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Ploutôn (Pluto, Πλούτων. Pronounced: PLOO-tohn) is one of the most important deities in all of Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. He is not an Olympian, but a most important khthonic deity. Ploutôn is also known by the names Áïdîs (Ἅιδης) and Aïdônéfs (Ἀϊδωνεύς), as well as many others.

Ploutôn is the king of the Earth

Many people fear Ploutôn on account of negative connotations placed upon his name by various authors, both Christian and from our own religion, but these are misunderstandings. Ploutôn is a terrestrial (khthonic) deity, an "earthy" deity. He is the great God of the earth. Indeed, he is the king of the earth. Despite what the mythology says, Ploutôn is not the God under the earth, where there is nothing but worms and microbes; rather, he is the God of our world, the world of the mortals. As such, Ploutôn has dominion over and represents the magnificent verdure and abundance of the earth. Rather than fear him, he should be invoked when we are in need. His name is etymologically related to πλοῦτος , which means "wealth."

Parentage and Siblings

Ploutôn is the son of Krónos (Κρόνος) and Rǽa (Ῥέα), which makes Zefs (Ζεύς) and Poseidóhn (Ποσειδῶν) his brothers. For the same reason, the following Goddesses are his sisters: Æstía (Ἑστία). Dîmítîr (Δημήτηρ), and Íra (Ήρα). Ploutôn is, symbolically, married to and united with Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη), the Kórî (Κόρη).

Ploutôn and the Three Zefs

Ploutôn is the third Zefs (Ζεύς), Poseidóhn and Olympian Zefs being the other two. For there are three Gods we call Zefs: Olympian Zefs (who is predominant over the other two, and who specifically rules the Heavens, the area above the Moon), Poseidóhn (Zefs of the Sea and the Middle Sky from the Earth up to the Moon), and Ploutôn (Zefs of the Earth). Ploutôn rules the Earth, including the floor of the sea. Próklos (Πρόκλος) explains the three Zefs thus:

"He (Olympian Zefs) is also the summit of the three, has the same name with the fontal (foundational) Jupiter (Ζεύς), is united to him, and is monadically called Jupiter. But the second is called dyadically, marine Jupiter, and Neptune (Ποσειδῶν). And the third is triadically denominated, terrestrial Jupiter, Pluto (Πλούτων), and Hades (Ἅιδης). The first of these also preserves, fabricates, and vivifies (animates) summits, but the second, things of a second rank, and the third those of a third order. Hence this last is said to have ravished Proserpine (Περσεφόνη), that together with her he might animate the extremities of the universe." [1]

Using the symbolism of the Orphic egg, Ploutôn rules the yolk; Zefs, the cortex (the shell); Poseidóhn rules the middle section (the liquid or white of the egg). These are the Three Zefs.

As Zefs wields the thunderbolt and Poseidóhn wields the Tríaina (Τρίαινα), Ploutôn possesses the Áïdos kynǽîn (Ἄϊδος κυνέην), the dog-skin cap which renders the wearer invisible. All these symbols of the Three Zefs were created by the Kýklôpæs (Κύκλωπες).

Ploutôn is sometimes associated with the God of wealth Ploutos (Πλοῦτος), the son of Dîmítîr and the hero Iasíôn (Ιασίων). Ploutos is depicted as a boy holding a grain-filled cornucopia, blinded by Zefs, so that he would distribute wealth indiscriminately.

"Demeter, bright Goddess, was joined in sweet love with the hero Iasion in a thrice-ploughed fallow in the rich land of Crete, and bare Ploutos, a kindly God who goes everywhere over land and the sea's wide back, and him who finds him and into whose hands he comes he makes rich, bestowing great wealth upon him." [2]


The souls of the dead are immortal

First, it must be understood that the dead are not exactly "dead." When the mortal body dies, the soul, which is immortal, continues, and floats in the sky "in the district between earth and moon" for a period of (some say) forty years, as is told in an essay of Ploutarkhos (Πλούταρχος) [3]. When this time has elapsed, the soul returns with a new body. Orphéfs (Ὀρφεύς) taught palingænæsía (παλιγγενεσία), the transmigration of the soul. So when we speak of "dead souls" this must be kept in mind, that they are the souls between lives, souls awaiting rebirth into mortal bodies.

Ploutôn is the lord of the Earth, not the lord of the dead

The popular belief is that the dead go to hell, to the land of Hades. Yet despite the commonplace beliefs concerning him, Ploutôn is not the lord of the dead. Ploutôn is the lord of those who are going to die. He is the God of the vrotí (βροτοί), the mortals, whose bodies are subject to birth and death. He could also be thought of as the lord of the dead bodies that we bury in the earth. The only souls between lives in his realm are the prósyeia pnévmata (πρόσγεια πνεύματα), the landed daimonæs (δαίμονες), i.e. those souls who have not progressed, who may have committed crimes, and who, by their own actions are attached and bound nearest the terrestrial earth in the lower sky. Their souls are too heavy to ascend [4]. Consequently, Ploutôn has dominion over these souls (because of their proximity to his dominion, the earth), but he is not the God of the dead, as they say; he is the God or King of the Earth. Nor does Ploutôn punish these souls. The landed daimonæs are bound to the lower sky because of their own lack of progress.

Deities of the dead

Poseidóhn has governance of the Sea and the Middle Sky up to the moon. As such, it is actually Poseidóhn who has dominion over the souls whose mortal bodies have died, those souls awaiting rebirth, those souls who dwell in the Middle Sky.

The final deity we shall discuss concerning the dead is Íphaistos (Ἥφαιστος). He is imagined as lame, but his "lameness" is symbolic of the light or fire of Íphaistos, changing the direction of the aithír (αἰθήρ) in the Middle Sky, bending the direction like a bent or lame foot, so that it flows to the mortals. So, like Poseidóhn, Íphaistos is connected with the Middle Sky, in its uppermost regions. He is called the Lord of the Gates, the entrance to the great copper palaces of the Olympians and those souls in the highest realms of the Middle Sky who are near to being deified. [5]

It should now be clear that there are principally three Gods who have dominion over the souls of the dead: Ploutôn, Poseidóhn, and Íphaistos. Of course there are other deities who play a role, such as Ærmís (Ἑρμῆς) Psychopompos (Ψυχοπομπός), but there are primarily three.

Ploutôn and the Deepest Hell

If Ploutôn is actually the Lord of the Earth, how then can we understand the negative language found in mythology regarding his realm? The myths speak of Ploutôn's kingdom being a land of darkness and misery deep below. But this land of darkness is actually our realm. It is the place where we dwell. It is the difficult and often miserable dominion of the mortals, where we all live, and, of course die. It is kind of an inside joke. We think the myths are talking about some horrible place in deepest hell where there is no light. That is what the myths actually say. But the joke is on us because the myths are actually describing our dwelling place. And sometimes the myths portray the dead as zombies, walking aimlessly about, only coming to life if given blood. This, unfortunately, is the mortal condition, our condition. In contrast to the realms of the Gods, our world is without light and is full of "punishments," but these punishments are of our own making. The dead who dwell in this realm remain entangled in a cycle of births and deaths, until they finally actually die and are transformed, for in truth there really is only one death: the final death after which we are freed by the compassion of Zefs and deified.

The many names of Ploutôn: Ploutôn: The Epithets


[1] σχόλιον Πρόκλου επί Κρατύλου Πλάτωνος, trans. Thomas Taylor, 1816.

[2] Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 969-973, trans. Evelyn-White, 1914.

[3] Ἠθικά Πλουτάρχου· Περὶ τοῦ ἐμφαινομένου προσώπου τῷ κύκλῳ τῆς σελήνης 28.943C:

Πᾶσαν ψυχήν, ἄνουν τε καὶ σὺν νῷ, σώματος ἐκπεσοῦσαν εἱμαρμένον ἐστὶν <ἐν> τῷ μεταξὺ γῆς καὶ σελήνης χωρίῳ πλανηθῆναι

"All soul, whether with or without wit, when it has departed from the body, is ordained to wander in the district between earth and the moon" (trans. by the author)

Βίοι καὶ γνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων Διογένους Λαερτίου· Πυθαγόρας 8.30:

"The soul draws nourishment from the blood; the faculties of the soul are winds, for they as well as the soul are invisible, just as the Aether is invisible. The veins, arteries, and sinews are the bonds of the soul. But when it is strong and settled down into itself, reasonings and deeds become its bonds. When cast out upon the earth, it wanders in the air like the body. Hermes is the steward of souls, and for that reason is called Hermes the Escorter, Hermes the Keeper of the Gate, and Hermes of the Underworld, since it is he who brings in the souls from their bodies both by land and sea; and the pure are taken into the uppermost region, but the impure are not permitted to approach the pure or each other, but are bound by the Furies in bonds unbreakable." (trans. C. D. Yonge, 1828)

[4] Ἠθικά Πλουτάρχου· Περὶ τοῦ ἐμφαινομένου προσώπου τῷ κύκλῳ τῆς σελήνης 27.942F

ὅπου γὰρ ἡ σκιὰ τῆς γῆς ἐπινεμομένη παύεται, τοῦτο τέρμα τῆς γῆς ἔθετο καὶ πέρας. εἰς δὲ τοῦτο φαῦλος μὲν οὐδεὶς οὐδ' ἀκάθαρτος ἄνεισιν, οἱ δὲ χρηστοὶ μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν κομισθέντες αὐτόθι ῥᾷστον μὲν οὕτως βίον

"For wherever the boundary of the shadow of the earth ends, this he accorded as the end and limit of earth. Whereas beyond this no-one mean or unclean rises, but those worthy are instantly carried safe away (after death) to an easy life indeed" (trans. by the author)

[5] Ἠθικά Πλουτάρχου· Περὶ τοῦ ἐμφαινομένου προσώπου τῷ κύκλῳ τῆς σελήνης 29, 944C:

τὰ δὲ δύο μακρὰ <τὰς Πύλας>. περαιοῦνται γὰρ αἱ ψυχαὶ δί αὐτῶν νῦν μὲν εἰς τὰ πρὸς οὐρανὸν τῆς σελήνης, νῦν δὲ πάλιν εἰς τὰ πρὸς γῆν· ὀνομάζεται δὲ τὰ μὲν πρὸς οὐρανὸν τῆς σελήνης Ἠλύσιον πεδίον τὰ δ' ἐνταῦθα Φερσεφόνης οἶκος ἀντίχθονος.

"whereas the two long (craters of the moon) are <the Gates>, for thereupon the souls cross to the other side of the moon towards the sky, and now go back to that side which faces earth; the side of the moon towards the firmament is called the Ilýsion (Elysian, Ἠλύσιον) plain, herein the opposite (side) the house of Pærsæphónî (Περσεφόνη)." (trans. by the author)

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology , the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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