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Ways of Worship: Persephone

Hellenic Witch/Wiccan Worship of Persephone

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter and the wife of Hades. Her lore is possibly one of the most controversial and well known in Greek mythology. However, no matter the story she is known to be even stricter and far less forgiving than her husband. She is often the one to convince hand out strict and harsh sentences for the dead if they have done something wrong that puts them in The Fields of Punishment.

The original lore is that Persephone was out in a field one day with Demeter. A hole opened up in the Earth and out of it came Hades on his chariot. He grabbed Persephone and took her back with him to The Underworld as Demeter raced to her child's aid. She was too late however as the Earth had already closed around them. 

Heartbroken Demeter went to Zeus demanding Hades give back their daughter. Demeter's heartbreak was so strong all the plants died and the Earth got cold. Zeus called to his brother but Hades refused, stating Persephone was now his wife. Demeter refused to allow anything to grow as long as her child was gone from her and the world began to starve. Zeus decreed that Demeter could have Persephone back as long as she hadn't had any food pass her lips while in the Underworld. 

Meanwhile in the Underworld Persephone had been sitting in the castle garden. While there a little spirit boy offers her a pomegranate which she eats a few seeds from before she knows of the decree. Once she does she is stuck in the Underworld. Demeter, hearing of the news, goes back to Zeus and demands something else be done. In order to stop the fighting and bring the people food again, Zeus decided that Persephone will spend half the year in the Underworld with Hades and half the year on Earth with her mother. Everyone agreed to this, however, Demeter is still heartbroken to see her daughter leave her and mourns her loss while she is gone. This is why in the winter everything dies and sleeps, the Earth loses its color, and the cold is harsh. 

The other lore is not much different than this except it says that Persephone willingly went with Hades. This has merit as an ancient Greek tradition was to, with the father's permission, kidnap the bride to be. Some believe this is what was actually going on. Other translations are that she took his hand and boarded the chariot of her own free will to be his bride. 

Altar, Offerings, and Symbols

  • General: Spring, flower crown, torch, reeds, waterfalls, rivers and springs, flowers
  • Animals: Bat, ram, parrots and all talking birds, and monkeys
  • Plants: Pomegranate, narcissus, willow tree, lily, ivy, lily of the valley, oriental lily, maidenhair fern, daisy, and lavender
  • Perfumes/Scents: Floral scents, especially narcissus and hyacinth, almond, vanilla, and bergamot, pomegranate
  • Gems and Metals: Crystal, quartz, agate, black onyx, pink tourmaline, sapphire, obsidian, mercury, coral, agate, and jasper
  • Colors: Green, black, light blue, purple, magenta, indigo, and yellow

Prayers

Some things to consider praying for help with are dying/sick plants, mercy, protection for plants, forgiveness, help with abusive/controlling parents, help to find true love and healthy relationships, becoming your true self, and self-acceptance.

Invocation of Persephone
Come, Persephone,
With your paint-pots and brushes:
Stipple the fields with flowers,
Dot the branches with bright blossoms,
Streak the Spring sky with pale pastels.
You are the one who paints the eyes on the pansies,
And the lines on the lilies so the bees can find their food,
And the blushes on the rosebuds.
Without you,
The bearded iris would have no smile
And the black-eyed susan would be blind.
Come, Persephone:
The world has rested too long
Under Winter’s snowy cloak.
Come bring your brushes and bright colors
And dress us in the shades of Spring again.
We invoke you, gracious maiden of freedom and beauty:
Join us now.

Prayer to Persephone
Persephone, Goddess of Spring, hear my prayer.
I call upon you for your wisdom and insight.
I am faced with a difficult decision and I need your guidance.
Please help me know the way and help me make a decision that is most in alignment with my true path.
Thank you, Persephone.