Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deity of the Month: Persephone


Persephone, or Proserpina in Latin, began life as a daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As a Spring Goddess, one of her responsibilities was the growth of flowers. She was doing her job when Hades spotted her from Tartarus. He immediately opened a chasm in the Earth and grabbed Persephone. No one, with the exception of Zeus and Helios, had noticed the abduction.

Demeter's heart was broken over the loss of her beloved daughter. She began wandering the Earth, searching, until Helios revealed what he had seen. Demeter was immediately filled with anger and went into solitude. Her absence was noticed immediately, because the plants ceased to mature or be fertile.

Knowing that if this continued the life that grew upon the earth was in serious jeopardy, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to force him to release Persephone. Hades reluctantly agreed, but before she left his palace he gave her pomegranate seeds (in some versions it's the entire pomegranate). In her joy, she forgot that no one must eat the food of Hades, and ate part of it. She was immediately bound to the underworld forever. Quick thinking on the part of Hermes found a loophole. Since she only ate half, she only had to be apart from her mother for six months instead of the entire year.

When Persephone is with Hades, Demeter refuses to allow anything to grow, causing the seasons of Autumn and Winter. During this time Persephone is Queen of the Underworld.


In anticipation of Persephone returning to her, Demeter returns to her duties and Spring soon follows. During this time Persephone is Goddess of Spring.

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