Being with Hades at Samhain 2019
Last night, we opened a space for the general public to come and be in the Temple, to make offerings to their beloved dead, and to the Wealthy One and the Iron Queen. Personally, I love acts of devotion, I love the acts of worship and prayer that opportunities like that provide. Beyond that, we had planned a ritual, for people to move in the space, speak the names of their dead, and offer love, questions, prayers, wishes, honour to their dead through a imbued shell that was given into a cauldron at the foot of Bone Mother.
I had felt called to aspect Hades, for this time.
I have not worked with Hades before I began this process. Most of my deities are Upperworld beings, at least to a certain extent. Prior to leaving and after spending a week in the Underworld at CloudCatcher WitchCamp, I had dedicated a good deal of my time and energy towards developing a relationship with Hades. A lot of it was stillness. Silence. Being without doing.
That’s not exactly my strong point. I am a person who talks a fair amount, and usually has to be doing something so that I feel I have made my time worthwhile. I am active, and when I’m not active, I’m still busy, occupied… Hades requires none of that from me. He required quiet.
I had created a painting of Him, for the altar at the ritual, which He informed me in no uncertain terms was to have no image of His face. It also was not allowed to be photographed, prior to the event, even to share with my sister. No one.
Coming into the ritual space, I am very used to being the person who is organising and guiding things, so it was a very odd sensation to be stepping to the back of my mind early on in the ritual, leaving Hades to take over my form and move as He wished. From the get-go, I could sense that I was in for a bit of a ride with Him. His certainty, His assuredness was something that was very much at odds with my all too human anxiety and excitement at being in a public ritual space. The instant He arrived, He wanted all of the humans to be still and quiet. That part I can remember incredibly vividly. He had a real sense of how things should be, and at one point, I even recall Him giving an order to His Tender, Shiray, to instruct one of the ritual participants to do something. He was very much sovereign of the realm, which of course is exactly what we asked Him to do.
Hades was drawn to Persephone as we all expected He would be. I felt Him smile as He touched Her. I felt Him wonder at the solid flesh of Her human form. I felt His desire for Her, His longing for Her, His wonder at how She interacted with humans. Her compassion and interest in them was something that He watched as He followed Her, eyes always locked on Her. He loves Her. In ways that I can’t explain. He wanted Her, He adored Her.
I did not know what Hades would do, of course, but I had said to everyone that my expectation was that He would not wish to interact, that He would retreat to a corner and refuse to speak or engage with the humans particularly. This was all based on the previous month’s work with Him. In the end, that was not at all what happened. Of course, I should hardly be surprised. But in His Sovereignty, He took hold of the space. He owned it. He walked it. He looked at the mortals who were instructed not to look at Him. (Interestingly, Shiray, the Tender to Hades was absolutely trusted and allowed this honour, they made a lot of eye contact, and I have a very vivid and beautiful feeling of trust and respect between them. Hades shared things with him, asking him without words to engage in inspecting and appreciating offerings, trusting him to be there when He required him.) Hades walked the area, and I don’t know how many times He stalked around that circle. He followed Persephone, He walked in counter-clockwise motions around the spiral as people moved in to place their offerings. He watched.
When it was time for His own entrance to the spiral, after Persephone had completed Her own, He spoke.
I did not see that coming, and I am not sure what was said. All I can recall was something about bones, and the insistence that those around speak the names of their dead. Hades commanded that much.
To say that it was enjoyable isn’t quite the right wording. Being with Hades is intense, He is like being in a small room with someone who is in a terrible mood, they are there, glowering and radiating that feeling and you’re just there. It’s not that He was angry, not at all. He wanted the people to be in the place. He wanted them to honour the dead. He wanted it to be as it should be, whatever that meant. He was pleased to be there for the time He was there. When He was finished, He was gone in a moment, not lingering.
Aspecting Hades was profound and powerful. He was ready to step into the space and rule over that realm for the night. I honour and adore the Wealthy One for His stillness, His power, His perfectionism, His love.
Samhain Blessings ~ Dan Mercurial