Mysterious image of a veiled person pointing to the north

What happens to the spirits of the dead who who walk in this world lost? This blog article talks about cultural use of the practice in the Quandamooka, Australia and how art can assist lost souls find peace.

A Definition of Psychopomp

Psychopomp is a longstanding practice that has been employed across cultures and throughout history. Its purpose is to guide the souls of the deceased and lost spirits to the other side. Spirit art might help you do this yourself.

Ancient Psychopomps: A Few Examples From the Past

Here are some of the most well-known and intriguing psychopomps from ancient cultures:

  1. Anubis, the Ancient Egyptian god of funerary rites, protector of graves, and guide to the underworld.
  2. Yama, the Hindu deity of death and justice.
  3. Charon, the ferryman of the Greek underworld.
  4. Valkyries, figures from Norse mythology who led the souls of the dead to the god Odin’s hall, Valhalla.

A psychopomp animal can be found in Aboriginal Australia.

The Curlew: A Tale from Aboriginal Australia’s Noonuccal Tribe as told by Raymond Walker;

In this story, we learn about the Curlew, a powerful guardian of the dead in Aboriginal Australian culture. According to legend, the Curlew tribe was once comprised of people who requested Biami the Good Spirit to give them wings and become protectors of those who have departed from this life. Their mournful cries can be heard at night, alerting the tribe to the presence of imminent death. Depending on the sound of their cries they tell of strangers coming or welcoming family.

Exploring Psychopomp: An Ancient Practice in Modern Times

Psychopomp may have originated in the ancient world, but many of us unconsciously practice it today. Perhaps through prayer or ritual and ceremony. Those who have trained in the art of psychopomp, however, do so with intent without judgement. It is a deeply compassionate act. In modern times, this practice can be used to assist those who have tragically passed away before their time or have died by suicide; those who suffer from dementia and confusion; and those who were denied proper preparations or ceremonies for their passing. Additionally, loved ones who are unable to let go may hinder soul departed from ordinary reality. Like ghosts souls become trapped in this life. Those who practice psychopomp do so without judgement, offering comfort and guidance to the souls they assist – both the living and those who have passed.

Loved Ones and Psychopomp

During a healing session, a client shared with me the story of how she recently lost her son. Trauma profoundly effects the body. Initial shock is held in the Heart and ongoing unresolved trauma resides in the kidney. The healing touch of acupressure to the body can release deep trauma trapped there.  Soul retrieval work brings soul portions back to you which have literally left at a traumatic event. My client asked me to create a portrait of son. As an artist and shamanic practitioner, I  embarked on a journey with my spirit guide to where he was last seen before his passing. I witnessed the events that led to his discovery days later and saw his soul trapped in a loop of his final moments. As I worked on the portrait, I encouraged his soul to travel with me to the place of peace. Over the following days as the drawing emerged I repeated the invitation, his spirit suddenly vanished. The resulting artwork captured his essence and striking green eyes, but it’s just a trace of his true being, now at rest. His mother and sister were grateful to learn about the psychopomp process and found comfort in the artwork during their grieving process. From the tragedy of loss, something  magical was made. It brought people together.

Psychopomp and War Zones

The legacy of the Australian Frontier Wars of colonial Australia, where Aboriginal people fought to protect their land and her inhabitants against profiteering colonialist lingers as trauma held in the landscape today. Old souls are lost in the loop of those battles, with too few surviving with their traditional wisdoms in place to chaperone those lost. The scope of my work in resolving trauma embedded in the land extends beyond my island home and places I travel.

Tragically, the slaughter of innocent people for their land and resources continues to this day in many countries across the globe. As a practitioner of distance healing, I work with co-practitioners to guide the souls of those killed in war zones to the other side. Some respond, others do not.

Anyone can tap into the consciousness of liberation to help lost souls find peace, without the need for advanced initiation in the shamanic practice of psychopomp.

How to Make Psychopomp Art

For me, creating art is like a meditative practice, akin to drawing a prayer. Here are some suggestions to help you get started. Begin by turning off your phone and Wi-Fi, then take a few deep breaths and calm your mind.

Step One

First, summon your guide who is filled with unconditional love (you can find instructions on how to do this in a previous article).

Step Two

Next, set your intention to check in on the soul of a loved one and if need be assist them in moving on. If you have a photo, great; if not, visualise a place or time of death in your mind’s eye. Find a quiet spot and take out pen, pastels, or paints and paper.

Step Three

Use words or your chosen art medium to map out the scene and loved one. Create a symbol that will guide the soul onward and incorporate it into your work. Imagine what the other side looks like. Is it bright? Is it earthy?

Step Four

When you have a clear direction, invite the soul to cross over. This may take some time and encouragement.

Step Five

Finally, thank your own guides and helping spirits for their loving assistance.

Share your visualisation and artwork with others. It may well bring them comfort as I know my art work has. To book a Soul Song Portrait with me, click here.

© Author is Jo Fay Duncan 2023