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The transitional, in-between state of the soul after death was believed to be the domain of Hermes by ancient Greeks. They worshiped Hermes as the one god who will guide them to the right place of exit after they die. In this role, Hermes was gentle and compassionate, much like the angels from the Judeo Christian tradition. In his beautiful poem “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes,” Reiner Maria Rilke captures the moment when Hermes guides Eurydice back to life while Orpheus is walking in front of them, trying to heed the order not to look back. First, Rilke describes the world in-between in these words translated by Edward Snow):
“It was the souls’ strange mine.
Like silent silver ore they wandered
through its dark like…
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