Hekate Psychopomp: The Soul Guide
The Sharp Knife of a Short Life
The human condition is jam packed with flaws. I could list a plethora of them, but I won’t. I’d likely miss most of them if I did anyway. The biggest flaw, in my opinion, is death. I know a lot of people who don’t feel this way. They aren’t bothered by the fact that they won’t live forever. Me, on the other hand, I want eternal life. As long as I can remain physically able to do all of the things.
My husband got word on August 6th that his sister had passed away. Y’all, she was only 32 years old. The days following so far have been stressful, more so for him than me. You would think that, with a death, the ability to take the time to mourn would be readily available. It’s not. Capitalism is alive and well folks. Honestly, I’m not really surprised at all, that people are out there making a profit off of death. It sickens me.
Kayla Higginbotham was simple. To my own misfortune I did not know her well enough. Her sudden death opened my eyes to the world she was living in. I’m not going into the details, but squalor pretty much sums the whole situation up. I had no idea, and came to find out that no one really did. She wasn’t the one to complain about anything. Kayla passed in a slightly abnormal way, right now, as I write this, we don’t have all the answers yet.
There is a beauty to death, regardless of how it makes us feel, in the present, when we are still in our flesh. Death is a release from the mortal coil. The amazing trick of death, in magick, is that now, Kayla is my ancestor. And she is a being, so recently departed that I can literally feel her presence.
And I normally don’t do the whole spirits thing, when referring to the dead, I prefer the talking about energy. I feel her energy. In it, I recognize her ability to weather a storm, to not complain and to soldier on. I feel Kayla like a plate of armor on my chest, heavy but comforting. I imagine she’s cool with being my ancestor, otherwise I reckon, I wouldn’t feel her at all.
All of this has me thinking about what comes next. I have pretty big ideas about that, but let’s face it, none of us knows for sure. I think we go back to where we came from, where that is, I don’t know. You can call it the source, or heaven, or any number of things really. I’m not interested in the semantics. What interests me is how we get there, and what we are capable of once we’ve arrived.
Here but now they’re gone
It seems accurate to say that all religions, past and present, have some form of explanation of the afterlife. Regardless of where we go, the idea of a guide to said place, comforts me more than anything. I mean, considering none of us actually knows what happens when we die, the idea of having a guide to lead us to that mysterious place makes the most sense.
These guides have probably been known by many names. I like to call them by the Greek name Psychopomp. A Psychopomp is, according to Google dictionary, a guide of souls to the place of the dead.
Picture yourself dead. You are suddenly non-corporeal. Who knows what shape you’ve taken, or if you even have a shape at all. But there you are outside of the meat suit you’ve worn your whole life. Imagine how strange and unfamiliar this will feel. Maybe your life flashed before your “eyes”, maybe it didn’t.
All any of us is going to understand in that moment, is likely an initial feeling of shock – if we even have ”feelings” at that point.
Wouldn’t you want someone or something there to guide you through what’s next? I know I’d want to ask questions, assuming I retained any part of who I am as a human that is. I’d need to know how, why, and where I’m going. I’d definitely want to know if I can still see my loved ones, or anyone else, even though I’ve crossed over. Because, while I have theories, I don’t fool myself into assuming that I’m definitely right about any of them.
Hail Hekate Psychopomp
I try to give gratitude to Hekate everyday. Often I thank Hekate Psychopomp for leading my ancestors to me when I need them. For being the connection between where they are and where I am. I’d like to think that when the day comes, a tall, pale lady, with black hair and no face, will appear to lead me back to wherever it is I came from.
All I have found, so far, that connects Hekate as a Psychopomp, is basically just personal gnosis. It makes sense though. When you view her as a guide, and as a deity of the underworld. Why wouldn’t she also then, be a Psychopomp. Because the idea resonates with me, I easily buy into Our Lady in this role. After all, according to Greek Myths it is said that she helped Demeter locate Persephone after she was kidnapped and forced to become the queen of the underworld.
Bring that specter down
Hekate Psychopomp, like any other epithet for the Goddess, is dynamic, in my opinion. I think it all comes down to our understanding of death. I suppose it could be argued that, in addition to our understanding of death, a soul guide’s definition is just as malleable.
I could keep things inside the construct, of the boxed up idea of death, but I’d be remiss to do so. What I mean is, death is not only attached to living, physical things. Ideas and behaviors die as well. This is one way to give a modern meaning to a relatively old idea. Cyndi Brannen discusses that here.
I like to think that when I’ve given something up, it is dead to me. In my article Word up Witches, I talk about how giving up a bad habit could easily be offered to Hekate Psychopomp in order to release myself of it. That said I have a few different ways I use Psychopomp as an epithet for Hekate.
My message to you
One way I like to petition the epithet Psychopomp is to use it during a waning moon. Waning moons are an excellent time to cut cords. For me I always pick one or two things I want to let go of. Most recently I worked on giving up procrastinating and lazy witchcraft.
For a cord cutting I always start with acknowledging that the moon is fading. I say something like, “As the moon fades so does procrastination in my life.” I follow this up by saying, “Hail Hekate Psychopomp, I cut the cord of procrastination, I offer it to you so that you may deliver it into the underworld where it has no power over me anymore.”
Another way I use this epithet is when working with my ancestors. First and foremost, I give gratitude to Hekate Psychopomp for connecting me to my ancestors. When I choose to tap into the power of the dead, I thank the Goddess for guiding them to me.
I like to call on my ancestors to help lend power to some spells I work. When I do this, I call upon Hekate Psychopomp to help connect me to them. I list their names and thank Hekate before I move forward.
As always I make the disclaimer: I’m not an authority on how to witch. Feel free to use these methods of harnessing the energy of Hekate Psychopomp, or not. Either way you choose, tapping into Hekate as a Psychopomp requires discernment. Be sure you have done your research on the dead energies you are working with, and things should turn out well enough.
Until next time