Death and destruction — two words people fear.
Yet, there are people who worship the Gods who they believe control these realities. These old gods were around long before monotheism arrived and so, they have a long long history.
For most people, this topic isn’t a choice of entertainment. However, the world kingdom does hold the Gods of death, destruction, and underworld that we cannot ignore. Some of these figures are good, others are bad, and all of them are believed to be responsible for things that are happening around us all the time.
These Gods belong to different mythologies, and some of them have stories that would amaze you in both fascinating and fearful ways. Just like life, death is an inevitable part of human life. But it can come in the most unpredictable moments, often making the whole concept a mysterious one.
Check out the list below of the top Gods of death, destruction, and the underworld to find out who rules over this inevitable part of our lives.
GODS of Death, Destruction, and the Underworld
Religion: Ancient Egyptian Mythology
Anubis isn’t only a god of the death, but also embalmment and tombing. Anubis is believed to be the son of Osiris (a god of death) and Nephthys (goddess of the sky and mourning). Anubis is believed to have a significant canine face, more like a jackal, with the body of a man. When someone dies, Anubis takes them to the Underworld, where they’re under the care of Osiris. Anubis’ duties as a god of death are to ensure that the deceased gets a fair burial and judgment in the afterlife.
This god of death is also believed to assist with resurrection. According to mythology, Anubis acts like the bodyguard for Osiris, where he uses his physical prowess to tackle the attackers. Not only he oversees death and its related matters but is also the god of protection and justice.
Religion: Greek Mythology
According to Greek mythology, Thanatos was the personified spirit of the god of non-violent death. He is described as a minor and barely appearing in person but if you refer to the Greek vase painting, Thanatos appears as a bearded old man with wings, or more likely a beardless youth. Since Hades took over the Underworld, the honor of ruling the death itself fell to Thanatos.
The name of this god of death itself translates to ‘death’ in Greek. Thanatos is the son of Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Nyx, the goddess of night. It is believed that Thanatos is responsible for transporting the dying and dead souls to the Underworld, where they’re under the care of Hades.
Religion: Greek Mythology
According to Greek mythology, the victorious Olympian brothers Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus divided the significant duties of the world amongst themselves. Hades was assigned the ruler of the Underworld. It is believed that Hades has a massive palace beneath the earth, and he owned all the precious stones and jewels, which is why he enjoyed all the luxurious of lavish living. For all his possessions, Hades also became the rule of wealth.
While Thanatos took over the ruling of the death, Hades was the god of the Underworld. And despite the stories of his encounters and the fear of his name – which people believed took them closer to death itself, Hades was considered the least powerful of all the brothers and was believed to be of a non-evil, giving nature. Cerberus, his constant three-headed hound always accompanied this god of the Underworld.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
The Hindu Vedic tradition was honored as the god of death. In Hinduism, there’s a very valued book known as the ‘Book of Destiny’, where you can find the records of each person’s lifetime and death. Yama is believed to be the ruler of this entire process. The honor of being the god of death was granted to Yama as according to Hindu mythology, Yama was the very first human to die and found his way to the Underworld where he became the ruler of the dead.
Hindus also believe that Yama is the king of all ancestors, king of ghosts, and the king of justice. While some people fear the god of death because of these two hounds, others believe that Yama doesn’t possess any wickedness or evil at all.
Religion: Norse Mythology
Freyja is a popular goddess in Norse mythology regarded for her association with death. But that’s not all that the goddess is associated with. Freyja is also an example of love, beauty, fertility, abundance, battle, and war. Despite being a goddess of death, Freyja is often remembered as a figure that helps in childbirth, to boost positivity, and to seek assistance on marital problems. And even though she is associated with something most people fear – death – she was a beautiful goddess loved by all, including the Asgardians, giants, and elves.
Freya’s image depicts her flying around in her feline carriage or hawk-feathered cloak. She is one of the most famous and loved goddesses in Norse mythology. Not only she was in-charge of the death, but also the underworld where the majority of the souls were of people who died in a battle. The other half of the underworld was taken care of by Odr, the god she married.
Religion: Greek Mythology
Even though Hecate was the goddess of death according to Greek mythology, she was also associated with magic, crossroad, light, knowledge of poisonous plants and herbs, and ghosts. On the other hand, people also correlated as a goddess of childbirth and fertility. However, most of the scenarios in mythology discussed her links with destruction and the underworld more. People who follow Greek mythology also believed that Hecate ruled the world of spirits.
The goddess appeared in the generation between the Titans and Olympians and is therefore also regarded as the goddess of necromancy and witchcraft. Hecate’s description shows her holding two torches, which is a sign of protection. People also believe that she is the gatekeeper between the real world and graveyards.
7. Meng Po
Religion: Chinese Mythology
Chinese mythology claims several realms beneath the Earth. Meng Po is responsible for the Diyu realm, which is the realm of the dead. The goddess’s task is to ensure that the souls who are to be incarnated have their memories wiped out so they do not remember anything about their previous life or their time in hell. For the same reason, she is also often referred to as the goddess of forgetfulness.
The goddess is believed to serve the soup on the Bridge of Forgetfulness or the Nai He Bridge. The soup is a special recipe that the goddess prepares herself by collecting herbs from various streams and ponds. This soup wipes the memory of the person who is to be reincarnated into the next life to ensure they move on without the burdens and experiences of their previous life. She is believed to meet the dead souls at the entrance of the Fengdu realm.
Religion: Norse Mythology
According to Norse mythology, Hel is regarded as the ruler of the underworld and death. She is the daughter of Loki – the god of mischief – and giantess Angrboda. Her appearance has an unclear depiction, which is like half flesh-colored and half blue skin with some gloomy texture. She is believed to be the caretaker of a large hall called Eljuonir, which according to Norse mythology is a hall where mortals go if they died of a natural cause or sickness.
Norse mythology depicts Hel’s character as a merciless goddess. She is known as a greedy demigod with half of her body dead and only half alive. The goddess is often portrayed in black and white, representing the two sides of the spectrum as a simultaneous time of the beginnings and endings.
9. Morrighan (Celtic)
Religion: Irish Mythology
One of the most revered gods, the Morrighan is the goddess of war, strife, battle, death, and fertility according to Celtic mythology. She was one of the most well-regarded goddesses notably in Ireland but also in other parts of Europe including France. She is also known by the names ‘Phantom Queen’ or ‘Great Queen’ and was depicted as one goddess or a trio of sister goddesses. The trio – in most cases – comprised of Badb (crow), Macha (sovereignty), and Nemain (frenzy in battle). This does not mean she was different gods but one with different aspects.
Morrighan can take the form of a raven or crow, and in her original form, she was often surrounded by these ominous birds. In some cases, she would also take the form of a cow or wolf, which indicated that she was also considered the goddess of the fertility of sovereignty and land. Since she had a great association with war and battles, she was also regarded as a great warrior.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
Osiris is the god of death and the underworld but he is also regarded as the god of transition, regeneration, and resurrection. And while he is the god of death according to Egyptian mythology, he is often described as the Lord of Love in ancient times. He depicts black-green skin, which symbolizes resurrection and rebirth.
After becoming a Pharaoh, he was viciously murdered by his own brother due to jealousy. Set chopped up Osiris’ body and locked him in a coffin that he sent down the Nile. Osiris’ body was found by his sisters, lovers, and his son, who put him back together. His rebirth and resurrection called for savage times and Osiris became the ruler of the Underworld.
Religion: Maori Mythology
Whiro is the god of death and known as the lord of evil or darkness. They are said to be responsible for the ills of all persons. It is also believed that Whiro gained his powers by eating the bodies of the people who die and are descended into the underworld. Whiro is known as the embodiment of all evil, a contrast to his brother who is also his enemy, Tane.
The process of eating the dead makes Whiro sufficiently powerful to break free of the underworld, which will enable them to rise to the surface and devour everyone and anything on it. This is why cremation is put into place to prevent this because Whiro cannot gain strength from ashes. Whiro is believed to live in Taiwhetuki – the house of death – which is a deep and dark cave that contains all the evil, including black magic.
Religion: Canaanite Mythology
According to the ancient West Semitic, Mot is the god of death, doubt, and infertility. He was a prominent god to the Canaanites. He was one of the sons of El and has a history of the battle of brothers. He was not only the god of death but also the underworld and was worshipped by the people of Phoenicians and Ugarit. It was believed that Mot’s bottom lip touched the earth while the top reached the heavens.
The non-social god preferred isolation and was rather scared of other Gods. His biggest energy was Baal, the god of rains and storms. It was believed that Baal later feared Mot more because he built a divine palace without windows to keep away from his enemy gods.
Religion: African Mythology
Like most gods of African origin, Adro is one of the aspects of one supreme god. Adro depicts the evil side while Adroa is the benevolent side, also known as the god in the sky. Adroa was remote from the matters on earth. Each of the two aspects of the supreme god has half a body, one eye, one arm, one ear, one kidney, one leg, etc.
While Adroa is regarded as perfection itself, he had no direct contact or involvement in earth matters. Adro was responsible for the matters on earth and was the only one who could get direct with humans. Adro remained invisible but he could take different forms for appearance. Sometimes he would also appear almost translucent like a white and tall half-man to people who are on the verge of death. Adro possesses young women, causes illnesses and death, and even abducts people for the sake of eating them.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
Sekhmet is a goddess most commonly associated with death, retribution, and destruction in Egyptian mythology. Other than that, she was also correlated to the powers of medication, healing, and the sun. The goddess is depicted in the form of a lioness figure according to history. Most people confuse Sekhmet with Bestet but there are certain features that differentiate between the two. According to mythology, the sculptures of Sekhmet are red while Bestet’s green. Sekhmet cannot be associated with either good or evil. She is believed to have an unpredictable nature, which can lead to destruction. She is known to bring bad luck, plaque, and disease to people who disobeyed her.
The lioness-headed goddess of war and destruction was formed from the divine eye of Ra, the god of the sun, who initially formed her to end humanity’s evil but eventually transformed her into a gentler goddess Hathor.
Religion: Slavic Mythology
Also known as Cert, Czernobog, and Chernobog, this god is the embodiment of evil and darkness and everything unfortunate known to mankind. The name ‘Crnobog’ itself translated to ‘dark master’ or ‘black god’ which is a clear depiction of his power over destruction, havoc, night, and all unfortunate things. According to Slavic history, Crnobog was the most feared god with a highly mysterious nature that made him even more frightening to people.
The god is believed to be the ruler of the chaos, night, winter, and could generate all the evils around the earth. It was said that the impact of his powers begins with the winter solstice – when the nights are the longest – and would last up to spring when the power would switch in favor of Belobog, the god of goodness, light, and summer.
Religion: Siberian Mythology
According to Siberian mythology, the earth was the creation of Ulgan, the creator god. Ulgan was also responsible for creating Elrik, by giving this piece of mud a spirit and giving it a name. Elrik is believed to have an image that’s close to a totemic bear. He is closely connected to the creation of humanity but later became the ruler of the underworld, judge of the dead, and the darkness.
Since Elrik was driven by pride, his bond with Ulgan didn’t work and by deceiving the god of creation on numerous occasions, he was eventually banished in the 9th layer of the earth. Eventually, Elrik took charge of the dead, while leaving the charge of the living with Ulgan.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is one god who has multiple aspects. Even though he is a god of destruction and death, he is worshipped and given a high regard. People do not regard him as an evil god. In fact, the worshippers of Shiva believe that for new and better things to emerge, it is crucial for the old things to die. Therefore, Shiva is doing well by running the world in cycles and allowing all living creatures to be able to begin a new cycle of life.
Shiva is also believed to be of a complex nature. He is considered the strongest, even more than Vishnu and Brahma.
Religion: Inuit Mythology
Sedna is the goddess of the sea, marine animals, and the underworld. She is also regarded as the Mother of the Sea or Mistress of the Sea. There are many versions of Sedna’s story but the most popular one is where she was bluffed into marrying a Fulmar, who appeared as a handsome man and promised a life full of luxuries. When her father came to know about his reality, he tried to rescue his daughter and took her back in his kayak. The entire family of birds started chasing Sedna. To save himself, the father drowned Sedna and chopped off her fingers that Sedna used to cling to the boat. Sedna drowned and became the ocean’s spirit while her fingers became the fish, whales, walruses, and seals.
The goddess of the ocean and destruction has a good side, as she sends food to her people where she rules. However, if she isn’t worshipped properly, she does not spare anyone from her wrath and starvation and make people suffer.
Religion: Aztecs Mythology
Coatlicue is an Aztec goddess of earth, fire, and destruction. She has a loving and nurturing like the earth but at the same time has the tendency to devour on human life through calamities and natural disasters. According to Aztecs, the sun regularly needed blood sacrifices from mankind for maintaining its power.
That’s why most enemies were abducted on the battlefield and not killed. The captives were later sacrificed on top of a hill for the sun. It is also believed that Coatlicue sacrificed herself to enable the earth to shift into the 5th era. Coatlicue is the mother of the god of war and has her statue places in the Axis Mundi – the point where according to Aztecs the world revolves.
Religion: Persian Mythology
Ahriman is considered the ancient equivalent of Satan. The god of death and destruction is also the bringer of death, ills, diseases, and every evil in the world. Ahriman is believed to have many demons at his disposal. These demons are known as ‘daevas’, who are responsible for spreading and injecting evil across the world. The main weapon Ahriman used against humanity and all the goodness in the world was lust.
Many people believe that Ahriman is the predecessor of Satan. Towards the end of the world, Ahura Mazda – Ahrmiman’s brother – is believed to triumph over his hellish brother and put the goodness back in the world.
21. Batara Kala
Religion: Javanese and Balinese Mythology
Batara Kala is an ogre-like god, responsible for the creation of the earth and light, bringer of devourer and destruction, the ruler of time, and bad luck. Batara Kala is also the ruler of the underworld along with Setesuyara. The god of destruction and underworld in the Javanese and Balinese mythology is the son of Java’s own version of Shiva, Batara Guru. Batara Guru had the most beautiful wife in the world, Dewi Uma, who was forced for intimacy by Batara Guru on top of a divine cow. Dewi Uma was so ashamed that she cursed both of them took on the hideous form of ogre-like creatures.
Batara Kala was the result of this union, who also looked like a fierce ogre with an insatiable appetite and bad behavior.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
The goddess of death, Kali is one of the most feared warriors according to Hindu mythology. Not only she has a great history of the battlefield, but she also has a terrifying appearance with a bloody knife in her hand. Kali is known for her fierceness and the death deity is irresistible to men and other deities alike. Her gore appearance makes her stand out while the believers think she is the rescuer of women in danger.
According to Hindu mythology, her appearance is only one side of her personality. She has a good side that she uses to save innocents from suffering and ending up in ugly death. She is also believed to protect the world against the demons.
23. Ah Puch
Religion: Maya Mythology
Out of all the death gods, Anubis hates Ah Puch the most, even though Kali really admires him because he wears a necklace made out of eyeballs. He is the god of death, disaster, and darkness, often seen as a skeleton-like creature or in a stage that resembles the highest state of decomposition. Ah Puch is believed to be the ruler of the lowest and most feared of Xilbalba’s nine levels – Mitnal.
The god of death and destruction does not simply kill. Once he grabbed a soul, he would torture it and burn them until they screamed in agony. And to further intensify the pain, he would snuff the fire with water and torch it again. This process would continue until the soul was completely destroyed.
Religion: Japanese Mythology
Shinigami is not a single god but a name given to a group of Japanese soul-rippers. The concept of Shinigami is relatively new to Japanese mythology. These agents are also known as the grim reaper, death spirit, or death binger.
These supernatural spirits or gods invite humans towards death in certain aspects of Japanese culture and religion. As for their conduct, Shinigami is described as monsters, helpers, and creatures of darkness. These are often mentioned in religions and tales in Japanese culture.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Apophis already existed before the creation of the world. Apophis is the great serpent and the arch-nemesis of Ra. Apophis found peace in chaos and darkness. After the creation of the world, it was filled with light, peace, order, and most importantly, humans.
That’s exactly what Apophis didn’t like. He was the god of thunder, earthquakes, storms, darkness, and death, and is sometimes also linked to god Set, who is also associated with the disorder, chaos, storms, and darkness.