Nekyia

Volatile

From very ancient times, the practice of necromancy allowed the contact to dead people through many different ways. Depending on the invocation type, it was possible to call up the spirits of the deceased or even make them rise from the grave. The purposes were mostly divination, to get advises from the ones who are clinically dead but still able to speak, verbally or not. Sometimes, the conjuration aims to bring back the dead body, such as in Haitian hoodoo practices. As an example we have the story of Clairvius Narcisse, who claimed to have been turned into a zombie slave and forced to work in the sugar plantation. This theme was developed before for the design “Baron Samedi”

For this design we wanted to explore the concept of “Nekya” (νέκυια ἡ νέκυα), the rite by which ghosts were called up and questioned about the future. For that we created two different spheres that divide the world of the living above and the underworld below. The circle with the eye, which is coming upwards and touches the sphere of the living. That represents the calling of the mindful spirit from the darkest pit of the underworld, who reaches now our sphere.

The designs’s upper shape contains several conjuring objects, like the chalice with a drop of blood and a ceremonial dagger. It is also visible the verbal language common to the living people and the universal circles in motion. 

At the very top we see an eye that makes the connection between the spheres- we can see the line that affirms that, going from one limit to the other. 

The circle from the bottom reveals a symmetrical shape that holds the dead as a prison, avoiding them to walk freely between spheres. Both magical circle and inverted cross-like shape suggests a rigorous hierarchic system, almost like a spirit society. In classical antiquity, as in many cultures, the underworld was its own ruler who governs the darkest abyss. 

At this sphere we can easily notice the hands of the a dead person rising up, symbolising the invoking method where the body itself is called. Beyond that, it could also represent the “katabasis”

A “katabasis” (κατάβασις) means a descent. In this context it’s a physical descent into the Underworld, allowing a conversation with the dead. The event is often described in greek mythology as part of the epic adventure of many heroes or even gods. The most popular episodes are the descending of Hermes, with the help of Hecate, searches Persephone who were kidnapped by Hades. This story underlines the gods who are commonly described by the rites of “Nekya”. 

Another important example described in the Odyssey, narrate the abysmal voyage of Odysseus. He consults the soul of the priest and prophet Teiresias about the means to return home to Ithaca. This myth was probably our original inspiration for the design but we wanted to make it more into a personal level and have that geometrical construction as a symbol for ourselves. Jung defines the concept of Nekya as an internal journey to the depths of our unconscious minds.

“Tiresias appears to Ulysses during the sacrifice”- Henry Fuseli, 1780-1785.
“The Necromancer, comprising A Remarkable Series of Wonderful Events, Founded On Facts” from “The Astrologer of the Ninetenth Century”, Robert Cross Smith, ca. 1825
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