Charon abandoned his boat and resumed what may have been his original function: Angel of Death. In modern Greek folklore, Charon is no longer the ferryman or even just a psychopomp, an escort to the Realm of Death. Instead, Charon became Charos, Lord of Death and Ruler of the Realm of Death. Charos is death itself.

The name of the realm that Charos rules is Hades. Charon/Charos turned the tables, banishing Lord Hades in the same manner that he himself was once dethroned. Or perhaps, in the wake of Christianity, Charos found a vacancy and decided to re-occupy it.

Charos occupies Hades with his entire family: his mother, wife, and children all assist in the family business, which is death. Charos no longer lingers by the rivers of Hades: he personally visits the land of the living to kill, collect, and transport the dead. He cuts his victim’s throats, releasing their souls, which he then transports to his realm. If the person puts up a struggle, he brutally overpowers them. He turns a deaf ear to pleas for mercy. Don’t bother making offerings: he cannot and will not be bribed. However, Charos does cooperate with other spirits: he allows angels and archangels to accompany children and others to his realm; thus for the kindest, gentlest transport to the Afterlife, it’s best to request an additional escort, someone to encourage Charos to maintain good behavior.

Charos is a coldhearted, merciless spirit. He does, however, have a kind, softhearted mother. She is the one to appeal to. She sometimes spontaneously urges her son not to part newlyweds or true lovers and to spare mothers of young children. Sometimes he listens to her. If you fear Charon’s imminent approach, present pleas and arguments to her and ask her to intercede on your behalf.


Charos takes different forms, variously appearing as:

• A sharp-featured, white-haired old man with a severe expression

• A vigorous warrior dressed in black and riding a black stallion. His hair is either raven black or shining gold.


Sword; double-edged knife; keys: souls in his custody are kept under constant lock and key. Charos keeps one set of keys; his son has the backup set.

Consort: Charontissa, also known as Charissa, is Charos’ wife and female counterpart. She’s perfectly capable of filling in for him if he needs a day off. Charontissa is not the merciful one in the family; that’s Charos’ mother. Charos and Charontissa have a son who assists his father, as well as various adopted human children, kidnapped and brought from our realm to theirs.

Sacred animal:

Charos has a three-headed watchdog, the family pet.


  • Charon;
  • Charun;
  • Exotika;
  • Gabriel;
  • Hades;
  • Olympic Spirits;
  • Psychopomp;
  • Thanatos


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.