Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gods And Goddesses: Hel

Hel is the goddess of the underworld, ruling over the Underworld called Helheim. The daughter of the deity Loki and giantess Angrboda, Hel is ugly and half-dead, described as half alive and half dead. Not a pretty face, but is a notable goddess as her name gave the English word of ‘hell’.
Originally raised in Asgard with her father Loki, the underworld of Helheim was given to Hel as a domain. With Helheim as Hel’s domain, she decided the fate of the souls who entered her domain whom are all who die unless one died heroically in battle. It was the god Odin whom gave Hel Helheim, so as a gift to Odin, Hel gave him two ravens (Huginn and Muninn).
Helheim, being named after Hel herself, is where the dead are judged. The evil are banished to a realm of freezing death. Those who die peacefully of old age or illness, children and women who died in childbirth are watched over by Hel. Those who chose a path not of war and violence are reborn.
When the god Baldar died and went to Hel’s domain, a feast was held to welcome Baldar. It was begged of Hel to release Baldar from death, and agreed under the conditions that if every creature on earth mourned for Baldar. All mourned, except for an old giantess called Thokk (who was Loki in disguise).

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