A psychopomp is in mythology, a supernatural being who conducts the soul in safety to the afterworld. Psychopompoi are universal in myth and lore. In Greek mythology, the god Hermes is a psychopomp; in Egyptian myth, the job is shared by the deities Thoth and Anubis. Animals can be psychopompoi as well as deities. (See Dolphin.)
In shamanistic traditions, shamans employ mystical horses as psychopompoi to carry them to the underworld, where they commune with spirits and recover the souls of the sick.
After death, how does one arrive at the next realm? Spirits, known as psychopomps, literally “conductors of souls,” serve as our guides. Psychopomps are spirits who travel back and forth between realms of death and life. Psychopomps come in all different forms (kind and beautiful, fierce, frightening or mean). Virtually all spiritual traditions acknowledge some sort of psychopomp.
Psychopomps don’t only serve the dead; sometimes they assist the living:
• They may be petitioned for mercy if death is prolonged and painful.
• If dead souls refuse to leave, manifesting in ghostly hauntings, psychopomps may be petitioned to remove them and escort them to more appropriate destinations.
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.