Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hel, the Goddess and her Realm

As I prepare for the release of my story, Siren's Nocturne, published with Amber Heat, I thought I'd post a bit of background about the goddess, Hel, and her underworld domain.

A Norse queen of the underworld, Hel is considered to be a mother goddess. She is the daughter of Loki and Angrboda. Loki, a trickster and companion to the gods, handsome and amusing, but also sly, malicious, and evil. A restless being, a shapeshifter, married to the goddess Sigyn, he formed a liaison with the giantess Angrboda, and she bore him three children--Jormungand, Hel, and Fenrir.

So frightening in appearance, and being described as half dead and half alive, she was tossed into
a province of the land of the dead, called Niflheim, which dominion would now be hers to rule.

Unlike the Christian form of Hell, Hel's underworld is a place where it is her responsibility to succor to all those sent to her--mortals who have died of sickness or old age rather than in battle.

But no dominion ruled at the whim of the gods is quite so simple.

Niflheim is also a place of spells and magic, where dreams can be interpreted and the dead summoned. And Hel's province within the land of Niflheim is called Helheim, and her particular dwelling place or hall, Éljúðnir--home of the dead.

In my story, Siren's Nocturne, I've certainly taken liberties with the appearance of Hel, determining her to be a shapeshifter with beauty and seduction an elemental part of her arsenal of weapons to lure humans into her domain to serve her. Within her court of subjects are demons, such as Etienne Pierpont, who willingly submit to her command on earth. These demons travel freely between the human world and the underworld at the whim of Hel.

But what part will Lucille, the human Etienne has finally come to claim, play within Hel's dominion?

Siren's Nocturne, available in June from Amber Heat, the erotic imprint of Amber Quill Press.

May Hel's nocturnal pleasures be yours,


Monday, June 2, 2008

A Discussion of Demons

Ah, evening is upon me and day is dwindling away. This then is my virgin post. I learned some very interesting things as I was researching the subject of demons for my story Siren's Nocturne. Well, actually, I believe it was the other way around. I was researching demons which breathed life into Siren's Nocturne. Much fodder for many stories.

Demons--presently associated with evil, but before Christianity and in other cultures, demons were in the past and currently are, neither necessarily good or evil. There are a wide range of demons, both good and bad--just as there are humans.

Penetrating deeper into my subject,the word demon means "replete with wisdom." The Greek term daimon means "divine power," "fate," or "god."

A male demon is called an incubus, and incubi are certainly notorious for being extremely well hung. Probably part of the reason they are such delicious fodder for erotic stories. And then there's the dark, mysteriously passionate adventure, piercing into the seductive unknown that titillates many people, I think.

There are also many legends through history about fallen angels, particularly those known as the Grigori. Interpretation lends itself to the belief that some of these fallen angels are beings who have become distanced the farthest from God. Angels who became watchers--considered by some as a separate tribe of angels--and in human form very corruptible to the sins of the flesh--a lusty tenth choir of angels. This tenth choir, more human in form than not because of their close proximity to earth, and "physically intact," unlike many of their kind, are more than able to succumb to the seductive lure of tantalizing flesh.

And let's not forget the "Harlots of Hell" or Succubae--the female demons. More particularly, the first bride of Hell--the lethal, mysterious, and seductive Lilith, thought to have gone by many names in order to seduce her victims. Men did run for the hills when the name of Lilith and her followers was invoked.

In one sense these beings are considered to be a type of god with their divine powers. Another interpretation is that demons are intermediaries between men and gods, maybe a form of demi-god.

In the first hierarchy of demons resides the demon, Asmodeus, considered one of the demons of lust, some say of impurity. His association with lust may stem from the belief that he is a child born of the Hell-queen herself, Lilith. A Persian demon, he is also believed to be the demon in control of gaming houses.

In the second hierarchy of demons resides the demon Rosier, formerly believed to be a lesser-ranked angel, a demon of lasciviousness.

Friar Francesco Mario Buazzo, in the early 1600's divided demons into types: fire demons, aerial demons, terrestrial demons, aqueous demons, subterranean demons, heliophobic (only coming at night) demons. Possibly the heliophobic demons relate to the association with vampires.

Alphonse de Spina notes that there are ten species of demons, among them incubi and succubi, who stimulate lust and perversion.

Then there is the text at Project Gutenberg on Elizabethan Demonology which is an essay by Thomas Alfred Spalding, LL.B. (1880) that appears to indicate a very close association between fairies and demons and the powers they both possess.

So, as we see, it can be a very complicated subject, with varying interpretations on the subject of demonology and angelology.

In Siren's Nocturne, you will need to decide for yourself--Is Etienne good or is he bad?Or is he just a seductive demon trying to live his life? And find his mate. Will Lucille made the right choice in the end? And then one might consider, is it the right choice for you? Or for her?

wishing you passionate nocturnal whisperings,


Additional sources:

A Dictionary of Angels Including the Fallen Angels by Gustav Davidson (c. 1967)
Angels, An Endangered Species by Malcolm Godwin (c. 1990)
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley (c.1989)