2/29/12

Goddess of the Week: Persephone

Leighton depicts Hermes helping Persephone to ...
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Oh no! The goddess queue is empty! We need a goddess of queues. We need a goddess who knows all about waiting. That would be Persephone, the Greek goddess of Spring.

Maybe you know Persephone's story. It's pretty creepy. Old man Hades (god of the underworld) snatches young thing Persephone and grabs her down to hell to make her his wife. Persephone's mom, Demeter, gets really mad and threatens to destroy all plant life. (She was the goddess of agriculture.) Of course, if all the plants died, all life would die. Zeus (who had actually been in on the kidnapping even though he was Persephone's own father) decides to broker a deal. He talks to Hades and Hades agrees to let Persephone go.

Alas, poor Persephone had eaten three pomegranate seeds, even though everybody knew you weren't supposed to eat food in the underworld. Eating food from the underworld was like eating all your Halloween candy in one sitting. It was a bad idea. Everywhere you went people would say, if you go to hell, don't eat the food. The food will look good. It will look REALLY good. But don't do it. It will only end badly. But, just like kids will eat all their Halloween candy if given the actual chance, she ate the pomegranate seeds. And just like kids who eat all their Halloween candy in one sitting learn an inalienable fact of life about the stomach-churning consequences of eating too much candy, Persephone experienced a fact of life (and death) as equally inalienable: if you eat the fruit of the dead, you have to be dead, no matter what Zeus says. Still, Zeus is Zeus, and he worked out a deal. She had to stay in hell one month for each seed that she ate in the underworld. So she spends three months in hell every year (that would be winter), and the other nine months she gets to frolic as she wishes on the lovely earth.

The point is, Persephone knows all about waiting. Every winter she goes to the underworld and waits for spring. It's a long and dark wait, but, apparently, the food is excellent. Persephone reminds us that we all have winters. You can't hurry through winter. Some things have their own time, and we can neither rush them nor slow them down. We can only wait. But winter ends, and spring comes. Without fail, it comes. The best thing to do is hunker down and wait it out. Cookies help.

  Channel this goddess: When standing in line, when the wait seems interminable, when you really need a little sun. 


 Need a goddess! The queue is empty! Now is the time! Free! Free! Free! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got.
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16 comments:

Rois said...

Just the other day I said I am so done with winter and ready to move onward to spring.And guess what we awoke to snow this morning! I have never seen snow here this late in the winter.
Persephone,I need some of your waiting skills today!

Katie InHerAfterworld said...

Empty???? How comes? Well... I need a Goddess who will help me see what my heart really seeks... that guides me and opens my eyes... regarding Love, but also Life... :)

Carrie Rosalind said...

I learned all about Persephone in "Traveling With Pomegranates!" I guess no Goddess queue means that everyone is happy in their lives! Or at least that's what I'm hoping for! :)

Tony Van Helsing said...

They have pomegranates in hell? I wouldn't have thought growing conditions would be ideal for them underground.

Desiree said...

Wow, Katie--you go! I trust Margaret to dive in!
M: talking about eating food in Hell really calls back to me one of the creepiest scenes from a sad and beautiful movie: Pan's Labyrinth.
Little girl, please don't eat that grape!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I wish she'd have eaten 5 seeds. We need longer winters inSLos Angeles.

Daisy said...

All it takes is one little indiscretion! Now we all have to move to California or Florida! Tho I must confess, I love rainy days and cooler weather. Eat more dear Persephone.

Joanne said...

I don't know if I really believe that she ate three seeds, because this winter we had NO winter in New England. It was Spring all winter here. Until today, of course, our first snow. But it doesn't count because it's on Leap Day.

altadenahiker said...

For the queue -- Eurydice and Orpheus, and the story set in Brazil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGEVUHkJG1o

Shell Sherree said...

I spend the whole of winter in a frozen state, so Persephone is going to be my trusty companion when we head that way over the next few months. The cookies come a very close second.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

OOOOH! I actually think that a goddess of waiting is SO PERFECT for the publishing industry that you couldn't have nailed this better today. For me, anyway LOL:)

Lenora said...

Hmmm Persephone has come up a lot for me lately in the past month or so, and here she is again. heehee

Amalia T. said...

I think Persephone HAD to have known what she was doing. Maybe Demeter was just THAT overbearing, and she needed a 3 month break? Or maybe she had a father-complex? I can totally see that being an issue with Zeus as the father. He isn't exactly the most approachable, and most women would regret it quite a bit if he approached THEM.

Then again, I kind of love winter, so maybe I just have a bias.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm with Lindsay on this one. A goddess of waiting comes in handy for me, too.

Say, how about a goddess of juggling projects? Write, edit, pitch, produce...there must be a--oh I know, she's going to be one of those with eleven arms.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

This reminds me that I need to finish the pomegranate book!

I could REALLY use a goddess of doing-a-super-MUNDANE-job-in-hopes-that-it-will-pan-out. :o|

Susan Campisi said...

I'm looking forward to what you cook up for Katie's goddess. Maybe I'll eat some pomegranate cookies while I'm waiting.