Day 101 – Angels and Rivers

I wonder what happens to my brother and his girlfriend’s guardian angels now that they are not with us. Do they get reassigned? Are they playing chess with each other with nothing to do? 

Well, I guess those questions come from my own belief system… 

Ad and his girlfriend were both buried with coins over their eyes. (My brother’s girlfriend was buried today and I have just been to the funeral). It is probably very fitting for a Maundy Thursday. Maybe the new king (if God recognises him as such) should hand out obols to everyone. Just two each? For preparation?

Obols were the coins used in the ancient Greek culture to pay the ferryman after death. In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman who transported the souls of the dead across the River Styx to the underworld. He was often depicted as a gaunt, grim figure with a long beard and a wide-brimmed hat, carrying a pole with a lantern on top. Someone has to guide the souls of the dead, I guess. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.

According to myth, Charon was the son of Nyx (the goddess of night) and Erebus (the personification of darkness and shadow) and was born before the gods. The story of how Charon became the ferryman isn’t clear. Some versions of the myth suggest that he was appointed as the ferryman by Hades, the god of the underworld, while others suggest that he took on the role willingly. His payment – obols. Bad luck if you forgot, or couldn’t afford to prepare.

Either way, the idea of there being a final river is shared in both Greek mythology and Christian symbolism. And we have been to the river’s shore again, waving off the travellers through this life. One step too close to the final river. 

Appropriately enough, one of the songs chosen for the funeral today was, ‘I have a dream’ by Abba with its lines:

‘I believe in angels

When I know the time is right for me

I’ll cross the stream 

I have a dream.’

Apart from a little rain (‘The angels are crying’ remarked someone) and a brief hailstorm, the sun was, at least, out. Later there was a rainbow. Later still, a full moon, like a silver obol in the night sky.

I wish they were not dead.

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