Honest Myth:European- Grim Reaper

The pictures are from cemeteries, but I am not sure where exactly. They are just really cool and creepy.


It is day 11 of our Mini Marathon. To be honest, there are a vast amount of deities associated with death, and though we have yet to discuss most of them, I decided to finish this marathon on the thirteenth deity. Many of the ones I did not write about I still plan on discussing at a later time, but for now, we will end the marathon on Friday.

So today’s deity will be the oh so fabulous Grim Reaper!!

The Grim Reaper is more a legend or folklore that personifies death. It does not really connect with any specific culture or religion, but he continues to exist in our modern society. It does not mean that people really believe that this cloaked figure collects people’s souls, but he is the usual depiction of death in media.

1338cf9df648dd48040762165d216201The Grim Reaper is shown as a skeletal figure cloaked in black and carrying a scythe. It is usually believed to be a male, but in retrospect there really exists no way of knowing since it is a skeleton (I know that you could compare his hip bones to figure it out, but I doubt an artist that creates an image of him puts that sort of effort). It is said that his movements are extremely graceful as he seems to glide silently, and he never speaks. Cool Fact: Marvel Universe depicts the Grim Reaper as a female. This makes sense since death is female in the Latin root. So places like Mexico have a female personification. Not that it matters much, because she is just a skeleton in a cloak still, but her cloak is white.

Like most, the Grim Reaper is a psychopomp from folk lore. He comes to earth to collect the souls of those who are meant to die. When it is a person’s time to pass, he appears silently before the person as a harbinger of imminent death, and then disappears just as quickly and silently.

The Grim Reaper began to appear in art and stories around the time of mass deaths (like the plague). He does not have an connection to one religion, he just depicts the on coming of death. His scythe represent the idea that he collects or reaps souls like a human would grain/grass. Agrarian society used scythes in the fall to collect their crops. The harvest represented the time where the land created food but was about to pass into winter and die.

Skulls and skeletons make sense as a symbol of the Grim Reaper. Bones being what remains after a human (or any creature) dies and decays. The black coat though is meant to represent death and mourning. It is meant to seem frightening and ominous, like he can hide in the shadows. He has been seen to hold an hour glass, which represented the limited time of life.

I am not sure if the kiss of death is related with the Grim Reaper, but it kind of interesting to think about that saying.

Many of us have probably heard or seen the Grim Reaper depicted in media of some kind. Maybe in a poem like that of Emily Dickinson The Chariot, or in a cartoon like the Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Wanna know more? Check this out: http://www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com/page/Grim+Reaper

-Blog Barista


it is strange, I found one where he actually looked cool.

it is strange, I found one where he actually looked cool.


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