Honest Myth:Norse- Hel

I decided to start today a mini marathon. The marathons always force me to keep up with writing posts, and they give me a theme to go on so I am not too lost. So I will begin the Underworld Gods Mini Marathon. I find it strange, but for most mythologies I am always drawn to the Gods or Goddess of Death and the Underworld. They are always the saddest figures, and usually not very liked (which makes me feel sympathy for them). Most of all, they are consistently shown as being just, since death comes to all men. Anyways, this should be some indication as to the role of  the mythological figure for today. Even if I did not say anything, her name could have been a good hint too.

391px-Hel_(1889)_by_Johannes_GehrtsHel is the Norse of Goddess of the underworld. Usually I would put more pictures of the deity, but as I refuse to scar anyone by mistake, I will not post a picture of Hel. If you really want to see more of her, then Google that (though I recommend NOT doing that). In the less creepy depictions, she is described as having half of her body flesh toned and half with a dark skin tone. The rest varies from weird to out right disturbing. For some, she is said to have her bones on the outside of her body (instead of in it). For others, Hel is thought to have half her body look human and the other half be a blank slate; and in another description, she is said to be half alive and half dead. She has also been depicted as splotchy with dead spots randomly marked on her body. The worst portrayal has Hel’s torso and face described as a living woman and her legs and thighs as being from a corpse (decaying and full of mold). In art, Hel will be dressed usually in black and white and will have a gloomy, fierce expression.

Hel is the daughter of Loki the Trickster God and Angrbooa, a giantess who is said to bring sorrow and grief. She is the youngest of three children. She is also believed to have brought disease into the world when she was born and causes plagues by sweeping the streets of the city. When she used a broom to do so no one would survive, but if she used a rake, some would live. When the three children were born, it was foretold that they would bring disaster to the world. Fenrir the wolf would kill Odin, Jormungandr the serpent would let go of the earth and cause the end of it, and Hel did not really have anything specific; but the gods were certain she would be trouble. Knowing that they would be calamitous, Odin sent the gods to bring them to him at which time he put each of them into far away and secluded places. For Hel, he assigned her the realm of the dead.

As the Goddess of Death and the Underworld (which is also called Hel), Hel presides over those that die of sickness and old age. She has jurisdiction over all nine worlds and judges what should happen to each person that dies (the only dead she does not get are those who died in battle). She gives ‘lodging’ to the dead souls. Her realm is said to be made of large, beautiful mansions full of these macabre things like the sick bed as beds, famine for a knife, and a dish called hunger.

Hel may not be seen in the most positive light, but she is just (she would have brought Baldr back to life if Loki did not mess things up). And she has other qualities too. She is supposed to represent the circle of life. Her body is half and half, because she is the end of life and the beginning of death. She is supposed to signify integrity and honor as she is the completion of life.

If you want to read more then please check this website out: http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/hel.php

-Blog Barista




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