Psychopomps , your tour guide to the land of the dead.

Psychopomps , your tour guide to the land of the dead.

Psychopomp is one of my favorite P words.  A psychopomp is a guide for souls, a sort of escort for the newly deceased. If you saw The Crow (and as a former card carrying goth, of course I did, several times) then you know both the Brandon Lee character and his actual crow are psychopomps.  But that’s not the entirety of it. I  think it has been established recently, in B is for Bibliophagist that I like to read. I’ll read nearly anything but I very much enjoy horror and fantasy (and science fiction of course) and psychopomps figure heavily in some of the recent fiction I’ve read. There’s the Christopher Moore book “A Dirty Job” and one I’ve just picked up “Hold me Closer Necromancer” which has a very young psychopomp eating waffles and conducting waitresses to the afterlife . I think Death in Terry Pratchet’s Discworld is THE Death, but also a guide for those poor confused souls who get lost shuffling off the coil of Ankh Morepork.  While I was thinking about this entry I came across a website I’ll be spending more time on The Order of the Good Death, in which the web mistress fashions herself a psychopomp. I like that. I’ve long been fascinated with the trappings of death throughout the ages. Once long ago, we had our weddings in or close to cemetaries because death was more an accepted part of life than it is now. Hey, it was a good way to get great great GREAT Grandma to your celebration!  Dia De Los Muertos isn’t a spooky time, it’s a time to honor our relatives who are no longer with us in the flesh.

Birds are often psychopomps–the Crow, the Sparrow. Of course Neil Gaiman’s Death figure from Sandman is a human flavored (well that’s kind of gross) psychopomp. I don’t see why a cat couldn’t be and I fully expect one of mine to show up when it’s time for me to go.

While this has no immediate bearing on the subject did you know you can actually rent a casket for your deceased and honestly maybe you don’t want that rubber gasketed  casket–they can explode. Oh and you can buy caskets from Costco now apparently and for much less than a funeral home.



  1. I actually just heard about the sparrow being a psychopomp (I believe the term my friend used was “death guide” but it’s the same thing) because one committed suicide in the grill of my car. She said it was a bad omen. Probably a worse omen was that I left it in the grill for over a day because I was not going to remove it, and my husband forgot to get it out before he left for work the next day. So I drove around with a dead sparrow psychopomp in the grill of my car for over 24 hours. I’m doomed.

    1. Jyllian M

      Is it totally wrong that I’m cracking up at this? I hope not, because I just scared the guys working on the hole in our ceiling I burst out laughing at “dead sparrow psychopomp ” Now going over to your blog to read more stuff!

      1. Happy to help. Even if you are laughing at my demise.

        I actually took a picture of it and posted it on my facebook wall. It was just so weird that it was face first. One of my favorite comments from my (sick and demented) friends?

        Hey yo, little birdie! Watcha doin all up in my grill?

    1. Jyllian M

      Thanks for visiting Arthur. Funny story about Voltaire. We met him years ago at Convergence and he dedicated “our song” Anniversary to us at the Grand Ball. He’s very good good to his fans and one of the best things to happen to goth music in the last say…12 years or so 🙂

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