I have been wondering recently about the influence, association, and shared boundaries between the field of necromancy and the life of vampyrism. The unbreakable affiliation between the world of the dead and vampirism, to which modern day vampyres owe the archetype, would seem to fit nicely with the art of necromancy. To that end, it would be a nice exploration to walk the boundary between these two worlds to find common ground. This boundary would consist of determining, for the sake of this exploration, a working definition of necromancy, a synopsis of what this author’s beliefs consist of, some of the characteristics of vampyrism, and finally the links that tie this lifestyle to the art of necromancy.
The art of necromancy is one that is not regarded highly in public opinion. If you ask the typical person on the street what come to mind when you hear the word necromancy, they would most likely come back with a description of a person who spends time in graveyards, digs up corpses, and most certainly reanimates the dead. Mythology and legend can certainly do wonders for reputation.
While I will not dispute the possibility that some or all of these activities may have occurred, necromancy is certainly more than creepy people playing with corpses. The etymology of the word necromancy is from the Greek words “Nekros”, which means corpse and “manteia”, which means prophecy. One would conclude from this that necromancy means divination through the dead. However, one cannot measure the meaning of a word through the use of a dictionary definition. You have to go deeper than that. The roots of necromancy are found not simply through the use of etymology, but through case examples through history, both modern and classical.
Though the art of necromancy has not changed greatly in perception throughout the ages, the spins change a little through time. The fundamental definition of the art is one who works with the power of death. In years gone by, the necromancer was a sought after individual. The necromancer was seen as one who understood the soul and was able to properly prepare it for its journey after death. Death essence is that which the necromancer works with, can be seen also as the study of the nature of the soul. It is this study which gives the necromancer insight and power.
So, given the brief description and definition of necromancy above, what does this mean and what are necromancers capable of? It is my belief that the necromancer is capable of a great many things. I do not believe that a necromancer, for instance, can actually raise the physical dead, but are they capable of animating geists to perform duties? I am certain this is not beyond their capabilities.
A necromancer has the ability to achieve transcendental meditation. They can sense intelligences that have passed beyond the physical veil. They can monitor and sense changes in their own health status without relying on physical signs. They can sense the correlation between the ethereal and physical body. They can manipulate their own soul and in so doing learn to manipulate other souls. They can exchange material of the soul with another. They are able to communicate with the dead, effect hexes, and a highly skilled necromancer has the ability to walk the blurred line between life and death itself, co-existing in both realms simultaneously.
The art of necromancy is, for the purposes of this life, without boundary. To master a fraction of the possibilities would be an accomplishment to be proud of. The art itself is continually evolving and grows with the strength of those who practice this art.
Thus far, it has been all about necromancy. So, what does this have to do with vampyrism? Well, to figure this out, it is best to walk with a vampyre. In so doing, we learn a little bit about what being a vampyre is like and what it is all about. I know a number of vampyres and have conversed with them, but I think it best I go, in general, with the one I know best. The one I am most intimate with would be me.
What can I say, really about being a vampyre? One of the first characteristics, I think, would be a fascination with thinking, feeling, and being attracted to both physical and immaterial things of a darker nature. Does this mean black arts, blood ritual, and evil? No. What this means is that vampyres are generally attracted to themes and symbols which are empowering because the reach into the deepest recesses of our unconscious. They are the subconscious things that are like a secret language to our inner selves. They touch the deeply buried instinctual, primal nature. It is like the love of the shadow. It is powerful, secretive, it whispers to us in the night and we both love and fear it.
Vampyrism is beyond goth. It is beyond fetish and BDSM. It is beyond the circles of paths (LHP or RHP) and even ritual. Vampyrism can certainly mix with these subcultures and ideas, but is not bound by them and is independent of them. Vampyrism is a condition. It is a condition of lifestyle, thought, and energetic awareness of yourself and those surrounding you. It is the realization, be it psychosomatic, psychological, or real that there is some requirement to partake in communion for the vampyre to function properly in the world. This communion is the drawing of energy from the elements, nature, or another living being into the vampyre either through the raw energies or through ingestion of blood.
This brings another characteristic of the vampyre to the fore. This characteristic would be a generalized sensitivity to energies. In the new age colloquialism this might be called a sensitive. For vampyres who rely on the drawing of energy, there is something of a requirement to assessing their need for energy (self awareness) as well as assessing the amount of energy from that which they intend to draw from. This is not to say that sanguine vampyres do not possess this same skill, because, as far as my knowledge goes, they most of do.
It is a characteristic of vampyres in general to me more in tune with the ideas of magic and expanded consciousness. Because this part of living is more in tune with primal nature and instinct and because is contains the darker realms of personality, it is shunned by most people. Vampyres thrive in this and feel growth in the exploration of a side of them suppressed by society in general. This suppression is in direct contradiction to a balanced person. Vampyres seek that balance between ego and id.
At this point it should be apparent the link between necromancy and vampyrism. They are complementary in many ways. The vampyre predicates their life on the classical archetype of the vampire of legend. Necromancers predicate their philosophy of magic, yea even their lives on the understanding and manipulation of death. The vampire is symbolic of both eternal life in the realm of the undead and the harbinger of death. Its very nature revolves around death and the â€˜killâ€™. The necromancer orbits this same well.
It may be thought that the vampyre is a living creature who takes energy from another living being, yet does not kill them. Further, it may be thought the necromancer merely deals with the energies surrounding corpses, essentially working with meat. This is not a correct assumption, however. The vampyre is representative of the dead/undead in its very nature. The vampyreâ€™s existence is based in the legend and archetype of the vampire, which is a creature that is the living dead. Further, the vampire is a deliverer of death through the sapping of the life force of the living. The living vampyre that bases its existence off the legend, though they do not kill their vesselâ€™s, by acting out the process of communion, fundamentally and ritually do the very same. The necromancer is not a re-animator of the dead. Necromancers learn to work with the essence of death and learn to manipulate the soul of the living and the dead. Thus, the tie of an understanding, experiencing, and manipulation of death exists between the vampyre and the necromancer.
The vampyre partakes of the very essence of that which animates the living. Energy is what drives the vampyric hunger. The vampyre is tuned to this phenomenon. The necromancer, by virtue of their study of death, dies a little each time they touch it essence. You cannot expect not to be affected by death being in its company. To balance this side effect, the necromancer learns to perform their own version of vampirism through the overlay of their soul on another. This overlaying of souls allows the necromancer to fill â€˜lost energyâ€™. It is the necromantic version of communion.
Both the necromancer and the vampyre take their lifestyles from the study of the darkness inherent in our subconscious. Both are sensitive to energies. Both live in a world where consciousness expansion and growth are paramount. They both walk the fine line of light and shadow.
This discussion is not about the power of the vampyre or the necromancer. It is not a how to manual. It is not a treatise on either lifestyle or a definitive or thorough examination of either. This is merely a surface examination, based in observation and experience of one so called vampyre. However, the connection between the art of the necromancer and the lifestyle of the vampyre are exposed to the inquisitive eye. It is a marriage of thought, belief, philosophy, and practice. They are the night and the shadow embracing.
This article is © 2003 ShadowMind. Please do not redistribute or reproduce without the expressed permission of the author.