Demeter Picture

Polly Walker as Demeter

Goddess of grain, agriculture and the harvest, growth and nourishment.

In Greek mythology, Demeter was the most generous of the great Olympian goddesses. The Greek goddess Demeter was beloved for her service to mankind in giving them the gift of the harvest, the reward for cultivation of the soil. She was the only one of the Greek goddesses who was involved on a day-to-day basis in the lives of the common folk. While others occasionally "dabbled" in human affairs when it suited their personal interests, or came to the aid of "special" mortals they favored, the goddess Demeter was truly the nurturer of mankind. Demeter also was the only one of the Greek goddesses who could truly empathize with the human experience of suffering and grief, having experienced it fully herself.

Demeter was swallowed upon her birth by her father Cronus along with Hestia, Hades, Poseidon, and Hera, who were later saved by Zeus in order to help defeat the Titans. After the war, both Zeus and Poseidon tried to marry her, but Demeter instead devoted herself to her duties as the goddess of the harvest. Though Zeus was married to Hera, Demeter had a relationship with him that resulted in a daughter, Persephone. Though the affair ended, Demeter was very happy as she had a beautiful daughter all to herself. Persephone was an obedient, cheerful girl who had a happy childhood, playing with her cousins, Artemis and Athena. Reaching adolescence, she was carefree and spirited, often dancing playfully and picking wildflowers in the meadow near her home. Persephone's youthful beauty drew the attention of Hades, the god of the underworld, and he could not help falling in love with her. One day as Persephone reached over to pick a flower, the earth opened and the arm of Hades reached up from the underworld.And so Hades abducted her, dragging her back to his kingdom. Hearing Persephone's screams, the goddess Demeter rushes to the meadow, but cannot find Persephone. Carrying a torch, Demeter traveled the world day and night, never eating or resting, searching futilely for her daughter. Resuming her search, she soon encountered Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, who advised her to speak with Helios, god of the sun . . . reasoning that, since she had been riding his chariot (the sun) through the sky that day, he had surely seen what had happened to Persephone. Helios told the goddess Demeter what he had seen and that Persephone was now ensconced as Hades' wife and Queen of the Underworld. She also gave her the shocking news that Zeus himself had sanctioned the marriage, giving Hades permission to abduct Persephone.

Understandably, the goddess Demeter felt betrayed. Renouncing her divine duties that included bringing fertility to the land, Demeter left Mount Olympus swearing that the earth would remain barren until her daughter was returned to her. All this time, with the goddess Demeter refusing to function, the land grew barren and the harvests ceased . . . the earth saw a winter that did not end. Zeus finally opens his eyes to what was happening and sent messengers to apologize and coax the goddess Demeter to return. Demeter, however, remained adamant that she would not return until Persephone was rescued. Finally, Zeus gave in and sent Hermes to command Hades to release Persephone. Demeter was not pleased that Persephone had eaten the pomegranate seeds and would have to return to the underworld for four months during each year, but was otherwise overjoyed to be reunited with her daughter. Happily, Demeter resumed her divine duties and restored the fertility of the earth. Each year the goddess Demeter longs for her absent daughter and withdraws her favours from the earth for a period we know as winter, but Persephone returns each spring to end her desolation.

Demeter has control over crops and agriculture, and she will often punish those she dislikes with famine. She is also the Goddess of the seasons, so she can change the climate and state of the earth. She is also the Goddess of Motherhood, and she can bestow a good or bad pregnancy upon mortals. When she is with Persephone, the earth is warm and ripe, but when she is away with Hades, the world is dark and bare. The story is just one of the instances where Demeter's powers can affect the earth itself. She also has various mystical power primarily to control the harvesting of plants especially, but not limited, to grain. It has been theorized that her emotions are in tune to the harvest and that they are bountiful when she is happy, and drought occurs when she is unhappy. She can also cross dimensional barriers between worlds and alter her form to appear as an elderly woman. She can invoke curses, such as when she cursed King Erysichthon in ancient times with insatiable hunger and endow mystical ability in sorcerers and mystics that know how to call upon her. She can also cross-dimensional barriers between worlds and alter her form to appear in an immaterial state to present herself to mortals. On Earth, she sometimes takes a gigantic physical stature to appear intimidating to mortals. Her powers to control the weather are not as proficient as that of Zeus or Poseidon; she can cause rain to fall, but she cannot create storms or thunder showers.

The story of Greek goddess Demeter illustrates the tremendous capacity of a woman to love and nurture, within her own family and the world at large. It also reminds us to stand firm for what is good and right, even in the face of adversity, when powerful forces are aligned against us. Demeter's message also reminds us of the seasons of a woman's life, that even though there are times of great sorrow there is also great joy to be found.


Over - Protective - Demeter is best known for her fierce defense of her daughter, Persephone.

Nurturing - Takes care of her daughter, Persephone and Demeter is known to have gentle nature

Fussy - As a stereotypical mother in-law, Demeter took on every opportunity to chastise and criticize Hades' work and marriage to her daughter.

Sacred Symbols and Animals

Fruits of the earth - Demeter had control over crops and she could change the climate and state of the earth.

The torch - Referring to her search for Persephone.

Snake - An earth creature

Pig - Symbol of fertility

None of this information belongs to me or has been written by me, expect for the casting face claim. The information collected belongs to these sources:

Greek Mythology Wikia/Demeter
Camp Half blood Wikia/Demeter
Goddess Gift/Demeter

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