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Hel: Goddess of Death

Hel painting image

Hel: Goddess of Death
by Ulf (2022)

Behold! The Goddess of Death is revealed in all her morbid glory! In time ALL shall kneel!
Grotti Mill Productions proudly presents - a paradigm of Scandinavian Gothic.. the UNDER-worldly beauty of Hel - The Norse Goddess of Death, By ULF, the premier Artist of Grotti Mill.

The realm of the Dead in Germanic mythology is called Hel. It is the realm to which the people who have died on land of illness or of old age are admitted - by comparison, the drowned belong to a sea Goddess, Rán, and those fallen in battle are given to Odin in Valhalla.

In Ancient Germanic mythology, Hel is NOT a place of punishment; it is simply the residence of the dead - generally envisioned as a place of otherworldly beauty. The phrase 'coming to Hel' was once used as a synonym for dying.
The mythology of Hel eventually took on the characteristics of being a realm of torture during the High Middle Ages, when it is sometimes referred to as Niflhel or Niflheim ('Dark Hel' and 'Dark World') and by then it becomes closely associated with the Christian Hell - which in turn derives it's name from the Norse word Hel which it is associated with. Thus the Germanic realm of the dead, Hel, and the Christian realm of torture, Hell, became virtually synonymous in the medieval era.
In the Odinic worldview of today, the word Hel is often used in its more Ancient context as a blissful realm of a transitional afterlife - whereas Niflhel is used to distinguish the darker realm of suffering and torment that exists in the deeper recesses of the underworld.

The Goddess Hel (also called Hela) is ruler over the aforementioned realm of the dead in Germanic mythology. There is no mention of her before the 10th and 11th centuries, so she is generally considered to be a late poetic personification of the Underworld.
And because Hela enters into mythology well into the Christian era she is also thought of as being a sinister spirit, typically conceived of as Loki's daughter and therefore the sister of the Midgard serpent and the Fenris wolf.

Hel's hall is called Eljú(TH)nir ('the damp place'), her plate and her knife 'hunger', her servant Ganglati 'the slow one', the serving maid Ganglot 'the lazy one', the threshold Fallandaforad 'stumbling block', the bed Kor 'illness', the bed curtains Blíkjanda-bolr 'bleak misfortune'.

While these allegorizations have nothing to do directly with Ancient Germanic Mythology and more to do with the culture of the Medieval Christian era of Europe, there is nonetheless reflected an underlying acceptance - even a fascination - with the macabre. This fascination with Death and Dying has arguably been a healthy part of European culture throughout the Ages, from pre-christian times and in some instances well into the present era.
Though many try to look away, do remember.. A culture based in Truth and Reason has no qualms about looking death in the eye.



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