Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

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The Lotus



The Lotus represents the spiritual self in its purest form. It reminds us that for most achieving a well developed spirituality is a journey which can be long and arduous. The spirit of the Lotus is not of our secular world, and the presence of The Lotus suggests that what is needed can be found by exploring your relationship with the Universe not as a physical entity pursuing material gain, but as a divine soul in need of celestial sustenance.

As a daily card, The Lotus is indicative of a period in which your energies should be focused on your spiritual self. This doesn’t mean you should forsake your possessions or place in our secular world. It simply implies you might be well served by reaffirming or further developing your spiritual self at this time.

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Your Weekend Influences for April 13 – 15

Your Weekend Influences

Tarot Influence

12

The Hanged Man Reversed

The reversed Hanged Man represents a preoccupation with the worldly and wasted energy. This is the card of false prophecy and time wasted.

 

 

Astrological Influence

27

Aries

The Ram is energetic, courageous, optimistic and obstinate. The Ram is not a quitter! He will get his way!

 

 

Element Influence

23

Air

Air denotes freedom and the ability to transcent the mundane. You may be, or may soon experience a spiritual or secular liberation.

Your Crowley Thoth Tarot Card for Today

Your Crowley Thoth Tarot Card for Today

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Death



First and foremost Death does not specifically pertain to our physical death. The Death card marks ends and beginnings. Although most illustrations of the Death card tend to be morbid, the forces behind the Death card are actually quite exciting. Yes Death does mark the end of something. But ends are often brought about by completion and not loss. Most endings are actually good, and make room for us to begin new adventures.

Your Daily Tarot Card for April 14th is Father of Water

Tarot Card of the Day

Father of Water


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Traditionally, representing the energy of a King, this card usually portrays a watery background, with a man seated on a throne, holding the Cup of Mystery in his hand. Occasionally, his cup is fulminating like the mouth of a volcano, emanating light, but never boiling over.

The man in this card doesn’t need to speak to communicate strength, passion and commitment. Sometimes he is robed like a priest or shaman. Intense and intuitive, he is a force to be reckoned with.

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If You Were Born Today, April 14

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOLI...FROM NANI

If You Were Born Today, April 14

 

You are spunky and vivacious, with a personal presence that is powerful indeed. Although you are assertive, you are also very gracious and poised. There is a restlessness to your nature that keeps you on the move. There is also a distinct spiritual side. Your love nature is playful, and you are capable of making big sacrifices for those you love. Famous people born today: Pete Rose, Loretta Lynn, Anthony Michael Hall, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Carlyle.

Your Birthday Year Forecast:

The New Moon in your Solar Return chart suggests that you will instinctively begin a new phase of your life this year. A decisively new direction has come about in your life. This can be an emotionally stimulating time in which you feel the urge to initiate and project, even if you are not quite clear about what you are projecting. Much of the energy in your life can have a magical quality to it as things are just automatically going in a certain direction. It is important to be intuitive at this time and allow the natural course to show you the way to the next step. Surprises (mostly very pleasant) pepper your year. New beginnings are in order, and you are bound to feel some level of excitement as the year unfolds.

This can be a year in which you experience important turning points, or you could begin new projects or goals that have a long-term impact on your life.

You are likely to idealize and expand a relationship this year. Benefits come from paying attention to your dreams and intuitions as well as a more creative approach. In fact, your creative impulses are potent. This can be a particularly good time for such pursuits as dancing, swimming, photography, arts, and entertainment. If you are an artist, this could be an especially inspired, imaginative, and productive year. Finding outlets for tension can be a strong focus and very rewarding. You are likely to idealize and expand a relationship through sensitive interactions and a more giving approach. Benefits come from paying attention to your dreams and intuitions, as well as through creative approaches to your life and relationships. Even so, you may be reevaluating certain relationships in terms of whether or not they are contributing to your personal growth this year if a friendship seems to be stifling you or clashing with important goals.

The year ahead can be an ambitious time and a supportive period for reaching your goals. You might solve a long-standing problem, or capitalize upon a resource that was previously hidden.

You might experience some difficulties and delays in communications in the period ahead. It’s a strong year for recognizing flaws and errors. As long as you don’t forget the “big picture”, you could find you are motivated to channel your mental energy into tasks that require structured and organized thought, tackling projects that you may have found too mundane or downright boring in other years. It’s a strong year for polishing your skills and formal learning.

Jupiter forms a trine to your Sun from March 2019 forward, and you have a stronger than usual desire to improve, grow, and learn. This is a fortunate aspect that helps boost optimism and confidence, and you are able to attract fortunate circumstances into your life as a result. Problems are easier to resolve. Matters related to universities, higher education, religion, publishing, legal affairs, and/or foreign interests can be especially strong. It’s an excellent time to further your education. You are likely to enjoy a larger perspective on matters that keeps you from getting lost in details or overly frustrated by everyday stresses during the course of the month.

There can be a sense that you’re beginning a new chapter of your life in the year ahead. The period ahead is one for both satisfying work and play. While there can be some ups and downs, it’s a time for getting your life into order in key ways, but at the same time, your creativity and personal appeal blossom. This can be a wonderful year for meeting new people or more thoroughly enjoying your current friendships. Cooperation with others comes easily.

2018 is a Number Two year for you. Ruled by the Moon. This is a year of potential companionship. It is a quiet, gentle, and mostly harmonious year that is generally not as active than other years. Instead, you are more responsive to the needs of others. If you are patient and open yourself up in a gentle manner, you will attract what–and who–you want into your life now. This is an excellent year in which to build and develop for the future. Advice – be patient, be receptive, enjoy the peace, collect, develop, build, and attract.

2019 will be a Number Three year for you. Ruled by Jupiter. This is a year of sociability. It is a friendly time when you find it natural and easy to enjoy life and other people. The focus is on personal freedom, reaching out to others, making new friends, and exploration. You are more enthusiastic and ready for adventure than you are in other years. It’s likely to be a rather lighthearted year when opportunities for “play” time are greater than usual. It’s also a favorable year for expressing your creativity. Advice – reach out and connect but avoid scattering your energies.

 

Source:

Cafe Astrology

 

Mercury Is Going Direct!

Mercury Is Going Direct!

Kiss retrograde goodbye! Planet Mercury is turning direct!


 

If you’ve spent the last three weeks or so feeling mentally scrambled, misunderstood or just plain indecisive, relief is near. That’s because Mercury, the planet that rules the mind, is turning direct on April 15, 2018, after having gone through another one of its retrograde phases.

When Mercury is not operating smoothly there can be plenty of mishaps related to anything ruled by Mercury — whether its transportation, commerce or communication. Now that Mercury has stationed direct, it will need a few days to regulate its orbit and then you’ll be good to go. Any delay, frustration or confusion surrounding Mercury-ruled matters will soon find resolution.

So, what does it mean when Mercury goes direct?

A planet changing motion is a potent phenomenon. Remember, Mercury has been out of its usual forward orbit for three weeks, so turning direct again will not be as easy as declaring “On your mark, get set, go!” and watching Mercury zoom out. Ahhh, if only it were that simple.

What really happens when a planet moves from retrograde to direct motion is more akin to waking up from a deep slumber. Mercury will need time to drink some cosmic coffee and fully regain consciousness.

Full speed ahead

It won’t be until Mercury reaches the degree where it originally turned retrograde and then passes it that you’ll know Mercury truly has its full strength back. That tends to take a couple of weeks. But don’t stress — this time frame is nothing at all like the Mercury Retrograde cycle.

In fact, now you’ll be ready to apply whatever it is you’ve learned during the retrograde period into your current reality. It only takes a few days of Mercury being back on track for you to notice the difference. From here on out the planet will get stronger every day!

What’s interesting is that while Mercury will need time to regulate its orbit, the very day of its stationing direct can be a potent time. It’s like Merc will be jolted awake for a short time (remember Mom screaming at you to wake up or you’ll be late for school?). During this day or even the next, it’s likely you’ll experience incredible clarity about whatever issues you’ve been grappling with during Mercury Retrograde.

Be patient, though … it will take just a little more time before you’re ready to execute your newfound lucidity with success.

In the meantime, now that Mercury is direct, over the next few days you are free to sign contracts, schedule vital meetings, have a significant conversation and make important decisions or purchases. Remain confident as you push ahead with anything that requires cerebral muscle.

Mercury finally has its mojo back!

 

Tarot.com is Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2018

 

 

The Study of Pagan Gods & Goddesses: Hades, Lord of the Underworld

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 Hades

Lord of the Underworld

The Greeks called him the Unseen One, the Wealthy One, Pluoton, and Dis. But few considered the god Hades lightly enough to call him by his name. While he is not the god of death (that’s the implacable Thanatos), Hades welcomed any new subjects to his kingdom, the Underworld, which also takes his name. The ancient Greeks thought it best not to invite his attention.

 

The Birth of Hades
Hades was the son of the titan Cronos and brother to the Olympian gods Zeus and Poseidon.

 

Cronos, fearful of a son who would overthrow him as he vanquished his own father Ouranos, swallowed each of his children as they were born. Like his brother Poseidon, he grew up in the bowels of Cronos, until the day when Zeus tricked the titan into vomiting up his siblings. Emerging victorious after the ensuing battle, Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades drew lots to divide up the world they had gained. Hades drew the dark, melancholy Underworld, and ruled there surrounded by the shades of the dead, various monsters, and the glittering wealth of the earth.

 

Life in the Underworld
For the Greek god Hades, the inevitability of death ensures a vast kingdom. Eager for souls to cross the river Styx and join fief, Hades is also the god of proper burial. (This would include souls left with money to pay the boatman Charon for the crossing to Hades.) As such, Hades complained about Apollo’s son, the healer Asclepius, because he restored people to life, thereby reducing Hades’ dominions, and he inflicted the city of Thebes with plague probably because they weren’t burying the slain correctly.

 

Myths of Hades
The fearsome god of the dead figures in few tales (it was best not to talk about him too much). But Hesiod relates the most famous story of the Greek god, which is about how he stole his queen Persephone.

 

The daughter of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, Persephone caught the eye of the Wealthy One on one of his infrequent trips to the surface world.

 

He abducted her in his chariot, driving her far below the earth and keeping her in secret. As her mother mourned, the world of humans withered: Fields grew barren, trees toppled and shriveled. When Demeter found out that the kidnapping was Zeus’ idea, she complained loudly to her brother, who urged Hades to free the maiden. But before she rejoined the world of light, Persephone partook of a few pomegranate seeds.

 

Having eaten the food of the dead, she was compelled to return to the Underworld. The deal made with Hades allowed Persephone to spend one-third (later myths say one-half) of the year with her mother, and the rest in the company of her shades. Thus, to the ancient Greeks, was the cycle of seasons and the yearly birth and death of crops.

 

Hades Fact Sheet
Occupation: God, Lord of the Dead

 

Family of Hades: Hades was a son of the Titans Cronos and Rhea. His brothers are Zeus and Poseidon. Hestia, Hera, and Demeter are Hades’ sisters.

 

Children of Hades: These include the Erinyes (the Furies), Zagreus (Dionysus), and Makaria (goddess of a blessed death)

 

Other Names: Haides, Aides, Aidoneus, Zeus Katachthonios (Zeus under the earth). The Romans also knew him as Orcus.

 

Attributes: Hades is depicted as a dark-bearded man with a crown, scepter, and key.

 

Cerberus, a three-headed dog, is often in his company. He owns a helmet of invisibility and a chariot.

 

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Hades
God of the Underworld

The origin of Hades’ name is uncertain, but has generally been seen as meaning “The Unseen One” since antiquity. An extensive section of Plato’s dialogue Cratylus is devoted to the etymology of the god’s name, in which Socrates is arguing for a folk etymology not from “unseen” but from “his knowledge (eidenai) of all noble things”. Modern linguists have proposed the Proto-Greek form *Awides (“unseen”). The earliest attested form is Aḯdēs (Ἀΐδης), which lacks the proposed digamma. West argues instead for an original meaning of “the one who presides over meeting up” from the universality of death.

 

In Homeric and Ionic Greek, he was known as Áïdēs. Other poetic variations of the name include Aïdōneús (Ἀϊδωνεύς) and the inflected forms Áïdos (Ἄϊδος, gen.), Áïdi (Ἄϊδι, dat.), and Áïda (Ἄϊδα, acc.), whose reconstructed nominative case *Áïs (*Ἄϊς) is, however, not attested.The name as it came to be known in classical times was Háidēs (Ἅιδης). Later the iota became silent, then a subscript marking (Άͅδης), and finally omitted entirely (Άδης).

 

Hades, Hierapolis
Perhaps from fear of pronouncing his name, around the 5th century BC, the Greeks started referring to Hades as Pluto (Πλούτων, Ploútōn), with a root meaning “wealthy”, considering that from the abode below (i.e., the soil) come riches (e.g., fertile crops, metals and so on).Plouton became the Roman god who both rules the underworld and distributed riches from below. This deity was a mixture of the Greek god Hades and the Eleusinian icon Ploutos, and from this he also received a priestess, which was not previously practiced in Greece. More elaborate names of the same genre were Ploutodótēs (Πλουτοδότης) or Ploutodotḗr (Πλουτοδοτήρ) meaning “giver of wealth”.

 

Epithets of Hades include Agesander (Ἀγήσανδρος) and Agesilaos (Ἀγεσίλαος),[12] both from ágō (ἄγω, “lead”, “carry” or “fetch”) and anḗr (ἀνήρ, “man”) or laos (λαός, “men” or “people”), describing Hades as the god who carries away all. Nicander uses the form Hegesilaus (Ἡγεσίλαος). He was also referred to as Zeus Katachthonios (Ζευς καταχθονιος), meaning “the Zeus of the Underworld”, by those avoiding his actual name, as he had complete control over the Underworld.

 

Greek god of the underworld

Greek underworld
In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, was a son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, as well as two brothers, Zeus, the youngest of the three, and Poseidon. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release, the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots for realms to rule. Zeus received the sky, Poseidon received the seas, and Hades received the underworld, the unseen realm to which the souls of the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth. Some myths suggest that Hades was dissatisfied with his turnout, but had no choice and moved to his new realm.

 

Hades obtained his wife and queen, Persephone, through abduction at the behest of Zeus. This myth is the most important one Hades takes part in; it also connected the Eleusinian Mysteries with the Olympian pantheon, particularly as represented in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which is the oldest story of the abduction, most likely dating back to the beginning of the 6th Century BC. Helios told the grieving Demeter that Hades was not unworthy as a consort for Persephone:

 

Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells.

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance. That said, he was also depicted as cold and stern, and he held all of his subjects equally accountable to his laws. Any other individual aspects of his personality are not given, as Greeks refrained from giving him much thought to avoid attracting his attention.
Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. The House of Hades was described as full of “guests,” though he rarely left the Underworld. He cared little about what happened in the Upperworld, as his primary attention was ensuring none of his subjects ever left.
He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or if someone tried to steal the souls from his realm. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tried to cheat death or otherwise crossed him, as Sisyphus and Pirithous found out to their sorrow. While usually indifferent to his subjects, Hades was very focused on the punishment of these two people; particularly Pirithous, as he entered the underworld in an attempt to steal Persephone for himself, and consequently was forced onto the “Chair of Forgetfulness”. Another myth is about the Roman god Asclepius who was originally a demigod, fathered by Apollo and birthed by Coronis, a Thessalian princess. During his lifetime, he became a famous and talented physician, who eventually was able to bring the dead back to life. Feeling cheated, Plouton persuaded Zeus to kill him with a thunderbolt. After his death, he was brought to Olympus where he became a god.Hades was only depicted outside of the Underworld once in myth, and even that is believed to have been an instance where he had just left the gates of the Underworld, which was when Heracles shot him with an arrow as Hades was attempting to defend the city of Plyus.After he was shot, however, he traveled to Olympus to heal. Besides Heracles, the only other living people who ventured to the Underworld were also heroes: Odysseus, Aeneas (accompanied by the Sibyl), Orpheus, who Hades showed uncharacteristic mercy towards at Persephone’s persuasion, who was moved by Orpheus’ music, Theseus with Pirithous, and, in a late romance, Psyche. None of them were pleased with what they witnessed in the realm of the dead. In particular, the Greek war hero Achilles, whom Odysseus conjured with a blood libation, said:

 

O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another
man, one with no land allotted to him and not much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead.

— Achilles’ soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488-491 (Lattimore translation)

 

Cult
Hades, as the god of the dead, was a fearsome figure to those still living; in no hurry to meet him, they were reluctant to swear oaths in his name, and averted their faces when sacrificing to him. Since to many, simply to say the word “Hades” was frightening, euphemisms were pressed into use. Since precious minerals come from under the earth (i.e., the “underworld” ruled by Hades), he was considered to have control of these as well, and was referred to as Πλούτων (Plouton, related to the word for “wealth”), Latinized as Pluto. Sophocles explained the notion of referring to Hades as “the rich one” with these words: “the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears.” In addition, he was called Clymenus (“notorious”), Polydegmon (“who receives many”), and perhaps Eubuleus (“good counsel” or “well-intentioned”), all of them euphemisms for a name that was unsafe to pronounce, which evolved into epithets.

 

He spent most of the time in his dark realm. Formidable in battle, he proved his ferocity in the famous Titanomachy, the battle of the Olympians versus the Titans, which established the rule of Zeus.

 

Feared and loathed, Hades embodied the inexorable finality of death: “Why do we loathe Hades more than any god, if not because he is so adamantine and unyielding?” The rhetorical question is Agamemnon’s. He was not, however, an evil god, for although he was stern, cruel, and unpitying, he was still just. Hades ruled the Underworld and was therefore most often associated with death and feared by men, but he was not Death itself — the actual embodiment of Death was Thanatos, although Euripides’ play “Alkestis” states fairly clearly that Thanatos and Hades were one and the same deity, and gives an interesting description of him as dark-cloaked and winged; moreover, Hades was also referred to as “Hesperos Theos” (“God of Death and Darkness”)

 

When the Greeks propitiated Hades, they banged their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them.[33] Black animals, such as sheep, were sacrificed to him, and the very vehemence of the rejection of human sacrifice expressed in myth suggests an unspoken memory of some distant past.[citation needed] The blood from all chthonic sacrifices including those to propitiate Hades dripped into a pit or cleft in the ground. The person who offered the sacrifice had to avert his face.

 

One ancient source says that he possessed the Cap of invisibility. His chariot, drawn by four black horses, made for a fearsome and impressive sight. His other ordinary attributes were the narcissus and cypress plants, the Key of Hades and Cerberus, the three-headed dog.In certain portraits, snakes also appeared to be attributed to Hades as he was occasionally portrayed to be either holding them or accompanied by them. This is believed to hold significance as in certain classical sources Hades ravished Kore in the guise of a snake, who went on to give birth to Zagreus-Dionysus. While bearing the name ‘Zeus’, Zeus Olympios, the great king of the gods, noticeably differs from the Zeus Meilichios, a decidedly Chthonian character, often portrayed as a snake, and as seen beforehand, they cannot be different manifestations of the same god, in fact whenever ‘another Zeus’ is mentioned, this always refers to Hades. Zeus Meilichios and Zeus Eubouleus are often referred to being alternate names for Hades.

 

The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life (zoë), are the same god. Among other evidence Kerényi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone’s abduction, because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a “cover name” for the underworld Dionysus. He suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries. One of the epithets of Dionysus was “Chthonios”, meaning “the subterranean”. The role of unifying Hades, Zeus and Dionysus as a single tripartite god was used to represent the birth, death and resurrection of a deity and to unify the ‘shining’ realm of Zeus and the dark underworld realm of Hades

 

Artistic representations
Hades was depicted so infrequently in artwork, as well as mythology, because the Greeks were so afraid of him. His artistic representations, which are generally found in Archaic pottery, are not even concretely thought of as the deity; however at this point in time it is heavily believed that the figures illustrated are indeed Hades. He was later presented in the classical arts in the depictions of the Rape of Persephone. Within these illustrations, Hades was often young, yet he was also shown as varying ages in other works.Due to this lack of depictions, there weren’t very strict guidelines when representing the deity.On pottery, he has a dark beard and is presented as a stately figure on an “ebony throne.” His attributes in art include a scepter, cornucopia, rooster, and a key, which both represented his control over the underworld and acted as a reminder that the gates of the Underworld were always locked so that souls could not leave. Even if the doors were open, Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld, ensured that while all souls were allowed to enter into The Underworld freely, none could ever escape. The dog is often portrayed next to the god as a means of easy identification, since no other deity relates to it so directly. Sometimes, artists painted Hades as looking away from the other gods, as he was disliked by them as well as humans.

 

As Plouton, he was regarded in a more positive light. He holds a cornucopia, representing the gifts he bestows upon people as well as fertility, which he becomes connected to.

 

Persephone

Persephone and Hades: tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 440–430 BC
The consort of Hades was Persephone, represented by the Greeks as the beautiful daughter of Demeter.

 

Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers in the fields of Nysa. In protest of his act, Demeter cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine; though, one by one, the gods came to request she lift it, lest mankind perish, she asserted that the earth would remain barren until she saw her daughter again. Finally, Zeus intervened; via Hermes, he requested that Hades return Persephone. Hades complied,

 

But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter.— Homeric Hymn to Demeter

 

Demeter questioned Persephone on her return to light and air:

…but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods.

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter

 

This bound her to Hades and the Underworld, much to the dismay of Demeter. It is not clear whether Persephone was accomplice to the ploy. Zeus proposed a compromise, to which all parties agreed: of the year, Persephone would spend one third with her husband.

 

It is during this time that winter casts on the earth “an aspect of sadness and mourning.”

 

Theseus and Pirithous
Theseus and Pirithous pledged to kidnap and marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen and together they kidnapped her and decided to hold onto her until she was old enough to marry. Pirithous chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus’ mother, Aethra, and traveled to the Underworld. Hades knew of their plan to capture his wife, so he pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast; as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Theseus was eventually rescued by Heracles but Pirithous remain

ed trapped as punishment for daring to seek the wife of a god for his own.

 

Heracles
Hades abducting Persephone, fresco in the small Macedonian royal tomb at Vergina, Macedonia, Greece, c. 340 BC
Heracles’ final labour was to capture Cerberus. First, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. He did this to absolve himself of guilt for killing the centaurs and to learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive. He found the entrance to the underworld at Taenarum. Athena and Hermes helped him through and back from Hades. Heracles asked Hades for permission to take Cerberus. Hades agreed as long as Heracles didn’t harm Cerberus. When Heracles dragged the dog out of Hades, he passed through the cavern Acherusia.

 

Minthe
The nymph Minthe, associated with the river Cocytus, loved by Hades, was turned into the mint plant, by a jealous Persephone.

 

Realm of Hades
In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead (also called Erebus) where all mortals go when they die. Very few mortals could leave Hades once they entered. The exceptions, Heracles and Theseus, are heroic. Even Odysseus in his Nekyia (Odyssey, xi) calls up the spirits of the departed, rather than descend to them. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed.

 

There were several sections of the realm of Hades, including Elysium, the Asphodel Meadows, and Tartarus. Greek mythographers were not perfectly consistent about the geography of the afterlife. A contrasting myth of the afterlife concerns the Garden of the Hesperides, often identified with the Isles of the Blessed, where the blessed heroes may dwell.

 

In Roman mythology, the entrance to the Underworld located at Avernus, a crater near Cumae, was the route Aeneas used to descend to the realm of the dead. By synecdoche, “Avernus” could be substituted for the underworld as a whole. The di inferi were a collective of underworld divinities.

 

For Hellenes, the deceased entered the underworld by crossing the Styx, ferried across by Charon kair’-on), who charged an obolus, a small coin for passage placed in the mouth of the deceased by pious relatives. Paupers and the friendless gathered for a hundred years on the near shore according to Book VI of Vergil’s Aeneid. Greeks offered propitiatory libations to prevent the deceased from returning to the upper world to “haunt” those who had not given them a proper burial. The far side of the river was guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed dog defeated by Heracles (Roman Hercules). Passing beyond Cerberus, the shades of the departed entered the land of the dead to be judged.

 

The five rivers of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate), the river upon which even the gods swore and in which Achilles was dipped to render him invincible. The Styx forms the boundary between the upper and lower worlds. See also Eridanos.

 

The first region of Hades comprises the Fields of Asphodel, described in Odyssey xi, where the shades of heroes wander despondently among lesser spirits, who twitter around them like bats. Only libations of blood offered to them in the world of the living can reawaken in them for a time the sensations of humanity.

 

Beyond lay Erebus, which could be taken for a euphonym of Hades, whose own name was dread. There were two pools, that of Lethe, where the common souls flocked to erase all memory, and the pool of Mnemosyne (“memory”), where the initiates of the Mysteries drank instead. In the forecourt of the palace of Hades and Persephone sit the three judges of the Underworld: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus. There at the trivium sacred to Hecate, where three roads meet, souls are judged, returned to the Fields of Asphodel if they are neither virtuous nor evil, sent by the road to Tartarus if they are impious or evil, or sent to Elysium (Islands of the Blessed) with the “blameless” heroes.

 

In the Sibylline oracles, a curious hodgepodge of Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian elements, Hades again appears as the abode of the dead, and by way of folk etymology, it even derives Hades from the name Adam (the first man), saying it is because he was the first to enter there. Owing to its appearance in the New Testament of the Bible, Hades also has a distinct meaning in Christianity.

 

Sources:
N.S. Gill Published On ThoughtCo

Ancient sources for Hades include Apollodorus, Cicero, Hesiod, Homer, Hyginus, Ovid, Pausanias, Statius, and Strabo.
Wikipedia

Various Types of Witchcraft: Druidism

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Druidism

 

Druidism refers to the system of religion and philosophy (and rites and ceremonies) taught by the Druids, the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies of Western Europe, Britain and Ireland. Modern attempts at reconstructing, reinventing or reimagining the practices of the ancient Druids are called Neo-Druidism or Druidry.

 

The earliest written mention of Druids dates from a lost work of the Greek doxographer Sotion of Alexandria in the early 2nd Century BC, and the fullest account comes down to us from Gaius Julius Caesar. The Druids were suppressed by the Roman government and disappeared from the written record by the 2nd Century AD, although they continued to feature prominently in later Irish myth and literature. Our historical knowledge of Druids is very limited, and there is little contemporary evidence for even their existence.

 

The Celtic communities that Druids served were polytheistic, also showing signs of animism in their reverence for various aspects of the natural world, such as the land, sea and sky, and their veneration of other aspects of nature, such as sacred trees and groves (the oak and hazel were particularly revered), tops of hills, streams, lakes and plants such as the mistletoe.

 

The Druids, who were almost exclusively male, combined the duties of priest, judge, scholar and teacher in these communities. They enjoyed exemption from military service as well as from payment of taxes. It was not a hereditary caste, and Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, which could take up to twenty years, although nothing is known to have survived of the Druids’ oral literature, even in translation.

 

Fire was regarded by the Druids as a symbol of various divinities and was associated with cleansing. They believed in a form of metempsychosis, or reincarnation of the soul after death. They were versed in various methods of divination and were reported to be able to predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals. Alleged ritual killing and human sacrifice were aspects of druidic culture that shocked classical writers. They could punish members of Celtic society by a form of excommunication, and this exclusion from society was one of the most dreaded punishments.

 

There was a revival of interest in the Druids in England and Wales from the 18th Century, much of it historically inaccurate, and Druids began to figure widely in popular culture with the advent of Romanticism. John Toland, who founded the Ancient Druid Order in 1717, shaped many of the ideas about Druids current during much of the 19th Century. The Order was organized by Henry Hurle along the lines of Freemasonry, and it continued until it split into two groups in 1964. The writer and artist William Blake was credited as having been its “Chosen Chief” from 1799 to 1827, although there is no corroboration of this.

 

John Aubrey, in the 17th Century, was the first modern writer to connect Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments with the Druids, and this theory was spread more widely by William Stukeley in the 18th Century, despite the apparent contradiction of linking the Druidic religion (which dates from the Iron Age) with the much older monument. The Ancient Order of Druids were the first to practise rituals at Stonehenge in 1905, and Stonehenge has since become a popular place of pilgrimage for Neo-Druids and others following Pagan or Neopagan beliefs.

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Druidism

One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered.

 

There is no ‘sacred text’ or the equivalent of a bible in Druidism and there is no universally agreed set of beliefs amongst Druids. Despite this, there are a number of ideas and beliefs that most Druids hold in common, and that help to define the nature of Druidism today:

 

Theology
Since Druidry is a spiritual path – a religion to some, a way of life to others – Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.
Monotheistic druids believe there is one Deity: either a Goddess or God, or a Being who is better named Spirit or Great Spirit, to remove misleading associations to gender. But other druids are duotheists, believing that Deity exists as a pair of forces or beings, which they often characterise as the God and Goddess.

 

Polytheistic Druids believe that many gods and goddesses exist, while animists and pantheists believe that Deity does not exist as one or more personal gods, but is instead present in all things, and is everything.

 

Whether they have chosen to adopt a particular viewpoint or not, the greatest characteristic of most modern-day Druids lies in their tolerance of diversity: a Druid gathering can bring together people who have widely varying views about deity, or none, and they will happily participate in ceremonies together, celebrate the seasons, and enjoy each others’ company – realising that none of us has the monopoly on truth, and that diversity is both healthy and natural.

 

Nature forms such an important focus of their reverence, that whatever beliefs they hold about Deity, all Druids sense Nature as divine or sacred. Every part of nature is sensed as part of the great web of life, with no one creature or aspect of it having supremacy over any other. Unlike religions that are anthropocentric, believing humanity occupies a central role in the scheme of life, this conception is systemic and holistic, and sees humankind as just one part of the wider family of life.

 

The Otherworld
Although Druids love Nature, and draw inspiration and spiritual nourishment from it, they also believe that the world we see is not the only one that exists. A cornerstone of Druid belief is in the existence of the Otherworld – a realm or realms which exist beyond the reach of the physical senses, but which are nevertheless real.
This Otherworld is seen as the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.

 

Different Druids will have different views on the nature of this Otherworld, but it is a universally held belief for three reasons. Firstly, all religions or spiritualities hold the view that another reality exists beyond the physical world, rather than agreeing with Materialism, that holds that only matter exists and is real. Secondly, Celtic mythology, which inspires so much of Druidism, is replete with descriptions of this Otherworld. Thirdly, the existence of the Otherworld is implicit in ‘the greatest belief’ of the ancient Druids, since classical writers stated that the Druids believed in a process that has been described as reincarnation or metempsychosis (in which a soul lives in a succession of forms, including both human and animal). In between each life in human or animal form the soul rests in the Otherworld.

 

Death and Rebirth
While a Christian Druid may believe that the soul is only born once on Earth, most Druids adopt the belief of their ancient forebears that the soul undergoes a process of successive reincarnations – either always in human form, or in a variety of forms that might include trees and even rocks as well as animals.
Many Druids share the view reported by Philostratus of Tyana in the second century that the Celts believed that to be born in this world, we have to die in the Otherworld, and conversely, that when we die here, we are born into the Otherworld. For this reason, Druid funerals try to focus on the idea that the soul is experiencing a time of birth, even though we are experiencing that as their death to us.

 

The Three Goals of the Druid
A clue as to the purpose behind the process of successive rebirths can be found if we look at the goals of the Druid. Druids seek above all the cultivation of wisdom, creativity and love. A number of lives on earth, rather than just one, gives us the opportunity to fully develop these qualities within us.
Wisdom

The goal of wisdom is shown to us in two old teaching stories – one the story of Fionn MacCumhaill (Finn MacCool) from Ireland, the other the story of Taliesin from Wales. In both stories wisdom is sought by an older person – in Ireland in the form of the Salmon of Wisdom, in Wales in the form of three drops of inspiration. In both stories a young helper ends up tasting the wisdom so jealously sought by the adults. These tales, rather than simply teaching the virtues of innocence and helpfulness, contain instructions for achieving wisdom, encoded within their symbolism and the sequence of events they describe, and for this reason are used in the teaching of Druidry.

 

Creativity

The goal of creativity is also central to Druidism because the Bards have long been seen as participants in Druidry. Many believe that in the old days they transmitted the wisdom of the Druids in song and story, and that with their prodigious memories they knew the genealogies of the tribes and the stories associated with the local landscape. Celtic cultures display a love of art, music and beauty that often evokes an awareness of the Otherworld, and their old Bardic tales depict a world of sensual beauty in which craftspeople and artists are highly honoured. Today, many people are drawn to Druidry because they sense it is a spirituality that can help them develop their creativity. Rather than stressing the idea that this physical life is temporary, and that we should focus on the after-life, Druidism conveys the idea that we are meant to fully participate in life on earth, and that we are meant to express and share our creativity as much as we can.

 

Love

Druidry can be seen as fostering the third goal of love in many different ways to encourage us to broaden our understanding and experience of it, so that we can love widely and deeply.

 

Druidry’s reverence for Nature encourages us to love the land, the Earth, the stars and the wild. It also encourages a love of peace: Druids were traditionally peace-makers, and still are. Often Druid ceremonies begin with offering peace to each cardinal direction, there is a Druid’s Peace Prayer, and Druids plant Peace Groves. The Druid path also encourages the love of beauty because it cultivates the Bard, the Artist Within, and fosters creativity.

 

The love of Justice is developed in modern Druidry by being mentioned in ‘The Druid’s Prayer’, and many believe that the ancient Druids were judges and law-makers, who were more interested in restorative than punitive justice. Druidry also encourages the love of story and myth, and many people today are drawn to it because they recognize the power of storytelling, and sense its potential to heal and enlighten as well as entertain.

 

In addition to all these types of love that Druidism fosters, it also recognizes the forming power of the past, and in doing this encourages a love of history and a reverence for the ancestors. The love of trees is fundamental in Druidism too, and as well as studying treelore, Druids today plant trees and sacred groves, and support reforestation programmes. Druids love stones too and build stone circles, collect stones and work with crystals. They love the truth, and seek this in their quest for wisdom and understanding. They love animals, seeing them as sacred, and they study animal lore. They love the body and sexuality believing both to be sacred.

 

Druidism also encourages a love of each other by fostering the magic of relationship and community, and above all a love of life, by encouraging celebration and a full commitment to life – it is not a spirituality which tries to help us escape from a full engagement with the world.

 

Some Druid groups today present their teachings in three grades or streams: those of the Bard, Ovate and Druid. The three goals sought by the Druid of love, wisdom and creative expression can be related to the work of these three streams. Bardic teachings help to develop our creativity, Ovate teachings help to develop our love for the natural world and the community of all life, and Druid teachings help us in our quest for wisdom.

 

Living in the World
The real test of the value of a spiritual path lies in the degree to which it can help us live our lives in the world. It needs to be able to provide us with inspiration, counsel and encouragement as we negotiate the sometimes difficult and even tragic events that can occur during a lifetime.
The primary philosophical posture of Druidism is one of love and respect towards all of life – towards fellow human beings and animals, and all of Nature. A word often used by Druids to describe this approach is reverence, which expands the concept of respect to include an awareness of the sacred. By being reverent towards human beings, for example, Druids treat the body, relationships and sexuality with respect and as sacred. Reverence should not be confused with piousness or a lack of vigorous engagement – true reverence is strong and sensual as well as gentle and kind.

 

This attitude of reverence and respect extends to all creatures, and so many Druids will either be vegetarian or will eat meat, but support compassionate farming and be opposed to factory farming methods. Again, the belief that we should love all creatures is likely to be tempered with a robust realism that will not exclude the possibility that we might want to kill certain creatures, such as mosquitoes.

 

For many Druids today the primary position of love and respect towards all creatures extends to include a belief in the idea of causing no harm to any sentient being. This idea is known in eastern traditions as the doctrine of ‘Ahimsa’, or Non-Violence, and was first described in around 800 BCE in the Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads. Jains, Hindus and Buddhists all teach this doctrine, which became popular in the west following the non-violent protests of Mahatma Gandhi. The Parehaka Maori protest movement in New Zealand and the campaigns of Martin Luther King in the USA also helped to spread the idea of Ahimsa around the world.

 

Many Druids today adopt a similar stance of abstaining from harming others, and of focussing on the idea of Peace, drawing their inspiration from the Classical accounts of the Druids, which portrayed them as mediators who abstained from war, and who urged peace on opposing armies. Julius Caesar wrote: ‘For they [the Druids] generally settle all their disputes, both public and private… The Druids usually abstain from war, nor do they pay taxes together with the others; they have exemption from warfare.’ And Diodorus Siculus wrote: ‘Often when the combatants are ranged face to face, and swords are drawn and spears are bristling, these men come between the armies and stay the battle, just as wild beasts are sometimes held spellbound. Thus even among the most savage barbarians anger yields to wisdom, and Mars is shamed before the Muses.’

 

In addition Druids today can follow the example of one the most important figures in the modern Druid movement, Ross Nichols, who in common with many of the world’s greatest thinkers and spiritual teachers, upheld the doctrines of non-violence and pacifism. Many of Nichols’ contemporaries, who shared similar interests in Celtic mythology, were also pacifists, including T.H.White, the author of the Arthurian The once & Future King. Nichols often used to finish essays he wrote with the simple sign-off: ‘Peace to all beings.’

 

The Web of Life and the Illusion of Separateness
Woven into much of Druid thinking and all of its practice is the idea or belief that we are all connected in a universe that is essentially benign – that we do not exist as isolated beings who must fight to survive in a cruel world. Instead we are seen as part of a great web or fabric of life that includes every living creature and all of Creation. This is essentially a pantheistic view of life, which sees all of Nature as sacred and as interconnected.
Druids often experience this belief in their bodies and hearts rather than simply in their minds. They find themselves feeling increasingly at home in the world – and when they walk out on to the land and look up at the moon or stars, or smell the coming rain on the wind they feel in the fabric of their beings that they are a part of the family of life, that they are ‘home’, and that they are not alone.

 

The consequences of this feeling and belief are profound. Apart from this trusting posture towards life bringing benefits in psychological and physical health, there are benefits to society too. Abuse and exploitation comes from the illusion of separateness. once you believe that you are part of the family of life, and that all things are connected, the values of love, and reverence for life naturally follow, as does the practice of peacefulness, of harmlessness or ‘Ahimsa’.

 

The Law of the Harvest
Related to the idea that we are all connected in one great web of life is the belief held by most Druids that whatever we do in the world creates an effect which will ultimately also affect us. A similar idea is found in many different traditions and cultures: folk wisdom in Britain says that ‘what goes around comes around’ and in ancient Egypt, the idea attributed to the Apostle Paul when he said ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap,’ was spoken by the god Thoth several thousand years earlier in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, when he said ‘Truth is the harvest scythe. What is sown – love or anger or bitterness – that shall be your bread. The corn is no better than its seed, then let what you plant be good.’ In Hinduism and Buddhism the idea is expressed as the doctrine of cause and effect (karma).
The two beliefs – that all is connected and that we will harvest the consequences of our actions – come naturally to Druids because they represent ideas that evolve out of an observation of the natural world. Just as the feeling of our being part of the great web of life can come to us as we gaze in awe at the beauty of nature, so the awareness that we will reap the consequences of our actions also comes to us as we observe the processes of sowing and harvesting.

 

Reference
The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids