Yesterday was the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.
Also known as Mabon, this seasonal point marks the first day of Fall. From now until Spring the days will grow short while the nights grow long. In honor of the Autumn Equinox, I decided to paint a picture of the Goddess of the Harvest, Demeter. This original painting can be found in my etsy shop.
Demeter was the Greek Goddess of the harvest, agriculture, grain and corn.
She was the daughter of the God Cronos and the Goddess Rhea and she was mother to the Goddess Persephone. Demeter was deeply tied to the earth. She held power over the changing of the seasons. Since she was associated with the harvest and with grain, people would offer her the first loaf of bread made in the Fall season.
The most well-known myth of Demeter involves her daughter Persephone and her abduction into the Underworld.
One day Persephone was walking along in a meadow picking flowers. All of a sudden, the ground opened up beneath her and the God Hades came through and pulled her down into the Underworld. When Demeter found out what happened to her daughter she became angry and filled with grief. In her sadness, the earth around her started to die as she was intimately connected with the earth. When she grieved, the earth also grieved.
The God Zeus, noticing what was happening to the earth, tried to get Persephone back to her mother.
But because Persephone had eaten seeds of the pomegranate fruit, she could not leave the Underworld. They made an agreement with the God Hades that Persephone would spend half of the year in the Underworld and the other half of the year on the earth with her mother. Therefore, during the fall and winter months the earth dies as Demeter grieves the loss of her daughter. And in the spring and summer months the earth blossoms with life as Demeter is joyous with the return of Persephone.
Demeter was also associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Not much is known about these sacred rites as their participants were sworn to secrecy. It is thought that the main objective of the Eleusinian mysteries was to celebrate and honor the cycles of life and death as well as the afterlife. Mabon is a great time to honor both Demeter & Persephone. Both of these Goddesses are intimately associated with this time of year. On your altar, have colors of Fall such as warm yellows, reds and oranges, grain, a pomegranate, candles, a picture of Demeter and/or Persephone, Fall leaves and an offering of honey or wine.
Wishing you many Autumn blessings! How will you be celebrating?
If you are interested in learning about the Goddess in her many forms, check out the course Goddess Connections.
~ Demeter painting can be found in my shop