Honouring & Assisting Spirit With Psychopomp
Indigenous Shamanic communities have always been aware of the fact that death is simply another process or transition that all who exist in the physical world must go through. It is the shifting from one state of being to another as opposed to the ending of life. The Shamanic perspective is that everything has a spirit and everything is made out of energy and if we were to approach this from a perspective of Physics, energy can not be created, nor can it be destroyed - it is simply transformed. Shamans have known this for centuries, long before modern science could start to comprehend or prove it.
The Shaman considers the soul as not a singular energy in itself but more of a combination of three energies that we refer to as a “soul cluster”, which refers to the integration of mind, body and spirit. These three energies function simultaneously and connect us to the physical plane, the energetic plane and source. Many Shamans believe that when the first breath is taken in the physical, spirit merges with the physical and mental soul to integrate mind, body and spirit to effectively form the soul cluster. When we exhale our last breath, the spirit detaches from the mind and body as it moves to the spirit world.
However, when we pass on, elements of our spirit can become stuck for numerous reasons. Often if the life force is in a state of confusion at the time of passing through sudden death or other means, the spirit can voluntarily stay behind, often because they are not aware of their passing - they are almost stuck in a place of limbo within the astral plane which is between the physical world and the spirit world. This can also occur if the life force that is passing has an attachment to another person or place, causing the spirit to latch onto something in the physical. For this reason, the life force may be in need of assistance to ensure they are able to pass through to the spirit world smoothly.
What Is Psychopomp?
Psychopomp is an aspect of Shamanic practice that many find challenging to get their heads around and it should not be treated lightly. It is very involved and should never be attempted without proper training due to it having the potential to leave untrained practitioners open to spirit attachments and entities.
Psychopomp involves the Shaman consciously tuning into spirits that are stuck between the physical and spirit world in order to heal, nurture and encourage their transition to the spirit world. It is a beautiful process that is there to honour, heal and assist a spirit’s transformation process which should be treated with the utmost respect.
In indigenous communities, Psychopomp was traditionally a process which would involve the entire community in a ceremonial setting led by the Shaman. When a member of the community was dying or had passed on, the person’s friends, family and other members of the community would gather around to give their prayers and gifts. At which point, the Shaman would journey to and connect with the spirit of the person in order to provide healing, guidance and insight to assist them with their transition. Naturally, grieving is always going to be involved in the process but it’s approached from the perspective of a celebration. The Shaman acts as the bridge between the spirit world and the physical world, therefore communicating with the spirits is part of their way of being in order to bring healing and insight to both the spirit world and the physical world.
Rituals can also be performed to facilitate those who are terminally ill or close to death to ensure that the spirit can transition fully out of the physical plane - these are often referred to as the “Death Rites” and is the process of gradually unwinding different parts of the energy field to begin the transition period before finishing at the crown moments before or after the passing. These are often carried out over a longer period of time like weeks or months.
How To Know When Psychopomp Is Needed?
When it comes to knowing when and when not to use Psychopomp, there really isn’t a one-size fits all. Psychopomp is a technique that often comes up during a Shamanic healing session if the client has a deceased family member or friend that has latched onto them. A lot of the time, even when performing the healing technique, there are soul pieces of the deceased that wish to stay behind which is particularly common with close family members or friends. The spirit is tuned into, identified and gently moved on.
The technique is also commonly used in land/space clearing, particularly if there is an area with particularly prominent leyline activity or history. Spirits that are in limbo are also commonly found in old buildings, graveyards and hospitals - we tend to find that the longer a spirit has been stuck, the less willing they are to move on. When a spirit is not willing to move on, we as Shamans like to honour their wishes unless they are causing some sort of harm, at which point they may need to be extracted.
It’s important to realise that Psychopomp is a technique that is used with love. The spirits that we are working with through Psychopomp are not malevolent in any way and are simply in need of guidance and support. It is important not to confuse this technique with a spirit extraction or entity removal - these techniques are required when the client has entities or spirit attachments that have latched on which is causing them serious harm and those which cannot be assisted through means of Psychopomp.
Psychopomp is an area of Shamanic practice that can be particularly triggering for many due to it being so distant from what western society perceives as “normal”. It’s a technique that is thousands of years old and remains common practice for Shamans across the world. If the technique is attempted outside of sacred space and without prior training, it has been known to provoke the activity of the spirits, leave the ones involved open to heavy energies and even open portals. It’s important to note that even the trained Shaman is not alone in this process - they also have spirit allies who they’ve spent time and energy connecting with. These allies can be anything from collective spirits such as angels and power animals to more individual allies such as ET beings, plant spirits and even other Shamans. Therefore, Psychopomp isn’t about technique… it is about facilitating a sacred exchange between us and the spirits - the Shaman is the conduit through which healing and insight is brought to the spirit world and the physical world.