Hades was an ancient Greek god and ruler of the
unseen realms, to which the dead go upon leaving the world. The
Lord of the Underworld and God of the Dead was a fearsome figure
to those still living; just to say his name was frightening. Living
down in the underworld, he was not a grim figure, he was a stern
and cruel man, not frightening at all. He was feared by man by
his cruel intentions.
Hades' weapon was a two-pronged fork, which he used
to shatter anything or anyone in his way or not to his liking.
He also had a flamed helmet known as the Helmet of Darkness; it
made him invisible when he wore it. He had a dark chariot drawn
by four coal-black horses, just as vicious as his beloved pet,
a three-headed dog. It too was black, giant and fearsome looking.
The dog would sit with Hades at his ebony throne
and wait for the departed as they entered the land of the dead,
where they would await judgement day either in pain or in torment.
The Greeks feared the underworld ~ a life of suffering, where
the wicked or unrighteous dead were punished.
Every hundred years, festivals were held in his
honor, to keep peace between the worlds. The Greeks would bang
their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them. Black
candles were lit to honor him, they chanted his name. Black animals,
such as sheep, were sacrificed to him. The blood from the sacrifice
would drip into a pit and then poured onto the earth.
Hades did have a beautiful queen, Persephone. He
obtained his queen through trickery. Hades was so overwhelmed
by her beauty, but he knew she could never love him. He abducted
her, raped her as she was picking flowers. She is known as Persephone,
Goddess of Spring, daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She being so
beautiful, Hades abducted her and took her into the underworld.
Her mother, broken hearted, wandered the earth searching for Persephone.
Demeter withdrew into solitude, letting the earth die.
Hades, upon agreeing to let Persephone return to
the world of light, gave her a pomegranite to eat, thus she would
always be connected to his realm and would need to stay there
for a third of the year. She must return to the world of the Dark,
where the Mighty Ones rest and wait for the departed ones as they
enter the land of the dead.