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Underworld

Black Donkey’s Underworld Ale.

An Ancient Irish Cave Gives Birth to a Fine Brew

In an ancient cave known locally as the “gateway to the underworld,” located near the village of Tulsk, Co. Roscommon, where legends tell of the birth of Queen Medb of Connacht, a team of scientists...
Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal: The Mighty Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

“Namtar made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Ereshkigal, "Send me to Anu your father, and let me arrest the god! Let me take him to you, that he may kiss you again!" - Excerpt from...
Aztec sculpture representing the head of the aztec god Xolotl, exhibited in the Mexico room of the Museo Nacional de Antropología de México.

Xolotl – The Underworld Dog God of the Aztecs

According to Aztec mythology, Xolotl was a deity normally associated with Quetzalcoatl, one of the most important gods in the Aztec pantheon. As a matter of fact, Xolotl was regarded to be the twin...
‘L’enlèvement de Proserpine’ (The Rape of Proserpine) (circa 1636) by Peter Paul Rubens.

The Rape of a Goddess: How Demeter Beat the All-Powerful Zeus

Who were Demeter and Persephone? And why did their myth resonate so strongly with women of ancient Greece? The story of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and her daughter Persephone, queen of the...
‘Ariadne in Naxos’ (1877) by Evelyn De Morgan.

The Descent of Ariadne: Minoan Queen of the Dead to Mistress of the Labyrinth?

"Mistress of the Labyrinth", "the Great Goddess", "The Potnia ." These three terms have long been used, somewhat interchangeably, to describe the original forms of Ariadne, a Cretan princess who has...
The Fomorians as depicted by John Duncan, 1912.

The Fomorians: Destructive Giants of Irish Legend

Bloodthirsty, warrior giants which came from far across the sea? Or was it the underworld? Perhaps they were more like monsters with a single leg, arm, and eye? No, it was heads of goats they had…or...
Detail of a bronze statuette of Pazuzu, circa 800 BC - circa 700 BC. Pazuzu was an Assyrian evil spirit believed to frighten away other evil spirits - protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.

Mesopotamian Ghostbusters: The Evil Acts of Assyrian Ghosts and How They Were Vanquished

Assyria, like Mesopotamia in general, has always excited the Western imagination. Assyrian beliefs about the spiritual world are no exception. The Assyrians believed that ghosts could return from the...
A modern depiction of the hellhound Cerberus.

Gate to Hell Guardians Were Used to Ward People Off Deadly Cave

The Gate to Hell, also known as Pluto’s Gate, was the Greco-Roman entrance to the Underworld. When archaeologists found an example of this sacred site in Turkey they also discovered two guardians who...
Inside one of the tunnels under Valetta, Malta.

Just for Waste and Water…Right? The Knights of Malta and Their Secret Tunnels

Hordes of tourists visit the Mediterranean island of Malta each year to enjoy the above ground attractions the country has to offer such as breath-taking sandy beaches, historical buildings, and...
Squirrels – ancient messengers from the underworld (Public Domain) and squirrel tracks

Squirrel! Fuzzy Messengers from the Ancient Underworld? The Little-Known Archetype in Mythology

When it comes to archetypal spirit guides, often the focus is upon ferocious guardians and large, intimidating beasts. However, one of the most important, yet overlooked animals in world mythology is...
Kukulkan temple pyramid is being surveyed with multiple imaging technologies

Hidden Passage Discovered Underneath Chichén Itzá

After two months of investigations using state of the art non-invasive imaging equipment, as well as the good old-fashioned technique of crawling through tight spaces on hands and knees,...
Naughty ghost statue, in the ghost city Fengdu

Fengdu Ghost City: Testing Your Soul in the Domain of the Chinese King of Hell

Numerous shrines, temples and monasteries pepper Fengdu Ghost City. But all of them are dedicated to the afterlife. Legends link the site to the King of the Underworld. Would you dare to enter his...
Detail of ‘Sisyphus’ by Antonio Zanchi.

Sisyphus: King Cheats Death, Annoys Zeus, and Receives Never-ending Punishment in the Greek Underworld

Doomed to forever roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology who represents an impossible task. As his punishment in the Greek Underworld, each time Sisyphus neared...
Osiris, Egyptian God of the Underworld

The Story of Osiris: How the First Ruler of Egypt Became God of the Underworld

Osiris was one of the most prominent gods in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. This prominent deity was a member of the Ennead (known also as the Great Ennead and the Ennead of Heliopolis), a group of...
Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko (1835 - 1890) "Charon carries souls across the river Styx."

Journeys to the Underworld – From Ancient Greece to Holywood

Paul Salmond / The Conversation The success of Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman , depicting warring Olympians and Amazons, continues to stoke moviegoer interest in Greek mythology. Wonder Woman is the...
Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...

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