EASILY SIGN UP FOR A FREE NEWSLETTER
PERSEPHONE - GODDESS OF AWAKENING
AND SPRINGTIME RENEWAL
Persephone was the divine daughter of Demeter. She was much adored by her mother who was seen as the Goddess of the Earth, Great Mother of the Harvest, by our ancient Greek ancestors. Demeter and Persephone were the central figures in the Eleusinian Mysteries of those times. These were the mysteries of the miracles of life, death, and renewal. The Romans called her Proserpina or Core, Kore. She was honored in two ways, as Kore, the young maid associated with symbols of fertility, the grain, corn, pomegranate, and the flower that lured her, the narcissus. As Queen of the Underworld, she is a mature goddess presiding over the souls of the dead and as a guide to the living who visited the underworld. As a mature Goddess, she claims what she wants and makes her own choices.
Demeter and Persephone from Myrina,
NW Asia Minor c. 100 BC at the British Museum of History
I love this precious sculpture done over 2000 years ago. It tells the story of a mother's love for and her closeness with her daughter. Some of us may have had a good or even a pretty good relationship with our mother, but many did not. But we all have one thing in common, we were young and innocent once.
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."
Trust and innocence belong to Persephone as do naivete and spacey mind.
from INNOCENCE TO WHOLENESS by Sharon Russell
(go here to find her book to guide you through the stages from childlike innocence to true maturity...btw...WOMEN ARE REALLY LOVING THIS BOOK!).
MYTHOLOGY of PERSEPHONE
I thought you might like to hear quotations from Homer's "Hymn to Demeter" which tell the story of Persephone's abduction, Demeter's loss, and Persephone's final return to her mother. We must all leave our mothers, but some of us never do. Or perhaps, we leave home but a part of us does not want to or has great difficulty maturing.
The mythology of Demeter and Persephone helps us to understand what Asteroid Goddess, Persephone, might mean in our own personal astrology chart.
Persephone symbol in astrology. But this may not be the symbol in your chart. My program shows Persephone as "a2", odd- but some of these asteroid symbols have not yet become standardized. You can also find asteroid positions HERE. You can enter just your birthdate and discover what sign Persephone was in at your birth. By knowing the sign and the degree it is in, you can then place it in the correct house in your chart.
Let's begin to hear the story of Persephone as Homer told it keeping in mind that the Greeks were one of the first cultures to use a system of psychology in their mythology. They did not call it psychology, or 'science' but it was mythology that became the precursor of the psychology of today.
HOMERIC HYMN TO DEMETER
TRANSLATED BY GREGORY NAGY
"I begin to sing of Demeter, the holy goddess with the beautiful hair.
And her daughter [Persephone] too. The one with the delicate ankles, whom Hadês seized. She was given away by Zeus, the loud-thunderer, the one who sees far and wide.
Demeter did not take part in this, she of the golden double-ax, she who glories in the harvest.
She [Persephone] was having a good time, along with the daughters of Okeanos, who wear their girdles slung low.
She was picking flowers: roses, crocus, and beautiful violets."
When we pick a flower we cherish it. But that very same flower can never develop to its full potential. It remains eternally youthful, without seed or soul or the opportunity for it to be harvested. Like that flower, sometimes parts of ourselves don't develop.
We live like Cinderellas or Sleeping Beauties waiting to be awakened.
We may feel quite content in our doing or sleeping. We become complacent, dependent, chameleon-like. We are responsive creatures, doing whatever is expected of us.
But, oh, this can become a dangerous place to stay. Co-dependent, little-girl women, but with our 'girdles slung low' we do not really mature, perhaps we are not aware of how attractive or beautiful we are. We may even be quite sexy, .... but innocent.... and we remain not yet awakened.
A teenage Persephone could have many boyfriends. She will be good at sensing what they need, probably even before they themselves know. And though sexy, she may lack passion.
She is likely someone who tries to please her mother. Her mother may be too sheltering or she may be overbearing but in either case, she will have been overprotected. Persephone becomes sensitive, introverted, and timid.
Edmund Dulac -" Pluto and Persephone"
"He caught her up in his golden car and bare her away lamenting. Then she cried out shrilly with her voice, calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and excellent.
But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Perseus, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios, Hyperion's bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of Cronos.
But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal men. So he, that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of Many and Host of Many, was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on his immortal chariot -- his own brother's child and all unwilling."
"Abduction of Persephone" Jan Peter von Baurscheit 17th Century
The uninitiated Persephone is a woman who is acted upon by others. She doesn't make her own choices. Others choose her as a friend or lover, she doesn't choose. She is receptive. And if she is given a choice she consults her mother who knows best. (ha! what a trap!)
Persephone's abduction is a big thing in mythology. Our first inclination is to feel so sorry for her. After all, she gets dragged into the hell zone by Hades. She doesn't have a clue what to do. She is bereft. Without her mother to instruct her, she is lost.
This is a Persephone who is unaware of her strengths. If she has personal desires she is not aware of them either. She may have vague longings but because she does not know who she is, she cannot act on her own.
DEMETER (Greek) is also known as Ceres (Roman)
"Demeter Mourning for Persephone" Evelyn de Morgan 1906
..."golden-haired Demeter sat there apart from all the blessed gods and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter."
A Demeter mother may foster her daughters being dependant upon her. She wants to keep her close. Or perhaps she is protecting her from an abusive father or boyfriend. Her relationship with her daughter may be her most important one, making her feel needed and loved.
Of course, not all Demeter women will form a dependency on their daughters, but we will talk about that another time. (for Demeter was a great goddess, one who gives of herself through the HARVEST, through nurturance and feeding others.)
Every asteroid Goddess has a skillful way in which she will use her qualities and an UNskillful way, as do all archetypes. How we use the energy of any goddess is dependant on our free will and conscious connection to ourselves. This is one reason we study astrology, to open ourselves up to the possibilities of our gifts and talents and our shortcomings or places of refuge that keep us safe but also keep us 'stuck.' Through our studies, we begin to recognize what we must change and transform within ourselves. This is the work of every woman. It is our great work and will connect us to our soul, our very essence.
Persephone becomes a mate to Pluto. She matures into a woman, a Queen of the Underworld, and Pluto becomes tempered, no longer a wrathful deity but a positive aspect of the masculine principle that can serve to transform our lives according to our willingness to grow beyond where we are now.
Pluto says to Persephone: "...while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore." When he said this, wise Persephone was filled with joy and hastily sprang up for gladness.
Persephone's underworld journey, though fraught with danger, brings her opportunities to build strength, endurance, courage, and gain many skills. While in the Underworld with Pluto, she may bear children and become sexually awakened. She begins to make decisions for herself, not to appease others but because she begins to know herself as a mature woman. She is no longer a maid.
Demeter brings winter to mankind
"Then she (Demeter) caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid. In the fields, the oxen drew many a curved plow in vain, and much white barley was cast upon the land without avail."
In her desperation and anger at the loss of her daughter, Demeter allows the harshness of winter to cover the earth, and everything upon it begins to perish. (Later in another article we will explore this part of the myth when we speak of Demeter.)
" So she would have destroyed the whole race of man with cruel famine and have robbed them who dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices, had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart."
This forces Zeus, with the help of Mercury and Hecate, to allow Persephone to return to her mother.
"Now, he (Hades/Pluto) on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter."
Hades/Pluto agrees to release Persephone to her mother, but on the condition, she be returned to him for a part of each year. Clever man, he knew that keeping his wife hostage was no way to cultivate a marriage, that she would be happier if she could spend some time in the upper world, with her mother, her friends, picking flowers, having fun and with time and space to renew herself.
Persephone eating the pomegranate seeds by Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted in 1874.
Those luscious feminine pomegranate seeds, symbolic of the blood mysteries, have since that time been considered Persephone's fruit and symbolic of her commitment and willingness to mature into a fruitful woman.
"When Demeter begged Zeus to return her daughter to Earth, he agreed, on condition that Persephone had not eaten any fruits in Hades. As Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, it was decreed that she should remain in Hades for six months of the year and be allowed on Earth for the other six."
Persephone returns to her mother, Demeter.
"And when Demeter saw them, she rushed forth as does a Maenad down some thick-wooded mountain, while Persephone on the other side, when she saw her mother's sweet eyes, left the chariot and horses, and leaped down to run to her, and falling upon her neck, embraced her."
"But Demeter sensed that Persephone had eaten the pomegranate and was therefore bound to the underworld.
It was agreed that Persephone would spend one-third of the year in the underworld with Hades and the other two-thirds with her mother. (some myths say it was 6 months on earth and 6 months in the underworld, others use the 1/3 of the year as winter and the 2/3's as spring to autumn...)
And Demeter restored the bounty of the earth to man."
"Pachamama", by Claudia Olivos
You can find her art at olivosartstudio.com Thanks, Claudia! Your image is so lively!
Through a positive strength-giving relationship with our inner Persephone, we gain the ability to be reborn, to be renewed.
Sharon's happy Demeter! Go HERE to see more of this as a card or print.
PERSEPHONE IN YOUR ASTROLOGY CHART
Much of how Persephone shows up in your chart will depend on the planets it is joined by aspects. As a place to start here is my brief and general sense of Persephone through the houses and signs:
Persephone in your 1st house or in Aries. You have the ability to brighten others with your Persephone charm. Take a more active role in who you choose as a lover or mate. You will not want to be dominated by your mother. You will make your own way even if she is abusive to you.
Persephone in your 2nd house or in Taurus is sensual and she may want to find a man who can give her all the financial security and comforts that Taurus craves. This will only work if you really love the guy, otherwise, you may remain unawakened sexually and feel like something is missing.
Persephone in your 3rd house or in Gemini is a curious, social maiden who needs to learn how to speak up for herself. Perhaps she is treated like the baby of the family by her siblings or parents. Find your VOICE so that you can communicate your needs. The 3rd house or Gemini is ruled by Mercury which can gift you with the ability to move back and forth between the upper world and the underworld. This talent can make you a good therapist or guide in the underworld if you have gone through your own Persephone initiation.
Persephone in your 4th house or Cancer can get caught in mother's web. You have to move out of your mother's house to renew your spirit and find yourself. But a part of you may want to remain with your mother and never leave home.
Marilyn Monroe with her mother Gladys Baker
Marilyn Monroe had her Persephone in Cancer, sign of the mother, but her mother had a serious mental illness and was not able to give her daughter the nurturance of a caring mother figure that Marily so craved. Instead, Marilyn looked for love and nurturance from her male lovers. It is unlikely that Marilyn was ever awakened to her true self. Her Persephone was in her 11th house giving her glamour and great public attention.
Freda Kahlo had her Persephone in Capricorn in her 5th house. It was heavily aspected by conjunction with Mars/Uranus which speaks to her accident at a young age (she was still a maiden) that largely defined her life. The way I see it, the rather large personae of her husband, Diego Rivera, (on her forehead in the image below) overshadowed her Persephone but could not kill it.
Persephone in the fifth house or Leo can be passionate and seek plenty of romance. Good sex could be your renewal! You are probably artistic or psychic. There is a certain youthfulness to you even as you age. One or more of your children may have a difficult time maturing or feel you were too focused on yourself at their expense. You may desire to be eternally youthful but remember that Persephone never dies in you, she changes and grows into a woman who is capable of generating warmth and enthusiasm about living. Her spirit can encourage others to share the limelight with her.
Persephone in the sixth house or Virgo. Your diet and health play a strong part in whether or not you stay young. It might help NOT to eat as your mother ate. Find your own best lifestyle so that you can mature into good health. An afflicted Persephone in this house can show a mother's lack of nurturance or of using food for comfort. With this placement, Persephone doesn't really like work but she can excel in a creative, spiritual, or psychological field. You may work without the proper degrees that are so cumbersome for Persephone to attain in this placement. If you are an artist, poetic, or psychic you can find renewal in your work through highly individual ways.
Persephone in the 7th house or Libra. Do you allow others to act upon you and foster your compliance? Maybe you have a passive attitude that attracts men who want to mold you or keep you a young maiden that can mirror them in the ways that make them feel good about themselves, ways they imagine themselves to be. On the other hand, when you are in a relationship as an equal and an individual within the relationship, you notice yourself feeling more awake, more interested, and passionate.
Persephone in the 8th house or Scorpio may have been physically abused as a maiden and find it difficult to become a passionate, awakened woman sexually. She can find what she is looking for though as she matures and becomes conscious of the need to heal her wounded youthful self. This house and placement give her the power to transform her life.
Oprah Winfrey had her Persephone in Libra in your 9th house.
Persephone in the 9th house or Sagittarius wants to stay Persephone so she can be free. The serious challenges that she faces as she seeks the truth help her to come out of denial and see life realistically. She must find meaning in her life in order to grow and mature. She can be a wisdom carrier as she matures, or even at a young age, she can convey an air of wisdom as she seeks to find the bigger picture and the positive in every situation.
Frida Kahlo, self-portrait as a Tehuana, a group of Zapotec women of a matriarchal society formed after the Mexican Revolution. There is a certain pride in her face that speaks to her Persephone in the sign of Capricorn. Frida studied to become a doctor but changed to an artist because she spent so much time in bed after her accident and had to give up her dream to become a doctor. Her husband was largely her teacher - this also speaks to a Capricorn Persephone greatly influenced by her husband or a strong man who also acted as her guide. She renewed herself through her art! Such a brave and beautiful soul.
Persephone in the 10th house or Capricorn can have trouble setting her own personal goals and knowing what she wants. What others want or expect of her may overshadow her natural tendencies. As you mature, age will show you more of who you are and you will develop the courage to have the career you seek. Your awakening both sexually and career-wise could happen later in life and be a source of renewal for you! The darkness that comes with winter could bring you the solitude that renews.
Persephone in the 11th house or Aquarius can be quite glamorous and attract public attention. If your Persephone is naive she might not be aware that she is either glamorous or popular nor does she wish to be. When she is a teenager she will need to develop a separate identity from over intrusive parenting or friends that may influence her in ways that are not her true ways. You could have a marked degree of intuition with this placement and quite a few 'smarts'. As you become aware of your intelligence, you feel renewed and this awakens your originality. A part of you may stay young in spirit your whole life.
Persephone in the 12th house or Pisces is the quintessential dreamer. She is sensitive and shy. She may seek the mountains and the rivers, the forests and the meadows to dream in. You are probably quite psychic, maybe you even talk to the plants! A too-spacey Persephone here can create troubles for you, so do read below to see what you may cultivate in yourself that will allow your Persephone strengths to emerge. You are intuitively receptive to the unconscious of others. Your deep receptivity, though captivating to others, may also make you a victim.
Persephone can teach us to have FAITH IN THE HARD TIMES. She reminds us that
life cycles round and round.
After a loss, Persephone carries with her the potential for new growth, new vitality, a new springtime. She may even bring us a mystical experience out of which change follows. And since she knows how to wait for life to change and the seasons to turn, she allows for the clarity of time to reveal in what direction she must go.
Hecate can become her constant companion helping her to use her intuition to discover the symbolic meaning of events and become aware of other dimensions of reality. Read more about Hecate HERE.
TRAITS TO CULTIVATE FOR A HEALTHY PERSEPHONE
MOVING FROM MAIDEN TO QUEEN AND MATURE WOMAN
Make a choice and stay with your decision even when it is no longer fun.
Say 'yes' and follow through.
Tell the whole truth even if it means a direct confrontation with another person.
Recognize your psychic or intuitive ability and develop these. Become a guide for others by helping them find their depths.
Listen to your dreams and what they are telling you.
Recapture lost dreams by cultivating a richer connection with your inner self.
Choose your boyfriends and take your time if you have many of them in finding the right one for you.
Strike out on your own when you notice you are being overly dependant on others.
If married, release resentment or feelings that marriage means death or abduction. Learn to see your mate as a real person, with flaws but a good human being.
If you are having a long depression and it continues, seek a counselor or assistance from a Hecate-type woman who can act as a guide to you.
Work with symbolic meaning and rituals that reflect your inner values.
Recognize what people you feel dominated by or those who keep you bound to them. The limitations they impose upon you can keep you in despair.
Develop other strong woman archetypes like Athena, Artemis, or Vesta.
When you see Narcissus think of Persephone for this was her flower.
I hope you have enjoyed meeting Persephone and will continue to look for her in your life. Do you have a Persephone story that you would like to share with your sistars? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to share it on my 'What Women Are Saying' page.
Many delightful springtimes to you,
EASILY SIGN UP FOR A FREE NEWSLETTER