Hel, ruler of Hel

Hel, Niflheim

Hel, ruler of Hel's Geni Profile

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Hel

Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Loki and Angrboða
Sister of Fenrir the wolf. and Jörmungandr the Midgard Serpent
Half sister of Váli Lokason; Narfi or Nari Lokason and Sleipnir the eight-legged horse.

Occupation: Ruler of Hel (Mythological place)
Managed by: Gábor Balogh
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Hel, ruler of Hel

From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hel_(being)

'In Norse mythology, Hel is a being that presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In addition, mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th century respectively. An episode in the Latin work Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, is generally considered to refer to Hel, and Hel may appear on various Migration Period bracteates.'

'In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to "go to Hel" is to die. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half-black and half-flesh colored, and as further having a gloomy, down-cast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions, her servants in her underworld realm, and as playing a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.'


Hel, Norse Goddess of Death and ruler over Niflheim ("Mist-Home"), one of the realms of the dead; those who had died accidentally, or of sickness or old age came to Her realm.

She was said to be the daughter of Angrboða ("She Who Brings Sorrow"), a jötunn or giantess, and the God Loki (Who is also technically a giant or jötunn, though accepted into the circles of the Gods). Hel is described as being half alive and half dead, of foreboding expression. She was given Her realm by Odin, Who gave Her power over the Nine Worlds, i.e., the whole of creation; meaning, I assume, that all is mortal and will come to an end, including the Gods, Who are fated to die in Ragnarök.

When the well-loved bright and shiny God Baldr was killed through the machinations of Loki, the Gods much mourned His loss. Determined to do something about it, the God Hermod rode off to Hel's realm to try to bargain with Her; though She seemed a bit skeptical that Baldr had been quite that well-loved, She agreed to let Him (and His wife Nanna, Who had died of grief at His death) go back to the realm of the living on one condition: all things, living, dead, animate or inanimate, must shed a tear for Him.

It would have worked, too, save for the giantess Þökk, who didn't think Baldr was quite all that and a bag of chips; and so Baldr remained (remains) with Hel in Niflheim. Þökk, of course, was Loki in disguise.

Now someone as bright, as beautiful, as good and as perfectly one-dimensional as Baldr is of course not realistic; and I have always felt the legend of His death to be a sort of repudiation of that kind of naïve vision of things. Because life is more complicated than that; and nothing is wholly good, or wholly of the light. And I have to say I have always agreed with Þökk. Death cannot be cheated; not because it is breaking the rules, but because it isn't the natural order of things. It isn't right.

Interestingly enough, some versions of the myth say that Hel is the same as Skuld, the Norn or Fate of the Future; also the Winter-God Ullr, sometimes husband of Skaði, is said to spend a couple of months of the year in Niflheim as Hel's lover.

Hel is half alive and half dead, half light and half dark; and I have always considered this a card of balance and integration, though Her legends may seem to be weighed towards the dark. That She has a lover, though, is a point or two for the living, the light side of things; and I suspect He is Her summer lover (when would a God of Winter be said to be in Niflheim, i.e., dead? Summer, I'd guess). So Hel is not all dark. Nor is She necessarily unreasonable, though She is, it is true, rather unsympathetic. It's a good trait in a Death-Goddess, I imagine.

So I think the message this week is about finding the balance within a situation that appears dark, or looking into a place inside you you have thought dark or dead and finding the light and life there. And then seeing how the two support and harmonize with each other, or how the two are integrated. Integration, after all, brings integrity, both of the physical or structural kind as well as the moral kind. And if there is one thing Hel is, She is strong.

So what does She say?

Do not think you may cheat; all come to me. All the natural deaths, all the non-violent ones. Why is violence celebrated in my world? Because glory and daring are celebrated, though I suspect you see right through that. It is not all as dreary as they would make it in my realm; and anyway who wants to be surrounded by drunken boasting heroes for what is left of time? Rest is a very good thing.

I am the black and the white; I am the shades of grey; I am the mist that cloaks. Do not forget that Hvergelmir, the roaring cauldron giving birth to the twelve rivers, bursts forth from my realm; I have a hand in inspiration too, you know. There is far more here than you think.

I am on the one hand and I am on the other hand. It all comes to me in the end.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being that presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In addition, mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th century respectively. An episode in the Latin work Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, is generally considered to refer to Hel, and Hel may appear on various Migration Period bracteates.

In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to "go to Hel" is to die. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half-black and half-flesh colored, and as further having a gloomy, down-cast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions, her servants in her underworld realm, and as playing a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Hel is referenced in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, various times. In chapter 34 of the book Gylfaginning, Hel is listed by High as one of the three children of Loki and Angrboða; the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Jörmungandr, and Hel. High continues that, once the gods found that these three children are being brought up in the land of Jötunheimr, and when the gods "traced prophecies that from these siblings great mischief and disaster would arise for them" then the gods expected a lot of trouble from the three children, partially due to the nature of the mother of the children, yet worse so due to the nature of their father.

High says that Odin sent the gods to gather the children and bring them to him. Upon their arrival, Odin threw Jörmungandr into "that deep sea that lies round all lands", Odin threw Hel into Niflheim, and bestowed upon her authority over nine worlds, in that she must "administer board and lodging to those sent to her, and that is those who die of sickness or old age." High details that in this realm Hel has "great Mansions" with extremely high walls and immense gates, a hall called Éljúðnir, a dish called "Hunger", a knife called "Famine", the servant Ganglati (Old Norse "lazy walker"), the serving-maid Ganglöt (also "lazy walker"), the entrance threshold "Stumbling-block", the bed "Sick-bed", and the curtains "Gleaming-bale". High describes Hel as "half black and half flesh-coloured", adding that this makes her easily recognizable, and furthermore that Hel is "rather downcast and fierce-looking".


"Hermod before Hela" (1909) by John Charles Dollman.In chapter 49, High describes the events surrounding the death of the god Baldr. The goddess Frigg asks who among the Æsir will earn "all her love and favour" by riding to Hel, the location, to try to find Baldr, and offer Hel herself a ransom. The god Hermóðr volunteers and sets off upon the eight-legged horse Sleipnir to Hel. Hermóðr arrives in Hel's hall, finds his brother Baldr there, and stays the night. The next morning, Hermóðr begs Hel to allow Baldr to ride home with him, and tells her about the great weeping the Æsir have done upon Baldr's death. Hel says the love people have for Baldr that Hermóðr has claimed must be tested, stating:

"If all things in the world, alive or dead, weep for him, then he will be allowed to return to the Æsir. If anyone speaks against him or refuses to cry, then he will remain with Hel."

Later in the chapter, after the female jötunn Þökk refuses to weep for the dead Baldr, she responds in verse, ending with "let Hel hold what she has." In chapter 51, High describes the events of Ragnarök, and details that when Loki arrives at the field Vígríðr "all of Hel's people" will arrive with him.

In chapter 5 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Hel is mentioned in a kenning for Baldr ("Hel's companion"). In chapter 16, "Hel's relative or father" is given as a kenning for Loki. In chapter 50, Hel is referenced ("to join the company of the quite monstrous wolf's sister") in the skaldic poem Ragnarsdrápa.

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