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Layers of the Underworld

Forums ► Other Paths ► Layers of the Underworld

Layers of the Underworld
Post # 1

As requested a few days ago by a few people in chatter, I have written an article about the Underworld so more people could learn in depth about the realm of Hades.

I often think of the Underworld of being levels of a game. The further you go, the more difficult the game is and more complicated the place.

Level One- the Death and the Path

Ancient Egyptians believed the weight of your heart is effected and can contribute to the next life you're in, which is the afterlife. The "Weighing of the Heart" ceremony is placed in front of several Gods and Goddesses. The person's heart is weighed against the feather of the Goddess Ma'at. This determined whether the deceased person had indeed been virtuous. Heart is balanced and Osiris welcomes you. Heavy heart? Devoured by Ammut and you're screwed, dude.
(Please, please correct me if I'm wrong!)

Now, with all that being said, the Greeks obviously believed otherwise. After you pass on from your physical body, you're stuck in darkness. This is called Erebus; it is the place where the dead pass as soon as they die. Erebos, the God, is the Greek word for "darkness". So you could say you pass through a God right after you pass yourself. Now it all depends on how you have lived your life. Hermes is a busy man, because He is the one to lead you to the path of the Doors. To the Underworld, of course.

Level one and done.

Charon is the ferryman of the Underworld, and only let those pass the Acheron river (River of Woe) if they have been properly buried with a drachma in your mouth. Once you have passed, Charon takes you to be judged.

The Acheron river isn't the only river that lies in the Underworld. There are five, including the Acheron. The river Cocytus is the river of Lamentation, which pours into the Acheron. There is also the Phlegethon, the River of Fire. The most widely known River of Unbreakable Oath, Styx, which the Gods swear upon. The last and most certainly (and ironically, not forgotten) not least, the River of Forgetfulness, the Lethe.

Level One Boss-

Well here you are. You've come so far in your life. Been judged so many times by so many people. Have had good and bad memories, ups and downs, naughty and nice thoughts, but only to be judged one last time. Upon your arrival, you meet four beings. Kerberos, who guards the Underworld gates (Cerberus, in English. Derived from the Proto-Indo-European word meaning "spotted". Yes, Hades, the Lord of the Dead, named his dog "Spot"), and the three judges: Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus. These are the ones who decide on whether you should have a blessed life, or a life of eternal torment.

Level Two- I See Trees of Green, Red Roses, too...

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...

The Elysian Fields, also called Elysium. This is the islands and the fields of the blessed. The heroes and faithful worshippers of the Gods reside here, and all your good deeds and life are rewarded. Mainly Elysium was separated into two parts- the White Islands and the netherworld realm.

The White Islands were reserved specifically for the heroes of Greek myths, and mainly ruled by Kronos/Cronus or the judge Rhadamanthus. This is where you're constantly pampered and live the best life that can possibly be given to you.

The netherworld realm is a complicated place, which included an Elysium like place for the ones who dedicated themselves to the Eleusinian Mysteries. But that's a whole other topic for a whole different time.

Later Roman writers such as Virgil described as all of Elysium as being one in the same final resting place for both the virtuous dead and the heroes.

Level Three- The Boundless Gray Fields

Now this is the part of the game where you don't exactly know what's going on, but you go through it anyway and kind of figure it out while you're doing it.

The Fields of Asphodel, also called the Gray Fields. This is the final resting place for the ones who haven't angered the Gods, but haven't please them, either. They are called the Gray Frields for a reason. Because they are grey. The grass stands tall, and you bound to where you find yourself to be. There's not anything to do. No punishment, but not anything to please you, either. And you just stand there for the rest of eternity. I wish I was joking about this, but that's all there is to it.

Level Three Boss (Finale)- The Inmost Abyss

Beyond the river Oceanos and beneath the setting sun, to the darkest and deepest depths of Hades, lies the desination that you don't want to arrive to. The evilest and most deceptive of all beings lie here. The Titans, Hecatonchires, tyrants, and much more. This is the place where Prometheus' liver is picked on daily and nightly, where Ixion is rolled down a hill over and over again on a wheel of fire, and Sisyphus is disappointed when the rock falls down the hill once more, and he has yet to finish his task of pushing the rock all the way to the top of the hill.


If you've stuck with me to the end, kudos to you, because even I would just skim through since most of the time I'm lazy and won't read a whole lot. I really do appreciate you reading, and any feedback would be awesome.

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Re: Layers of the Underworld
By: / Novice
Post # 2

This was really informative. I loved it and I loved the wit you added to it. :) It made it more interesting to read. I usually just skim long posts like this, but you kept me hooked. Kudos to you and great job. I'm marking this as favorite, so I can come back and look at it sometime,

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Re: Layers of the Underworld
Post # 3
Thanks for posting. It was a great read.
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
Post # 4
I love this :)
Was very interesting and definitely going to favourite it.
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 5
Tell me Zeusy, how would you consider what you have written about the underworld to have altered in time with the perspective of Ovid's work, "Metamorphoses" and Pythagoras' influence in general?

This area has always been a fascination of mine due to the immense amount of philosophy and literature that came from the culture. But unfortunately, the historians that preserve the beliefs of the ancients don't do it for the sake of spirituality and therefore it loses a good deal of its solidity.
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
Post # 6
Good job Zeusy, that definitely was a lot to read. Anyways, guys, I think this is informative.

I give Zeusy credit. She explained this pretty good, and in a more simpler form. For those of you who thought this was a lot. It wasn't, if anything it seemed like she broke it down.

There is a myth that I believe formalin with the first level base. It was said that you have to get your heart weighed, but then after no matter what, you, still have one more test. The test is to see of all the truths or lies you told and, in the end you have to confess your worst fears. That is the myth, i doubt it real. It is a good rule to live by though.

Good job Zeusy
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
Post # 7
I found this post most interesting, thank you for the long read. There is said to be many horrors unimaginable in the Abyss, Greek mythology is interesting to study. I will add this as favorite.
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
By: / Novice
Post # 8
Very well written. I love it all, but if I might add a correction, Cerberus doesn't really mean spotted. That is the translation if a Sanskrit word for one of Yama's dogs. Broken down from the original Greek form of the word Karberos. Kar means punish or torture, and Beros is and old word for lord or master.
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 9
Ancient Egyptian and Greek beliefs are exactly that! Beliefs! And there are other such beliefs in many other cultures; both ancient and modern.Beliefs should not be written as though they are facts.Yes, Zeusy points out that she is writing about beliefs, but some of the post reads like"fact". Millions all over the world believe that Jesus was God. Millions of Muslims would disagree; to say nothing of Jewish beliefs!
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Re: Layers of the Underworld
Post # 10
The post was very interesting, I liked you writing style :) if you have time - write some more about other religions ;)
Anyway - thanks :)
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