Resurrection is the power of vampires, hybrids, witches, and psychics to bring someone or something back from the dead by magical or supernatural means. Resurrection was made possible 2,000 years ago by a witch named Qetsiyah due to her creation of the Other Side, which prevented supernatural souls from truly passing on.
It is stated that there is always a consequence for bringing someone back from the dead, as it is the will of Nature that all living beings must die. However, there are some magical beings who have won against any possible consequence entirely.
Vampires can, in a way, resurrect humans from the dead by giving them their blood while they are still alive. Whether this is from direct feeding or through syringe injection, the end result is the same. If the human dies with vampire blood in their system, they will return to life relatively quickly, although they will awaken in transition to become a vampire and will die again within 24 hours unless they choose to feed on human blood to complete their transition into a vampire. It has also been said that it's possible for a witch to travel to the Other Side and bring back the transitioning vampire's soul to the living world before they feed on human blood, they can be returned to their human state, although such a spell has never successfully been performed.
Through their vampire heritage, when the Original hybrid feeds his blood to a living werewolf and the werewolf is killed, they will be resurrected and awaken in transition to become a hybrid. To complete the transition, they need to feed on the blood of the doppelgänger. If they do not, the transitioning hybrid will begin to feel immense pain and will start to bleed very heavily from their eyes. From there, they go into shock, turn rabid, and eventually die. A transitioning hybrid who drinks the blood of a normal human will not complete their transition, and will produce the same result. Once they drink the blood of the doppelgänger, they become fully resurrected as a vampire-werewolf hybrid. It has also been recently revealed that a werewolf who ingests the blood of the first living hybrid, Hope Mikaelson, dies with it in their system, and awakens in transition, can drink Hope's blood again and be successfully transitioned into a hybrid, as evidenced by Hayley Marshall's transformation.
Witches can use their magic to resurrect others or themselves. This magic is very hard to accomplish and requires the witch to channel a lot of power. It is considered dark magic because it goes against the laws of Nature, which ensures a balance - all living things must die. This spell was first attempted by Jonas Martin to resurrect his son, Luka, after he had burnt to death. He chanted a spell from his grimoire, but he was not powerful enough, and it had no effect. It is also shown that only the most powerful among witches can achieve resurrection, even then with consequences unless the balance of Nature is still maintained.
- Emily Bennett was able to resurrect Jeremy Gilbert after he was fatally shot by using her power alone. This is a significant feat, considering the aid of others needed to do such a thing. She was also able to create the Gilbert Rings, which can revive any human who is killed by a supernatural being. Emily was also able to save a dying child by giving him his mother's life force. Being able to do this with her own power is a testament to her strength.
- Bonnie Bennett used this ability on herself, Elena, and Jeremy Gilbert as she harnessed the energy of 100 other witches. She used this ability to cast a protection spell when she faked her death during her first fight with Klaus. She later used the same spell Emily once used on a child to protect Elena from death at Klaus' hands; she channeled John Gilbert's life force into Elena, so that she would return to life, at the willing expense of John's. Later on, after Jeremy was accidentally shot and died, Bonnie accessed the power of a hundred witches in order to bring him back. This marked the first and only time a human being was resurrected directly by a witch's power. Bonnie also brought Atticus Shane back to life using Expression to cast a protection spell. She later used the power of the Expression Triangle to temporarily drop the veil to the Other Side, which didn't quite resurrect the beings on the Other Side, but did give their spirits a corporeal form so they could interact with the living world like a living person. She also used three types of different magic to resurrect Jeremy again, except this time, she used opposing types of magic which created enough power to kill herself. Despite her death though, the spell proved to be a success.
- Esther Mikaelson was also able to return to life, despite being dead for over 1000 years, through channeling the energy of the Bennett bloodline of magic. When Abby Bennett died, this connection was broken and Esther claimed to Rebekah that despite her body being preserved by Ayana, her body had weakened. Despite this claim, she would go on to possess her daughter to continue to target her children before moving her spirit back into her original body.
- Qetsiyah also used a powerful resurrection spell to bring herself back seemingly without consequence when Bonnie lowered the veil.
- Sophie Deveraux, when completing the Harvest (a ritual based on sacrifices and resurrection of the offerings), she performed a resurrection spell (The Reaping) to bring back the four girls sacrificed by becoming a Elder, but her spell was hijacked and manipulated into resurrecting four other witches instead of the chosen girls. Those witches/a warlock were Papa Tunde, Genevieve, Bastianna Natale and Céleste Dubois (who was revived by possessing Sabine Laurent).
- Céleste Dubois used a form of possession in order to keep on living throughout the centuries after her death. She also performed a protection spell (similar to the one Bonnie used during her confrontation with Klaus) on herself during her confrontation with Davina. She also hijacked Sophie's Harvest ritual and used its power to resurrect four other witches instead of the sacrificed girls.
- Genevieve was able to resuscitate Hayley from her brief visit to the weakened and disintegrating Other Side due to a curse placed on her by Monique Deveraux.
- Davina Claire performed resurrection in order to bring back Mikael from the collapsing other side by channeling a Nexus Vorti and several dark objects. By drawing power from the listed power sources, she suffered no consequences at all. In Ashes to Ashes, Davina used the one time access to the full power of the Ancestors to try and bring back Kol, but inadvertently brought back Esther with interference from Klaus. In Wild at Heart, Davina resurrected herself from the witch purgatory after losing her anchor to the land of the living, by channeling her heart’s greatest desire, which in itself was a mixture of necromancy and empathic channeling due to its connection to death and to Davina’s emotion. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Davina resurrected Kol by combining Kol's ashes with Klaus and Elijah's blood and channeling a Nexus Vorti for power.
- Markos was brought back to life after 1,500 years, when several dozen Travelers sacrificed themselves by setting themselves on fire while casting a spell. The spell continued on after they died, and when they passed through the Anchor to get to the Other Side, it overwhelmed the Anchor so much that Markos was able to slip out from the other direction. Later on, Enzo, Tyler, Alaric, Stefan, Luke and Elena were all brought back to life using the same spell, after Damon and Elena killed dozens of more Travelers and forced Liv to help them with the spell.
- Freya Mikaelson was able to return her brother Finn to life through the use of her talisman by summoning his soul into it upon death, healing the damaged vessel and then putting him back. She has also channeled the Hollow's death, as well as Klaus, to successfully heal and place Elijah's soul, from her talisman, back into his body, resurrecting him in his original body.
- The Hollow was able to resurrect herself while channeling the power of Elijah's and his sireline's death. Additionally, she resurrected Davina from the Ancestral Plane, though the means of which remains unknown.
The Huntress possessed the ability to continually resurrect from the dead at a total of eight times, similar to users of the Gilbert Ring. Moments after their death, their body spontaneously self-combusts only to reborn from the ashes to the age when she received her abilities from the Shamans, akin to a phoenix rising from the ashes. This was achieved through the self-sacrifice of the eight Shamans, who gave their lives to Rayna with their bodies preserved but each of her deaths caused one of them to decay.
As a spirit, Arcadius, the world's very first psychic, displayed this ability on a number of occasions, typically with those he had deals with. Upon their deaths, he would resurrect them after conversing with them in the in-between. Also, it should be noted that when the Founder's Bell was rung 11 times, he took the opportunity to resurrect himself, allowing him to walk the earth again, but as an immortal man. Of the three known psychics, Arcadius is the only one to have displayed this ability of which the means remain elusive.
Phoenixes, such as Landon Kirby, are able to resurrect after death. Their bodies will burst into flames, and the phoenix will emerge fully healed and alive, even regrowing their hearts if removed. It is currently unknown whether or not if there is a limited number of times a phoenix can resurrect before they experience permanent death or if they can resurrect indefinitely.
Humans can return from the dead completely unharmed while wearing a magic ring. There were previously two rings passed down through the generations of Gilbert children, but after Esther melted one down to use the protection magic to make a white oak stake indestructible, it resulted in there being only one Gilbert ring left. These rings were created by Emily Bennett and Johnathan Gilbert and passed down through the Gilbert family. When the wearer of the ring is killed by a supernatural being, force, or entity, they return to life, even if the death itself wasn't supernatural (for example, being stabbed by a werewolf, or being hit by a car driven by a hybrid). Initially, the deceased human returns rather quickly, and are healed of all injuries. If they experience multiple deaths while wearing the ring, they begin to take longer to return, and their injuries take longer to heal. After too many deaths, the ring can cause the wearer to be infected with a darkness that causes the development of an alter-ego composed of the human's darkest impulses, such as in the case of Samantha Gilbert, who began killing fellow Founding Family members in 1912, and Alaric Saltzman, whose repressed hatred of vampires caused him to kill anyone who was helping vampires continue to live in Mystic Falls undetected. In the latter's case, it was revealed that Esther spoke to him during each of his deaths so that he would become the ultimate hunter.
Depending on the resurrection, the process usually brings the subject back to life usually in the "physical" state they were before they were killed, meaning grievous wounds such as impalement, staking, slashed throats and even Heart Extraction are undone. Esther, Marcel and Oscar were killed via heart extraction, but after resurrecting in some form, their bodies were restored to perfect condition. Damon and Stefan were killed multiple times while working for Arcadius, some from staking and their bodies were restored upon being brought back.
Not all resurrections restore the body, some only make the spirit manifest physically. Elena, Enzo, Damon, Stefan and Bonnie were brought back this way, curiously, what became of their original bodies is unknown.
- Vampire: When a human is revived as a vampire, they must feed on human blood to finalize their return, and must feed on blood to sustain themselves. Once they've transitioned, they develop the usual weaknesses of a vampire, such as the inability to walk in sunlight, being burned and weakened by vervain, and being vulnerable to death by a wooden stake to the heart, decapitation, and heart extraction.
- Hybrid: When a werewolf is revived as a hybrid, they must feed on human blood to sustain themselves, similar to a vampire. They also have a sire bond to their sire that forces them to be supernaturally loyal to them. They are also weakened by both vervain and wolfsbane and can be killed by decapitation or heart extraction.
- Witch: When a witch resurrects a human, the human is able to see the ghosts, particularly those the human was close to in life (though they can potentially see any ghost with practice.) However, they are not able to physically interact with the ghosts, which can make the human feel lonesome, seem insane, or actually become insane. Examples of such humans are Jeremy Gilbert and Matt Donovan. In some instances, when a witch uses magic to resurrect themselves, they are tied to the power that they used to resurrect themselves through a link, and if the link is broken, they will die. This is evident with Esther's first resurrection when she was connected to the Bennett ancestry. This, however, was a unique instance, while other resurrections do not abide these consequences.
- Gilbert Rings: At first there are no consequences, and the human will revive rather quickly. If they are continuously killed, they will take longer to revive each time they die. Eventually, it will break their psyche and cause them to go insane and become murderous. They will develop a split personality and have no memory of what they did while their other personality was in control.
- The only characters that have been revived without consequences are:
- Though Jeremy died a few times and was resurrected by the Gilbert Ring, he never displayed any negative effects as Alaric did.
- Jo is the only character so far to be resurrected from peace without consequences.
- It is likely that reviving humans through witchcraft is easier than supernaturals through witchcraft. As all known cases of human revival required far less power and were much easier. However when it comes to supernaturals they need an enormous amount of power to do so and even then have failed at times.
- According to Julie Plec, the Other Side can't be brought back.
- It is possible that if a vampire wanted to be human, a witch can put his or her spirit into a human body.