8 min read

God Erebus. Darkness and Deception Ends in Petrification

Underworld God Erebus' unique magic is change. Transforming darkness into matter, and “Those who deceive” - his words - into those who don't.
Title caption Erebus

Summary of Contents: Erebus in Mythology | Arrival and Appearance | Underworld is Close | Any Path Up is Good | Erebus and the Sybil Rock | Into Africa | Erebus' Palace Invitation

Festival Day - 11 March

God Erebus in Mythology

Erebus is listed by Hesiod the poet in his work Theogony - Birth of the Gods - among the first of the old Gods, formed from Chaos at the same time as god Eros and goddess Night.

An Underworld deity, according to some sources, more specifically a place rather than an independent God - the Underworld arrival area. 'Darkness and Shadow' were the epithets used to describe him.

Classification note: Erebus is not strictly an Olympian god, according to Hesiod's list of Goddesses and Gods. Since that classification cannot be independently confirmed, this site regards all Gods as Olympians.

Mythological references to God Erebus

Goddesses, Gods and You

What kind of Heaven do you expect. Soft fluffy paradise of eternity, or oblivion of nothingness? Out-of-body survival expert Margo Williams discovered a surprisingly simple system of management and afterlife recycling.

There are many goddesses and gods in the community. Speaking their name aloud evidently sends a signal; creates a link to wherever they are at any given moment. If it works for you as it worked for Margo, and they respond, be respectful but be yourself. Honesty and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

Sacrifice nothing but your time. Most of them seemed approachable and appreciated being remembered.

The ancient temples that still can be found in some places, although mostly broken, are huge monumental structures; impressive sacred spaces, their scale designed to impress, to be worthy of divine visitation.

However, it is not the size and splendour of any sacred space but the sincerity of the person seeking contact.

Photo of Margo Williams in Africa
Margo Williams in Africa
"Can a God be any skin colour?" Nick Hammond asked out-of-body survivalist Margo Williams.

God Erebus. Arrival and Appearance

Why some goddesses and gods are black, white or brown in any hue or tone may be personal choice or it may be environment as it is with us. I don’t know because no one explained it to me.

Some are more fluid of form than others, though not many. Mostly they chose consistency in appearance when they responded.

'Darkness and shadow' were the attributes described of him but Erebus' orange radiance when first he arrived felt warm and vibrant. As different to darkness as it is possible to be.

The dazzling orange spotlight shone through the room.

"It is unusual for me to be honoured. I feel welcome." Erebus’ voice vibrated like an earthquake tremor through the floor. "Stand in the light."

I didn’t need to move, for the spotlight widened filling the air; gently swayed me as it touched my body. The sensation felt pleasant, like being a grass stalk in a breeze.

A sickly-sweet aroma wafted through the radiance and a curious rhythmic sound of chanting, as if by someone a long way distant. Despite such gentleness the light felt powerful.

"The light is the essence of my self," he continued. "Let it take you wherever it will." The light pulsed, swaying me back and forth. "I shall not give tests today," he sounded distant as if he already had left the room. "Next time."

The orange light flashed bright then vanished leaving me standing dazzled and slightly swaying.

Often first contact was as brief and gentle as that.

Underworld is Close

Darkness came when Erebus returned, some six weeks later.

Second encounters rarely were friendly. Shadow spread through the room, accompanied by a noxious stench of burning; it overwhelmed the candlelight until everything was dark as a moonless night.

"I accept the homage you pay me," he said.

Without warning someone wrenched me backward and down through the floor at high speed; so fast I lost my breath. I panicked and tried to grab hold as I plunged downward; then landed on hard solid ground, in absolute darkness.

The invisible assailant struck me hard in the chest, knocked me off my feet; launched me backward against sharp rock. The impact burst the little breath from my lungs.

I lay on the ground gasping for air, stifling, damp and decay-ridden though it was.

"I bring darkness into the lives of sinners, of all those who deceive." Erebus sounded close.

I managed to stand but then seized up. Couldn’t move. The darkness set hard like concrete around my arms and legs. It felt pleasantly warm at first, but quickly heated up to burning pain.

The pressure tight around my chest and stomach twisted in opposite directions simultaneously burning and suffocating. Uselessly I tried kicking and pushing against the constriction but my legs and arms wouldn’t respond.

Someone was screaming, somewhere distant; they wouldn’t stop. Not me, but I wanted to.

Then suddenly the twist-burn agony eased; the weird constriction of darkness that held me suspended, melted away. Things were visible.

Any Path Up is Good

Flickering firelight revealed a rock-cavern; a gaping hole opened into a bigger cavern illuminated red by a roaring fire. I rubbed feeling back into my numbed limbs.

The screaming sounds came from that hole, distant but unmistakable sounds of the Underworld.

"You do not wish to stay?" A dark figure moved through the rock. The fire’s illumination revealed close-cropped head, bright black eyes and shining ebony face. Disappointed in my No for an answer.

He pointed behind me, to another hole. "Then get to the top."

Top meant “up”. Any route away from the Underworld was good, so I took the opportunity and ran into the musty darkness but hit something solid.

Steep rough-cut stone steps carved from the rock, each three feet or so high. As I climbed higher the steps became too big to use as stairs. It was hard going, finger-tipping, inching upward in pitch blackness; painful too.

The rock surfaces grazed skin and tore chunks from hands and knees and shins. I slipped on my own red trail. Hot, exhausted but too tired to climb all the way back down, I clung to stone; blindly feeling for the next edge and heaved on upward.

A waft of fresh air. The darkness lightened above me. Climbed faster, heaved up onto a ledge and followed the brightness to a crack in the rock just wide enough to squeeze through.


Exhausted I collapsed on the ground, in dazzling bright sunshine.

Erebus and a Magic Transformation

A huge black god stared hard down at me. "Good, good," he said, interestedly. "I tested to see if you are determined and I find you are. This pleases me."

Erebus stood twice my height. Wore a plain white robe, round-necked long-sleeved, wide at the wrists accentuating enormous hands and feet. He gestured. "This once was a temple."

We stood among the carcass remains of ruined buildings, half way up a mountain. Chunks of stone heaped and scattered, some walls here and there; fluted columns, the debris strewn as far as I could see, like an earthquaked city. Grey green shaded mountains and sparkling blue ocean in the distance, below.

"Come." Erebus waved me to follow. He strode the broken steps of a steep pathway that zigzagged through the ruins. Heat hazed among roofless buildings either side as we climbed.

He stopped at a tall triangular chunk of rough stone, and rapped his big knuckles on the rock three times then leaned his head close as if listening for an answer. "He is still there."

I stared; saw no one.

"There," Erebus nodded.

It looked like a rock, a curiously sphinx-shaped lone outcrop chunk of grey mountain.

Erebus stepped away, he seemed amused by his discovery. "It was here that I appeared to a crowd of mortals. I spoke to them. One man held a spear; he threw it at me."

Erebus shrugged, wide-eyed in amazement at such stupidity. "It passed through me. That mortal is now a piece of rock. I turned him into this."

I pressed my ear to the stone to listen, heard nothing.

"I can be cruel and I can be kind. Now I will be gentle." He pointed forefinger at me. "You are lucky." Erebus nodded, turned and continued along the broken walkway.

Decorative illustration of figurehead

Into Africa

I don’t know how a God can turn human into stone. Erebus didn’t say nor did he ever confirm himself among the first of the Gods, as Hesiod listed.

Some scholars described him more as place than a God - the Underworld arrivals area through which the newly-deceased pass on their way to Hades.

My own long bloody climb up from the cave depths confirmed to me some connection with that area of activity; so too the smell of burning that always accompanied his arrival.

He demonstrated mastery of turning empty space into solid; darkness into matter; human into stone. “Sinners” being the focus of his responsibilities, he said. “Those who deceive”. An old-fashioned word, goddess Nemesis used it too.

What he next showed me was a surprise.

We arrived into desert. A flat landscape of sparse scrub, sand and grit to the distant horizon; fierce heat scorched the air. Shaded we stood at the door of a giant rounded dwelling made of straw and wicker frame.

‘This is my palace. One of them,’ Erebus gestured for me to enter.

Erebus' Palace Invitation

It looked like a traditional African kraal, but constructed of a hard material I didn’t recognise; and a door of solid gold. Its interior was lofty even for him; a vibrant mix of colour on walls and floor. Red and blue, green and yellow with white.

In the centre stood a curious sight, a solid gold urn placed on top of a circular slab of rough-cut stone, four feet high, or so. It looked chipped to be round, but wasn’t a perfect circle.

The only furniture were low tables; I counted five each of different shape and colour; and large mattresses with rolled-up cushions of varying colours.

"Look, and realise how fortunate you are to see this," said Erebus.

I didn’t know what to say; felt a temporary sense of relief that the experience was non-threatening. Surprise, and yes lucky to be invited into the home of a God.

But such invitations happened more often than I expected, and assumed the reason was a genuine intention to establish trust, as Erebus explained to me that day in the desert.

"I hope, now you will not fear me. But remember, I can be in cruel mood." Erebus waved away that possibility. "I do welcome the homage you pay me. Mortals pray and ask for many things, but they do not pay the respect they should."

Silent, I gazed at the dazzling desert dwelling of Erebus the God. Shawls and blankets of different colour lay here and there; curtain on some of the walls.

On the floor near the door lay a folded patterned blanket, green with zigzags and circles in yellow, red and white.

"You have my blessings," he smiled widely.

Thank you for your company on this short introduction to god Erebus. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' experiences and suggestions for how to survive the hereafter, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Book cover link to purchase Olympian Goddesses and Gods Community
Book available now from Amazon.co.uk
Useful Links

The Sybil Rock, Delphi