20 Days of Goddesses til’ Imbolc
Day 7— Persephone (Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld, Transformation, Adaptation, Selflessness)
Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, and was conceived long before Zeus married Hera. By all accounts, Persephone lived a very idyllic childhood, she was well loved by her mother and had two sisters to play with — her father’s other daughters, Athena and Aphrodite. As a child she was called Kore or Cora, meaning young maiden.
Her lore is possibly one of the most controversial and well known in Greek mythology.
Persephone was out in a field one day with Demeter. A hole opened up in the Earth and out of it came Hades on his chariot. He grabbed Persephone and took her back with him to The Underworld. Heartbroken Demeter went to Zeus demanding Hades give back their daughter. Demeter’s heartbreak was so strong all the plants died and the Earth got cold. Zeus called to his brother but Hades refused, stating Persephone was now his wife. Demeter refused to allow anything to grow as long as her child was gone from her and the world began to starve. In order to stop the fighting and bring the people food again, Zeus decided that Persephone will spend half the year in the Underworld with Hades and half the year on Earth with her mother. This is why in the winter everything dies and sleeps, the Earth loses its color, and the cold is harsh.
Persephone is said to have a younger counterpart to herself — Kore — another name for the young Persephone. Psychologically, this may be a representation of two or three levels of this archetype: Kore, the Maiden, Demeter, the mature Woman, and Hecate, the Wise Crone.
The goddess Persephone had two aspects, as the Kore and as Queen of the Underworld. This duality is also present as two archetypal patterns. Women can be influenced by one of the two aspects, can grow through one to the other, or can have both Kore and Queen present in their psyches.
Persephone’s rise to the Queen of Hell was inevitable as Hades’ wife, so it’s not so much that she had the title, but that she rose to the title. She reigned over the Under World with a ferocity that earned her the ancient epithet of Brimo, but was also tender. She shows us that we can make the most of wherever we find ourselves and remain kind. At least to those we can relate to. Appeal to her when you are seeking transformation.
Since she was the Queen of the Underworld and people were afraid of her, Persephone was given many euphemistic and friendly names. As we wrote above, some called her “The Maiden” and others “The Mistress.” She was also known as “The Pure One,” “The Venerable One,” and “The Great Goddess.”
Hades had offered Persephone all the riches he had to offer if she would only stay and love him. In time, the girl did come to love her husband, though she did miss her mother and the flowers of the world above. During her time with Hades, she bore him a daughter, Melinoe, goddess of ghosts and nightmares (although, according to Greek mythology, Melinoe is in fact Zeus’s daughter, as he was disguised as Hades during the time of conception). The baby girl was born with one side of her body colored black in honor of her father, and one side of her body colored white in honor of her mother.
- General: Spring, flower crown, torch, reeds, waterfalls, rivers and springs, flowers
- Animals: Bat, ram, parrots and all talking birds, and monkeys
- Plants: Pomegranate, narcissus, willow tree, lily, ivy, lily of the valley, oriental lily, maidenhair fern, daisy, lavender, Parsley, black poplar, willow,
- Perfumes/Scents: Floral scents, especially narcissus and hyacinth, almond, vanilla, and bergamot, pomegranate
- Gems and Metals: Black crystal, quartz, agate, black onyx, pink tourmaline, sapphire, obsidian, mercury, coral, agate, and jasper
- Colors: Green, black, light blue, purple, magenta, indigo, and yello