The World Myth

The Hero

What are some examples of the hero in the Underworld?

The descent to the Underworld, sometimes in death, is the ultimate trial facing the world hero on his quest. Full knowledge requires the facing of the ultimate challenge. Heroes descend to the Underworld to understand ultimate things or to bring back a lost person.

Inanna descends to her negative self, her sister Ereshkigal. In this way she learns what she needs to know of supreme negativity. Baal descends because he is the seed which must be planted before plants can return in the spring. Jesus descends to defy Satan, to “harrow” Hell. Osiris descends in death to become king of the Underworld. Odysseus and Aeneas make their journeys to the Land of the Dead to seek guidance from those who have already completed their quests. Orpheus goes, hoping to retrieve a lost love. Wanjiru and Hainuwele go as objects of sacrifice to bring prosperity to their people.


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