- Queen of the Underworld
name at the beginning of our story is Kore (signifying "unmarried
maiden"). Most ancient sources of the Persephone's myth begin
with Aphrodite (Venus) the goddess of erotic, sexual love
looking down from Olympus...
this version the goddess Aphrodite happened to notice the
mother/daughter relationship of the goddess, Demeter and her
daughter, Persephone. Demeter (Ceres) was one of the Greek
"mother earth" goddesses.
was apparently a wee bit concerned about this mother/daughter
relationship of Demeter and Persephone. Among other reasons,
Aphrodite was reportedly concerned because there was no man
involved in the picture. And Aphrodite apparently liked to
concern herself with these sorts of things.
So Aphrodite sent the love god, Eros, into the underworld
to strike the dark powerful god of the underworld, Hades,
with an arrow of love and desire for the maiden Kore (Persephone).
enough... Hades, after being struck by the arrow of Eros,
had it "in a seriously bad way" for the lovely and pure Kore
(Persephone). So with her father Zeus' consent, Hades then
set about to abduct the young maiden.
Then one day Kore was innocently gathering flowers in a meadow
with her female companions. But Kore left the company of her
pals. She was drawn away by the sight of a beautiful flower
called a narcissus - a flower created specifically by the
godess Aphrodite with the purposes of luring Kore in.
Kore reached down to pick the beautiful flower, the earth
opened up before her, and out of dark vent in the earth Hades
came in his chariot
pulled by black powerful horses (At least they were black
in the original story). Hades seized the terrified maiden,
who screamed for her father Zeus. Zeus knowing all along what
was to happen, ignored her cries.
Hades' horses then plunged downward, carrying Hades and Persephone
deep into the underworld. Then the earth closed over, as if
nothing had happened. Persephone languished (according to
one version) in the underworld, while her mother Demeter,
grieved and raged at her loss. Eventually Demeter, the mother
goddess, withdrew to sit in her temple. As a result, no crops
grew, no births occurred, no new life of any kind sprang up.
Famine threatened the earth and it inhabitants. Only then
did Zeus heed Demeter's pleas - and he sent Hermes (Mercury)
to bring Persephone back.
To the Rescue
The god Hermes descended to the underworld, where he found
a disconsolate Persephone sitting on a couch with Hades. When
she realized that Hermes was there to fetch her, she was reportedly
overjoyed. But before she left the underworld, Hades gave
Persephone some pomegranate seeds to eat. (pomegranates symbolizing
the loss of maidenhood.) Persephone was restored
to her mother by Hermes, and spring returned the upperworld
once more and brought with it new life and greenness to the
Persephone had eaten the pomegranate seeds. Had she eaten
nothing in the underworld, she would have been returned to
her mother as if nothing had happened. But because she had
eaten the pomegranate seeds which Hades had given her, Persephone
would now have to spend part of the year the winter
months when the earth lies fallow - in the underworld with
Hades. Thus Persephone came to be the Queen of the Underworld.
It should be noted that in many ancient versions of
this myth - Persephone was actually quite happy and satisfied
to be with Hades. And together they conceived a child. This
was the only child the invisible god, Hades, would ever bring
forth into the world. (see the "Secret of the 8th House" for
one of the many different versions of this story...)