Sunday, September 21, 2014

Goddess Series: Persephone / Kore

The Persephone / Kore necklace was made to reflect the dual nature of this goddess.  The light green beads represent Kore in the role of life bringer.  The darker blue-black beads hearken to her time as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and the Dead.  The focal is the pomegranate and the six seeds this goddess ate, which sealed her fate and transformed her into the goddess of Life, Death, and Rebirth.

Persephone, originally named Kore, was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus.  She was young and vibrant, and was considered a goddess of agriculture (much like her mother).  When she was abducted by Hades, Demeter became enraged and withdrew from the land, allowing the plants and animals to die off and refusing to allow new life to grow.  The world was plunged into a lasting Winter.  In order to bring life back to the world, Zeus promised to find and return Kore to her mother with only one condition: Kore could only return if she did not partake of in the offerings of Hade's realm.

During her entrapment in the Underworld, Kore was heartbroken and homesick.  Though she did not know of the condition Zeus set upon her return, she refused all food, gifts, and attentions from Hades.  When he learned of her immenent depature, he made one last attempt to keep her below.  Hades, disguised as an old woman, offered Kore a pomegranate.  The jewel colored seeds tempted her, and she accepted six seeds.  As she ate them, their blood-like juice stained her lips, and thus sealed her fate.  Zeus ruled, as a compromise, that Kore must live in the Underworld for one month per seed she ate.  As such, she would spend half of the year in the world above as Kore, daughter of Demeter, and half of the year as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, and consort to Hades.  From this, she became the symbol of Life and Death, Destruction and Rebirth.

This goddess in an intricate character, based off beliefs and stories that may even predate the one I mentioned above.  As both the bringer of life and the Queen of the Dead, she carries with her the primordial duality that plagued mankind.  What is life?  What is death?  She also symbolized the duality of femininity: the fresh innocence of girlhood and the wisdom/strength of womanhood.  The death of the girl upon becoming the woman.  The pomegranate could easily represent menses and the end of innocence (and much like the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the story of Adam and Eve).

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