Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pagan Goddess Persephone daughter of Demeter

Goddess Persephone.

Goddess Persephone reminds us that Spring is always around the corner.

Persephone, a Greek goddess known in her childhood by the name Kore (or Cora, meaning young maiden), was the only child of the union of Demeter (goddess of the bountiful harvest) and Zeus, the mighty king of the Olympians.  The Greek goddess Persephone was born when
Demeter was Zeus' consort, long before his marriage to the goddess Hera.  By all accounts  Persephone had an idyllic childhood, raised by her nurturing mother and played with her father's other daughters, the Greek goddesses Athena and Aphrodite.  Always a cheerful and compliant child, the little goddess Persephone was a parent's dream.

Legend has it that as Persephone grew older she attracted the attention of Hades, ruler of the underworld. One day whilst she was out collecting flowers, Hades snatched her away and took her to his home in the underworld. Although the young goddess Persephone grew to love Hades, she remained lonely for her mother and the life she'd known on earth.
Consumed with grief at the loss of her daughter , Demeter demonstrated her outrage and sorrow 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. With Zeus arbitrating a compromise was reached and the God Hermes was sent to bring the young goddess Persephone back to her mother.

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. There was a compromise reached however and it was decided that every spring Persephone would return to her Mother and then as winter came she would go back to the underworld and Hades. Thus Persephone came to be known as the Goddess of awakenings and new beginnings as her return every Spring brings forth buds on the trees and the beginning of life and growth on the earth. Persephone is often thought of as the goddess of the soul, she is the possessor of its dark and frightening wisdom. But this beautiful goddess is also the beginning of spring . . .  and a reminder of all the growth and hope that it brings. 

It is said that Greek goddess Persephone represents both the youthful, innocent, and joyous maiden aspect of a woman as well as the more womanly self who,  innocence lost and family attachments loosened, can begin to consciously decide for herself. 
Persephone’s Spiral Dance into the shadows of the underworld filled her with wisdom and knowledge of existence outside of her Mother’s realm. As with our sacred circle, the wheel turns endlessly, bringing with it the season. Persephone therefore embodies the wisdom of the changing seasons and teaches us that changes often happen in our lives but they can make us stronger and give us courage to face the next event that comes along. Persephone reminds us to celebrate what has past and to look forward to the days ahead of us. She also encourages us to make friends with all aspects of ourselves as we change and develop along our lifespan. This Goddess also teaches us the importance of letting go. Old ties that no longer serve, old habits that have become destructive. Let them fall away as the Wheel turns.
Just as Persephone came to accept her life shared between the worlds of darkness and the light, so can we. We can accept that energy comes in light and dark and all shades in between, and learn to make the most of every situation. She teaches us that it’s possible to go through the dark & come out the other side a little stronger than before.  She teaches us to have gratitude for the things that we have and the people in our lives, even if they are transitory. She shows us the importance of gratitude, try and practise this at least three times a day, thinking of one thing that you are grateful for at that moment, however small. 

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