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

Returning From Eleusis

I’m home. And yet I feel like I am in a strange place.

Eleusis, spring mysteries, spring mysteries festival, journey to Eleusis

It’s always difficult returning from extended magical space – whether it is a festival or a course or just time with loved ones – and moving back into the mundane day to day life. Returning from Eleusis is no different.

I was in a world outside of time and space, a world apart from the concerns of daily life. It wasn’t that time didn’t exist – there was definitely a sense of treasuring and honoring the moments that I had with the family that was not of my blood, serving my community in such a unique and special way.

I’ve been home nearly a week. I’m back at work, and done (most of) the laundry. Not everything is put away yet – there are still a few bits to get put back in their homes. I’ve even had an opportunity to rest. I was forced to rest, really. My body decided it was going to get sick and make me take a day to do nothing.

The most challenging part of coming back is reflecting on the lessons and integrating what I’ve learned. Once out of the magical space, it starts to fade, like waking from a dream.

One thing that doesn’t fade is the connection that I worked so hard to establish with the Goddesses I worked with in the months leading up to Spring Mysteries – Hekate and Ereshkigal.

These two work very well together. I even learned that in the Greek Magical Papyri, they were event conflated as Hekate-Ereshkigal. Many people are afraid of the Dark Mother and the Underworld. And I’ll admit, if you are not ready to meet Her, or your own Shadow, She can be frightening. She is not soft and gentle, though She is beautiful. Terrifyingly beautiful.

Hekate, and Ereshkigal, will hold you accountable. She will kick your butt to keep you going. She pushes you to grow. And I love Her for that. She pushed me a lot. She is STILL pushing me to be more, be better, keep growing, and keep serving.

If you’d like to meet these Dark Mothers, you can go for A Walk with Hekate, or A Walk with Inanna (to see Ereshkigal). Are you ready for the lessons She has for you?

Blessings,

Mary

Random Updates & Rehearsals

Lots of little random updates today…

Mary 2017-02-12

I thought I was taking video, not a picture! LOL!

My birthday is coming up, and so I signed up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider program to get my birthday present from them (free stuff is awesome!). I also recently learned about Kat Von D makeup, so I picked up a little of that. You can see the results in the video down below, as well as in the picture. I’m pleased with it! It’s expensive, and the quality is worth it, I think. Let’s just say I now understand why so many of my friends like their stuff!

Whole30 update: I said last week that I was extending. And I have, mostly. I’ve had some inadvertent, and some deliberate, contaminations. For example, wheat gives me belly cramps, even in small amounts. If I have a digestive tablet before and after eating wheat, I can minimize, but not eliminate, the belly cramps. And sugar is really a “food with no brakes”, as they call it in the Whole30 program. Having a little makes me want more. So I need to be strict with myself, because I actually prefer how I feel when I’m NOT having sugar.

Rehearsals for Spring Mysteries Festival are going well. We get to rehearse at this really cool shop in Seattle, called Edge of the Circle Books. There’s a little video below – I apologize for the quality. It’s an amazing shop, and I encourage you to give them some love, in the form of purchases, if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Did I mention my birthday is coming up? I think I might do a sale on my meditations – what do you think? Would you like that?

Blessings,
Mary

Journey to Eleusis: Walking with Hekate

I’ve posted a few times already about my Journey to Eleusis this year, and I haven’t really talked about the Goddess I am working with yet. This year, I will be holding the energy of Hekate at Spring Mysteries Festival.

Temple of Hekate

“Hekate”
by Cassie Gendlek and Dusty Dionne
Model: Mary Malinski
Aquarian Tabernacle Church – ATC Intl.

Hekate is the patron Goddess of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. She is known by many names – Torchbearer, Keeper of the Keys, Goddess of the Crossroads, Mother of Witches, Psychopomp…

In modern paganism, a lot of people see Hekate as the Crone face of the Triple Goddess, the wise woman. Others see her as the hidden fourth face, the Dark Mother. To the Greeks she was a young woman, or the triple Goddess all on her own (Hekate Trivia). One thing Hekate keeps telling me is, “Just because I am ancient doesn’t mean I am old!”

Walking with Hekate, I’m seeing more patterns in the world.

“It’s all been done before.”

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

Hekate has been around for a very, very long time. I personally believe she is pre-Greek. I believe she was a Goddess of Place, local to the area that became Greece, long before the Olympian mythology. Not unlike Brigid to the Irish, she was popular enough among the people that the incoming (invading?) religion could not push her out. So they included her as one of the Titans, one who came before the Olympians.

After the Titanomachy (the overthrow of the Titans by the Olympians), Zeus divided up the rule of the worlds between all those who had assisted him. Hesiod tells us:

And she [Asteria, wife of Perses] conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honor, but much more still, for Zeus honors her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother’s only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.

~Hesiod, Theogony

We see here that she had a great many roles and honors, more than some of the Olympians even!

I’ll leave you with the lovely Orphic Hymn to Hekate:

Hekatê of the Path, I invoke Thee, Lovely Lady of the Triple Crossroads,
Celestial, Chthonian, and Marine One, Lady of the Saffron Robe.
Sepulchral One, celebrating the Bakchic Mysteries among the Souls of the Dead,
Daughter of Persês, Lover of Solitude, rejoicing in deer.
Nocturnal One, Lady of the Dogs, invincible Queen.
She of the Cry of the Beast, Ungirt One, having an irresistible Form.
Bullherder, Keeper of the Keys of All the Universe, Mistress,
Guide, Bride, Nurturer of Youths, Mountain Wanderer.
I pray Thee, Maiden, to be present at our hallowed rites of initiation,
Always bestowing Thy graciousness upon the Boukolos.

Blessings,

Mary

Rant and Rave: Shopping in the US

I’ve been traveling down to Washington state regularly. Shopping for food that is Whole30 compliant – RANT!

On the other hand, I found two amazing pairs of boots for significantly less than I would be able to buy them up here in Canada – RAVE.

Here’s to better luck next weekend!

Blessings,
Mary

Journey to Eleusis – It’s a LONG Journey

I’m probably more than a little crazy. Almost every weekend from January to Easter, I make the long, long trip from my home to Seattle (or sometimes Index) for a four hour rehearsal for Spring Mysteries Festival.

Is it worth it? Yes!

Whole30 update: Woo hoo! I’m half way through!

View from the ferryI’ve been having “food dreams” the past few days. I wake up feeling guilty about cheating. In my dream, I will have had a huge bottle of (not natural) lemonade, or a giant chocolate Santa. I don’t even wake up craving or wanting those things, just guilty that I consumed them, or disappointed that I have to start over.

And then I’m super grateful that I DON’T have to start over!

On a positive note, it’s easier to climb the stairs at work. We have two very steep sets of stairs at work. We jokingly call it our work out program. Before the Whole30, I would get quite winded climbing them. Now, I am much less winded when I get to the top. OK, still a little. And it is so much better! I can go up more quickly, too.

So, I’m starting to see improvements. Yay!

How was your week?

Blessings,
Mary

Journey to Eleusis – First Rehearsal

I’m very excited to be at “The Tab” (The Aquarian Tabernacle Church), reconnecting with some of my spiritual family that I haven’t seen in a while, and getting ready for the first read-through of the script for this year’s Spring Mysteries Festival.

I also give an update on my first week of the Whole30. (It’s not entirely easy to manage while eating out, and I made good choices!)

If you haven’t registered for Spring Mysteries Festival, and you would like to go, you still have a couple more days to get in on the Early Bird pricing! Go. Register now!

Blessings,

Mary

All Hail the Tech Crew

Home sweet home from Spring Mysteries Festival. As usual, it was an exhausting, yet fulfilling weekend.

For me, Spring Mysteries is an opportunity to spend time with my spiritual family, and to be of service. It is a a weekend full of ritual and community.

tech_crew_godsBeing a part of the ritual presenting crew isn’t all glamor and accolades. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. There’s a crew of people who go largely unnoticed and unrecognized, and yet, they are vital to making the event a success.

My family has been involved with both the ritual presenting and the technical crew. Tech crew works very long hours to make the ritual presenters look good.

Tech has been near to my heart for a very long time. In high school, at summer theatre, I was involved with makeup, props, and set crew long before I appeared on stage as an actor. In the university theatre program I attended, tech was a very important aspect. We were required to participate in work weekends and technical practicums. I understand and appreciate the importance of technicians.

Last year, while holding the role of Demeter, I also helped to hang and focus the lights. My eldest son was a major part of the set crew, helping with both lights and set construction. The younger two helped wherever they could.

This year, I wasn’t as involved with the setup, though my eldest sure was, even in between parts of the drama (the good kind) that he was involved in.

I did help with the tear down, though. Clean up of the site started early Sunday morning. We kept at it, other than a single meal break, until everything was put away in the storage locker at 8 pm. Many of the ritual staff and all of the crew kept at it.

They don’t always get a lot of recognition, but I saw and I honor their work. All hail the Gods of Eleusis! All hail the Tech Crew!!!

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis: The Final Stretch

By this time, next week, the 31st annual Spring Mysteries Festival will be over. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost upon on us.

Euphrosyne - Spring Mysteries FestivalThis has been the shortest rehearsal period since I’ve been involved with the ritual presenting crew. That’s because Easter is very early.

Do you know why the date for Easter changes from year to year? It is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. And this year, the stars have aligned for all of those events to happen within a week! So Easter, and therefore Spring Mysteries, is about as early as it possibly can be.

I alternately go between feeling confident that we are going to rock it out of the park, and freaking out that I have no idea what I’m doing.

That’s the nature of theater, though. Some people say that an awful dress rehearsal means a fantastic performance. And really, for 5 hours of performance time throughout the weekend, we do amazing work with only about 48 hours of rehearsals.

Each person does their own work to learn about the particular deity they are portraying – reading up on their myths, and connecting with their energy through prayer or meditation.

It’s been a little challenging for me this year, having three deities to work with. After our dress rehearsal yesterday, I was physically sore. I didn’t feel like I had done a lot – certainly not a lot of physical work. And yet, running energy for 4.5 hours is not easy! It’s hungry work, and it can take it’s toll on your body if you don’t take care of yourself.

So the next couple of days, I’m going to be taking my vitamins, drinking lots of water, and getting as much rest as I can. Because once the Festival starts, sleep is something we do AFTER Festival.

Because I will be at the Festival all weekend, I won’t be writing my usual post next week. I’ll see you all on the other side!

Blessings,

Mary