Thursday Myths and Legends 101: Persephone

Of all the Greek myths, Persephone is probably one of the most well known. Aside from being used as an explanation for the changing of seasons, her tragic tale is often referenced in relation to the loss of innocence. According to myth, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of the earth, grain and fertility. Though she was beautiful and well desired by such gods as Ares, Hermes and Apollo, Demeter created a safe haven for her daughter away from the influences of the other gods, particularly the males vying for her attention. In this perfect bubble, Persephone lived a flighty and naive existence, frolicking through fields and dancing with nymphs until one day, Hades, god of the underworld, came and snatched her away. Whether devastated by her daughter’s abduction, or distracted by the search for Persephone, Demeter fails to let the earth produce causing nothing to grow, hence our winter.

Eventually, Zeus interfered, demanding that Hades return Persephone. But she would not leave the underworld for good. According to the law established by the Fates, anyone eating or drinking in the underworld is sentenced there for eternity. Tricked by Hades, Persephone ate pomegranate seeds, forcing her to return to the underworld for one season each year. During this time, the earth is barren.

I’ve read many different interpretations of this myth, ranging from the rape of Persephone to the meaning and symbollism of the pomegranate seeds. However you choose to look at it, you can find many modern parallelisms in stories that mirror or straight out retell the popular myth. Its themes are as real and prevalent today as they were in Ancient Greece. Some that stand out are Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman, and Frayed Tapestry by Imogen Howson.

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

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