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Hel (or Hela)

Hel (or Hela)

In Teutonic mythology, the goddess of death, one of the off-spring of Loki and the giantess Angurbodi. The gods became alarmed at her and the other monsters that were coming to life in Jotunheim, so All-father advised that they be brought before him. Hel was cast into Niflheim, the realm beneath the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, reserved for all those who die of sickness or old age. According to the myth, Hel governs this world, which is composed of nine regions into which she distributes those who come to her and in which she inhabits a strongly protected abode.

Niflheim is said to be "a dark abode far from the sun," its gates open to the "cutting north;" its walls "are formed of wreathed snakes and their venom is ever falling like rain," and it is surrounded by dark and poisonous streams. "Nidhog, the great dragon, who dwells beneath the central root of Yggdrasil, torments and gnaws the dead."

It is said that one-half of Hel's body is livid and the other half flesh-colored. Hunger is her table, starvation her knife, delay her man, slowness her maid, precipice her threshold, care her bed, and burning anguish forms the hangings of her apartments.

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Hel

Hel

Hel was the Norse* goddess of the dead, daughter of the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Shortly after her birth, Hel was cast out of Asgard, home of the gods, by Odin*. He sent her to Niflheim, the underworld, and made her queen of all who died from old age or sickness. Warriors who fell in combat did not become her subjects but went instead to the hall called Valhalla to live with Odin. In early Norse mythology, Hel was also the name of the world of the dead.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples underworld land of the dead

Sources describe the goddess as a half-flesh-colored and half-black monster. She lived in a castle called Eljudner and ate her meals with a dish named Hunger and a knife called Famine. She was attended by two servants, Ganglati and Ganglot, who moved so slowly that they appeared to be standing still. Hell, the English word for the underworld, comes from the Norse word Hel.

See also Loki; Norse Mythology; Odin; Valhalla.

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Hel

Hel (hĕl), in Norse mythology, the underworld (sometimes called Niflheim) and the goddess who ruled there. In early Germanic mythology, Hel was the goddess who ruled the majestic abode for the dead. Later, particularly after the advent of Christianity, Hel became a place of punishment, similar to the Christian hell.

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Hel

Hel in Scandinavian mythology, the underworld and the goddess who ruled it, daughter of Loki, and sister of Fenrir and the Midgard's serpent.

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