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The Hellmouth is a symbolic and monstrous form of darkness found in many Christian works, especially medieval texts relating to Hell or similar purgatories - envisioned as a gigantic monster with a gaping mouth it acts as the entrance to the spiritual plane of suffering and death (which in many ways it embodies). It is sometimes referred to as the "Mouth of Hell".

Hellmouths became a common sight in many paintings and helped to contribute to Hell's fearsome reputation, often artists would compete to make their Hellmouth more gruesome and terrifying than the next - the goal of these paintings was to convert the unfaithful and remind the population of the dangers of a life led in sin.

A Hellmouth offers a glimpse into the abyss and never closes its mouth, always remaining open as it waits for new souls to fall into it.

Often a Hellmouth has many souls visible inside its mouth, struggling to escape but unable to do so as the fiery depths of medieval damnation consume them.

Hellmouths are survived in varied media even to this day, most famously in the horror action-series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where they are envisioned as portals to demonic realms rather than Hell itself.

See Also

  • Hell (religion) (the realm of spiritual suffering, which this creature embodies).
  • Hellhole (a dangerous supernatural vortex with a similar dark purpose and a plot element in the videogame Spawn: Armageddon).
  • Bottomless Pit (a theme in certain scripture, a personal prison for Satan, separate from Hell.)