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SantaCon, explained by Dante's 'Inferno'

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In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself within a dark woods
where the straight way was lost. (Inf. I. 1–12)

Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost. (Inf. III, 1–11)

I reached a place where every light is muted,
which bellows like the sea beneath a tempest,
when it is battered by opposing winds.
The hellish hurricane, which never rests,
drives on the spirits with its violence. … (Inf. V, 28–39)

Here, more than elsewhere, I saw multitudes
to every side of me; their howls were loud (Inf. VII, 25–36)

“On march the banners of the King of Hell.” (Inf. XXXIV, 1–2)

[T]hree winds blew from him in one great storm:
it is these winds that freeze all Cocytus.
[Satan] wept from his six eyes,
and down three chins the tears ran mixed
with bloody froth and pus. (Inf. XXXIV, 52–55)

[Virgil to Dante]: “But fix your eyes below, upon the valley,
for now we near the stream of blood, where those
who injure others violently, boil.” (Inf. XII, 46–48)

There are souls beneath that water. Fixed in slime,
They speak (Inf. VII, 119–120)

Do not ask, Reader, how my blood ran cold
and my voice choked up with fear.
I cannot write it: this is a terror that cannot be told.
I did not die, and yet I lost life’s breath:
imagine for yourself what I became,
deprived at once of both my life and death. (Inf. XXXIV, 22–27)

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. (Inf. III, 9)

Their sighs, lamentations and loud wailings
resounded through the starless air,
so that at first it made me weep;
Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements,
words of pain, tones of anger,
voices shrill and faint, and beating hands,
all went to make a tumult that will whirl
forever through that turbid, timeless air,
like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls. (Inf. III, 22–30)

This miserable state
is borne by the wretched souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise. (Inf. III, 34–36)

Heaven, to keep its beauty,
cast them out, but even Hell itself would not receive them
for fear the wicked there might glory over them. (Inf. III, 40–42)

There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery. (Inf. V, 121–123)

Consider your origin;
you were not born to live like brutes,
but to follow virtue and knowledge. (Inf. XXVI, 118–120)

Photo via @bedbow/Twitter