Persephone, Queen of the Underworld

Much of what I will be including in today’s blog entry is speculation on my part as there is little direct evidence except the lines of the Orphic Hymn in her honor.”O, vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight: Whose holy form in budding fruits we view, Earth’s vig’rous offspring of a various hue: Espous’d in Autumn: life and death alone to wretched mortals from thy power is known: For thine the task according to thy will, life to produce, and all that lives to kill. ‘  Persephone is the Queen of the Underworld and this time of year is when she descends to sit on her throne. It was not by accident that she is celebrated with the Greater Mysteries at this time. 

It is often said that she did not enjoy her time in the Underworld, but I think that after the first time that she grew to love her husband. She in many ways is the mirror image of her mother. While her mother is the Queen of the fertile times of the earth, she is the Queen of the fallow times. She is the one to whom the initiate appeals in the afterlife and it is said that SHE is the judge of the initiate in the underworld instead of the usual judges.

Persephone is the one who Orpheus and Psyche alike appealed to in their various quests involving their loves — it is Persephone who gives Orpheus permission to escort Eurydice to the surface (providing that he does not look back until they have both returned) as it is Persephone who gives the box to Psyche (who also ignores the Goddess’ advice). If she were not fully engaged in her role as Queen, she would not be allowed to do these things, nor would the Mysteries be focused on her in conjunction with her mother. 

In many ways, just as Haides is the Zeus of the Underworld, Persephone is the Demeter. They are the ones who rule over the springs of Forgetfulness and Memory. It is they who decide who is to be allowed reincarnation. It is MY OPINION that this was part of the Mysteries….learning who Persephone is and that she is more than just a goddess of vegetation — that she is a mother of eternal life.

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