was the necromancer, a kind of magician who was responsible for performing the rituals.

- At present there are still religions that practice necromancy, such as Voodoo, Santería and Palo Mayombe.

- Both Christians and Catholics disapprove of necromancy as a challenge to the laws of God.

- Although the term initially alludes to contact with the dead, the change in etymology (necromancy of the "black"), it changed its meaning and began to associate with black magic, witchcraft and even alchemy.

- Despite the controversy that led to the practice of necromancy in the Middle Ages, many clergymen considered it a serious field of study. This was done in order to communicate with the dead, manipulate the minds of others, and know the secrets of the afterlife.

- It was believed that the best time for rituals should be around midnight and during a storm because it was thought that this environment helped the spirits manifest more easily.

- The current necromancy deals with talking to the dead, but not with them.

Famous necromancers

- Roman emperors such as Drusco, Nerón and Caracalla.

- The Apion grammarian tried to reach Homer's soul.

- It is believed that the writer of The divine comedy, Dante Alighieri, used to secretly practice necromancy.

- The French magician Alphose Constant, also known as Eliphas Lévi, promoted and performed all kinds of occult practices.

- Another writer and great lover of the occult was the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Literature on necromancy

For readers and regulars of necromancy and the dark arts, the works of the occultist Helena Blavatsky are mandatory.

It should be noted that Blavatsky's work also served to help H.P. Lovecraft, one of the most important science fiction and horror authors of the modern age.


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