These days I’ve been writing missives, both in my recent Aradia Academy newsletter and on Patheos, pertaining to my upcoming course in Cartomancy and Necromancy, and I thought about the general attitude people have towards the practice of necromancy, or divination from an exhumed corpse often coupled with sorcery and the conjuration of spirits. They call this ‘dark occultism,’ ‘the worst of woo’ or ‘delusional.’
To be honest, I never quite get what people are talking about when they refer to this practice as ‘dark’ – also in the sense of being practiced by the ones who are presumed ‘thick’ in their heads, that is to say, devoid of the capacity to reason and reflect. Given that we live through comparisons, as soon as I compare necromancy with the social media, I get illuminated. Guess what is darkest. Necromancy or the uninformed opinions we get bombarded by on a daily basis about everything? All ‘worthy messages’ – messages from the beyond, if you ask me, that is to say, beyond all common sense and plain rationality.
We live in the age of complaining, criticizing, contradicting, comparing, controlling, and creating conflicts. We talk about compassion, caring, consolation, and courtesy, but when it comes down to practice, these latter virtues get trumped by the vices listed here first. Mingle compassion with comparison, and you’re already feeding a darker demon than the one that possesses your dead father. As the voices of virtues and vices get mingled in a cacophony of indistinguishable babble, we get to stare at a much darker occultism than the one associated with talking with the dead.
In my work with cartomancy, the primary focus has always been an investigation into how we can get past our limiting imagination. I operate with an imaginal world, and if I decide that a string of cards represents the voice of the dead, then it is so, as this world is subject to both, my strategy of enlarging my field of vision and imagination, and my reflecting on just what the purpose of going beyond limits with poetic images is.
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein formulated a famed axiom that falls under the category of linguistic relativism. He said in Tractatus Philosophicus that ‘the limits of my language mean the limits of my world.’ If you think about it, you’ll note that you’re left with no negotiating power. What Wittgenstein says is actually so. So we’re in the presence of the obvious that cannot be refuted.
This axiom has implications for how we think of our language. We assume that our imagination is limitless, but when we pay attention to the demons of misinformation everywhere, we begin to realize that the premise for so much misinformation around us is due to the fact that those who spread it have a very limited vocabulary, and hence live in a very limited world of the imagination. This, however, is presented as original and as steeped in the limitless. There is simply no end to what the anti-vaxxers imagine about the world of science, nor is there any limit to what some Americans believe Trump is still capable of. Meanwhile, the same type of people want to ask you: ‘you’re not invested in any dark occultism, are you?’ The only appropriate answer is, of course, to say that you’re very much invested in the darkest occultism that has ever existed, and that it is all good, as it makes you see the obvious.
Some take this position as impertinence, but what is more impertinent than some indignations? Even as I sit down to write these words, a former university colleague and literature professor asked me in public, in connection with my essay on calling on a dead art collector to impart his words with me beyond the grave: ‘Camelia, are you joking? You cannot speak to the dead. They’re DEAD!’ (her emphasis). I elected to say this to her, although I might have said many other things: ‘the dead are as real as the fictional characters we read about in novels, whose voice inspires us and motivates us. I tend to listen to such voices.’
I put down some cards for my claims.
I see myself justified in impaling some worldviews, go after the fools, and get my own course rolling. There’s just the temperate virtue in that.
Hop on board for some dark occultism, and be better informed.