The leaves are falling, and the birds are chirping about, harvesting food for the chilly months ahead. The smell of spices are in the air, and pumpkins are being carved. These are all some of the feelings of fall. With these feelings are the goddesses associated with autumn, or as some people may call Harvest. Demeter is one of the many goddesses with autumn ties. She is the Greek goddess of the harvesting times and has a very nurturing spirit. She has been known to be very giving towards mankind, granting them crops to plow, and grain to save. With that mothering soul of hers she had her daughter Persephone, who is known as the queen of the underworld. Most of you may know the story of Persephone and Demeter, but for those who don’t, it all started with Hades. Hades couldn’t help but fall in love with Persephone. So one day when Persephone was picking a flower the earth opened up, and up rose Hades strong arm, and pulled Persephone right down to the underworld with him. Having heard Persephone’s scream, Demeter ran to the meadow where Persephone was. Persephone was nowhere to be found. Demeter instantly lit her torch and set out on her search to look everywhere she could possibly think of. Finally, Demeter encountered Helio, the sun goddess, who told her that Persephone was now Hades wife and queen of the underworld. So stricken with grief, Demeter withdrew her divine duties as being provider of the land and sentenced the earth to be bare until her daughter was brought back to her. The earth saw a winter that was never ending. Zeus, Demeter’s husband, finally opened his eyes to all the starvation that was going on in the world and eventually gave in to Demeter and sent Hermes to tell Hades to bring Persephone back. Persephone was delighted to here of her mothers longing, and agreed to return. But just as she was about to leave, Hades offered her a pomegranate. Persephone knew to never eat anything in the underworld, but she was so hungry from not eating for so long she decided to eat just the seeds. Demeter was not at all happy upon hearing that Persephone ate the seeds, and told her that she would have to return to the underworld for four months out of each year. Otherwise, Demeter was very content and resumed her goddess duties.
CONNECTING WITH DEMETER
Because Demeter is such a loving, motherly goddess, I’m sure she would love to connect with anyone who has a kind heart. You could try writing a letter of things you wish to cultivate in the coming harvest, and burying it in the ground. The Divine Goddesses are always willing to listen and defiantly want to help. Demeter would be happy to help you harvest your desires this fall and remind you of your mothering flame as well.
SYMBOLS AND THINGS TO PUT ON YOUR ALTER: torch, acorns, bread, copper, emerald, cinnamon, sunflowers, myrrh, patchouli, any household pets, cranes, and lizards