Persephone is the living queen of the dead and the goddess of spring and rebirth. In some stories Pluto, the god of Hades, ruler of the kingdom of the dead, raped and kidnapped her. In others she simply fell or entered through a cave and became captive. In my favorites she tempts him or runs away with him.
Her mother, Demeter, goddess of crops and life, refused to let anything grow until her daughter was returned.
Zeus attempted to rescue her but she had already eaten the fruit offered her. Hades refused to let go his prize; Persephone, young and beautiful, had captured his heart as he had captured her.
Her release was negotiated under the terms that half the year she was to live in Hades as Pluto’s bride and half the year on earth as her mother’s daughter.
Every spring she returned with the first green things to bring life back after winter. And every fall as the leaves turned and plants withered she went to her husband’s side.
Persephone is one of my favorite characters. She is love in the middle of loss. She is an endless cycle of birth, life, and death. She appears frequently in my poetry. I love the symbolism of mythology, it has intrigued me for many years now. Simple, beautiful stories that capture the imagination and endure for thousands of years. She is not so well known as her brothers and male cousins, her heroism is a different sort. She had power over both fresh new life and all things dead. She alone could move between worlds unscathed yet she lost her own innocence and freedom in the process.