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Those who don't return from Descensum are gone forever, property of the Underworld.
Behold Chablis[src]

Descensum is the power to project one's soul into the nether worlds of the afterlife. It is one of the Seven Wonders, meaning all Supremes are expected to master it. It also one of the most dangerous magic for a witch to perform. Astral Projection is a variation of Descensum.

This power was used in Coven and Apocalypse.

Use

Spiritu duce, in me est. Deduce me in tenebris vita ad extremum, ut salutaret inferi. Descensum!
— Incantation
Witches can use descensum to travel into the nether worlds of the afterlife. They lie down, shut their eyes, and usually chant an incantation to activate the ability. When a witch descends to the nether world, the plane takes the form of their worst fears or terrible past experiences. A witch can only survive for so long with his or her soul away from their body, and if they fail to return in time, their body will die and disintegrate into dust.

Descensum is a tricky skill to master, and rarely used as it is not as useful as other skills such as telekinesis or concilium. However, it has proved its usefulness on some occasions. Queenie used it to travel to the nether world in order to discover the location of Marie Laveau after she disappeared. She found herself in the fast food restaurant she worked in before she became a witch, tirelessly being nagged by customers and facing an eternally long queue. Papa Legba, one of the gatekeepers between humanity and the underworld, came to her and explained that this was her worst nightmare. She was stuck with little pay, no attention and no respect: she was a nobody. Queenie eventually managed to return safely before she could die.[1]

During the Trial of Descensum, the four girls: Zoe, Madison, Misty Day and Queenie, laid on the floor opposite each other with their heads connecting. They chanted an incantation and the four traveled to Hell. Queenie, having experience, was the first to wake up, back from the restaurant in her nightmare. Madison then returned, her worst fear being cast as a minor role in a televised screening of the Sound of Music. Zoe then came back, having returned from a Hell of breaking up with Kyle over and over. Misty, who was trapped in a Hell of having to dissect living animals, whilst her science teacher and her class made fun of her, failed to return and turned into ashes whilst the coven looked on, unable to help her. When Cordelia took the test, her fear was not gaining approval from her mother, Fiona.

Out of all the Seven Wonders, Descensum is certainly the most dangerous. While most of the other Seven Wonders can result in death, witches can still be revived if they die. But if a witch dies performing Descensum they cannot be resurrected. Firstly because the body fades away leaving nothing of them left, and secondly because their soul is stuck in the depths of the netherworld, essentially stuck in their own personal hell for eternity. Due to this, it is the most risky power to use and most witches are cautioned on using it. According to the warlock, Behold Chablis, those who fail to come back from Descensum will be gone forever as they will become a property of the Underworld.[2]

Michael Langdon descended into Hell with Queenie to resurrect Madison.[3] During the Trial of Descensum, Michael laid on the floor surrounded by the witches and Warlock Council. He chanted an incantation and descended into Hell. He killed the illusion of Mr. Keenery, the Biology teacher and negotiated with the Devil to release Misty Day from her personal hell.[2]

Cordelia Goode, as the Supreme, is able to use this power on a more advanced level. She can use it to astrally project in between the world of the living and the world of the dead to travel to other places. Cordelia uses this to see the destruction Michael caused at the Academy, in hopes that she could revive Zoe and Queenie.[4] Like Michael Langdon, Cordelia also able to enter in another person's hell, as in the case of Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie.[5] It is noteworthy that Queenie could possibly use Descensum at this level, too. When Michael came to Madison's hell to retrieve her, it was either he brought Queenie with him or Queenie came to Madison's personal hell herself, because Queenie arrived later than Michael and she was shown to be quite talented at Descensum.

Reversal

Sequere lucem. Venite ad me.
— Cordelia's Incantation
Season 3 Misty Day GIF

There is a spell that can be used in case the witch using Descensum stays too long in Hell and cannot return. The caster must hold the target's body and recites the incantation, that translated from Latin means, "Follow the light. Come back to me." If done properly the spell will somehow bring the target back. This spell was used by Cordelia Goode in an attempt to save Misty Day but unfortunately, it did not suceed.[6]

Notes

  • Descensum is featured in two seasons of American Horror Story: Coven and Apocalypse
  • Descensum is the only trial in the Test of the Seven Wonders where one must recite a spell.
    • Because of that, any witch or warlock with enough experience in spellcrafting can descend to Hell, but only those who have mastered Descensum can come back before their time is up.

Known Users

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Episode: Go to Hell
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Episode: Boy Wonder
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Episode: Could It Be... Satan?
  4. 4.0 4.1 Episode: Fire and Reign
  5. 5.0 5.1 Episode: Apocalypse Then
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Episode: The Seven Wonders
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 She was a Supreme, therefore she had to have this power because it is one of the Seven Wonders
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