Of all the questions we are asked (and have been asked) over the years regarding Necromancy, one of the most popular ones regards the “talking head” in Necromantic operations – where you would use a human or animal skull (or other such head-shaped item) to communicate with the Dead. Since we get asked about this rather a lot, we have decided to write a blog post on the subject, so that whosoever may be curious enough to ask about it will easily have access to this information.
Now, first things first – the concept of using a head or skull in Necromantic practices is not uncommon and can also be found in other paradigms of Magick as well, such as High Magick (including Evocation). Does this statement confuse you? If it does, then you do not fully understand the concept behind the “talking heads” in Occult practices, hence this post.
People come across various writings and even legends of an individual – in this case, a Necromancer – using a human head or skull as a medium to commune with the Dead…there are references to this in many different cultures and beliefs, so we will not sully this post with a long list of references – if that is what you seek, have a look around the internet, Google it, visit Wikipedia, read old Grimoires and so on. Up until this point, the concept or idea is rather lucid – a skull as a focal point for Necromantic operations – but from here on, due to people not really understanding the subject, due to Hollywood and their unwelcome representations of Magick (since many people are terribly gullible and believe that what is depicted in movies are actually true) or simply due to inexperience or misunderstanding – people misinterpret the purpose of the “talking head” greatly. To put it literally, they believe that the summoned Spirit will PHYSICALLY SPEAK through the skull, head and so on – with the lips/jaws actually moving, the face (if applicable) showing expressions and so on.
We will leave the reprimands of being so naïve aside, as we are quite sure that if you once believed this to be true, that you are now beginning to realize that you were a bit misguided in your beliefs.
A head – being a skull, a preserved head or a created head – in the practice of Necromancy serves two purposes in regards to communicating with Spirits:
A housing – an anchor-point to this world (much like a rivet, a link) which anchors the summoned Spirit to this world and thus serving as a focus-point for the Necromancer.
A mouth-piece for communication.
Let us expand on the above – but before we do so, allow us to explain a few important factors. When the body dies, the link to the soul/spirit which once inhabited the body severs and the soul that belonged in that particular body cannot return and inhabit the dead body once again. End of story. Now, although the body itself as well as the bones serve as a rivet (link) to the original inhabitant of the body, the original inhabitant cannot return to its body. The idea of reanimating a body – be it only the head or otherwise – is a subject that we have discussed in our book, The Gospel of the Ghouls Volume 1, and which we will not discuss as, if you have watched some of our videos or read the aforementioned book, you will know how we feel about this particular act.
Then you may argue that how can a Possessing Spirit speak through a living host – simple, the Possessing Spirit needs the vital essence/energy which serves as an anchor for it, and it uses the living body of the host as its own. Note – Possessing Spirits possess the living and cannot possess the Dead. Once the vital essence becomes depleted within the living host, the host body will show symptoms of it, such as lesions etc, and at the point when the vital essence is depleted, the body will die, and the Possessing Spirit will have no choice but to exit the host body. The host’s Spirit will also depart, as its body is dead. It is impossible to extract the vital essence from a living body as it will disintegrate within moments, thus it cannot be used for the purpose of reanimation or a talking head.
Now, through various ritual operations, you can use a head or skull as a mouth-piece for a Spirit – but not any Spirit as you may think, as, if you use a head or skull as a mouth-piece, a very particular type of Spirit will inhabit it. In fact, it will be a class of Demon and not a simple garden-variety Spirit. Through this, the new inhabitant will speak through the skull or head, however, it will not physically animate (in other words, the jaws won’t move, the face won’t articulate etc). You may, however, be able to audibly hear the voice of the Demon. Note that we say “may” – as, since you ought to know by now, communication with Spirits and Entities of all kinds tend to be on a mental level (in other words, you will hear them mentally and not physically). This means that, although communication tends to be on a mental level, using the skull or head as a mouth-piece as described will allow the newly-attached Demon to speak audibly to you. How? Well, dear reader, that is one of the mysteries of the Occult.
Nonetheless, since what is required for this is only a head or skull – the skull need not be human (although it is preferred) and does not need to have “both jaws to speak”. Why not? Because the head or skull is not being reanimated, it is merely a voice-box. As mentioned, human skulls are preferred for this, however, you can turn the skull into a chimera by affixing horns to the head and replacing the human teeth with jackal teeth as an example, which will reflect the nature of the Demon that will speak through it.
Next, the most classic and widely used form of heads and skulls is using it as a house for a Spirit – be it the Spirit which the head or skull belonged to, or another. For this, it does not matter whether it is human or animal. With this, the Spirit linked to the skull/head does not speak through it, and only uses it as an anchor-point…and the Necromancer as a focus-point, as seen with Effigies. With this application, you can also create a head or other vessel for the Spirit to attach to and inhabit – as seen with High Magick as well (most popularly with the Brass Vessel from Solomonic systems, the Oboth from the Tanakh and the ritual mentioned in the Picatrix to name but a few).
We hope that this clarified a few things on the subject of talking heads, skulls and the like for the sake of communicating with the Dead as well as Spirits. This is by far not a severely detailed piece; however, it should suffice to clarify a bit. If you are interested in creating a Spirit house, we can suggest our books on Necromancy – The Gospel of the Ghouls Volume 1, The Gospel of the Ghouls Volume 2 and Necromancy: The Black Door which are all available on our website.
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