As we move into the dark half of the year with each Autumnal Equinox, many of you will notice the spirits becoming more active. It’s as if their need for communication and understanding has become more intense. This change in spiritual activity allow us to more easily connect with both the Dead and the archetypal energy of the Psychopomp. This word, from the Greek word psychopompos, translates to “Guide of Souls”. The important work psychopomps do is clear. By connecting with the archetypal role of psychopomp, we also can facilitate processes of transition for the spirits of the Dead. Before we look into this further it is necessary to understand it is not our responsibility or right to forcibly interfere with the Dead. We should not be attempting to bring them peace or “cross them over”. Would you want someone else making such an important decision for you?
As spiritual practitioners and witches, we are consistently working with spirits of all kinds. In this work we often make allies. One powerful source of knowledge and help is the titan/goddess Hekate. She is known for her many aspects(epithets). Many of them operate as psychopomp to the Dead. The popular story of Persphone/Proserpina features Hekate in this role. She escorts Persephone into the Underworld each year as the Summer draws to an end. The goddess’ return to the court of the Underworld is also our time to slow down, look within and prepare for the coming Winter.
The following ritual can be done to more consciously step into the role of psychopomp. Use it if you wish.
You will need:
A white or black candle in a glass jar
An image of a graveyard
A small cup or bowl of water
2 silver or silver-colored coins
Lavender for peace
Rosemary for remembrance
Rose petals for love and compassion
Begin by setting up your space. Place the image of the graveyard in the center of where you want to work. Mix and then grind the herb into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle, if you have one. Focus on the spirits finding peace as you do this. Poke a few holes into the top of the candle using a screwdriver, chopstick, or other pointy tool. Once you have poked the holes add the powdered herbs to the candle and place it behind the picture of the graveyard. Now you must center yourself, focus and say: “As Hekate leads Persephone with her torch, so too will I lead the restless dead willing to cross to peace. May their work be done and may they be well-remembered. With love and compassion I ask for them to rest.”
Light the candle. Place the vessel of water on top of the picture of the graveyard and say: “Water is the channel upon which the dead may cross. I give the ferry man payment for their passage.”
Drop the coins into the water. Sit in silence for a few minutes and focus your thoughts and energy on what you have asked for. After, you can move on with your daily activities. Allow the candle to burn down then pour the water at the roots of a graveyard tree or a crossroads, coins included. Dispose of the empty candle jar or reuse it as you like.