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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in persephone

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A Modern Hellenic Tale of Winter Solstice Eve

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Bowl of Milk

I picked up the letter with a smile. Inside, I knew, would be a note of support from a yoga school friend. We’d written each other small appreciations during our training, planning to send them a few weeks after we got home. By then we might need something to encourage us as we returned to “normal life”. Hopefully, she’d said something nice.

 

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Thank you, Archer. I will try to remember to accept. Why in the world would either of us be not worthy?

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.

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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 my previous column, I highlighted some of the best collections of Greek mythology currently available for children. This time around, we'll take a look at some of my favorite single-story titles. Many of these are picture books, retellings of classic tales with beautiful illustrations. A few are novel-length classic or original tales, aimed at slightly older children.

I stumbled across Cupid and Psyche by M Charlotte Craft and KY Craft in a bookstore many years ago and instantly fell in love with the artwork (seriously, if you need a devotional image of Persephone, look no further). I have made a point of picking up anything illustrated by KY Craft ever since. Of course, the younger Craft's storytelling skills are just as wonderful; she does an excellent job of presenting Psyche as a positive role model, a brave woman determined to correct her past mistakes and win back her happiness. (Ages 5+)

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O, yes, it is nearly Samhain. Oya is crashing north- and westward, Her winds clearing the path, driving the waters ahead of Her. And I am composing an invocation of the Morrighan and have purchased a perfect, fat pomegranate. It is so tempting to tear it open and taste the sweet wild seed-fruits, to quench my thirst as Persephone did and doom myself to a dual-life. 

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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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