While witches might be born, belligerent and bloody minded magickians like myself are made. We are usually the product of some soul darkening experience in childhood, dirty doings done poisonously by someone who should have known better. Yet my back story, or should that perhaps be horror story, is nowhere near as simple. I was not sexually abused by either of my admittedly disinterested parents, nor was I introduced to the cool embrace of death by the murder of a family member whilst in those staunchly Freudian formative years. No, nothing about my life has ever been either that blandly simple or annoyingly cliche.
In actual fact it was the contents of my own psyche that first drove me to seek solace in the unreal. Plagued by the most horrific of reoccurring nightmares throughout my teens it soon reached the point where I would do anything, take any short sighted action available to avoid the sweet oblivion that others desired so strongly. For when I shut my eyes and gave in to the urging of my exhaustion ridden frame it was not to some fae infested field that I retreated. No midnight sun shone on my face, nor did angels note my passing beneath technicolor skies. Instead I witnessed worlds ending in rabid carnage and woke up screaming almost every night.
I was forced to watch as both loved ones and complete strangers were eaten in front of me by an army of the newly risen dead, an army I could neither fight nor flee from. A disorganised rabble that alternated between attempts to dismember me and pleas to join them in their charnel meal. In hindsight it is easy to understand what eventually drew me to necromancy, and also why I do not work directly with human remains. There are only so many times you can smell the rancid odour of necrotic flesh and feel warm blood slicking under your fingernails, even in your dreams, before you develop a phobia of anything related to the processes of decomposition in the real world.
Thus this sanity shredding rhythm drove itself like a blunt coffin nail through what should have been the best decade of my life. I was left reeling by the strain of it all. The nightmares, lack of sleep and torturous exhaustion built up over many years until my over reliance on caffeine to stay awake began having health effects of its own. Then for whatever reason they stopped, though never truly left. I can honestly say that I did not dream at all for a long time, any memory of my nocturnal wanderings around that much darker gore soaked London erased upon waking by a mind taken to the very edge of the abyss because of what it was seeing.
College counsellors, antidepressants, sleeping pills, nothing could give me back my other world. Every time I passed into dreamland during this period it was like dying, blinking out of existence and being reborn when the alarm rang in the morning. Experiments in the more mind altering, though drug free, aspects of chaos magick around my late twenties finally broke through whatever mental block had been keeping me from remembering the trauma that originally caused all this, and surprisingly my normal dream world would return shortly after that without the slightest fanfare.
That is one of the reasons why I am so good at this stuff, so stubborn and clever in my dealings with spirits that others would be too scared to approach. My tenacity stems directly from those years of horror, insanity and enforced altered states. I was thrown in the forge and given the choice of either tempering or being consumed. As such I stand before you now older, stronger and more convinced than ever that I am doing the right thing in facing my metaphorical demons and walking this darkest of paths. Death has became my friend, demonesses my guides, and the shunned places my refuge.
As a necromancer I am now working with what once terrified me the most. While I am happy to admit that sleep still holds a primal fear for me to this day, I cope with that neurosis as best as I can. I know that my working with the spirits of the dead has very little to do with the walking corpses that I saw so vividly when sleep finally claimed me, yet it would be dishonest not to view the role that my nightmares played in putting me on this most entropic of paths. No, my past does not mark me for greatness, nor am I somehow special. Thinking like that leads only to hubris and delusion. But it is one of the things that got me here, so cannot be ignored.