Psychopomp vs. Grim Reaper

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What’s the difference between a grim reaper and a psychopomp (other than the fact that psychopomp sounds much cooler; while grim reaper has become a Halloween and horror story cliche and an overused media trope)?

Both are spiritual entities that assist the soul to cross over to the afterlife; so, what really makes them different?

grim reapers:

  • actually take lives
  • are considered the personification of death or demons
  • escort souls to the afterlife, but are primarily associated with the underworld
  • are identified with Halloween and horror stories, so present themselves as frightening figures or demons
  • bring fear, regret, and despair to those they interact with

So, in brief, grim reapers are the personification of death and demons. They represents all the fears of the unknown that people still harbor about death, dying, and the afterlife.

psychopomps:

  • wait until the person has died
  • act as guides and escorts between planes
  • are identified with angels and demigods
  • can present themselves as friends or relatives of the dying person
  • bring comfort, solace, and hope to the dying

Briefly, psychopomps are angel-like beings. They represent all the hope, love, and spiritual comfort that people expect and hope for when they die.

A grim reaper is a much more grisly being than a psychopomp. In fact, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse (Death) is depicted as a grim reaper. You can’t get much more grisly than that. Whereas Psychopomps, when depicted in human form, are usually shown as angels—gentle, kind, and with an ethereal glow about them. This is just one of the fundamental differences between a psychopomp and a grim reaper.

Reapers are, as their countenance depicts, there to reap your soul. However, they are not there to ease the soul’s hurt or turmoil during the transition. If anything, they may deliberately make the crossing as traumatic as possible. This is because it is their job to fulfill every fear that the transitioning soul has regarding death and dying.

However, when psychopomps come, they counter the soul’s fear and try to ease the trauma. Psychopomps attempt to show the soul that death is just a new beginning and not a fearsome or pain-filled event.

Neither option is wrong or right. In fact, both options are needed so that every soul can have a wide range of experiences. Some people embrace death and the act of dying because they’ve had nothing but positive experiences. So, perhaps they need a less-positive experience to understand and develop compassion for those who are more fearful of dying. Just as those who are ‘deathly’ afraid of dying may need several positive experiences before they begin to understand that the experience of dying isn’t always something to fear. It is simply another part of life. A moving beyond this reality by the spiritual part of you.

The real key to dying (besides not doing it), is to understand that the choice of guide (grim reaper or psychopomp) is up to you. You get to decide what type of death experience you will have. So, if you want something traumatic and eventful because you feel the need to learn some spiritual lesson, then (by all means) let the grim reaper be your escort. However, if what you want is something more tranquil and a little less gruesome, then call on that psychopomp. Either one will come when you ‘call.’ And either one will give you whatever type of experience you desire. Therefore, only you can decide whether your experience of death requires a grim reaper or a psychopomp.

So, which will it be?

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Immortal Death

Choices Cover 03I watched an episode of Through the Wormhole the other night. It was about different types of scientists who were (desperately) working toward finding a way to make people immortal. Some biologists were busy studying creatures that had lifespans that lasted hundreds of years; while other bio-specialists were busy mucking around with DNA and genomes in an attempt to ensure that all future children would be ‘perfect’ (and who defines what is perfect?). Still other scientists were busy seeking a way to create a non-biological or only partial biological body that could house our brains/souls so that we would never have to worry about sickness or death again.

Yet, no one ever explained why this is so important. Why would someone want to live forever? Are most people so afraid of dying that they would prefer becoming some sort of robot? Unfortunately, whenever I think of a world full of immortal people, I become very frightened. To me, it would be a curse to have to live for hundreds of years. People rarely change. They form opinions, habits, preconceptions, and ideologies and seldom do they allow these ingrained mindsets to shift. So, do you really want to see what happens to the world when someone like Hitler (or Trump), who is afraid of everyone and everything, lives forever?

And if that thought doesn’t scare you, how about all the overcrowding and lack of natural resources that would occur when people stop dying? Talk about a dystopian world. Nothing but blighted cities, with polluted air too foul to breathe, no viable drinking water, and food…yeah, let’s all take our protein pill.

Rather than wasting our time and resources on trying to make people immortal, I think we would do better as a species to spend some time trying to help planet Earth cope with the load of humans she already carries. I also think we should spend more time recognizing and coping with the fact that death is real. It’s not going away and it’s not something to be feared. Death isn’t the end of everything. It isn’t a permanent ‘dirt nap’ or a ‘deep dark hole of nothingness.’ It is simply the end of one physical existence and the continuation of life. Your sentience, the awareness that comprises your true being isn’t limited by the container you call your body. That is simply a conveyance, a method of operating and participating in the physical world.

Just because one body fails doesn’t mean your life is over. Your life as Sam or Jessica is over, yes, but you pick another life, another set of parents, another body, and you start again. Now, you can try out some other options. Maybe as Sam/Jessica you didn’t like the way things worked out in terms of your romantic life. Okay, now as Joe/Abby you can try some different options and see if those romances work out the way you want them to.

But the best part is that when you pick up this new body, you also lose many of the old preconceptions and prejudices that you had. It’s a whole new fresh start. Talk about a science lab. Physical life is just one big classroom where you can study biology, sociology, psychology, mathematics, physics, zoology and every other type of science there is. And if science isn’t your thing, then you can focus on music, art, drama, or medicine.

So, instead of trying to be immortal, maybe we should think about what we want to do next. After all, death is just another step in that long road we call life. It’s nothing to be afraid of, I know…I’ve been to the other side, and I’ve come back. It’s different, but different doesn’t have to be scary.  Psychopomp 3D - DLS - 8pxls - 2

The Whisperers…

healer
A swirl of energy guides me nowadays

Is it positive thinking, or just a foolish refusal to face reality? I wish I knew.

There’s an energy flow that is swirling around me right now that no matter how hard I try to ignore, I just can’t. It’s an odd energy (for me) to deal with. You see, I consider myself a realist, and sometimes even a bit of a pessimist. I may joke about striking it rich someday, but in my own mind I know I’ll always be a worker bee, not a lady of leisure.

Yet, whenever I turn my focus to my novel and everything I still need to do to get it ready for publishing, that glimmer of energy starts up again. I feel as if someone is whispering in my ear, giving me gentle nudges, and helping me find the right steps along my path.

Sometimes what they whisper to me is cautions and reminders (like “remember to check the subplot to ensure that it was picked up properly by all the participants”), and other times it’s reassurances such as when I start doubting myself (and I do that a lot). And I know you could say that it’s just my own inner voice talking to me, but that’s just it…it’s not. I’ve heard my inner voice, and it doesn’t sound like this. Especially, the reassuring voice that has been helping to keep me calm and on track.

When it comes to time issues, I’m very much an impatient, DO IT RIGHT NOW type of person. Yet, every time I feel that person starting to emerge, this gentle, calming voice whispers to me and my impatience seems to fall apart and dissipate…but only in relation to The Book. The voice doesn’t whisper to me when I’m sitting in traffic and ticked off about being late for my doctor’s appointment; nor is it there when I’m standing in line waiting at the grocer’s when I’d rather be outside enjoying the lovely sunshine.

It’s all about The Book lately, and I’m not sure why. But something inside of me, along side of me, watching over me, keeps telling me that this book is different. This book is important. And no matter how many times I say to myself, “…but it’s just a novel…”, that whisperer responds that it isn’t just anything, that it’s much more than I realize.

Now, don’t get me wrong…this whisperer isn’t telling me that The Book will make me rich; it’s not even saying that The Book will make me famous. However, the feeling I get is that there is something important about the story I wrote; something that needs to be told. It’s as if the story I wrote and the events occurring now in our world are somehow intertwined. Yet, the book doesn’t even take place on Earth, but [shrug]…I don’t know. I can’t really explain it, and I make my living using words to explain things so that others can understand. But this…well how do you explain something, you’re not really clear on yourself?

I guess I’ll just keep plodding along, following my path, and letting the whisperers help me along…after all, they haven’t led me astray at least so far.

So, if you see someone standing in the middle of the sidewalk, head cocked to the side as if listening to someone who isn’t there…it’s probably someone (like me) listening to his or her “guides” whisper directions and suggestions.

Front Cover Concept for The Starstone
Front Cover Concept for The Starstone

 

Oooh, a new marketing toy…

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I decided to use my time to research ways of incorporating blatant ads into my blog. I know, I know…no one likes commercials. But let’s face it, if I don’t push my books, who will?

I may never make a living off of them, but I’m still proud of them, and want to share the information. So, I tried creating a short audio…I know the quality’s not great, but I thought I did pretty well for being over tired, bleary-eyed, and up waaaay past my bedtime.

try this

I also played around with a free presentation software available from Google. The results are fairly basic, and hardly of the quality of most of the vids available on YouTube, but then again, it’s my first attempt, too. So, have listen, take a look…

Book synopsis

escortingcover

What Dreams May Come…What Dreams Have Come

WhatdreamsposterA friend of mine invited me to watch a movie with her. She said it was something she had seen when it first came out and, knowing I hadn’t seen it, thought I would really enjoy it. That’s all she said. She wouldn’t give me the title, tell me who starred in it, or even give me a synopsis of the plot. Deciding to humor her (and wanting to spend time with her, anyway), I agreed to her “movie night”.

The movie she chose was “What Dreams May Come” starring Robin Williams. And to say I was surprised by the movie is an understatement. It was like watching my own book, “Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp”, come to life.

The movie was based on a book by Richard Matheson, author of such books as “Bid Time Return” (which became the movie, “Somewhere in Time”) and “I am Legend” (which also became a movie with the same name). I had loved all the movies made from Mr. Matheson’s books, including this one that I had just seen, so I went to the library and got copies of his books.

Reading his words pulled at something deep within me. It waCover3s as if we were connecting on a soul level. It made me wonder just who was Mr. Matheson and how did he come to write these books; what was his inspiration. Did he have a near death experience of his own? Was his just a finely tuned imagination or was there some “secret” knowledge there?

What I found was that he wasn’t all that different from me in his beliefs and in how he built his spiritual foundations.

Fascinated by parapsychology, the paranormal, and metaphysics since boyhood, Mr. Matheson used his storytelling platform to explore and express his beliefs. Having read everything from Emanual Swedenborg and Harold Percival to Raymond Moody and Kubler-Ross, Mr. Matheson compiled his own spiritual belief system which he published in a book called “The Path”, a non-fiction account of his ideas and concepts.

That same belief system was used as the basis for “What Dreams May Come” but was expressed as a story; however, in an introductory note to the book, Matheson explains that the characters are the only fictional component of the novel. Almost everything else was based on research, and the end of the novel includes a lengthy bibliography.

Placing the material in a fictional, story-like format allowed Mr. Matheson to reach a wider audience with his ideas of how life (and death) works. His book explores a range of paranormal and spiritual concepts and puts forth his philosophy of mind over matter, that ideas are the basis of creation, and his beliefs that the human soul is immortal and that a person’s fate in the afterlife is self-imposed.

The book, which was originally published in 1978, received mixed reviews. However, Mr. Matheson considered it one of his greatest achievements and was quoted as saying, “I think ‘What Dreams May Come’ is the most important (read effective) book I’ve written. It has caused a number of readers to lose their fear of death – the finest tribute any writer could receive.”

That quote also fits me. I may not sell very many copies of my book, but that’s okay; because if my book can give even one person some comfort regarding their death or the death of someone they love, than that’s what counts. It’s really the reason why I wrote it.

So, in our own way, I guess Mr. Matheson and I do have a connection. We both developed similar belief systems and have tried to express those beliefs through our writing. It’s nice to have validation of how you think the world functions, and it’s even nicer when that validation comes to you unexpectedly and without strings.

Coming Soon

I know I often write about my dreams, but that’s because dreams are important to our lives…and because I know a lot about dreams (hence, the book On dreams and dream symbols). But while this post is about another of my (bizarre) dreams, it’s also about a series of events of which the dream was just the latest.

brokenmirrorfrontThe dream was about me being trapped in a mirror, one of those large cheval-type mirrors. I could see a rather spacious bathroom, all done in black and white tile with an old-fashioned claw foot tub. This same scene was reflected behind me in the mirror world, but I needed to get out of the mirror world or I would be late (late for what, I’m not sure). Frantic, I began beating on the glass hoping someone would come and help me. Instead, the glass broke apart and landed in the tub and I stepped out of the mirror world and into the tub containing the broken glass.

About a month ago, I attended a milestone birthday party for a friend. Her husband had hired a tarot reader to entertain everyone and predict their futures. My friend thought it was a wonderful extravagance, and encouraged each of us to sit with this reader. Being the skeptic that I am—I can’t help it; having the abilities myself makes me aware of just how often psychics-for-hire are merely entertainers looking for a payday—I kept avoiding the tarot reader. Eventually, my friend goaded me into it and I finally sat down and let the lady do her schtick. While she may have been in it for the money, she had enough intuitiveness to get many things right.tarot cards

I’ve used tarot cards before, and I can do my own interpretations of the layouts, so I didn’t need to rely on the tarot reader’s interpretation; although, her interpretations and mine were pretty spot on. But overall, it just seemed like another step along a path that I had started in my teen years.

When I was 18, a friend wanted to learn about palmistry, so she asked her pals to make copies of their palm prints. She took those palm prints and, using several books that she either bought or borrowed from the library, she began to translate all the lines, loops, and breaks into a series of “predictions”. When she finished, she gave us each back a copy of our palm print with her notes. I read it through, and then filed it away and forgot about it.

That is, I forgot about it until all of these other events started up.

palmAccording to my girlfriend’s notes, my Fate Line shows a complete break between two decades of my life (this decade and the next, in fact). When the Fate line restarts, it starts as a V, with 2 distinct paths. One of those paths is short-lived, the other lasts for several more decades.

The tarot cards indicated a major life changing event occurring soon (although with tarot cards there is no way to easily define “soon”).

And the dream…well, the dream says that I’m trying to break away from my current world view and adopt a new world view. I’m facing (or will be soon) some inner or worldly issue that will require my strengthening or changing aspects of my character in order to survive. Seeing broken glass or mirrors means a change in my life, and I will find that a situation will come to an abrupt and untimely end. Meanwhile, escaping from the mirror world and into the real world bathroom/bathtub indicates a need and desire to escape from overwhelming issues and for self-renewal.

So, what’s coming? I don’t know. But it seems as if all the warning signs are there and they’re all saying the same thing: 

Danger! Life Altering Event Ahead!

Do I have any idea what kind of changes are in store? Not a clue…but if it’s a windfall (like a winning lottery ticket), I’m ready (and waiting).

The soul’s voice

OnDreamsCover_Smashwords_withtextIf people’s eyes are the windows to their souls, then dreams are the soul’s voice. Dreams can praise, promise, warn, caution, sing, yell, and whisper. Dreams give voice to those hidden secrets deep in our souls, the yearnings, the passions, and desires.

Dreams may seem meaningless, and I know many people tend to ignore their dreams. However, dreams can tell us so much about ourselves and the others around us if we would just listen to them.

Dreams rarely speak in a plain and open manner. Most times they use a language that is obtuse and somewhat opaque, and the messages are oblique and sometimes hard to hear. But once you figure out the language of dreams, you will find that the information they offer can broaden your world exponentially. It’s amazing how much more you will be able to see and understand once you learn to speak “dream”.

I’ve spent decades listening to and deciphering the meaning of my dreams. I’ve become so well-versed in dream-speak, that I rarely even need a dream dictionary to understand what the dreams are telling me.

Here’s an example:

I was standing alone in the transitional plane, wandering once again whether I was on the best path for me, when the mist suddenly changed to a period room. It seemed to be a room from a well-adorned home (probably from the 1700’s). I was in a period gown, sitting on a settee, and a man came in. I couldn’t clearly see his face, but in the dream I knew him and loved him. He offered me a jewelry box and inside was a single pearl on a gold chain next to two pearl-drop earrings. The scene grayed, then returned, and the box now contained a ruby pendant and earrings. It grayed once more, and the box now held an opal pendant and earrings.

I took the box and the scene dissolved and faded away. Now I was in a grassy yard and I was holding a small, brown puppy, and barking and playing around my feet was another older puppy, golden yellow—a Labrador, maybe?—and I was smiling and very happy. The dog brought me a stick, and I tossed it and then two smiling dogs ran off to get it.

Suddenly, I was back inside the house, in the kitchen. There was a huge fireplace with a roaring fire, but I was standing near the kitchen table. I reached toward the fruit bowl for an apple and a half-dozen little spiders crawled out of the bowl and I woke up.

When I woke up I was happy and smiling, not frightened, and I’ll tell you why. Not only had I finally gotten an answer, but the answer was a positive one. But what about the spiders, I hear you asking. Even spiders are a positive “omen” in dreams.

First there was the lover’s gift of jewelry, jewels, gems, opals, rubies, and pearls. If you look up all of those symbols (gift, jewelry, jewels, gems, opals, rubies, and pearls) you find that it means:

Gift: your own innate gifts; your own innate abilities

Jewelry: if not broken, then pleasure and good fortune.

Jewels: to receive them from others, good fortune and good friends.

Gems: happiness in love and business.

Opals: great luck in the next few days.

Pearls: faithful friends and lovers; happiness

Rubies: happiness and good luck in all speculations.

Earrings: encouraging and interesting work.

Necklace: to receive a necklace as a gift means happy times and faithful lover.

Then the part about the puppies playing:

Dogs: intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity.

Puppies: Good, strong friends and friendships.

Green grass: happiness and wealth.

Green fields: abundance and happiness.

Followed by the kitchen scene:

Kitchen: unpleasant gossip surrounds you.

Fire: prosperity and good luck.

Fruit: (eating them) struggles

Apples: prosperity and harmony if the apples are without blemishes or worms.

Spiders: many spiders means fortune, good health, good friends, and favorable conditions are yours.

When put all together, it shows me that through my own innate gifts, my good friends and faithful lover I will enjoy prosperity, happiness, and good luck on the path I have chosen, despite a few bumps and problems.

So, what are your dreams whispering to you?

(For more about dreams and what they might be trying to tell you, read On dreams and dream symbols.)