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Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- Masq, 09:52:18 10/23/03 Thu

I sat watching this episode thinking, "What exactly is going on here?" By the end of the episode, I had decided that the Reaper was a human ghost who been haunting the land around the Wolfram and Hart building for two centuries, taking ghosts of dead employees that should have ended up haunting the building along with him and sending them on to their Hellish destination/destiny.

Spike isn't a ghost, but he is a spiritual entity stuck in the Wolfram and Hart building because of the amulet. The thing that has been tugging him into Hell these past few episodes has been the Reaper (leave it to 5th season ME to turn that arc into a monster-of-the-week).

So the first question is, what's this "Hell" place, anyway? Hell in Judeo-Christian mythology is something I could never quite figure out. God sends the souls of unrepentant sinners to Hell. The Devil is in charge of Hell. But the Devil is God's enemy. So why would the Devil help God out by giving sinners the punishment they deserve? It's like a state governor putting the worst criminal ever in charge of the state prison.

"hell" (little 'h') in the Buffyverse has always been a different sort of place. The physical demon dimensions. But the Hell (big 'H') in this episode seems more like the Judeo-Christian Hell. It's spiritual. Incorporeal. A place of punishment for the dead who were evil in life.

We've heard references to this sort of Hell before. Lilah in Home says she's come back up to Earth from Hell to do a favor for the Senior Partners. Holland Manners had the same arrangement.

The dialogue in "Hell Bound" implies that only beings with souls go this Hell, for punishment after death. The Reaper, who should be in this Hell himself for all his evil deeds, has "bought" himself a reprieve by, in essence, supplying souls to Hell. He helps dispatch the Wolfram and Hart employee-ghosts who otherwise would be haunting the building--to the Hell they no doubt would have ended up in eventually.

But if this Hell is about punishing the evil, why would folks like Lilah and Holland get a reprieve from it to come back up to Earth to help the Senior Partners do more evil? Well, maybe they are in a different Hell. One that was part of their contracts with the Senior Partners. But that just raises another question--how the hell (pardon that) did they manage to worm their way out of going to the "evil sinners punishment" Hell?

Isn't any all-powerful force for Good in charge around here?

Well, maybe not. The Powers that Be and creations, not creators. They're very powerful creations, but they're certainly not all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing. They try very very hard to minimize their involvement in human/mortal affairs. They were more about free will and giving brief cryptic visions than the all-out interference of Jasmine. So who is to say they would care about where human souls ended up after death?

OK, other interesting points to ponder. Redemption. Redemption now has an operational definition in the Buffyverse, which it really didn't have before. It means "not going to Hell after I die." We saw hints of this with Buffy ending up in a heavenly dimension after season 5 of BtVS, but a punishment Hell-after death was only speculation then. Now it seems a real place, too.

Angel doesn't believe he's "redeemed" by the above definition of the word. He believes he is going to Hell when he dies. He doesn't believe that anything he does for the rest of his unlife is going to change that. Is Spike destined for Hell as well? Spike believes so, and so does Angel.

Angel also gave up on another definition of "redemption"--through the Shanshu prophecy--back in season 2 of AtS ("Epiphany"). He stopped believing in the prophecy that if he did enough good things, he'd be made human.

He decided to live his life helping people just for the sake of helping them. But in the end, when his vampire body is finally dust, he believes his soul will still go to Hell. He doesn't care; he will do good anyway, because he doesn't want to see people suffer. And because he wants to help others stay out of Hell.

What about unsouled vampires? Where do they go after they are dusted? We don't know much about this. Human Darla in season 2 of AtS claimed to have no memory of the time between when she was dusted in season 1 of BtVS and when she was revivified. It would seem, though, the if souled vampires go to hell for their deeds when they were unsouled, that the spirit/essence of unsouled vamps would reunite with their human souls and then they'd be dispatched to Hell.


[> All very good questions. -- Gyrus, 10:13:27 10/23/03 Thu

Angel told Darla at one point that when she turned him into a vampire, she damned him. Going by that, and by what Angel says in this episode, it seems that one can be damned even for deeds for which one is not responsible, or maybe even just by association. That certainly detracts from the notion that Hell is an instrument of justice. (And it would imply, as you suggest, that unsouled vampires will all burn eventually.)

Instead, it seems like Hell is something you get dragged into. If you are touched by evil, willingly or not, it gets its claws into you, and it will pull you down no matter what you do afterwards. You can go down struggling (i.e., trying to redeem yourself or escape your fate) and end up in eternal torment, or you can cut a deal (like Lilah and Holland did) and join the gang, at least at the flunky level. You can be evil's employee, or you can be its plaything, but it will get you one way or another. And it may be no fault of your own. In a world like that, living virtuously may be like staying out of bad neighborhoods -- it lowers your risk of being mugged but doesn't eliminate it.

[> [> miasma -- Miyu tVP, 11:00:51 10/23/03 Thu

I'm having trouble tying this all in (maybe someone else has thoughts) but the idea of original sin comes to mind. In my many years of catholic upbringing, I always had a problem with this concept, but it seems like it might have bearing. Especially as we seem to be up to our ears in the judeo-christian stuff this season.

The idea that from the instant of birth one is automatically "tainted" with sin. that the sins of the father are visited upon the son... even if the son didn't do anything wrong.

That Spike & Angel, despite their souls, are still bound by the "original" sin of their vampire birth - from the demon (literally the "origin" of all vamps.)

I have issues with this concept, as I have issues with hell & punshiment in general. So as you can imagine I'm having major issues with this season! ;)

[> [> [> Re: Our pal Augustine... -- Rendyl, 11:54:30 10/23/03 Thu

***The idea that from the instant of birth one is automatically "tainted" with sin. that the sins of the father are visited upon the son... even if the son didn't do anything wrong.***

***I have issues with this concept, as I have issues with hell & punshiment in general. So as you can imagine I'm having major issues with this season! ;)***

You are not the only one. It has always bugged me that one man's vices (and what seems like his need not to be responsible for them) shaped such a huge concept in Christianity.

But since the laws of physics are slightly different in the Buffyverse it may be more than religious theory there. It (original sin) certainly makes a nice wall to bounce not only Angel and Spike, but Angel and Connor as well.


[> [> [> Re: miasma -- sdev, 15:26:50 10/23/03 Thu

I have always thought that becoming a vampire was a metaphor for original sin. In part it depends on whether you hold Angel or William responsible for being vamped. I do not because I don't think they had any free will in the matter because any supposed acquiescence was without the facts.

[> Re: Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- skyMatrix, 10:46:53 10/23/03 Thu

We weren't sure whether it was the Reaper dragging him to "hell" or not, when we talked about it in chat. There was a general feeling among many that we hoped that wasn't the case. It seems like we won't really be certain until next week, and if I were you I'd probably be tempted to refrain from judgement until then, but I know that's not how it works!

So... I think it would be one of those unanswered questions. "Was the Reaper responsible for his dissappearances?" "Was he really visiting 'hell' or not?" "Will he continue to disappear?"

It seems you could present many of the seemingly new interpretations as dubious. Is redemption really "not going to hell" or is this just a new nihilism? Angel decided that he wasn't fighting for his reward or even to "win" against evil back in "Epiphany," sorta, but I felt, as did other chatters, that his guilty feelings that he "deserves" hell are in response to his guilt over what he did to Connor (whether he realizes this consciously or not). Just because Angel is so certain of his destination doesn't make it any more certain that he's correct than a Christian who's sure he/she's going to heaven, or etc... even if your belief system is "correct," so to speak, part of the belief system is that you can't predict the end result. Then how does he know?

Okay, this is a little disjointed, but regarding your feeling that we have switched from "hells" to "Hell," I think that the destination the Reaper was avoiding and was trying to send Spike to is just another "hell dimension." When someone like Giles or Tara talks about the afterlives they are more likely to talk about dimensions, but when someone more directly involved talks about it, they just say "heaven" or hell." (Buffy says "I think I was in heaven," Angel always talks about having been to hell).

As for your confusions about why God's enemy gets to be custodian of hell, well we've seen that the "gods" in this universe are quite heinous last season (ok just one of them but it doesn't seem to bode well for the rest, really!) Joss, from what I can tell, is actively antagonistic about religion, and unlike the average "non-believer," this doesn't seem to come from ignorance but from a fair amount of understanding of Christiany beliefs, judging from previous subject matter expressed, although his (semi-?)Christian writers might help with some of that. So I think that Joss/ME whomever is well aware of that seeming lack of justice inherent in "hell/Hell" and they are making that explicit. Having a soul ensures that you experience punishement? The worst souls can make a deal with hell? It's not fair, it's not supposed to be! What's worse than a world without providence? A world where providence is sinister, or at least capricious.

Then again... Willow suspected that the afterlife was so injust that Buffy would be sent to hell just because she sacrificed herself into a mystic portal! Admittedly that was just the rationalzation she gave herself and others in order to justify crimes against the laws of nature, but it shows that the characters' understanding of what happens to them after death is heavily tempered by their own attitudes (Mr. States-the-Obvious here, but it seems relevant), and that overly unfair evaluations of the afterlife have been shown to be incorrect before.

I hope that helps, if anything I said is unclear I'd be happy to try to elaborate on it as well.

[> [> Re: Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- Rob, 11:09:26 10/23/03 Thu

We weren't sure whether it was the Reaper dragging him to "hell" or not, when we talked about it in chat. There was a general feeling among many that we hoped that wasn't the case.

I disagree here. I hope it was the Reaper, because in my conception of the thing, it is important for Spike to believe he is going to Hell. Maybe that's the key to redemption. Doing good deeds, with the full belief that you will one day go to Hell. It doesn't mean that will necessarily happen. If Spike continues for the rest of his unlife to do good deeds and continues to think he will one day go to Hell, I'm pretty sure he'll go to Heaven (or a heaven dimension, or...you know what I mean), same with Angel. If it really were Hell sucking him in here, it would take away this possibility, which, IMO, is the real point here...Spike and Angel are more likely to be redeemed if they are positive they never will be, and continue to fight the good fight anyway.

but I felt, as did other chatters, that his [Angel's] guilty feelings that he "deserves" hell are in response to his guilt over what he did to Connor (whether he realizes this consciously or not).

I don't see that being so much the main reason, although it certainly is a factor, so much as his defeat of Jasmine. He was just recently given the L.A. branch of Wolfram and Hart, as a result of destroying world peace, which, in turn, was a result, paradoxically, of saving the world. He saves the world, and in the process, brings misery, discontentment, and emptiness to thousands of people...which causes the most evil people in the world to want him to work for them! I think that heavily influenced his current frame of mind. No matter what he does, Hell seems to come for him, this time pretty literally, in the form of Wolfram and Hart.

Okay, this is a little disjointed, but regarding your feeling that we have switched from "hells" to "Hell," I think that the destination the Reaper was avoiding and was trying to send Spike to is just another "hell dimension." When someone like Giles or Tara talks about the afterlives they are more likely to talk about dimensions, but when someone more directly involved talks about it, they just say "heaven" or hell." (Buffy says "I think I was in heaven," Angel always talks about having been to hell).

I disagree here too. I think it really was Hell, with a capital H. There seemed something much more mythic and resonant and final about it than the other hells we've seen.

So I think that Joss/ME whomever is well aware of that seeming lack of justice inherent in "hell/Hell" and they are making that explicit. Having a soul ensures that you experience punishement? The worst souls can make a deal with hell? It's not fair, it's not supposed to be!

Exactly what I've always found completely turvy topsy about the Christian concept of Hell...How can evil people be punished, after death, by creatures who are evil themselves? Doesn't the fact that the beings in Hell are evil mean they are on the same side as their captives? I think the Senior Partners in fact are either very high-ranking officials in Hell, or at the least, have the high-ranking officials of Hell in their pockets, and are thus able to secure certain things that other damned souls aren't able to, such as the ability to spring some of their damned souls, such as Lilah and Holland, out at times to continue to do evil work. Hell is a tricksy concept.


[> [> [> Lilah & Holland -- skyMatrix, 11:37:58 10/23/03 Thu

Should we respond to the occasional outings these two lawyers have been permitted as further proof that hell is injust? With Lilah, we were shown in her scenes with Wesley in "Home" that as much snark as she was exhibiting, it wasn't really any great reward for her to prance about on Earth again. It was really just a different aspect of her punishment. The contracts these two signed with the Senior Partners did seem to allow the SP to give them occasional pseudo-ressurections and therefore break what we might see as "the rules" of hell, but all other things being equal (and so far, they're not), I think the "spirit" of hell is maintained, because Lilah, at least, didn't really seem to be getting a respite from her suffering. If you want to bargain your way out of after-death punishment for your evil, I don't think the Senior Partners are the "people" you talk to!

[> [> [> [> LOL! -- Rob, 11:44:47 10/23/03 Thu

The contracts these two signed with the Senior Partners did seem to allow the SP to give them occasional pseudo-ressurections and therefore break what we might see as "the rules" of hell, but all other things being equal (and so far, they're not), I think the "spirit" of hell is maintained, because Lilah, at least, didn't really seem to be getting a respite from her suffering. If you want to bargain your way out of after-death punishment for your evil, I don't think the Senior Partners are the "people" you talk to!"

Actually, very true. Completely agree. Lilah certainly wasn't thrilled about that contract that wouldn't burn up. I was more I think responding to Masq's question of how W&H are able to allow certain people out, thus continuing and furthering the cause of evil, if they're supposed to be being punished for their evil, not perpetrating more. So whether being forced to do W&H's bidding is punishment or not (and I'd say it is), they are continuing to work for evil after death, which undermines the concept of Hell as strictly a place of punishment for the evil. Hell reveals itself to be inherently hypocritical!


[> [> [> [> [> Re: LOL! -- leslie, 16:15:37 10/23/03 Thu

Just a thought in terms of locations of hHell--the Reaper seemed seemd to be cottoning onto souls of W&H employees who died in the building itself (he must have had a field day when the Beast wiped out most of the staff!). Holland and Lilah both died off the premises. Does this mean they may be in a different hell?

It seemed to me that the underlying premise of what was going on was that W&H had sacrificed Pavayne in order to deconsecrate the ground, and they needed him because his evil was in his blood. But although they got what they wanted haematologically speaking, hi soul was a different matter. Now, it seemed to me that the reason he was grabbing all the loose souls around W&H and sending them to hHell was in order to prevent his soul from being sucked in there. They were proxy soul sacrifices. So, does this hHell want him because it's tied to whatever was the evil virtue of his blood? In which case, this hHell predates W&H, while the place that has Holland and Lilah is definitely a post-W&H deal because they are still at the beck and call of the Senior Partners. I guess in a way I am thinking in terms of Dante-esque circles of Hell--the one that Pavayne was dealing with was deeper--at least temporally--than the one that Holland and Lilah are in.

[> [> but it's not fair!!!!! -- Miyu tVP, 11:26:13 10/23/03 Thu

So I think that Joss/ME whomever is well aware of that seeming lack of justice inherent in "hell/Hell" and they are making that explicit. Having a soul ensures that you experience punishment? The worst souls can make a deal with hell? It's not fair, it's not supposed to be!

I think it *is* supposed to be fair. Buffy died to save the world and her sister... and in fact went to heaven for it.

We all know that life is not fair. We wish it were, but it isn't. But I have serious problems when someone tries to construct an afterlife that perpetuates the flaws and injustices of this world. The very idea of "Hell" (not a hell dimension, but THE Hell) requires a judgemnt call. It is a bad place for bad people. To say that Hell exists, but the rules governing Hell are unfair is just..... aaaaaaaaagh!

And you're probably right that this is what Joss/ME whoever is trying to get at. The inherent absurdity of a heaven/hell scenario... but to see Angel and Spike bound literally to this sort of system is breaking my heart. and pretty f***ed up. Damn you, Joss!!! :)

[> [> Re: Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- anom, 21:29:54 10/26/03 Sun

"Then again... Willow suspected that the afterlife was so injust that Buffy would be sent to hell just because she sacrificed herself into a mystic portal!"

I don't think that was why. The portal was a rift between multiple dimensions, & from what we saw come through it, as well as what we know was Glory's intended destination, most of those dimensions were likely hellish. Willow & the other Scoobies, as far as we know, only knew of hell or demon dimensions at that point--I don't even remember any that could be described as neutral, let alone heavenly. In fact, the first we hear of possible heavenly dimensions is in the next season, when Tara says Buffy could have been in one.

Willow's belief that Buffy's essence could have been in a hell dimension doesn't seem connected to belief in an unjust afterlife, or any kind of judgment on Buffy or her sacrifice. It seems based on the knowledge they had at the time of what kinds of other dimensions existed & the fact that Buffy's essence was separated from her body at a point that could lead to any of them.

[> Judeo-Christian Devil -- RichardX1, 10:54:18 10/23/03 Thu

The Judeo-Christian Devil (or the Christian Devil, anyway) isn't "in charge" of Hell; technically, I don't think anyone is. In Christian lore, Satan dwells primarily on the Earth (albeit in a noncorporeal, invisible, voice-in-the-back-of-your-head-trying-to-make-sinful-acts-seem-like-the-right-thing-to-do kind of way) leading humans away from God's will--in fact, he still addresses the Throne on occasion trying to talk God into forsaking Man.

Hell is where sinners (read: humans... and some others later) go when they die, because their lack of spiritual perfection makes them unworthy to live in God's eternal presence (I'll leave the topic of "How can God demand perfection when He wasn't perfect enough for people to never reject Him in the first place?" for private debate off the thread). To Satan, Hell is just a wastebasket where human souls go when they're no longer useful to him. According to Biblical prophecy, the only interaction the Devil will have with Hell is when (a) he's chucked into the Bottomless Pit at the beginning of the Millenial Reign of Christ, and (b) when he's chucked into the Lake of Fire after crawling out of the Bottomless Pit.

[> [> Masq, I think Richard's got it right here -- Scroll, 10:55:55 10/24/03 Fri

According to Christian doctrine, the devil is not in charge of hell at all. God is the one in control. In the end times, the devil/Satan is thrown into hell, imprisoned in the lake of burning sulphur to be tormented day and night for ever and ever, etc.

This quote refers to point (a) Richard makes above:

"And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time." Rev. 20:1-3

This quote refers to point (b) Richard makes above:

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev. 21:14-15

Satan is mostly described as wandering the earth. Take a look at the book of Job in the Old Testament for one of the better examples of the devil's handiwork, and how God deals with him and with humans.

I wish I could comment more, but my computer is dying on me and I gotta make this quick! Hope it helps.

[> [> [> Sweet validation! -- RichardX1, 10:21:00 10/26/03 Sun

Many thanks to Grant Pilkay and his mother Helen for their insight into Biblical matters.

[> [> [> [> Heh..General ramblings on the devil's history -- Random, 14:57:51 10/26/03 Sun

At the risk of interfering with the sweetness, I will note that the picture, while theologically sound, is culturally and practically incomplete. While it is true that the Devil/Adversary is a victim of hell, tormented eternally, ovver the range of the Middle Ages, throught the Renaissance, up until the modern era, the Devil's role has changed. Keeping in mind first of all the observations elsewhere in this thread that the Judaistic influences cast the precursor to the Christian Devil as a servant of God, the Satan (adversary), we can see a distinct shift as Christianity began to emphasize a quasi-dualistic (quasi- because there can be no true dualism when half the dualistic pair is omnipotent and the other half isn't) scheme, predicated upon the War in Heaven and the angels being cast out. Given early Christianity's emphasis on humility and suffering, it's not surprising that the adherents latched onto the tale of the pride and rebellion that characterized the Devil's fall. From that moment forth, the Devil burned in Hell, tormented. However, even then, there were intimations of a greater role for him as quite a few of the New Testament Gospels (the number would not be narrowed down for dozens and dozens to just four for a while yet) alluded to demonic forces influencing the earth, and the famous story of Satan offering Jesus dominions over the earth exercised great power (a power that would diminish as the prelates and the Church grew richer and more influential...especially in Byzantium.) So the devil was not trapped, exactly. Nor was he strictly free. He was the Prince of Earth, it's true, primarily because the physical world and state were identified as innately corrupt and sinful. Who else but Satan could be in charge? Much of this line of thought was a carryover from the Gnostic doctrines, actually. The tradition of the Satan as God's servant still survived into early Christianity in shreds and vestiges, but by and large, he was a hostile adversary who existed by God's sufferance, but nevertheless fulfilled the divine plan because his very nature drove him to tempt men, test their faith. He was still a functional being, reflecting the wisdom of the Hebrew tradition that preceded Christianity. Over the centuries, until the Renaissance, the Devil continued to be tormented in Hell (interestingly, he was not usually anthropomorphized as such back then -- a typical rendition of him portrayed him as a human-faced insectoid creature, among other forms. The dramatic transition from his glory as an angel was thereby emphasized.) But he -- and the lesser fallen angels -- also tormented others...Satan, for instance, was generally portrayed as chomping down on the vilest sinners. Not necessarily because the fallen angels were required to by God, but because their own evil natures drove them to it. Therefore, the divine plan was once again neatly carried out.

By the Inquisition, and, subsequently, the Protestant Reformation, a perceptual shift was in full swing. The rebellion against authoritarianism naturally translated into the concept of the Devil as a ruler (interesting theory, no?) Hell was still a place of punishment, but the Devil and his angels had free rein to torment the hapless souls. In a sense, they had become part of the landscape, tormented, but at the head of the pecking order. They were God's instruments of vengeance, for God himself was too good to dirty his hands directly with such a thing. By the Enlightenment, the Devil had even achieved a degree of autonomy unheard of in tradition. He was redeemed by modern philosophers and writers, transformed into a romantic figure (more precisely, a Romantic figure.) While a full history of the Romantic movement's fascination with the Devil and the influence of humanism on the tradition is fascinating, it's a very long and complex discussion, so I will just note that the Devil has gone through many transitions and transformations, and will likely continue to do so. There is no single historical line on his role in Hell...it entirely depends on the specific era and the concerns over other issues. Theologians in the Middle Ages were notorious for trying to define the precise nature of theological perplexities...and the role of the Devil often depended on how the theologian percieved the general nature of God and the cosmos. A distant unmoved mover might require a more liberal interpretation of the Devil, while an immediate, vengeful God might condemn all sinners equally, be they human or angel.

[> [> [> [> [> No talk on the Devil is complete without -- Lunasea, 16:30:59 10/26/03 Sun

at least mentioning the duality of Zoroastrianism and its influence of both Judaism and later Christianity. Much of the duality between the forces of good and evil, heaven/hell, the roles of the angels and the last judgment come from this influence. Cyrus the Great, not a Jew but a Persian, is the last messiah. Yahweh and Ahura Mazda are one and the same. The Temple that the Israelites rebuild to Yahweh is the Temple that Ahura Mazda ordered Cyrus to build. The Persian treasury helped pay for this.

Ahriman was chief of the devils. He produced an evil creation to match Ahura Mazda's good creation. Hell was described as a lake of fire and the good entered paradise of all good things. At the end of time, there will be a cosmic judgment that will involve the resurrection of the dead.

The Magi were opposed by Zoroaster's monotheism, but their appearance in the birth narrative is significant.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: No talk on the Devil is complete without -- RichardX1, 19:09:06 10/26/03 Sun

>>Yahweh and Ahura Mazda are one and the same. The Temple that the Israelites rebuild to Yahweh is the Temple that Ahura Mazda ordered Cyrus to build.<<

I thought they were rebuilding the Temble that Solomon built.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Cyrus and Darius -- sdev, 23:01:42 10/26/03 Sun

The Second Temple was actually built under the reign of Darius the son of Cyrus, although Cyrus was very sympathetic to the Jews in exile and began the process (Paul Johnson, History of the Jews 1987). Much literature including the OT (Daniel 9) says King Ahasuerus and Cyrus are one and the same. Ahasuerus was the King who Queen Esther married thereby saving the Jews from an edict that demanded that all Jews be killed (see Book of Esther). Darius was the son of Cyrus and Esther (Daniel 9). Thus according to this genealogy Darius the builder of the Second Temple was Jewish by his mother. The Persian treasury did indeed pay for the building which by some estimates took 200-400 years.

Cyrus subscribed to a monotheistic version of Zoroasterism (Cambridge History of Judaism, 1984). It is arguable whether Zoroasterism as a general matter is monotheistic because of its belief in more than one god, although not of equal powers. Generally belief in more than one god is the hallmark of polytheism. Technically belief in more than one god but worshiping only one god is called henotheism. Since Ahriman, the Satanic evil spirit, was also a creator this is another challenge to the claim of monotheism. Ahriman created death.

Undoubtedly Zoroasterism influenced the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Cyrus the Great, not a Jew but a Persian, is the last messiah.

I'm not sure where you are getting this from? According to Zoroasterism? I have not seen this anywhere.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cyrus and Darius -- Lunasea, 09:47:11 10/27/03 Mon

Esther marries King Xerxes who is also known as Ahasuerus who reigned from 485-464 BCE. This is NOT Cyrus the Great, or Cyrus II who reigned from 556-530 BCE. The story of Esther makes no sense coming under Cyrus the Great's reign. He was great for a reason. He didn't exterminate people because of religious differences.

The Book of Ezra starts with Cyrus' decree which is made in 538. Ezra 6:2-6 quotes an even more detailed account of this decree, made not by Darius, but by Cyrus. Darius is carrying on Cyrus' work. Cyrus' son was Cambyses II. He reigned for 8 years and added Egypt to the Persian empire. Cambyses died in 522 and a fierce fight for control of the empire resulted. Darius, a general, eventually gained control and expanded the empire from India to Greece. Darius had a glorious reign from 522-486 BCE. His father was Vishtaspa. He is also known as the Great, like Cyrus, but they are not related. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.

What made Cyrus truly great was how he treated other cultures and religions. He contrasted with the terror tactics used by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Isaiah 41:1-4 refer to Cyrus and he is called "champion of justice and God's attendant" He is again refered to in 44:28. Then comes the fun part. Persian Cyrus, in Isaiah 45:1 refered to as meshiah or annointed "Thus says the Lord to his anointed Cyrus..." Messiah is typically reserved for a expected future king who will deliver the people from their present oppression or misfortune and restore the glory of David's kingdom. Cyrus did that. Last one who did, unless we want to count Jesus. Life under Persian rule was uneventful and there was no delivery from Roman rule/oppression.

Cyrus was a master diplomat. When his grandfather Astyages sent two armies to attack him, he convinced them to join him and hand over Astyages. He won many battles with the promise of mercy (Angel should study him). On October 539 the citizens of Babylon opened the gates to him because of their king's failure to honor Marduk. Cyrus continued the services in honor of Marduk, no sacrileges were committed and Cyrus "took the hand of god" and was proclaimed Marduk's choice as king. He was never considered by the Babylonians to be a foreigner. He was known as the Beloved of Marduk and Defender of Marduk. He had policy of letting nations that had been exiled and resettled by the Assyrians and Babylonians return to their native lands.

Monotheistic Cyrus said that both Marduk and Yahweh were his gods. He equated the two with Ahura Mazda and the man that freed the Jews from captivity was quite an influence on them. He said that he allowed the exiles to return home to please Yahweh, not for some woman. Esther did not marry Xerxes to prevent the decree of Haman being carried out. She was already his favorite and queen before Mordecai refused to honor Haman. She helped Xerxes discover Haman's evilness by admitting she was a Jew and his decree would mean her death as well.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Crisis of faith or existential angst? -- Arethusa, 10:59:28 10/27/03 Mon

One of my favorite books as a kid was Gladys Malvern's book about Queen Esther-her great beauty, kind heart and bravery. But the story is not true, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Oxford Dictionary of the Bible, and Harper's Bible Dictionary. The historical and Biblical accounts don't mesh.

"This story must be considered an allegory because the events it relates never occurred. The story begins in the third year of the reign of Xerxes, which would be 484 B.C. He did not have a wife named "Vashti," (or "Esther," either) then or ever (his wife at this time was Amestris, daughter of a Persian general), but "Vashti" was the name of an Elamite goddess. "Esther," too, is the name of a goddess -- it's Aramaic for "Ishtar," the chief Babylonian goddess. ("Hadassah," the name Esther's family called her, comes from the Babylonian for "bride" and was one of Ishtar's titles.) "Mordecai" is a form of the Hebrew for "Marduk," the Babylonians' chief god. "Haman" comes from the name of the Elamites' chief god, "Hamman." "Shushan" is identified with Xerxes's capital, Susa. The allegory means that Babylonian gods replaced Elamite gods in Susa in the last years of the Assyrian Empire, and it was written at a time when the Macedonians posed the kind of danger to the Jews that the story describes. "

As it has throughout the history of mankind, the story serves the needs of the people who create it. The underlying issues are the only things that don't change. What happens after we die? Why do we suffer? If there is no reward, why should we try to do right? Angel is in what I would describe as existential despair-being depressed about existing. Spike illustrates this as well in Hellbound, going from fear of being nothing to accepting that it is enough to just exist. Angel's rejected ethical certainty, and must now form his own ethical code.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> all views are valid -- sdev, 00:11:16 10/28/03 Tue

I had a long post explaining and documenting various interpretations but decided this wasn't the place nor relevent to the subject at hand. Given the sensitive nature of discussions on religious beliefs (more sensitive than Spike and Angel)may we agree that belief rather than fact rules here?

We can have a private discussion in another venue if you like.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cyrus and Darius -- dmw, 11:58:32 10/29/03 Wed

I finally catch up only to find Lunasea made the post about Persian history I was going to make. I will add that while Darius was not the son of Cyrus the Great, he did marry one of the daughters of Cyrus, so the later Achaemenids are related Cyrus.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The last messiah? -- dmw, 11:57:17 10/29/03 Wed

Cyrus the Great, not a Jew but a Persian, is the last messiah.

I always thought it was Vespasian as Josephus prophesized. He did come from Palestine to rule the world1, after all.

1Okay, he didn't rule those pesky Parthians, but who ever did?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The last messiah? -- sdev, 17:05:06 10/29/03 Wed

As Josephus said to Vespasian: "I come as a messenger of the greatness that awaits you. Had I not been sent by God himself...You, Vespasian, are Ceasar and Emperor, you and your son here. So load me up with your heaviest chains and keep me for yourself; for you are master not only of me, Caesar, but of land and sea and all the human race."
The Jewish War, Josephus, Dorset Press,1985 .

Or you could go with the version that has Yochanan ben Zakkai, leader of the Pharisees in the lead role of prognosticator of Vespasian's future role. Because of ben Zakkai's "prediction" Vespasian gave him safe harbor and allowed Yavneh to flourish as the center of Jewish intellectual thought as Jerusalem was plundered thus casting Vespasian in the saviour role. Echoes of Glory, Berel Wein, 2001.

[> Another question that rocks the whole boat. -- CW, 10:58:32 10/23/03 Thu

Why should ensouled Angel or Spike, be the least bit concerned about going to hell for the deeds their unsouled forms committed? Very much like punishing the sons for the father's crimes, it seems unproductive on the cosmic scale. The souls in question were each only guilty of a lapse of judgement in allowing themselves to be murdered and turned into vampires. The rest is the work a demon without a soul. Is the soul related to a vampire that Buffy dusts fresh from the grave, who hasn't had a chance to commit real evil, just as damned as Spike and Angel who have memories of horrid acts?

[> [> Re: Another question that rocks the whole boat. -- Masq, 17:20:25 10/23/03 Thu

Well, for at least the past four years, the ME writers on both BtVS and AtS have seemed to drop the "the vampire is a demon that is a different person from the original human" idea and replaced it with "the vampire is just that same person without a conscience (soul) and with a demon physiology".

I discuss the distinction and give some relevant episodes

here and here

[> [> [> Re: Another question that rocks the whole boat. -- CW, 22:24:56 10/23/03 Thu

I had started a long response to this, but it's getting late and I wasn't coming to any good conclusions soon. I did want to say I have read your analysis about this, before. Yes, some of us actually do read your stuff. ;o)

I think the point still remains. Is it possible to consider a soulless vampire the same person as an ensouled one? Not unless the soul is more a prepackaged guilt-trip than a conscience, in my opinion. Even in the Buffyverse people with souls still do evil, so we are all skating on thin ice in our discussions.

A leopard is not supposed to be able to change it's 'ahem' stripes. But, if somehow they are changed, is it still a leopard? Maybe that's what this season is about.

[> [> [> [> As usual when I summarize without the argument, it's not very clear what I'm getting at. -- Cactus Watcher, 06:06:47 10/24/03 Fri

The question is whether or not ensouled Spike and Angel are responsible for what they did before they got their souls back. Why? Because, if so, it would truly be impossible for for them to atone for their 'original sin' as others here on the board have also been calling it.

But, original sin is a religious concept of a particular set of religions, and Joss is an atheist. ME doesn't have to follow that set of rules.

Angel and Spike retain the memories of what was done before their souls were returned. It horrifies and sickens them. They feel responsible for what happened. But, are they, in fact, in a going to hell fashion responsible for that old stuff now? We really don't know. What we do know is that both Angel and Spike still have the desire deep inside to keep doing all of that horrendous evil now. We also know that since having their souls back, they've both done some pretty awful things. There are things in this stage of their existence they need to atone for. They have reason to worry about lapsing into doing worse things. They don't have reason to be smug about having a soul and having their evil deeds behind them.

The question is also whether or not Angel could truly live as a human or shanshu, if there were absolutely no hope. Isn't hope part of the human package?

I ask again; if a leopard's 'stripes' have changed, is it still a leopard?

[> [> [> [> [> One important consideration in my mind (Spoilers, BtVS S6) -- Rahael, 10:16:58 10/24/03 Fri

Is that both the souled vamps, no matter how distinct from the demon that committed those past acts - they are still vampires. They still hunger for blood. Human beings are still their best source of food. They have to constantly fight who they are to continue to behave in a manner that has moral integrity.

If one is constantly fighting the urge to feed, doesn't that help make an important connection to those memories of atrocities? Perhaps the hunger within outweighs the burning of the soul. And I think the hunger is a metaphor for the things they feel responsible for.

What are we if not for our memories - that's the question posed by Connor, Angel and Spike. HOw do we define ourselves, what are our identities? Again and again we are told that no matter how souled a vamp is, he belongs in the dark. Can't walk out in sunlight. Can't procreate (ahem). Dead, cold flesh. The lust for blood. And those memories inside. And more, the unbelonging. Neither human nor vampire.

These time torn men..pires....

[> Looking around Hell...[spoilers to 5.4] -- Random, 11:18:43 10/23/03 Thu

Unfortunately, I'm not at home right this second and can't do the necessary research, but I will give you what I can remember off the top of my head, plus some googling for the Buddhist text. Have several excellent texts at home that would be useful, sigh, but will make do with what I can remember.

The Judeo-Christian concept of Hell has been an ever-evolving one. The primary sources in the Bible refer to the outer darkness in Matthew, and the flames and torment in The Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine and, I believe, Isiah (I don't have any reference texts, so I may be misremembering.) Traditionally, the conceptualizations of Hell have fluctuated -- in the oldest tradition (psuedo-Dionysius, for example, and his via negativa) seems to consider Earth itself Hell -- very much in keeping with the themes of AtS at times, especially Angel's darkness in S2, and the punishment of Holland and Lilah on Earth. Hell as an otherworld was considered in a Platonic light, almost as a metaphor. It prefigured the modernistic concept of Hell as being the absence of God. And prefigured the even more modernistic concept of Hell as being self-created. By the full swing of the Dark Ages, however, Hell was being taken literallly as a place of torment and agony. (For an, umm, fun) afternoon, get a reproduction of a book of hours from the era that deals with Hell and look at the pictures...very disturbing.) This lasted through most of the Middle Ages (and was commemorated in mystery plays which created the original "Hellmouths" as set pieces consisting of a huge gaping maw with the forms of demons and monsters carved all around it.] By the time of Dante, however, a subtle shift was taking place. The Black Death would soon sweep Europe, and isolated pestilences had already begun decimating -- at the very least, often reducing by half or more in some places -- certain areas. The focus shifted to death and thanatos rather than hellfire and torment (also seen in the Hellmouths, as the demon carvings came to be replaced by skeletons and corpses and personifications of Death.) Hell became seen as more bitter than tormenting, despair rather than destructive passion. As the Renaissance transformed into the Age of Enlightenment and the Great Revival swept Europe and the Americas, the traditions began fracturing, and soon no- two people seemed to agree on the issue of Hell. Nor did they agree on what got you there or how to avoid it. Which leads us, then, to actually answering your question...

Judgment is a key issue. Many traditions -- though not all...certain Christian denominations are very confused on the issue, a confusion magnified by the words of Jesus, who told one of the robbers hanging on a cross next to his that "Today you will be with me in Paradise" -- require a judgment before condemnation. In Lilah and Holland's cases, this is probably a mere formality, but a necessary one nonetheless. From the weighing against Marut the Feather in ancient Egyptian eschatology to the judgment of Allah in Islam, to the Last Judgment of Christianity, the souls are brought to be specifically condemned. Perhaps the Senior Partners have found a way to delay such judgment. Legal contracts are devilish things. The problem is, traditions vary radically. Consider Dante's Divine Comedy: it's an open question, at least to me, whether these people he encounters have already gone to hell/heaven/purgatory in Dante's lifetime, or whether this is a vision of things to be. The Purgatorio certainly makes this problematic, considering that the Last Judgment apparently hasn't taken place yet. But many traditions consider Hell empty until the 2nd Coming -- even Catholicism has flirted with this doctrine. (And, just to make things confusing, some traditions eschew Hell altogether (Unitarian, for instance, and Emanuel Swedenborg's mystical theology) and others assert that it will someday be emptied, for no merciful God could condone eternal torment.)

Which brings us to the Fustian tradition. The narrative of Faust is a very old one indeed. In its basic form -- prior to Goethe, who redeemed Faust and transformed the themes for the Judeo-Christian evil to a humanistic love story -- it is the story of a man, generally a magician of some sort in an age that burned magicians at the statke, who makes a deal with the devil and then tries to thwart his rightful punishment. This is the form found in the most famous version, Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" as well as in the medieval antecedents (tropes exist from Italy, France, Germany (some of the best), and England.) But this is essentially what Lilah and Holland are doing: staving off eternal damnation. I would posit, in fact, that if there is a literal, singular Hell in the eschatological tradition rather than merely the multi-dimensional one, then the Senior Partners are, like all who exist external to Heaven and Hell, limited beings who desire Evil, but do not embody it purely. Therefore, they would have no problem sending their people to Hell, but would be self-serving enough to keep particularly talented employees on the roster a little longer. After all, Lilah and Holland were division heads, not gophers and staff. As such, we can examine the forces of Evil and Good that we see as almost-gnostic in their roles. The PTBs and the Senior Partners operate in a cosmology that places Absolute Good and Absolute Evil somewhere beyond the moral plane, dispassionate and uninvolved. True Evil and Good can take the long-range view. The PTBs and the Senior Partners take a semi-long-range view (certainly longer than that of the characters on the shows) but still get involved from time to time. This is just my humble deduction, of course, but I think it fits well.

A note on non-eternal hells, specifically Buddhism, because AtS is very much involved in the idea of torment and redemption.

[Disclaimer re Buddhism: there are many, many different variations of Buddhism, some of which don't believe in Hells per se. I am offering a general, traditional Buddhist cosmology here. I'm certain Ryuei could offer much in the way of clarification, amendment and outright contradiction here.]

There are hundreds of thousands of Hells, each one geared toward specific crimes, including 18 Greater Hells, which are reserved for particularly heinous (under Buddhist principle) crimes, such as murder, treason, sexual perversion, and the defilement of a holy person (not necessarily a Buddhist holy person.) A typical example from Buddhism --the Avici Hell is the lowest, most terrible one -- demonstrates the sort of suffering that occurs in a Buddhist hell and what one can expect upon leaving it:

After their lifetime's end
They will enter the Avici hell,
For a complete kalpa;
Reborn at each kalpa's end,
They thus go on revolving
Unto innumerable kalpas;
When they come out of hell,
They will degrade into animals,
Such as dogs or jackals,
With lean-cheeked forms,
Blue-black with scabs and sores,
The sport of men;
Moreover by men
Hated and scorned,
Ever suffering hunger and thirst,
Bones and flesh withered up.
Alive, beaten with thorns,
Dead, with shards and stones;
By cutting themselves off from the Buddha seed,
They receive such recompense.

Lotus Sutra

[The idea of a kalpa is variable, but approximately, it is the time it would take an angel brushing against a one mile cube rock once every hundred years to wear away the stone completely. This is a more modern Judeo-Christian image (the original called for the use of a piece of silk to rub the rock at the same intervals) but the modern is more poetic to my ears. More specifically, there are three types of kalpas: are three kinds of kalpas: A great kalpa of 1,344,000,000 years; the medium kalpa of 336,000,000 years, and the small kalpa of 16,800,000 years. These are all very long times, but not eternal. No form of Buddhism that I'm aware of has eternal suffering. Eventually, we will all achieve find apotheosis and nirvana, however long samsara takes.]

What is fascinating about Buddhist hell is the fact that they can be left, and finally avoided by karmic means. Spike's sitiuation seems very Buddhist to me. He is guilty of many heinous crimes, as is Angel, but he has not yet come to grips with them in the same manner that Angel did. If a change of attitude is enough, then it seems lilkely that neither Spike nor Angel would have suffered long. But this Hell lurking seems to be a reminder that Spike is only staving off punishment for now...the question is, what does he do with the time he has bought for himself? It seems he has found his path in saving Fred -- hell may lurk, but Spike is acting in a manner that ultimately will contraindicate such a fate. Angel's fatalism -- old-style Kierkegaard -- seems to contrast with Spike's realization that he still can do some good in this world. If he can't save himself, at least he can save others.

[> [> Coming to Grips -- Claudia, 11:26:32 10/23/03 Thu

[He is guilty of many heinous crimes, as is Angel, but he has not yet come to grips with them in the same manner that Angel did.]

Why you do believe that Spike has not come to grips with his crimes? Because he didn't react in the same manner as Angel?

[> [> [> Geez -- Random, 11:35:28 10/23/03 Thu

I wrote a whole long (if very general) discussion and you decide to home in on that?!? Sigh. Let me rephrase to make it clearer: He did not come to grips in the same manner as Angel did -- which is obvious, given that they took completely different paths to dealing. I was simply referencing the fact, as noted in the next sentence, that neither Angel nor Spike have truly come to grips in a manner that gives them peace of mind. And that, perhaps, as I stated not more than 3 sentences later, Spike has found himself and realized how he wants to deal with his lot in unlife. Perhaps he will give Angel hope. Ironically.

[> [> [> [> Only Part -- Claudia, 13:57:21 10/23/03 Thu

It was the only part that caught my interest. You know I'm a Spike fan.

[> [> [> [> [> Ah. How insulting. Guess you just made clear -- Random, 14:17:49 10/23/03 Thu

...to the Board the exact depths of your analytical abilities. Or shallows, as the case may be.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Runs by flashing the message board -- The Unknown Streeker!, 14:30:55 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> No one is ever unknown on the board -- Masq, 14:43:56 10/23/03 Thu

To the Powers that Be.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Putting shirt back on -- The somewhat known ex-streeker, 14:48:43 10/23/03 Thu

But it did put a smile on everybody's faces I'll bet!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well -- Tchaikovsky, 14:51:55 10/23/03 Thu

It did make me giggle. It's streaker...

On an almost unrelated note, I've read a couple of bits of Random's post which aren't spoiler-heavy, and, fantastic post. Next Monday I shall read it all the way through, and bask in his genius.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Whoops! -- The Ex-Streaker/Bad Speller, 15:01:34 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Putting shirt back on -- Masq, 15:41:30 10/23/03 Thu

But it did put a smile on everybody's faces I'll bet!

They were too busy wondering what may or may not having been showing/jiggling.

But the Powers, we know.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hey! Nobody warned me that this thread contained partial nudity! -- Gyrus, hastily gluing black bars on the screen, 14:54:09 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Quick, someone call the Parent Television Council to give the board a bad rating!! -- Rob (seldom naughty), 14:57:25 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> About Insults . . . -- Claudia, 16:14:25 10/23/03 Thu

[...to the Board the exact depths of your analytical abilities. Or shallows, as the case may be.]

What is this about? Why do you feel it is necessary to insult me on a personal basis, in this manner?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: About Insults . . . -- Dlgood, 22:32:07 10/23/03 Thu

It was the only part that caught my interest. You know I'm a Spike fan.
What is this about? Why do you feel it is necessary to insult me on a personal basis, in this manner?

Stepping in for a moment - the author wrote an extensive piece, to which you raised an objection, which had already been covered in the piece. A question, you needn't have asked if you'd read the entire article. Your justification being that you weren't interested by the rest of said article.

And when it's pointed out, that you'd failed to grasp a key point in the article, it's quite rude to use not reading said article as an excuse. The author put some effort into writing it. In responding to your query, the author put more time and effort into the response. Instead of showing appreciation for the author's time, you go out and confirm that you aren't reading the articles seriously before commenting.

If you're going to bother commenting, and critically at that, you should at least do the author the service of reading the entire piece. To do otherwise, is an insult to the author. That, is why you got an insult in response.

You walked right into it. If you read the original piece, and comment on it thoughtfully, or apologized for overlooking the point when responded to in follow-up, you would not be getting an insult.

[> [> Also one does need to note... -- Rob, 11:29:52 10/23/03 Thu

...that Judaeo-Christian is a bit of a misnomer here. It's pretty much only Christian. Judaism doesn't have a Hell, although if I recall correctly from my 9 years at full-day Hebrew school, there is a concept of purgatory. I think it works like this (but any Jewish people here, please correct me if I'm wrong)...In the Jewish concept, everyone is taken to a certain place. Those who are good go straight from there to Heaven. Those who aren't are "cleansed" there for a time, and then go off to heaven. Those who are completely pure evil (but this means nothing short of Hitler), remain in this place forever, but their punishment is being denied heaven, not eternal torture.

On the whole, though, Judaism doesn't stress an afterlife at all. Not much is spoken about Heaven, either, although there are vague allusions to it, because unlike Christianity, where (at least I believe) the focus is being good in this life, so that you will reach paradise in the next as a reward, Judaism stresses that the world we are in right now is the paradise, and life is its own reward. Heaven afterwards is just icing on the cake. But that explains why there is no Hell in Judaism, because we aren't given a threat of damnation or the promise of heaven as incentive for being good. We're expected to do the right thing, because it's the right thing.


[> [> [> Good points -- Random, 11:38:00 10/23/03 Thu

I actually knew that, heh. I kinda avoided referencing Judaism for precisely that reason -- not much to talk about with regards to the afterlife.

[> [> [> Sounds like Purgatory! Actually I'm Protestant... but I do like the idea of a 'waiting room' ;) -- skyMatrix, 11:40:26 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> Hell isn't a place any more -- Lunasea, 13:20:07 10/23/03 Thu

At least not in Catholicism, so I would be careful to say what the Christian concept is. Thank you for the history of it, but you did leave off the current evolution. The Vatican search site is down right now, but when it goes back up, I'll get the exact announcement.

A few summers ago, the Pontif said that Hell was a state of mind. The physical place of torment has been replaced by a spiritual torment of being separated from God. Per the Catechism "The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs." It fits with the Prodigal Son. The reward of the good son is that he has remained with the Father this whole time. Doing good is its own reward.

I am thinking that this concept of hell does fit nicely with what is pulling at Spike. In heaven Buffy knew that her friends were taken care of. She was warm, loved and finished. Spike's hell would be the opposite of this. He doesn't feel loved. His body temperature is just a few degrees above room temp and he isn't finished. His chief punishment wouldn't be the torment of Angel's hell dimension, but the separation from everything, including love itself.

I tend to see love as the God of the Buffyverse.

[> [> [> [> Nice points -- Random, 15:45:10 10/23/03 Thu

What Spike is/was doing to himself was something of a hell itself. I imagine his terror and impotence were almost as horrifying to the normally brash, "tough" Spike as the threat of a literal Hell.

[> [> [> [> Ah, the primal love that moves the sun, the moon and the stars -- fresne, 16:17:18 10/23/03 Thu

Loving this thread.

In heaven ...She was warm, loved and finished. Spike's hell would be the opposite of this. He doesn't feel loved....His chief punishment wouldn't be the torment of Angel's hell dimension, but the separation from everything, including love itself.

I'd contrast Buffy's "Heaven" with Cordelia's, where she felt separated, forgotten, alone. Celestial, but by this definition, hellish. And once, there, she transformed into the cup of Jasmine's design.

[> [> [> [> [> And, I suppose spoilers for Angel 5.4 -- fresne, 16:19:23 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> so it's true? love really does make the world go 'round! -- anom, 22:03:07 10/29/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Hell isn't a place any more -- sdev, 16:40:25 10/23/03 Thu

"The physical place of torment has been replaced by a spiritual torment of being separated from God. Per the Catechism "The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."

This is very similar to the centuries old Jewish concept of Hell.

[> [> [> Agree and... -- sdev, 16:14:18 10/23/03 Thu

A couple of points to add. I don't believe Judaism views the here and now as paradise, but not everyone earns an afterlife. Maimonedes said that the reward for virtuous living is simply the good life itself. There is a great emphasis on the here and now because paradoxically, only a person who has values for which he would sacrifice his future will merit a future. An individual my lose his life, but in exchange they gain eternity.

Judaism does not believe in original sin so Hell or automatic punishment does not exist. The soul is born pure and contamination occurs through living. Hell is a temporary sojourn to cleanse some souls of misdeeds. As Rob said above, for the irredeemable there is no afterlife, existence ends.

Also in addition to the afterlife of heaven, which is temporary, there is a concept of a post-messianic rebirth of all worthy souls, Jewish and not. The bliss associated with the rebirth is from understanding and coming close to God in a perfect world without strife.

the 17th century Kabbalist, Rabbi Bacharach explained, "Hell (Gehinom) is like a sponge; it sucks up the negativity that attached itself during the soul's journey on earth, allowing the soul to return to her original state. So Hell is a learning station-a process through which a soul ultimately advances-that enables the soul to be one with her Source.

What is a soul? The spiritual part of a human being that is believed to continue to exist after the body dies. In Judaism, the soul is regarded as a "piece of the Infinite," which, through life, gathers experiences. The soul was, is and always will be a Divine property."

There is no Devil in Judaism. There is Satan who like all Angels takes instructions from God.

[> [> [> [> What my Rabbi said... -- Dlgood, 22:38:35 10/23/03 Thu

Basically, that we should strive to live virtuously, because we can. Cutting through all the strictures and rules, that's about it. Striving to be closer to the divine, not for fear of punishment (though there's quite a lot of that in the scripture) but because being closer to the divine is the end in itself.

[> [> [> [> [> hell on earth -- sdev, 00:03:30 10/24/03 Fri

I wonder if that is the same as Angel's comment to Spike.

Spike says, "Try to do the right thing, make a difference..."

Angel responds, "What else are we going to do?"

Sounds to me a lot like because we can. No big shanshuing purpose just the simple realization that there is no alternative if you have been evil and now you have a soul. They've already seen hell; it was them.

I wonder when Angel said that whether it was defeatist. In context it did sound like resignation with all the talk about going to hell anyway, but in some ways it was quite human. You live without thinking about where you are going in the end. You act because it is the right thing to do. What else would you do?

[> [> [> [> [> [> To bring this back to Judaism and then to bridge it to Catholicism -- Lunasea, 07:05:12 10/24/03 Fri

The prophecy of Angel to Shanshu can be compared to God's promise to Abraham that he will be the Father of Nations. The interesting thing is that Angel's prophecy is a way he can die and Abraham's promise is a way he can live forever. Angel's prophecy will take away his power and Abraham's promise will make him rather powerful. Both are what the two men want most.

Connor has been compared to Isaac and I agree that "Home" does match up with the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, BUT Connor doesn't play Isaac. He plays the angel that demands Isaac's sacrifice. The Senior Partners don't play the role of God. That role is played by Love. I have written before how I see Love to be the God of the Buffyverse. What is being sacrificed is Angel's ethics.

I find the dynamics of the story of the sacrifice of Isaac to be fascinating. Judaism is built on the promise of God to Abraham. God demands the sacrifice of the one thing that will fulfill that promise. How can Abraham be the Father of Nations without a true heir? In being willing to sacrifice the means for the promise to be fulfilled, Abraham proves he fears/respects God and the promise will be fulfilled.

The promise of Shanshu is built on Angel doing what he is supposed to do/pile up good deeds. Love demands the one thing that will allow him to do this (namely he now has to let enough things slide so that he keeps enough clients happy). It doesn't do this through an angel telling Angel what God wants. Instead it is done through Connor asking "so what are you gonna do about it?" Angel's response "prove it," it being his love for Connor. Angel proves that love is what is most important to him, but where is the prophecy?

We find out Angel doesn't believe in the prophecy any more. Do good and end up running an evil law firm. Angel's prophecy is ordered to the here and now and the here and now just sucks no matter what he does. Angel remarked to Jasmine that he was working on being human. He still had hope at that point. What the Senior Partners did removes Angel's hope. Love demanded that Angel sacrifice his ethics, but there was no last minute reprive. The angel that saved Connor, namely the Senior Partners, want those ethics gone.

I love reading the Old Testament. It demonstrates the evolution of thought from Moses to the Prophets. Where else do you get anything like that? You can see how history affected what the children of Israel believed, most notably after the Diasporas. The Wisdom Books (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon) are different from other biblical books. The show a minimum of interest in the great acts of salvation proclaimed by the Torah and prophets. There is little interest in Israel and a nation or its history. There is a very questioning attitude about the problems of life (why is there suffering, inequality and death and why the wicked prosper). They demonstrate a search for how to master life and how humans should behave before God. The Book of Job itself illustrates various answers to these questions and searches and shows how Jewish thought was going through a transition.

That transition eventually leads to Jesus and the Gospels. Jesus takes the promises God made to Abraham and reorders them to a Kingdom to come. Christianity is separated from Judaism not on the belief that Jesus is divine, but on this reordering. Per the Catechism "The Beatitudes take up and fulfill God's promises from Abraham on by ordering them to the Kingdom of heaven. They respond to the desire for happiness that God has placed in the human heart."

I've been thinking about this reordering a lot lately and why a show written by angry atheist existentialists would go this route. A show that used to be about reward/punishment existing on this plane now used Hell as a motivator. Just as Christianity reordered reward to an afterlife, ME has reordered punishment to an afterlife. In news, if it bleeds it leads. ME has a similar mantra realizing that suffering makes for a better story. All this suffering does look like punishment, especially for our two souled vampires. It is natural to remove that by reordering it somewhere.

But there is more to the story of Isaac. God ended up sparing Abraham's son and replaced him with His own in order to reorder those promises. After two Disaporas and Roman occupation things looked pretty grim for the children of Israel. Father of Nations? They were having trouble even being a nation. This promise was fulfilled through Jesus. Just because Angel doesn't believe in the prophecy any more, it doesn't mean it won't come true.

One of my favorite saints is Jeanne D'arc. Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied "If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there." That is the attitude that Angel has to maintain. He doesn't have to believe in the prophecy, but to disbelieve it is a belief of sorts. The prophecies aren't BS. Just their certaintude is. They are things that may or may not come true. Just has he may not shanshu, he may. He may not shanshu as he expects. That promise could be reordered to another way, namely through Connor or Spike.

Not sure where I was going with this any more, so I'll stop now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To bring this back to Judaism and then to bridge it to Catholicism -- sdev, 13:41:24 10/24/03 Fri

We find out Angel doesn't believe in the prophecy any more. Do good and end up running an evil law firm. Angel's prophecy is ordered to the here and now and the here and now just sucks no matter what he does. Angel remarked to Jasmine that he was working on being human. He still had hope at that point. What the Senior Partners did removes Angel's hope. Love demanded that Angel sacrifice his ethics, but there was no last minute reprive. The angel that saved Connor, namely the Senior Partners, want those ethics gone.

I think Angel can deal with the "now" if he has faith in the later. That is what he is questioning when he states that the prophecy is "bull." Angel is going through a crisis of faith. It is the nature of faith to be uncertain and questioning. It is how one decides to act in the face of that uncertainty that is the human dilemma and a mark of character. Belief in the 'later' can be as nebulous, and yet profound, as looking back and feeling that you've done the right thing whether or not it results in a material improvement. As in "What else are we going to do?" Angel has been looking back now for the last 100 years, and Spike is just beginning that process.

I've been thinking about this reordering a lot lately and why a show written by angry atheist existentialists would go this route. A show that used to be about reward/punishment existing on this plane now used Hell as a motivator. Just as Christianity reordered reward to an afterlife, ME has reordered punishment to an afterlife. In news, if it bleeds it leads. ME has a similar mantra realizing that suffering makes for a better story. All this suffering does look like punishment, especially for our two souled vampires. It is natural to remove that by reordering it somewhere.

I've never quite bought the atheist line since both BtVS and AtS appear to me as deeply religious (what religion is an open question, an amalgam I suspect). Perhaps our confusion is the writer's confusion. Heaven/Hell as a motivator is removed from the equation once you believe there is only one alternative available to you. This episode left off in that place, but I doubt it will remain there for long.

Also, I maintain that Connor in his current state is more like Ishmael since he went in a separate, divergent direction to greatness and his own destiny separate from Abraham. He founded his own great nation. Maybe Connor's closure holds that promise. The problem I have with Connor's story is with its effect on Angel. Connor I look at as having been redeemed from the hell of his life. But how did Angel pay for that redemption? Will it be at the cost of his own redemption?

An aside, although I agree with your assessment of the "Wisdom Books" as presenting a questioning attitude about the problems of life (why is there suffering, inequality and death and why the wicked prosper)" historically Solomon was before the Diaspora. Solomon built the first temple, and is the author of several of the books you mentioned including being the presumed author of Ecclesiastes. If you want to see the despair resulting from the destruction of the temples try the later prophets such as Isaiah (destruction of the first temple) and Jeremiah (destruction of the second temple). Lamentations can make you weep. It is written by Jeremiah, and I believe is part of the liturgy of the Holy Week. Officially the Diaspora did not begin until after the destruction of the second temple and most of the canon was closed. I hope you don't mind my fine-tuning.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To bring this back to Judaism and then to bridge it to Catholicism -- Lunasea, 10:49:58 10/27/03 Mon

Just because Solomon's name is on them, doesn't mean that he is the author. The Wisdom books have multiple human authors, even within the same book, just like the Pentatuch has Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist and Priestly sources, with the Priestly coming much, much later. The name Solomon gives them legitamacy more than says who wrote them.

Psalms: lots of authors, some probably from the early postexilic period (fifth and fourth centuries BCE)

Proverbs: Solomon parts II and V, Agur part VI, Lemuel VIII, "the wise" parts III and IV. The first nine chapters was probably edited in the early part of the fifth century BCE.

Job: most likely written between the seventh and fifth centuries BCE

Song of Songs: the language and style of the work point to a time after Babylonian exile.

Ecclesiastes: the language and style point to a late period of Hebrew, probaby three centuries BCE

Sirach: Written between 200-175 BCE

Wisdom of Solomon: Written one century BCE

These books were written after 722 and the Assyrian exile for Israel and 585 and the Babylonian exile for Judah.

Source, form and text criticisms are fun.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> not recognizing some of these books -- anom, 23:27:33 10/27/03 Mon

"The Wisdom Books (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon) are different from other biblical books."

No books called "Sirach" or "The Wisdom of Solomon" are listed in my copy of The Holy Scriptures from the Jewish Publication Society. Are these books known under different titles in Judaism & in Christianity? Or are they assigned to the "Old Testament" by Christianity but not considered part of the Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Probably b/c they are only in ... -- s'kat, 14:03:55 10/28/03 Tue

in The Catholic translation of the Bible.

Known as the Apocrypha -" these are 14 books of the Septuagint included in the Vulgate but considered uncanonical by some." (American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd edition definition of Apocrypha). (They are found mainly in the Old Testament, although I think there are a few in the New Testament - to my knowledge the Jewish Faith has never recognized this chapters. I could be wrong.) The other branches of the Christian faith don't tend to recognize them. They aren't in the King James Bible, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find them in the Torah or the Jewish verision.

To my knowledge you can only find them in the Catholic translation and not all Catholic translations contain them, since their veracity and historical significance remains questionable.

That's why you probably aren't familar with them. Only someone raised in the Catholic faith or who happens to own a version would be. (ie. myself and the other lasped and practicing Catholic's on the board.) ;-)

Hope that helps.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> different Canons -- sdev, 17:25:36 10/28/03 Tue

Wisdom Books is a term used by Catholics and Protestants to denote Book of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Wisdom, and Sirach. Judaism does not use that terminology.

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes (Quohelet), and Song of Songs are included in the Jewish Canon.

Wisdom of Solomon is not in the Jewish Canon
Ecclesiasticus Book of Sirach)is not in the Jewish Canon

The Jewish and Protestant Canon differs considerably from the arrangement and order of the Septuagint which have been adopted by the Vulgate and Orthodox . Even the Catholic canon is not synonymous with the Septuagint. The Jewish and Protestant Canons, as regards the Old Testament, differ from the Catholic Canon in the following ways:

Canon of Judaism: Torah, Neviim (Prophets), Ketubim (Writings or Hagriographa) This triplication is established in the Mishnah, the Jewish code of unwritten sacred laws, reduced to writing, c. A.D. 200.
Jewish canon excludes Esdras, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Macabees, and portions of Esther and Daniel that the Catholic Canon includes. These are collectively known as the Apocrypha by Jews and Protestants or the Deuterocanon (second canon) by Catholics. There are a few other lesser known exclusions.

Many Protestant Canons exclude the Apocrypha as well.

The three or more since some Protestants differ) Canons were set at different points in history and with different criteria. The Jewish criterion was that the work was a product of Divine Inspiration (Nevuah). Also the excluded books are believed to have a later date of authorship which impacts the preceding criteria.


This is a complicated topic fraught with exceptions, nuance and vast amounts of scholarship.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ignore my post and go with sdeve's! Far more accurate, not to mention impressive. -- s'kat, 19:35:40 10/28/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> TY. You laid the foundation -- sdev, 21:09:51 10/28/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> thanks, both of you! -- anom, 21:58:01 10/28/03 Tue

[> [> Re: Looking around Hell...[spoilers to 5.4] -- Lunasea, 12:50:34 10/23/03 Thu

If a change of attitude is enough, then it seems lilkely that neither Spike nor Angel would have suffered long.

Not necessarily. Just because one changes his attitude, doesn't mean that change was the right one. It takes a bit more than just not being evil to suspend Karma. Until Karma is suspended, the rounds of rebirth (samsara) will continue.

There are varoius levels of Awakening. The first is known as "Stream Entry."It gains its name from the fact that a person who has attained this level has entered the "stream" that flows inevitably to nirvana. He/she is guaranteed to achieve full Awakening within seven lifetimes at most, and in the interim will not be reborn in any of the lower realms.

One attains Stream Entry by cutting the fetters of self-identity views, uncertainty and grasping at precepts at practices. It isn't as easy as it sounds.

For a description of this in the Theravada tradition, please see Access To Insight: Stream Entry

Next level is Once Returning. When all aspects of the noble path are right, in terms of the activity of thought, word, and deed, the entire path converges in a single mental instant. Focus the mind in that instant and see the truth of physical and mental phenomena. Physical and mental phenomena will disband and won't appear as a focal point for the mind. The mind will escape from its shackles as thoughts of passion, aversion, and delusion disappear. But only three fetters have been broken, just as in stream entry. Passion, aversion, and delusion have merely been weakened.

This is the fruition of once-returning. Those who reach this level are destined to be reborn only once more. They have completely developed virtue and one aspect of concentration, but they still have to work on the remaining aspects of concentration, along with discernment, because these have been only partially developed. Discernment is still weak. It has cut away only the twigs and branches, while the roots are still intact. Still, people who have reached this level have seen nirvana appear close at hand.

See Access to Insight: Craft of the Heart

After this is Non-Returning. Never again will they have to be reborn in any of the sensual worlds. According to the Canon, Non-returners are of five sorts. After they pass away from the human world, they will appear in the five Pure Abodes, the highest of the Brahma worlds, there to attain Arahantship, never again to return to the sensual plane. Non-returners have only a little work left to do. Their virtue is completely developed into heightened virtue (adhisila); their training in concentration is also complete, so that they no longer have to work at it. The only thing left for them to develop is discernment. Everything else will take care of itself. They are Noble Disciples who are genuinely close to nirvana.

The above link will give more.

The final is arahantship or welcome to Nirvana. In Theravada this is the highest ideal and in Mahayana it is replaced with the Bodhisattva.

Each of these levels requires a "change of attitude." The Noble Eightfold Path is a way to attain Right View, this change in attitude that is required to cut all these fetters so that Nirvana can be attained. Neither Spike nor Angel have it. Darla did. Why was her sacrifice enough, but Spike's wasn't? Because Darla's sacrifice was driven by her actually getting it. Angel, as many wonderful epiphanies he has had, hasn't. At least, he doesn't get it enough to maintain it. That is where Karma comes into play.

Karma isn't some cosmic balance sheet. The Tathagata even said the effects of karma are one of the Four Imponderables. Angel and Spike talk about the evil they have done and how they can't make up for it. Looking at Karma as this evil is a very new age interpretation and corrupts the teachings of the Tathagata. For a better discussion of Karma I recommend Kamma and the Ending of Kamma

Essential to the Buddha's second insight was his realization of the mind's role in determining the moral quality of actions. His analysis of the process of developing a skill showed him that skillfulness depended not so much on the physical performance of an act as on the mental qualities of perception, attention, and intention that played a part in it. Of these three qualities, the intention formed the essence of the act -- as it constituted the decision to act -- while attention and perception informed it. Thus the skillfulness of these mental phenomena accounted for the act's kammic consequences.

The important thing in karma is the mental state. A change in attitude will remove one from samsara, but this change is made hard by karma. Think of Karma like bad or good habits.Descartes "I think therefore I am" becomes "I think and it is really hard to think something else." Buddhism is a process to cultivate thinking something else.

For those interested in Buddhism I highly recommend the book Wings to Awakening

The site all these links come from is also excellent Access to Inisght

[> [> Hades -- mamcu, showing some ignorance, 15:30:58 10/23/03 Thu

I'm only going to bring this up because I know some of you know more than me, and will improve and correct this. I"m thinking about the House of Death that Ulysses visits for directions from Tiresias to get home after being on Circe's Island(Book XI of The Odyssey. I don't think it's the Hell that Spike fears, b/c it seems to be a place where all the dead--"the shambling, shiftless dead"-- go, not just those who have done wrong:

Up out of Erebus they came,
flocking toward me now, the ghosts of the dead and gone...
Brides and unwed youths and old men who had suffered much
and girls with their tender hearts freshly scarred by sorrow,
and great armies of battle dead, stabbed by bronze spears,
men of war still wrapped in boody armor...

They seems to feed on the blood of sacrifice, and are recognizable as themselves. However, they are clearly like the ghost that Spike has become in their intangibility. Ulysses tries to embrace his mother's shade:

Thre times I rushed toward her, desperate to hold her,
three times she fluttered through my fingers, sifting away
like a shadow, dissolving like a dream...

Ulysses sees many of his compatriots and opponents from the Trojan war there, many figures from history and myth , including Persephone. She is clearly the Queen of Hell--when he finally turns to go:

...the dead came surging round me,
hordes of them, thousands raising unearthly cries,
and blanching terror gripped me--panicked now
that Queen Persephone might send up from Death
some monstrous head, some Gorgon's staring face!

First, in spite of the fact that this is not a place of judgment but just of Death, it causes terror to Ulysses, the wily trickster who has used his wits to survive many perils. I think we've discussed Spike the Trickster before now.

Also, Persephone's presence takes us back to that myth, the origin of winter, Hades' kidnapping of her. Thus Hades' hell in a sense is a part of the natural order, death as the other side of life.

If I'm not being too loosey-goosey with mythology here, I'd make a parallel with Taoist views, the yin/yang of life/death. If I get a chance, I'll look for more on that version of hell--if there is one.

No conclusions--just some observations. Translation is Fagles.

[> [> [> That's really great.. -- Random, 15:42:49 10/23/03 Thu

Hades, unlike the modern hell, wasn't a place of punishment per se. People were punished there (Sisyphus, Tantalus) for crimes against the Gods, but it was a generic afterlife. Achilles went there and bemoans that he would rather be a simple farmer on a tiny patch of land than "sovereign rule over the shades." There is no real distinction between good and evil, hero and scoundrel.

I tened to see Hellbound as a MOTW ep (disappointingly, since I felt that this was anticlimatic when contrasted with the psychological thriller that was building), but Hades does indeed seem like an apt analogy for some aspects of what was happening in this episode. The Hell that waits is yet to be seen...but Spike experienced some sort of impotent purgatory not unlike Hades of classical Greek myth. And he has now begun to reclaim his power through expression of his will...one of the defining characteristics of the shades of Hades was their absolute ineffectuality. It's an interesting metaphor here. Now, let's connect it to the Orpheus metaphor....

BTW, I'd love to hear about the Taoist connections. I plan to write more about Hell when I get a chance or perhaps access some actual reference texts.

[> [> [> [> Oops...vague spoilers for 5.4 above -- Random, 16:13:17 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Agree (don't fall over) Spoilers Angel 5.4 -- sdev, 20:22:20 10/24/03 Fri

I agree with what you said here rather than your interpretation below. I too see this hell as a MOTW episode and this small 'h' hell as not the result of retribution or punishment but a scheme for Pavayne to bypass a hell dimension en route to a retributional Hell, the fire brimstone Hell Spike fears.

I have an additional theory which utilizes some of your thoughts from the post below. You were discussing a non-sentient, non-retributional paradigm to explain Pavayne. You suggested three methodologies and I like the third:

3) is somehow specific to the Reaper (maybe created during the deconsecration ceremony with his blood) and he is tricking it in some vague metaphysical manner.

I think the concept of tricking the hell dimension in a metaphysical manner works here. Why does Pavayne have to keep feeding this hell souls? Why is it not a one for one, quid pro quo, Pavayne=one soul? My hypothesis is that the souls do not remain in this hell indefinitely but have a term of expiration. Thus Pavayne has to make continual offerings to escape his fate. This would dovetail well with a true reward/retribution scheme. The souls entrapped by Pavayne would have to move on to their ultimate fate, decided by a higher being, after their built in obsolescence in the hell dimension expired. Pavayne's magics or metaphysical manipulation could only hold a soul in this hell for a limited time.

I can speculate than Pavayne is being pulled into this hell dimension because of specific magical acts he performed in his life for which he has a debt to pay prior to his final retribution. By avoiding the pull of the hell dimension he forestalls his ultimate fate as well.

This would obviate some of the problems you mentioned below such as why a limited being has such enormous power. The answer is it doesn't. Does it grab all or just the evil? All. It answers one big question for me. If it is retributional then it can only grab the evil and the good go to heaven. And if it is grabbing only the evil in a larger retributional scheme, wasn't hell the appropriate end anyway making Pavayne a mere instrument of a divine scheme rather than a manipulative villain. From the show it is clear that he is intended as the latter, a villain who stole souls destined for somewhere else.

[> [> [> [> [> [> My take on this: Spoilers Angel 5.4 -- Arethusa, 08:58:50 10/25/03 Sat

W&H sacrificed Pavayne, sending him to a hell dimension as part of their ceremony to deconsecrate the mystically important land. (Remember, Lorne said there are mystical hot spots; we've seen several in Los Angeles.) But like Glory's hell dimension portal, only a certain sacrifice will close the portal-Pavayne. He can delay his departure by feeding it souls, but the other souls don't close the portal for good and it reopens to swallow him. There is no divine judgement; that is only in Spike and Pavayne's minds.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> agree and question -- sdev, 09:41:09 10/25/03 Sat

There is no divine judgement; that is only in Spike and Pavayne's minds.

Agree with the rest. But I have a question on this. From the show, do you mean above that Angel and Spike don't have any evidence of Hell or that the show has never or is not now indicating that their is a retributional scheme?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sort of an answer -- Arethusa, 12:21:37 10/25/03 Sat

I mean that I don't see any evidence that the portal Pavayne is trying to toss Spike into is the Hell people enter after being judged evil by a supernatural entity/Creator. As far as the entire show is concerned, I don't know. I can't think of any evidence on the show that proves or disproves the theory. We have something that calls itself Evil, but doesn't claim to be Satan. We have (mostly) benevolent supernatural creatures that help humans and promise rewards but don't claim to have created the world or mankind. In a world steeped in the supernatural, what is a god or a demon? Aren't they just names given to supernatural creatures? A god or demon can return a soul, but can it create one?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sort of rambly -- sdev, 11:18:12 10/26/03 Sun

Scanty evidence agreed. But what of Buffy's Heaven? (Lunasea comments above this was a mere plot device but I cannnot believe that. It is too pointed and unique an event. Further if one uses that excuse to explain show events all meaning unravels) Interesting in that the only good place anyone ever left the earth dimension for was Buffy's, our Heroes, destiny. She ostensibly jumped into a dimensional portal to multiple hells but somehow ended up in Heaven. As you say it doesn't really matter what you call it. Buffy went to some place that made her feel as if she were in Heaven.

OTOH equally interesting that a human was able to deprive her of that destiny.

Hypothetical: Assume that was a Heaven Buffy went to. Thus her actions heretofor earned her that reward. Assume BtVS S8, S9, etc. Buffy goes/does evil. What is her fate now? No wonder she was pissed off.

Imagine if the series had ended after The Gift. Where would we all assume Buffy had gone?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Falls out of chair, bangs head. Ouch! [spoilers 5.4] -- Random, 19:58:18 10/25/03 Sat

Interesting. I am actually ambivalent about the entire concept of retributional hell in the Buffyverse, but it strikes me that the theogonistic aspects of this particular milieu has been developing over the course of the last 7 years (7 BtVS, 5 Ats) and we are perhaps witnessing something of a clarification at last. Keeping in mind that, without an exception that I can think of, all hells we have seen/heard of have been associated with bodily/physical transference rather than spiritual. The characters have been drawn in them while still alive (or at least animate, in the case of Angel) rather than going to them after death. But as of Buffy S6 and AtS S5, we have been presented with rather fuzzy examples of an afterlife (I would also count IOHEFY) contigent on the lives of the ones dying. Unfortunately, it's still all fanwank as of now, though logically-consistent fanwank in most cases, even if not heavy in actual evidence. Indeed, we may get some evidence by next week...if Spike is no longer straddling Hell, if the Reaper was indeed responsible (not at all apparent to me right now, since he seemed to be an opportunist as much as anything else), then the case for a mere dimensional portal is much strengthened. If Spike still is however.... But neither case will be decisive evidence one way or the other. Ultimately, lacking evidence, we each seek out a moral order that is both internally consistent within the context and personally palatable.

What really interests me about your theory is the Fustian aspect. While it is still unclear whether Pavayne was instrumental, it is clear that, even if the details of your theory are wrong, or right, for that matter, the basic theme is certainly sensible. While I don't consider Pavayne as a facilitator, I do consider him, as I mentioned, opportunistic. He has earned his fate, and strives to avoid it at all costs. Even if the souls were already destined for Hell, he could take advantage of it. I see the logic of your argument, actually, in the last paragraph, and he makes a less-convincing villian if he's only trying to avoid hell but not actually altering the fate of other souls. It's not decisive for me for a couple reasons -- Fustian sin is as much one of avoidance and pride as harm to others, and the central issue in this ep was Spike himself being dragged down too early (sad but unavoidable fact of TV shows -- we care more about the central characters than anonymous cameos and bit actors.) You do have me thinking, though, so...

Oh, and one other thing to consider (wink) -- didn't that portal to Hell look a lot like the portal to Hell in the movie Ghost? Hmmmm....?

[> [> Re: Looking around Hell...[spoilers to 5.4] -- Ryuei, 16:11:41 10/23/03 Thu

Wow, some great stuff in this thread. I really don't have a lot to add (in fact, it is hard for me to keep up with all the posts in this forum which is why I so rarely post nowadays) but I did want to say some things about the Buddhist hells and how I see the Buddhist conception relating to what is going on with Angel and Spike.

First (just to get it out of the way) there are 8 major hot hells and 8 major cold hells in Buddhism, plus lots of sidehells and private hells. So there are not really thousands but something like 132 with subdivisions and innumerable private hells scattered around the world. Interestingly, the Tibetans believe that fossils are acually skeletons left behind by beings who were actually born inside rocks as their punishment for bad karma - this is a Tibetan superstition however and not anything the Buddha taught. Anyway, for anyone interested in Buddhist cosmology including the salacious details of the tortures of the damned please see my article at http://campross.crosswinds.net/ShuteiMandala/vedic.html

One other note about Buddhist hells not mentioned in my article - the Buddhist devil, Mara, is not in charge of hell. Rather he dwells in the sixth heaven where he is in charge of keeping people in samsara (the world of birth and death). In fact, he is more of a casino owner who is trying to keep people playing the game, or he could be seen as a jailwarden who alternately uses enticements and intimidation to keep his wardens imprisoned. There is also the belief that the punishing demons in hell are not actual beings (because then why are they not also being punished?) but are the figments of the collective delusion of the hell-dwellers. This notion was promulgated by the Consciousness Only school.

Anyway, I agree with the Sandman solution and in fact I think that is compatible with the Buddhist idea (people are in hell because they think they should be) and also it makes sense in terms of Spike and Angel's characters. I think that both Spike and Angel believe they are ultimately damned, though Angel tends to wallow and wear it on his sleeve more whereas Spike tends to cover it up with bravado and whatever his current passion happens to be. I loved Angel's comment about Spike simply moaning in a basement for three weeks as opposed to Angel wallowing in angst for a hundred years. I understand where he is coming from and in some ways it does look like Spike has been having a comparitively easier time than Angel (who did actually spend untold years or even centuries in hell between seasons two and three of Buffy). However, I don't think the comparison is really fair. Here is why Spike is better than Angel:

1. Spike, unlike Angelus, brought forth the one redeemable characteristic of his unsouled state and ran with it - his capacity to love which even the Judge commented on in Buffy season two.

2. Spike, unlike Angelus, actively went out to reclaim and even earn back his soul by seeking out that demon and passing several horrendous trials.

3. Spike, unlike Angel, did not wallow around in self-pity for a hundred years but immediately jumped back in the fray as soon as he was mentally able to protect those and he loved (Buffy and Dawn) and their friends and by extension the whole world.

4. Souled Spike, unlike Angel, was immediately assailed by the temptations and derision of the First Evil and actually passed that test on his own (when he refused to turn against Buffy time and time again even after seeing her with Angel), whereas Angel gave in and would have dusted himself without the direct intervention of the Powers That Be.

5. Spike, even before gaining his soul, withstood the tortures of the hell goddess Glory and risked his life fighting against her in the final battle against her for the sake of Buffy and Dawn. Angel, on the other hand, walked away from that demon whats-his-name in the Hyperion Hotel in the 1950's and just gave in to his brooding and lack of caring until, presumably, Whistler found him and convinced him to help the Slayer. Even then, in rewatching season one of Buffy, he really wan't much help except to give cryptic advice and info from time to time. The unsouled Spike was even more pro-active and persistent in trying to do good even in the face of the contempt and justified suspicion of Buffy and the Scoobies.

6. Also, the pre-vampire William was actually a caring and devoted son. More than a bit of a weenie with an unhealthy mother complex, but basically a decent man from what we have been shown. Liam, on the other hand, was a wastrel who also probably believed he was damned to hell and had consigned himself to it with drinking and whoring.

7. Spike, unlike Angel, never tried to go back to preying on humans after receiving his soul and having the chip removed. The same can not be said about Angel, who did his damnedest to try to prey on people again. Granted it was unsuccessful, but the fact that Angel even tried shows that he did not value his soul the way Spike seems to value his.

In short, I think that even if Spike has it easier than Angel (and that seems to be far from the actual case) than he really does deserve to have it a little easier. Spike is the better man (or vampire) by a long shot in my opinion.

Also, I think the biggest danger this season has just been revealed - Angel's belief that he is still damned. That despair will turn him back to the dark side of that I am certain. Spike, on the other hand, won't brood about what's beyond his control. He'll just act and say what's on his mind and in the process he'll probably save them both. That's my opinion.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,

[> [> [> A little something I found that makes me think of Angel....spoilers for Hellbound -- Rufus, 01:39:40 10/24/03 Fri

In my lurking I found a quote at sparknotes of all places that helped me sort out Angel's situation.


Self-overcoming - According to Nietzsche, we are both creature and creator. We are both the animal with its instincts for cruelty and aggression and the overman with his self-made will and set of values. In order to become more noble, to approximate the overman, we must turn our animal instincts for cruelty against the creature in us. In a painful process of self-examination and inner struggle, we must make ourselves deeper and stronger. Nietzsche calls this self-punishment "self-overcoming."

I guess that the Angel-beast has been self-overcoming for some time and I think it's appropriate for it to be called "self-punishment". Angels resentment to Spike may be deeper than the complaint about Spike only spending a few weeks in a basement before getting on with it. I sensed some envy there. As I see these two as family, I feel that there is a sibling rivalry of a sort going on, where each character thinks that the other one has it easier than they do. As they finally come to some understanding I feel we will see a benefit to everyone. I don't see a change in their bickering til one realizes the other suffers but in a different way, that what they see as one getting it easier in life that it's more complicated. Both have some growing up to do and that's why I think both acted like children in "Chosen" when dealing with Buffy...she was right to be frustrated with them.

[> [> [> Namaste, Ryuei! -- dub ;o), 17:48:07 10/26/03 Sun

So glad to see you posting again! We've missed you...


[> [> Fascinating post -- RJA, 16:21:27 10/23/03 Thu

As someone who studied the apocalypse and the Christian concept of hell (at the same time Buffy season 5 aired - made for interesting nightmares), this is a really interersting thread. You really raise the point I wanted to make, about the ever changing concept of hell.

I do remember that its location, in the Christian view, has been in a steady descent (although if now in the mind...). At one point it was considered to be up in the sky, near the sun; then hell was on earth, before it moved underground. And even the experience of hell changed, as you pointed out.

My favourite almost anecdotal story concerning the concept of hell was what lay behind its changes in the Middle Ages. At that point it was considered a dirty, sweaty, noisy, sexually degenerate place full of intermongling bodies and violence. Which scared the upper classes enough into attending church and donating money. But for the lower classes? This was their life - they lived what they were being told hell was, and so had very little effect on them. If this was their fate, why worry about it? And so the concept of hell changed to accomodate their fears. Hell, a cattle prod of society.

To comment on the rest of your post, you make an interesting comment in saying that Spike's realization that he still can do some good in this world. If he can't save himself, at least he can save others.

While I would agree that this is something he does discover, in effect this does have the same outcome of Angel's fatalism. Angel's comment 'what else is there to do?' was interesting, because to me, quite clearly, there was another path. Angel didnt have to go good even though there is nothing else left for him, but its a good sign that he considers this the only option. Unless this is just a precusor to a change of attitude.

[> [> Canto XXXIII -- Malandanza, 19:35:17 10/24/03 Fri

"Consider Dante's Divine Comedy: it's an open question, at least to me, whether these people he encounters have already gone to hell/heaven/purgatory in Dante's lifetime, or whether this is a vision of things to be. "

In Canto XXXIII, Dante runs into the soul of Fra Alberigo, and gives us one of the most interesting views of an unpardonable sin:

"But then," I said, "are you already dead?"
And he to me: "I have no knowledge of
My body's fate within the world above.
Fot Ptolomea has this privilege:
Quite frequently the soul falls here before
It has been thrust away by Atropos.
And that you may with much more willingness
Scrape these glazed tears off my face, know this:
As soon as any soul becomes a traitor,
As I was, then a demon takes its body
Away -- and keeps that body in his power
until its years have run their course completely.
The soul falls down headlong, down into this cistern;
And up above, perhaps, there still appears
The body of the shade that winters here"

So there are some sins that condemn a soul to Hell instantly -- after which the body is animated by a demon and lives out the alloted lifespan. Dante sees a soul in Hell he had known above, but known when the demon was animating the body. So some of the people, at least, had been damned in Dante's lifetime.

[> [> [> Thanks -- Random, 20:13:42 10/25/03 Sat

It's been a while since I read The Inferno. Last time I did, I tried to read it in the original Italian. I was half-way through when I realized that not only could I not read medieval Italian, I couldn't even read modern Italian. Luckily, it was a parallel edition, so I switched to English exclusively. Pity it wasn't in Anglo-Saxon or Old English -- I could actually read those. Though not so much anymore.

That passage certainly seems to be evidence of a contemporaneous reading of the text. I was actually thinking about the epigraph of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" even as I wrote those lines...

S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

...and it occured to me that there was definitely the implication that the narrative was occuring during Dante's lifetime -- not just a vision in his 35th year, but a vision concurrent with his living state. Dante was brilliant, but politically...harsh. Hence the fact that Hell is populated with his contemporaries, and thus it was hard for me to tell if he did that merely to needle them and their surviving family, or as evidence of the time-frame.

[> [> Taoist Hell (a little long, no spoilers) -- mamcu, 07:36:59 10/25/03 Sat

I mentioned earlier that I'd post a little more on Taoist hells. I don't really think there's an immediate connection with AtS in the information below, but who knows where writers may turn when looking for material-it could turn out to be there after all. There are some interesting ideas here, and some really great books and websites for those who want to know more about Taoism in general.

Taoist Hell

From The Taoist Body, Kristofer
Schipper, trans. Karen Duval, UC Press, 1993. (note that I may be distorting when I summarize).

Briefly, the Tao gives rise to Chi, which gives rise to yin and yang, from which eventually come the Ten Thousand Things (similar in a way to samsara in Buddhism, but without the sense of unreality that's found in some versions of Buddhism). Gods and demons are part of the Ten Thousand Things.

Taoist "hell" is called the Yellow Springs, and is perhaps more similar to classical Hades than Judeo-Christian or Buddhist versions of hell (though everything in Taoism as we now know it has been colored by the long contact with Buddhism in China). Most of the dead go there. Those who become Immortals through ritual, etc., go to Paradise, where those who have become gods live.

Very interestingly, according to Schipper, the shamans and the Masters who can be see in ordinary life actually control the gods, often in puppet form. Shamans also visit the Yellow Springs.

The way there is not across water but through a desert. The underworld is sort of like the beginning and end of life: a lot of earthly problems get started there, but disputes from ordinary life are resolved there, too. Incense in particular propitiates the rulers of hell. Hell and Heaven are both fairly bureaucratic, with various levels and officials.

Another book well worth seeing and reading is Taoism and the Arts of China at http://www.artic.edu/taoism/index.php
The web site has little about hell, but is really worth spending some time with.

Here are a few interesting details about Taoist hell, quoted directly from some websites:

Tao Resources : Tai Yi Jiu Ku Tian Cun (Heavenly Worthy Tai Yi The Savior from Suffering). Tai Yi is one of Taoism's most important Gods, and is one of the highest rulers in the 10-stage Taoist Hell. Upon death, all human souls must appear before Tai Yi and be sentenced. Tai Yi is frequently depicted riding on a nine-headed lion. He generally carries a vase in his left hand and a sword in his right. The vase is filled with a cleansing holy water, while the sword is used to subdue demons and punish the wicked. Taoists believe that they can improve their fate if they repeatedly call Tai Yi's name. Tai Yi's birthday is the 11th day of the11th lunar month.

Sacred Texts : Ch'×an Ju-Y× of Pu-Hai was a poor man, but he was never tired of doing every good and charitable work in his power. He also employed himself indefatigably, although he was often in poor health, in copying many good books to be distributed among his neighbors. When he was asked why he exerted himself so much in spite of his physical weakness, he replied that he was not trying to seek any reward, but simply wanted to give relief to his mind, which could not be kept idle for one moment.
One day he went to sea, and encountering a strong gale, found himself stranded on a lonely island. The scenery was very beautiful and he was full of joy, when suddenly there appeared to him a Taoist scholar who said: "The world delights in hypocrisy, but the Lord on High praises sincerity. You have hitherto done good work in distributing sound moral tractates, and this not for the sake of courting a good opinion of yourself from others, but simply from pure unaffected good-will., So much the more praiseworthy are your deeds in the eyes of our Lord. Many scholars are clever enough, yet they do not employ their talents for the true cause; they abuse them in writing immoral, seditious books; but they are now suffering in the infernal regions the consequences brought on them by their own acts. I shall take you there and let you see by way of contrast how much better your fate is."
Then they went through space to that strangest of lands. The Taoist explained everything they saw there. All kinds of torture were being applied to those immoral writers, who, while in the world, stirred up man's beastly nature and allured many good people to an early downfall. The stranger also showed him a stately-looking man in the palace, who had been a good, upright officer when on earth, punishing every crime that tended to disturb social and political peace, and was now superintending this department in the world below.
When the visit was over, the Taoist scholar brought Ch'×an back to the same island, where he secured a sailboat and finally succeeded in reaching his home. Ever since, he is wont to tell his neighbors how horrible the scene was which he had seen on his visit to hell.
[The peculiar attraction of this story is in its parallelism to Dante's Inferno. The Chinese characters over the entrance of hell are, Feng Tu Cheng, which means verbatim "The Inferno's Fortified Castle." The last two characters, taken as one word, form the common term for capital, and so we might translate it briefly by "The Capital of Hell." In the upper right hand corner we see King Yama, the sovereign of the under world, seated on a throne with one of his attendants.]

Note from mamcu: "Yama" as King of Hell or Lord of Death is a name borrowed from Buddhism and perhaps Hinduism. "Tai Yi" is the older Chinese name.

[> The Sandman solution (spoilers for 5.4)) -- Ponygirl, 11:49:12 10/23/03 Thu

There does seem to be a shift going on. Previously any mention of hell usually included the carefully tacked on "dimension" now everyone is saying Hell with a definite capital H. It's a bit of a problem since how do you get to use the Christian Hell (and it really is mainly a Christian thing) with all of its cool imagery yet still acknowledge the validity of other beliefs? How does an existentialist have a Hell - besides other people? I've mentioned it before, and dammit I will again, but I think that what we're headed for is the solution that Neil Gaiman offered in Sandman - that it is a choice. In Season of the Mists it was shown that the dead, no matter how unconsciously, believed that they deserved to be in Hell. They could be cast down there by another, they could be damned by their own actions, but never did they believe that they could simply walk out. Hell was helplessness, the surrendering of the will.

Angel believes he is going to Hell, that no matter the good that he is done he will be judged only by the bad. What is his proof for that statement? Only his own belief.

Spike believes that he is going to Hell too, and part of the reason I believe he as reluctant to share this information with anyone besides Fred is because he is afraid to admit that he has been judged and found wanting. But who is doing the judging? Was it only Pavayne who was exerting this pull or was there another force?

The soul as has been much discussed provides a moral compass but it also provides a sense of guilt. I don't think unsouled vampires would go to Hell because they simply wouldn't care. They wouldn't think that they deserved to be punished. They lack all capacity for judgement, most especially of themselves.

Pavayne was shown to be able to shape reality through his will. Can Angel or Spike ultimately do the same to their belief systems? Angel says that he doesn't believe in prophecy or fate, yet he still believes in this final judgement.

It's kind of a cliche to say that we create our own heavens and hells. In Sandman we saw it being done quite literally, worlds and gods sustained purely by belief in their existence. On AtS will it finally come down to what our vampires will their fates to be?

Lucifer: And then they die, and they come here (having transgressed against what they believed to be right), and expect us to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution. I don't make them come here. They talk of me going like a fishwife come market day, never stopping to ask themselves why. I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? No. They belong to themselves.... They just hate to have to face up to it.
Sandman: Season of the Mists

[> [> Re: The Sandman solution (spoilers for 5.4 and "Sandman") -- Rob, 11:53:02 10/23/03 Thu

And when Lucifer finally does set everybody free in Hell in "Sandman," many of them don't want to leave! He has to force them! One in particular, I recall, goes on and on about his heinous, horrible deeds, and how his name is known the world over as being evil, and Lucifer tells him that his name and infamy have died thousands of years ago. No one remembers who he is, or the evil he had caused. The only one who remembers and continues to demand retribution for it, is himself.


[> [> Looking around Sandman (spoilers for 5.4)) -- fresne, 14:10:09 10/23/03 Thu

I can't decide. Does my post want to have the love child of Ponygirl's Sandman Solution post. Or does it want to have the love child of Random's Looking around Hell.... Decisions. Decisions. Dante. Gaiman.

There is this strong sense that Angel and Spikes's belief in their own damnation is informing their magnetic Calvinistic pull down. That the unsouled vampires just don't care. That Hellraiser raises a pointed head and says, "Hells to some, Heavens to others." That following Angel's rejection of Jasmine and her proffered Salvation, Redemption, Release, Peace, Mercy, Angel is so very...I don't have words enough. They tumble like guppies. Mercy. For all that his cup runneth over, his dinner is prepared in the presence of his enemies, and the rod and the staff do not seem to comfort him. The valley of the shadow of the death is so inevitable. How would I feel if I saved/doomed the world? Sacrificed/saved my child?

Some vision of Sandman's Lucifer cutting off his wings to leave Hell merged with Dante's vision of Satan trapping himself in a lake of ice generated by the frantic beating of his own wings. The idea of Hell as the place where even the torturers are tortured. They are stuck in this place and repeat eternally the behavior that got them there. The tragedy being their inability to change.

To leave that Buddhist hell. The inversion of the levels of Hell with the rings of Purgatory. The belly of the Beast. Dante's depiction of the Malbolgia in Hell, literally bad bowls.

The Belly of the Beast? The wolf that ate grandma and little red ridding hood? This beast that digests not at once, but over time. Occasionally, vomiting forth it's digestion to feed its evil little Hell spawn. How's that for a metaphor.

I foresee juicy thinking and I don't mean that in a, I'm doomed to Hell, and therefore can see the future kind of way.

[> [> Soulless beings and Hell(spoilers for 5.4)) -- s'kat, 20:40:46 10/23/03 Thu

I don't think unsouled vampires would go to Hell because they simply wouldn't care. They wouldn't think that they deserved to be punished. They lack all capacity for judgement, most especially of themselves.

Is it a matter of thinking they deserve to be punished, so much as just not caring? In Becoming - Angelus seemed to be keen on pulling everyone into hell including himself. So I got the feeling he wanted to go there - thought it would be cool, like a little kid who had no conception what it meant.
Wonder if Angelus would be so keen on it now though? Now that he has had a taste of hell in Cavalry and Orpheus. The hell in LA where demons ran loose and there was no one to kill or the hell in Orpheus where he had to relive Angel's experiences with Faith? Spike in contrast seemed to know what hell was and wasn't overly keen to visit it, but he also didn't appear to believe he would - again like a kid who thinks he's going to live forever and death just ain't gonna happen so why give a crap? Is the fear of mortality and what happens after a sign of maturity, I wonder?
If so, where does this episode place Angel and Spike on that continuum? Angel appears to not so much fear it as accept it as something that will happen and he deserves - reminds me of sage or man of experienced years, while Spike is starting to really fear it and believe he deserves it and is tormented (a la Angel in S3 Btvs, S1-3 Ats)- which may place Spike at the point just beyond adolescence on the road to maturity?

[> [> Re: The Sandman solution (spoilers for 5.4)) -- undeadenglishpatient, 09:37:13 10/29/03 Wed

Fred did mention that she needed the: The Magdalene Grimoire in order to recorporize Spike.
The Magdalene Grimoire is from The Sandman.

[> [> [> Good catch! -- Ponygirl, 10:27:11 10/29/03 Wed

Just went and checked some Sandman annotations and the Magdalene Grimoire was the spellbook used to capture/corporealize Dream at the start of the series. Nifty!

[> here's my thoughts for what its worth (5.4 spoilers) -- s'kat, 13:02:41 10/23/03 Thu

I'm sort of waiting until my thoughts become less muddeled and I have more time to do anything in depth. (I did love the episode by the way - dark, crunchy, ambigious, yippee!)

Rambling Thoughts and Retained Perceptions:

Watching Hellbound after seeing Five by Five (another favorite episode) is very interesting experience and really demonstrates the changes in Angel.

1. Angel in Five by Five - is all about saving anyone with a soul. He and Wes define this to a skeptical Cordelia - stating that anyone with a soul is worth saving. Though Wes questions this after Faith tortures him. Faith who does as many nasty horrible things in Five by Five as Royce, Hauser, Parvayne, and Hainsely do - Angel attempts to save.
She wants him to kill her. He refuses. She ups the stakes. He refuses. But that was before Cordy became evil, before he had to kill Connor and wipe memories, before Wes betrayed him, and before he inherited W&H. At that time he was fighting W&H. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Faith had showed up this season and did the same things? Would he kill her?

Angel seems to have moved from the view of hope - good is about helping others not matter who they are and giving compassion and maybe if I'm lucky I'll be redeemed, to despair - judge, jury, executioner - and only helping those who from his point of view deserve it.

Note in the episode how he resists helping Spike and questions Fred's motives? Wes and Gunn are actually more willing. When Spike comes to Angel - Angel tells him, so?
We're both going to hell sooner or later, just a matter of time. We can't be saved. Doesn't matter that we didn't have souls at the time (or maybe it does? he's not sure - as he states when he sees the entry in the book about the dark soul and states - "wait!" that's not fair, I didn't have a soul when I did that.) "The things we did?" he asks Spike, "Do you really think there's a chance we'll get out of hell?" Spike muses a moment and agrees.

2. Angel and Parvayne. PArvayne is interesting - he is an 18th century surgeon from England, called the Reaper. 18th century - 1700s, when Angel was first vamped and creating havok, in flashbacks in prior seasons we see Angelus enjoying carving things into people (Sonmabulist) or likes the torture (Forgiving, Becoming Part II). Parvayne also likes torture, he like Angel in Forgiving, used to take someone else's blood to work the dark magics. Angel threatens to take Linwood's blood in Forgiving to open the hell portal to rescue Connor. Lilah stops him, offering her blood instead. Angel punishes Parvayne in almost the same way as Connor punished Angel in Tomorrow, placing him in a sensory confinement chamber at the bottom of huge place with only a window to look at the world. You can live forever, but affect nothing. Of course unlike Angel, Parvayne was a fiend, souled, he chose to destroy others.
Angelus was unsouled when he tortured people.

PArvayne who had died was continuing his actions to avoid hell. Here we can compare to Spike - will William do whatever it takes to avoid hell? (Angel states to Fred - Spike is to self-involved to share our fight or help anyone, is Angel talking about Spike or Connor? Or himself and his own despair? Is this projection?) Spike later - when PArvayne gives him the choice, copereality or saving Fred, Spike chooses Fred, informing her that he knows he'll go to hell eventually, but he doesn't want to become like Parvayne using any means necessary to cheat it.

The other thing Spike discovers is that he can control his own reality to a certain degree. Parvayne teaches Spike that he can bend reality. PArvayne is bending Spike's reality - and Spike is allowing him to. Allowing Parvayne to make him invisible to the others, to disappear at certain times, to lose his clothing, to be attacked. The loss of clothing symbolizes vulnerability - Spike's costume represents his strength, his armor, when it is ripped from him he becomes William not Spike and that's who Parvayne calls him - poor William. When Spike finally pushes Parvayne off him and redresses himself - he regains his strength - the Spike persona.

3. The Barry Manilow comment. Oh I loved this scene and it endeared me to Angel. I wanted to Mary Sue throught the screen and give the boy a hug. Ah yes, Angel loved William's poetry. As much as these two characters say they hate each other, say they are doomed, there's real love underneath. That conversation proves it.

Angel: I've never told anyone this...but I always liked your poems.
Spike (bewildered, then grimaces): Yeah but you like Barry Manilow.

LOL! So what does it mean? Well add to that, Spike calls Angel by his real name: Liam. He's the only person I've heard call Angel this outside of his father and Angel himself. There's a real kinship between these two. And we see it evidenced here.

Angel also deals with Spike seeing the specters slightly differently than Buffy did, he brings in help and actually investigates, opposed to seeing it as just craziness.

4. Fred? Not sure what to make of her.

5. Movie references - someone has seen the movies House on Haunted Hill and Thirteen Ghosts - the whole thing about the evil surgeon feeding ghosts to hell is reminiscent of the story behind House on Haunted Hill - first version was in the 1950s with Vincent Price, the second version in 1990s with Geoffry Rush, Famke Jannsen (and Marsters had a tiny cameo). It's the tale of bunch of people who go to a haunted house and are killed off one by one - except the person behind the haunting is the evil surgeon. Thirteen Ghosts is also a 1950s movie with a 2000 or 2001? remake. And I swear the whole ritual to corporealize Spike including the little ring - was incredibly similar to Thirteen Ghosts' remake with Tony Shaloub and Mathew Lillard. In this one - Lillard, a psychic becomes a ghost, and saves Shaloub from his evil inventor uncle, a Parvayne character, at the risk of his own self. The end of Hellbound is very similar to end of Thirteen Ghosts as I recall. (I liked Hellbound much better than either of these two movies.)

6. Gunn and the big pussycat. Once again - DB's portrayal of Angel made me laugh out loud. Apparently Gunn has a connection with the conduit.

7. Hell - I think it's demon dimensions. Not actual. Spike and Angel believe in one actual place - due to their own religious backgrounds. These two characters believe in heaven, hell, crosses, damnation. Fred seems to think of hell more in terms of dimensions - like Pylea. Odd no one recognized that she was fighting for Spike because of Pylea not because he was attractive? The depiction of hell in this episode reminded me of a dimensional portal or better yet a black hole - the abyss, where there's nothing, no sensation, no feeling, no affect - which oddly enough is the living hell that Angel finally sentences Parvayne to.
Before we judge Angel too harshly here - we should ask the question? What should he have done instead? Was Parvayne savable or worth saving? Should he have killed him? Spike said that was a bad idea - since Parvayne would just do it all over again. Should he have put him in prison like Faith? Sort of hard to explain. What options were there?
Same questions should be asked on Hauser, Hainsely, the male werewolf, Crane, and Royce? What were the options?

Which brings me to the question: Whose worth saving? And who should make the choice?

As Marshall Sisko says to KAren at the end of last night's Karen Sisko: "Black and white is easy, it's the grey areas that are a bitch."

Hope that helped a little. Sort of disorganized stream of consciousness ramble based on just one watching. I'll probably re-watch and change my mind about everything in a day or so.


[> [> Typos abound, no time to proofread. -- s'kat, 13:05:04 10/23/03 Thu

[> [> Re: here's my thoughts for what its worth (5.4 spoilers) -- jane, 16:10:25 10/23/03 Thu

So much to think about, so little time to do so today! Very interesting discussion in this thread, I'm really impressed. Like you, S'kat, I was pretty sure Fred's determination to save Spike springs from knowing what it feels like to be in hell.

[> Re: Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- Arethusa, 13:03:00 10/23/03 Thu

It could be that each world has its own heaven and hell, where its inhabitants go after they die.

In the Buffyverse we have seen no evidence that God and Satan exist. Jasmine said,

"In the beginning, before the time of man, great beings walked the earth. Untold power emanated from all quarters-the seeds of what would come to be known as good and evil. But the shadows stretched and became darkness, and the malevolent among us grew stronger. The earth became a demon realm. Those of us who had the will to resist left this place, but we remained ever-watchful. But then something new emerged from deep inside the earth-neither demon, nor God.


And it seemed, for a time, that through this new race, a balance might be restored.

Guess we really let you down.

But you didn't. It was we who failed you. (stands) We became little more than observers. I could no longer bear to just watch all the suffering. I had to find a way back. But, first I needed a miracle. And so I arranged one. (touches Connor's face) Through you, Angel, through Darla. That is where my parentage began. Two vampires-creatures one human corrupted by darkness. And you with a soul-a miracle already."

Some of the supernatural creatures in this 'verse are called gods or demons, but these are just names, and not directly correlated to an original Creator or his counterpart. They are called gods or demons because they have supernatural powers, not because they created the Buffyverse. The divine interventions we've witnessed (in Amends and Epiphany) are generally attributed to The Powers That Be, not a Judeo-Christian god. And what the Bible says about Hell-

26": And beside all this, between us [those in Heaven] and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Luke 16:26

contradicts what happened in the Buffyverse-people can pass in and out of hell. We don't know that the Reaper was sending people to Hell; he could have been sending them them to a hell dimension. Angel and Spike don't know they are going to hell; they fear it. Buffy could have been sent to a heaven dimension by the portal she passed through. It could be that God and Satan, judgement, Heaven and Hell are all just human interpretations of the mystical forces surrounding them that they did know have enough information to understand, and thus made up their own mythology to explain it.

[> Playing with fire... -- KdS, 13:29:13 10/23/03 Thu

Firstly, as RichardXI pointed out, there is a confusion here between Christian pop culture and official Christian doctrine. In official Christian doctrine the Devil and his other demons aren't running Hell and torturing people, they're being punished themselves.

However, actually stating flatly for the first time that we're seeing Hell as a place of posthumous punishment, rather than just an unknown number of inhospitable demon dimensions referred to in shorthand as "hells", is placing serious weight on a dicey issue, especially as Angel is killing people far more readily now. Because it suggests that if he is killing souled human beings, then he is actually consigning them to eternal torment when they could be redeemed, and that is big stuff.

[> [> Re: Playing with fire... (spoilers AtS 5.1-5.3) -- Masq, 14:01:58 10/23/03 Thu

Three episodes, four dead.

I made this comment in someone's LJ the other day.

As some one who keeps track of these things, souled Angel's track-record with killing humans is very slim to almost zilch. It's just, the times he has done it or let it be done (e.g., the W&H lawyers by Darla and Dru) have been pretty memorable. But he was called on his actions by the other characters, and therefore by ME.

Now skip to season 5 of AtS. In the first three episodes, he appears to have a killed four human beings:

Hauser the special ops leader in 5.1,
Hainsley and his butler ("Spoon!") in 5.2, and
McManus in 5.3.

That can't be a coincidence of the writers not consulting with each other about scripts. I think we're meant to notice this, and that Angel himself notices this. What it signifies, I'm not sure, as I am unspoiled.

[> [> [> There was at least one other special ops agent, too -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:44:51 10/23/03 Thu

Although that was more clearly a self-defense deal.

[> [> [> [> isn't that true for all of them? (spoilers for 1st 4 season 5 eps) -- anom, 10:46:10 10/26/03 Sun

Hauser, Hainsley's butler, Hainsley himself, & McManus were attacking Angel when he killed them (or had attacked & were threatening/preparing for further attack). McManus was attacking Nina & (I think) then Angel when he tried to defend her. There's even some question as to whether Angel intentionally killed Hauser when he kicked the gun barrel to point at his head, or whether Hauser pulled the trigger trying to shoot Angel. So can Angel be blamed for any of these human deaths (other than by himself, maybe)? If he could be tried for them in a human court, I don't think a jury would convict him for any of them.

[> [> [> perversity -- manwitch, 09:37:06 10/24/03 Fri

I think you're right. I suspect that it might even go beyond the killing of humans, when you include Pavayne in the same theme. Angel has not just killed humans, he's been perverse. At the end of each episode, he hasn't just won a small victory for the good guys, he has done it either through or with an act of perversity that seems not out of character, but disturbingly cruel.

He thinks he's advocating for the good, but he's making deals before it goes to trial. He's willing to give a little to get a little, but I think there will be a horrendous cost.

My suspicion is that he will utlimately be confronted with making a "deal" that will define him. It will revolve around the question of Mercy, that has been so evidently lacking in Angel since he got into bed with Wolfram & Hart. He will have to decide whether or not you can win anything for the good guys by doing the wrong thing, or whether or not you can simply be content that you did the right thing regardless of what you lose by doing it.

My hope is that he will let Spike fulfill the prophecy in his place, that he will watch Spike and Buffy go off together, happy, human, and in love, and that he will endure that ultimate burning suffering through the knowledge that at some point he quietly did what's right.

But projectile vomiting probably has better chances.

[> [> [> [> Re: perversity -- Dlgood, 12:29:42 10/24/03 Fri

My hope is that he will let Spike fulfill the prophecy in his place, that he will watch Spike and Buffy go off together, happy, human, and in love, and that he will endure that ultimate burning suffering through the knowledge that at some point he quietly did what's right.
Oh I think that scenario is far more interesting if Buffy's not happy. After all, the expectation that Buffy would be happy with somebody else was a large motivating factor when he left her and Sunnydale, and when he turned back the day of humanity in IWRY.

Because if the act is vindicated by Buffy being happy and him being right, the suffering is far far less.

[> [> [> [> [> Same as discovering Connor is miserable in that happy new life Angel gave him -- Dlgood, 13:59:14 10/24/03 Fri

[> [> Re: Playing with fire... -- Miyu tVP, 14:12:33 10/23/03 Thu

it suggests that if he is killing souled human beings, then he is actually consigning them to eternal torment when they could be redeemed, and that is big stuff.

I hadn't made that connection yet... now I'm even MORE worried about Angel.

It's interesting that he admits he's going to hell, that he *deserves* hell, that he can never make up for what he's done... but seems to think he is in a position to judge others.

big, scary stuff.

[> Angel seems to be like a Christian who doesn't believe in Jesus -- Finn Mac Cool, 16:30:09 10/23/03 Thu

There are many sects of Christianity that don't define Heaven and Hell specifically in terms of how much good or evil you have done. The way it works in these beliefs is that Heaven is reserved for the absolutely pure and sinless. Its standards are so high, in fact, that the only human being believed to qualify is Jesus (with the possible exception of Elijah). Everyone else, due to the fact that they can't help but do or think something wrong in their lives, is condemned to Hell. However, it's also believed that this natural order can be altered through becoming a Christian, that the burden of all your sins will immediatly be transferred to Jesus and you can enter Heaven despite not being perfect. Non-Christians, however, are believed to be doomed to Hell because they can't unload their sins on anyone, even if they've done far more good and far less evil than some of the Christians who manage to escape Hell.

When Angel said that the evil they had done was all that mattered, that their good works could never make a difference, I was reminded of these Christian beliefs. Angel seems to accept their belief that sin can never be made up for by mortal creatures. However, since he doesn't believe in a Messiah figure, he sees no opportunity for forgiveness, meaning he and almost everyone else are damned to Hell.

And, as I think about it, it kinda makes sense for Angel. His path to redemption has, from day one, been tied to the notion that a higher power of good is out there to grant forgiveness. His first steps towards becoming a champion of good are when he meets Whistler and is told that there are greater powers with plans for Angel. This is what first gives Angel hope that he can reach redemption. His faith wavers, though, after a few months as an evil psychopath and a century in H(h)ell. By "Amends", he's ready to give up, to kill himself, but a miracle occurs: for the first time in memory, it snows in Sunnydale, blocking out the fatal rays of the sun. Angel's faith is renewed that a higher power of good is looking out for him, perhaps someday forgiving his sins. His next step towards redemption (saving souls in LA), comes about through Doyle, a servant of the Powers That Be. Angel is once again prompted to seek redemption because of further evidence that, yes, there's somebody up there who likes him. And, as we all know by now, the Shanshu prophecy was the height of this. He was given solid, written in parchment evidence that, if he does enough good, the higher powers will redeem his soul and turn him human. Angel was never really seeking to redeem himself; he was seeking to be worthy of it, but redemption was ultimately in the hands of the PTB. Then the next three seasons of "Angel" happened, and everything he puts any faith in is slowly torn away. Eventually, he comes face to face with Jasmine, the higher power who claims responsibility for everything: the vision guides, the prophecies, the redemption-carrot on a stick. Everything Angel put faith in was just part of Jasmine's plan to take over the world. With the overthrow of Jasmine's reign and her death at his son's hands, Angel's faith in the Powers That Be was firmly shattered. He wasn't anyone's Champion, he wasn't in anyone's good graces, no one would be handing out redemption, and he would, in the end, go to Hell. Angel's entire quest for redemption was grounded on the belief that the Powers That Be would cleanse his soul if he proved himself worthy. I think he always believed in Hell and damnation and that the only people who could change that were the Powers That Be. Now he's seen the Powers That Be for what they really are and he realizes that they will never forgive him. And, if there is no one to grant absolution, then how can he be free from Hell?

While the way the show's dealt with Hell is rather new, I think the seeds of it have always been there. Despite all of the existentialism, Angel has always used quasi-religious terms in describing redemption, so, once the benevolence of higher powers and the possibility of redemption are removed, Hell seems like a natural conclusion.

[> Biblical devil (not my belief, just myth facts) -- kisstara, 18:05:33 10/23/03 Thu

Biblically, the devil is not in charge of hell,the devil is the prince of the earth.God has power greater than the devil by virtue of being in charge of all.
Bibically the devil is the symbol of a life or a choice of a life without God which is essentially hell. This is the biblical devil/god, heaven/hell analogy.
In other words the sinners are the ones choosing the devil and hell, not the devil choosing the people to punish or doing the punishing.
Bibically hell is a choice of a person to be without god/heaven and not a punishment. Heaven is full of sinners who chose God through faith, baptism,etc...

[> [> Where in the Bible? -- mamcu the illiterate, 10:36:27 10/24/03 Fri

I know the story of the snake and the apple in the garden, and I know that there's a section about the devil "walking up and down in the earth and going to and fro in it" at the beginning of the book of Job--but where can we find all these other details?

[> Re: Go to Hell (or: help Masq do her metaphysics section) spoilers 5.4 -- sdev, 20:44:46 10/23/03 Thu

Pavayne speaking to Spike: Beginning to understand now aren't you. The soul that blesses you damns you to suffer forever. You go now William.

But is it forever?

If Pavayne is to be believed as discussing real retributional Hell, the implication is unsouled vampires who are dusted are just gone since Hell would have no meaning for them. But souled vampires, especially ones who reform and do good, are surely entitled to better than unsouled ones. So the torment of Hell cannot be the end.

The concept of Hell is always joined by its reverse, Heaven. If a souled Vampire can feel the tortures of Hell can't they also feel the bliss of heaven? How can a soul be a blessing otherwise? If Pavayne is to be believed, after William and Angel serve their time in Hell, doesn't heaven await?

Also, what are Ghosts? What would the fate have been of those who Pavayne sent to Hell had Pavayne not altered their fate? And if they were destined for Heaven how could Pavayne have altered their fate?

This alone, the altering of earned destiny, suggests that Pavayne is sending people to a Hell dimension not a retributional hell.

[> [> Spirits and souls and assorted bugaboos Longish (spoilers 5.4) -- Random, 09:49:56 10/24/03 Fri

What's interesting is that I interpreted the events of 5.4 in a contrariwise manner: I considered the procession of spirits as evidence of a retributional Hell. The Jossverse has always been a little fuzzy on the concept of souls -- though I suspect several people will want to jump in here and discuss Joss interviews and moral compasses and the like -- but what we appeared to be witnessing is the survival of a distinct, individual essence after death that is being drawn into a place. The Reaper certainly was. The first issue is whether we can trust his word about what's happening. Does he even really know, or has he created a paradigm based on the time and society in which he lived, which would tend to dualize the universe and accept the existence of a literal Hell and Heaven where the sinners would be tormented and the redeemed would be raised to glory. He is certainly struggling against something...and the complications just keep growing more disturbing when one stops to consider what exactly would actively pull on a ghost. In non-theological (Christian, of course, being the dominant Western theology, but it's conceivable that Pavayne was Jewish, just not likely) terms, we are witnessing an oddly mundane occurence, a ghost being caught in a dimensional vortex or something and feeding it other ghosts to somehow abate the pull. Whether this vortex operates under the auspices of a sentient power or not isn't clear, though if it didn't, that implies that the entire process the Reaper is undertaking is either 1) unnecessary, because the vortex isn't actively going for him alone, just spirits (just evil spirits? is this an "evil" magnet) in general; 2) is merely a matter of somehow moving to 2nd in line...i.e., getting behind the new-created ghost; or 3) is somehow specific to the Reaper (maybe created during the deconsecration ceremony with his blood) and he is tricking it in some vague metaphysical manner. Other possibilities also suggest themselves, but so does getting some lunch, heh, so I'll let it ride there. If there is a sentience, then we can argue that it is seeking out all ghosts, or just the ghosts of those who died evil -- but whether is is aware that the Reaper is eluding it is unclear. The real question is the nature of evil. In order for this to function properly, the sentience controlling it must be able to identify evil somehow...identify some sort of metaphysical taint, or, more improbably, somehow gain knowledge of the spirit's life and proceed to judge for itself -- an unpalatable proposition in that this would give enormous power to a limited being. The power to make the decision condemn people to an afterlife of torment is a dangerous one indeed (I hope to discuss Angel and his actions at the end of Hellbound in this light in another post.) If the decision is fait accompli by virtue of a pre-existing taint, the unpalatable aspect is mitigated, if only slightly. If there is no sentience, we can conclude that either 1) the Reaper was mistaken in that he was being specifically targetted for Hell (whether it isn't Hell, or it isn't seeking him for punishment, I can't say); or 2) that the abovemention metaphysical taint exists and is somehow attracted by the Hell

To my mind, however, this episode immediately suggest a metaphysical topography of retribution and redemption. Only once have we seen an obvious case of someone going to an afterlife, and even then, it was suggested that a more mundane explanation existed, that the spirit/essence of Buffy was drawn into an alternate dimension. This disappoints me slightly, because it implies that the fate of the spirit is merely a spatial/dimensional circumlocution, not a final reward as such. Certainly, a power drawing the spirit into another dimension is granting a reward (or doling punishment) but it seems somehow limited. (Alternatively, I have considered that there actually is a cosmic balance sheet created by the Great Accountant, and the equation is worked out with no actual motive impulse by the Creator.) Buffy being yanked from heaven seems to imply a less-than-omnipotent power and a relatively mundane dimensional cosmology for the afterlife, for it's doubtful Willow et al could have taken her without permission. The saving grace, though, is that God moves in mysterious ways, and perhaps Buffy was allowed to leave. Gotta have someone to take on the FE in a couple years, after all.

In Hellbound, if we accept the concept of a retributive Hell, we are looking at a premise that holds a certain poetic balance for the show (unsurprisingly, considering that it would derive from a cosmology that has entranced vast portions of the Western world for two thousand years.) Given that the spirits involved presumably worked for W&H, it seems likely that they already were hellbound. Obviously I am in no position to judge this, but that doesn't mean they weren't judged in the context of the show. And we lack the evidence to decide whether the Reaper grabbed all spirits -- it seems possible that ones destined for heaven ascended, beyond his grasp...but that the vast majority was ripe for the Reaper's picking. The very presence of these spirits seems to give lie to the idea of the soul as merely a moral compass -- unless we can view these spirits as being akin to vampires, personalities emptied of the soul, in which case, the ideas of damnation and salvation seem curiously hollow.

The more problematic issue is how the Reaper managed to use such trickery to defy his fate. It seems counterintuitive that an actual retributive cosmology, with its implications of all-powerful guiding forces, would allow for such an escape. However, it isn't unprecedented, given that myth and religion throughout history are littered with parallels in the form of ghosts. ("I am thy father's spirit, doomed to walk..." or something like that.) Obviously, something more complicated than direct, irrevocable punishment is going on in the common myths of our species. The Reaper may simply be engaging in substitution at the cost of further damnation, never quite realizing that the tally sheet was always one step behind...but would be balanced eventually, no matter what. It was being marked, and his day would eventually come. His struggle was ultimately doomed, for at some point, there would be no more spirits to substitute, and he would finally be drawn in to an even greater punishment than he might otherwise have recieved. It doesn't do to defy the afterlife, as Sisyphus discovered.

I tend toward the retributive interpretation because it better explains such problematic aspects as the existence of spirits and the process method of drawing those spirits into another place once the body has died. Or, rather, it explains these things in a less-mundane manner than the possibilities I explicated above. It's also less complex. Ockham's Razor is usually a good idea, but can be misapplied like crazy. But I can see it working well here on a personal basis.

[> [> [> responded above- "Hades" -- sdev, 23:31:01 10/24/03 Fri

By the way, Pavayne is a very Jewish name.


[> [> [> [> Re Pavayne... -- Random, 20:28:39 10/25/03 Sat

Is it really? I actually wondered about that. Was gonna ask Rob or anom, but didn't get around to it.

[> [> [> [> [> Well, if you drop the y -- fresne, 12:47:41 10/27/03 Mon

a Pavane is the name of a 16th, 17th century court dance, also pronounced pavan.

It's the kind of stately dance that people in really heavy, large, cumbersome outfits get up to. Pretty to watch, personally, I found it a bit boring to do.

[> [> [> [> [> [> That's what I thought too! -- Rahael, 06:37:46 10/28/03 Tue

And the two interlinked resonances I have when I heard the name were: "Dance", and "Pain".

(Actually, I know of Pavanes through the music for the dances - from the long ago time when I had music lessons, rather than the dances themselves)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> you think we'll have a more lively villain tomorrow night... -- anom, 21:24:21 10/28/03 Tue

...by the name of Galliyard?

"(Actually, I know of Pavanes through the music for the dances - from the long ago time when I had music lessons, rather than the dances themselves)"

Me too, from my early music/recorder society days! For those who don't know of them through either dance or music, a pavane (slow, 4/4) is usually accompanied by a galliard (same tune, but faster & 3/4).

[> My take on hell -- Jean, 06:20:43 10/24/03 Fri

"So the first question is, what's this "Hell" place, anyway? Hell in Judeo-Christian mythology is something I could never quite figure out. God sends the souls of unrepentant sinners to Hell. The Devil is in charge of Hell. But the Devil is God's enemy. So why would the Devil help God out by giving sinners the punishment they deserve? It's like a state governor putting the worst criminal ever in charge of the state prison"

The devil, or more accuratly Satan, is not in charge of hell. Hell is a place of torment for him for his pride. Though society today has twisted it around so much very few non-christians actually know this. Hell is like a temp holding facility. the devil(Satan) is there but in a sense come out to try and make God's chosen "Species" (For lack of a better term) to share in his and his flunkies torment. In the end times all that turned from God are(including man and demons alike, I really don't like that word "demons" but that can hold for another time) thrown into the lake of fire. This is were ppl get the idea of a flamey hell. But the lake of fire if the last step to oblivion, nothingness. So you are slightly incorrect in the statement above

[> Ants and Flames -- Malandanza, 07:01:18 10/25/03 Sat

"But if this Hell is about punishing the evil, why would folks like Lilah and Holland get a reprieve from it to come back up to Earth to help the Senior Partners do more evil? Well, maybe they are in a different Hell. One that was part of their contracts with the Senior Partners. But that just raises another question--how the hell (pardon that) did they manage to worm their way out of going to the 'evil sinners punishment' Hell?"

My feeling is that we saw Spike being drawn to Hell, not necessarily the modern Christian Hell -- perhaps a place that the modern idea of Hell was based upon. We heard from the Reaper that some people can escape their punishment -- "like ants crawling away from the flame" -- at least temporarily. I think the deal Holland and Lilah made with W&H means that they didn't go to Hell, but that the Senior Partners were able to carry off the lost souls to a hell dimension of their own. If some people can escape Hell on their own, think of how much easier it would be to escape if a powerful force of evil is "helping" you.

Eve made a chilling remark, however, at the end of the episode, when she said that W&H was very good at holding on to what was theirs (for example, Lilah's soul). Lilah's reprieve from Hell probably is not much better than the 'evil sinners punishment' -- and may be worse, if Hell is a place of annihilation of the soul or the self and her prison is a place of conscious torment (or even a place like the Reaper's cell or Angel's watery coffin).

What is more of a nagging problem to me is what happened to Darla's soul when she died? She remembers nothing -- maybe W&H erased her memory of her afterlife (she was certainly a wreck when she returned). But Hell doesn't seem to be a place of actual annihilation of the soul as Darla's soul was still around to be called back.

[> From "Hellbound" spoilers 5.4 -- Rufus, 02:58:04 10/26/03 Sun

The fluctuations in your readings. Lack of particle cohesion. It's almost as if your essence is straddling a dimensional void, which may be the key, assuming that the amulet you used to save the world is some sort of trans-reality amplifier capable of focusing massive quantities of mystical energy.

Who says that Spike is right about a hell at all? He was wearing an amulet that does what Fred said about "trans-reality amplification" Spike feels he is being sent to a hell that he deserves when he is "straddling a dimensional void" which has nothing to do with blame or where vampires go when they die. Something is happening to Spike that is frightening, and the Reaper took advantage of his inner guilt and fear to get him insecure enough to toss into a hell dimension like he did the others. Once Spike realized that reality could be bent to the will he became more confident and found a solution. I think the whole damnation thing is more complicated than either Spike or Angel realizes.

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