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The Guides of The Dead

Neith, Ankou, and Agni

Psychopomps are spirits or similar beings who escort the dead to the afterlife, both in Gunnerkrigg Court and in the mythologies of many cultures in the real world. The difference, however, is that in the comic, all spirits are absorbed into The Ether.

Though usually invisible to the living, the guides have the ability to appear and interact with anyone if they wish.

They claim that the living world is not their business, but have been know to interfere indirectly.

History

Antimony first encountered the guides as a child while living in Good Hope Hospital. Muut was the first one she ever met. She would join them when they visited dead or dying patients, although she did not initially realize the true nature of their job.[1] Eventually, Annie would come to help them in their duties by acting as a mediator, much as her mother did before her. However, her faith in them was shattered when they forced her to bring her mother to the ether herself. Now that she lives at Gunnerkrigg Court, Annie still sees the psychopomps from time to time when a death brings one of them to the area, but still intensely dislikes them all.

Muut

Muut
Muut is a psychopomp with an owl's head, inspired by the personification of death in Cahuilla mythology. He is the first psychopomp that Antimony met. Muut gives Antimony a blinker stone via Mort (convincing him it was his own idea, not Muut's), so that she can further aid stuck spirits.

Ankou

Ankou
Ankou is one of the psychopomps shown in Chapter 9: Questions and Answers, Chapter 9, Page 7.

Ankou is a personification of death in Breton mythology. The only known person to belong to Ankou is Mort.


Moddey Dhoo

Moddey Dhoo Icon
A psychopomp that first appeared in Chapter 16. He is a black dog with glowing red eyes. He is likely inspired by the black dog in Manx folklore, that reputedly haunted Peel Castle on the west coast of the Isle of Man. Tom seems to be fond of the black dog myths, of which Moddey is one of many in the British Isles.

Mallt-y-nos

Malltportrait
Mallt-y-Nos (Matilda of the Night), first seen in Chapter 16, Page 9 is the crone psychopomp that was in dispute with Moddey Dhoo over the fate of a boy who did not know he'd passed on. She is a Welsh spirit said to be a member of the Wild Hunt.[citation needed]

Ketrak

Ketrakportrait
Ketrak is one of the psychopomps with whom Annie is acquainted. He and Annie have a short conversation at the beginning of Chapter 16: A Ghost Story when a spider kills a fly in the tree Annie is sitting under. The reader doesn't hear Ketrak's side of the conversation and never actually sees Ketrak, but if Kat's reaction is anything to go by, he is fairly horrific-looking.

Lamet

Lamet is a psychopomp of unknown origin, possibly from the Lamet people of Thailand and Laos. Lamet was at one point killed by Jeanne when he was in the area to guide a lost soul.

Agni

Agni is one of the psychopomps shown in Chapter 9: Questions and Answers, [2]. Agni is one the most important of the Vedic gods in Hinduism. He is the god of fire. The link between heaven and earth, the deities and the humans, is done through vedic sacrifice, where the Brahmins feed a fire with offerings and the smoke feeds and sustains the gods.

Hermes

Hermes or Mercury is one of the psychopomps shown in Chapter 9: Questions and Answers, Chapter 9, Page 7. As a crosser of boundaries, Hermes Psychopompos' ("conductor of the soul") was a psychopomp, meaning he brought newly-dead souls to the Underworld and Hades. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hermes conducted Persephone the Kore (young girl or virgin), safely back to Demeter. He also brought dreams to living mortals.[3]

Neith

Neith is one of the psychopomps shown in Chapter 9: Questions and Answers, Chapter 9, Page 7. She is the ancient Egyptian one.

Veles

Veles is one of the psychopomps shown in Chapter 9: Questions and Answers, [4]. He has two horns and the lower half of a serpent. Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld. And while Perun, seen as a hawk or eagle sitting on a tallest branch of tree, was believed to be ruler of heaven and living world, Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles' herds of cattle.[5]

Gallery

References

  1. Chapter 9, Page 7
  2. Chapter 9, Page 7
  3. Hermes on Wikipedia
  4. Chapter 9, Page 7
  5. Veles as a God of Death on Wikipedia

External Links

WP Ref Psychopomps on Wikipedia

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