It's certainly not news that there are thousands upon thousands of different cultures throughout the world. With an estimated 7.5 billion people living on our planet, it was inevitable that over the course of history, different cultures would co-exist, each with their own ideas, technology, language, inventions, and of course mythology. These sets of mythos encompass all sorts of beliefs and gods that are unique to the culture. But just how unique are they, really? An incredible amount of these different sets of people all believe in a death deity. These Gods of Death take many different shapes and forms, and they vary from one culture to the next. There are even different types of death deities - from the gods of the underworld, to the resurrection deities to the Psychopomps - those mystical creatures who escort the souls of the dead on Earth to the afterlife. These Gods of Death are, often times, used to preside over death in their people, but it is important to note that by praising these death deities, the believers are not trying to glorify death, they often have similar rites and rituals about many different aspects of human life. As part of The Death Deities series at Soulless Cult, we're going to highlight just a few of our favorite death deities and how they are regarded by their believers!
LAMIA - GREEK MYTHOLOGY
Lamia was a gorgeous death deity and queen of Libya, who would go on to become a child-consuming daemon. Lamia was the mistress of the god Zeus, so in return, Zeus' jealous wife Hera killed all of Lamia's children and turned her into a monster that would hunt and scavenge the world for children to eat and consume. There is also another version of the myth where Hera just stole all of Lamia's children, which caused her to lose her mind from grief and despair, so Lamia would go around and consume other people's children out of envy. Mothers in Europe would tell the myth of Lamia, in hopes of putting fear into their children so that they would behave, otherwise Lamia would come in the night and eat them! Lamia would live a sad, miserable life and spend her time searching for souls of children to consume.
DONN - CELTIC MYTHOLOGY
Donn is the god of the dead and the ancestor of the Gaels, according to Irish mythology. Donn lived in the Teach Duinn, which is where all of the souls of the dead would gather. It was said that if you were going to the House of Donn, you were going there to die. It is believed that the Teach Duinn was used as a middle point between the death and the afterlife, where you would go after death and wait to begin your descent into the afterlife. The dead would walk in the land of the living simply as "shades" until they would hear the horn of Donn at the time of Samhain, which was their calling to Teach Duinn. The myth says that Donn met his death at Bull Rock, which lies just off the coast of the Dursey Island, Cork, and that this is where Donn established his home.
OSIRIS - EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY
The Lord of the Underworld in Egyptian mythology is Osiris, often depicted with green skin and a pharaoh's beard, mummy wrapped legs, a crown with two ostrich feathers and holding a crook and flail (the crook representing kingship and the flail representing fertility for the land). The Kings of Egypt would, upon their death, inherit eternal life through magic. There was even a cult of Osiris (whom held Osiris as the chief god of regeneration and rebirth) who had a strong interest in immortality. The Ancient Egyptians believed that death was a transition, and that their lifeforce (or 'ka') left the body at the moment of death. They also had a strong focus on preserving the body after death, further supporting their understanding for the continuance of life. After dying, they believed that the person would be met with a judgement by 42 divine judges, who would judge the life the person led when they were among the living. If the person represented truth and honest living, they would be welcomed into the kingdom of death deity Osiris. And if they were found guilty of truthful living, they would be banished and thrown to a "devourer" which was essentially a soul-eating demon, and they would not be welcomed into eternal life.