Hel is the Norse queen of the underworld, a mother goddess in her underworld guise.  She rules over a fiery womb of regeneration and is especially responsible for those who died of diseases or old age.  Her underworld, unlike the Christian hell which recieved its name from her, is simply an otherworld, a place of renewal and not a place of punishment and misery.  When northen shamans visit her realm, they put on a helkappe, a magic mask (sometimes a helmet) that renders them invisible.  It is possible that the masked harlequin, a standard character in commedia del l'arte, was orginally one of the kindred of the goddess Hel.  Hel teaches that death and rebirth go hand in hand.

together in light and darkness


I chose the name of this goddess for my page because in someways I seem to relate to her more than any other.  She also seemed to be the most realistic of all of them.

description & paintings  by Susan Seddon Boulet