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A modern statue of Hades with Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the gates of the underworld

Hades, whose name means "unseen," is the Greek god of the underworld which bears his name, and of all that lies beneath the ground, including valuable minerals, buried bodies, and the roots of essential crops. He is also known as Pluto ("the rich one"), Clymenus ("notorious"), Chthonios ("subterranean"), and Polydegmon ("who receives many"). A son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, his siblings are Poseidon, god of the sea; Demeter, goddess of agriculture; Hestia, goddess of the hearth; Zeus, king of gods; and Hera, queen of the Olympian pantheon and goddess of marriage. Hades was awarded rulership of the underworld by lot, after he and his siblings dethroned their parents and took over rulership of the cosmos.

The most famous story about him concerns his abduction of Persephone, daughter of Demeter and an embodiment of spring weather. Zeus had promised Persephone to Hades as his wife, but rather than wait for a formal wedding, Hades abducted her while she was picking flowers. Demeter, outraged at this crime, cursed the land with an agricultural famine, vowing not to lift it until she saw her daughter again. Hades agreed to permit Persephone to return to the upper world, however, before she left, he forced her to eat pomegranate seeds, which compelled her to return to him. Zeus proposed a compromise to which all parties agreed: Persephone would spend one-third of each year with her husband in the underworld. This gave rise to the seasons as we know them, for in Winter, flowers do not bloom above the ground. Hades and Persephone were venerated at the Nekromanteion, which, according to tradition, was located on the banks of the Acheron ("joyless") river, where it met the rivers Pyriphlegethon ("burning coals") and Cocytus ("lamentation"), which watered the kingdom of Hades. He is also associated with places in the earth where sulphurous fumes are emitted.

As the god of the dead, Pluto was feared by living people, who averted their faces when sacrificing to him, were reluctant utter his name or to swear oaths by him, and did their best not to attract his attention. His sacrifices included black animals, whose blood was made to flow into a pit or a cleft in the ground. Hades' attributes are the key to the underworld, a bident or two-pronged staff, an ebony throne, and Cerberus, the three-headed dog; he is occasionally shown holding or accompanied by snakes. When he is portrayed as Pluto, he holds a cornucopia or horn of plenty Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who petition the Greek deities within the Pagan and Neo-Pagan traditions on behalf of clients may work with Hades when there are pending spiritual and magical issues regarding contact with spirits, dealing with the dead, and visitations of ancestors. Because Hades as Pluto rules everything under the ground, he is an unlikely wealth-god, whose realm includes valuable mineral deposits and buried treasures.


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