As I may have previously mentioned, I am obsessed with Persephone. I recently made an entry in my journal about her, and I would like to share it.
Researching Persephone’s history was extremely interesting. As a young maiden, she was known as Kore. When she grew into womanhood, her name changed to Persephone. Hades saw her and fell in love. He asked Zeus for his permission to wed her. Zeus agreed, but warned Hades that Persephone’s mother Demeter would never allow the match. Hades plotted to kidnap Persephone and bring her to the Underworld. This part of the story is disputed. There are several texts that suggest that Persephone was enamored of Hades as well and knew her mother would not allow the match, so she eloped with him.
When Persephone disappeared, Demeter was inconsolable. In her grief, she began to freeze the earth and make it barren. The people cried to Zeus to save them and he demanded the return of Persephone. Hades agreed, but before he allowed Persephone to leave, he offered her a few pomegranate seeds. She ate them, binding her to the Underworld. When Demeter found out, she was forced to allow Persephone return to the Underworld. For 6 months out of the year she would be with Demeter, and 6 months would be spent with her husband, Hades. This explains the seasons.
Persephone also features in the love story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus made hauntingly beautiful music on his lute. He fell in love with the beautiful Eurydice and she returned his affection. They were married, and on their wedding day Eurydice went running through the meadow with her bridesmaids but did not look where she was running. She was bitten by a poisonous snake and died. Orpheus was disconsolate at her loss and mourned in his heart as well as through his music. All who heard his mournful songs wept with him.
One day he decided he could not live without his love and he descended to the Underworld to get Eurydice back. He played his lute and charmed Charon into ferrying him across the River Styx. He was also able to pass by Cerberus by playing his lute. When he stood before Hades and Persephone, he played his lute and told the tale of his love for Eurydice. Persephone begged Hades to reunite the lovers. Hearing his love plea for the couple, Hades relented and agreed to return Eurydice to Orpheus on one condition. Eurydice would follow him up to Earth, but he could not look back while they were in the Underworld, or she would be lost to him in the Underworld forever. Orpheus agreed and began the ascent. He could hear Eurydice’s footsteps behind him. When he reached the entrance to the Underworld he immediately looked back to see that Eurydice was still in the Underworld. He watched horrified as she was snatched back into Hades’ realm. The echo of her, “Farewell” still hung in the air. Though he once again tried to steal into the Underworld, he was blocked from doing so. Eventually in his mourning he would be ripped to shreds by the followers of Dionysus and end up back in the Underworld. Persephone reunited them and sent them to the Elysian Fields.
When researching this goddess, I came across a meditation in one of my books to contact her. I have yet to try it, but I can’t wait to do so. It is designed to help a person move past something difficult in their life.
She is such a strong goddess. Her ability to deal with leaving everything she knew to rule the Underworld with Hades shows her strength. She symbolizes renewal to me. With her emergence from the Underworld, she brings Spring and Summer to the Earth. With her decent, Fall and Winter come to show her mother’s grief.