13 - Hel Picture


I figured this was an appropriate day for this. c:

The fourteenth card in the major arcana is Death, no. 13.

Who else would I choose for this card but the goddess of the underworld, Hel!

Hel is one of three of Loki's children by the giantess Angurboda. The other two are Fenrir and Jormungandur (the Midgard Serpent). She is described as being half-black (like coal) and half-flesh colored, or at other times, half-living and half-rotting. She is the ruler in Niflheim, and thus it is sometimes called Helheim. Odin and Freyja split the fallen warriors amongst themselves, but Hel gets all the others; those who die of disease/sickness, old age, murder, accidents, ect.

Because of her varying appearance, I chose to only depict the side that was consistent (my personal head-canon is half-flesh, half-bone). It is more implied than outright stated that Hel gets all other spirits that don't die in battle as it is said, "Odin and Freyja split the slain warriors amongst themselves and Hel gets those who die of sickness and old age." (Not in so many words, of course.) I think it's safe to assume she gets the others that don't fall in either categories as she gets Baldur when he is murdered (not a battle at all).

I also depicted her with skulls because it is my view that the humans that come to Niflheim do not float around like spirits like, say, Baldur or Hodur who will resurrect after Ragnarök. And her treatment of them is just something I envision her doing. Odin says in the Prose Edda, "Hel is rather downcast and fierce-looking." I'm sure she is angry that she was thrown there just because of what prophecy said or who her father and mother was. (I believe she, like Fenrir, is misunderstood. XDDD) But she can't very well step on a spirit, can she? XDDD

The card itself is made of ash wood. The darker ash for the main body of the card is an overlaid stain. The character is painted on parchment. Everything was done in PS. (Check my
Continue Reading: The Underworld