How to find an obscure literary term
April 10, 2008 4:58 AM   Subscribe

Years ago when I took a classical mythology course, my professor used a literary term for a being who can travel between planes of being at will.

(To tell you how long ago it was she used the crow, the bird not the character, in the film by the same name as an example.) I've searched through my notebooks, hunted through reference books, and asked friends but I can't find it. Does anyone know what this term is? If not, any tips on how I can finally find this term and move on to my next obsessive quest?
posted by miss-lapin to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Psychopmp? They conduct the soul between realms.
posted by khaibit at 5:37 AM on April 10, 2008

Best answer: Psychopomp, he meant to say.
posted by bricoleur at 6:02 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The general wikipedia page on Shamanism might give you a few leads - including a little more on Psychopomps. A more simple term might be simply "spirit".
posted by rongorongo at 6:06 AM on April 10, 2008

Or possibly "Eidolon".
posted by rongorongo at 6:10 AM on April 10, 2008

The example from Classical myth would be Charon, the ferryman.
posted by steef at 6:56 AM on April 10, 2008

This is what I get for answering questions first thing in the morning.
posted by khaibit at 7:35 AM on April 10, 2008

Adding my support for "Psychopomp." Be careful to enuciate it though. I just graded a mythology exam which explained how Hermes and Anubis were examples of "Psycho Pimps." This student is attending a much more exciting class than I'm teaching.
posted by bibliowench at 8:15 AM on April 10, 2008 [10 favorites]

"enunciate" - crap. That's what I get for providing humorous anecdotes first thing in the morning.
posted by bibliowench at 10:10 AM on April 10, 2008

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