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Greek Gods and Goddesses

Demeter and Persephone

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Demeter, lady of growing things

Demeter and Persephone
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The Story of Demeter and Persephone
Demeter, mistress of planting and harvesting, had a daughter with Zeus, who she called Persephone.  Persephone loved flowers and spent her days out in her gardens.  One day, she went out farther than she usually went, to paint some of her flowers.  When she got there, she noticed a new plant that she had never seen before.  She decided that it was ugly, so she started to pull the weed up.  But when it came out, a huge hole formed where it had been.  Out of the hole came a chariot led by horses.  Persephone was so surprised, she barely left up a struggle when she was lifted into the chariot and taken down to the underworld.
 
When Demeter had found out that her daughter was missing, she hurried off to see Zeus.  He however, was not very helpful and told her that he could not help her.  Demeter then decided to take matters into her own hands, and so she made all living things wilt and die.  No green areas were to be found anywhere.  When Zeus had seen what had happened, he called Demeter back and gave her a compromise.  He told her that she could bring Persephone back home if, and only if, she had not eaten anything in the land of Tartarus.  This said, Hermes was sent to bring the message to Hades, who had taken Persephone as his wife. 
 
Hades had tried everything possible to make Persephone happy.  But she would not eat.  One day, she was sitting out in her garden when a little boy came up to her.  He offered her a pomegranate, which happened to be her favorite food.  Persephone was very hungry because she had not eaten since she had been brought down to the underworld, and since she believed that no one would see her, she ate 6 seeds.  It was then that Hermes came to her and they left the underworld.  But by the time they had reached her home, Hades had informed Zeus that she had eaten 6 seeds while in the underworld.  Zeus decided that she would have to go back 6 months every year, and spend time with Hades. 
 
This is why we have winter and summer.  For Demeter refuses to let things grow while her daughter is taken from her to live in the underworld for six months each year.
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Demeter's Genealogy
Mother to Persephone
 
Persephone's Genealogy
Daughter to Zeus
Daughter to Demeter
Wife to Hades

Created by Angie Briese