A Nekromancer’s Memories

Empedocles held that our psyche at death returned to the fire whence it came. But our daemon, at once our guilt and our ever-potential divinity, came to us not from the fire but from the labors of the dead. The stolen element had to be returned; the daemon was never stolen but a gift from the dead, and at death was passed on to the future, the late comers who could accept both the crime and the devilish burden at once.

The Greeks once celebrated in awe and fear the apophrades… the dismal or unlucky days upon which the dead returned to inhabit their former homes… in our time we no longer honor the dead in their homes, but plow them under hoping they will leave us alone in our agony and silence. Yet, if I could have one gift it would be the Sisyphean task of honoring those dead, traveling the world where humans have committed atrocity and mayhem on each other, genocide and annihilation upon their own kind; remembering those innocents who have gone down below the surface of things, haunting our minds like so many leaves scattered to the four-winds of time. If I had my way I would – like a Hermes of the Silences: a messenger and harbinger of death, bring those dead with me among the living, force the sleepers among us to recognize the crimes of history, war, and atrocity sustained at the hands of our dark intelligences. There would be no moral in this, only the stark truth of horror, the horror of humanity in its inhuman indifference to pain and suffering that it has inflicted upon the dead in its bid for immortality. The Sun alone knows the memory of such obliterations…

Sometimes when I remember that short story by Jorge-Luis Borges, Shakespeare’s Memory… I think of all those lost beings in the earth of silence, wondering what memories we’ve lost in the black wastelands and necropolises of our dead ancestral crimes.

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