Mythology Monday: Chthonic Deities

Chthonic deities, Underworld, Greek mythology, Retellings, Daughters of Zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Hades, Persephone ,Thanatos , The Judges , Cerberus, Charon, Cronus , Erinyes , Hecate , Hermes , Hypnos , Moirai ,Nyx ,  Acheron , Arae,  Ascalaphus , Kakodaimones ,Empusa ,Epiales , Erebus ,  Keres , Lamia , Lethe , Leuce , Melinoe , Minthe , Mormolyceia (Mormos) , Oneiroi , Styx , Tartarus ,Daira, Eurynomus, Gorgyra, Lampades, Cocytus, Macaria, Menoetes, Phlegethon, Trophonius,

Orpheus spoke up. “Last time I saw you, you didn’t even know you were a goddess. How did you end up down here? You don’t look like you belong with the chthonic group. No offense,” he said to Hades.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but her parents are Olympian,” Hades replied.

“Chthonic? Olympian? What are you guys talking about?”

“Chthonic deities are gods associated with the Underworld. We tend to have darker features.” Hades motioned to his black hair. “Olympians were associated with Olympus, and were various shades of blond. The primordials tended to represent their element to the extreme, and the Titans were . . . well, titanic in size.”

I blinked. Gods were classified by appearance? I supposed it wasn’t relevant anymore with so few of us left, but the whole system seemed strange to me. None of that mattered, though, because Orpheus remembered the last time he saw me! I was sure my face was bright red. Hades sighed, no doubt bored by the whole conversation.


Chthonic deities were gods associated with the Underworld. Below are links to descriptions of the more important Chthonic Deities.

Hades | Persephone | Thanatos |  The Judges Cerberus |Charon | Cronus | Erinyes | Hecate | Hermes | Hypnos | Moirai | Nyx |  Acheron | AraeAscalaphusKakodaimones |   |Empusa |Epiales | Erebus |  Keres | Lamia | Lethe | Leuce | MelinoeMinthe Mormolyceia (Mormos) | Oneiroi | Styx | Tartarus 

And this is a list of the Chthonic deities too minor to get their own blog.

Daira (Knowing One or Teacher), was a daughter of Oceanus, sister to Styx, and a key figure in the Eleusinian mysteries. While Demeter was searching for Persephone, she visited a town called Eleusis, and drank water from a particular well. Daira was the Naiad attached to that well. She was also the mother of the king, Eleusis, by Hermes.

Daira initiated members into the mystery cult that worshipped Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate. Persephone and Hekate both sometimes borrowed Daira’s name in invocations.

Eurynomus (Wide Ruling), played an important role in keeping the Underworld clean by stripping the corpses of their skin. This underworld spirit was often depicted with blue-black skin and rode around on a vulture.

Gorgyra (Underwater Drain), may have been another name for the River Styx or in her other form, Gorgyra Orphne, Nyx. She and Acheron were the parents of Ascalaphus.

Lampades were torch bearing nymphs of the Underworld, and gifts from Zeus to Hekate because of her loyalty in the Titanomachy. The light from their torches had the power to drive people to insanity, so naturally they accompanied Hekate on all her nighttime hauntings and revels.

Cocytus was both a river (of tears) and a goddess (of sorrow) in the Underworld.

Macaria (not to be confused with the daughter of Hercules) was the goddess of blessed death. She is a daughter of Hades (no mother is ever mentioned, but the man was fairly monogamous). She might have been a kinder counterpart to Thanatos or she might have led the souls to the isle of the blessed, or she might not have been a goddess at all and might have just been an expression (go in peace). Very, very minor goddess.

Menoetes (Doomed Might) was a spirit who herded cattle in the Underworld. While Hercules was in the Underworld for his 12th labor, the two wrestled, and Menoetes lost. Fortunately, Persephone was there to save him.

Phlegethon (flaming) was one of the five rivers located in the Underworld and/or the god of the river of fire located in the Underworld. The river was made of fire and, in my universe, acted as the division between the Asphodel fields and Tartarus. I’ve heard a myth that says that he and Styx were in love. As rivers, they flowed into one another.

Trophonius (Nourisher of the Mind) was the demigod son of Apollo and Erginos. He and his brother Agamedes built the temple to Apollo at Delphi. As a reward, both brothers were told to do anything they wanted for six days, and on the seventh day, their greatest wish would be granted. Both brothers were found dead on the seventh day (possibly for stealing treasure) in a cave near Lebadeia in Boiotia. Trophonius is considered to be the cave spirit for what became a sacred site.

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to Chthonic Deities. If you enjoyed the Persephone series, follow up with the Aphrodite trilogy. Love and War is on sale today for .99 cents. 

Mythology Monday: Cronus


Cronus, Kronos, Chronos, Khronos, Father Time, Saturn, Greek mythology, TitanomachyGaia and Uranus had three sets of children: the giants, the Cyclopes, and the Titans. The titans were the more humanoid of the three, and among their number was the Titan of Time, Cronus (also known as Kronos, or Saturn, sort of also Chronos/Khronos, but that gets complicated).

Uranus was a terrible father. He tried to take the children from Gaia and imprison them. So she plotted with the Titans against Uranus. Gaia gave Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, a flint and a sickle to use against his father. Cronus fought Uranus and castrated him. His nether bits fell into the ocean and from their blood sprang the furies, from the foam came Aphrodite.

This act might have been where the name Titan came from. Kind of like how Trump brands everyone he doesn’t like with a  pejorative, Titans may have come from a source word that meant strained ones, but Hesiod is alone in that interpretation.

In some versions of the myth, it’s not Uranus that Cronus overthrew at all, but a serpent who was trying to devour the world called Ophion.

Whatever Cronus hit with that sickle, the imagery stuck. That sickle became Cronus’s calling card and made it into almost every image of Cronus ever produced. Because of that, he was frequently associated with the harvest and had an entire day dedicated to him around harvest time.

all the myths agree that the period of time when he ruled was called the Golden Age, because for a short time, there were no rules. Everyone just did the right thing because it was the right thing to do. Who “everyone” was is kind of unclear. Man shouldn’t have been around at this time, except in some versions of the myth they were. There were a lot of Titans, but a lot in the sense that it would be a crowded classroom, not a crowded school. It would have been a fairly manageable crowd given that he’d sent anyone who might even consider disagreeing with him, like the Giants and the Cyclopes, into Tartarus and ate any children who may decide to shake things up in the future.

Rhea and Cronus had five children before Rhea got tired of her babies getting devoured. When child number six was born, Rhea tricked Cronus and gave him a stone instead.

That child was Zeus.

Because Cronus ruled the earth and the sky, Zeus had to be suspended from the ground by a rope so he was never fully in either realm. He grew up this way and when the time was right, went against his father to avenge his siblings.

He managed to trick Cronus into drinking a potion that made him vomit up Zeus’s siblings. These children were Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, and Demeter. Zeus also freed the giants and the Cyclopes. Together, they fought Cronus and most of the remaining Titans and won and Zeus became god of Olympus.

Cronus and the Titans were cast into Tartarus, or possible a cave of Nyx, as punishment for their treatment of the Olympians.

Lifetimes later, Zeus released the Titans and made Cronus the king of Elysium. That’s still in the Underworld, so it’s not like he truly released them. Just relocated their prison to a nicer one.  Or if you’re Roman, he became a kind of supreme court judge, settling disputes amongst the gods.