Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A light in the darkness.

No matter how dark the night, the dawn will always come - eventually. All we need is a little glimmer of hope, like the flickering glow of a candle flame.

Persephone, goddess of death, spent each winter in the underworld, returning every spring to live with her mother, Demeter, the goddess of corn.

During the winter, you could say we 'go to ground.'  We hunker down, preferring our warm firesides to the cold winds outdoors.  However, this dark time of the year is important to our psyche.  It allows us to rest, to 'recharge our batteries' to think deeply about the new season, which is coming.  For however dark our world appears, there is always a candle waiting to be lit, a new song waiting to be written, new people to meet.

According to the Greeks, Persephone's father, Zeus, promised his beautiful daughter to Hades, the Greek God of the underworld, without consulting her mother. When Hades rose from the underworld and took his bride by force, Demeter was beside herself with grief.  Winter had come into her life and all of nature reflected her sadness.  The land was no longer fertile, plants wilted, animals bore no offspring and death stalked the land.  Eventually Zeus was obliged to intervene and ruled that Persephone should spend time each year with both her husband and her mother.  Persephone could never return entirely to the living world because she had eaten in Hades's realm.

As we wait for spring to come, let's not waste our time.  We can sit usefully in front of the hearth, planning what we shall do when the weather improves.  We can look into seed catalogues, plan a new area of the garden to cultivate.  Maybe we could join a new club or society.

Whatever we plan on doing, it will soon be time to get out the trusty broom and sweep the house clean, won't it?

Are you planning any changes in your life in the springtime?


Source of information:  The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology by Arthur 
Cottrell and Rachel Storm