Although Samhain is not Hellenic — Honoring the Psychopomps

Samhain — or Halloween — is not a Hellenic holiday. It is a Wiccan/Celtic-themed one. However, it is a day that we can use to honor the Gods who are psychopomps. Hecate and Hermes are two of the notable ones that come to my mind today. Hecate is spoken of in the Orphic Hymns as “reveling in the souls of the dead” and Chthonic Hermes is spoken of as “guiding the souls of men to the nether gloom”

It is aspects like these that make it appropriate to honor Hecate and Hermes on this day when the “Celtic New Year” is celebrating the “thinning of the veils” between the worlds of the living and the dead. They are some of the Gods who walk between those worlds. This is NOT like Persephone who annually goes down to the house of Hades and returns to her mother. She is the one who the souls of the dead appeal to after their participation in the Mysteries but not the one who brings the souls to Hades.

Because they walk between the worlds they see both sides…. life and death both….. they are appropriate to honor on this day when children and adults alike honor those who have come before. I propose that we honor them with at least a libation and a lit candle or two to guide those spirits both to their families and then back to their rest. I would not call it a festival honoring the ancestors or the honored dead — Hellenic Polytheism has those already. We could have a “festival” honoring the psychopomps themselves  which is something that I see as being a good thing.

This would be something that I would propose as a MODERN holiday observance, but not necessarily a religious one…. 

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