How to Raise the Dead: An Instructional Guide to Necromancy, as it were

Thu 23 November 2023 by R.L. Dane

I got into a humorous discussion with a good "FediFriend" today about cloning and necromancy. The result of our rather bizarre conversation was that I would write an article on necromancy if he would write an article on cloning.

His resultant article was not at all what I thought it was going to be, as his planned comic "out" from the ridiculous challenge was to write on cloning disks using dd. He instead put forth a fairly serious discussion on the issues and general misunderstandings regarding cloning mammals (human, or otherwise), which was a fun read.

Since I only have one way that I can realistically talk about Necromancy, I must proceed along the lines that are known to me:

Oh, Content Warning: This article talks about things from a Christian POV. Since I live in the Southern U.S., and have more experience with the Religious Right than I'd ever care to relive, I can understand how that may be annoying/disconcerting/triggering/hurtful to some. If that is you, I implore you to preserve our friendship by skipping this article. I honestly don't want to debate these points, as I will simply be presenting things based on my understanding, and what I have come to believe to be true.

Still here? Okay, let's talk about raising the dead!

My knowledge of world history is woefully lacking, but it is my understanding that many notable ancient historical and religious figures have claimed to cheat, defeat or even rule death.

The most notable example of this in the Western world (particularly the U.S. South) is Jesus, Christ. (I use a comma to denote the second word as a title, rather than a "last name," which wasn't a thing in the Middle East in the First Century, A.D.. Also, I use A.D. instead of C.E. because that's what Neil DeGrasse Tyson (not a Christian) uses. Email him. ;)

Without going into too much detail, Christians believe the Jesus of Nazareth was accused by religious authorities, executed by Roman authorities, and was raised to life again on the third day. Some groups get stuck on the phrase "the third day" as meaning 3 times 24 hours had passed, but that's a conversation for another time. Let it suffice to say that He is generally believed to have been crucified (executed) on Friday evening, and raised on Sunday morning of what's called "Passion Week," which corresponded to Passover some time around 30 A.D. Another note, I do use capital letters on pronouns referring to Christ. It is an aging and somewhat fading tradition of pious references to the person of Christ, similarly to how some religious groups believe that they must make pronouncement of peace upon a person each time that person is mentioned. Moving on again...

I must now admit something that will surprise exactly no one: I do not actually know how to physically raise a person from the dead. I do believe it happened to the person of Christ, and I do believe that the examples in Scripture are factual (I know, dear skeptics, don't get triggered on me now. You've come this far, just walk with me a bit more). I also believe that it may be possible that some people unknown to the general public may have been raised from death in the centuries since then by persons of extraordinary faith, but with neither the ability to verify those events, nor the need to disprove them, I shall leave them alone.

So. What kind of necromancy do I wish to speak on?
Why, the most delightful kind: autonecromancy, or in plainer words: "The raising of oneself from the dead."

"What foolish talk is that," I hear you grunt. Well! Well. It is, of course an analogy, but I dare say a powerful one. Firstly, how can one be dead, and cognizant of that (and cognizant enough to do something about it?) That is the realm of self-awareness. When you can stop the normal repetitive, self-propagating cycles of life long enough to take stock of who you are and where your life is going, and you realize that you're dead — I do not mean this in the strict biblical sense of being "dead in sin," although that is certainly the gravest sort of "living death." But rather, a general awareness of not living to your potential - realizing that you are more and meant to be more than what you're currently living out.

It is to this kind of living-death that autonecromancy, or "raising oneself from the dead" is the answer. This comes by an embracing of Divine Truth, or barring that concept, at least, Sublime Truth. It is discovering something critical that brings about a radical shift in both belief and praxis: the way you live out your life.

One of my favorite memories from my brief time studying philosophy as an undergrad was a discussion of the "folk etymology" of "ἀλήθεια" / "alḗtheia," the Greek word for "truth."
This "folk etymology" went along these lines: the prefix "a-" signifies negation, and "lḗtheia" refers to the river Lethe in Greek mythology where the souls of the dead (not relevant in the greater context of this article) went to forget their past lives.

Therefore, the Greek word for "truth" supposedly (but not actually) means "un-forgetting." There is an aspect of un-forgetting in the discovery of the truth: as a kind of unlocking the truth hidden in plain sight, and a restoration of the understanding of Truth.

It is in earnest repentance (or "un-forgetting" the greater truth of our life) that we discover the power to be reborn (particularly, but not solely in the John 3:3 religious sense).

This is something I have experienced many, many times in life: sometimes as a gradual progression through meditation and study, and sometimes as an utterly shocking and sudden revealing (un-forgetting) that elicited immediate tears and intense emotion, completely out of the blue.

Autonecromancy is a very real thing, and indeed a consummation devoutly to be wish'd.