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Psychopomp


Charon, who ferries the dead across
the River Styx into Hades

"Many religious belief systems have a particular spirit, angel, or deity whose responsibility is to escort newly-deceased souls to the afterlife. These creatures are called psychopomps, from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός (psychopompos), literally meaning the "guide of souls". Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply provide safe passage. Frequently depicted on funerary art, psychopomps have been associated at different times and in different cultures with horses, whippoorwills, ravens, dogs, crows, owls, sparrows, harts, and dolphins.

In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is a mediator between the unconscious and conscious realms. It is symbolically personified in dreams as a wise man (or woman), or sometimes as a helpful animal. In many cultures, the shaman also fulfills the role of the psychopomp. This may include not only accompanying the soul of the dead, but also vice versa: to help at birth, to introduce the newborn's soul to the world (p. 36 of [1]). This also accounts for the contemporary title of "midwife to the dying," which is another form of psychopomp work."

A Guide to Psychopomps
http://www.psychopomps.org/guide_to_psychopomps.htm

Thanks Bethany for the links!!

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