Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Rape of Persephone, Part 1

Persephone’s mythology centers around her abduction, or rape, by Hades. But was she raped in the way we understand rape today? To understand Persephone, I need to understand this myth. I’ve studied the myth from Demeter’s perspective, and now I need to look at it more from the daughter’s perspective.

Bernini ProserpinaPersephone, or Kore as she was originally known, was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Kore means “the maiden”, just like Demeter means “the mother”. Kore was Demeter’s whole world. She raised Kore mainly on Earth, away from Olympus, and away from Zeus. Demeter was a doting mother, providing for all of Kore’s needs, as well as providing for the needs of all the humans on Earth, as Goddess of the Grain.

One day, Hades spied Kore, and fell in love, some say because Eros shot him with one of his arrows. Regardless, Hades went to Zeus and asked his permission to marry his daughter. Zeus agreed, and Gaia conspired with her grandsons to create a narcissus to lure Kore away from her playmates, or her mother. When Kore plucked the narcissus, Hades plucked Kore from the Earth, and carried her down to the Erebos, the Underworld.

Demeter felt her daughter’s absence, but did not know where Kore had gone. In her grief, she blighted the Earth; no crops would grow. The humans began to starve and die, which meant less offerings for the Gods.

Here, the myths focus mainly on Demeter and what happened on the Earth. We do not know what occurs between Hades and Persephone until Zeus commands that Kore be returned to her mother (so the Earth will grow once more and he can have offerings in his temples again).

Upon Persephone’s return to her mother, we learn that Persephone has eaten some pomegranate seeds. The number varies from author to author, and whether Hades tricked her, or she ate them willingly is also open to interpretation. The outcome of it is that Persephone is bound to Erebos, and to Hades, for part of the year. The other part of the year, she spends on earth with her mother.

So that’s the summary of the myth. What do the ancient authors have to say about the actual ‘rape’?

According to Pseudo-Apollodorus, “Plouton (Pluto) [Haides] fell in love with Persephone, and with Zeus’ help secretly kidnapped her.” According to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, “[Demeter’s] trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus [Haides] rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.” And according to the Orphic Hymn 18, “[Haides] with Demeter’s girl [Persephone] captive, through grassy plains, drawn in a four-yoked car with loosened reins, rapt over the deep, impelled by love, you flew till Eleusinia’s city rose to view: there, in a wondrous cave obscure and deep, the sacred maid secure from search you keep, the cave of Atthis, whose wide gates display an entrance to the kingdoms void of day.” (all quotes from theoi.com)

The common word is rapt. Not raped. Rapt. The word rapt is from the Latin raptus, past participle of rapere “seize, carry off”. We see here also reference to the word rape, because it comes from the same root. “Meaning “act of abducting a woman or sexually violating her or both” is from early 15c., but perhaps late 13c. in Anglo-Latin.”

The modern meaning of the word didn’t come about until much, much later. Next week I will explore more about the ancients’ concept of rape, and how this applies to my understanding of the myth.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. I’m going to change my blog posting day to Tuesday. In the past, I have written on Sundays, and published on Mondays. As we roll once again into rehearsal schedule, I will not be able to write on Sundays. So, write on Mondays and publish on Tuesdays!

Encountering Persephone

Now that Hekate’s Sickle Festival is over, it’s time to start preparing form Spring Mysteries Festival. This year, I’m holding the role of Kore/Persephone.

hades-and-persephoneI’m still very much in the “getting to know you” stage of my relationship with her. For me, that looks like research – reading about her myths, and other’s experiences with her. I also work on connecting with her as part of my morning meditation, though it’s mostly the reading.

As I think about her main myth, I realize that I have lived her myth, at least a little.

When I met my husband, I was in University. I was stretching my wings, in a safe way – I lived on campus the first two years, and then in my family home the last year (my mom got transferred, so my parents moved, and renovated the house I grew up in before selling it, and let me live there my final year in college). I had gone to England for an exchange program, and seen at least a little more of the world than a four hour driving radius around my hometown.

I knew I needed to meet him when I first saw him. It was the stereotypical love at first sight. Though we didn’t get together right away. It wasn’t until after I came back from England that we connected.

After a relatively short long distance relationship, we got married. I graduated from University, he completed his term in the military, and we moved to Vancouver.

I chose to go. I chose to marry him, and move halfway across the continent, immigrating to a new country, where I knew no one. I couldn’t work. My world was my husband, and our little “pink cavern”, a basement suite that was painted pink, and had ducts that we regularly crashed our heads into.

I missed my family terribly. But I didn’t want to go back. Well, I did, but only to visit, not to stay.

I’m sure my family felt like he had stolen me away. I know my parents wanted us to live closer. And I was meant to live near the mountains and the ocean. I wasn’t meant to stay in the prairies.

In this new world, I felt like I could find my own identity. I came into my own power. I had to make new friends, and find work (eventually) on my own. I began exploring my spirituality, and became a priestess because of the freedom of being in a new world, and the support and encouragement of my husband.

I still love my family with all my heart. I miss them a lot. And I don’t want to go back. I love the life that I have built. I can go visit, but I don’t belong there anymore. My place is here. Here I am a queen.

Hello, Persephone. Thank you for the transformation you have wrought in my life. I look forward to learning more from you.

Blessings,

Mary

Housekeeping

I am a terrible housekeeper. No, seriously. I suck at keeping my house clean. Now, it’s no pig sty. There are no mounds of garbage, or unknown items growing a consciousness of their own.

Sure, the occasional leftovers get left in the refrigerator too long. And there are cobwebs near the ceiling. And I almost never dust. Or the candy wrappers stack up in my boys’ room until I get so frustrated that I go in and make them clean. It takes me quite a long time to get to that point, though.

old flower crownI’m awful about having too much clutter. Things come in, and I just set them aside to deal with later. Clutter stacks up in around my desk, in my room, and, let’s just be honest. It builds up everywhere. Because frankly, most of the time I just have too many other, more important things to do than clean.

Last week, the new mattress that my husband and I ordered over a month ago finally arrived. (A new mattress is such an amazing blessing!) We’ve had a king size mattress since I was pregnant with my middle child, because we co-slept with the boys when they were wee. Now that our children are no longer so small or sleeping in our bed, we thought it might be nicer to be closer to each other once again. And not be separated by a huge lump in the middle of the mattress!

So we downsized to a queen mattress. Which also meant new sheets, and while we were at it, new duvets. (Partly because the boys REALLY needed new blankets, and it was just as easy to pass our old duvets down. And while we’re in the aside, yes, we have separate duvets. I think it is a great idea for any happy marriage! And can I just say, OMG! Wool duvet!)

A smaller mattress means more space in our room, provided I dealt with some of the clutter that had built up. I planned for that, though. We bought a platform instead of a box spring, and voila! Tons of storage space under the bed!

However, part of the reason I don’t clean often is because when I do, I’m thorough. VERY thorough. I had to wait until I had a day to poke away at the cleaning and rearranging and cleaning some more. Today was that day. (Thank heavens for statutory holidays!)

releasing the oldI swept. I washed the floor. I moved boxes. I swept off boxes. I cleaned the many layers of dust off of (some of) my storage containers. I wiped down (parts) of the walls. OK. Maybe I wasn’t as thorough today I as I have been in the past. Still, I was more thorough than others might have been!

My room is tidy. (Well, tidier than it was. Just don’t look at the tops of the dressers… I’ll get there.) I released some things I don’t need any more – some shoes, clothes, papers, a list of wishes from 1997 (all of which I’ve received), and a flower crown that I made on my first Peaceful Woman retreat in 2008.

I can’t promise it will stay so neat. I can’t promise that my whole house will get cleaned, at least not in the near future. And it still feels good to do a really good job on at least a little bit of it.

Blessings,

Mary

A Weekend “Off”

I had this weekend off. Well, more “off” than scheduled. Kind of?

Relax-and-get-shit-doneFriday night I did nothing. That’s not true. I bought some fabric for a commissioned project, and I bought fabric for new curtains for my office. Then I watched a movie. And read a novel. It was glorious.

Saturday, I slept in. In the afternoon, I read tarot at a customer appreciation event for Ocean Mountain Yoga, where I’m going to be taking some classes in the near future. I ended up being there much longer than I had originally planned, because I had a list of people who wanted readings, and I wasn’t about to walk out with people still waiting.

Saturday evening was our full moon ritual. It was lovely, and fun. While I was leading the ritual, along with my husband, ritual is something that fills my cup. Spending time with friends and spiritual family, connecting with deity, sharing what I’ve learned – these things fuel me. Oh, and I made the most wonderful smelling prosperity oil!

Sunday and the time change, meant I was able to stay in bed as long as I wanted, sleeping in and taking my time waking up. I went through and cleaned up my front entryway, and cleaned out my linen closet in preparation for my new mattress coming this week. It felt so good to release some old junk!

In the afternoon, I went out and did a tarot reading, and went looking for a headboard. Who would have thought it would be so difficult to find a bookcase headboard??

In the evening, I watched The Matrix, and The Matrix Reloaded, while making the curtains for my office. I am so excited to put them up tomorrow!

I also did laundry. So. Much. Laundry. And, it felt really good to get some things washed (like my boys’ bedding) that has been needing it for quite a while.

That was a low-key, relaxing weekend for me! LOL! I really appreciated all of the rest, and I still feel like I accomplished a lot.

How was your weekend?

Blessings,

Mary