Is Hermes a Psychopomp?

When we talk about Greek mythology, one of the most fascinating topics to explore is the concept of psychopomps. These are the deities or spirits that guide souls to the afterlife.

One such figure that often comes up in this discussion is Hermes. But is Hermes a psychopomp? Let’s delve deeper into this topic and find out.

Who is Hermes?

Hermes is one of the most versatile figures in Greek mythology. He is known as the messenger of the gods, the god of commerce and thieves, and also as a patron of travelers, athletes, and poets. He is usually depicted with wings on his sandals and hat, carrying a caduceus – a herald’s staff with two snakes wrapped around it.

What are Psychopomps?

In Greek mythology, psychopomps were believed to be entities that helped souls navigate through the afterlife. They were responsible for guiding them from one realm to another and making sure they reached their final destination safely.

In some cultures, psychopomps were seen as neutral entities that simply escorted souls from one place to another. In others, they had more active roles – judging souls or even leading them into battle.

Is Hermes a Psychopomp?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. While Hermes was not considered a primary psychopomp like Hades or Charon, he did have certain responsibilities that put him in that category.

For instance, Hermes was believed to lead souls to Hades’ realm after death. He was also known for escorting Persephone back from the underworld every year during springtime – an act that symbolized rebirth and renewal.

Additionally, Hermes was often called upon by other gods to perform tasks related to death and afterlife. For example, he helped Zeus retrieve Persephone from Hades’ realm and also guided the souls of fallen warriors to the Elysian Fields.


So, is Hermes a psychopomp? While he may not be the first figure that comes to mind when we think of psychopomps, he did have certain responsibilities that put him in that category.

As the messenger of the gods and a patron of travelers, Hermes was often called upon to escort souls to their final destination. And while he may have had other roles in Greek mythology, his association with death and afterlife cannot be ignored.