Where I lived – winter and hard earth.
I sat in my cold stone room
choosing tough words, granite, flint,
to break the ice. My broken heart –
I tried that, but it skimmed,
flat, over the frozen lake.
She came from a long, long way,
but I saw her at last, walking,
my daughter, my girl, across the fields,
in bare feet, bringing all spring’s flowers
to her mother’s house. I swear
the air softened and warmed as she moved,
the blue sky smiling, none too soon,
with the small shy mouth of a new moon.
The Great Mother Goddess Demeter is the Greek Goddess of Grain, Mother to Persephone, and one of the focal points of the Eleusinian Mysteries. She is responsible for earthly fertility and regeneration, called “of the greatest use and greatest joy to gods and men”. As the Grain Mother, Demeter controls crops, the seasons as they apply to agriculture, and the practical needs of humanity.
Demeter’s origins are Cretan but Her largest worship center was Eleusis where the Rites of Eleusis were practiced for more than 1200 years. The ancient Eleusinian Mysteries – “the cult of the two Goddesses” – are based around the myth of Demeter and Persephone, Mother and Daughter. Many of us recall the myth from early school days; Persephone is snatched while picking flowers by the God of the Underworld, Hades. The myth is frequently called “the abduction of Persephone” or “the rape of Persephone”, evoking the terror and the shrill screams of a young girl being grabbed from the bosom of her mother as the ground opens to the dark caverns below and Hades emerges to claim his prize.
Following this telling of the myth, we are further horrified by the information that Persephone’s father, Zeus, made a pact with his brother to take Persephone forcefully as his bride. Demeter falls into a deep grief that brings winter to the world as she almost destroys the world searching endlessly for her daughter. Finally, the agreement is hammered out that Persephone will remain with Hades for half of the year and with Demeter for half of the year – also, sometimes referred to as three months in the Underworld and the rest of the year above.The return of the maiden Kore is the herald of Spring and Demeter shows her delight of having her daughter back through the bounty of the seasons and allowing the Earth to flower and produce once again.
Looking at all the aspects of the Goddess Demeter, we are struck by her duality: abundance and lack, life and death, love and rage, understanding and bitterness. She is a Goddess of Transitions and Cycles. Demeter was also a Goddess that was primarily worshiped by women and one of her festivals, Thesmophoria, was restricted to women only.
For modern women, Demeter represents some very important life transitions. As Mother, she reflects the grief that many women have as their children grow and leave the home. Tied into that and applicable for women who do not have children, there is also a mourning for our younger selves. The saying that aging is not for sissies is reflected in the grief and rage that Demeter displays. Her reaction is an extreme but most women can relate.
Demeter also represents the cycles of women that we go through at all stages of life. Productive, fallow, creative, barren. Our bodies – our life events – our personal journeys may all be viewed through a Demeter lens. She is a Goddess who shares our most primal and most human emotions and expresses them, almost to the detriment of destroying the world.
Demeter removed from the Eleusinian Mysteries is an ancient Earth Goddess. As a “law-giver”, she provides order to the progression of seasons and life. There is also a more ancient Oracular tradition associated to the pre-Olympian Demeter so we may seek her counsel in matters of life and the heart.
Are you able to see Demeter as reflected in your cycles of life?
~ Kimberly (from 52 Goddesses)
DEMETER AS DARK MOTHER – DEMETER OF THE BLACK MOON
The Greek Demeter is Goddess of Earth and Harvest, and of the changing seasons. There are important lessons in the myth of Demeter, lessons about embracing our grief and our rage, about being in our shadows, about how we must descend to rise, and also that no matter how dark we go, the light is waiting.
Mythically, Demeter represents the harvest of Earth, in particular, the season of Fall, but also personifies the changing of the seasons. She is the Mother of Persephone, the maiden Goddess Kore, who is abducted by the God of the Underworld, Hades. When Persephone is taken (around Fall Equinox annually), Demeter experiences deep grief and rage and wanders the world seeking her daughter. Her mourning is embodied in the seasonal changes of Autumn and Winter, she causes the Earth to die. In the Spring, Persephone is restored to her Mother, Demeter is joyful again, spring blooms, and all is “right” with earth.
Demeter adds to some dark moon lunations with her story of grief and rage, mirroring for us that our darker emotions must come out. She is bringing dark moon, black moon potency right to the doorstep of our soul. She reminds us that our feelings, what we focus on, is what manifests. We must step into our shadows and do the internal work to achieve balance and to properly reflect our most focused and desired reality. If we ignore this call, stuff our grief and rage, we lose all sense of balance internally and externally. Death and chaos reign.
While the Earth appears to be dying, truly She is shedding the old that prevents future growth. In the same way, we are being called to identify the paradigms that keep us stuck in our own shitstorms, large and small. Embrace the grief, the rage, the acknowledgement that everything dies. The other side of that acknowledgement is that death is simply change to another state and inevitably the light returns.
Purge and prepare for the new.
Step into your shadows.
Adorn yourself in the emotions and the wild that you usually keep behind locked, psychic doors.
Howl at the Black Moon.
Burn shit, use the fire to cauterize your wounds.
Be fierce in laying waste to your obstacles and that which no longer aligns with your Soul.
And when you are empty, when it is all released, invite Goddess in to heal you. To light your soul again and again.
This is the balance of our shadow and light.
Blessings of Demeter the Dark Mother to you.
Homeric Hymn to Demetertranslated by Gregory Nagy
Long Journey Home: Revisioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time edited by Christine Downing (highly recommended)
Persephone Unveiled: Seeing the Goddess and Freeing Your Soul by Charles Stein
Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths by Charlene Spretnak
Mysteries of Demeter : Rebirth of the Pagan Way by Jennifer Reif
Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter by Carl Kerényi
GODDESS VENDORS WE LOVE!
- DaughtersOfIsis.com with Gwen Barry – Magical Essential Oil Blends & Incense
- GailJessenDesigns.com with Gail Jessen – Sacred Jewelry Design
- MurphysEssentials.com with Kim Murphy – Healing & Magical Essential Oil Blends & CBD
- Red Priestess with Brandi Auset – Goddess Sprays and Crystals
- SacredWell.com with Yeshe Matthews – Crystal and Treasure Shop
MOTHERHOUSE GODDESS TEMPLE – Goddess Calendar & Free Community Events
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