Orphic Hymn
To Hades

Beneath the hills and wrapped in night, the cavernous plains below, the realm of Hades.
Mystic Hades, Holder of the Keys of Earth,
Incline Thy sacred ear, unlock Thy deep and adamantine gates, and bring abundant fruits to bear.
All needy mortals pray to Thee, and You reply with riches from your hidden chambers.
The seat of Gods, the basis of mankind is fixed upon Thine Avernean throne in the Underworld,
Distant, unknown to rest, where darkness reigns, and destitute of breath, pale specters dwell.
In dread Acheron, whose depths are shrouded, And Earth's stable roots are held secure,
Thou determines the fates of the dead, heeding the council of Queen Persephone, Thy wife.
In Thy black chariot, by sable horses drawn rapt over the deep, in the wondrous cave of Atthis, the wide gates display the entrance to Thy realm devoid of light.
Thou shelters mortal souls in the comforting heart of Gaia, in the dark womb of Earth.
Father of Dionysus, of subtle works, Thou alone are the author, visible and known.
Teacher of Mysteries, Rapturous Lover, Power All Ruling, Holy Giver of Hope,
who delights in the hymns of sacred poets,
Grant favor to the work of Your Priestesses and Priests,
And rejoicing come, for Holy rites are Thine.
From: here

Hades (English pronunciation: /ˈheɪdiːz/; from Greek ᾍδης (older form Ἀϝίδης}, Hadēs, originally Ἅιδης, Haidēs or Άΐδης, Aidēs (Doric Ἀΐδας Aidas), meaning "the unseen"[1]) refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. Hades in Homer referred just to the god; the genitive ᾍδου, Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.

In Greek mythology, Hades is the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. According to myth, he and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the cosmos, ruling the underworld, air, and sea, respectively; the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, was available to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted in modern times as the personification of death[citation needed], even though he was not.

Hades was also called "Plouton" (Greek: Πλούτων, gen.: Πλούτωνος, meaning "Rich One"), a name which the Romans latinized as Pluto.[2] The Romans would associate Hades/Pluto with their own chthonic gods, Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita.

Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead. The Christian concept of hell is more akin to and communicated by the Greek concept of Tartarus, a deep, gloomy part of hades used as a dungeon of torment and suffering.


In Greek mythology, Hades (the "unseen"), the god of the underworld, was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, as well as two brothers, Zeus, the youngest of the three, and Poseidon, collectively comprising the original six Olympian gods. Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades received weapons from the three Cyclopes to help in the war: Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades the Helm of Darkness, and Poseidon the trident. The night before the first battle, Hades put on his helmet and, being invisible, slipped over to the Titans' camp and destroyed their weapons.[citation needed] The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots[6] for realms to rule. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld,[7] the unseen realm to which the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth.

Hades obtained his eventual consort and queen, Persephone, through trickery, a story that connected the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries with the Olympian pantheon in a founding myth for the realm of the dead. Helios told the grieving Demeter that Hades was not unworthy as a consort for Persephone:

"Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells."

— Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance. Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or if someone tried to steal the souls from his realm. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tried to cheat death or otherwise crossed him, as Sisyphus and Pirithous found out to their sorrow. Besides Heracles, the only other living people who ventured to the Underworld were all heroes: Odysseus, Aeneas (accompanied by the Sibyl), Orpheus, Theseus with Pirithous, and, in a late romance, Psyche. None of them were pleased with what they witnessed in the realm of the dead. In particular, the Greek war hero Achilles, whom Odysseus conjured with a blood libation, said:

"O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another
man, one with no land allotted to him and not much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead."

— Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488-491


Hades, god of the dead, was a fearsome figure to those still living; in no hurry to meet him, they were reticent to swear oaths in his name, and averted their faces when sacrificing to him. Since to many, simply to say the word "Hades" was frightening, euphemisms were pressed into use. Since precious minerals come from under the earth (i.e., the "underworld" ruled by Hades), he was considered to have control of these as well, and was referred to as Πλούτων (Plouton, related to the word for "wealth"), hence the Roman name Pluto. Sophocles explained referring to Hades as "the rich one" with these words: "the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears." In addition, he was called Clymenus ("notorious"), Polydegmon ("who receives many"), and perhaps Eubuleus ("good counsel" or "well-intentioned"),[8] all of them euphemisms for a name that was unsafe to pronounce, which evolved into epithets.

Although he was an Olympian,[citation needed] he spent most of the time in his dark realm. Formidable in battle, he proved his ferocity in the famous Titanomachy, the battle of the Olympians versus the Titans, which established the rule of Zeus.

Feared and loathed, Hades embodied the inexorable finality of death: "Why do we loathe Hades more than any god, if not because he is so adamantine and unyielding?" The rhetorical question is Agamemnon's (Iliad, ix). He was not, however, an evil god, for although he was stern, cruel, and unpitying, he was still just. Hades ruled the Underworld and was therefore most often associated with death and feared by men, but he was not Death itself — the actual embodiment of Death was Thanatos.

When the Greeks propitiated Hades, they banged their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them.[9] Black animals, such as sheep, were sacrificed to him, and the very vehemence of the rejection of human sacrifice expressed in myth suggests an unspoken memory of some distant past.[citation needed] The blood from all chthonic sacrifices including those to propitiate Hades dripped into a pit or cleft in the ground. The person who offered the sacrifice had to avert his face.[10]

One ancient source says that he possessed the Cap of invisibility. His chariot, drawn by four black horses, made for a fearsome and impressive sight. His other ordinary attributes were the Narcissus and Cypress plants, the Key of Hades and Cerberus, the three-headed dog. He sat on an ebony throne.[citation needed]

The philosopher Heraclitus, unifying opposites, declared that Hades and Dionysus, the very essence of indestructible life zoë, are the same god.[11] Amongst other evidence Karl Kerenyi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone's abduction, because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a 'cover name' for the underworld Dionysus.[12] Furthermore he suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries (Kerenyi 1976, p. 240). One of the epithets of Dionysus was "Chthonios", meaning "the subterranean" (Kerenyi 1976, p. 83).[13]

From: Wiki
Lord of the Underworld. Hades was the son of the titans, Cronus and Rhea. Hades was the god of the dead, and ruled his world with more absolute power and authority than Zeus. Hades was a grim god, not an evil one.

His other name Aïdoneus (Aidoneus) means the "Unseen One". To the Romans, he was known as Pluto (wealth) and Dis Pater or Dis. Pluto is the name of the ninth planet in the solar system. Charon is Pluto's moon or satellite.

Hades was among the children of Cronus, to be swallowed by their father, and later disgorged. Hades was armed with the Cap of Darkness (invisibility), in which he used to aid Zeus in the war against the Titans.

After aiding brothers Zeus and Poseidon, in overthrowing Cronus and sending the other Titans to Tartarus, he received the world of the dead, known as Underworld, as his domain.

Hades rarely left the Underworld. He drove his chariot drawn by black horses, and abducted Persephone, daughter of Zeus and his sister, Demeter. He wanted Persephone as his wife and queen of the Underworld. He was forced to compromise with his sister, Demeter: he allowed Persephone to lived two-third of the year on earth with her mother and a third with him in the Underworld.

In the war between Heracles and the people of Pylus, for some reasons, Hades left his realm and took side of Neleus and the Pylians, so he received a wound from the hero.

The Underworld was a place where the souls of human find their resting places. In the deepest region called Tartarus, it was a place of punishment for mortal who committed the worse sins or crimes. Tartarus also served as a prison for the Titans and other gods. The Underworld was guarded by a three-headed hound, named Cerberus. Cerberus kept the living and the dead apart. Cerberus had only allowed few of the living to pass through the gate of Hades: Heracles, Theseus, Orpheus, Aeneas and Psyche.

In the last labour of Heracles, freed Theseus and dragged the Cerberus to the surface (see the Twelfth Labour of Heracles). Theseus was there because he was aiding his rash friend Peirithoüs, who wanted to abduct Hades' wife, Persephone, and marry her. Knowing of their plan, Hades trapped them in the Chairs of Forgetfulness. Heracles failed to free Peirithoüs. (See also Theseus.)

During the war between Heracles and Neleus, king of Pylos, Hades came to the surface, take the side of the Pylians, and Heracles wounded him with an arrow. Hades returned to his domain, suffering from his wound with the dead.

Hades and Persephone were charmed by the music and song of Orpheus, who had lost his wife Eurydice. Hades allowed Orpheus to bring his wife back to life, on the strict condition that Orpheus doesn't look at his wife until they reached the light on the surface. Orpheus looked back at his wife too soon, and her shade returned to the abode of the dead. Hades refused Orpheus entrance a second time. (See Orpheus and Eurydice.)

Psyche, wife of Cupid (Eros), was on an errand for her mother-in-law Venus (Aphrodite). She was told to fetch the make-up box from Persephone.

According to Ovid and the geographer Strabo, Hades took the nymph Menthe or Minthe as his mistress. Persephone jealously trampled the unfortunate girl, transforming her into a plant, known as mint.

Hades and Persephone weren't the only one to live in the Underworld. There were Thanatos (Death), the winged-brother Hypnos (Sleep), and Morpheus (Dream), who was the son of Hypnos. Styx was the river goddess of one of the Underworld rivers, and the goddess Hecate, had also dwelled in this domain.

Hades has cattle which he kept near the cattle of Geryon, near Erytheia. Hades' herdsman was named Menoetes. When Heracles (10th labour) arrived and stole Geryon's cattle, Menoetes went directly to the three-headed king with the news of cattle. Menoetes met Heracles again in the 12th labour, where he wrestled the hero, and would have been crushed to death had not Persephone not intervened.

Elis was the only city that built a temple to Hades in one of its precincts. The Eleans were the only one to worship him. The construction was built after Heracles' war against Neleus in Pylos. Only once a year, the doors to the temple of Hades would open, but no one would enter the temple except the priests.

For more detail about the Underworld, Tartarus and Elysian Fields, go to Underworld.

Hades, Aïoneus, Ἅιδης – "Unseen One" or "Invisible One" (Greek).
Pluto, Πλούτων – "Rich One" (Greek).

Pluto ("wealth"), Dis, Dis Pater, Orcus (Roman).

From: here
Haides' blessing is acceptance of our mortality. It's the common lot of all men, what sets us apart from the Gods. It comes to everyone - the rich and the poor like, without malice. We can fight it off, attempt to resist the inevitable - but we will always fail. Instead, we should live with the sure knowledge that we will die, and make every moment a good and worthy one. When our time comes, we should meet it nobly, as we would an esteemed friend.

Aidoneus (the Hidden), Eubouleus (Good Counsellor), Eukhaitos (Beautiful-haired), Eukles (of Good Repute), Hagisilaos (Leader of the People), Klymenos (Renowned), Pasianax (Lord Over All), Plouton (Wealth), Polydektes (Receiver of Many Guests), Zeus Katakhthonios (Zeus of the Underworld)

narcissus, cyprus, Helm of Invisibility, two-pronged spear

black rams and bulls

receives no sacrifices

Primary Cult Center(s):
Elis, Southern Italy


From: Neokoroi (archived page)
Definition: The god Hades, son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, received the Underworld for his realm, when his brother gods, Zeus and Poseidon, received dominion of the sky and sea.

The Cyclops gave Hades the helmet of invisibility to help in the gods' battle with the Titans -- the titanomachy. Perseus later borrowed this helmet to decapitate Medusa.

The name Hades means "The Invisible." The realm he rules over is also called Hades.

Hades is the enemy of all life, gods, and men. Since nothing will sway him, he is rarely worshiped.

Sometimes a milder form of Hades, Pluto, is worshiped as the god of wealth, since the wealth of the earth comes from what lies below.

The attributes of Hades include his watchdog Cerberus, the key to the Underworld, and sometimes a cornucopia or a two-pronged pick-axe. The cypress and narcissus are plants sacred to him. Sometimes black sheep were offered to him in sacrifice.

The most familiar myth about Hades is the story of the abduction of Persephone by Hades.

From: here
Hades' Appearance: Like Zeus, Hades is usually represented as a vigorous bearded man.

Symbol or Attribute:Scepter or horn of plenty.

Strengths: Rich with the wealth of the earth, especially precious metals. Persistent and determined.

Hades' Weaknesses: Passionate over Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, whom Zeus promised to Hades as his bride. (Unfortunately, Zeus apparently neglected to mention it to either Demeter or Persephone.) Impulsive, favoring sudden, decisive actions. Can also be deceptive.

Birthplace of Hades: The most common story is that Hades was born to the Great Mother goddess Rhea and Kronos (Father Time) on the island of Crete, along with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon.

Spouse of Hades: Persephone, who must stay with him part of each year because she ate a few pomegranate seeds in the Underworld.

Pets: Cerberus, a three-headed dog (In "Harry Potter", this beast has been recently renamed "Fluffy".); black horses; various other hounds.

Some Major Temple Sites: The spooky Nekromanteion on the River Styx along the west coast of mainland Greece, still visitable today.

Basic Myth: Hades springs out of the earth and captures Persephone, dragging her off to be his queen in the Underworld. Her mother Demeter searches for her and stops all foods from growing until Persephone is returned. Finally, a deal is worked out where Persephone stays one-third of the year with Hades, one-third of the year serving as a handmaiden to Zeus at Mount Olympus, and one-third with her mother; other stories skip Zeus's portion and divide Persephone's time between Hades and her Mom.

Interesting Fact: Hades originally may have been all of the dark and underworld aspects of Zeus, eventually considered to be a separate deity. He is sometimes called "Zeus of the Departed". His name originally probably meant "invisible" or "unseen", as the dead go away and are seen no more.

From: here
HAIDES (Aides, Aidoneus, or Hades) was the King of the Underworld, the god of death and the dead. He presided over funeral rites and defended the right of the dead to due burial. Haides was also the god of the hidden wealth of the earth, from the fertile soil with nourished the seed-grain, to the mined wealth of gold, silver and other metals.
Hades was devoured by Kronos as soon as he was born, along with four of his siblings. Zeus later caused the Titan to disgorge them, and together they drove the Titan gods from heaven and locked them away in the pit of Tartaros. When the three victorious brothers then drew lots for the division of the cosmos, Hades received the third portion, the dark dismal realm of the underworld, as his domain.

Hades desired a bride and petitioned his brother Zeus to grant him one of his daughters. The god offered him Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. However, knowing that the goddess would resist the marriage, he assented to the forceful abduction of the girl. When Demeter learned of this, she was furious and caused a great dearth to fall upon the earth until her daughter was returned. Zeus was forced to concede lest mankind perish, and the girl was fetched forth from the underworld. However, since she had tasted of the pomegranate seed, she was forced to return to him for a portion of each year.

Haides was depicted as a dark-bearded, regal god. He was depicted as either Aidoneus, enthroned in the underworld, holding a bird-tipped sceptre, or as Plouton, the giver of wealth, pouring fertility from a cornucopia. The Romans named him Dis, or Pluto, the Latin form of his Greek title Plouton, "the Lord of Riches."


HADES or PLUTON (Haidês, Ploutôn or poetically Aïdês, Aidôneus and Ploutens), the god of the lower world. Plato (Cratyl. p. 403) observes that people preferred calling him Pluton (the giver of wealth) to pronouncing the dreaded name of Hades or Aides. Hence we find that in ordinary life and in the mysteries the name Pluton became generally established, while the poets preferred the ancient name Aides or the form Pluteus. The etymology of Hades is uncertain: some derive it from a-idein, whence it would signify "the god who makes invisible," and others from hadô or chadô; so that Hades would mean "the allembracer," or "all-receiver." The Roman poets use the names Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus as synonymous with Pluton, for the god of the lower world.

Hades is a son of Cronus and Rhea, and a brother of Zeus and Poseidon. He was married to Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. In the division of the world among the three brothers, Hades obtained "the darkness of night," the abode of the shades, over which he rules. (Apollod. i. 1. § 5, 2. § 1.) Hence he is called the infernal Zeus (Zeus katachthonios), or the king of the shades (anae enerôn, Hom. Il. ix. 457, xx. 61. xv. 187, &c.). As, however, the earth and Olympus belonged to the three brothers in common, he might ascend Olympus, as he did at the time when he was wounded by Heracles. (Il. v. 395; comp. Paus. vi. 25. § 3; Apollod. ii. 7. § 3; Pind. Ol. ix. 31.) But when Hades was in his own kingdom, he was quite unaware of what was going on either on earth or in Olympus (Il. xx. 61, &c.), and it was only the oaths and curses of men that reached his ears, as they reached those of the Erinnyes. He possessed a helmet which rendered the wearer invisible (Il. v. 845), and later traditions stated that this helmet was given him as a present by the Cyclopes after their delivery from Tartarus. (Apollod. i. 2. § 1.) Ancient story mentions both gods and men who were honoured by Hades with the temporary use of this helmet. (Apollod. i. 6. § 2, ii. 4. § 2.) His character is described as fierce and inexorable, whence of all the gods he was most hated by mortals. (Il. ix. 158.) He kept the gates of the lower world closed (whence he is called Pulartês, Il. viii. 367; comp. Paus. v. 20. § 1.; Orph. Hymn. 17. 4), that no shade might be able to escape or return to the region of light. When mortals invoked him, they struck the earth with their hands (Il. ix. 567), and the sacrifices which were offered to him and Persephone consisted of black male and female sheep, and the person who offered the sacrifice had to turn away his face. (Od. x. 527; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 380.)

The ensign of his power was a staff, with which, like Hermes, he drove the shades into the lower world (Pind. Ol. ix. 35), where he had his palace and shared his throne with his consort Persephone. When he carried off Persephone from the upper world, he rode in a golden chariot drawn by four black immortal horses. (Orph. Argon. 1192, Hymn. 17. 14; Ov. Met. v. 404; Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 19; Claudian, Rapt. Proserp. i. in fin.) Besides these horses he was also believed to have herds of oxen in the lower world and in the island of Erytheia, which were attended to by Menoetius. (Apollod. ii. 5. §§ 10, 12.) Like the other gods, he was not a faithful husband; the Furies are called his daughters (Serv. ad Aen. i. 86); the nymph Mintho, whom he loved, was metamorphosed by Persephone into the plant called mint (Strab. viii. p. 344; Ov. Met. x. 72, and the nymph Leuce, with whom he was likewise in love, was changed by him after her death into a white poplar, and transferred to Elysium. (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vii. 61.) Being the king of the lower world, Pluton is the giver of all the blessings that come from the earth: he is the possessor and giver of all the metals contained in the earth, and hence his name Pluton. (Hes. Op. et Dies, 435; Aeschyl. Prom. 805; Strab. iii. p. 147; Lucian, Tim. 21.) He bears several surnames referring to his ultimately assembling all mortals in his kingdom, and bringing them to rest and peace; such as Polydegmon, Polydectes, Clymenus, Pankoitês, &c. (Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 9; Aeschyl. Prom. 153 ; Soph. Antig. 811; Paus. ii. 35. § 7.) Hades was worshipped throughout Greece and Italy. In Elis he had a sacred enclosure and a temple, which was opened only once in every year (Paus. vi. 25. § 3) ; and we further know that lie had temples at Pylos Triphyliacus, near Mount Menthe, between Tralles and Nysa, at Athens in the grove of the Erinnyes, and at Olympia. (Strab. iii. p. 344, xiv. p. 649 Paus. i. 28. § 6, v. 20. § 1.) We possess few representations of this divinity, but in those which still exist, he resembles his brothers Zeus and Poseidon, except that his hair falls down his forehead, and that the majesty of his appearance is dark and gloomy. His ordinary attributes are the key of Hades and Cerberus.

In Homer Aides is invariably the name of the god; but in later times it was transferred to his house, his abode or kingdom, so that it became a name for the lower world itself. We cannot enter here into a description of the conceptions which the ancients formed of the lower world, for this discussion belongs to mythical geography.


From: Theoi
Also see:
Wiki: Greek underworld
Neos Alexandria, profile with prayers, links etc: Haides
Short summary
TimelessMyths: House of Hades
Shadow Of Olympus: Aidoneus
HearthStone, prayers to Hades: To Hades, Hades, & Hades
Short article
HomeWork Help: Hades
Hades, Greek God of the Underworld
(archived) The Shrine to Hades
Essay: About Haides by ~El-Sharra-ELSWheRe
Hymn to Hades by Rev. Lady Bella Sundancer
Devotional page to Hades

ETA: Thiasos Hades
An article

MW Threads:
Plutonas or Hades?
House of Hades
Dis Pater {God of the Week} (Roman god)
Cult of Hades?