Psychopomps

When I was growing up I remember the snow piles being huge. Like, there would be snow lingering until well after Easter just because the pile was so large it took that long to melt.

This winter is rivaling that. I’m still on my winter death kick (yes I’m morbid enough to go through a heavy Hades/Freya one-two punch every winter). I should be thinking about who I want to work with during the spring at this point, but I’m still eh, working with cthonic energies is good for now.

I have been meaning to talk about psychopomps for years but have never managed to get around to it. I keep streaming the Tea Party song of the same name over and over again while I’m detangling my hair so apparently I have the concept on the brain.

With my love of the grey areas and the liminal my draw to the psychopomps is probably not a great surprise. The simplest description of a psychopomp is a gate keeper and tour guide. While being death deities, they are not a death deity in the sense that they are not doing the dirty work of death. They are the energy that escorts the soul into the underworld, and in very rare occasions they can lead people back out.

The psychopomp is the true go-between for the land of the living and the land of dead. The psychopomp comes into play whenever there is an energy shift- he or she can escort the souls of those about to be born as well as the dying, and is sometimes in play when the living needs to be escorted through the underworld. Hecate takes the psychopomp role when Persephone is with Hades, ensuring that she still has a link to the upper world even as she needs a guide through the realm of the dead.

Because of this link to both realities the psychopomp is often a figure that also is connected to wisdom and hidden knowledge. While this is not true of all psychopomps the deity or figure is often associated with knowledge or wisdom as much as they are death or transition. I have found personally that they are solid choices for movement work as well, what with the constant flowing/back and forth that they do all the time. However, as much as the connection to knowledge may be well established (even Jung built off of it-the psychopomp archetype is the bridge between the unconscious and the conscious) what needs to be remembered is that hidden knowledge is often hidden for a reason,which means that the psychopomp is often not the easiest energy to work with and the mythology often reflects that-the deity or figure in question is often portrayed as stubborn, flighty, or just not easily lured into conversation.

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