Known to the Romans as Pluto, Hades was the son of Cronus and Rhea. After the defeat of the Titans (the preceding generation of gods) Hades shared in ruling the universe with his brothers. Zeus had dominion over the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the Underworld.
Hades' name means "the invisible" and he was seldom spoken of directly by the living for fear his anger might be aroused. The relative lack of legends surrounding him may well be explained by the general aversion of death professed by the Greeks.
In Greek mythology the Underworld was the residence of the dead. It was presided over by the god Hades and in latter times came to be called by that god's name. Good and bad alike traveled here upon death, there being no strict heaven/hell dichotomy as appears in orthodox Christianity. The "pilgrim" which arrived here for Socrates was most likely one's soul, and not an ensouled body.
By tradition, this house of Hades was not viewed as a desirable place to be even for the just who did not need to fear punishment. Achilles, for example, having taken up residence upon his death in the Trojan War, said he would have preferred to live as a slave in the world of the living rather than to live free in the Underworld!
Socrates' suggested that death was an opportunity for philosophical discussion with the greatest people ever to have lived. Hence, he did not have a pessimistic vision of the afterlife.
|The Story of Persephone|
tempted Persephone to eat a few pomegranate seeds from his garden. Because Persephone had eaten from Pluto's garden,
she had to spend part of the year in the Underworld and part on earth with her mother.
So, every year when Persephone
is in the Underworld, Demeter is
sad and lets the plants die. When Persephone
|RIVERS OF THE UNDERWORLD:|
STYX: daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, married to Titan Pallas. children: Zelus (`Zeal'), NIKE (`Victory'), Kratos (`Strength'), Bia (`Force') The inviolable oaths which the gods take are sworn by the River Styx (punishment for violation: one year in a coma, nine years in exile) (fall) (Sunset) (Weariness)
LETHE: (`Forgetfulness') very important in Pythagorean doctrines, which believes in the transmigration of souls; drinking the water must be avoided by Orphics, lest they forget their real divine nature and the secret words by which they can reach Persephone. (Winter) (Midnight) (Sleep)
PHLEGETHON: (River of Flames') (Summer) (Noon) (Passion)
COCYTUS: (`Wailing') (spring) (Dawn) (Desire)
ACHERON: The name of one of the fifth river (occasionally also regarded as a lake) that flow through the realm of Hades. The name means "river of woe", and is often metaphorically used for Hades itself. Here the shades are ferried across by Charon. the river or Lake that borders the Material world. (the 13 Th. Hour) (Death)
Sad Acheron of sorrow black and deep;
Cocytus named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Far off from these a slow and silent stream,
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."
|GATES OF HADES:|
a) Entry gates: open to all, but guarded by descendant of Poseidon, the three headed dog CERBERUS to keep souls from trying to leave.
In Classic Wiccan Doctrine the Goddess travels into the underworld by journeying down a river and passing through seven Gates, which is but the same story of Ishtar passing thorough seven gates on her journey to the land of the Dead. At each of the Seven Gates Ishtar divested her self of her Sacred Jewels. these Jewels might represent the Seven Physic centers, if so it would imply the need of those centers to be mastered or controlled before the Seeker could attempt to descend into the Underworld and be able to return.
At the First gate Called Nanna (Moon) the Watcher removes her
Though not of classic Greek or Roman origin I have included the Nine Hells of Dante, seeing as how the Poet has had such a lasting effect on the christian view of Hell and the Underworld
"Through me is the way into the woeful city;
Dante sees Hell below as funnel-shapped depression. He sees this as in the northern hemisphere of the earth, with the smallest part of the funnel being at the core of the earth. Around the edges of the funnel lay ledges, where different punishments are dealt out to the sinners, these ledges Dante calls circles. Dante concluded that all sin is not equal, and God being fundamentally just must have different Hells for each level of sin the 9 hells are:
Dante, along with the Virtuous Pagans, enter the
Citadel of Human Reason and see the Master Souls of Pagan Antiquity on
2. Carnal Lust:
Dante and Virgil leave limbo and enter the second circle of Hell. Presented here is the first torment as a punishment.
Dante and Virgil are then on a shadowy ledge, being swept about by a great wind, much like a tornado. Caugh in the whirlwind are the Carnal, who lost their reason to their passions. As they abandoned themselves to a tempest of lust, so are they swept in the tempest of Hell.
The disgusting creatures are the Gluttons, in life they spent their time lounging around with food and drink, producing only garbage and filth. Thus in Hell, they are surrounded in filth, and Cerberus devours them as they devoured food and drink in life. Cerberus is the perfect symbol of gluttony. His three heads allow him to devour three times as much.
The battle is divided among two factions, the Hoarders and the Wasters. The two factions are pulling great weights. The two factions meet, each slamming their weights against the other. The move apart, pushing their weights away from each other, only to begin the cycle again.
They lacked moderation with money in their life, thus destroying the light of God in themselves by only thinking of their funds. So in Hell they are punished by dragging heavy weights, which is the symbol of mundanity.
Over the marsh, Dante and Virgil see many beings attacking each other. These are the Wrathful, in life they fought their fellow beings, so in Hell they are punished by eternally attacking and being attacked. Virgil shows Dante that many of the bubbles coming up from deep in the River Styx, are from the souls of the Sullen. They refused to see the sun in life, which is the symbol of Divine Illumination. In Hell they are submerged in the Styx, uttering endless chants, which is a parody of hymn singing.
THE RIVER STYX
These are the Heretics. These beings sinned against God by denying the immortality of the soul. Their punishment is to have an eternal fiery grave of God's wrath.
THE RIVER PHLEGETHON
Malebolge is divided into ten ditches. In each ditch is punished one type of the Fraudulent and Malicious. Stone bridges run across the ditches, providing passage for Dante and Virgil.
The first round is Caina, named for Cain, first son of Adam that slew his brother. Within this round lies those who were treacherous to those with whom they were bonded by blood ties. They have their heads and necks out of the ice, and can bow their heads against the freezing gale, preventing their tears from sealing their eyes shut. Dante sees Alessandro, Napoleone, Degli Alberti, and Camicion, who identifies the other sinners within this round
And finally LUCIFER:
The front face is fiery red, and chews on Judas
Iscariot. The two faces to either side of the front one is brown and a
Having seen all of Hell, the two poets climb through
the center of the earth, down Satan's flank, and emerge from Hell. They
Of special note is the Punishment given to those who seek to foresee
the future this punishment is the act od a paranoid God (being a Reader
of the Tarot myself, I think you can understand my reaction).
As dictated by the perverse law of Hell, the fortune
tellers must walk backwards with their heads turned backwards upon their
|Topography of Hades|
| THE FIELDS OF ASPHODEL:
A murky gloomy plain, covered with these gray
plants which produce dead white or pale yellow flowers with no dramatic
scent. Virtually all the dead go to the Field(s) of Asphodel. The exception
is HEROES, who
|THE ELYSIAN FIELDS:
An exclusive suburb of the Underworld, still presided over by
Hades and Persephone, but reserved for the Hesiodic
A prison area below the ` House of Hades', presided over by KRONOS
(Zeus' father and predecessor) who is as much a prisoner there as
anyone else t. The place is guarded by the Hundred handed Giants.
Humans who are guilty of special crimes against the gods and their code
are sent here for eternal punishment:
Tartarus, the Being.
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