Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Promise of Spring Time

Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope, even the ruins to which it clings.
Gustave Flaubert 
The Temple of Concord has long been destroyed by its original 34 Greek columns still remain today-Not far from Sicily you’ll find Agrigento, an area that was a critical part of the Greek empire during the 8th c BC.
We have just entered the Vernal Equinox meaning the vernal point — the one the Sun passes in March on its way from south to north —that  is used as the origin of some celestial coordinate systems.The Vernal Equinox, around Easter, holds special magic, ushering in the return of warmth, and with it, spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life (both plant and animal) being born.  Coincidentally, Christianity marks this time as the anniversary of the Resurrection.
We are taught in school that the Spring season is therefore connected to the Vernal Equinox meaning the vernal point, the distance from and position of your location in connection with the sun. Although this is seemingly true it isn't nearly as enchanting as the Greek mythological version of the making of spring.
Image of Persephone
Persephone mythological story is well-known today, and has great emotional power: an innocent maiden, a mother's grief over her abduction, and great joy after her daughter is returned. It is also cited frequently as a paradigm of myths that explain natural processes, with the descent and return of the goddess bringing about the change of seasons.
Image of Hades and Persephone
When Hades snatched the maiden Persephone from a flower-strewn meadow and carried her down to the underworld to be his wife, her mother, Demeter, goddess of agriculture, heard her daughter’s screams and raced to help her, but in vain. Demeter wandered the earth, mourning greatly. 
Image of Demeter Mourning
She caused a vast barrenness to fall upon the land. Flowers withered, grain died. A delegation of gods urged Demeter to relent and come to Mount Olympus, but she remained on earth, inconsolable. At last Zeus saw that he himself must intervene and dispatched Hermes to the underworld with instructions.
 Image of Persephone with pomegranate
Hades knew he could not resist and relinquished Persephone, but he persuaded her first to eat a few pomegranate seeds, which obliged her to return to him. Hades has Persephone for four months of each year and then releases her topside.
 Spring accompanies her return.



  1. I am a big fan of Joseph Campbell and his writings on comparative mythology. I agree with him that it is important to be aware of mythology and its enduring importance in our lives. One of the reasons I appreciate this lovely post.

  2. what an amazing tale, thank you for posting it!

  3. i have forever been swept away by all mythology. fairytales of heart...that we can close our eyes...and live in the moment.

    oh joanny, what fun!

  4. I love the story of Persephone. And you she still yearns to spend time with Hades during the year. Welcome, Persephone. It is a time of the coming of the goddesses in all their forms.

  5. Ditto to Lorenzo's comment. And actually, I found your blog via his recent post on breaking fast.

    PS: Love the Flaubert quote!

  6. Joanny,

    PS: A woman in one of Klimt's paintings? Yes, I can see it in your Avatar, most definitely!

    Thanks for the visit as well. Stop by for a chocolate chip waffle any time!

  7. Good Morning Joanny.. From what I see in your blog.. you are deep into Ancient Greek Mythology..
    I am so glad there are people like you who still like to read and learn more about ancient times.. in Greece and everywhere.
    Ancient Greeks.. were trying to explain nature, seasons, nature, physical phenomenons and almost everything in everyday life, by inventing or creating myths, about almost everything..
    Their Gods like Zeus or Jupiter, were responsible for phenomena in weather or nature.. raging thunderstorms were the results of Zeus' anger.. when something was not to his liking.. he was holding the thunderbolts in his hand and was releasing them against the humans when the were doing something wrong..
    The descent of Persephone to Hades, was symbolizing the winter season while the seeds of life were buried deep in the soil, under a blanket of snow and her return to life again was the spring when those seeds were coming to life again.. under the warm rays of the sun..
    .. I just gave you two examples.. of those wonderful myths and stories.. There is so much to learn from them..
    .. Unfortunately, in our uncivilized times, people are more ignorant and we have planned and live our lives not in harmony with nature.. as older peoples around the globe used to live..
    Have a nice day.

  8. Lovely Joanny, photos beautiful, you tell the story well. Somewhere buried in one of my many blogs, I too, wrote about Persephone! Spring, my favorite season!

  9. Thank you very much for this beautiful story and beautiful photos.