Kore, later known as Persephone, loved flowers. One beautiful day she saw and extraordinary flower. So much beauty she had not seen before in any living being on earth. She reached out her hand... Little did she know that this would change her life forever. Such a little gesture, the picking of a flower changed the whole universe. Do you want to uncover the mythologic themes in your own life? I offer an online Mythology course that helps you explore six different subjects. The Mythology of creation, the Amazing Animal, Mythology of Women, Mythology of Men and the Mythology of the Grail.
Little gestures can have big consequences as in the story of Persephone. Doing nothing can have big repercussions as in the story of ‘Les jeux sont faits‘ written by Sartre. By not being together the couple that thought they where soul mates did not get a second chance of happiness.
We live in a society that hold you responsible for the life you lead. Even though, just as Persephone, you almost never foresee the consequences of our actions. So let’s take a closer look at the myth of Persephone and Hades.
It tells us a lot about our ways of dealing with crises. It tells us a lot about our way of dealing with love. It tells us a lot about our way of dealing with mother – daughter tension.
Persephone and crises
Like Persephone you will be in a crises someday. The one you thought was your soul mate does not love you back, you are rejected for the job of your dreams, you lose a child, you loose a loved one.
The pain is physical. It is like a part of your body is cut off without any form of sedation. You walk around in shock: this is not true. This is not happening. In a moment I am going to wake up…
Going down into the underworld. The underworld smelling of death. Down into the dark earth. It is usually a place off numb despair. The last day my mother was living I visited her… She was in hospital and everything was examined. in my presence a doctor examined her stomach. It was big, like she was in her second trimester of pregnancy. That is when I knew she was running out of time. I was afraid that when I told her she would be so afraid.. I decided that ignorance is bliss. My mother was not dumb. I think she knew her chances of waking up again where very small. I think she just kept on hoping. But both of us did not communicate that. So I went home. I received an email of one of my sisters that my mother was going to be operated. I phoned the hospital to tell them that my mother would probably not have the strength to survive an operation. The hospital told me that it had to be done. I hung up the phone crying. Feeling powerless. I was in the underworld, in Hades’ realm. It is a place of numbness. I was feeling so sad, so angry, so helpless. I had gone down into the underworld. Involuntarily like Persephone. But it made me connect with my helplessness, with my anger, with my feelings for my mother.
Persephone and love
When I invited Stanley Krippner to give a Personal Mythology workshop in the Netherlands he talked about Persephone. “Nobody ever asks what Persephone thought about all of this” he said. And indeed, the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone is told from the perspective of the mother. Demeter who is so heart-broken that her daughter is gone. Taken away by Hades who had fallen desperately in love with her. He was so love struck that he created a flower, the narcissus, for her. The narcissus is a symbol of new beginnings.
Seeing such an extraordinary flower, so different from other flowers, Persephone just had to pick it. Not only stepping into a new beginning, Persephone was drawn into it by Hades. The black earth opened up and Hades pulled her upon his carriage with black horses. So earth longs for spring in a fertile way…
The change in perspective Stanley Krippner suggested in his workshop Personal Mythology is a vital one. You get into the habit of thinking the same thing. About yourself. About your life story. Change perspective. You can pluck the narcissus by retelling your own life story from a new perspective. Step into the perspective of your mother/father/brother/best friend and retell your story through their eyes. See how things change. See how your understanding grows.
Persephone and the mother daughter crises
We all know them don’t we? Daughters who must fulfill their mothers desires. Who must become the film star/writer/photo model etc mother never had the change to be. But even if it is on a more subconscious level there is an innate tendency between mother and daughter. Likewise there is a tendency between father and son that is displayed in the Oedipus myth.
In every women her life she has to take a moment to reflect upon her relationship with her mother. The way your mother dealt with nurturing you and your other siblings. The way your mother dealt with love and sexuality. Is it your way? So mentally or physically, you have to step back and look at what it is that she has taught you. And how you use that knowledge in your life. Is it fruitful for you? Or is it time to focus on your life as lover and queen like Persephone did? It is not necessary to break of your relationship with your mother while you are doing this. It takes a while to contemplate about the unspoken lessons about life. In what way are you still being the daughter, the princess?
Now look at this lady going into Hades realm like a girl, daughter of mother Earth named Kore, and becoming the Queen named Persephone. I can imagine why she ate the pomegranate. In the live of almost every woman she has to break up with her mother. Not forever. But she must let go of the advice and approval of her mother. This is a temporary break up. Each mother and daughter have their moments of separation. Wanted or unwanted. Planned or as a result of actions beyond our control. This enables you to become woman. To search for your own approval. To become the person you would like to spend an evening with.
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My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.
This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.