an article on Aidoneos (Hades/ Pluto)

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an article on Aidoneos (Hades/ Pluto)

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:05 pm

Salvete

I wrote this article a while back. I don't know if I had posted it already, but here it is. Criticism and comments are appreciated. I will also post on Hekate, Apollon and Zeus.

Aidoneos:
What he means for the people today and in the past


Aidoneos, who is better known as Hades or Pluto, is a kind of deity most people tend to avoid. Even during antiquity, he wasn’t widely worshipped like his brothers, sisters and nephew and nieces, but never the less, he was worshipped. His real name (Aidoneos) was never pronounced by the general public out of fear of being taken away by him to the Underworld. Instead they called him by alternative names like Pluto, Dis Pater, Ploutonas, Theos Khthonios or Zeus Katakhonios.
It is clear that Aidoneos isn’t a popular deity. He almost plays no role in mythology with that exception of a handful myths and he only stars in one myth that doesn’t quite put him in a good light. I’m referring to the abduction of Persephone. In this myth, he is no different from his brothers who did the same thing frequently in mythology. People didn’t like Aidoneos. It has mostly to do with his strong connections with the afterlife, that people feared him. It had nothing to do with him being a Hellenic version of Satan. The answer to why the Hellenes were so afraid of him lies in their beliefs in the afterlife, their way of life and in mythology. Hellenes were afraid of dying, just like every other being on this world. In that they don’t differ from any other culture on Earth. It is one of the reasons why the Greeks like to enjoy life to the fullest. They didn’t really know what to expect from the afterlife. They knew it was a grim place. Unlike Christianity, Judaism and Islam today, the ancient Greeks never really developed one singular view of the afterlife. They had several ideas on what the afterlife would be like, but those ideas never completed one another.
By the time of the 5th century B.C.E., Aidoneos had overshadowed Thanatos as the God of Death, and Aidoneos appeared as Hades in the Alkestis and Admetos myth where Herakles wrestled with the God of Death to save Alkestis from Death. So here we see that Aidoneos has taken Thanatos’ place in mythology as the personification of Death and its God. So Aidoneos isn’t just the God of the Underworld and Riches, but now he has become the God of Death as well. That would be enough for anyone to fear him. Certainly, if you knew that he could go to Earth and take mortals with him to his domain, like he did with Persephone, but she wasn’t mortal. So they tried to do with Him, like they did with the Erinyes. The Erinyes received euphemistic nicknames like the Eumenids to appease them. With Aidoneos, the same thing was done. He wasn’t just called Aidoneos or Hades anymore, since Hades was synonymous with the Underworld. But instead he received a wide variety of nicknames to appease him, like Zeus Katakhthonios, Theos Khthonios, Pluto, etc…. What happened here wasn’t an anomaly or anything like that. The assimilation of other deities by other deities is quite common, especially when the assimilated deity is a lower deity, or personification of something and the assimilator is an upper level deity, like Aidoneos or Apollon. It’s a normal thing when a national deity is associated with a local deity.
Another aspect to why people feared him is due to his association with the afterlife. The ancient Greeks didn’t have one singular view of the afterlife. They didn’t have concepts like heaven or hell. Sure they had Elysium, Tartaros and the Isle of the Blessed, but those were reserved for special cases. The general population, who didn’t fell in that category, dwelled aimlessly in the Underworld. Even for heroes it was no picnic. Homeros had Akhilles say to Odysseos, that he would rather be a slave, than to be dead. This coming from a man who wanted eternal fame and glory, says allot. It drove fear in the hearts of every Greek that death was the end for them. They knew there was a afterlife, but they knew that it was no fun to be dead, to be in Hades for the rest of eternity wondering around as body less souls. When Herakles encounters Medusa in Hades, she had no body, only a head that floats. It might look funny, but realizing the full potential of her powers, the fun is direct sucked out of it.
So the expectations for the afterlife were pretty grim. So in a way it is understandable why Christianity gained more ground than most pagan religions, since they offered a better afterlife. The only problem here was that the price for it is to high.
People back than had a greater appreciation for life, than for Death, so it is only understandable that they wouldn’t want much to do with Aidoneos. Aidoneos can mean more than just Death or a prospect for a afterlife. Through Him, we can learn to appreciate life more and life it to the fullest. Without Death, there could be no Life. Without Death, life would be unbearable. Because we know we are mortal and we can die, it can offer us excitement, a reason to life. Without Death, there would be nothing we have to fear. We wouldn’t be able to grow old, to become sick and to be hurt. Nowadays, that is a dream for most people, to be immortal and to not die. But they are delusional. Sure I was once one of them, but not anymore. We need death as much as we need life. The two are intertwined. Without one, there can not be another. Aidoneos can offer us a view of how to life better and life day to day and enjoy each day. We don't have to fear death but accept its inevitability. Through Aidoneos, we learn that Death does not discriminate. It does not separate the rich from the poor. To Death, we are all the same, no matter what status we have in life. We should help others through the process of grief. Remember the dead with fondness, for they live on in our thoughts and dreams. Aidoneos’ blessing is acceptance of our mortality. It's the common lot of all men, what sets us apart from the Gods. It comes to everyone - the rich and the poor like. We can fight it off, attempt to resist the inevitable, but in the end we will always fail. We should live with the sure knowledge that we will die, and make every moment a good and worthy one. When our time comes, we should meet it nobly, as we would an esteemed friend.
valete

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article on Hekate

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:07 pm

Salvete

This article is focused on the Hellenic Goddess Hekate and not so much on her Roman aspect. Criticism and comments are welcome.

Hekate; an article on her importance to modern day worshippers and her origins.


Hekate, the Goddess of the Underworld, the Sea, the Heaven, Magic and Witchcraft is one of the few deities that are so misunderstood by so many people. Khthonic deities have always been feared, loathed and avoided, but with Hekate, that was not always the case.
In the beginning, Hekate was a deity – well to say that she was extremely popular might be over the top – but she wasn’t loathed or feared or even avoided by most. The transition from – let’s say admired to being feared and loathed was a slow one. Hesiodos shows us his profound love for this Goddess, but by the time of Apollodorus Rhodios – who wrote the Argonautica – Hekate has become like Aidoneos; feared and avoided. Why did this happen, you might ask? It is a valid question, a question, I ask myself. I don’t know the answer to it. I do have a opinion on what happened, but I will save that for my essay where I go deeper on this deity.
On her origins, many have theories and opinions. There are some books dedicated to Hekate like those of Sarah Iles Johnston or by Van Rudloff, discuss her. Even though I haven’t read any of them, I did hear some bad things about the books. I will not go into what went wrong. I can say that there is something wrong with how many people today perceive her. Many Wiccans want to throw off the oppressive patriarch rule that oppressed them for so long, but yet some hold on to some of the ideas introduced by patriarchal Christians; the one that Hekate is a crone. By the time of Christians, Hekate was already to a certain degree demonized, but she kept her human-like appearances. It were the Christians in the Dark Ages who spread the caricature that witches were old women with long noses, etc.. The type of witch we see in fairy tales and Disney movies. I somehow doubt that the Christians of that era really perceived witches to be like that. Oh well. It does bother that Wiccans perceive her as a crone, in a maiden-mother-crone triple goddess aspect. The whole m/m/c concept is new and doesn’t do anyone good by limiting her to an archetype.
If it works for them, so much the better, but they must accept that Hekate wasn’t seen that way in history. I like to study Hekate and her origins, because – for me – to study Hekate’s history and origins is to gain a better understanding of her – even if it conflicts with my beliefs. So, according to me, putting her in a limited role of a crone, or an archetype, is stripping her of some of her powers. It’s better to see her as a real goddess who is multifaceted and multifunctional, than a deity with only one face and one function. To me, this is like following the easy road, to do what is easy and not what is hard. This is not an attack on Wicca or Wiccans. I know some Wiccans who are good people, but it is a critique on Wicca theology. Anyway, from what I know, the origins of Hekate lie in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. Perhaps she is from Hittite origin, but definitely not from Egyptian origin under the name Heqat or Hequat. Besides the obvious name association, there are no real similarities between the two deities.
Hekate’s importance to people is somewhat overlooked, because most people behind the whole Goddess of witchcraft and magic. Hekate can be a guide on the path of your life, to the afterlife, when you have died. She can help you protect you from the demons of the world. By demons, I mean the perils of the world. Karisse, told me that during one of nightmares, Hekate intervened and drove the demons that were attacking her away. So Hekate is the type of Goddess that helps you overcome your demons and helps you on your road of your life. By demons I don’t mean the Judeo - Islamic – Christian demons, but the metaphorical demons, the mental/ psychological demons that can plague us from time to time.
At this time, I don’t know enough on her to write down more than 3 points of view. I need to do some more reading on Hekate, to gain a better understanding of this deity. Through reading, I can learn more on her and form an opinion on her. Well, we will see where it takes me. I owe her allot. She stood by me in times I needed her most. I thanked her with the whole of my heart for the support she and Aidoneos have offered to me. Without them, I would have gone insane or committed suicide. They are the rocks in my life. Karisse calls Aidoneos “Dark father” and Hekate “the Dark Mother”. I never really understood it until now. They are my dark parents, who watched over me and guided me through me.
Of course Apollon played a role in my life too, but I don’t call him “Father” or any other title that are giving to family members. He’s my patron deity, and I don’t feel the need to call him “uncle” or “brother”. There are some people who take this to far and start calling Hekate their mother or grandmother. The danger of not separating the human from the divine parent is possible, as they might start to think that Hekate is really their mother or grandmother to the point that they don’t accept anything else. No, there are to many people on the net spreading their beliefs based on fallacies. It’s our job as the educated pagans to correct these fallacies. And Hekate’s history and perhaps theology has suffered the most fallacies of them all.
Valete

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