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Persephone - Queen of the Underworld

Persephone's 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...

In 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.

Aphrodite 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.

The Plot Thickens
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).

Sure 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...
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.

As 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.

The Abduction
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.

Hermes 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 earth.

But 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...)

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