The inspiration behind our name Persephone Publishing is based on Greek mythology and the tale of the Goddess Persephone.

The Characters

Persephone
Goddess of Spring and symbol of renewal

Demeter
Goddess of Agriculture and Mother of Persephone

Zeus
Head of the Gods. Demeter was a wife of Zeus

Hades
Brother of Zeus, who designated Hades to be ruler of the Underworld. In mythology this was merely a place where mortals went after they died and carried no connotation of punishment

An Aside
The story was captured by Igor Stravinsky in his composition Persephone set for female narrator (in French), orchestra, and chorus of women’s voices

Persephone’s Story

The union of Demeter and Zeus produced a daughter, the Goddess Persephone. Demeter, the Goddess of Agriculture, and Persephone lived in a world of continuous Summer. Green trees and plants thrived, flowers brightened the landscape, and the sun warmed the people of the earth.

Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture

Persephone’s childhood was filled with days in the sun. She danced in the fields, her tresses silhouetting her leaps as she skipped along. She spent balmy nights with her Mother learning about crops, grasses, flowers, and trees. As Persephone grew, her beauty became renowned among the immortals, and Hades took note. To persuade him to be content with ruling the Underworld, Zeus acceded to Hades’ wish to have Persephone as his wife. But Zeus delayed in following through

One day while Persephone was inspecting the ripening corn she felt a trembling beneath her feet and heard rumbling. The ground opened and Hades, God of the Underworld, having grown tired of waiting for Zeus to take action, rose to the earth in his chariot drawn by a team of black stallions. He snatched Persephone. Taking her into his arms, he lifted her into his chariot and took her to his Kingdom in the Underworld. The ground closed again with a huge roar, leaving only Persephone’s basket of new corn behind.

Demeter searched everywhere, but she could not find her daughter. For days and days she looked for Persephone. Her grief was crushing. She could not nourish the earth, which grew cold, causing all green things to wither and die. No crops grew and a terrible hunger came to the people.

Winter season

As Persephone became accustomed to the Underworld and its mortals, she began to sympathize with their plights. Her dread of the Underworld was lessened with the gratitude of the mortals who revered her. Her anger toward Hades subsided as he became her protector. Hades told her of his longing to keep her there with him. She was moved by learning of his loneliness.

Persephone missed her Mother and the bright world above ground. But her new status as Queen of the Underworld and her love for Hades gave her reason to stay with him. She believed she had important work to do deep under the ground. Persephone knew if she ate or drank anything in the Underworld, she would never leave. Even though Hades begged her to have just one sip, or one bite of food, she resisted.

Demeter finally learned where Persephone was. She insisted to Zeus that Persephone be returned to her. Zeus sent Mercury to relay the message. Hades hitched his horses to his chariot and prepared to send Persephone back. But before she left, he offered Persephone one last temptation to eat — a ripe, red pomegranate. Looking him in the eyes, Persephone took six seeds and ate them. She traveled back above ground through a crack in the earth. Reuniting with her waiting Mother, Persephone threw herself into her Mother’s arms. Demeter’s relief and joy caused the sun to shine once more and brought the dormant seeds to life. The earth again grew rich with all growing things.

Greek Women

But Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, which meant Zeus was bound by Hades’ desire to have Persephone, now the Goddess of Spring, come back to the Underworld for six months each year, when winter would return to the earth. Each Spring Persephone reunited with her Mother, allowing the fields and flowers to bloom again.

And so it is that we draw inspiration from Persephone as we face our challenges and make the best of our dark seasons, then renew our spirits in the vigor of Spring and again savor the beauty of life.