The Myth of Persephone and the Pomegranate


In conjunction with my D.H. Lawrence poem about pomegranates, I thought I would share a little of the Greek myth of Persephone and her link to the pomegranate.
Zeus and the goddess of crops and harvest, Demeter, had a daughter who they named Persephone. One day while she was collecting wild flowers she was abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld. Demeter, distraught at the loss of her daughter, wandered all over the face of the earth, seeking her.
Demeter met Hercate, the goddess of witchcraft, who told her that she had heard Persephone calling out one day, and suggested to Demeter, that she ask Hellos, the Sun if he could tell here what had happened to her daughter in his daily traverse across the sky. Hellos told Demeter who went to Zeus to complain, as Zeus was not only Persephone’s father but also Hades’ brother. Zeus refused to intervene, so Demeter withdrew from her role as goddess, Without her no crops could grow, and the resulting famine threatened the extinction of the human race.
Eventually, Zeus relented and told Hades that he would have to let Persephone go. He sent Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back to her mother. When she was reunited with her mother, Demeter asked her is she had eaten anything while she was in the underworld. Persephone admitted that she had only eaten a pomegranate seed at the urging of Hades just before she left the underworld. This was a trick by Hades because anyone who ate the food of Hades was required to remain in the underworld. . Because of this, Persephone was required to spend one-third of each year in the underworld as the wife of Hades and two-thirds of the year with her mother. While Persephone is with Demeter and Zeus on Olympus the ground is fertile and the crops grow, but when she returns to the underworld the ground becomes colder and less fertile until her return.
So according to the myth, it was a one pomegranate seed that sealed Persephone’s fate as the Queen of the Underworld and saw the ushering in of Autumn and Winter, after Spring and Summer, when the seeds lie underground awaiting again the renewing warmth of Spring and Summer.

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