Demeter is the godess of corn, grain, and the harvest. She is
the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. It is Demeter that makes the
crops grow each year. The first loaf of bread from the harvest is scarificed to her. Demeter is the goddess of the earth, of
agriculture, and of fertility in general. Sacred to her are livestock and agricultural products, poppy, narcissus and the crane.
Demeter is intimately associated with the seasons. Her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades to be his wife in
the underworld. In her anger at her daughter's loss Demeter laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither
and die, the land became desolate. Zeus became alarmed and sought Persephone's return. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld
Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that Persephone would spend four months each year in the underwold. During these months Demeter greves her daughters absence,
and withdraws her gifts from the world, creating winter. Her return brought the spring.
Demeter is also known for founding the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were huge
festivels held every five years. They were importaint events for many centuries. Yet, little is known of them as those attending were sworn to secrecy. The
central tenant seems to have been that just as grain returns every spring after its harvest and wintery death, so too the human soul could be reborn after the death of the body.