Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for HELL


THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE CITY OF WOE,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST.

JUSTICE MOVED MY MAKER ON HIGH, 
DIVINE POWER MADE ME, 
WISDOM SUPREME, AND PRIMAL LOVE.

BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS BUT THINGS ETERNAL, 
AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY, 
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.

--The Message Above the Entrance to Hell, The Inferno Canto III:1-9
by Dante Alighieri
Translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander

I first read those words more than 15 years ago, and they still give me shivers.

For Domikka, I've patterned Hell after Dante, because of the impression it made on me, and because Dante's version makes logical sense. The upper levels of hell are reserved for sins of the flesh, while the lowest punish those who've committed sins of betrayal.

Betrayal is the worse of all sins because it hurts the most. It makes it harder for people to love one

another, fosters fear and doubt, and it is the epitome of selfishness and pride--from which other sins derive. Betrayal may, at first be the ultimate exercise in free will, but in the end it confines the betrayer as his or her reputation grows and the pain causes him or her to be separated from others, completely isolated. In both Dante, and Domikka, the lowest level of Hell is frozen. 

This is what happened to Asmodeus at the Beginning of Time. He betrayed God by rebelling against God. God imprisoned him in the center of the world along with the rest of the Fallen Angels. Various Fallen Angels, including Orkus, rebelled against Asmodeus and have taken over parts of Hell. Some even escaped, becoming many of the false gods and goddesses of religions other than Virtoaanism, according to the First Testament of the Word of Virtoaa.  

Demons of the Earth all come from the depths of Hell. Yet these are but minions compared to true demons that exist in the inferno.

Just as in the real world, in Domikka the concept of Hell has developed over time. In all three

testaments of the Word of Virtoaa Hell evolves, but is a very real place one can reach if they travel deep enough into the earth. Hell originally began as a prison for Asmodeus and the rest of the Fallen Angels.

Later, after Eve killed Lilith in The Book of Origins, it was revealed that Lilith did not truly die, but entered the underworld as a shade and came back to haunt Adam, Eve, and their children. Her spirit was thought to be trapped in the "shadow realm," the space very similar to Dante's "Dark Wood" in the first Canto. Both Domikkan and "real world" mystics might call this place the "astral plane"--a shadow of the real world.

After the The Book of Origins, The Book of Prophets reveals that the Gates of Hell had been opened by the rebellion of the Demon princes, thus letting Demons of the Earth creep into the surface world. Thus, those who died who did not follow Virtoaa went to this version of Hell, which was seen as more of cold place of endless caverns with occasional fire and smoke--because that's what Demons of the Earth erupt into when they die, before their remains become fast cold.

In The Book of Fyrna in the Second Testament, the mystic and prostitute Fyrna proclaimed to have received a vision of Hell to scare her away from her unrighteous ways. She is the first to describe Hell's nine layers. But much of the fire and brimstone was absent. Her message was thus:

"None can deny that Hell exists. Demons stalk the Earth. Who are we, as humans, can deny this proof. Whomever denies this truth is fool and deserves damnation." 

--The Book of Fyrna 12:7-11.

Mohrdeo, in the Second Testament, described Hell as a partly a Burning Place:

"And so, each is punished according to their measure. Each is burned according to their sins. Only the worst are spared the fires of punishment. These are the traitors persevered in the cold to await their turn to be chewed in Asmodeus's mouth."

--The Book of Laws 7: 31-4.

The authors of the Third Testament, who wrote after the War of the Apocalypse, re-affirmed Mohdeo's message to readers about Hell. They were, of course, writing in the wake of the Demon General Diminfragt's rampage, so readers were quick to adhere to these teachings. 

3 comments:

  1. Very, very cool! I have done something similar. To be expected since we are drawing on the same sources.

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  2. I'm not sure about the circles of hell belief, but it makes for good reading. :-)

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  3. Thank you! I had to do a lot of research for my novel and when explaining the several levels of hell and even the several levels of purgatory to make it into Heaven, I got laughed at. So it's nice to see someone else finding this information and sharing it. So thank you! Whether someone believes or not, this information is still out there.
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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