Spirituality

Greek goddess Persephone

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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A few seeds eaten from a pomegranate decided Persephone's fate
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The goddess Persephone was a very important figure in Greek mythology. She is usually portrayed as a beautiful young woman whose life changed life for everyone on earth. According to Greek mythology, the experiences Persephone had and the relationship with her mother caused the four seasons to form.

Early Years

Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the bountiful harvest, and Zeus, who was the king of the Olympians. As a young girl, Persephone was called Cora, which means young maiden. She was an easygoing and cheerful child.

The life of this girl would soon change drastically. As she grew up, Persephone became a lovely young woman. The god of the underworld, Hades (also known as Pluto), noticed her beauty. According to Greek mythology, Hades was attracted to Persephone. One day as Persephone was in a meadow, Hades came and snatched her away. He took her to the underworld and made her queen over it.

An Unwilling Queen of the Underworld?

Persephone's mother, Demeter, found out that her daughter was in the underworld. She was terribly upset by this news. She was so distraught over losing her daughter that she withdrew her usual blessing from the Earth. She refused to provide for the harvest until her daughter was brought back to her. This resulted in droughts on the Earth. A famine soon began.

Realizing that humankind would perish without crops, Zeus ordered Hades to free Persephone. But there was one condition… Persephone could be freed as long as she hadn't eaten any food in Hades. Just before he set her free, Hades tempted Persephone to eat a few pomegranate seeds from his garden. Because Persephone had eaten while in the underworld, she could not be freed. But without Demeter's attention to the earth, all of humankind would die.

Zeus was forced to negotiate with Hades about where Persephone would live. It was decided that Persephone would stay with Hades in the underworld for four months every year. During the other months, she would return to Earth to be with her mother. Every time that Persephone left her mother to live in the underworld, Demeter grieved. She withdrew her blessing of a good harvest on the Earth. Thus, the four months of separation caused cold, barren winters. When Persephone was returned to her mother, Demeter would be so glad that she would be kind to the Earth again. This would lead to spring, and then summer, followed by fall. In this way, the seasons were established.

In other versions of this myth, Persephone fell in love with her captor, and chose to eat the seeds, knowing that she could not be set free after eating from the fruits of Hades kingdom. Her father still negotiated for her return, but the choices she made caused the seasons of the years. In stories based upon this chain of events, Persephone became a voluntary power in the underworld, and was called the Queen of the Dead. So great was the fear among some groups, that speaking her name was taboo in some circles.

Although her parents were very powerful, the Greek goddess Persephone is usually described as a shadowy figure. The events that occurred when she was a young maiden affected her entire life. She became a willing or unwilling queen of the underworld and only a visitor to the world she grew up in. Persephone's youthful experiences forever altered the seasons on the Earth. .

What role did the stories play in Greek life

The Greek goddess Persephone is just one of many figures in Greek mythology whose life was used to describe regular occurrences in nature. Stories such as this one to explained the seasons, rain, famines, and other types of events in the natural world. Another fascinating ancient Greek Mythology story is that of the Greek Goddess Hera, who was one of Zeus' wife's.

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