My partners and I have begun working with Hades and Persephone within the larger scope of the Helpful Deity work. Last night I worked with the Witch. Not long ago, I worked with them and Flower.
I am finding Hades a bit difficult to fathom. He moves from what I perceive as a void state to an authoritarian king. The latter is easy for me to understand even if that personality (godality?) is a bit difficult. The void state is different. How can one internally describe such a thing and make sense of it? There is nothing to mentally hang onto in the void. Light does not exist there. Thoughts too seem not to exist, even though I could hear and understand my partner's/Persephone's words, I did not think about them nor respond.
The odd part was that with a strong manifestation of Hades, Bacchus arrived. I carried both of them as distinct personalities for most of the long ritual. I didn't think these too associated much. Considering the ritual chant appeared to take us down to Hel, Bacchus' appearance was more than odd. I was under the impression the only Greek Deity that could travel in and out of Hel besides Hades was Hermes. Perhaps by then we were on the common ground, shared by Zeus, Hades and Poseidon -- the earth.
After taking two large swigs from the wine bottle, Bacchus' message was of the joy of life but not really as a party god. It was more about expressing joy that comes from loving life.
Hades message focused on my sacrifice and future sacrifices along the twin paths of magick that I am following right now. I can undergo many smaller sacrifices or one large one but none so great as I have already made. The last one will be borne with laughter.
Both Hades and Persephone decried our black robes. She called them too somber. Both told us we should be wearing white.
One of the things I'm learning about Hades is the analogy between him and the Hiereus of the Golden Dawn. If you view creation as coming from the "top" downward as qabalists do, Hades is the last stop. Here you must drink from the river Lethe "forgetfulness". This makes one forget one's past life and allows for reincarnation. So too, is the job of the Hiereus but in a different fashion.
I am taking Bacchus more seriously now. I thought he was a party god akin to my experience with Dionysus. Bacchus had each of us drink wine in ritual. I drank two healthy swigs right from the bottle. This took away some silent part of me whose idea of myself prevented me from reaching that void. The wine the Witch drank removed one thought from her as well, at least for the length of the ritual.
Bacchus joy of life and living is something I would like to feel more often. This isn't the drunkenness of alcohol but on the spirit, animation and manifestation of life. The phrase, "It is great to be alive!" comes to mind as describing the attitude he shared with us.
That said the wine I drank in ritual kicked my ass. I am not a huge drinker. My partner says I had four glasses. I suppose that is enough to get me plastered but it was different. The alcohol removed the ideas that prevent connection and I stayed in connection with the void space for some time after ritual. This allowed me to understand both of my partner's needs more clearly. I value that.
I don't think I am conveying the intensity of this ritual. The Witch's experience with Persephone was "the most intense I have every experienced." She is very experienced. My contact with Hades and Bacchus was so intense that I could not move any part of my body most of the time. My eyes closed and remained that way for nearly two hours. My personality was nearly utterly gone. I was only aware it existed but no part of it came through in the ritual. Everything I said or did was Bacchus or Hades acting through me.
Five years ago, I would have killed to be able to do this intense work. Now, it seems so normal that I have to remind myself that everyone doesn't do this in their daily lives. I am grateful the gods allow me this.
The experiences I am having of late with the Greeks is nothing short of incredible. The differ from the qabalistic workings as the former are deeper personalities, fully formed and perfect. The qabalistic god names, angels and choirs and angels are more akin to forces than anything I can interact with on a human level.