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Author Topic: Necromancy. It's not Evil  (Read 12788 times)

Darkhawk

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #150 on: December 26, 2012, 10:25:51 am »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800
I have seen absolutely no research to suggest that Necromancy doesn't require sacrifice or that it can be done without harming others--to be White Magick, it would need to meet those requirements--lack of sacrifice, lack of harm, lack of ill intent.

It doesn't meet those requirements and nothing in this thread has suggested to me that there can be proof found anywhere that Necromancy is a Good type of magick to practice for anyone who follows a religious path centered around love and respect for all things.

 
I would love to see what on earth you think "necromancy" means.  'Cos the stuff you're talking about ain't it.
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dionysiandame

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #151 on: December 26, 2012, 10:45:53 am »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800

Necromancy is considered a Dark Art.


I supposed I can only do it if I'm in Slytherin House then? Damn sorting hat!

Quote
There are a lot of pagan paths that frown on the usage of Dark Arts because they are used for harming others. This is why Necromancy is portrayed as "evil" in movies and television.


Considering "paganism" is often portrayed as evil by movies and television, as well as black single mothers, and spinsters I would't really put much credence into this argument. Granted, there are some pagan religions that do frown on necromancy, but there are some where contact with the dead isn't frowned upon provided one has followed the necessary steps/ritual.

Quote
It is dark magick--there is no getting away from that fact. It is used to curse people in harmful manners, such as cursing them with blindness, illness, or other physical/mental harm.


Wait...dude...what?

Quote
Now, according to my own research Necromancy draws those people who are interested in the power to dominant and subjugate spirits to his/her will. This doesn't come without sacrifice--in fact, the Death Essence that Necromancers use is so draining that after long-term exposure to it makes them physically ill. In the end, they become little more than walking skeletons themselves.


Can I get the source for this information because it does't sound like anything I've ever heard. Like ever.

Quote
And the only way they regain any semblance of health is to drain other living creatures of their life energies--thus giving birth to what's commonly known as "psychic vampires."


I...I don't think this word means what you think it means.


Quote
For the majority of pagans (at least the ones I know), Dark Arts violate the very heart of their religion, which centers around love, free will, and respect for oneself and others.


Ah, well that's a rather small sample size don't you think? It's like working in the porn industry and then thinking that all women have perky DD sized sweater puppets because every woman you know does. I don't know...statistically that seems off.



Quote
I have seen absolutely no research to suggest that Necromancy doesn't require sacrifice or that it can be done without harming others--to be White Magick, it would need to meet those requirements--lack of sacrifice, lack of harm, lack of ill intent.


Yeah...
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Aspiria

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Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #152 on: December 26, 2012, 10:50:45 am »
Quote from: dionysiandame;86822
I supposed I can only do it if I'm in Slytherin House then? Damn sorting hat!



Considering "paganism" is often portrayed as evil by movies and television, as well as black single mothers, and spinsters I would't really put much credence into this argument. Granted, there are some pagan religions that do frown on necromancy, but there are some where contact with the dead isn't frowned upon provided one has followed the necessary steps/ritual.



Wait...dude...what?



Can I get the source for this information because it does't sound like anything I've ever heard. Like ever.



I...I don't think this word means what you think it means.




Ah, well that's a rather small sample size don't you think? It's like working in the porn industry and then thinking that all women have perky DD sized sweater puppets because every woman you know does. I don't know...statistically that seems off.





Yeah...

Hahaha Dion. First time I smiled today.

Laveth

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #153 on: December 26, 2012, 11:40:06 am »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800


It is dark magick--there is no getting away from that fact. It is used to curse people in harmful manners, such as cursing them with blindness, illness, or other physical/mental harm.

Now, according to my own research Necromancy draws those people who are interested in the power to dominant and subjugate spirits to his/her will. This doesn't come without sacrifice--in fact, the Death Essence that Necromancers use is so draining that after long-term exposure to it makes them physically ill. In the end, they become little more than walking skeletons themselves.

 
This reminds me of the articles written about Lich entities in D&D. Almost to the T, actually.

Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800

And the only way they regain any semblance of health is to drain other living creatures of their life energies--thus giving birth to what's commonly known as "psychic vampires."

 
This looks like someone trying to fill in some blanks... Somehow I doubt that the 12 year old drainers I run into have a long history of blood sacrifice and cursing.

I could have sworn this thread had died the death...

Darkhawk

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #154 on: December 26, 2012, 11:48:42 am »
Quote from: dionysiandame;86822
Can I get the source for this information because it does't sound like anything I've ever heard. Like ever.

 
I suspect something with its origins in the index of a D&D book, because ... seriously.
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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #155 on: December 26, 2012, 11:56:45 am »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800
This doesn't come without sacrifice

*snip*

to be White Magick, it would need to meet those requirements--lack of sacrifice, lack of harm, lack of ill intent.

 
I don't know of a whole lot in life that comes with out sacrifice. I don't know why magic would be any different.

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #156 on: December 26, 2012, 11:59:07 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;86834
I don't know of a whole lot in life that comes with out sacrifice. I don't know why magic would be any different.

 
Seriously. Is white magjickk the path of free lunches? If it is, count me in!

pocketsoul1127

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #157 on: December 26, 2012, 12:21:37 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;86831
I suspect something with its origins in the index of a D&D book, because ... seriously.

http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/tomekeeper/types/necromancy.html

This is one of the sources and if you'll note at the bottom it references "The Natural History of The Vampire," by Anthony Masters.

Also, for a forum claiming to have open-minded members, it seems people are more interested in personal attacks rather than the subject matter at hand.

And before criticizing a post I made *after* doing research with ridicule and scorn, it seems that to back up your own claims you'd show evidence that supports them. I have no problem providing my sources, but being subjected to undeserved scorn for posting an honest response in a philosophical forum where the idea is to consider different viewpoints seems to defeat the very nature of the forum itself.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 12:25:15 pm by pocketsoul1127 »

dionysiandame

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #158 on: December 26, 2012, 12:38:28 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86839
http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/tomekeeper/types/necromancy.html

And before criticizing a post I made *after* doing research with ridicule and scorn, it seems that to back up your own claims you'd show evidence that supports them. I have no problem providing my sources, but being subjected to undeserved scorn for posting an honest response in a philosophical forum where the idea is to consider different viewpoints seems to defeat the very nature of the forum itself.


Personally, I'm not the one making claims that I'm expecting someone to take as rote. I asked where you got your research from expecting a few books, maybe a link or something and instead you direct me to an Angelfire website where the one book cited is listed in Amazon as a folklore compendium; which means that everything pulled together in that website could be a mish-mash of different cultural and religious beliefs taken completely out of context.

Even some of your writing in regards to communications with the dead and those who do so, reeks of a Eurocentrist Christian mindset lingering under a veneer of supposed "pagan open mindedness", were you as open minded as you think you are, you'd be more open to recognizing where you might have some fallacies in your information. Hell, your "source" is primarily about vampirism, so the research isn't even BASED on the subject of the thread.

There are tribal traditions that involve communications with the dead, and the individuals who can do so are respected individuals in their communities. They do make sacrifices of themselves in the form of training, abstaining from certain practices that 'normal' people get to partake in, etc. At least this is my understanding of some of the methods of ancestral contact within some Traditional African religious ceremonies and, even then, the rituals can be different depending on the religion, the people in question, or even which part of Africa they live (which can point to a more Islamic or Christian influence in folk practice.)
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dionysiandame

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #159 on: December 26, 2012, 12:39:37 pm »
Quote from: Maps;86835
Seriously. Is white magjickk the path of free lunches? If it is, count me in!


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Jenett

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #160 on: December 26, 2012, 01:27:41 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86839
http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/tomekeeper/types/necromancy.html

This is one of the sources and if you'll note at the bottom it references "The Natural History of The Vampire," by Anthony Masters.

 
Ok. Not getting into content here, because I've got other calls on my time today, but the librarian in me can't move on without talking about this.

Not all sources are created equal. First thing, the page you mention references a *bunch* of stuff that's out of kilter with many discussions of necromancy. And it references a single title for the entire page, a book that was published *forty years ago*.

This is not the best source ever. For two reasons. First, and perhaps most obvious, there's a lot more to the topic of necromancy than vampires. So a single reference line, only about vampires, is not going to give you all of sourcing that page claims. This bit is pretty basic logic.

Second, the one source that *is* mentioned is forty years old, and even in a field like vampires, that's a long time. There's been a *lot* of writing on the topic in the last 10-15 years, some of which incorporates modern scientific understanding, some of which does better critical thinking and analysis of folklore and mythology, and some of which has a broader cultural perspective than a lot of what was written in English 40 years ago.

Now, it happens that I am sitting in a small academic library, and it happens that we happen to have a copy of it. (I am pretty sure it'll get weeded in our next round, actually.) In short, it is the kind of book that one might buy in a "bag of books for $1" library book sales. These books have some interest, but current research, they're usually not.  There are reasons for that.

Anyway. I have this book in hand. Without reading it cover to cover, here's some things I can tell you (and I'm leaving off the purely cosmetic aspects of books published in the 70s, because that's not the book's fault.)

1) The author's biography mentions his work in journalism and publishing, but gives no specifics. His mentioned works on the back cover are fictional, and he is mentioned as working on a biography.

These are not credentials that give me a ton of confidence that he is going to write about a complex cross-cultural and cross-worldview topic vampires. We might get lucky here - there are some really talented passionate amateurs out there, but it's always sort of suspicious if someone's claiming to be an expert in a field they don't actually have formal background in.

2) There are occaisional footnotes, but he's not noting pages, just titles. This is not so useful. And a lot of his material is not specifically cited at all. Very problematic.

His bibliography is 3.5 pages (again, not a horrible sign). But I noticed something, and did a quick tally. (I think I may have double-counted 2-3 sources in here because I lost my place, but it still proves my point.)

I tallied 96 sources. Of those:
- 1970s: 2
- 1960s: 22
- 1950s: 3
- 1940s: 1
- 1930s: 2
- 1920s: 11
- 1910s: 8
- 1900s: 7
- 1800s (entire century): 30
- 1700s (entire century): 3
- 1600s (entire century) : 3
- 1400s (entire century) : 3
- no date: 3 (but I think all of them are late 19th century/early 20th century fiction)

At least 10 of the sources are fiction, and only ever intended as fiction, and several clearly refer to portrayals in film or popular culture (relevant to the book, but not useful for a serious discussion of magical theory.)

Now, looking at that, only a quarter of the sources are within the decade before the book (roughly, since for a book published in 72, you assume most of the research was done by sometime in 70.) In comparison, nearly half the books (43%) were published before 1900.

Now, some of those are historical texts, but some of them (The Malleus Malificarum, for example, or the Golden Bough) are extremely questionable these days as historical sources for most things, and a number of the other ones are collections of folklore from British Imperialist viewpoints, which are - well, they have their place, but they also have major gaps.

All of these things are sort of problematic. Not that such a book might not be useful in specific circumstances, but it should make you want to check what it says carefully, and compare to more recent texts, and to texts from people with substantial grounding in relevant fields.

3) The index does not reference necromancy. (necrophilia, yes. But not actually a lot about magic, magical theory, magical practice, or related topics. Lots of entries for specific areas of the world, for various fictional authors, and a handful of others. (I think the longest entry is for Montague Summers, not the most reliable source.)

But perhaps I am being unfair. Let's open to the introduction.

4) Which opens with: "This book is an entertainment built round a contemporarily much abused mass-media figure -- the vampire. It is also an analysis of the way vampire belief ravaged its way around the world from the eleventh century to the present times."

Ok. First, that's a rather large scope for a single book. But second, it's problematic as a modern reliable source for two reasons - 40 years ago is no longer 'contemporary', and second, books that try to serve the dual master of entertainment and scholarly research usually end up skimping one or the other.

4) Right. Let's skim the book briefly. The first chapter (p.3) brings me to the following quote: ""In the twentieth century, living in a synthetic and over-sophisticated society, it is difficult to feel the cold and foetid breath of superstition."

Now, this might be true (and it certainly sounds like the 70s!) But it's also an indicator of a variety of biases, both about contemporary culture and about historical understanding. "Oh bless, the dear historical savages" is not, in short, an approach that actually gets you the best material to work with.

Skimming the rest of the book gives me much of what I expected. A lot of minimally sourced folklore, mostly from Eastern Europe (with a sideline into exotic Africa and Asia for a change of pace - again, not a good sign.) And very very many of the things he does cite are either fiction or somewhat out of context. (Yes, dear author, blood is a powerful magical tool, but the bit of Eliphas Levi you're quoting has implications that you're not even considering.)

Putting it all together:
Now, I'm a professional here. I have learned to do these things pretty quickly. It's taken me about 40 minutes to type this up (goodbye, lunchbreak!) but the actual evaluation of the book?

- flip to author bio
- flip to bibliography. Note lots of older books
- flip to intro
- flip through books

That part? Takes about 2-3 minutes once I had the book in hand. And I had guesses about much of it, based simply on the title/subtitle, publication date, and a quick Google search about it. And, obviously, qualms about it as a source for the cited page immediately, because it's clearly not covering all of the topics listed on that page.

For those interested in more about how to evaluate books in a Pagan context, I have an essay on my website called Critical Reading and Pagan Books that covers some other related issues.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #161 on: December 26, 2012, 01:29:45 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86839
And before criticizing a post I made *after* doing research with ridicule and scorn,


When someone's research turns up a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with necromantic practices that I have heard of and claims that that is intrinsic and fundamental to necromancy, I will ask them where they found the information in question.  And when it sounds like a summation of the "necromancy" domain from third edition D&D, I'll say that too.  (To be fair, "Blindness/Deafness" does not appear to be a domain spell from a little Googling, so that got dragged in from some other system.)

I mean, at least the OP's Dire Warning about ouija boards was talking about communication with the dead.
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RandallS

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #162 on: December 26, 2012, 01:54:46 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800
Necromancy is considered a Dark Art.

"Dark Art?" Fortunately, I got an "O" in my DADA Newt. More seriously, classifying magic as Dark or Light has always seemed arbitrary (and somewhat silly) to me.

Quote
It is dark magick--there is no getting away from that fact. It is used to curse people in harmful manners, such as cursing them with blindness, illness, or other physical/mental harm.

The necromancy I'm familiar with wouldn't be used to do any of that. Well, I suppose you could summon the spirit of a dead person who know how to do one of those things and force him/her to do it for you, but that's a really roundabout way to curse someone. It'd take less effort to learn and cast a spell to do it yourself.
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Snowdrop

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #163 on: December 26, 2012, 02:57:20 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86800
Necromancy runs counter to that, suggesting that sacrifice, power, and domination is the correct methodology of life.

I have seen absolutely no research to suggest that Necromancy doesn't require sacrifice or that it can be done without harming others--to be White Magick, it would need to meet those requirements--lack of sacrifice, lack of harm, lack of ill intent.

 
Uhm . . . can you clarify exactly what you mean by sacrifice in these sentences?  

Some things in life do require sacrifices, and that's normal - magical things, mundane things, whatever.  If you want to go to college and you live in the US, you're going to be making sacrifices of your time and money to pay off student loans once you're done.  I don't practice magic, but I see no reason why a magical working requiring sacrifices should make it inherently bad.  

Or do you mean something more specific when you say sacrifice?

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Re: Necromancy. It's not Evil
« Reply #164 on: December 26, 2012, 06:17:29 pm »
Quote from: pocketsoul1127;86839
Also, for a forum claiming to have open-minded members, it seems people are more interested in personal attacks rather than the subject matter at hand.

 
If you feel you've been personally attacked, please report the post in which it occurred.  Personal attacks are a violation of TC's rules, and we take them very seriously.

You should note, though, that we distinguish strongly between attacks on the person, and attacks on the ideas they've presented.  The latter are not only acceptable here, but essential to our core focus as a debate and discussion board.  When someone presents inaccurate ideas, those inaccurate ideas will be challenged, often with demands for (reliable!) sources, and, yes, sometimes subjected to ridicule and scorn.

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