Tuesday, September 3, 2013



Appeal: Death, Morgue, Fate, Cemetery, Funeral, Hospital

Death comes to everyone, the one promise in life is death.  In Norse mythology, Hel (Hella, Holda, Hela, h) is a Dark Goddess who presides over a portion of the dead in Helheim, the Kingdom of the Dead.  Hela's hall is located in Elvidnir and is connected to another Norse World, Niflheim.  It was icy cold and filled with slush, cold mud and snow.  But like its ruler, Helheim had many levels or sides, and is described differently throughout records. 

Hela is referred to as a daughter of God Loki and is usually honored at Samhain and Yule and on the dark and waning moon.  Her appearance is described as half black skeleton and half white flesh, half dead and half alive.  She has great maternal aspects and she is known to help people in their times of need.  Hela also had another side to her and she is quite capable of becoming vengeful towards anyone who might attempt to interfere with, or stop, the progression of natural law.

The Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, features various poems that mention Hela.  It details that Hela rules over vast mansions, her servants in her underworld realm and as playing a key role in the attempted resurrection of the God Baldr.    

When Loki tricked Hoder into using the shaft of mistletoe as an arrow hitting Baldur, it killed him at once.  Frigg desperately wanted to have her beloved son returned to her from the land of the dead, so she asked if there was anyone among the Aesir who would go to Hela for her, find Baldur, and then give Hela a ransom; so that Baldur would be allowed to return home.  It failed and Baldur was remanded to Helheim until Ragnarok.  When someone dies and enters Hela’s realm, it was almost impossible for anyone on Earth to get them back.  Even the Gods could not evade death.

When human warriors died in battle, their souls were split evenly between the Goddess Freya and God Odin.  Freya had the privilege of taking the first half of the souls of those warriors who had been slain in battle, while the remaining souls of the dead warriors belonged to Odin.  But souls of people who had died from sickness or old age, and for the souls of any other people whose deaths had not occurred through battle (like Baldur's) were sent to the Goddess Hela.
Her realm is below the World Tree and is separated from the world of the living by a rapid river that the dead have to pass.  The Prose Eddas say that the entryway to Hela's realm was guarded by the hellhound named Garm.  Once through the gates, she judged them and decided whether their spirit was good or bad and to what degree.  Then, after Hela had made had her assessment, she gave each soul it's just reward.  Depending upon how they had been judged, the souls of the dead were settled into one of the nine levels of Helheim, which ranged from what might be seen as a form of paradise, all the way down to the dark horrors of Nastrand and Nidhogg.  Nastrand was the house or level for criminals.  Nidhogg was a dragon that devoured the corpses of evil-doers, meaning no Ragnarok or visiting love ones.

Hela and her army of the dead do play a role at the start Ragnarok.  She is not mentioned once the battle commences and it is unknown whether she plays a role after Ragnarok.

She is often a misunderstood Goddess as many Goddesses of the Underworld are. Hela was not some form of death deity, who had specifically been created to rule over the Land of the Dead, nor did she gain her decaying appearance when she became the ruler of that realm.  She had simply been born with the bones on the left side of her body exposed.  It had not been created purposely, nor had it been done out of contempt, or as a means of punishment.  It simply happened.  When Odin brought Hela to Asgard, its inhabitants found themselves extremely uncomfortable because of her appearance.  They were weak when they should have been strong, and they were extremely insensitive to Hela’s feelings; so much so, that they made her feel alone and ostracized.

It was for that reason that Odin gave her Helheim, to be her own and for her to rule over.  By Odin giving her Helheim, Hela finally found a place where she could feel comfortable, just being herself; a place where no one would see her as anything other then what she truly was.  As thanks, she gives Odin a gift of two ravens, Hugin and Munin.

Hela is a Goddess who was given a home and a duty to do, and she did her job exceptionally well.  She took her responsibility, that of judging people’s souls, quite seriously and then, after she had judged them, she granted them the type of existence within her realm that she felt they deserved; which might have been anything from a heaven-like Otherworld, all the way down to the horrors of a Christian type of Hell.  Hela is a Goddess who should be respected and admired, rather than feared.  Unless, of course, you have done something unworthy, which might give you reason to fear her.  But that’s not really Hela's problem, is it?  It is yours.

Hel is a fictional character, the Asgardian Goddess of death in the Marvel Comics universe, based on the Norse Goddess, Hela. The ruler of Hel and Nifleheim, the character has been a frequent foe of Thor.  Hel is also one of the incarnated Goddesses in the New Zealand TV comedy/drama "The Almighty Johnsons".  The part of Eva Gundersen / Hel is played by Brooke Williams.

Haglaz or Hagalaz is the name of the h-rune , meaning hail, precipitation, transformation.  The Elder Futhark letter has two variants, single-barred and double-barred . The double-barred variant is found in continental inscriptions while Scandinavian inscriptions have exclusively the single-barred variant.  The Hagalaz rune, above all others, represents the concept of balance; yin/yang, male/female, positive/negative, black/white.  Challenges are occurring in your life, but these are to be embraced rather than feared. A hailstorm, for example, may seem daunting and scary at first, but if you catch a hailstone you will realize that it is only water and is not to be feared.

Hela, great Goddess, daughter of Loki,
She who guards the spirits of the dead,
Our friend [Name] has come to you now.
As [Name] kneels before you, Hela,
Know how much she was loved in this life,
And how many she loved in return
Before she crossed over.
She was an honorable soul,
A soaring spirit,
A brave warrior.
Watch over her, Hela, as she crosses the bridge,
From this life to the next.
And welcome her with glory,
That she may live on forever in our hearts
And memories.

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