Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Tomás Prower, author of the new La Santa Muerte.

“How can I get in contact with the spirits of the dead?”

Seems like a simple enough question, right? I mean, communing with beings from spiritual realms has been a worldwide hallmark of magic throughout the ages. Even nowadays among Earth’s remaining isolated tribes of native peoples, shamans continue this age-old lineage of necromancy. So, in our modern and urbanized lifestyles today, where does one begin to learn how to gain the skills of a necromancer? Well, the secret to this skill (much like writing a good mystery novel) is to start with the ending and work your way backwards.

In the case of necromancy, the ending is death. Most of us don’t like to even think about death, much less our own, but this death denial and aversion to the inevitable prevents us from acquiring any true necromantic skills. After all, if you can’t even psychologically accept death, then how do you except to communicate with death? It’s almost like saying you can’t accept the existence of a god, but yet you want to pray to him/her. So, step number one is: Accept your mortality.

Now that you recognize yourself as a future corpse, you have created a fundamental connection: they were you, and you will be them. The next step is very simple: Start with whom you know. Oftentimes, people get swept-up into the transgressive thrill of necromancy with grandiose ideas of speaking with the movers and shakers of history in order to learn from them a sort of elusive elevated wisdom. But just because someone has shuffled off this mortal coil doesn’t mean that they are suddenly slaves to your beck and call like the djinn from the Arabian tales of “One Thousand and One Nights.” Sure, you know about these former-people, but you don’t actually know them, and when was the last time you had an insightful and spiritually profound interaction with a total stranger, out of the blue, whom you commanded to have a conversation with you? Exactly. So, start closer to home, and get in touch with the deceased of those whom you knew personally during their living years. And if you are fortunate enough to never (yet) have experienced the death of a close friend or family member, start with your ancestors. The fact that your DNA is their living essence surviving through you helps facilitate contact.

Lastly, be honest with why you want to perform necromancy. Yeah, it’s one of the most transgressive and punk rock aspects of magic, but you’ve got to have a sincere respect for those upon whom you call from the great beyond. Trust me, they know if you’re just doing it because “it’s cool” or because of its patronizing shock value, and those who do “play along” are usually not the kinds of spirits you’d want to contact.

So for all the aspiring necromantic ingénues here, just remember: start safe, start simple, and start with sincerity. With time and experience, you’ll be the next Witch of Endor before you know it!


Our thanks to Tomás for his guest post! For more from Tomás Prower, read his article, “The Patron Saint of LGBT Persons: 4 Ways La Santa Muerte Empowers the Tribe.”

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Written by Anna
Anna is the editor of Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, and Llewellyn's monthly newsletters. She also blogs, tweets, and helps maintain Llewellyn's Facebook page. In her free time, Anna enjoys crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, being a grammar geek, and spending time ...