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Sunday, September 2, 2018

9 Circles Of Hell: The Second Maybe Where You Belong

All of us will die - that is the universal truth, and no one can escape it. 

But when we perish in this world, where do you think you will go? 

Heaven or Hell?

There are quite extensive descriptions of heaven in the Bible, but there are no really detailed descriptions of Hell. Many of us think that Hell is a vast place that is full of fire, endless darkness, and eternal punishment.

Do you think it means that in that vast area, all of the sinners will gather, whether you have lighter or heavier sins than the others?

According to Dante’s Divine Comedy, the answer is NO. 

Dante’s Inferno, which is the first part of the divine comedy, describes the poet’s vision of Hell. And he states that Hell has 9 circles according to on what your sin was and the weight of it. So, where do you think you would belong?

circles of hell, nine circles of hell, Dante's Inferno

First Circle 

A place of sorrow without torment. These are people who are not saved, even if they did not sin. This is where the virtuous non-Christians, unbaptized pagans, and the great philosophers go.  They live in a castle with seven gates, which symbolize the seven virtues. 

If you end up here, you will share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful yet sad.

Second Circle

Could you not overcome your lust and needs to make love 24/7? This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. They are punished by being blown violently back and forth by strong winds, preventing them to find peace and rest. Strong winds symbolize the restlessness of a person who is led by the desire for fleshly pleasures.  Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate.

Third Circle 

You will find yourself amidst eternal rain, cold, and heavy. The gluttons are punished here, forced to lie in the filthy mixture of shadows and of putrid water that is produced by never-ending icy rain. The putrid water and mud symbolize the personal degradation of one who overindulges in food, drink, and otherworldly pleasures. At the same time, the inability to see others lying nearby represents the gluttons’ selfishness and coldness. 

Cerberus, a canine monster, cruel and rude with his three heads and red eyes, dwells on this level. He acts as the guardian in this circle. So, beware.

Fourth Circle 

Are you spending a load of money on useless things that you do not really need? This is where the greedy belongs. They are divided into two groups – those who hoarded wealth and those who generously spent it. They roll great weights back and forth against one another, which symbolizes their selfish drive for fortune during a lifetime.

You will share eternal punishment with others who either wasted greedily and insatiably or who stockpiled their properties, hoarding everything, and sharing nothing. Plutus, the wolf-like demon of wealth, dwells here.

Fifth Circle 

The river Styx runs through this level of Hell. This is where the wrathful and the gloomy belong. Transported on a boat, at the surface of the river, the wrathful are forever fighting out at each other in anger, enraged and naked, tearing each other with their teeth. While the gloomy gurgling beneath the black mud, withdrawn from the world.  Because your punishment reflects the type of sin you committed during a lifetime, you meet your fate in the Styx.

Sixth Circle 

Do you believe in God? If not, this would be the right place for you. You approach Satan's miserable city surrounded by iron walls. You will find burning tombs anywhere.  Inside these, suffer the heretics, failing to believe in God and the afterlife. 

The three infernal Furies or the goddesses of vengeance stained with blood, with limbs of women and hair of serpents, dwell in this circle of Hell.

Seventh Circle 

Guarded by the Minotaur, is the Seventh Level of Hell. It is divided into three rings. The Outer Ring houses murderers and others who were violent to other people and property. In the middle ring are the suicides - those who were too cowardly and tried to escape their punishments. 

At the time of final judgment, they would be turned into trees and bushes which are fed upon by harpies.  In the Inner Ring are the blasphemers and sodomites, showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. 

Eight Circle 

The Eighth Circle of Hell is resided by the deceitful. An amphitheater-shaped pit of despair that gathers different kinds of fraudulent people. This circle of Hell is divided into 10 Bolgias or stony ditches with bridges between them. In Bolgia 1, reside the seducers. In Bolgia 2, you will find the flatterers. 

After crossing the bridge to Bolgia 3, you will see those who are guilty of simony. After crossing another bridge between the ditches to Bolgia 4, are sorcerers and false prophets. In Bolgia, 5 are housed, corrupt politicians. 

In Bolgia 6 are hypocrites, and in the remaining ditches, you will find thieves (Bolgia 7), evil counselors and advisers (Bolgia 8), divisive individuals (Bolgia 9) and various falsifiers such as alchemists, perjurers, and counterfeits (Bolgia 10). 

When you arrive here, you will want to cover your ears because of the agonizing sinners, who are afflicted with scabs like leprosy, and lay sick on the ground, furiously scratching their skin off with their nails. Indeed, justice will serve.

Ninth Circle 

This is the deepest level of Hell, where the fallen angel Satan himself resides. Do you want to live with him?

The three faces of Satan, black, red, and yellow, can be seen with mouths gushing bloody foam and eyes forever weeping, as they chew on the three traitors, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. This place is furthest removed from the source of all light and warmth. 

The last Ninth Circle of Hell is divided into 4 Rounds according to the weight of the sin, though all residents are frozen in an icy lake. Those who committed more severe sin are deeper within the ice. Each of the 4 Rounds is named after an individual who personifies the sin. 

Thus, Round 1 is named Cain after Cain who killed his brother Abel, Round 2 is named Antenora after Anthenor of Troy who was Priam’s counselor during the Trojan War, Round 3 is named Ptolomaea after Ptolemy (son of Abubus), while Round 4 is named Judecca after Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

Sinners here are frozen deep in the ice, faces out, eyes and mouths frozen shut. Traitors against God, country, family, and benefactors lament their sins in this frigid pit of despair.

In our generation today, many of us may have the thinking of: ‘It is okay to have sinned because I can always be forgiven.’

But, before you think that way, are you also ready to answer this question if someone asked you?

Which of the 9 Circles of Hell are you going to be in?

Written by Kent McGrath, Lucis Philippines contributor.

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