“Psychopomp” is a technical term in religion and folklore studies– a psychopomp is a religious (or mythological or folkloric or supernatural) figure who guides a spirit or soul to the afterlife. I once knew this word fairly well, but as my formal education has faded further into the past, I am sure I haven’t thought about it, much less used it, in thirty years or more. This week as I was doing other research, I found Anubis on a list of psychopomp figures across history and world cultures.
And that got me thinking. We know Anpu as a “retired god”, but what if like many retirees, he got a bit bored (and maybe a little short of whatever it is that gods use for currency) and decided to go back to work part time? This is a drawing of Anpu as a modern psychopomp, including a pair of little black wings that reference the angelic figures that take that role in current legend/folklore.
Longtime readers will notice that I have made yet another change in Anpu’s character design. (Anpu is one of my favorite characters to draw and I fiddle with his design more than anything else in Kekionga except Foursquare’s dozens of costumes.) I have gone back to the gold lining for his ears, but started breaking it up with a sunburst/radial design that I found in some Ancient Egyptian source material. I really like the results and I might even say his design is finally finalized if I didn’t know myself too well.
For more about psychopomps across the world, click here, or consult any dictionary of mythology or folklore if you have plenty of spare time.