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100 Psychopomps Throughout History and Cultures

A “psychopomp” is a type of being that appears in various cultures’ mythologies and religions, whose job it is to guide the souls of the deceased to the afterlife. The term originates from the ancient Greek words “psyche,” which translates to “soul,” and “pompe,” meaning “guide” or “conductor.”

Ancient Context

In an ancient context, psychopomps were critical figures, serving as the intermediaries between the world of the living and the afterlife. Many cultures perceived death as a journey, and the psychopomp played a crucial role in ensuring that the soul safely completed its voyage.

Modern Context

In a modern context, the concept of the psychopomp continues to exist, especially within spiritual and metaphysical beliefs. Here, the psychopomp can take on a myriad of forms and isn’t restricted to traditional mythological figures. They may be seen as spirit guides, angels, or even loved ones who have already passed. Their role is still to guide the spirit through the transition between life and death.

Modern psychopomps can also be seen in psychological and therapeutic contexts, especially within the Jungian perspective. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung perceived the psychopomp as a mediator between the unconscious and conscious realms, assisting in personal transformation and growth.

100 Psychopomps

Here is a list of psychopomps, or deities that were closely associated with death,  from various cultures and time periods:

  1. Hermes (Greek Mythology): The messenger of the gods also guides souls to the underworld.
  2. Charon (Greek Mythology): The ferryman who transports souls across the river Styx to the underworld.
  3. Thanatos (Greek Mythology): Personification of death, also assists in transporting the dead.
  4. Hecate (Greek Mythology): The goddess of witchcraft, crossroads, and entrances, she also guides souls to the underworld.
  5. Anubis (Egyptian Mythology): The jackal-headed god who guides the souls through the underworld.
  6. Osiris (Egyptian Mythology): The god of the afterlife, the dead, and resurrection.
  7. Thoth (Egyptian Mythology): Assists in judgment of souls in the underworld.
  8. Mercury (Roman Mythology): Functionally equivalent to Hermes in Greek mythology, guiding souls to the underworld.
  9. Janus (Roman Mythology): God of beginnings, transitions, and passages.
  10. Valkyries (Norse Mythology): Female figures who guide the souls of warriors to Valhalla.
  11. Hel (Norse Mythology): Goddess who rules over Helheim, the realm of the dead.
  12. Freyja (Norse Mythology): Receives half of those who die in battle in her meadow, Fólkvangr.
  13. Gefjon (Norse Mythology): Receives the spirits of unmarried women.
  14. Ereshkigal (Sumerian Mythology): Goddess of the underworld.
  15. Namtar (Sumerian Mythology): God of death and destiny, and a minister and messenger of An, Ereshkigal, and Nergal.
  16. Nergal (Sumerian Mythology): God of the sun, underworld, and death.
  17. Psopompos (Etruscan Mythology): Guide of souls to the underworld.
  18. Vanths (Etruscan Mythology): Female deities who guide souls to the afterlife.
  19. Manannán mac Lir (Irish Mythology): A psychopomp associated with the Otherworld and the sea.
  20. Donn (Irish Mythology): Lord of the dead and the Otherworld.
  21. Gabriel (Abrahamic Religions): Archangel believed to guide souls to judgment in the afterlife.
  22. Azrael (Abrahamic and Islamic Beliefs): Known as the Angel of Death, believed to help souls transition to the afterlife.
  23. Ma’at (Egyptian Mythology): Goddess of truth, balance, and order, involved in the judgment of souls.
  24. Giltinė (Lithuanian Mythology): The goddess of death and the afterlife.
  25. Xolotl (Aztec Mythology): God of sunset, fire, and lightning, guides the dead to Mictlan, the northern heaven.
  26. Ogmios (Celtic Mythology): God who leads the souls to the otherworld.
  27. Banshee (Irish Folklore): Female spirits who guide souls to the afterlife, often with a mournful wail.
  28. Dullahan (Irish Folklore): Headless riders who carry their heads under their arms, guiding the souls of the dead.
  29. Shinigami (Japanese Folklore): Spirits or gods associated with death who guide human spirits to the other world.
  30. Phlegethon (Greek Mythology): The personification of the river in the underworld that purifies souls.
  31. Papa Legba (Voodoo): The intermediary between the human world and the divine world, who can also guide spirits.
  32. Baron Samedi (Voodoo): The loa of the dead, guides souls in the afterlife.
  33. Yama (Hinduism): The god of death, who guides souls to the afterlife.
  34. Chitragupta (Hinduism): Records the actions of human beings and assists Yama in the judgment of souls.
  35. Akal Purakh (Sikhism): The Timeless Being, the ultimate psychopomp.
  36. Morrigan (Irish Mythology): Phantom queen or goddess of war and fate, escorts the dead.
  37. Izanami (Japanese Mythology): Goddess of creation and death.
  38. Hermóðr (Norse Mythology): Rides to Hel to try and rescue his brother Baldr.
  39. Dumuzid (Sumerian Mythology): The shepherd god, his annual death and resurrection represent the seasonal cycle.
  40. Mictlantecuhtli (Aztec Mythology): God of the dead and the king of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld.
  1. Nephthys (Egyptian Mythology): Goddess associated with death, darkness, and rebirth.
  2. Raijin (Japanese Mythology): God of thunder and storms who escorts souls to the underworld.
  3. Obatala (Yoruba Religion): The sky father and the creator of human bodies, believed to escort souls.
  4. Oya (Yoruba Religion): Orisha of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death, and rebirth.
  5. Heimdall (Norse Mythology): Guardian of the gods, calls the souls with his horn.
  6. Tlaloc (Aztec Mythology): Rain god also associated with earthly fertility and water.
  7. Whiro (Maori Mythology): God of darkness and death, brings souls to the underworld.
  8. Orcus (Roman Mythology): God of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths.
  9. Arawn (Welsh Mythology): King of the otherworld Annwn, associated with death and terror.
  10. Pluto (Roman Mythology): God of the underworld.
  11. Styx (Greek Mythology): Deified river of the underworld, serves as a boundary between Earth and the Underworld.
  12. Mot (Canaanite Religion): God of death who rules the underworld.
  13. Hades (Greek Mythology): King of the underworld, who rules over the dead.
  14. Davy Jones (Maritime Folklore): The devil of the seas, takes the souls of those who die at sea.
  15. Tuchulcha (Etruscan Mythology): Underworld demon who tortures the damned.
  16. Gwyn ap Nudd (Welsh Mythology): King of the Tylwyth Teg or “fair folk” and ruler of the Welsh otherworld, Annwn.
  17. Susanoo (Japanese Mythology): God of the sea and storms, ruler of Yomi, the underworld.
  18. Tuoni (Finnish Mythology): God of the underworld.
  19. Ganga (Hindu Mythology): Goddess personified as the Ganges River, purifies and guides souls to the afterlife.
  20. Eingana (Australian Aboriginal Mythology): The Dreamtime creator goddess associated with death and rebirth.
  21. Kalma (Finnish Mythology): Goddess of death and decay.
  22. Cihuacoatl (Aztec Mythology): Earth goddess associated with childbirth, also guides the souls of women who die in childbirth.
  23. Epona (Gallo-Roman Mythology): Horse goddess associated with fertility, often depicted leading the souls on horseback.
  24. Samael (Jewish Lore): Known as the Angel of Death in Jewish traditions.
  25. Persephone (Greek Mythology): Queen of the underworld, presides over the souls of the dead.
  26. Viduus (Roman Mythology): God who separates the soul and body after death.
  27. Xipe Totec (Aztec Mythology): God of force, lord of the seasons and rebirth, associated with agriculture.
  28. Santa Muerte (Mexican Folk Religion): Personification of death, associated with protection and safe delivery to the afterlife.
  29. Wepwawet (Egyptian Mythology): Jackal god associated with war and death.
  30. La Llorona (Latin American Folklore): The weeping woman, a spirit who lures and drowns the living.
  31. La Sayona (Venezuelan Folklore): Spirit of a woman who punishes unfaithful men.
  32. Chaac (Maya Mythology): God of rain and thunder, guides souls to the underworld.
  33. Dis Pater (Roman Mythology): God of the underworld, agricultural wealth, and mineral wealth.
  34. Serapis (Hellenistic-Egyptian God): A deity of the sun, death, and rebirth.
  35. Zao Jun (Chinese Folk Religion): Kitchen god, reports the activities of every household to the Jade Emperor.
  36. Gui Po (Chinese Folklore): Ghost who escorts souls of deceased children.
  37. Weywot (Tongva Mythology): Sky god associated with death.
  38. Chinigchinix (Tongva Mythology): Creator god associated with death and the underworld.
  39. Jizo Bosatsu (Japanese Buddhism): Bodhisattva who guides souls through the six realms of rebirth.
  40. Shiwanna (Pueblo Indian Religion): Cloud beings who bring rain and act as psychopomps.
  41. Ta’xet (Haida Mythology): God of violent death.
  42. Tawa (Hopi Mythology): Sun god, creator of the Earth and its creatures.
  43. Whope (Lakota Mythology): Goddess associated with the end of life.
  44. Dhumavati (Hindu Mythology): Goddess of misfortune and death, associated with the inauspicious and the unattractive.
  45. Varuna (Hindu Mythology): God of cosmic order, waters, and the celestial ocean, also associated with the afterlife.
  46. Camazotz (Mayan Mythology): Bat god associated with night, death, and sacrifice.
  47. Tsukuyomi (Japanese Mythology): Moon god who killed the food goddess Uke Mochi.
  48. Wiro (Pawnee Mythology): Hero god associated with civilization and order.
  49. Atuta (Inuit Mythology): Personification of the sea, who collects souls of the dead.
  50. Selu (Cherokee Mythology): Corn mother associated with death and rebirth.
  51. Bunzi (Kongo Mythology): Rainbow serpent associated with fertility, rain, and the afterlife.
  52. Mujaji (Sotho Mythology): Rain queen who has the power to send storms or drought.
  53. Agwe (Haitian Vodou): Loa who rules over the sea, fish, and aquatic plants, as well as the patron loa of fishermen and sailors.
  54. Guédé (Haitian Vodou): Group of spirits that embody death and fertility.
  55. Simbi (Haitian Vodou): Group of spirits associated with magicians and sorcerers.
  56. Bhishma (Hindu Mythology): Great warrior who guides Yudhisthira in the path of righteousness.
  57. Ino (Japanese Folklore): An old woman who appears in various legends as a guide to the afterlife.
  58. Black Annis (English Folklore): Blue-faced hag or witch associated with death and the underworld.
  59. Laima (Latvian Mythology): Goddess of fate, happiness, and death.
  60. Cernunnos (Celtic Mythology): Horned god of the animals and the underworld.

These figures all play a significant role in their respective cultural perceptions of death and the afterlife. The roles they play range from gentle guides, comforters, or angels of mercy to fearsome reapers or judges.

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