Death & Hades

Brendan Heard and Iásonas Lupus

Death-in-concept and the constant awareness of mortality is an essential prerequisite to living fully, to achieving greatness, and to taking death’s eventual journey with a full heart.

Without a constant awareness of death it seems we neglect a gratitude for living, and forget to show reverence for the mysteries, or respect towards ancestors. We may shun death, so that we never think on it, and flee from the very concept, while we rest upon stones stained with war-blood, and speak languages and ideas which struggled in bitter conflict to survive the centuries. While men in dark warehouses slaughter millions of animal souls in industrial death-factories. Meanwhile we live free from these dualities, innocent of death-hierarchy, soft and indulged. We thus become infantilized, and lose the drama of adventure, holding our false and industrially protected lives all the closer as we tremble fearfully (like chickens in the processing plant). Selfishly, we treat our mortality carelessly, as if we are going to live an eternal incarnation in this reality, as if we deserve that.

Death-awareness, a bitter gift from the gods, teaches us not to waste the privilege of sentience, not to to be unwise with our fleeting seventy or eighty revolutions around the sun. Or less. In contemporary life death has become absent, virtually non-existent. No one talks about it, nobody is constantly reminded of it, it is to these people an impossible or unimportant subject. This culture of the spoiled baby, where any reality which sounds unpleasant must be altered, where nothing can be accepted, but all responsibility is shirked, and a protective wall of industry envelopes and traps the fearful soul like the walls of the meat-factory. Closeness to death, like staring at a clear night sky, will incite one to thoughts of the sacred.

And which world is more sacred, the world of eternal change, fraught with the highs and lows of struggle? Or the finite world of mortality and its protective animal instincts? October should be a time for danger and arcane mysteries, a time to give veneration to the souls of the dead, lest we forget that we ourselves are mortals destined to depart on a voyage in that shadowy wilderness! Momento mori!

“We have only a little time to please the living. But all eternity to love the dead.” — Sophocles, Antigone

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