MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS by Sil and Eliza Reynolds
cerning the relationship of myth to human conscious- ness, the myth of Demeter and Persephone as told in the. Homeric dwells on the mother- daughter relationship while the .. tales treat basically the same problems and tensions. In. Mother-Daughter Relationship analysis by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, Her mom Demeter is never mentioned, but her presence looms large. Lines These words of motherly advice are too little too late to save Persephone. Demeter and Persephone: A Prime Example of Borderline Personality Disorder in a Mother and Daughter Relationship. by Alanna Kaivalya | Scholarly Articles.
Winter, death, and famine descend upon the land. The humans are starving, until finally the gods intervene.
- Demeter and Persephone: A Mother-Daughter Tale of Spiritual Evolution
Hermes is sent to the Underworld to bring Persephone home to her mother. However, upon his arrival to the land of the dead, he is amazed not to find a weepy sorrowful daughter, but instead a radiant and glowing Queen. She loves her new home and is helping the spirits of the dead cross over. Hermes requests her to return and Persephone is torn.
Finally, Hades gifts Persephone six pomegranate seeds, the food of the dead. She eats them and returns to her mother, Demeter. Demeter is so overwhelmed with joy and exuberant love that spring begins to blossom in Persephone's return.
However, because her daughter has eaten the six seeds, she must return to Hades each fall. During this time of lament, Demeter again causes the earth to wither and die and be reborn in Persephone's arrival come spring bringing with her the renewal of hope, harmony, and beauty. When I first heard this story in sixth grade I was immediately intrigued.
I loved the explanation of the seasons, and there was something alluring about Persephone's descent. Eating the seeds of the dead and having to return each year made sense to me, in a deep, archetypal way. Similarly, my own eleven-year-old daughter is fascinated with the story I leave out the rape version and also, with the eating of these seeds; this ingesting of something that connects you to a place this is mysterious, unseen, forbidden even.
The word "Hades" means "unseen," as well as "death" and "abode of the dead. Only later in history does Hades become personified as a dark, alluring, handsome, and destructive man who seduces, abducts, or rapes Persephone, depending on the version.
As myths communicate on several levels at once, Hades can also be seen as the dark times in our lives, initiations perhaps when we are dragged into the Underworld against our conscious will. In this way, innocence is lost and we enter the dark night of the soul. This may be in the form of any kind of loss, grief, or deep pain.
In the particularly sensitive passage from girlhood to womanhood, when girls enter puberty, this loss of innocence is so often connected to sexuality and exploring that, being subjected to it, or seeking out validation.
In Thomas Moore's examination of the myth he suggests that Hades is the dark subterranean undercurrents that our children, our daughters, are drawn to or fascinated by.
Mothers & Daughters: The Myths We Live By
Whether we chose to participate or not, certainly we can all remember the strange allure of illegal activities, forbidden films, sexual encounters, drugs, and other mind altering experiences. In more ancient versions of this myth, long before it became the Rape of Persephone, Persephone chooses from her own willingness to enter the Underworld.
According to Charlene Spretnak's research, " In her reclaimed version of the Persephone and Demeter myth, Spretnak offers the new-old perspective in which Persephone willingly and determinedly descends to the Underworld in a yearning to help earth-bound spirits cross over to the light.
Persephone as Dark Mother As we peer even further into the twilight of ancient history, we find the Persephone's role as the Queen of the Underworld is far less the story of a young maiden, and much more a powerful, fierce, fearsome even Goddess of death, dissolution, and rebirth.
In this way, Persephone is akin to the dark mother archetype found in other cultures such as Ereshkigal, Inanna's dark sister of the underworld, or Kali, the fearsome yet benevolent goddess archetype of India who both devours flesh and yet also grants boons to her devotees. Kali spends her time in charnel grounds, intimately connected with the dead. Is it possible that a more ancient version of Persephone was the ruler of the Dead, in equal nature as Demeter?
In Homer's Iliad, Persephone is "grim," and in the Odyssey, she is "dread" or the "awesome one. Persephone is not necessarily such an innocent Maiden after all, but instead a complex feminine archetype. And her abduction by Hades may have a much deeper meaning, one that indicates a more shamanic story behind the myth. If we are to view Hades not as just a Greek lord, but instead as Death itself, loss of ego, dissolution—the shamanic perspective—we find new ways to relate to this myth and bring it into the contemporary connection in our own lives.
Myths are not only stories, but reflections of societal shifts and changes. As the ancient story of Persephone and Demeter passed down through the ages, Spretnak suggests that "evidence indicates that this twist to the story was added after the societal shift from matrifocal to patriarchal The Grieving of Demeter After Persephone enters the Underworld, whether by force or by choice, the loss of her daughter evokes such profound grief within her mother Demeter's heart.
This depth of experience was central to the Thesamorphia, an ancient woman's grieving ritual inspired by the story of Demeter and Persephone.
Later, it is believed that in the memory of her sorrow Demeter herself established the Eleusinian mysteries to bring the central connection to death and life to the initiates. Sorrow is the winter of the heart; the death of something that we love dearly. True loss is both stark in its reality, knowing that a beloved person or time will never return and never happen again.
Professor of religious studies Christine Downing recounts, "All of us who are mothers know To be a daughter?
Throughout western history, women have been held responsible for the physical and emotional development of their offspring. For Lawler, to resist cultural prescriptions cannot be simply to reject current social codes governing female behavior. When read through the prism of these re-visionings of motherhood and daughterhood, these fictions offer models of female strength and efficacy.
In that way, they contest not only the enduring negative myths about women but also the constricting attitudes toward female development of the societies from which they arose. Children were sent away to convents or pensions when young and did not return until the age of marriage.
As a result, intimacy in families was rare. Except for some widows and artistic patrons, women generally did not function in the public realm from which written stories and histories arose. All a virtuous woman can do is flee the court, which Mme de Chartres herself had done when she was widowed and which the Princess, too, ultimately does.
Since this is a novel, there is, of course, a love story. The princess falls passionately in reciprocated love with the Duke of Nemours. And, it is here that the mother-daughter bond prevails: The wonderful writer Colette painted many admiring portraits of her mother, Sido, most compellingly in her novel, The Break of Day.
Demeter and Persephone: Sacred Mother, Beloved Daughter
Though she has been dead for many years, she bequeaths her reverance for living things to her daughter and remains a creative model for her. Further, like Persephone, the fictional Colette holds fast to her primary love object, her mother, even while she engages with men. There is one other important parallel: Like Sido, the aging Colette opts to spend her last years in productive solitude. Like her mother, she devotes her energies to observing the creatures around her, writing fiction from her own vision of the world.
In this sense Colette, like Sido, becomes a creative foremother for future generations of women artists. Finally, by writing this novel, the daughter gives life to the mother — Colette closes the circle and gives birth to Sido. There is a novel from the French-speaking world which, more than any other, pushes against the damaging assumptions of the core western myths of Oedipus and Electra.
Who was I without being involved in my daughter's life and community? It was invigorating and hopeful and I found myself moving into some kind of new and creative identity that is still forming. That night, Eliza called unexpectedly from the laundry room of her dorm. She had a quick question about her light and dark color loads and wanted some mother advice. She was cheerful and working on her homework, in between loading laundry. Persephone had "returned" from the Underworld, ever so briefly.
Truth is, I have been getting used to her "comings and goings" for many years. Since middle school and certainly through high school, I could find her in her bedroom but she was already "gone", even at home. With each year, she became more and more independent and more involved with her peers- and if I am honest with myself, her going off to college is not that different.
I have alternated mourning and celebrating her independence for many years.
Llewellyn Worldwide - Articles: Demeter and Persephone: Sacred Mother, Beloved Daughter
It is a work in progress, this letting go of my mother role. I find that it takes time and patience and wisdom. I suspect this is something akin to an organic process, something that Demeter, the goddess of the Earth would know and understand. She might speak metaphorically by teaching about the cycles of the seasons. Demeter might teach me that often, and throughout our lives, both Eliza and I will find that the umbilical cord joins us up again "comings"and then needs to be cut "goings".
That night I lit a candle to this earth goddess and asked for her continued help in letting go of my old role. Eliza has returned from the Underworld and is back this summer, no longer the maiden Kore, but the Queen Persephone. I celebrate her new role. Persephone By Eliza Reynolds I would like to bring the following to everyone's attention: And not just the "oh mom, please just leave me alone so I can get on with my life" reactionary issues.
Real, confusing, heart-aching, conflicting, empty stomach letting go issues. Because there comes this time namely college when I am told to step away from my parents' warm hands and dive, headfirst, alone, and with only a small cell phone calling "home" to kiss my cheek goodnight. The myth of Demeter and Persephone, traditionally told, is the story of a young girl's abduction by Hades, the lonely god of the Underworld, and her mother's intense grief at the sudden loss.
In the end a time-share deal was agreed upon by her father Zeus whereby the not-so-innocent-anymore Persephone now Queen of the Underworld was shipped back and forth for six months of each year between her mother's Earth and Hades' Underworld. Each year, come spring time, Persephone returns home to her mother, and each fall she goes down again to Hades in the Underworld.
This is my story. As I am Persephone, I wanted to go. I left my mother's world for the Underworld, not for a boy, but for myself. I wasn't abducted; I was swept away. If I wanted to grow, I had to find a self and a world that was my own. Junehere I am, 19 years old, reunited with my mother after my first year at college, standing at the site of the sacred temples of Demeter, goddess of grain and growth, and her daughter Persephone, in Greece.
It's a set up that could make your sentimental self wipe away tears at its perfection. But the gate's locked and the grumpy Greek sentry yells to us that "it is closed!