In most stories, Persephone is abducted. No one wants to go to the Underworld, after all. She is a young woman, not yet wise to the ways the world may use her. She falls prey to the wiles of Hades, that crafty master of deceit. Youth betrayed. Innocence defiled.
In these stories Persephone’s mother Demeter, distraught and raving, seeks her daughter. Driven by fear and devotion, she makes a bargain with Hades – Persephone will live above ground for half the year so that the earth may flourish. Hades will claim her again for the other half. In her absence there will be only cold and darkness. It is the best Demeter can do.
In other stories, though, Persephone goes with Hades willingly. She wants to know what he knows. She enters the darkness and eats the pomegranate seeds. Demeter allows it all to happen, knowing that to shield her daughter is to deny her a story.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.
Demeter knows that pathos has no place in the Hero’s Journey. Persephone chooses to experience the Underworld. Demeter has the courage not to argue, not to pity or protect her. When Persephone returns, Demeter will receive her back with love.
All that is to come. For today it is the Autumnal Equinox. Day is in balance with night, light with dark. There is just time to draw breath. Winter is coming. The owl calls.
excerpt from Eavan Boland, “The Pomegranate”
Owl grabbed from markhamblin.com