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From Ancient Greek ψυχοπομπός (psukhopompós), from ψυχο- (psukho-, psycho-) + πομπός (pompós, conductor).



psychopomp (plural psychopomps)

  1. (religion) A spirit, deity, person, etc., who guides the souls of the dead to the afterlife.
    • 1994, Brian B. Schmidt, Israel's Beneficent Dead: Ancestor Cult and Necromancy in Ancient Israelite Religion and Tradition, page 84:
      It is generally assumed that the sun goddess functions in the Shapash hymn as psychopomp, transporter of the dead to and from their netherly abode.
    • 1996, Juliette Wood, Chapter One: The Concept of the Goddess, in Sandra Billington, Miranda Green, editors, The Concept of the Goddess, page 8:
      These intermediaries take various forms: the psychopomps of the Neo platonists, the angelic beings of ritual magic, the spirit guides of theosophy, the aliens of modern Ufologists, and the neopagan gods which are a feature of late twentieth-century alternative thought.
    • 2000, J. G. Ballard, Super-Cannes, Fourth Estate, 2011, page 3:
      For most of us, Dr Wilder Penrose was our amiable Prospero, the psychopomp who steered our darkest dreams towards the daylight.
    • 2001, James R. Lewis, Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy, page 323:
      Characteristically, the shaman is a healer, a psychopomp (someone who guides the souls of the dead to their home in the afterlife), and more generally a mediator between her or his community and the world of spirits (most often animal spirits and the spirits of the forces of nature).
    • 2012, Dennis L. Merritt, Hermes, Ecopsychology, and Complexity Theory, Volume 3, page 43:
      This is an allusion to Hermes as the guide of souls, the psychopomp; an important element of Hermes' nature that receives only this scant mention in the Hymn. To understand Hermes as psychopomp we must get to the root of the Hermes of life and death.


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