P is for Persephone, Maiden of Spring and Queen of the Dead.
Known also as Kore, young maiden, or Proserpina, by the Romans.
Persephone led a peaceful and quiet life, up until her kidnapping.
Though, due to her great beauty, she was highly sought after as a consort, her Mother, Demeter, sheltered her much-loved Daughter and kept her far away from Olympus.
Hermes, Ares, Apollo and Hephaestus had all tried their hand with Persephone, but Demeter had rejected their advances on her Daughter’s behalf.
Demeter and Persephone were earthly Goddesses, preferring to keep their own company and live among the wilds of nature.
Persephone, walking ahead of her Mother, bought the growth of Spring upon the land.
The peaceful existence of Mother and Daughter came to an end, when unbeknownst to them both, a deal was struck between Hades and Zeus, Persephone’s Father.
Zeus agreed that Hades may take Persephone as his Wife, and the two plotted together to make this happen.
Zeus had laid some beautiful flowers in a meadow, in order to lure Persephone to the trap.
The most beautiful flower, of one hundred, sweetly scented petals, laid in wait for a girl “of a flowers beauty”.
Persephone came upon this garden of allure, while out picking flowers with Artemis and some nymphs.
When she saw the beautiful flower, she reached out to pick it.
The moment her hands touched its stem, the earth opened up beneath her and Hades grabbed hold of the lovely Maiden, dragging her down into The Underworld.
Despite being in company, the abduction happened so quickly, that none of Persephone’ companions saw it happen.
The only witnesses to the kidnapping was Helios, the Sun God, and the Goddess Hecate, who heard Persephone’s cries for help from her cave.
Demeter was frantic when she discovered her Daughter missing, and fell into a deep depression.
She was furious at the nymphs that had been with her Daughter, and had not intervened.
In punishment, Demeter turned them into the Sirens.
On the tenth day of Demeter’s search, Hekate came to her and told her that though she had not seen the abduction, she had heard the girl’s cries.
Hekate suggested approaching Helios, to see what he knew of the disappearance.
Helios told the two Goddesses all he knew, the abduction, the plot and the player’s behind it.
Helios also suggested to Demeter that she leave things as they were, that Hades was a powerful Lord of many and that he would make a good Husband for her Daughter.
Demeter did not, could not, accept this, so she took her plight to Zeus.
Zeus too, refused to return Persephone, arguing that Hades was the right match for the Maiden Goddess.
Demeter went away with a heavy heart and refused to fertilize the Earth.
The seasons came to a standstill, plant life withered and died.
It wasn’t until Zeus tired of the cries of the hungry mortals below, that he knew he had to right the situation.
Hekate, who is at home in The Underworld, was sent to retrieve Persephone, but Hades, unwilling to relinquish his beautiful new bride, had a trick up his sleeve.
Before he released The Maiden to Hecate, he tricked her into eating four pomegranate seeds, one for each month that she would have to return to him.
So, although Persephone was returned to her mother, she was bound to return to The Underworld for four months of every year.
When Mother and Daughter are together, the Earth grows and flourishes, food is abundant.
Every year, when Persephone returns to her Husband, the earth withers and dies.
The ascent and descent of Persephone brings us the changing seasons.
Hekate became close to the two Goddesses during their time of need.
When it is time for Persephone to descend to The Underworld, Hekate bears her torches and lights the way forward for the young Goddess.
On the return journey, Hekate leads the way to the surface.
Though, not only does Hekate walk in front of Persephone, as her guide, she also follows up from behind, protecting her from any harm.
Hekate guides Persephone, not only in her travels, but offering guidance on the ways of The Underworld, on ruling over the souls of the dead, as well.
Hekate is a guide, protector and friend of Persephone, in both her light and dark aspects.
This is also where the Triple Goddess of Persephone, Demeter and Hekate springs from.
During the Spring and Summer, Persephone’s time above ground, she is the Maiden.
She is innocence, virtue and purity.
During the Autumn and Winter, she is the Queen of the Dead, a Dark Goddess, who shows no mercy.
Only once, was her heart moved, when Orpheus came to King and Queen, to beg for the return of his beloved.
Persephone granted his wish.
Persephone is also a character in the story of Adonis.
When Adonis was born, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Lust, took him under her wing, though she had her own agenda.
She was so enamoured with Adonis’ unearthly beauty, that she planned to seduce him.
Aphrodite gave him to Persephone to watch over him for a while, but Persephone also became entranced with his great beauty and refused to give him back.
The two Goddess fought bitterly over this exquisite beauty.
Their argument was eventually settled by Zeus, with Adonis spending four months with Aphrodite, four with Persephone and four on his own.
There is a belief that Persephone ate of the pomegranate seeds of her own free will, that she was a willing consort to the Lord of the Underworld, his Bride of Death.
Either way, each Winter, she descends to The Underworld and takes her throne beside her King.
Here she presides over the dead, her stoney gaze turned upon her shared Kingdom and the shades of the dead.
As Underworld Queen, she is also Queen of the Erinyes, sending them out from the Underworld, to fulfill curses made in her name.
Persephone is light and dark, life and death, holder of the Mysteries.
Symbols Of Persephone:
- Spring Growth
- Parrots and talking birds
- White Rose
- Willow Tree
- Lily of the Valley
- Maidenhair Fern
- Spring Flowers
Incense / Oils:
- Floral Scents
Gems / Metals:
- Pink Tourmaline
- Light Green
- Light Blue