What is a Psychopomp?
The word Psychopomp comes from the Greek words pompos (conductor or guide) and psyche (breath, life, soul, or mind). This term means a ‘guide for souls’. A Psychopomp is some one who has the responsibility of escorting newly deceased souls to the other side. A Psychopomp provides safe passage for departed souls; Jungian Philosophy says that Psychopomps is a mediator between the conscious and unconscious mind and realms, in dreams this can be symbolized by a wise woman or man or a helpful animal. A Shaman can also fill the role of Psychopomp and has done in many different cultures around the world. Since Shamans walk boundaries and roads both in this world and the other, they understand the nuances of the soul and they are able to traverse the spirit realms.
Psychopomps are largely unheard of in the Western world as much of the mysticism and knowledge is lost or rather, not known because the West has such a fear of dying. This fear has hindered our ability to embrace this final rite of passage and so as we approach death with fear and apprehension; a psychopomp would act as a guide to help us transition to the next world without fear holding us. Near Death Experiences have helped the larger populace understand what can happen when faced with the next world, as has Past Life Regression therapy and a renewed interest in Shamanism. These factors have led to an interest in this sacred art and now more and more people are leaning toward this area of spirit work. Some can be found helping the dying in places like hospices; others choose to work in the spirit realm, helping those who may be in difficulty.
Psychopomps do need to have a particular set of skills to be able to do this work. There is a need for compassion, understanding, being non judgemental and friendly, able to guide others through experiences such as death. Psychopomps also need to be adept at walking between the worlds, crossing borders, shapeshifting so as to appear how they need to in a particular time or place and in touch with their magical (or spiritual) side.
Psychopomps are more important than ever in this modern world. Many people in hospices and nursing homes find themselves alone and dying, comfort to their spirits can be of immense help. Psychopomps are also sometimes referred to as midwives to the dying and this means helping those needing to transition from living to dead, of helping ready them for the journey to come. The world is in need of psychopomps – the earth itself faces transitions of life and death, of change and during this time, psychopomps can offer healing and energy to the earth, to all the realms and even to people.
Psychopomping is not an easy path, to work part time in the spirit realm requires great strength and ability. To truly walk between the worlds we have to let go of a part of our self, almost lose that part completely, before we can begin to work. It is not a road that most will choose but it is a road that can be chosen if you are ready to make the commitment and undergo change within and without.