Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raising the Dead

What if we had the power to bring back the dead? I’m not talking about zapping someone with defibrillators and restarting his or her heart. I mean really raise a corpse from the ground and give it a second chance at life.

Necromancy, the act of summoning and reanimating the dead, is neither a new concept nor one that is looked upon favorably. The practice dates back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia and is most associated with the Black Arts. It was used as a method of divination, is mentioned in the Bible in more than one spot, and was used by occultists and magicians during the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well. Leonardo da Vinci was actually accused of necromancy in 1514 and brought to Vatican officials where his notebook pages and drawings on human anatomy were closely examined.

Some necromancy rituals involved sacrifices, blood-letting, protection spells, meditation, incantations, abstinence from sex, eating and drinking special items, and wearing certain clothes. Most rituals took place in cemeteries, with practitioners preferring to raise the newly dead because these reanimated corpses were thought to have fresher, more clearly spoken revelations. Actual necromancy called the spirit back into the dead body. When the ritual was over, the spirit would be allowed to leave the body again usually by staking the corpse’s heart, burning the body, burying it in quicklime, or eating the flesh.

Hungry? I didn’t think so.

So, even the raised aren’t truly brought back to life though, and they don’t get to have that full second chance. Their reanimated time is usually short and serves the purpose of giving the necromancer requested information.


I would love to see someone cheated out of life get a do-over, wouldn’t you? Imagine being young and vibrant, in the prime of your life, and by accident or sickness, you die. End of the road. You’d be pretty pissed. I know I would be. Especially if I hadn’t had the chance to do something truly important yet.

I believe that a big part of our purpose on this planet is to make a difference in some way. This can come in many forms from the grandiose gestures to the small ways we touch people’s lives. Each of us has a different contribution to make. No two of us will change the world in quite the same fashion, and that’s what makes it all so beautiful. We all have different gifts to share, and the most selfish thing we can do is hoard those gifts. Humans are a community-oriented bunch, therefore the Universe is demanding we interact, we grow, we help, we love.

And we need to do it before we croak.

Not trying to rush you or anything, but let’s face it, not many of us can put necromancer on our resume nor do we have the phone number for a good dead-raiser programmed into our cell phones. If we check out before we’re ready (and are you ever really ready to die?), we’re not coming back for another shot at doing it right. We only get this one life. We have to make it count. Every day. Every moment. No opportunity wasted.

I dabbled with bringing the dead back in my paranormal romance, ABRA CADAVER, published by The Wild Rose Press a few years ago. This is a good book to give a shot during October when you're feeling a little Halloweenish.

What do you think? Should we get a second chance if we don’t make a difference the first run through this life? Would you want one? What would you be willing to sacrifice to get it? Or have you already made a difference and have nothing to fear? 


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Rolynn Anderson said...

Learned some new stuff this a.m. about raising the dead. Not as friendly a business as I had imagined...a temporarily raised person who must look worse for wear. I agree we get this one life to prove do it well. English teacher for 23 years...high school principal for 7. Lots of difference-making. But now as an author, teaching/entertaining with my novels is my raison d'être. I'm up at 6:30 every a.m. to make that difference, while other 'retired' folk are still sleeping. Lots of sacrifices as a writer...and less and less time to get to the point of making a difference, but I'm mushing on!

Jannine Gallant said...

Really interesting stuff here, Chris. Not sure if I've made a difference yet. I hope to have at least made my readers happy for a few hours. Happiness is a good thing!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Would I want another chance at life? Only if my Calvin, my kids and grandkids could have it with me. Have I made a difference? I've made a few people laugh and I've enjoyed doing that for a long time.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Great post. Made me cringe a little but learned something too. Do-over. My beliefs lend themselves to reincarnation. Just wish we could consciously remember from one life to another. Then we could have those aha moments...yes! did it right this time around!

Leah St. James said...

Fascinating stuff, Chris. Sometimes I think about these big-picture things, and then I get a headache and stop. :-) Seriously, I agree with you that each of us is gifted with special abilities, some that exhibit themselves in grand-gesture ways, and some in subtle ways. I love your line that it's selfish to hoard your gifts. Very wise.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Very informative, if not maybe a little bit creepy. If bringing someone temporary enjoyment counts, it's possible I've made a difference somehow and somewhere. Though I must say, it would be nice to have some do over chances. The aha moments, I did it right, like Brenda said.

Christine DePetrillo said...

"Very informative, if not maybe a little bit creepy." Ha! That about sums me up perfectly, Margo!

Diane Burton said...

Do you remember the TV series "Pushing Daisies" with Kristen Chenoweth about a guy who could bring the dead back to life for 1 minute or until someone died in his/her place? Hilarious. Too bad it had a short run.