The cult of Hades was not so much as a cult as much as it was an initiation process in order to develop a further understanding of life after death. Hades, the god of the underworld and death, was not so much feared as much as he was respected according to ancient Greek mythology. Because death plays such a large role in life, the cult of Hades was one of the largest cults of the ancient world. Mythological and historical characters described in ancient Greek texts all visited the cult of Hades for spiritual development.
Socrates was one of these historical characters described to have visited the cult of Hades at some point. The initiations of the cult of Hades were common and open to anybody who sought further understanding of the teaching taught within the temple. According to the ancient Greeks, upon death the spirit would depart from the body and come to the river Styx. Here, if the proper burial rights were given to the departed, they would pay the boat man (ferryman) in order to cross into the place where spirits rested between lives on Earth. Those who died a glorious death or were referred to as a Hero upon death would come to rest in the Elysian fields also known as the Isles of the Blessed.
In Eleusis, Greece is where the ancient cult of Hades is believed to have existed. It is at this location that there still exists a cave that was once believed to be the doorway or a portal to where the dead would go the rest. It is also described that Plato too came to this location in order to worship and pay homage to the God of the Dead. During worship initiatives would often undergo psychedelic trips known as the ‘Kykeon’ to establish a spiritual connection with energies beyond the physical realm. It is also said that initiatives would pound the ground with their fists so that Hades could hear their prayers.
Hades is also considered to be the richest of all the Olympian deities because riches such as jewels, diamonds, and gold come from beneath the ground where Hades is believed to dwell. He is also believed to be one of the most monogamous Gods because he never leaves his domain and has stayed loyal to his wife Persephone, the Goddess of the underworld, after her abduction. Commonly depicted as being feared Hades was rather respected as death was inevitable and as routine to life as birth.
“The Cult of the Twelve Olympians.” Theoi Greek Mythology.