Persephone's Return Picture

Another doodle with Persephone inspired by The Narcissus and the Pomegranate - An Archaeology of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter by Ann Suter.

Suter believes that Persephone lies to her mother to keep a good relationship with her when she says that she was forced to eat the pomegranate seeds (since when the poet of the hymn earlier told us how Hades gave Persephone the seeds, there was no mention of force). Well, that can only be speculated upon (like pretty much everything else in this book), but my interpretation of Persephone does that sort of thing pretty often. She's convinced that her mother never would accept her "darker" sides and she doesn't want to break her heart, so she does her best to fake normality and to withhold certain things from her.

I've always thought that Persephone's Underworld aspect is what makes her interesting. Persephone in the Iliad and the Odyssey is quite different from Persephone in the Hymn. In the two first poems she's just a powerful Underworld goddess. In the Odyssey she's almost depicted as more powerful than Hades, since she is the one who does things. SHE sends forth the shades of the dead to Odysseus and the dead seer Teiresias has his wits intact because SHE has honoured him that way. There is no connection made between Demeter and Persephone and Persephone is never mentioned as a goddess of fertility or rebirth.

And since The Iliad and the Odyssey are believed to be at least onehundred years older than the Hymn, Suter sees this as one of the arguments for that Persephone once was a powerful and independent goddess. Once again, this can only be speculated upon, but it's quite fun to read if you're a Greek mythology freak. ^^
Continue Reading: The Underworld