The Return of Persephone, by Frederic Leighton

Lately, I find that I am becoming more conscious of Nature. We, here, are enjoying an early Spring this year, which makes it very conducive to contemplation, as one walks through the park or in the forest. Life is exploding all around! There is no better therapy than to walk in natural surroundings.

While in the park today, I thought about how good the air felt, how pleasant the blossoming trees and flowers smelled, and how the colors were beginning to burst all around me. The birds were sweetly singing and the animals were busy running about gathering food. Spring is my favorite time of year, for it is when Life awakens from its long winter slumber and reincarnates on the earth.

All things that we experience are emanations of Soul. As Sol rises higher in the Spring and bathes the Earth in His light and heat, so also does Soul bring forth new life. One Spring-related myth of Soul involves the Greek goddess, Persephone:

Persephone was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Haides. She was also the goddess of spring growth, who was worshipped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries. This agricultural-based cult promised its initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.

Persephone was titled Kore (the
Maiden) as the goddess of spring’s bounty. Once upon a time when she was
playing in a flowery meadow with her Nymph companions, Kore was seized
by Haides and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her mother
Demeter despaired at her dissappearance and searched for her the
throughout the world accompanied by the goddess Hekate bearing torches. When she learned that Zeus
had conspired in her daughter’s abduction she was furious, and refused
to let the earth fruit until Persephone was returned. Zeus consented,
but because the girl had tasted of the food of Haides–a handful of
pomegranate seeds–she was forced to forever spend a part of the year
with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in
spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth
of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter, conversely,
saw the dying down of plants and the halting of growth (http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Persephone.html).

So, Persephone has indeed arisen from the depths of Hades (early this year) to bring forth her riches to us. Her mother, Demeter, overjoyed at her return, causes the Earth to flower and blossom once again. We will enjoy Persephone’s visit until, once again, she must descend to her husband, Hades.

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