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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in demeter
Bonding or Bondage: The Mother - Daughter Duel

None of the Goddess myths portray the intensely emotional mother daughter relationship more than that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone.

Like every good story, there is a beginning, middle and end. It begins with Persephone as the epitome of innocence and beauty, just as every daughter is to her own mother. In the middle is the metaphorical death of Persephone when she is abducted by Hades and descends to the underworld, followed by Demeter’s inconsolable grief. In the end a new way of life is forged; a compromise that serves both daughter and mother.

One could argue that Persephone was not abducted, but rather she was lured by bad boy Hades and willingly descended with him to the Underworld. And despite varying accounts of deals made for her rescue and return to her mother for part of the year, it may be interpreted that she herself returned to her mother on her own terms.

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  • JudithAnn
    JudithAnn says #
    ;
  • JudithAnn
    JudithAnn says #
    Paola Suarez As a mother, I thank you, for helping me believe tha t what I'm saying makes sense to somebody's daughter, even if no
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    You're welcome JudithAnn! I realized that my comment was missing a word. I meant to write "heartfelt and powerfully positive messa

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A Modern Hellenic Tale of Winter Solstice Eve

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A servant peers upon the dinner party with trepidation.  He fidgets in place as he tries to figure out the best way to interrupt his Lord and Lady, deliver his important news without letting the guests know that there is a problem in the realm.  He looks over the assembly noting that tonight it is a small party, just his dark-clad lord, his lovely bride in brown and burgundy and their guest who is rather painful to look upon.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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As you carve those pumpkins,
as you dress in costume,
as you trick or treating go,
as you seek entertainment,
as you avoid the wild shades,
do not forget to raise a glass
to the departed Persephone.
Tonight at the witching hour,
the gates of the Underworld
clang loudly shut with dread finality.
Closing securely within not only her
but also the restless dead.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to the patiently brooding Hades.
For his love has returned to his arms
after a lengthy, lonely separation.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to Demeter the mourning mother.
May her lament be not too harsh
upon her mortal children.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to your beloved dead.
May they rest peacefully
until their time of return.
Raise a glass and be thankful
that you are not with them
in the dark realm of below.
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Demeter. Persephone. Hades. Three names well-known from Greek mythology. Like Perseus slaying Medusa, or Theseus with his ball of thread, the story of Persephone's descent to the Underworld* is one known even outside Pagan communities. The details might be lost, but most people can recite the broad outlines of the tale: Hades kidnaps Persephone and takes her down to the Underworld and her mother, Demeter, is so upset that she withholds her blessings from the Earth. Winter sets in. Only when her daughter is returned does Demeter  allow the crops to grow again.

Like I said: broad outline. There are many, many different ways to interpret this myth -- coming-of-age tale, the reason for the seasons, origins of a mystery tradition, incorporation of a foreign Deity into the indigenous pantheon, and so forth. There are also different versions of this myth -- ancient, modern, feminist, and even (re)written Christian morality plays.

The story often appears in children's collections of Greek and Roman mythology. One of the oldest which has been continually reprinted is Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales. Originally published in 1853, Hawthorne (who uses the Latin Deity names) explicitly notes in his introduction that he sought to render the old myths "presentable to children." He continues: "These old legends, so brimming over with everything that is most abhorrent to our Christianized moral sense. [....] was such material the stuff that children's playthings should be made of! How were they to be purified? How was the blessed sunshine to be thrown into them?"

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  • Sharon Fargo
    Sharon Fargo says #
    After the birth of my daughter three years ago I was filled with so much joy that it was almost painful. Still am. Shadowing that

In the spirit of sharing more about the Hellenic festivals, I'm combining two of the coming ones in this post; three if you count a reference to a past one I hadn't talked about yet. Like I said on Sunday, I really only pay special attention to the festivals that resonate with me. This is not picking-and-choosing--because I try to at least offer libations to the stars of every single festival--but simply a matter of practicality.

I have to accept that I am a solitary Hellenic, which is a bit of an oxymoron. Like being a solitary Wiccan, being a solitary Hellenic is really not possible. Hellenismos is a community religion, like most of the Recon Traditions. Yes, you can focus solely on household worship, but in my view of the religion, you're practicing only half of it if you do that. The festivals made up a huge part of ancient Hellenic worship. With around ten festivals that took place outside of the home every month, it's hard to ignore that they mattered very much.

I feel it's very important to honor the festivals in my own small way, and I have come to realize that the festivals really make me long for a Hellenic community of my own. For a lot of the festivals, the entire city or town--especially in Athens--celebrated. Men, women, children, slaves, free men, everyone. There were special festivals for nearly all of them. Two women-only festivals were the Stenia and the Thesmophoria.

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  • Janneke Brouwers
    Janneke Brouwers says #
    Hallo landgenoot! Ik wist niet dat er Hellinisten waren in onze koude kikkerlandje, en die dan ook nog eens een blog hebben op Wit
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Hallo Janneke, leuk om een landgenoot te spreken! Ja, er is inderdaad in ieder geval één Helleniste in Nederland. Als Helleniste v

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