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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Underworld

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Secret Heart of Samhain

The god stands naked at the temple door.

Crowned with antler and autumn leaf, he leads us, also naked, out and down.

Into the Underworld. Into the cave. Into the belly of the Earth.

Darkness of darkness.

He kneels to her. He raises his flame.

It dies.

In darkness, we call out the names of the dead.

In darkness, we sing. Asking for life, we sing.

In darkness, the apple passes, and we eat. Life has a price.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Nergal is the next "graveyard" divinity that I am honoring.  I found his tales very interesting, especially that he was associated with Hercules.  Nergal was conceived in the underworld when his mother went to rescue her rapist from his punishment.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hatra_Nergal.gif

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oh Hell

Oh, go to Heaven!”

(Witch Hazel [Mama Cass Elliot], Pufnstuf)

It is an altogether remarkable fact that the language of Christianity should so faithfully have preserved the name of the ancient Indo-European Underworld, and (just possibly) of its goddess.

Hell.

Both Old English hell and its Norse cognate hel derive from Common Germanic *haljô. This in turn comes from a verbal root meaning “cover, conceal.” (The same root gives us hall, hull, hold, helmet, and Valhalla.) Apparently Hell has been the “concealed [place]” for a long, long time: when Ulifilas translated the Bible into Gothic, he used the word halja to translate Greek Hades and Hebrew She'ol.

Like its Greek counterpart Hades, the Old Norse name does double duty, naming both the Underworld and its mistress, the goddess of death. Whether this was also the case among speakers of Old English, we do not know. It's certainly possible: the Old English noun is feminine in gender. It must be admitted, though, that the Hel of Norse literature has a pronouncedly “literary” feel to her; she strikes one as more a personification than as an actual personality.

So we can say for sure that the Hwicce, the Old English Tribe of Witches, knew of Hell as the Underworld. Whether they also knew of Hell as Lady of the Underworld we simply do not know.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Reclaiming Hell

Most of us grow up knowing about heaven and hell. Whatever our faith or place of birth, and by whatever names we might choose, the split of light and dark into above and below seems to be a fact of our heritage as human beings. It is reflected in myriad cultures ancient and modern, from indigenous peoples’ oral narratives, to the tales of Sumer and myths of Greece, to the Christian traditions where the realms of God and Devil, salvation and eternal torment, may haunt imaginations.  

And while this split is not inherently dangerous, we have been deluded for one reason or another (the Abrahamic faiths and colonialism are noteworthy for their influence) into equating the below and darkness with malevolence and the inimical—as in the Devil example just mentioned. This poses real challenges and hinders, I believe, our ability to fully honor the psycho-spiritual journey as well as the world in which we live.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Goddess Rising

One day the Goddess went away.

The Moon wanes away into darkness. The seed goes down into the soil. Summer descends into Winter.

Each Spring, we too descend. Into the Underworld we go. We seek Her, we find Her, and we bring Her back.

There was a time in history when it seemed that the Goddess had gone away.

So we descended into the Underworld. We sought Her, we found Her, and we brought Her back.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Chloe
    Chloe says #
    Very beautiful. As someone who reveres and adores Persephone, this speaks to my heart. Thank you!
  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    Beautiful.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minos the Moon God?

We call the people of ancient Crete Minoans thanks to the whim of the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, the man who excavated Knossos over a century ago. He knew the Hellenic Greek myth of King Minos of Crete, took it for historical fact, and named the civilization after the king: Minoan. The thing is, Minos is more likely a god than a historical king.

Of course, it’s possible that priests in ancient Crete took the name or title Minos when they took on certain governmental responsibilities. Some people call these men priest-kings, though I’m not sure the term is terribly accurate, since none of them ever ruled more than just a single Minoan city and its surrounding area; ancient Crete did not have a unified, island-wide government during Minoan times. And it’s probable that priestesses as well as priests took part in the governing of the temple complexes and the cities.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Corvia Blackthorn
    Corvia Blackthorn says #
    Very interesting indeed, thank you!
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Very interesting!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pentecost and the Underworld

Exactly three years after a Pentecost service helped me see that I was a Pagan, I descend into the underworld. I spent last weekend in ritual with a group of Witches, most of them oblivious to the fact that it was Pentecost in the Christian tradition. Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the followers of Jesus, tongues of fire upon their heads. They were filled with courage and started preaching, they spoke in languages they didn’t know, sang in the tongues of angels, and prophesied. Pentecost is usually seen as the birthday of the Christian church.

 

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