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afterlife

‘Yorinda and Yoringel’ by John Duncan (1909)

Once Upon A Time: Concepts of Afterlife and Altered Consciousness Concealed in Faerie Folklore

Once upon a Time, they all lived happily ever-after. In the 1891 publication The Science of Fairy Tales , the folklorist Edwin Sidney Hartland devoted three chapters to ponder over ‘The Supernatural...
 Illustration of Dante’s Paradise by Giovanni de Paulo.

What is Heaven?

Joanne M. Pierce / The Conversation When a family member or a friend passes away, we often find ourselves reflecting on the question “Where are they now?” As mortal beings, it is a question of...
A rendering of the ancient skull created from CT scans.

An Iron Age Guardian of the Dead? Unusual Position of Cancer-Marked Skull Has Scientists Wondering

2,500 years ago a woman in Sicily lost her battle with cancer. The scars of the disease left marks on her skull and may help researchers solve the mystery why she was buried in such a way that she...
The baby had been partially mummified and had green bones due to copper from a coin placed in its hand.

Green-Boned Baby Clasps A Copper Ticket to The Afterlife

500 graves dated to between the 12th and 16th centuries were found in a cemetery at Nyárlőrinc, a village in southern Hungary. They contained a unique set of bones. In 2005, Dr. János Balázs, a...
Valhalla

Denizens of Valhalla and the Transient Afterlife of Norse Myth

The ancient Norse were one of the few cultures to create a mythology that did not necessarily promise eternal life of any kind for the souls of the deceased. The world was believed to be heading...
Folkvangr.’

If Not Valhalla, Goddess Freyja Welcomed Viking Warriors to Folkvangr

Folkvangr (translated from Old Norse to mean ‘field of the people’, ‘field of the warriors’, or ‘field of the hosts’) is one of a few places where the dead could go to their afterlife in Norse...
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...
Pharoah’s Little Helpers: The Shabti Funerary Statuettes of the Ancient Egyptians

Pharoah’s Little Helpers: The Shabti Funerary Statuettes of the Ancient Egyptians

A shabti [also known as ‘ushabti’ (statuettes made from the 21 st Dynasty onwards) or ‘shawabti’ (those from Thebes during the New Kingdom)] is a funerary figurine used by the ancient Egyptians...
Busts of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

Why No Nose? The Ancient Breath of Life and Remarkably Powerful ‘Living Statues’

Why was is so important for bodies and images to remain intact after death in Ancient Egypt? And what was the power of ancient statues and reliefs – that they would be a danger to a Pharaoh? For the...
Figurines representing three of the ten judges of Diyu and Red Maw

Journey to Hell, Featuring Torture and Never-ending Bureaucracy: Understanding the Underworld in Chinese Mythology

“Each of the criminals is bound to an iron pillar and the ox-headed demon is in the process of administering punishment—using iron or copper blades he peels the skin of the person's face, just as a...
Ancient Jade and Copper Sex Toys and Drinking Vessels Reveal Randy Chinese Royals

Ancient Jade and Copper Sex Toys and Drinking Vessels Reveal Randy Chinese Royals

You might call ancient Chinese royalty of the Han Dynasty jaded. Some aristocrats of around 2,000 years ago enjoyed a lusty sex life that included bronze dildos and jade butt plugs. And the presence...
Weighing of the heart scene from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer.

Death and Rebirth: Startling New Information Emerges About Ancient Egyptian Pot Burials

Ancient Egyptian funerary practices were not just about making mummies. Surprising new information reveals that pot burials were not just for poor children in ancient Egypt either. Instead, it seems...
Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious...
Judgment in the Hall of Truth and Preparations for the Afterlife

Judgment in the Hall of Truth and Preparations for the Afterlife

A dead noble stands trembling in the Hall of Truth. Behind the noble, Horus, the half-falcon, half-man ruler of Earth, unleashes a piercing stare at the quivering man. Thoth, the sharp-beaked, ibis-...
The Origins of the Faeries: Encoded in our Cultures

The Origins of the Faeries: Encoded in our Cultures – Part I

The faeries appear in folklore from all over the world as metaphysical beings, who, given the right conditions, are able to interact with the physical world. They’re known by many names but there is...
"Loki's Brood" (1905) by Emil Doepler.

Going to Hel and Back: The Travel to Helheim Where a Goddess of Darkness Reigned

By far, Loki’s most well-known children are the ones he had with the giantess Angurboda. These include the wolf Fenrir, the Midgard Serpent Jormugandr, and the goddess Hel. Legends say that the...

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