Women's Goddess Retreat
September 10 - 12, 2010

 
 

Pomegrante

Demeter & Persephone

The Lessons of Mothers and Daughters

In ancient Greek religion and myth, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito (σίτος: wheat) as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros (θεσμός, thesmos: divine order, unwritten law) as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sanctity of marriage, the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400-1200 BC found at Pylos, the "two mistresses and the king" are identified with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore "the maiden" is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the shades, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence she is also associated with spring and with the seeds of the fruits of the fields. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess (Kore) and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon, and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. The mystic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities.

Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter, and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed; often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a scepter and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades. In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Links

Goddess Gallery: Demeter

Thalia Took: Ceres

Thalia Took: Kore

Theoi.com: Demeter

Theoi.com: Persephone

Wikipedia: Demeter

Wikipedia: Persephone

 

   
   
 

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