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What the hell, Chicago? Options
Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 3:31:44 PM
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(Topic stolen from Idiom of the Day)

Should I be just consistent, follow a style ... or I should cap the word Hell when use as a proper noun?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 3:53:54 PM
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As a proper noun, the word Hell should have the first letter capitalized.
Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 4:03:36 PM

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"Hell", in this usage, is simply an idiomatic expletive, not really a proper noun. I wouldn't capitalize it.

Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 6:00:55 AM
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Neither would I. On a global scale only a very small percentage of people would believe "hell" WAS a proper noun - because for the majority of people it would not be a real place.
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 8:31:00 PM

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There are places named Hell - Hell, Michigan and Hell, Norway, for instance - that would be treated as proper nouns.

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 7:06:37 PM
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Eoin, I stand corrected.
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 8:23:56 PM

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Hel is also a person. Although it is not allowed as a name in Iceland for treasons of sensitivity.

Hel is the daughter of Loki and Angrboða. She is appointed guardian of a realm for the dead. To go to Hel is to die.

Scholars write
that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

The term is etymologically related to Modern English hall and therefore also Valhalla, an afterlife 'hall of the slain' in Norse Mythology.

In stanza 31 of Grímnismál, Hel is listed as living beneath one of three roots growing from the world tree Yggdrasil.[8] In Fáfnismál, the hero Sigurd stands before the mortally wounded body of the dragon Fáfnir, and states that Fáfnir lies in pieces, where "Hel can take" him.[9] In Atlamál, the phrases "Hel has half of us" and "sent off to Hel" are used in reference to death, though it could be a reference to the location and not the being, if not both.[10] In stanza 4 of Baldrs draumar, Odin rides towards the "high hall of Hel."[11]

Odin threw Jörmungandr into "that deep sea that lies round all lands," Odin threw Hel into Niflheim, and bestowed upon her authority over nine worlds, in that she must "administer board and lodging to those sent to her, and that is those who die of sickness or old age." High details that in this realm Hel has "great Mansions" with extremely high walls and immense gates, a hall called Éljúðnir, a dish called "Hunger," a knife called "Famine," the servant Ganglati (Old Norse "lazy walker"[15]), the serving-maid Ganglöt (also "lazy walker"[15]), the entrance threshold "Stumbling-block," the bed "Sick-bed," and the curtains "Gleaming-bale." High describes Hel as "half black and half flesh-coloured," adding that this makes her easily recognizable, and furthermore that Hel is "rather downcast and fierce-looking."[16]

Cultural note to help explain - to die "of sickness or old age" is not a desirable outcome. This was warrior society where dying in battle was the way to go - Valhalla. Surviving into retirement was not an honourable option!

Icelandic folklore is basically obsessed with food and warding off starvation.
'Hell' is hunger and famine - but also having lazy servants who don't feed you.
A very upper-class definition! Whistle
And hell is not about heat and flames. Hot is nice! Whistle

Do you want to tell the Christians about this, or shall I? Whistle

Ah, those bloody Christians, they get everywhere...

Mon 9 Jan 2017

Icelandic Naming Committee has just ruled that the name of the Nordic goddess Hel is cannot be used as a name in Iceland.

Hel is a goddess in Norse mythology. She rules the underworld and is so entwined with it that it has the same name as her, Hel. She is one of trickster god Loki’s three children, along with the beasts Miðgarðsormur and Fenrisúlfur. The word hel can also means hell in Icelandic.

The ruling of the committee says that there is a risk of the name being a nuisance for the name’s bearer, given that Hel refers to death and Hel’s underworld kingdom.

There are strict laws on what names are allowed in Iceland and all disputes are settled by the Icelandic Naming Committee. The point of the committee is both to preserve Icelandic language as all names have to fit into Icelandic and stoop to its rules, and to protect people from receiving names that might trouble them in the future.

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:53:20 AM
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Thanks, Thar, I really enjoyed that.

To my everlasting shame, though I've studied myth and mythology, I didn't know a thing about Hel.

Ahhh - so many gods - so little time!
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:19:50 AM

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Thanks. I know Christianity in Northern Europe has co-opted Hell and overlain it with all sorts of new ideas not present in its pagan origins - and in fact done a better job at that than it did with Yule or Easter. Hell rei-envisioned. I find it interesting how peoples see an afterlife or underworld, in terms of what they fear or what they value.

The concepts of what both label 'hell' show up so many sociological differences.
The Norse ideas of death being in one if the realms of beings means it is freed from human restrictions.

Hell is either a realm in its own right of part of the northern realm of ice, snow and mist.


The realms
Asgard, the home of the Æsir ruled by the god Odin
Álfheimr/Ljósálfheimr, the home of the Light elves or "Ljósálfar"
Niðavellir/Svartálfaheimr, the home of the Dwarves, who are also synonymous with the Dark elves "Dökkálfar" and Black elves "Svartálfar"
Midgard (Earth), the home of humans
Jötunheimr/Útgarðr, the home of the Jötnar (Giants)
Vanaheimr, the home of the Vanir
Niflheim, a world of ice and snow
Muspelheim, a world of fire and lava and home of the Jötunn Surtr
Hel(heimr), the home of the dishonorable dead sometimes synonymous with or located within Niflheim and ruled by the goddess Hel

If you put it in Niflheim, it cycles back to creation.

Niflheim was primarily a realm of primordial ice and cold, with the frozen river of Élivágar and the well of Hvergelmir, from which come all the rivers.[2] According to Gylfaginning, Niflheim was one of the two primordial realms, the other one being Muspelheim, the realm of fire. Between these two realms of cold and heat, creation began when its waters mixed with the heat of Muspelheim to form a "creating steam". Later, it became the abode of Hel, a goddess daughter of Loki, and the afterlife for her subjects, those who did not die a heroic or notable death.

There is no concept of punishment in and of itself - Hell is bad service at your boarding house! The point is lack of reward. And it has nothing to do with the goodness of your actions, except in terms of living a true warrior life and dying a warrior's death. Not all this burden of sin or judgement. Certainly no torment. I mean, who invented the idea of eternal damnation and excruciating (pardon the pun) torment? Sounds fairly psychopathic to me! Apologies to believers - this is a ramble not an attack)
But if all the focus is on rewards in the next life, I guess you have to have punishments too. And who has the most to gain by focusing so heavily on the next life? Slaves, who have little or no stake in this one - is a tormented Hell the result of Christianity's slave cult beginnings?

The idea of underworld is widespread but usually seems more to do with darkness - Hades, for example.

I don't think it a coincidence that in Icelandic 'hellir' means cave or grotto. An the root is related to words meaning hidden, covered - not seen.

But the idea that hell is what you battle against - and in the north that is communal cold and hunger - while from a Mediterranean, Christian perspective, where you try to keep cool, and you can always go out and pick some fruit, it is about heat and fire, and personalised torture - that is climate, food insecurity and social inequality combined to create a theological concept. Whistle

(Hope nobody minds the rambling musings now the grammar question has been answered).
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:21:51 AM

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The Finns' favourite Norse mythology goddess is Elli. It's a popular female name in Finland.

BTW, I live in Helsinki. Whistle

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 5:11:37 AM

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To continue that idea . . .

Not 'Hell' or 'Hel' as such, but the afterlife, realm of the dead has three major distinct descriptions for those societies which don't consider physical reincarnation:
1. The old Niflheim/Valhalla - a permanent celebration vs a frozen waste.
2. The Mediaeval Heaven/Hell - a permanent euphoria vs 'fire & brimstone'.
3. The Mediaeval realm of the dead - utter tedium, where all colors fade; all lights are dimmed; the sky is empty of stars, sun & moon; there is no joy or pain or emotion except emptiness; where memory of life fades and one's sense of identity dissipates into the gloom.
It was for everyone, saint and sinner, king and pauper.

It did not really last more than a couple of hundred years - it was not popular.
Mainly, it did not have the dichotomy which gives power to priests. "Support me or you'll go to Hell."

This was the afterlife that many alchemists and magicians feared.
Some even preferred the idea of dealing with demons and going to Hell, rather than live an ordinary life and be doomed to lose their identity.
Part of the lure of the Philosopher's stone was to keep one's sense of self for ever.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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