Psychopomps play an important role in the lives of many even today. We all have personal guides, former friends, and ancestors who are willing to lend a helping hand at the time of death, and there is a host of archetypal characters, religious figures, and animal guides who come to show the way. Even so, with the numerous souls present today on the planet, there is no doubt still a need for some extra help at this important time of transition.
This is especially true in the Western world where many people now die alone, or in situations where they are overcome by fears and distractions, such as the bright lights, numerous noises, and lack of privacy that can be found within many of our modern medical facilities. Such problems are often compounded by the fact that many people undergo heroic and unnecessary "life-saving" measures just days or hours before their death. Instead of offering help, such measure are generally a distraction from the process of dying. And, as our world becomes progressively more out of balance, there is also an increasing number of people who are dying from such unfortunate circumstances as violence, warfare, famine and natural disasters.
Almost everyone wishes they could experience a peaceful, calm, end-of-life transition. We hope to peacefully die in our bed as we sleep, or spend out last days surrounded by loved ones as we quietly slip across the veil. Unfortunately, that’s not the way most people die in the modern world, which is why it is more important now than ever to have an advocate for the dying soul.
It is also important to ponder the question of whether the soul or spirit of a person can get lost or stuck on the way to the afterlife. Many believe it can, especially when a person dies in a state of fear or confusion. This is particularly true for those who have been brought up in a society that does not generally support the dying process, and where rite of passage rituals that once helped prepare a person for death over the course of their lifetime, have been largely forgotten.
When people are unprepared to face death, they often need additional assistance. They may not be aware of the fact that beings are waiting on the other side to help them, or they may be too preoccupied or anxious to acknowledge such assistance. This can leave people lost and confused, or can create a situation where they may not even know they are dead, and instead attempt to continue on with their human existence instead of crossing over. This is most often the case when people have died in a sudden accident, or where addictions may be involved, but it is increasingly also the case with the growing number of people who are emotionally unprepared to face their own death.
This is where the modern-day psychopomp plays an active role. Some do this work as part of their job as a hospice worker, spiritual counselor, or as a midwife to the dying. Others fulfill the role of the psychopomp as a shamanic practitioner, or while doing some form of energy work. There are also individuals who make it a part of their personal spiritual practice to reach out to those in need, including the souls of those who may be lost and in need of additional guidance to the hereafter.
This is important work, not only for individuals, but also for our planet at this time. In addition to accumulating an enormous amount of physical trash from our materialistic culture, we have also amassed a great deal of psychic pollution. And while there is lots of talk about raising our personal vibration and transforming the planet, we also need to tend to the psychic space around us. This includes looking after individuals who for whatever reason have gotten lost on their way to the other side, the growing number of people who now die alone in nursing homes and hospitals, and the numerous others who have crossed over during our state of cultural amnesia–where we have forgotten how to properly care for the dying.
This may sound like a grim task to some, but in fact it is not. We are currently in a time of great transition, where people are once again learning how to care for the souls of the dead. And hopefully in the not-too-distant future, there will be a growing understanding and appreciation for the importance of this work.
We can transform our culture and reshape our relationship with death, especially if we are able to envision a society that is comfortable with the end-of-life transition, and where each individual can instead celebrate a life well lived as they are supported on their final journey.