Friday, 3 April 2015

Escaping Hell

Escaping Hell #Hell #harrowinghell #limbo #hades

Lets look at the difference between pagan and particularly #Hellenic #pagan and #Christian legends about Escaping #Hell.

I've chosen this as a theme as today is #Easter Saturday in my timezone and this is the day or night when Christ is said to have descended into hell / sheol / hades  and freed various souls there.

Now several polytheistic cults sects and religions have stories about a shaman or hero or deity descending into the underworld / afterlife to try to gain the rescue of a soul or special knowledge or contact with the divine or demonic.

The Norse have the story of  Hel refusing to release Baldur unless every soul swept for him. Ancient Sumerian culture had the tale of Inanna's Descent into the Realm of the Dead. The Egyptians had tales of Osiris being restored to life yet also becoming the ruler of the dead?

The Greeks told stories of Heracles fetching Hades hound from the gates of the underrealm up to our world while he was still alive and mortal.
Some of them believed Hades Realm was a place you could access physically via gates or tunnels and you could return if you were very very careful.
Orpheus sing his way through trying to reclaim Eurydice and failed and Theseus's attempt lead to him having to be freed by Heracles but that was only possible because Theseus Heracles and Orpheus were demigods.

Ordinary mortals if they were lucky or had gone through the Mysteries might reach the Elysian Fields or Islands and if unlucky or evil be judged and their souls imprisoned or get to drink the waters of Lethe and either be reborn or wander mindlessly.

The afterlife had a class system like reality!

Now Christian churches tend to vary in how much emphasis or attention they pay to stories about Harrowing Hell and whether the souls released were Jewish and also Pagans?

The only references are 1 peter 3:19 and Matthew 27.53 which are both rather vague. However speculation about this appears not just in Dante's Divine Comedy or Catholic and Orthodox theology but a couple of odd minor works that while NOT CANON are Apocrypha.

The main one is the Gospel of Nicodemus which includes a section that seems from its language and style to be an inserted copy of an even older work.

It claims to report what two young men who came back to life saw in Hades realm. Hades is described as a jailer in charge of the afterlife and Satan as a separate entity. The legend is that Jesus descended to hell and freed the souls of various famous Jewish figures.

Coupled with the Righteous pagans verse in Romans this explained into a legend that Christ freed all righteous souls Jewish or pagan.

Now since this post is about myths and legends I'm not going to discuss the validity of the legend further.

Let's look again at the differences.

In the Hellenic mythos only those  Heroes who were sons of the gods seem to have been able to journey in and out of Hell. True Odysseus does pay a visit but only to the borderlands not the depths. Otherwise if you were a hero or had been one of the Mysteries a set of rituals you might reach Elysium and some scholars claim that some of these cults taught reincarnation as a concept but you had to be both righteous and trained.

The Christian Mythos and various legends of saints and indeed most churchs' Official teachings claim everyone or nearly everyone has a chance to repent and be saved and many churches believe the Innocent small children etc get a "free pass".

Paradise is not only for heroes! There is  a price but its not gold or silver or even blood. The price was and is a gift of faith hope and love. The ritual sacrifice a gift for all not just the elite.

On Good Friday we mourned the sacrifice.
Tomorrow Easter Sunday we celebrate the gift.

If you're not doing church or Bible study or after you do so enjoy reading some literature or mythology!

And don't over indulge in Chocolate !