That’s the Word for It: Chthonic


When you search for the meaning of the word chthonic, you come across Chthonic, a Taiwanese heavy metal band. However, the word has older roots. Chthonic refers to what lies beneath so there are chthonic deities or figures like Hades and Persephone and chthonic cults. The word also carries psychological, anthropological and geological connotations.

The word has been used quite profusely in literature:

“What else can I do? Once you’ve gone this far you aren’t fit for anything else. Something happens to your mind. You’re overqualified, overspecialized, and everybody knows it. Nobody in any other game would be crazy enough to hire me. I wouldn’t even make a good ditch-digger, I’d start tearing apart the sewer-system, trying to pick-axe and unearth all those chthonic symbols – pipes, valves, cloacal conduits… No, no. I’ll have to be a slave in the paper-mines for all time.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman

“For years they have pursued me. Their persistence has kept me underground … forced me to live in purgatory … laboring beneath the earth like a chthonic monster.”
― Dan Brown, Inferno

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