Thursday, January 27, 2011


"Psychopomps (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός (psychopompos), literally meaning the "guide of souls") are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply provide safe passage." So says wiki.

This raises a few questions: Why is safe passage necessary? Is everyone escorted? A few chosen ones? Is it required? What if they don't want to go but would prefer to stay? Are they forced?

Some believe that Psychopomps work both ways, that they also bring life into this world as well as escort it out. I can see that: flip sides of the same coin. One who knows how to heal also knows how to harm. But is is all about entrances and exits? What of those who cross those barriers? There was a whole Orphic Mystery cult built around the idea of descending into the "underworld" and returning. Are Psychopomps guides to all in the underworld? Even those who wish to learn its mysteries and return to the "real" world with its knowledge?

Mercury (as well as the Etruscan Turms and Greek Hermes) and Hecate are both considered Psychopomps, but do either rally have the reputation for shepherding the recently departed? The two did, however, cross all three realms freely: Air, sea and earth. These two traversed the realms at will. Charon is the figure known for shepherding souls to the other world. So what did Mercury have to do with it? His association with travelers?

I suppose this was just a food-for-thought post, both yours and mine. More to munch tomorrow!

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