to Greek mythology Persephone's life was soon to change.
As signs of womanly beauty began to shine along side her childlike
innocence, the adolescent goddess Persephone unwittingly attracted the attention of the
Greek god Hades, brother of Zeus and ruler of the underworld. One can hardly blame Hades because the underworld,
in Greek mythology, was the realm of the sleeping and the dead. It probably needed
some "brightening up", and the young goddess Persephone's radiance would
assuredly liven up the place.
Her mother, the goddess Demeter, had heard Persephone's screams when Hades grabbed her. She began an intensive search for Persephone. After learning how Zeus had betrayed their daughter, and consumed by grief and sorrow, Demeter demonstrated her outrage by withholding her blessing from the earth until Persephone was returned to her. Droughts ensued, and the earth lay barren. Mankind was facing a major famine. Zeus finally relented and sent the god Hermes to bring the young goddess Persephone back to her mother.
Part of Persephone missed her mother horribly, but another part had
grown rather fond of the god Hades. And Persephone was rather enjoying her role as Queen,
even if it was in the underworld. While
preparing to return to the earth with Hermes, Persephone accepted a pomegranate offered to
her by Hades. She knew full well that anyone who
had eaten while in the underworld would not be allowed to return, even a goddess --
Persephone went ahead and ate seven of the seeds. Her
choice prevented her from ever being fully restored to Demeter, but did open up the
possibility of a compromise. Hermes was able
to negotiate an agreement on her behalf between Hades, a god who was usually rather
cold-natured and self-centered, and Demeter. Persephone would be allowed to stay with
Hades in the underworld for four months each year (winter) and would return to the earth
and her mother the remaining months. The
goddess Persephone was soon reunited joyfully with her mother. Each year as Persephone left to join her husband
in the underworld, Greek mythology tells us that the goddess Demeter would begin to
grieve, bringing on the cold, barren winters. But
a few months later Persephone, the goddess associated with awakening, would return to
bring spring and its verdant growth in her wake . . . thus were the seasons established.
Not that the goddess Persephone sloughed off any of her responsibilities as the Queen of the Underworld . Apparently Persephone didn't spend all her time "going home to momma". Having made the decision to consume the seeds of the pomegranate while in the underworld, Persephone managed to somehow always be there when others came visiting, ready to receive them into the underworld and to serve as their hostess and guide.
The goddess Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, was
willing to help Psyche pass Aphrodite's tests so that Psyche could be reunited with her
beloved husband. Psyche had been assigned to
go to the underworld and return with some of Persephone's famous youth serum/beauty
ointment (actually it was a sleeping potion, but hey, we all know what a bad night's sleep
can do to our appearance!) While Psyche was in the underworld, she found Persephone to be
both a gracious and generous hostess.
In another intriguing story, the Greek goddess Persephone agreed to hide
Adonis, a mortal youth who was Aphrodite's lover, from Aphrodite's suspicious
husband. But upon seeing the beautiful
Adonis, Persephone, receptive goddess that she was, also fell for his charms and refused
to give him back to Aphrodite. (Remember,
these Greek goddesses were the original "wild women", refusing to yield to
In Greek mythology Persephone, goddess of the soul, is the possessor of its dark and frightening wisdom. But the goddess Persephone is also the harbinger of spring . . . and a reminder of all the growth and hope that it brings.
Read the other goddess stories.
Persephone, Goddess of the Crossroads?
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