What is a psychopomp?

Just what is a psychopomp, anyway? When I looked it up in the dictionary it said that the term psychopomp came from the Greek word psuchopompos, and literally means the “guide of souls”.

That is such a lovely expression, don’t you think? A “guide of souls”; someone to guide the deceased to their new existence, Someone to help them make the transition from physical being to spiritual being. What a comforting thought, to know that there is someone there to help us make that transition.

The concept of escorts for the deceased is world wide and spans all of history. You can find mentions of psychopomps or death escorts in Africa, from Ancient Egypt to modern Zimbabwe; in the Americas, from the Aztecs and Inuit to modern day business man; in Asia and Malaysia; and in Europe and Polynesia. It also appears in every religion from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. While in some instances death escorts have been depicted as human spirits, such as the image of Hermes that appears on some of the Greek funerary vessels found in museums. In other instances, psychopomps have been assigned the forms of ravens, crows, sparrows, hyenas, jackals, wolves, banshees, or large, black dogs (such as in the Harry Potter series).

Psychopomps operate on a spiritual plane, which may account for why they are regarded as something mysterious and myth-like, rather than as something “real” and easily substantiated. Of course, some people consider me more mythical than real, so maybe that’s why this job works for me.

But how do you get a job escorting the dead to the afterlife? Well, sit back and I’ll tell you about it…when my book comes out.

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The true meaning of the word writer

They say to follow your dreams, and my dream is writing. However, the world’s perception of writing or authors is much different than the reality. You would think that with a title such as writer or author that your primary function is to write or author material…or put another way, to work with words.

Let me dispel that notion right now. A writer’s or author’s job is not to create the written material, it’s to sell that material. Whether you’re a self-published author or an author that is a member of that exclusive publishing house group, your job is salesperson not writer. (Trust me, junior authors to senior authors of publishing houses still have to sell their material…senior members just don’t have to work so hard at it.)

We need to formulate a marketing plan, and “hoping people will like my book and buy it” doesn’t constitute a marketing plan (I know, ’cause I tried). Even the “maybe word of mouth will be enough…” plan isn’t enough. Nope. You have to actually figure out what avenues for marketing books are available, who the contacts are for those different venues, create something that would make these contacts want to publish or use your material, and then hope that people will watch your video, read your marketing blurb, your ad, or find your web page, and then buy your book.

It’s getting out and giving talks to small or large groups, it’s getting your name noticed, and it’s definitely not what I wanted to do when I decided to become a writer. Why? Because I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I became a writer because I like being in the background. If I wanted to be in the foreground I would have chosen a career as an actor or something, not a writer.

Sure, I could hire someone to do all of this marketing hoo-ha for me, but it’s hard to convince yourself to pay $$ someone when you’re not making any money. Yes, I’ve heard the old adage, you gotta spend money to make money, but in this economy, maybe you just gotta dig in and do it yourself.

So, I’ve pegged a couple of book marketing sites, gotten some books from the library, and am assiduously trying to follow the advice I’m finding. Of course, since none of my sources agree on a specific approach, and I’ve never successfully marketed any of my books (or blogs) before, this is all trial and error.

Maybe, if any of this works, I can spend more time writing and less time selling…because trust me, I do not want to be a salesperson. Definitely not my thing.

News Release for New Book

This is the news release I’ve sent out to several local newspapers. Don’t know if they’ll include it in their publications, but I’ve got my fingers crossed…every little bit of publicity is helpful. (Note the catch line at the end…Dale and I came up with that when a friend in marketing suggested having one.)

Anyone who has ever been touched by the death of a friend or loved one will want to read the book, Escorting the dead; My life as a psychopomp. Written by author and photographer, TA Sullivan, this book helps us all understand that death isn’t the end, it’s merely another step in life’s path.

My life as a psychopomp touches on a subject that is meaningful to all us, death and the afterlife. Ms. Sullivan explains how a bicycle accident and near death experience changed her life along with her understanding of life and death. Out of this experience also came her job of escorting the dead to the afterlife. A job that she says, “…is filled with as much heartache as it is joy. It’s a job that has taught me a lot about compassion and love, but most of all, it has taught me that death isn’t the end of life.”

The accident opened up a world that most us never see until we die; however, for her, it’s a world that she visits often while escorting departing souls to their new existence in the afterlife. Escorting the dead; My life as a psychopomp will be available at Amazon.com on December 1, 2012. Just search for the title or the author.

 

Help Wanted Ad

 

There’s no dental or medical benefits, the hours aren’t great, but the commute is easy and the rewards are heavenly. So, would you take on the job if it were offered to you?

Surprisingly, quite a few of us have taken on the job; however, I think I’m the only one who has actually tried to write about it. Maybe I’ll be judged mad, or maybe everyone will just think it an intriguing bit of fiction. But if it helps even one person feel better about life (and death), then I guess it makes it worthwhile.

Coming Soon…

Hey folks, sorry I was gone so long, but I have been busy…busy writing, in fact. I’m almost done with a book that anyone who’s been reading my blog postings for the past 2.5 years will be sure to find fascinating.

It’s about a psychopomp, an escort to the dead. (And no I don’t mean a hooker who plies her trade to zombies…although that does sound like an interesting story. Maybe I’ll work on that next…). In fact, it’s called: 

It’s sort of autobiographical, though I won’t outright admit to that, and contains topics that I’ve touched on here in my blog many times. In the book I talk about the afterlife and what really awaits us when we die. I discuss what the astral plane is really like, what each of the 7 levels of the astral plane are for, the types of things you can learn and accomplish while there, and what the process of dying is like.

If someone close to you has died recently or is dying, you will find this book very informative, uplifting, and (I hope) helpful. (Was that a plug…yeah, I guess it was…but you can’t blame me;-) I’m very proud of this book, and I can’t wait to get it out there in the hands of my readers, friends, and anyone else who might find it interesting.

So, please forgive me my long silence, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on this latest endeavor.