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Melissa Portan LMSW, MEd

Writer & Sexologist

Melissa is a 5th generation spiritual guide who specializes in helping others find their own spiritual path. She is also a sex and relationship therapist practicing in NYC.


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The Underworld

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

A streetlight flickers until there’s a sudden pop followed by a slowly fading hiss, leaving the alley in darkness and smoked half-light. It’s desolate here. The path of sky visible between the decrepit buildings is black and empty, void of any flicker of the universe. Movement in the shadows by a brick wall call your eye’s attention. Nothing. Nothing but a growing sense of being watched, then quickly, panic and disorientation. A figure emerges from the smoke and shadows, his face obscure, yet you see his predatory smirk. You run. Whatever he is, you know you must escape. Is it a nightmare? No, this is the underworld.

The underworld is not how most think it is. When we think of the underworld, we usually imagine the literal underground, meaning, caves. This has been the understanding for thousands of years. For the Mayans, the underworld are caves, some half submerged, with actual physical entrances. Archeologists have found and continue to find human remains at the entrances of some caves because the Mayans believed that the underworld could be accessed through these locations. They also believed that if they could access the underworld, then whatever was in the underworld could come to this world. For the Greeks, the underworld is similarly described except it is called Hades because of the God who rules over it. The House of Hades has three rivers and even the Gods of Olympus were held responsible when taking oaths over the river Styx. Then there is the Hell of the Christians. All of these places have one thing in common: they are considered the underworld in their respective traditions.

As the world has aged and religions been dismantled, the idea of the underworld has become one cohesive idea of eternal torture and fire. Hell is the underworld, at least, this is how most understand it. My understanding of the underworld is very different from the commonly accepted notion of the fire pit. Here is where I stand: Yes, Hell is real and demons do exist. Pure evil does exist.

The underworld is not limited to this realm known as Hell. No, the underworld is as vast and even more so than the physical world we know. Hell is viewed like a prison; it is isolated, fortified, made to keep the sinners inside much like a prison is fortified to keep prisoners inside. But I perceive Hell to be a location in the underworld. The House of Hades is a place in the underworld. But Hades is complicated as it includes a place for the good and bad, so we can understand it as a city with different neighborhoods. Purgatory is another place. The underworld as a whole exists in the lower astral planes.

The astral world includes everything that is not physical. The astral world does not move like the physical world. The astral world exists alongside the physical world. The physical and the non-physical worlds are constantly brushing past each other and sometimes this allows us to see things or things to come closer to our reality. Sometimes there are tears between the worlds and demons, ghosts, and whatever else there is, cross over to the physical realm causing havoc. Sometimes people open doors to the underworld, whether through purposeful ritual or accidental use of divination like the Ouija board.

To understand how the underworld and astral/spiritual realms work, you must understand consciousness. Consciousness is your soul and what good or bad you have done is imprinted on it, somehow, until you resolve it or delve deeper into it. For example, if you focus on doing good in the world and seeking wisdom/knowledge, you will raise your consciousness. This raising of consciousness means that you are reaching the higher planes of existence; the higher astral/spiritual planes. If you do this enough, the underworld will truly be a distant place, though you would still be able to visit. As in describing the consciousness as a gradient from black to white, think of the planes of existence in the same way. The darkest shades of black are the deeper realms of the underworld where Hell and Tartarus of Hades exist. The less aware you are, the less conscious you are, the more likely you are to fall into these dark and shaded areas of existence.

The more harm you do, the more pain you spread, the more evil you swallow, the more your soul resonates with the darker realms of existence. So when the time comes for you to leave your body, your soul will be too heavy to go anywhere but to the place that matches it. The reverse is true. The more good you do, the more love you spread, the more wisdom you seek, the more your soul resonates with the higher realms of existence.

Since the underworld exists alongside the physical reality, what keeps us from constantly seeing demons is the containment our physical bodies provide, meaning the limitations our brains and minds provide in perceiving the world, and the level of our awareness. There is a reason some psychics only see ghosts and demons and horrible things. There is a reason why these are the most popular and commonly found psychics. The level of our awareness affects what we perceive through the third eye. (The third eye is how the soul perceives relative to the physical body.)

Our consciousness affects our access to the different astral planes. Things like emotions can drag down our consciousness and make us heavy enough to be able to perceive darker beings. Think of your mind, your consciousness, as a compass. Where your thoughts are is where your mind goes, and this in turn affects what you see.

Experiencing the underworld is not limited to death. You can visit the underworld through meditation and even dreams. Often, distinguishing between a nightmare and an authentic trip to the underworld can prove difficult. Again, it all depends on your awareness. If you regularly practice meditation, then you will be able to distinguish between a nightmare and an astral projection (because, yes, that is what it is called). Astral projection happens more often than you may think and can be accidental, which may be why you end up having such horrible and vivid nightmares sometimes. Although the underworld seems to be easily accessible because it can be done accidentally and through dreams, visiting Hell, Pergatory, Tartarus, and any other equally leaden realm is a lot more difficult. It is not likely that you visit Hell through a dream, unless that be your conscious intention and will, or unless you awaken any memories of your previous time in any of these places.

If demons do exist, then so do angels.


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