Page last updated on: April 4th, 2021
Demeter and the Abduction of Persephone
The Birth of PersephoneOne of Demeter's children was Persephone, also called Kore, whom she created with ,Zeus, king of the gods.
Demeter did not know, however, that at the time of her birth Zeus had secretly promised Persephone to his brother Hades, the dark god of the underworld...
The Abduction of PersephoneOne day, when Persephone was still very young, she went to play with her friends and was discovered by Hades, who was immediately beguiled by her charms. Hades was just waiting for the right moment and when he saw Persephone picking flowers, he seized the opportunity, opened the earth and kidnapped her into his dark realm!
Persephone began to scream so loudly that her mother Demeter heard her agonized cry and went into the valley to see what was going on. She began to search carefully, but she couldn't find her beloved daughter anywhere. So she kept asking everyone she met along the way, but no one seemed to know anything about it...
Finally, Demeter decided to seek out Helios, the wise sun god, who happened to know the story, and asked him for advice. Helios was a kind god and felt compassion for the grieving mother, so he revealed the whole truth to Demeter.
Nine days passed without any change, which drove Demeter to despair. She could neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, and nothing blossomed on the earth, so that men and animals had no food.
The Return of PersephoneZeus disliked this situation and decided to send his messenger Hermes to the underworld to speak with Hades. Hades was unwilling to release Persephone, but after all, it was the king who was speaking to him, so he was obligated to obey. So he handed Persephone over to Hermes, who took her on his golden chariot and brought her back to her mother Demeter.
Demeter was delighted to see her daughter again and cried countless tears of joy for bringing fertility back to earth in this way. She hoped to keep her daughter with her forever, but during her stay with Hades, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds and was therefore chained to remain in the underworld for four months of the year.
This is how the seasons were created in the upper world. All the time Persephone was with Demeter, Demeter was so full of happiness that the sun was shining and everything was blooming. All the rest of the time when Persephone had to return to the underworld, Demeter was in sorrow and nothing could grow... that was the time when winter set in the world.