The word conjures up images of scantily-clad heroines and rotting corpses. Sadly for all you B movie buffs, Necromancy is quite simply, “divination by communication with the dead.” Some candles … a little incense … no corpse required. Although it should be, love isn’t a word usually associated with it. Love for your ancestors.
If you don’t already venerate your ancestors, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to do so. For a witch, making and tending relationships with your ancestors has very tangible and loving returns, divination and recovery of lost lore being only two. And because time isn’t linear (one of the reasons witchcraft works), your ancestors have a physical existence both in the past and the future where, through the cycle of life, death and rebirth, they will be reborn. So they know a thing or two about the future.
For some practical steps in necromancy, I can highly recommend two sources:
In “Mastering Witchcraft,” Paul Huson sets forth instructions for an amatory necromancy — The Dumb Supper — as a means of contacting the spirit of a dead loved one or for calling forth “the spectral apparition of a future loved one or spouse.” The ritual takes some real commitment; it requires a fair bit of set up and is worked over 13 nights. I did a simplified version of it some years ago, with excellent results, so I can only imagine how amazing the the full on bells-and-whistles Dumb Supper would be. *
From a Haitian Vodou-inspired perspective, Steven Bragg developed an Ancestor Novena which he sets forth in his article “Samhain, the Time of the Ancestors.” His Novena is an excellent for making and keeping contact with your ancestors. Like the Dumb Supper, the Ancestor Novena is time-consuming, but well worth the effort.
These are just two ways to approach communion with the ancestral spirits. Every culture has them. So Hindu or Budhist, Christian or Witch, in your own way spend some time with your beloved dead.
For in this time of Harvest Home, we’re their harvest._____________
*About “Mastering Witchcraft” — If you’re a traditional witch, you’ve already got it on your bookshelf. If you’re new to witchcraft and interested in a traditional take on the Magical Arts, boy are you in for a treat. I’m very nostalgic about this book, as it informed my first steps as witch when I was very, very young.