Tag Archives: Persephone

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: November 25th: New Celtic tree Month, Women’s Day, Knocking the Knickers off of Persephone

 

The Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Begins

For more about this Tree Month check out this AWESOME site I found that has the most information I have ever seen concerning these Celtic Tree Months.

A pat on the back to them and that information.

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Women’s Merry Making Day

This took place in most parts of Europe long ago. Some suspect that it was once an Observance & celebration for Women’s Mysteries especially concerning Persephone.

(Since some Greek Deities and their secrets, rituals, and knowledge could only be preformed by women, known by women, and so forth.)

However, what I have noticed moving forward from Ancient Civilizations into the Middle Ages or Medieval times, the same sacred days that were once honored ,take on new form as something else. Now there was good reason for this. Sometimes and in most part it was done to protect the Pagan Traditions long celebrated.

This is one of them, sort of, and the day itself was really nothing to brag about . The only thing women got on this day…was the right to do less labor. And I say less because even though the point was to give them the entire day off…*gee thanks*lol…in most cases, less is what they got if that.

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Speaking of….

and further back in time…today is the Greek Festival of…(can you guess)

Persephone!!!!!!

Now you know the Greeks were romping it up and throwing down on this day! But the Greeks were not the only ones, no. Rome also adapted Persephone and made this day all about her as well. Only instead of calling her by her Greek name, they called her Proserpina.

By Natalie Harter

 Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.

If you read the holidays yesterday when I spoke of Isis and Osiris’ love story, well here is another classic tale that is often forgotten. And as a young girl, I’ll admit, I used to get all hazy-eyed over this one. Why?

Because ….

Persephone happens to be the P.H.A.T (pretty hot and tempting) Goddess on the block that every guy-god wants. Only she can’t get no lovin’ from any of the guy-gods who sends her gifts because her too-damn-strict-momma keeps tellin’ them boys no and sendin’ them presents back!

So it’s startin’ to look like poor Persephone will be a lonely little maid forever..

UNTIL….

Hades—*knock our knickers off* bad boy– does what bad boys do best—break all the damn rules!

Now Hades happens to be the dark, forbidden, and ever-so-sexy-your-momma-warned-you-about-hottie in this story. And this bad boy falls in love with Persephone, decides he wants her *oh yeah* and then kidnaps the little miss because of it.

In short, her mother, Demeter is  flippin’ completely out because her daughter is missing, and after raising so much noise, the God of the Sun Helios finally gives up what Hades did.

So the pissed off momma sends a guy-god named Hermes to snatch her baby girl back.  With fingers crossed, Demeter waits…in fact she waits for so long and grieves so bad that the brakes are thrown on the seasons.

(Now you know that is making this rough and crazy for the world of humans and I can’t imagine Zeus being happy either)

Anyway, if you’re thinking Hermes is going to swoop in, rescue Persephone like the knight in shining armor, kick yourself now because that doesn’t happen. For once, the dark, forbidden, and ever-so-sexy-your-momma-warned-you-about-hottie Hades wins (to my delight) and plans ahead for all the family drama to come.

You see, while his beloved Persephone is with him in the ever-so-fab-Underworld, he gets her to eat an enchanted pomegranate. And the seeds of this fabulous fruit is what kicks it all into motion and forces the Fates to back Hades and give him what he wants so that the other Gods can’t to a damn thing about it….well sort of. 

When it all comes down to it, Hades does have to give up his Persephone but not forever. You see, Persephone may have to go back to her mother but only for a few months out of the year and because of those fabulous seeds, he has the rights to do it.

*snap*

So when Persephone returns to the Land of the Living…so comes Spring. And when she goes back to the Underworld to have her socks rocked off by Hades, so comes winter for us.

Now do you see why this would make a girl swoon?

If not and you want to read more, then check out…

This link here

Wikipedia

 

 

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Persephone & Garden Planning

Persephone by Kris Waldherr

This picture of Persephone by Kris Waldherr expresses my feelings of now. I love the way she is working with the Moon.

It’s the beginning of September, been feeling like autumn for the whole of the previous month too as the dry weather caused early leaf fall, especially of the poplars. I’ve had lots of leaves in with the grass when I mow – the grass + leaves makes a good mix that composts down quicker than leaves on their own and, added to the heap, helps that compost down fast too.

But the good composting doesn’t alleviate my strange feel about the early autumn. It’s been doing this for years now, if you notice, but seem a little more obvious, more in your face, this year. I find myself feeling trepidatious, worried – not about nature and the goddess, I think she can handle herself very well, but about how this will affect my life. It already is in the veg plot as I have to rethink my plans, change my modes of growing and generally adjust. Humans are very like cats in the matter of change – we usually hate it just as much as they do :-). However, me and the cats are taking the changes the goddess is offering up and doing our best to work with them.

It affects how I plan the coming seasons and next year’s growing. I’m already sitting down with the seed lists – and the veg-we-like lists – making myself a year-planner and trying getting things together.

One thing I’ve decided is that I must start the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers even earlier. I will have a greenhouse next year which will be an enormous help but even so … Over the past 3-4 years we’ve had a very hot time in April, real sun-burn time, even so you have to work very early or late as the middle of the day feels like being on a beach in the Med :-).

I need to take advantage of this more than I have so far and this means getting beds prepped up early … which means

  • getting compost done so it can go in earlier
  • making sure all the rain possible gets to the ground so using membrane to allow water but suppress weeds
  • getting the top surface ready with raking and soft turning to make a tilth
  • sowing seed so the plants are up and ready to go out
  • making sure I have protection for them when we get sudden cold-shifts, and to stop insects and rabbits and others from messing them up – slug pubs out early for instance.
The Lady of Auxerre, Louvre

I’m going to be busy as soon as I can get out there after Yule!

And it means checking – now – that I have the seed I need, sorting seeds (as Persephone did), what can go on to next year, what have I saved from crops this year, what do I have to buy new – like carrot seed! And can I afford it ??? Can I not ??? I mostly wouldn’t eat if I didn’t grow my own, and certainly wouldn’t eat so well or healthily. So already I’m sitting with the lists and catalogues and bed-plans and compost-plans, something I wouldn’t normally be doing until Yule. I enjoy it, but it feels weird, doing it before the autumn equinox. Ho hum … the goddess knows what she’s doing, upsetting our apple-carts is almost certainly a good thing LOL.

This picture of the “Lady of Auxerre” in the Louvre – a statue of the goddess from Crete – also expresses a lto of how I feel at the moment.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather taleneted cat …
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Working with Stories

One of the things that myths give us, are stories that we can use to measure and make sense of our own lives. Relating personal experience to mythic archetypes it can be possible to find ways through hard times, answers to challenging questions, and ways of being. We can take the myths as role models, or as ‘what not to do’. Most of us will find times in our lives when we are out of inspiration, hope, or a sense of direction. In seeking mythic parallels, we can find answers to that, or at least the sense that others have faced challenges before and survived.

This is a notion I’ve been contemplating for a while, thinking about how pagan writers use myths to explore contemporary life – Emma Restall Orr uses the theme of Gawain and the Loathly Lady extensively to explore ideas of femininity in Kissing the Hag while Kevan Manwaring uses the Taliesin myth to explore his own bardic path in The Way of Awen. This is something any of us can do, at any time, for any reason. What prompted me to think of it was a suggestion from Ness on facebook (thanks Ness!) that I put my trials into the hands of a goddess for a while.

Crashed out for an hour this afternoon, I contemplated the stories of goddesses, and waited for inspiration. I remembered the story of Rhiannon- falsely accused of killing her child, and then made to bear people on her back like a horse, and tell her story to them. It would be fair to say that there are no close parallels between that and my own life, but it is story about endurance, staying true to yourself, and justice being done in the end.

Rhiannon endures with good grace. Her circumstances make me think of modern women accused of infanticide because their children have died from cot death. There were some high profile cases in the UK a few years ago. It’s the worst thing that could happen to a mother – to lose your child and then be blamed for it. Rhiannon is blamed. She has no way of defending herself and does not even know what has happened. She has no way of resolving things. All she can do, is endure with good grace, which she does, and tell her story.

There is a power in telling stories. In the end, the stolen child is recovered, Rhiannon’s good name is restored to her, and the real villain is punished. This is only possible because she has endured, she has survived and lived long enough to see things righted.

Normally I tend to favour active solutions to problems, rather than characters who wait for a rescuer, or for fate to return the balance. I don’t have a very trusting nature, and I feel safer when I’m doing something. But Rhiannon’s is a tale in which there is no scope for doing anything at all. There are no clues, nothing to go on. She’s not like Demeter, who is able to go and seek information about the missing Persephone. The child has gone, and there is no one who can tell Rhiannon how, aside from the mysterious thief. Rhiannon’s is a tale of powerlessness, and if any character had justification to despair, she would be the one. And yet, she gets through, somehow.

This is a story about not giving up, even when there is no visible reason for hope. That’s a very powerful message to turn to when there seems to be no way forward. It is also a tale about grace and a certain kind of quiet courage. Rhiannon does not dishonour herself in any way, despite what she is made to endure. She shoulders her burdens, literally, and she gets through. So may we all.

Ancient Calendar: May 27, 2010

BringForththeMagicByBelovedIsis.gif Bringing Forth the Magic  picture by Beloved_Isis

Way back in the ancient day, Rome would be hooking us up with a festival honoring their Diana of the Wild Wood. Now, interestingly enough, even though this was a festival for her, it also celebrated Prosperina (Proserpina—think Greek Persephone) and the Three Fates.

But hey, keeping with the WILD THEME, lets peak in on the Greeks in Athens who were launching their own Festival today for all Wild Women. Think debauched and orgiastic—according to some sources.

Meanwhile over in Norse territory, they are having an observance for their Goddess Frigg. It’s called Friggablót.

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A little announcement. Yes, Ancient Calendar is the same as Pagan Holidays. I just thought this title might be a bit more accurate. We also have our own page, located Ancient Calendar.

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Laying the Past to Rest

In my journey through pagan spirituality, I have experienced many past life regressions – usually as a shaman or medicine woman. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and the karma attached to me. I’ve even uncovered the foundation of some issues I have now, like why I hate apples (one of my previous incarnations choked on one and died) and my fear of bugs (my previous war torn child-self forced to live in roach infested ruins). Whether those visions were real spiritual experiences, or just my subconscious mind concocting pictures to explain trauma doesn’t matter. Either way, they have proved to be invaluable in the understanding of myself, and my purpose in the world.

I’ve had many past life sessions with therapists and readers, and each one taught me something new. But the main lesson taught in any session is how to let go of the pain and negative habits gathered in previous lives. And lately, this knowledge has come to help me in this incarnation, helped me to deal with issues in my youth and recent history.

Sometimes a spiritual journey is not about venturing into past lives, but purging the lives you’ve lived in this existence, in this body. It is amazing how many lives you have within one lifetime.  Every major occurrence in our lives can be viewed as an event unto itself, an experience that shapes who we are – whether its relationships, moments of epiphany, etc. We all know the basic cycles: childhood, puberty, young adulthood, adulthood, menopause, wise woman days, aka maiden, mother, crone, and the cycles in between. Each time we begin a new cycle of life, the old cycle dies. And much like a past life experience, we have to lay it to rest, and take the lessons from it and move forward.

However, we often forget that within each of those cycles is a depth of experiences we don’t honor and mourn appropriately. Instead, we marinate on them, the problems and shame running through our minds over and over again. And suddenly, our decisions in the present are based on our experiences in the past.

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that how its supposed to be? Well, yes – we are supposed to remember and use the wisdom of our past, but not to the degree we sometimes take it.  We spend so much time worrying about things that have already happened that we often miss what’s happening in the here and now.  Our history should be a point of reference, but not have a hold over the current time.

Each moment of our lives has power, a center of its own, and when an incident ends negatively it is very much a death wound to our spirits and energy. If we were to look at each time we have been hurt, disillusioned, disheartened, wronged, we would see just how many deaths we have experienced in this incarnation. Mourning these experiences is vital, then “consciously forgetting” them can be viewed as a type of reincarnation, a way of rebirth.

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes discusses the process of conscious forgetting:

“To forget means to aver from memory, to refuse to dwell – in other words, to let go, to loosen one’s hold, particularly on memory.

To forget does not mean to make yourself brain-dead. Conscious forgetting means letting go of the event, to not insist it stay in the foreground, but rather allow it to be relegated to the background or move off stage. We practice conscious forgetting by refusing to summon up the fiery material, we refuse to recollect. To forget is an active, not a passive, endeavor. It means to not haul up certain materials, or turn them over and over, to not work oneself up by repetitive thought, picture, or emotion. Conscious forgetting means willfully dropping the practice of obsessing, intentionally outdistancing and losing sight of it, not looking back, thereby living in a new landscape, creating new life and new experiences to think about instead of the old ones. This kind of forgetting does not erase memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.”

Perhaps this is another lesson in the death/rebirth section of Goddess teachings. Cerridwen puts us in the pot, stirs it up; and we melt and boil and scream but emerge cleaner and wiser. Pele tosses us into the fiery volcano and we climb out with inspiration and new understanding. Persephone guides us to the underworld and teaches us how to rule as Queen.  The theology of the Goddess shows us exactly how to overcome the stagnation of the past; but instead of thanking Pele for the creativity and realizations, we bitch about how hot the lava was and tell anyone who will listen about the misery of the whole incident.

By practicing “conscious forgetting”, the power of our rebirths is suddenly visible. We become witnesses to our awakening; we can honor ourselves for all the times we have crawled up from the dirt and started again.

The fact that you are still here, still in an earthly body with a heavenly spirit, means that you have been reborn from a death. Reincarnated. Transfigured. It’s time to focus on the rebirth, not the death. Honor yourself for the strength it took, the courage you had/have to begin again.   Mourn, and then let it go.  It doesn’t mean the experience still doesn’t influence you, but it does rip the power away from the circumstances and the past, and place it back into your hands in the present. There is a difference between learning from your past, and reliving your past. The you from yesterday is gone.  Pay attention to who you’ve been reborn as today.

In short: let it go.