Why does life just seemingly wither for a good three months, then just magically resuscitate? The answer may be none other than Persephone, the Goddess of Spring. Born from Zeus and Demeter, Persephone is a goddess related to several myths that have carried out an impact on our society to this day.
Persephone is considered both the Queen of the Underworld, and the Goddess of Spring, has impacted other greek myths in various ways, and is associated with some contrasting symbols. Persephone’s story can get quite twisted… Persephone is a goddess known for one major belief, birth. Persephone, alongside her mother Demeter, were worshipped in Eleusinian mysteries for being goddesses of growth, as noted by Aaron J. Atsma (1).
However, due to common myth, Persephone was abducted by Hades from Demeter and sent to the Underworld as suggested by Hesiod in Theogony (West 30). According to Linda Alchin, This abduction made Persephone the queen of the Underworld. Due to this, she is associated with multiple seemingly contrasting symbols. Persephone is normally associated with a pomegranate as it was the fruit she ate with Hades, a wreath of flowers depicting her beauty, as well as a bat, which represents death and rebirth (Alchin 2). As noted by Namasté and several sources, Persephone is associated primarily with the colours green and black (2). This can be safely drawn because of the two distinct associations of persephone, green relating her to nature and spring, and black representing her status in the underworld. Despite of her associations, Persephone was usually described to be a beautiful maiden, with pale complexion, in resemblance of Demeter (West 30).
From such beauty however, comes a great attraction, and impact. Persephone has impacted modern ideas since the days of her birth. Persephone was worshipped alongside Demeter for the beauty of the season of growth; spring.
According to common myth, Persephone was captured by Hades and sent to the Underworld. In the Underworld, Persephone was made to eat a pomegranate to seal a marriage between Hades and herself. Eventually, Demeter found that her daughter had gone missing, and went to find her.
Many myths point that Zeus (father of Persephone) was involved with Hades in the plot to capture Persephone. Rescue had to be compromised with the gods and goddesses in order to let Persephone return to the Overworld. This however is only periodic due to Persephone eating the pomegranate, which leashes her to stay in the Underworld with Hades for a period of time every year. This myth connects a relationship with the gods and goddesses and the seasons of the year (Alchin 1). When Persephone is in the Overworld, Demeter is happy and is prosperous to mankind, however, when Persephone is in the Underworld, Demeter ceases to fill the Earth will life.
This was a very important factor to the beliefs of the seasons, leading to the frequent association of birth and death with Persephone in Greek mythology. There is however another myth dealing with Persephone, and that is the myth about mint. The plant “mint” was given its name from one of Persephone’s doings. Hades was chasing a nymph with the name of “Minthe” who was captured by Persephone and turned into a plant, which is now known as a “mint plant”(Alchin 2). These are some ways Persephone has impacted Greek mythology and some minor aspects of modern language.
Persephone was always known a beautiful maiden, or as described by Gurung, as a “gorgeous young daughter”. Before the capture of Persephone by Hades occured, she was hidden away in a cave from instructions by Astraios in order to protect her from others attracted to her. Demeter followed such instructions in order to protect Persephone, however even Zeus was deeply attracted to her daughter Persephone. According to the myth Seduction of Persephone by Zeus, Zeus found his way through the guards by disguising himself as a dragon. To perceptualize, Zeus had intercourse with Persephone as a dragon, to give birth to Zagreus. Zagreus was a short-lived offspring of Persephone and Zeus due to his murder by the Titans in the heavens. This was not the only child she had from Zeus, however, the next child was born after the abduction by Hades.
Zeus again could not resist Persephone and was “bewitched by Persephone’s beauty” (Gurung), so he again disguised himself, this time as Hades, and birthed Melinoe. Melinoe became an underworld goddess that was associated with ghosts. The other offsprings from Persephone were with Hades.
The Erinyes were a set of three underworld goddesses that were most associated with crime and fate. There isn’t any fortified myth or story about the Erinyes, other than the belief that they have Uranus and Gaia blood. Persephone is a goddess known for many attributes in Greek mythology, such as her spring beauty and underworld relations, which has led to many contradicting representations of Persephone. In all, Persephone contributed greatly in the subject of Greek mythology with her beauty, in the sense it made her a great attractions to many of the other gods, leading to a major event that is now referenced and has made Persephone associated with spring. Her beauty was quite an asset in her life and philosophy of Greek mythology. With all being said, Persephone is easily an important figure in Greek mythology through her natural beauty.