Monday, April 2, 2018

Persephone: Queen of the Underworld


On April 3rd of each year, ancient cultures would celebrate the annual return of the goddess Persephone as a celebration of Spring's return.

The myth tells the story of a young maiden, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Persephone was tempted to eat pomegranate seeds, knowing that this would bind her eternally to Hades. She yielded to temptation and was cursed to spend three months of each year with Hades, learning the secrets of the dead as Hades' bride. 

For nine months of each year, she was allowed to return to Earth to her mother Demeter, wife of Zeus. During this time she was bound to her secrets. At the end of the nine months she spent with her mother, she returned to the Underworld. Demeter's anguish turned the Earth cold and barren during winter. When Persephone returned three months later, Demeter's joy restored spring to the Earth.

I think that everyone is tempted by something that they know deep down is not good for them, that will cause them to suffer. We can mask this as naivety or we can be honest with ourselves and realize that our need for instant gratification triumphed over patience, choice or will.

Persephone symbolizes secret keeping and being bound by silence. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to keep silent, but if it inhibits our growth, joy and leaves us with regrets, fear and resentment; then we have to find a way to release those secrets and not be bound by them.

I have some things that tempt me on a daily basis. If I give into them, I will not reach my goals and I will live in fear and regret. This option alone helps me make the right choices for myself.

My secrets however...those ruled me for nearly four decades. As my friends know, I'm pretty much an open book (now) and I talk about everything. Being reserved and withdrawn was my way of sheltering and protecting myself. All this managed to result in was nearly 40 years of misery.

Why not contemplate these things as you bond with Nature: sit outside, listen to the creek flowing, listen to the birds singing, watch the skies, feel the sunshine, feel your spirit and body, go for a walk or sit by your window by candlelight petting your dogs or cats. We only go around once and we have to work with what has been given to us. Regret, doubt, anger and trepidation are NOT options! :)

13 comments:

wisps of words said...

So true. Keeping things inside, does not help. They tend to fester. Good to bring them out "into the sunshine."

Not always easy. But you know, it is best.

I don't think we will ever be perfect. It's just not the nature of humans. And that's ok. What we can do though, is try, to live the way, to make us the happiest. The most productive, however we each define productivity.

Hugs, for the journey...

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

There is a song sung by Martha Wainwright called Proserpina. Its a haunting, beautiful song and this is who she is singing about - Persephone! Its on YouTube if you fancy a listen.

Most days potato chips tempt me but in real life giving in is sometimes tempting. Just following the "norm" and being greedy, materialistic, ignorant like quite a few people that I am surrounded by. But no. I am stubborn. I refuse to live like that so I maintain my vision and keep grounded. I try to live an honest and good life. That's all I can really do.

Nicole Thomas said...

I just recently realized that there are secrets in my life that have been existing for ober 40 years. I kept them locked away so good...that I didn't even remember they existed. But then things happen and little bits and pieces start to pop up. So here I am 46 years old working and talking about things that I had locked away for so long. I am grateful for a wonderful partner who sits and listens for hours ...
And yet I am trying exactly what u are saying. Regrets dont help, anger wont get me anywhere. I will work through it whil I am at the same time enjoy every minute of my life that I have NOW. I sit and count ants with my kids, enjoy the sunshine on my nose and live and love as much as I can :)

Linda said...

Thank you for visiting me recently at Linda's Life Journal! I popped over here to meet you! Love this post and I am now your newest follower!

Fundy Blue said...

I enjoyed your retelling of Persephone's story, Rain. I used to wonder when I first heard it how come Greece was lucky enough to get away with only three months of winter.

You've asked some thought-provoking questions. Over the past four years I've gone through a process of releasing a deeply buried emotional pain I've carried around since 1971. It wasn't a secret so much as a great sadness over hurting someone deeply, even though I made the right and difficult decision at the time. That person contacted me after 42 years, and we carefully sorted out all the pain and hurt of the past. Forgiveness and peace are wonderful gifts.

It makes me sad to think that you suffered through 40 years of misery, but I'm glad that you have arrived at a happier place now.

Pam Jackson said...

Oh my gosh....I studied Greek Gods in 9th grade. So rusty....very rusty in that stuff now. I probably have secrets that I don't share but then again...that is why they are called that! haha. Three pets Rain....Misfire is #3! Just so glad she don't live in the house with us.

Martha said...

What a great post, Rain! I loved the story of Persephone. I imagine we all have secrets. I try not to keep anything inside that is toxic and detrimental to my well-being or the well-being of people I care about. Secrets are only necessary when they offer some type of protection. Otherwise, it's best to find a safe way to release them.

Magic Love Crow said...

Very wise words! A great post!
Thanks for sharing about the Goddess Persephone!
Big Hugs!

Guillaume said...

I love the old Greek myth.

baili said...

i did not know in my so many years of life that people do have secrets that is because may i did not have any but yes since last few years somethings revealed which were painful to accept but it does not matter accept it or not facts are still there to horrify me

i do not find myself brave enough to talk about them right now but i am working on my strength and i will share them someday soon hopefully i so liked your post dear Rain and the story about persephone ,Hugs!

Nicolas Hall said...

Rain, it is so nice to be back and to have read this wonderful post this morning. In the last few days I have listened to several podcasts that touched on two of the things you've brought to light here. One is the story of Persephone. In the podcast I was listening to, a young Wiccan was describing her take on Persepone and delving into the idea of the celebrating the heroine's journey through her story. Even going so far as to rewrite the story a bit to make it more of Persphone's choosing of her fate. I liked that.

The other was a woman who, since she was a child has had a secret world in her head. We might call it imaginary friends but even today, as a mom in her thirties, she retreats to it every day to escape from life. These are active dialogues and running narratives that have been with her since she was a little girl. What struck me most was that she has kept it a secret (even meeting the podcaster in a hotel room far from her home so as to keep the secret) all these years. And what is harmful about that is that, yes, some, many perhaps, would find it strange but many others might offer support for her to turn that world into an outlet. As a writer? Illustrator? Graphic novelist? Or just to say, it's ok. It's normal. We all live those running narratives, be grateful yours are positive and not self-defeating!!!

We all live in paracosms of our choosing. Hero and heroine's journeys of our own making, so I think it's up to us to make them serve our overall purpose. A famous writer, when once confronted about one of his autobiographical stories by someone who was there and who knew the writer had exaggerated the truth of his own role in the story said "Listen, in my stories, I'm always the hero."

So should it be with us all. But that means choosing wisely and very carefully who we let in. Who we tell our secrets too.

In the craft, we are encouraged to keep secrets or, at the very least, to be highly picky about who we share them with. Not everyone is prepared for a witch in their midsts. It's part of the legacy and, I suspect, part of the hero or heroine's journey too. :)

I've missed your posts. They offer so much to think about and so much to spark deep dives. . .

Thank you!

Haddock said...

I would like to do that .... listen to the creek flowing, listen to the birds singing

Pam Jackson said...

Missing your thought post!