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Changing Seasons: Persephone

The tale I find the most interesting in mythology is the one regarding Persephone. Daughter of Demeter, Persephone was out playing in the fields one day. Hades, god of the underworld, took notice, “fell in love,” and kidnaped her. Demeter, of course, threw a fit and let every plant on the earth die until Zeus intervened.

However, because Persephone had eaten 4 pomegranate seeds (or 6 I can’t remember) she had to stay in the underworld for 4 months out of the year. During her stay in the underworld, Demeter would let the plants wilt until her return, hence the emergence of winter.

What strikes me about the myth is that Persephone marries Hades and is queen of the underworld. So, basically a stalker kidnaps the woman of interest, marries her, and everyone agrees she has to live with him–that it’s only fair. The myth never discusses if she “loves” Hades and enjoys her time with him. The myth goes against all modern love stories. It reinforces the possessive husband and devalues the woman’s choice.

Try to sell that story in today’s market and publishers would laugh you out of their office. But, there its stands as the explanation of why we have winter months. Gotta love the tragedy in Greek Mythology.