Alternatively known as Nagomancy, Negromancy, Nigromancy, and Necromancy.
The art and practice of divining the future by the summoning, communication, and/or the aid of the dead.
This is one of the claimed black arts practiced by witches and magicians.
The practice of Necyomancy can be traced to ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia. An ancient Greek spell calls upon the powers of the mighty Kore, Persephone, Ereshkigal, Adonis, Hermes and Thoth, to bind the dead, and the Greek geographer and historian Strabo refers to Necyomancy as the principal form of divination amongst the people of Persia. Necromancy was also widely used by diviners, occultists, and magicians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The classic case of Necyomancy is the Witch of Endor, described in the Bible (1 Samuel 28), who summoned the spirit of Samuel in the presence of Saul. This biblical episode was widely accepted as irrefutable evidence for the existence of witchcraft.
Also in the Bible, specifically in Deuteronomy 18:9-12, the Israelites are explicitly warned against the Canaanite practice of Necyomancy:
"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you."
Necyomancy (from Greek words meaning a dead body' and 'divination'), a word corrupted by medieval Latin writers into nigromantia, can be divided into two main branches: divination by means of ghosts, and divination from corpses, both of which represent related forms of forbidden knowledge.
The second method led to the disinterment of corpses and rifling of graves for the grisly charms which magicians and witches considered necessary for the effective performance of the magical arts.
According to a ritual described by Seneca, the Roman dramatist, the summoning of the dead involved not only a burnt sacrifice but a blood-drenched altar.
To evoke the dead the magician needed to obtain the help of powerful spirits, both for his own protection and to compel the corpse or ghost to submit to his will. According to necromantic tradition, there is a special nine-day waiting period that must be observed before successful necromancy can be performed. During this time, the necromancer prepares himself for the ceremony with long hours of meditation upon death, animal sacrifices, abstaining from sex, wearing stolen grave clothes, eating unleavened black bread, and drinking unfermented grape juice.
According to some grimoires, the flesh of a dog must also be consumed, as it is an animal sacred to the goddess Hecate, who presides over ghosts, death, and sorcery.
Following the necessary preparations, the necromantic ritual must be performed in a graveyard, beginning at the first stroke of midnight. The necromancer, standing inside a magic circle previously drawn around the opened grave, proceeds to recite a series of special incantations. The necromancer then opens the coffin lid and touches the corpse three times, commanding its disembodied spirit to reenter the dead body.
After the spirit satisfies the necromancer by giving him the sought information, the diviner then rewards the spirit by giving it eternal rest. This is done by either driving a wooden stake through the corpse's heart, burning it to ashes, burying it in quicklime, or by eating its flesh.
Furthermore, necromancers preferred summoning the recently departed, reasoning that their revelations were spoken more clearly; this time frame was traditionally of 12 months or less, following the person’s death. An alternative form of Necromancy was called Sciomancy, which consisted of divination by the shades or shadows of the dead.
Famous practitioners of Necyomancy include the magicians John Dee, Edward Kelley, Eliphas Levi, the Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tiana, and, of course, the Witch of Endor.
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See Christianity, Genius, Genii, Jinn, Djin, Heptameron, Demonology, Sortilege, Divination, Radiesthesia, Astrology, Acutomancy, Agalmatomancy, Divination, Coscinomancy, Cleidomancy, Augur, Stoichomancy, Dowsing, Tarot, Heptameron, Demonology, Sortilege, Idolomancy, Demonomancy, Tephramancy, Anemoscopy, Eromancy, Austromancy, Chaomancy, Roadomancy, Capnomancy, Pyromancy, Meteormancy, Ceraunoscopy, Zoomancy, Felidomancy, Horoscope, Horary Astrology, Zodiac, Numerology, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, The Chakra Store, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (4) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (5) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value.
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