Ask me on most days, and I will happily tell you that the afterlife is an ancient contrivance created by human beings to lessen the blow of the inevitable conclusion which has always awaited us. Question me on my spiritual beliefs and I will honestly answer that I hold none at all, preferring to keep a rational eye on the Fortean nature of the world around us. Corner me on the reality of magick itself and more often than not I will just smile and walk away, reminding you darkly that all belief creates dogma, and that all dogs belong on leads.
But sometimes, when the moon rises low in the sky and the same old nightmares return to plague me once again, I shift into a very different paradigm, one that hinges on my acceptance of the spirits of the dead as a literal reality. It is at this point that I become the Fox of Bones, and long standing necromantic interests come to the forefront of my magickal practice. And oh, how walking this cemetery path has changed me. Gone now is much of the chaos magickian’s swagger, the solipsism and delusions of immortality, replaced instead by a hollow acceptance of my role as keeper of the veil.
The grave is the womb we will all return to, men and women, kings and paupers alike, and while its mysteries can speak directly to the heart of the human condition very few are willing to ask the right questions. My Faustian eagerness to stare into the abyss and wait impatiently for something else to look back has lead me to this point, to become much more than mundane no matter the ultimate cost to my soul. Because whether it is a psychological self fulfilling prophesy or just the price paid for handling real entropic energies on a daily basis, allowing the death current into your life can and will have lasting effects on both your physical and mental health.
As a result of this I am now a magickian of two halves, cyclically marching between life and unlife with the turning of the seasons. And every spring it gets that little bit harder to shake of the cold of the grave and step back into the warm light of day, to feed on the newly reborn earth that I call home and heal whatever remains of my broken shell. Mine is the curse of Persephone, to be wed to the underworld for the darker half of the year, but I carry it gladly as an annual rite of passage. Nothing worth knowing comes easily, and sacrifices must be made along the way.
Death has always brought with it the most primal of taboos. While I willingly break these cultural and religious laws in at attempt to develop a greater understanding of its teachings there are limits to how far I will go. Many of the processes related to decomposition are mildly toxic. This is the reason why working with tinctures, potions and concoctions distilled from corpses will never end well, even if they are just absorbed through the skin. As such, I have chosen to work with the energies of entropy instead, binding the very death current to my will and sidestepping the need for dried blood and bleached bone altogether.
I may employ the services of the discarnate, but it is only quiet whispers that stand as proof of their possible presence. I choose to keep these entities at arms length, mercenaries all, paid well in my service but never allowed into my confidence. Bitter experience has taught me that necromancy is neither a religion, nor a lifestyle. I do not listen to Bauhaus and read Poe while perched ravenlike upon a mausoleum, surrounded by candles and an adoring following of nubile young misfits. My life is not the cemetery scene from the start of Return of the Living Dead any more than it is the ending of Breakfast Club.
For me, necromancy is the ultimate embodiment of the boundary between the living and the dead. It is a discipline that strives to acknowledge the relevance of both within our culture while also working to keep the two concepts apart. We are the truest of hedge riding witches, with one foot in the graveyard and the other on the pavement, and a barrier neither can pass without our say so. We hold the line and find solemn reverence in the idea of opposing polarities bound up within a single soul. Ours is the darkest of paths, a chalice that overflows with both wine and poison in equal measure. As such it is not a lifestyle that suits everyone, especially the faint of heart.