Notebook, 1993-


[From: Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

Asclepios - Atlas - Boreas - Charites - Cybele - Dryads - Eos - Erinyes - Eros - Gaea - Gigantes - Gorgons - Hades - Harpies - Hebe - Helios - Hermaphroditus - Hestia - Horae - Iris - Kronos - Maenads - Moirai - Muses - Naiads - Nereids - Nereus - Nymphs - Oceanides - Oceanos - Pan - Persephone - Priapus - Prometheus - Rhea - Satyrs - Seilenoi - Seilenos - Selene - Themis - Thetis - Triton - Zephyros


The son of Kronos and Rhea, god of the infernal regions, and husband of Persephone, he was the deity who instilled fear amongst the Greeks for he was the supreme judge of the dead. Surrounded by the divinities of the underworld such as the Keres, Harpies, and the Erinyes who were his servants and messengers, he dictated to the earth the frightful laws of death. But he was also called Pluto, and he was appealed to by the cultivators of the soil to aid them in fertility and the richness of the crop. In contrast with the other gods, his amatory affairs were not numerous and only two nymphs are reported as his mates, Minthe and Leuce who were changed respectively to the mint plant and the poplar tree upon their deaths. Hades had very few sanctuaries and these were known as [p. 47] oracular centers of necromancy and medicine. The most important of these centers were in Thesprotia of Kyme, Phigaleia in Tainaros, and Pontoheracleia. In mainland Greece he was honoured in the Peloponnese and in Athens jointly with Demetra and Persephone. [pp. 47-47]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

A young nobleman on his horse on a funerary vase, c. 420 BC. 'They are the souls destined for new bodies, and there at Lethe's stream they drink of its waters which give release from anxiety and memory of the past . . . . When all these souls have completed a cycle of a thousand years, God summons them to the stream of Lethe in a mighty procession so that, forgetful of the past, they may begin to wish to be reincarnated.' [Virgil]

Hades, the God of Death, is today the hardest god to relate to. In our proudly rationlist society, death, our life's only certainty and ultimate mystery, is an embarrassment, a break in efficiency, a failure in man's conquest of nature. Hades teaches us acceptance of death as part of life and, even more important, he teaches us the need, in Socrates' words, to 'practice death' daily. Practicing death is evaluating the lesser in our lives in terms of the greater, our passions and pleasures and ambitions in terms of what is invisible and hidden from our eyes yet underlies our existence, enriching it with meaning and depth. Hades' other name was Pluto, which in Greek means wealth, riches, and the god's invisible fullness was symbolized by the image of the cornucopia that he held in his hands, overflowing with fruits and vegetables or with jewels, gems, gold and silver.

In Homer's cosmic geography, Hades was the name of the physical realm of the Underworld as well as the name of its god. And there were many caves in Greece--on the River Styx, in Lebadeia, at Cape Tainaron--that were believed to be actual entrances to Hades. In our own lives there are many dark moments that can act as 'entrances' into Hades' realm, as opportunities to descend to the depths where we can digest our experiences and turn them into the raw material of our constant transformations. 'All descents provide entry into different levels of consciousness and can enhance life creatively . . . . All of them can serve as initiations. Meditation and dreaming and active imagination are modes of descent.'

Hades is the god presiding over our descents, investing the darkness in our lives, our depressions, our anxieties, our emotional upheavals and our grief with the power to bring illumination and renewal. A very active woman described in her journal her descent from the established pattern of her life as 'a slow decaying of all the "shoulds" . . . . I have had to accept that slowness [p. 187] and the destruction of what I thought was me. There is always the fear that once I sacrifice the old, social, competent me, I will be dead. Yet in this depressed place, where I have felt inertia in the embrace of uttermost matter, like cement holding me, there has been an unbinding of energy.'

Psychology, literature, religion are full of instances of what is hidden rising from below and filling our life with darkness. St. John of the Cross talked of the 'dark night of the soul'. Today we label the darkness, the heaviness that unaccountably overwhelms us, depression--something to be relieved with pills, drowned in alcohol or escaped from in activity. But many are beginning to discover the god in the 'depression', to see new domains of new possibilities revealed through the disturbance of our plans and of the personalities we have embraced as ourselves. Death is a prerequisite of every rebirth. As the seed must die to be born again, so a part of us must die before we can give birth to the reality hidden in our depths.

What we are in the process of becoming is infinitely greater than what we are, which is why the self that is growing in us but into which we have not yet grown can never rest content with our present and, by definition, inferior actuality. When we recognize this, we can accept the death contained in our depressions, our losses, our endings, our defeats, as life's way of forcing us to take the next step in our evolution. 'Life becomes relieved of having to be a vast defensive arrangement against psychic realities.' And we can accept Hades/Pluto in our midst as the god both of our literal death and of our daily deaths and rebirths, of our descents into the underworld--in the footsteps of Herakles and Dionysos, Aeneas and Odysseus--to bring forth more and more of our invisible riches. He stirs our numbness to pain, he disturbs our safe, comfortable , arrested existence, he breaks up the old patterns we cling to, and through the darkness leads us to a deeper seeing and a richer, more resonant being.

What the initiates discovered in the mysteries of ancient Greece is that the god who would forever bring loss and suffering also engendered good and compelled or even pushed men towards the fulfilment of their destinies. Hades enters our lives creatively unless we ignore the claim on us of the invisible powers that he embodies. In our solar system Pluto is the outermost planet. In our lives Hades/Pluto represents the forces in us that reach furthest and deepest, urging us to return, this time consciously, to the roots of life. Pluto, the planet, discovered in 1930, was the last planet to come to the surface of man's awareness. And Pluto, the god, traditionally excluded from the pantheon of the principal divinities, is the god we most urgently need to discover today, allowing him to guide us below the threshold of our narrow existence and sacrificing to him some of the energy we have for centuries been devoting to our outer projects, desires and activities. Funerary Kouros, 550-540 BC. The dark moments in our lives can act as 'entrances' into Hades' realm, as opportunities to descend to the depths where we find meaning in our wounds, our hurts and our depressions in the service of a greater, a richer, a more conscious life. [p. 188]

[Stassinopoulos, Arianna and Roloff Beny. The Gods of Greece. New York: Abrams. 1983.]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].