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.