Persephone

Beltane - May QueenPersephone

“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. Kore 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 Ceres 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 worshiped along with Demeter, and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. Her common name as a vegetation goddess is Kore and in Arcadia she was worshipped under the title Despoina “the mistress”, a very old chthonic divinity. Plutarch identifies her with spring and Cicero calls her the seed of the fruits of the fields. In the Eleusinian mysteries her return is the symbol of immortality and hence she was frequently represented on sarcophagi.”

 

– Persephone

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