Friday, March 23, 2012

Demeter... the mother

OK, so the Goddess class has moved right along... but I'm lagging behind.  These archetypes are useful for me to ponder... and I think are bringing me full circle... but it's taking time.

Demeter is the mother in this story.  In the beginning... she's doing fine, with a daughter who is delighting in the world... picking flowers... gently and innocently exploring.  When Persephone's abducted (or otherwise disappears), Demeter is thrown into the depths of anguish.

She begins asking around... trying to find out what happened to Persephone.  Eventually, Hecate helps her... and they go to Helios together who tells them that Persephone is with Hades.  Demeter demands her daughter back from the Underworld... but a transformation has already occurred for Persephone... she has embraced her adulthood... become Queen of the Underworld... helping those passing over to find their way.

Demeter can't get Persephone back... can't recreate the old way... as the act is done... the innocence is lost... and Persephone has stepped into her womanhood.  There is no going back... even if Persephone comes back to the Middle World several months a year... it is not the same.

I've had a hard time with this.  As I'm currently parenting an almost 6-year-old and a 7 1/2-year-old... I think about parenting all the time... and I didn't really want to explore Demeter at all.  Now, I can honestly say that I've had about every experience with motherhood that there is.  I had a baby at 18 that I placed for adoption... and I had a miscarriage (or two) when I was finally ready for children and wanted them... so I know a thing or two about the loss of children.  I also know about mothering a Persephone that is young and innocent (I currently have two of them).  The thing I didn't know anything about... was mothering myself.

Now, parenting, truly nurturing myself, this is harder.  But I'm realizing that this is where women's real power comes from.  When we take care of ourselves we are mighty... we can do anything... and we can do it with vision.  Persephone personifies this for us, when she goes from picking flowers one afternoon to becoming the Queen of the Underworld.  While she undergoes a transformation, she keeps true to herself... becoming a helper to those passing over.  She doesn't become someone totally different.

And Demeter has to get over this, but without denying her feelings of grief.  What's done is done... and Demeter has to learn to relate to Persephone as Queen... otherwise she truly loses her daughter forever.  Demeter has a choice to make.  To speak her truth and move on... since things outside her control have changed... or to dwell in the devastation of Persephone changing.  The more Demeter is able to recognize her daughter for the elegant, mature, and caring woman that is emerging, the more Demeter gets to move forward.

So... this week (couple of weeks... actually) has been about gathering up my stuck Persephones in my past... getting Demeter up from her grieving to mother them... and having all of us move forward.  This is hard stuff... taking care of the Self... so much easier to worry about others... and so much less productive!

I'm getting there though... and really understanding how important self-care is.  It allows me to be more myself... to cut through my roles and day-to-day stuff... to really let me know myself.  I'm getting there...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Persephone ponderings...

Looks like I'm seeking again... or my addiction for taking classes has resurfaced since I finished my "healing training".  Anyway, I did SouLodge... and now I'm on to a Goddess e-class (by the fantastic Stephanie Anderson Ladd) on Persephone - Demeter - Hecate.

 The real pull for me was Hecate... as I swear she's been pulling at me for over a year.  I just haven't sat down to get the "facts straight" so-to-speak.

I made some prayer beads for Persephone since I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around her.  The beads tell her story.. at the bottom middle there is the goddess herself... in the garden of innocence... becoming darker... with bone beads interspersed... to the dark flower on the right... her coming of age in the Underworld.  I have never been sure how her story wove into an archetype... first she's abducted... then chooses (by eating the pomegranite) to remain with her husband in the Underworld... it seems to me she holds two archetypes.  In one, she is the innocent maiden... naive... full of fascination with the flowers that she is picking... when life changes.  She undergoes an initiation (in a way) into the Underworld... into a darkness... which she embraces and becomes queen.  She then has vast knowledge of the dark, and uses it to help those in need.

So, in some ways her story, then is about the fall of innocence, and embracing the Self that comes from gaining some inner knowledge.  But she represents both sides of the fall from innocence... as far as I can tell.  Her light aspect, being the maiden picking flowers, full of innocence (and lack of knowledge about how the world works).  She picks flowers as the first major arcana card, the Fool, in a way... and after her abduction by Hades she becomes the Priestess, knowledgeable in the ways of the world, and particularly the underworld.  Yes?

I guess the hard time I have is that she's not a static picture.  She is about transformation.  She balances innocence with wisdom, the maidenhood she spends with her mother and the independence she has as Queen of the Underworld... she is contrast.

I've seen this play out... I've pretty much lived Persephone's story in my own way.  I don't love looking over these old events... but they do keep coming up... and spring has its own correlation to my own story.  Not sure what to make of it... but I think I may have a longer walk with Persephone than just this week in the Goddess e-class.