Friday, March 22, 2013
Supernatural Friday: Spring Showers Brings Hades' Lost Love
Spring is here. Well, technically anyway. Winter still seems to have a claw-hold. Spring would be represented by Persephone, just as winter could be Hades. Persephone was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. She was also the goddess of spring growth, worshiped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
The story goes that she was in a flowery meadow with her Nymph companions. For a while Hades had been watching her, desiring her. She was seized by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her mother Demeter despaired at the loss of her daughter. She searched for her the all over the world, accompanied by the goddess Hekate. When she learned that Zeus had conspired in her daughter's abduction she grew furious. She refused to let the earth fruit until Persephone was returned to her. Zeus consented. Except the girl tasted a handful of pomegranate seeds while in Hades’ realm. This meant she had to spend a part of the year with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and sudden growth of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter caused plants dying, trees losing their leaves, and the halting of growth.
Persephone is usually depicted as a young goddess holding sheaves of grain and a flaming torch. Other times, she is in the company of her mother Demeter. While others, she appears enthroned beside Hades.
Another myth concerns those who say that on the spring equinox the length of day is exactly equal to the length of night, but don’t be fooled by that old rumor. True days of day-night equality always fall before the spring equinox and after the autumnal, or fall, equinox. When it happens depends on where you are located on the surface of the Earth. By the time the center of the sun passes over the Equator—the official definition of equinox—the day will be slightly longer than the night everywhere on Earth. The difference is a matter of geometry, atmosphere, and language.
Whether warm or cold, length of days or not, spring is here, with Easter not far behind. Time to get outdoors and enjoy the days before summer's blazing temperatures hit. As you see plants popping up their leafy heads, trees budding and hear birds singing, think of Persephone dancing in a meadow, before running to her mother's arms.