The Hymn To Demeter  

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The Hymn To Demeter Cover
With the coming of each spring we begin to feel the returning pulse of life all around us. The earth and all that is living upon her is waking from a wintry sleep and is bursting with life. As we walk outside and feel the chill of a beautiful spring morning, look around at the spring flowers blooming, and listen for the birds singing... something special happens to all of us. All of these wonderful sensations have been felt by all of the Goddess's children throughout time. Our ancestors celebrated the turning of the wheel and the coming of spring with many stories and myths that reflect the importance of this time of the year.

One of my personal favorites is the Homeric "Hymn to Demeter". The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter" was originally an oral epic sung to the ancient audience telling of the kidnapping of Persephone by Aidoneus or Hades. I would like to share this myth with you and wish all of you a most wonderful and blessed spring.

Mayfair Lightwind

Many years ago, when the earth was not so old and the Goddesses and Gods walked among mortals, the maiden Persephone, daughter of Demeter, gathered flowers in a meadow. In the meadow there grew a beautiful narcissus. Because of it's great beauty, Persephone approached the plant. When she reached out to pluck the beautiful flower, the earth split asunder and Aidoneus, lord of the underworld, came out and grabbed her. Persephone cried to her father Zeus and to her mother Demeter... yet to no avail. The mountains echoed her cry and a great pain struck Demeter as she heard her child crying.

Demeter sought out her daughter. She searched and searched, yet no one would tell her what had happened to her daughter. Demeter, struck with grief, drank neither ambrosia nor the sweetness of nectar for nine days. This was most unusual, as it is the way of the Goddesses and Gods to drink ambrosia and nectar. On the tenth day of her wandering Demeter met Hecate, who told her of hearing the screams, but could not tell her who had taken Persephone. Demeter said nothing but immediately searched out Helios, who sees the doings of all the Gods and mortals.

Demeter questioned Helios and learned that Aidoneus had taken her daughter. Helios then told Demeter that Zeus, father of Persephone, had allowed his brother Aidoneus to take Persephone as his wife. He continued by telling Demeter that she should be happy, as Aidoneus was a good husband and not an unsuitable son-in-law. Demeter, already filled with grief, lamented all the more for her daughter, and so she shrouded herself in clouds and left Olympus to wander disguised among mortals.

In her wandering, Demeter came to the city of Eleusis and here she found refuge with Queen Metaneria. While residing there, Demeter came to care greatly for the prince Demophon. Desiring to bestow immortal life upon the child, each night she hid him in the fire and fed him the nectar and ambrosia of the Gods. When the queen found out what was going on she was very much frightened. At that moment, the Goddess Demeter revealed herself in all her glory to the mortals. She commanded that they should build a temple dedicated to her worship and instructed them in the secret rituals for her worship.

Demeter stayed in her temple in Eleusis, away form the home of he Goddesses and Gods, for many days as she mourned for her daughter. She caused this time to be the most terrible and oppressive year for humans upon the nourishing earth. Demeter allowed no seed to grow and the fields were plowed in vain. By these deeds, she could have destroyed the mortal race and deprived the Goddesses and Gods of the most glorious sacrifices. Zeus, fearing the loss of sacrifices, sent many an ambassador to summon Demeter, yet she refused to return to Olympos. Demeter told the ambassadors that she would not return to Olympos nor allow the seeds of the earth to grow again until she saw her daughter.

When Zeus heard this, he sent Hermes to lead Persephone out of the underworld. When Persephone learned that she would be returning to see her mother she was overjoyed. However, before she left, Aidoneus gave her a pomegranate and bade her to eat it. Persephone did so, not knowing that Aidoneus had worked magick upon it so that if she ate of it she would be compelled to return to the underworld. In light of this, Zeus decided that Persephone would spend one third of the year with Aidoneus in the darkness of the underworld and the other two thirds with her mother, Demeter.

As a result, each year Persephone returns to the underworld and Demeter mourns for her daughter. All life that is upon the earth retreats and awaits the return of Persephone. Each year we yearn, along with Demeter, for the return of Persephone. As the time approaches, we all smell the air, listen for the birds and look for the blooming flowers....

Blessed Be and Welcome Return Persephone!

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This entry was posted on 4 March 2008 at Tuesday, March 04, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .