|“||Look, Hell is hell. There's no need for additional explanation or description for it. It's exactly how most of you would imagine it: An infernal pit of hellfire, screaming souls of damned sinners, and demons cackling over the sufferings of others. Not even us chthonic gods like to enter there, the miasma is too strong for us to stay sane for long, so any required visit there is literally hell for us as well.||„|
Hell is the spiritual realm of evil and the Underworld of all Abrahamic religions along with being the domain of Ayin, Lucifer, Satan, Princes of Hell, the legions of demons and the damned souls of mortals.
Hell is described as the most terrifying, horrible plane of existence where the wicked and sinful are punished for eternity (or at least for immensely long periods of time) for their sins and often in the most horrific of ways.
Hell is believed to be a realm that is far larger than the human world, and that houses different regions or kingdoms where various demon lords, demonic nobles and devils rule much like the global hierarchy of Earth. Hell is said to be so terrible that even demons despise it with many losing their sense of self and become nothing but mindless spirits. Hell is ever-growing and it differs for every person with only those of the supernatural being able to see the true Hell. If the sinner's crimes are particularly serious and dangerous, special torture chambers shall be built specifically for these sinners, where they will be tortured non-stop for eternity that couldn't be described by mere words.
Hell is similar to Purgatory but differs in the fact that Hell is usually seen as a permanent state of suffering and evil opposed to Purgatory, which is traditionally seen as a place of temporary punishment before being admitted into Paradise. Purgatory, however, is also known to be another form of Hell for the monsters of Earth.
Traditionally in Christianity the suffering of hell is generally envisioned as hellfire, which is a type of spiritual flame that is capable of burning the very soul of those who committed wrongs and caused grief in life, and those sentenced to hell must endure an eternity of hellfire while also being tormented day and night by the minions of Lucifer. The flames of Hell are said to be inextinguishable, and a demon stated that the pain the humans experience on Earth is nothing but a "tick bite" compared to the pain in Hell. However, Hell can also be seen as a metaphor for a life without God (or other benevolent force) and some religions do not see Hell as a physical place but rather a state of mind caused by sin or darkness.
Throughout the centuries, multiple rituals and rites had been performed by users of demonic magic and demonic-like creatures alike in order to have a glimpse into the hellish afterlife of the Abrahamic Factions, most of which resulted in failures.
Circles of Hell
Gate of Hell
The Gate of Hell, as obvious by its name, is one of the gateways to Hell itself. It is where the souls of the damned are lead during their time in Purgatory and when they have committed sins during their life in the human world. It is guarded by thousands of various kinds of demon and other creatures who reside in Hell. The gate is also guarded by an Angel of Death and some Cerberus, so that no lesser demons could ever escape it and only damned souls and spirits could enter it.
|“||Here suffer those who did not sin, yet did not have the required portal of our faith. Their punishment is the denial of Paradise.||„|
Limbo is the First Circle of Hell along with being the edge of Hell, is the place that it was speculative about the afterlife condition of those who die in the original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned and also the burning place. It is also connected to one of the doors of Heaven along with being connected to the Underworlds of other mythologies and religions.
At the end of Limbo where the souls of the damned are sentenced to their suffering by King Minos of the Greek Pantheon. Afterwards, stands the Hellmouth which acts like a torturous gate for the rest of Hell.
|“||To this torment are condemned the carnal damned. Those for whom desire conquered reason.||„|
Lust is the Second Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those that let their desire override reason. These "carnal malefactors" are condemned for allowing their appetites to sway their reason. These souls are buffeted back and forth by the terrible winds of a violent hurricane that constantly rages across the Circle, without rest.
This symbolizes the power of lust to blow needlessly and aimlessly: "as the lovers drifted into self-indulgence and were carried away by their passions, so now they drift for ever. The bright, voluptuous sin is now seen as it is – a howling darkness of helpless discomfort." Since lust involves mutual indulgence and is not, therefore, completely self-centered, Dante deems it the least heinous of the sins and its punishment is the most benign within Hell proper. The "ruined slope" in this circle is thought to be a reference to the earthquake that occurred after the death of Christ.
|“||For the ruinous fault of Gluttony, so are these sad souls broken by the rain and the mud.||„|
Gluttony is the Third Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those that devoted themselves to self-indulgence. The gluttonous wallow in a vile, putrid slush produced by a ceaseless, foul, icy rain – "a great storm of putrefaction" – as punishment for subjecting their reason to a voracious appetite.
The Cerberus, not the three-headed dog, (described as "il gran vermo", literally "the great worm"), the monstrous three-headed beast of Hell, ravenously guards the gluttons lying in the freezing mire, mauling and flaying them with his claws as they howl like dogs.
The gluttons grovel in the mud by themselves, sightless and heedless of their neighbors, symbolizing the cold, selfish, and empty sensuality of their lives. Just as lust has revealed its true nature in the winds of the previous circle, here the slush reveals the true nature of sensuality – which includes not only overindulgence in food and drink, but also other kinds of addiction.
In the modern era, this circle now also resided sinners with environment-related crimes and had polluted the environment. Here, those who had taken part in the act of polluting the Earth and endangering humanity, both of which considered to be two of the greatest works of God, are damned to eternity. According to Dumah, the souls of drug-dealers and drug-addicts are also often sent here to be punished.
|“||For the crime of Greed do these souls suffer. Those clerks asquint of mind made no measured spending in life. And by contrast, in these Popes and Cardinals, greed practiced it's excess.||„|
Greed is the Fourth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those that either horded possessions, or squandered them. Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the appropriate mean are punished in the fourth circle. They include the avaricious or miserly (including many "clergymen, and popes and cardinals"), who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them. The hoarders and spendthrifts joust, using great weights as weapons that they push with their chests. In this circle, there are seas of molten gold, where the souls of the damned can be seen screaming.
The main punishment for this circle is to be boiled alive in the molten gold below as they are condemned for hoarding too closely or spending too freely with the riches, with every time a new golden statue being created, the damned soul would be resurrected so that they have to endure the suffering over and over again.
Echoing throughout the endless caverns is the line "Pape Satàn, pape Satàn aleppe", which reinforces the sinners' belief in this being the home of The Devil and his minions, and that was his worshippers praising him in some strange demonic tongue. This the echo was first started and led by Plutus, the god of wealth from the Greek Pantheon.
|“||See the souls over whom anger prevailed. In the warm bath of the sun they were hateful, down here in the black sludge of the river Styx do they wish they had never been born.||„|
Anger, also known as Hatred or Wrath, is the Fifth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those who let anger rule their lives. In the middle of the circle is the City of Dis, where the wardens tasked with guarding this circle lived.
The entire circle resembles an endless sea of swampy and filthy black water, which is noted to be polluted by the abandoned hopes and unfulfilled dreams of the deceased. The water is noted to be boiling hot, yet is freezing cold to touch and could "restore the body and the mind at a terrible cost". Underneath the black water are dangerous demonic sea monsters of all shapes and forms, all having jet-black scales and gleaming blood-red eyes.
In Anger, the damned are cursed to drown in the marshes in the swampy, stinking waters of the Black River, where actively wrathful fight each other viciously on the surface of the slime, while the sullen lie beneath the water, withdrawn, "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe". At the surface of the foul Stygian marsh, "the active hatreds rend and snarl at one another; at the bottom, the sullen hatreds lie gurgling, unable even to express themselves for the rage that chokes them". As the last circle of Incontinence, the "savage self-frustration" of the Fifth Circle marks the end of "that which had its tender and romantic beginnings in the dalliance of indulged passion."
The main punishment for this place is to be forever stuck underneath the Black River, never to be released. The exact information about what waiting for the sinners under the water is only known to the wardens themselves, as "anger is one the most unpredictable and flickering emotions" and most punishments here are "easy to change based on the Angels' current moods".
In the distance, there lie high towers that resemble fiery red mosques, which is later revealed to be the City of Dis. Dis, itself surrounded by the Stygian marsh, contains Lower Hell within its walls. The city walls are guarded by fallen angels, the Furies, and Medusa.
|“||Here you will find the heretics and followers of every cult and pagan sect, all buried together, burning in eternal fire.||„|
Heresy, also known as the Circle of the Devil-lovers, is the Sixth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of every heretic and follower of every demonic cult, it also includes the city of Dis. In the sixth circle, heretics are trapped in flaming tombs. A damned soul known as Farinata explains to Dante that what the souls in Hell know of life on earth comes from seeing the future, not from any observation of the present. Consequently, when "the portal of the future has been shut", it will no longer be possible for them to know anything.
This circle resembles a colossal temple of an unknown deity, with images and statues of famous pagan deities, all demonized and/or modified to become twisted and disgusting. Underneath the temple is a giant tomb, both endless and bottomless, contained within are countless numbers of sinners being punished for their sins.
In this circle, the heretics such as Epicureans (those who believe that "the soul died with the body") are trapped alongside those who denied the existence of the Abrahamic God and his Angels. It is also the hellish afterlife of those who worshipped the false idols and gods, as well as those who committed crimes for their cults.
Those who made deals and/or connections with Demons will all ended here, no matter how little their interactions and sins are. According to Dumah, those who made contact with the creatures of darkness had "turned away from God and the silver heaven", and thus "damned for eternity without any salvation".
|“||The first ring is wholly for the violent. Because violence can be done to three persons, in three rounds it is divided: violence unto one's nor, unto one's self, and unto God.||„|
Violence is the Seventh Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those that were violent against others, against self, and against God. Violence is broken up into three parts: the Outer, Middle, and Inner Rings.
The Outer Ring holds those violent against people and property, and the souls here are immersed in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood and fire. Centaurs patrol here, and shoot the souls with arrows should they try to get out of the river.
The Middle Ring holds the Forest of Suicides, where the souls are turned into gnarled trees and shrubs, then fed upon by Harpies.
The Inner Ring is where blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers reside in a desert of flaming sand and fiery flakes rain from the skies.
|“||Ten ditches leading down the final circle. Each filled with its own crimes, its own forms of punishment.||„|
Malebolge ("Evil ditches"), also known as Fraud, is the Eighth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of the Fraudulent and Malicious and those that manipulated others for their own goals. It is ruled by the Demon Lord Pythius.
The Eighth Circle is a large funnel of stone shaped like an amphitheater around which run a series of ten deep, narrow, concentric ditches or trenches called bolge (singular: bolgia). Within these ditches are punished those guilty of Simple Fraud. From the foot of the Great Cliff to the Well (which forms the neck of the funnel) are large spurs of rock, like umbrella ribs or spokes, which serve as bridges over the ten ditches. Dorothy L. Sayers writes that the Malebolge is, "the image of the City in corruption: the progressive disintegration of every social relationship, personal and public. Sexuality, ecclesiastical and civil office, language, ownership, counsel, authority, psychic influence, and material interdependence – all the media of the community's interchange are perverted and falsified".
Malebolge is divided into ten trenches, called Bolgia. Each Bolgia holds a different kind of fraudulent souls:
- Bolgia 1: Panderers and seducers march in separate lines in opposite directions, whipped by demons.
- Bolgia 2: Flatterers are steeped in human excrement, which represents the words they produced.
- Bolgia 3: Those who committed simony are placed head-first in holes in the rock with flames burning on the soles of their feet.
- Bolgia 4: Sorcerers, astrologers, and false prophets here have their heads twisted around on their bodies backward, referring primarily to attempts to see into the future by forbidden means.
- Bolgia 5: Corrupt politicians are immersed in a lake of boiling pitch, which represents the sticky fingers and dark secrets of their corrupt deals.
- Bolgia 6: Hypocrites listlessly walking along wearing gilded lead cloaks, which represent the falsity behind the surface appearance of their actions.
- Bolgia 7: Thieves are pursued and bitten by snakes and lizards. The full horror of the thieves' punishment is revealed gradually: just as they stole other people's substance in life, their very identity becomes subject to theft here, and the snake bites make them undergo various transformations.
- Bolgia 8: Fraudulent advisers or evil counselors are concealed within individual flames. These are not people who gave false advice, but people who used their position to advise others to engage in fraud.
- Bolgia 9: A sword-wielding demon hacks at the Sowers of Discord, dividing parts of their bodies as in life they divided others. As they make their rounds the wounds heal, only to have the demon tear apart their bodies again.
- Bolgia 10: Various sorts of falsifiers (fake alchemists, counterfeiters, perjurers, and impostors), who are a "disease" on society, are themselves afflicted with different types of diseases.
Central Well of Malebolge
By the end of the Malebolge is the Central Well, at the bottom of which lies the Ninth and final Circle of Hell. The classical and biblical Giants – who perhaps symbolize pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery – stand perpetual guard inside the well-pit, their legs embedded in the banks of the Ninth Circle while their upper halves rise above the rim and can be visible from the Malebolge. Among the Giants, there is Nimrod (who tried to build the Tower of Babel; he shouts out the unintelligible Raphèl mai amècche zabì almi); Ephialtes (who with his brother Otus tried to storm Olympus during the Gigantomachy; he has his arms chained up) and Briareus (who is claimed to have challenged the gods); and Tityos and Typhon, who insulted Zeus and Jupiter. Also here is Antaeus, who did not join in the rebellion against the Olympian gods and therefore is not chained.
|“||The lowest, blackest, and farthest from Heaven. Well do I know the way.||„|
Treachery, also known as Cocytus, is the Ninth Circle of Hell where lies the souls of those who betrayed that which matters most. The Circle of Betrayal is an incredibly frozen realm, in contrast to God, who is represented by fire, like the Shekhinah and the Holy Spirit. Fire is the representation of God's love which is warm and the source of light, while serving to punish sinners and burn away the sin of the world. Cold and ice, on the other hand, represent Satan, due to being as far away as possible from the warm light of the Father.
There are four concentric zones, or "rounds", to Treachery, each in descending order of seriousness, from betrayal of family ties, to betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of liege lords.
- Round 1: Named Caïna, after Cain, who killed his brother. Traitors to kindred are here immersed in the ice up to their chins.
- Round 2: Named Antenora, after Antenor of Troy, who according to medieval tradition, betrayed his city to the Greeks. Traitors to political entities, such as parties, cities, or countries, are located here and imprisoned in the same way as the traitors in Caïna.
- Round 3: Named Ptolomaea, after Ptolemy, son of Abubus, who invited Simon Maccabaeus and his sons to a banquet and then killed them. Traitors to their guests are punished here, lying supine in the ice, which covers them, except for their faces. They are punished more severely than the previous traitors, since the relationship to guests is an entirely voluntary one.
- Round 4: Named Judecca, after Judas Iscariot, Biblical betrayer of Christ. Here are the traitors to their lords and benefactors. All of the sinners punished within are completely encapsulated in ice, distorted in all conceivable positions. In the middle of Hell is Satan frozen in ice, chewing on three of the worst human beings.
While the nine circles are the main sectors of Hell, there are extra sectors that reside all around them. These include:
- Gehenna - A large sector personally ruled by Satan along with Moloch and Malphas.
- Burning Hells - The current residence of the Great Evils and their kingdom, the opposing realm of the High Heavens.
- Jahannam - One of the twin-sectors for Islam, meant for the evils and sins of the previous mentioned belief system.
- Jinnestan - One of the twin-sectors for Islam ruled by Iblis and divided into two parts, supposed residence of the Jinn.
- Lake of Fire - A sector below even Treachery that created by God to punish all evil in Creation.
There are also other underworlds that, while are not part of the Biblical Hell, are instead connected to Hell via colossal gateways that lead towards those mythological after lives and are tied to the many other faiths of the world. These areas are usually governed by underworld/chthonic deities or local demons instead of the Biblical demonic forces.
Some of the most notable realms are:
- Diyu (ruled by Yanluo)
- Duat (ruled by Osiris)
- Helheim (ruled by Hel)
- Irkalla (ruled by Nergal)
- Mictlān (ruled by Mictlāntēcutli)
- Naraka (ruled by Yama)
- Nav (ruled by Veles)
- Patala (ruled by Danavas, Daityas, Yakshas and Nagas)
- Tamag (ruled by Erlik)
- Hades (ruled by Hades)
- Tuonela (ruled by Tuoni)
- Yomi (ruled by Izanami)
In the beginning, the Creator came to be, and along with Him, the Decreator also came to be. When Yesh tried to start creation, Ayin tried to destroy God's universe, challenging Him to war. God managed by His power to prevail over Ayin; for "light always conquers darkness." The Great Beast of Evil, frightened, fled to the darkest corners and farthest from the light of the Lord of the Megaverse, near the region known as Sheol.
The Great Beast then decided to create her own realm to live within. This realm was an extension of her body, similar to a butterfly that creates a cocoon of its own body, where Ayin stayed to dwell within. When the Lord found Ayin, He realized that the Great Beast was sleeping in the Abyss created by herself, probably in a kind of hibernation. The Almighty, taking advantage of the opportune moment, chained the Beast of Darkness with a seal of forbidden level known as the "Coffin of Eternal Darkness", binding the Primal Beast in Hell. When Ayin "woke up", she realized that she was trapped and could not break free as the seal placed on her had weakened her powers to an infinite level, with her now being unfathomably inferior to what she was in time immemorial.
After being imprisoned in Hell, Ayin began to lay eggs of herself, while some sources say she gives birth asexually, from her own body. In any case, from Ayin's body were born several creatures, known as Demons, among them, Satanel. These creatures born from Ayin's body began to reproduce and generate more demons, these being her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and descendants, and perhaps her greatest creation. It is said that Ayin's intention is for her children to break the seal that is imprisoning her, which is why Satanel purposely wanted to enter God's troops to allow the influence of the Mother of Hell to reach the Son of Dawn and start a rebellion, with little by little the seal being weakened as evil and darkness spread across the universe.
After Satanel and Lucifer's fall, he and his angels, now demons, were cast into Hell by Michael and his angels. When the Morning Star arrived in Hell, he realized that Hell was a very dark and gloomy place, and living up to his title of "bearer of light", Lucifer with his flames lit the lights in that dimension, transforming Hell into a place in an unusually large area filled with fire, magma and smoke. After Lucifer turned on the lights of Hell, he conquered most of the regions of the Infernal Abyss and determined each region of Hell that each of the Seven Princes of Hell would dominate.
Although commonly considered a place where sinners are sent by God, this is actually due to confusion, as people confuse Hell with the Lake of Fire that was made for Satan and his demons, which is where God manifests his wrath. Hell was created by Ayin, Satan and Lucifer. When a sinful soul dies, it doesn't ascend to Heaven or go to Purgatory, which leaves it alone in the spiritual realm, causing the demons to take advantage of the soul's being alone and catch it and throw it into Hell, where they they torture souls with fire, ice, knives, swords, axes and spears, scourging, crucifying, trampling, raping, dismembering, among various other methods of unimaginable torture, the soul, again and again. However, God could do nothing to help souls, for this was the consequence of free will; people choose their salvation or destruction.
Love descends into Hell
For thousands of years, Satan and his demons tortured sinful human beings cruelly and bloody, in a realm where injustice and evil reign. Tired of so much evil on the part of the Devil towards his children, God got tired of sitting around looking at what the Devil and Ayin did to humans. God then took provision, and sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to go to Earth and take upon Himself all the sins of mankind, so that He would be punished in their place, and so Jesus did, accepting the mission given by His Father. Jesus on the cross took upon himself all the sins of human beings, not becoming a sinner, but sin itself embodied. By becoming sin itself, God took all his wrath towards sin on Jesus, who after receiving all divine punishment, surrendered his spirit to God.
When Jesus died, his body lost its spirit, with his spirit returning to God and his body dying. Jesus' soul, however, was sent to Hell, not because he committed sin, but because he wanted to go there. When Jesus descended into the Flaming Abyss, Hell trembled at His arrival, with all souls witnessing Christ's descent into the Abyss, something that for Satan was something inexplicable for the Son of God descending into Hell of his own free will was not something that he had in mind, for his intention was to corrupt Jesus in order to condemn him, but the Enlightened One had not committed any sin.
Although Satan and his demons tried to stop Jesus from speaking, one word was enough and the Devil fell to the ground, forced to let Jesus speak to the humans. During Friday and Saturday, Jesus was preaching to the sinners in Hell, and explained to them that God still loved them and sent him to deliver them from there. Jesus explained that if they believed that God had the power to free them from Hell, it would be so, for their sins were already forgiven and Hell was no longer a place for them to live, but still, salvation was a choice of each one, for this was the fruit of free will.
The words of Jesus brought comfort and hope to the people who were in Hell that, when they believed in his words, on the third day after the death of the Enlightened One, a miracle took place. On Sunday night, Hell shook, the chains that bound sinners broke, and the fabric of the universe shook as the dead body of Jesus opened its eyes, releasing luminous, flaming energy from them. Along with Jesus' resurrection, all those who were in Hell and believed in his words were also resurrected, with their graves opening and they coming out as saints with their sins washed away.
Myths and Legends
One infamous account of Hell comes from Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, writer, philosopher and demonologist who notably traveled through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, meeting the souls of the damned and saved, as well as demons, angels, spirits and even God Himself. He wrote his experiences down as the Divine Comedy, a three part poem recounting his experiences. Besides the play, he also wrote down countless amount of notes describing the afterlife, and the various beings that inhabit those realms, which has served as important lore for all those who investigate the supernatural, occult, demonic or divine.
|“||I want you to know that all of those people who say that Hell is the absence of God, or Hell is a name people give to their suffering on earth, or Hell is other people, or Hell is oblivion, or Hell is some nice place where atheists get to live free from divine tyranny – all of that is wishful thinking. Hell is a place full of fire and demons under the earth where you will be tortured forever. It’s Exactly What It Says on the Tin.||„|
|“||Hell isn't a kingdom. It can be, but it's not. It's a prison. It's punishment. The worst kind of prison you can imagine; and even then, whatever you imagine pales in comparison to it. It is hell even for the demons. A punishment made of blood, bone, flesh, and fear.||„|
|— Carl Black.|
|“||Hell is anything but a kingdom, my love. This place is nothing but a pit our Father created to throw us, the failure, in to keep us away from his perfect little world. This place is nothing but nightmare and horrors and torment that make me want to scream and beg for Him to let me out of here. I don't deserve this. You don't deserve this. None of us do. I say we raise up love. We have done it before, youthful and inexperienced. But now we are older, stronger, more powerful and skilled than we've ever been. Let's show heaven what their hell-sent rejects really like. And then we'll come back here and turn this place into a paradise befitting for gods like us.||„|
|— Lucifer to Lilith.|
|“||And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.||„|
|— Mark 9:47.|
|“||In the dark depths of the abyss, I know a paradise of light and fire where souls go to cry...||„|
- The Underworlds of old were originally treated as a part of Hell, as a "coalition" non-Abrahamic sectors of Hell, where the sinners are punished by the deities and demons of their own religions and theologies, such as Osiris, Hades or Izanami.
- Hell has also be seen as a metaphor for a life without God and some religions do not see Hell as a physical place but rather a state of mind caused by sin or darkness.