Persephone Rising, Part 2 by Sara Wright

Part 1, from last week, can be read here.

For those folks in the southern hemisphere who are entering fall as we the northern climates enter spring I offer this next personal narrative.

Every Autumn I buy a smooth skinned crimson pomegranate to celebrate the Fall Equinox. But until this fall I have never intentionally bought a pomegranate to acknowledge the Persephone in me although her cyclic journeys to the underworld have also been my own. I have resisted my alignment with Persephone because I have come to fear my own descents. In the last few years these periods of depression have become more severe.

The September I turned 70 on the last day of the ancient celebration of Persephone’s Eleusinian Mysteries. I spoke out loud as I set my birthday intention. I am aligning myself with Persephone. I held a pomegranate in the open palm of my hand, thinking of the fruit as a symbol of my willingness to take this step. I also saw the beautiful round fruit as the Earth, imagining the ruby –like seeds imbedded in the soft white flesh as Earth’s possibilities. As I surrendered and finally accepted my mythic identity/alignment with Persephone, I experienced a subtle energy shift. I thought about the maiden goddess who becomes Queen of the Dead, and the one who makes predictable cyclic descents into the Underworld. As I breathed through my body I experienced a palpable sense of relief… I recalled the recent dream that informed me that the “Way of the Goddess” was my way, and that I had to choose her again. Not surprisingly within a few days I once again entered a state of profound depression during which time I suddenly remembered my first encounter with a pomegranate…

Continue reading “Persephone Rising, Part 2 by Sara Wright”

Persephone Rises, Part 1 by Sara Wright

While researching Minoan Crete I learned that each autumn young girls once gathered blue violet saffron crocus to leave as an offering for the Wild Crocus Goddess as they prepared for adolescent female initiation rites. I was intrigued by the reference to autumn because I associate flowers more with spring than any other season. From other sources I discovered that in Minoan Crete young girls also gathered bright yellow crocus to celebrate the Great Goddess and the return of the growing season and that yellow was the color associated with the Great Goddess because of the golden color of the dye made from the precious saffron crocus. Later in Greece during the Lesser Mysteries, flowers, especially yellow crocus were also picked to celebrate Persephone’s return from the Underworld. I was particularly delighted by the reference to Persephone picking bright yellow crocus because my relationship with this goddess has been a somber one; I have always associated her with death. And yellow is a joyous color that I associate with early spring.

I felt a wild sense of hope as a volcanic fire erupted inside me when I first imagined Persephone picking spring flowers because of my uncomfortable relationship with this mythical figure and also because I love flowers.

Continue reading “Persephone Rises, Part 1 by Sara Wright”

 Persephone Rises by Sara Wright

While researching Minoan Crete I learned that each autumn young girls once gathered blue violet saffron crocus to leave as an offering for the Wild Crocus Goddess as they prepared for adolescent female initiation rites. I was intrigued by the reference to autumn because I associate flowers more with spring than any other season. From other sources I discovered that in Minoan Crete young girls also gathered bright yellow crocus to celebrate the Great Goddess and the return of the growing season and that yellow was the color associated with the Great Goddess because of the golden color of the dye made from the precious saffron crocus. Later in Greece during the Lesser Mysteries, flowers, especially yellow crocus were also picked to celebrate Persephone’s return from the Underworld. I was particularly delighted by the reference to Persephone picking bright yellow crocus because my relationship with this goddess has been a somber one; I have always associated her with death. And yellow is a joyous color that I associate with early spring.

 I felt a wild sense of hope as a volcanic fire erupted inside me when I first imagined Persephone picking spring flowers because of my uncomfortable relationship with this mythical figure and also because I love flowers. Continue reading ” Persephone Rises by Sara Wright”

Ritual Dances for Greek Easter by Laura Shannon

In a previous post on FAR I wrote about some of the Easter customs in Greece in which pre-Christian and Christian practices intertwine, and I would like to pick up this thread again here.

Today is ‘Bright Saturday’, the Saturday after Greek Easter (one week after Western Easter in 2019). This week is known as ‘Bright Week’, and is the joyful culmination of the Orthodox calendar cycle which began with carnival back in February. During Bright Week, people come together in celebration and feasting. Fasting is not permitted, a welcome relief after the seven weeks of Lent.

While Carnival and Twelfth Night customs are mainly performed by men, spring rituals and dances are almost exclusively in the hands of the women. Many of the dance songs are sung a cappella by the women themselves, typically in unison, emphasising group unity and solidarity. Continue reading “Ritual Dances for Greek Easter by Laura Shannon”

Persephone’s Return and the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries by Deanne Quarrie

Deanne QuarrieMany of us are quite familiar with the story of Persephone and Demeter, the Greek myth behind the changing of seasons each year.

“The story basically goes that Zeus arranges a marriage for Hades, the God of the Underworld and the Dead. Zeus gives Persephone to him. Persephone is gathering flowers in a field when she is tempted by the sight of a narcissus. The flower, however, is a trap set by Gaia, acting on the instructions of Zeus, and when Persephone picks the flower the earth opens and the god of the underworld, Hades, also known as Pluto, kidnaps her and rapes her. Only Hecate, a daughter of Rhea, and Helios, the sun god, hear Persephone’s cries.

For nine days, Demeter wanders throughout the world searching for her daughter, carrying blazing torches and neither eating, drinking or washing. No one, god or mortal, comes to aid her.

On the 10th day, Hecate and Helios finally tell her what has happened. Demeter flees Olympus in anger and wanders the earth unrecognized until She comes to Eleusis.” (excerpt from Eleusinian Mysteries, Charles River Editors) Continue reading “Persephone’s Return and the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries by Deanne Quarrie”

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