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Mythical Underworld: Magical Realm of Hades



 

The mythical and mysterious Greek Underworld is made up of several unique magical realms which reside under the Earth’s farthest reaches, deep in the bowels of where ether meets materia.

The land of the Dead, also known more commonly as the domain of Hades (domos Aidaou) is ruled by the fair and stern Lord Hades, brother of Zeus and Poseidon.

The pit of Tartarus which was originally the prison which held the Titan gods, is now the resting place for the Souls of the damned.



 

Erebus, who is the personification of shadow and darkness resides in the nooks and crannies of the Underworld, as he is the representative of his chosen profession. He is the son of Chaos, the primordial God. Erebus married his sister Nyx (goddess of the Night) and their children are; Aether (god of Sky), Hemera (goddess of Day) and the Moirai (Fates).

The Asphodel Meadows is a plain of Asphodel flowers, where the Souls of those who have lived lives of equal neutrality reside. The Asphondel flower is the favourite food of the Greek dead.



 

The Islands of the Blessed (Elysian Islands) are ruled by Cronus, where the great Heroes of myth reside, sharing Knowledge as part of the Universal dream.

The Elysian Fields are ruled by Rhadamanthys, where the Virtuous dead and initiates into the ancient Mysteries dwell.
 

Pompeii - Praying for Help



Knowing about the unique realms of the Underworld is tremendously important as these facets exist deep within the sphere of luminescence, serving as guides on the Journey which the Beholder of Life travels on.

Water has always signified the eternal flow of consciousness, streaming along the passageways and caverns of the illuminated Soul.

'Sweet endless rivers run thy gauntlet hand by me,

share in the nature of the hallowed mirth in signs,

creating the Shaman's rhythm far deep in Soul,

many phrases turn the Key to shiny Smiles'


Hades has five special Rivers flowing through, all with unique personalities, mirroring certain qualities of the psyche;
 

Acheron (river of sorrow)
Cocytus (river of lamentation)
Phlegethon (river of fire)
Lethe (river of forgetfulness)
Styx (river of hate)


The
Styx forms the boundary between the upper and lower worlds, mirroring the conscious and subconscious. The Cocytus and Acheron are mentioned in Aeschylus' Agamemnon, when Cassandra gives warning of murder, adding to the sorrow and lamentation to come. The Cocytus also appears in the great thesis of Dante Alighieri - The Divine Comedy.

 


Inferno XXXIV, verses 7, 10-19

 


He from before me moved and made me stop,
Saying: ‘Behold Dis, and behold the place
Where thou with fortitude must arm thyself.’…

The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous
From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice;
And better with a giant I compare

Than do the giants with those arms of his;
Consider now how great must be that whole,
Which unto such a part conforms itself.

Were he as fair once, as he now is foul,
And lifted up his brow against his Maker,
Well may proceed from him all tribulation.

O, what a marvel it appeared to me,
When I beheld three faces on his head!
The one in front, and that vermilion was;

Two were the others, that were joined with this
Above the middle part of either shoulder,
And they were joined together at the crest;

And the right-hand one seemed ‘twixt white and yellow;
The left was such to look upon as those
Who come from where the Nile falls valley-ward.

Underneath each came forth two mighty wings,
Such as befitting were so great a bird;
Sails of the sea I never saw so large.

No feathers had they, but as of a bat
Their fashion was; and he was waving them,
So that three winds proceeded forth therefrom.

Thereby Cocytus wholly was congealed.
With six eyes did he weep, and down three chins
Trickled the tear-drops and the bloody drivel.

At every mouth he with his teeth was crunching
A sinner, in the manner of a brake,
So that he three of them tormented thus.

 



 

Descriptions of the Underworld can be found in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and also in Hesiod. In the Odyssey, the Underworld is cited beyond the western horizon. Odysseus is instructed by the sorceress Circe to cross the wide ocean. With assistance from the North wind he reaches the Underworld by ship from Circe's island. Further along the line, the ghosts of the Suitors who have perished are herded there by Hermes Psychopompus, the legendary guide of the Dead, who herds them through the hollows of the Earth, beyond Oceanus, encircling the Earth, and through the gates of the setting Sun to their final resting place in Hades.



 

Guild Wars - First Light


The Homeric Hymns and the lyrical poet Pindar introduce the paradisiacal realm of Elysium where the Virtuous were sent after death. The blessed afterlife was also promised to the initiates of the ancient Mysteries.



 

One could enter the Underworld at various locations. It is alleged that a specific and elusive cave in Sparta is a point of entry. To get into the main areas of the Underworld one has to cross the river Acheron/Styx, and be ferried across by Charon, who charged an obolus, a small coin as a fee. Charon's obol was placed in the mouth of the Passenger.



 

Across the rivers there awaits Cerberus, the three-headed Guardian dog of Hades. The twelfth and last task of Heracles was to retrieve Cerberus from his patch and bring him to Eurystheus.



 

The Argonaut Orpheus, a musician of great serenity, lost his wife to be, Eurydice after she was bitten by a snake. He descended to the Underworld and passed Cerberus and Charon by charming them with his kithara (lyre) in order to plead Hades and Persephone for Eurydice’s return. Persephone took heart for him, and he was allowed to have her back, on one condition; if he reached the living realm again without looking over his shoulder. He started the journey back and all was well until at the last minute he became fearful, as he was unable to hear his wife's footsteps. He turned back and in doing so, caught the last glimpse of Eurydice's Spirit, as she faded back into the Underworld.



 

Navigating the infinite reaches of the grand Underworld teaches the majestic Beholder of Life to always strive on the sacred Journey and trust in one's instinct and intuition. All the many heroes and heroines who have ventured into the Realm of Hades, together with the occupants, inspire the individual to new and fresh heights of magnificent Achievements!



 

Residents of the Underworld

Aeacus - Cerberus - Charon - Erinyes - Hades - Hecate
Hypnos - Minos - Moirae - Persephone - Rhadamanthys - Thanatos

 

Realms of the Underworld

Acheron - Asphodel Fields - Cocytus - Elysion - Erebus
Lethe - Phlegethon - Styx - Tartarus

 

Prisoners of the Underworld

The DanaidesIxionSisyphusTantalus - The Titans - Tityus

 

Visitors to the Underworld

AeneasHeraclesHermesOdysseus
OrpheusPirithousTheseusDionysus

 

 

 

 

© Pyreaus