Saturday, April 30, 2011

Persephone in the Yard

Every spring, the branches of certain shrubs and bushes turn a vibrant purple during the time just before new shoots appear. Sometimes whole hillsides of trees present a blanket of deep, vegetative purple.

That display is Persephone returning from Hades, the Lord (and place) of the Underworld, to be reunited with her mother Demeter. It is the return of spring, leading to new growth and eventually harvest, at which time Persephone must return to Hades. It is one myth of the origin of the seasons.

This is only one of the Greek myths involving Persephone/Kore/Proserpine. Like most myths, even from one geographical area, there are differences, adaptations, and blendings of traditions, as one age or religion gives way to another. The artistic license of many singers/poets creates another layer of details.

Add to that all the people, places, cultures, religions, and storytelling traditions from "everywhen" and everywhere, and a simple desire to know which was first and original quickly becomes insurmountable. As I learned more, it all happily became richer, deeper, more complex, and entirely more interesting.

Still, I have my personal favourites, and every spring when that wonderful purple signals Persephone's yearly return from the underworld, I know this is mine for the origin of seasons.


Judie said...

When I was young, I loved mythology. Sadly, I have forgotten much of it. Thanks for this post, Chris. It was a pleasure to read.

ChrisJ said...


I know what you mean; I don't read as much of it as I used to.

Ciss B said...

I've seen such bushes in spring here too. I look for the aura around both bushes and trees here as a sign for the coming season.

This spring I played hide-and-seek with Persephone. I went to Ireland and London on March 31st with my granddaughter for 10 days and experienced the full blown season...only to return to snow in the Midwest.

Thankfully Persephone's shown her face again and we are enjoying that lovely season here.

ChrisJ said...


I'm glad she's back; it's the pits when we think spring has arrived, only to get a blast of winter.

Judie said...

Chris, I have a post about Cassandra on my blog.