A Prayer of Safe Passage for Haiyan’s Dead

The numbers rise every day. I mourn with their loved ones. I mourn with my country. I mourn with the world.

“Hither [to Haidês] all shall come, hither the highest and the lowest class: evil it is, but it is a path that all must tread; all must assuage the three heads of the barking guard-dog [Kerberos] and embark on the grisly greybeard’s [Kharôn’s] boat that no one misses … But for you, may the ferryman convey to the place whither he gives passage to the shades of the righteous the body no longer tenanted by your soul.” — The Elegies by Propertius via theoi.com

I dedicate this to Kharôn for the peaceful journey of Haiyan’s dead:

Hail Kharôn,
Ferryman of the Dead,
Old Man with the grim oar,
thou Bearer of souls
from each end of the Styx.

In ancient days,
a coin was given to thee for each soul,
a payment fitting for safe passage
across the sunken river.
Such recompense
we would continue to pay thee
had not Haiyan ravaged us
of both wealth and life.

Be gentle now, O son of Erebos,
and take pity on my countrymen
who are no more.
See their shades waiting by the shore,
famished and unclothed.
I haven’t enough silver
to pay for each one,
but consider these prayerful words
a great piece of my treasure
to pay for their safe way through the mist.


[Submitted to Neos Alexandria’s future Kharon devotional, praying I won’t need to create a prayer like this again.]


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