Goddess Archetype – Persephone

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Persephone, also known as Proserpina, is one of the vulnerable goddesses, because she was so intertwined in relationships – first with her mother Demeter, then later with Hades.  First, before her transformation into Queen of the Underworld, she was the Kore or Maiden. As Kore, she was a slender, beautiful young goddess, who is associated with fertility symbols such as the pomegranate, grain, corn, and narcissus, the flower that lured her.

As Queen of the Underworld, Persephone is a mature goddess who reigns over dead souls and guides the living who visit the underworld. She was the prime figure in the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which the Greeks experienced the return or renewal of life after death through Persephone’s annual return from the underworld.

The next moment she was being borne away from the radiance of earth in springtime to the world of the dead by the king who rules it ~ Edith Hamilton

Persephone was the only daughter of Demeter, a powerful and possessive mother, and Zeus. She was a carefree girl who gathered flowers and played with her friends. Then Hades, also known as Pluto, God of the Underworld, appeared out of the earth in his chariot, taking her by force and carrying her to the underworld to be his unwilling bride.

Her emotionally possessive mother Demeter was beyond herself with fury and despair, and forced Zeus to bring her daughter back from the underworld. Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger god, to bring Persephone back. Before she left, Hades gave her some pomegranate seeds to eat, which basically cursed her to spend one third of each year in the underworld with Hades.

She later became Queen of the Underworld, and would receive and guide souls who descended to those realms.

Passivity & Dependence

As an archetype, Persephone predisposes a woman to be highly receptive and more passive, rather than active. This archetype also allows a woman to look eternally youthful, since she is eternally the maiden. She has a very strong connection to her mother, and is very receptive, as a mother’s daughter.

She doesn’t have an independent sense of self, and she is very much a good girl, who wants to please her mommy, and be protected and sheltered from the world. And, of course, Demeter the mother fosters her daughter’s dependence, to keep her close and live vicariously through her, for she sees her as an extension of herself.

The Kore: The Archetypal Maiden

The Kore represents the young girl who does not know who she is, and is as yet unaware of her desires and strengths. Some women remain a Kore their entire lives, not committing to anything, neither a relationship, nor an educational goal, or work, even though they may be in college or in a relationship.

The Kore’s internal attitude is like an eternal adolescent. She is indecisive about what she wants to be when she grows up; she is receptive, waiting for someone or something to transform her life. Her inner receptivity makes her very malleable and chameleon-like.

Anima Woman

The Anima Woman represents a man’s anima, or inner feminine, and  is ‘all things to all men’. She adapts herself to his wishes, makes herself beautiful in his eyes, charms him, pleases him. She is not sufficiently aware of herself to be able to give a picture of what her subjective life is like.

She can receive the projection a man’s unconscious image of woman (anima) and unconsciously conform to this image. She does the same with any significant people she is around; she will change herself to become what others want, because she has the proclivity to please others.

Child-Woman

Before her abduction, Persephone was a child-woman, full of innocence and natural sensuality, of which she was not aware. This archetype is quite popular in American culture, where people love the sex kitten to be innocent and unaware.

Queen of the Underworld

The Underworld represents the depths of the psyche, a place where memories and feelings have been buried. It is the personal unconscious where images, patterns, instincts, and feelings that are archetypal are shared by humanity.

Persephone as the Underworld Guide represents the ability to move back and forth between the ego-based reality of the ‘real’ world and the unconscious or archetypal reality of the psyche.

The Persesphone archetype helps a woman to meditate between the levels of consciousness, including those who have lost touch with reality and become lost in the unconscious. Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bella Jar is a description of this journey.

On the other hand, some Persephones can work as guides in a therapeutic environment; they have receptivity to the unconscious realm without having to be held captive there.

Persephone is the Kore, the Spring Maiden. Her energy is green, young, and vital, with the potential for new growth.

How To Cultivate Persephone

Persephone is highly receptive, so this receptivity is the quality to cultivate, especially for very focused, non-receptive Athena or Artemis women. These women have the masculine quality of focus and acting, rather than being femininely open, and receptive, and malleable, which Persephone is at times to a fault.

Hera women tend to be locked into their own expectations, and Demeter think they know best. They can be domineering. The Persephone woman is youthful, girlish, and has an energy that says, “Take care of me.” She is like a willow branch that bends and goes with the wind – very similar to the Homeopathic remedy of Pulsatilla.

As a child, she is a good girl, pleasing others, though she may be introverted and cautious. She can tend to be codependent with her mother, who is usually overly possessive of her and projects her own unlived life onto her.

Persephone procrastinates, and hopes to be rescued from her task. Work is never important to her, until she matures into the Queen of the Underworld, when she will enter a creative, psychological, or spiritual field, working as an artist, poet, therapist, psychic, actress, and so forth.

Psychological Issues

Marriage is something that often ‘happens to’ a Persephone woman. She gets abducted, as she was by Hades in the myth, when a man persuades her to say yes. She has a very receptive, traditionally feminine personality, and she usually defers to the stronger person around her. She may feel powerless and dependent on others who are more powerful. In later life, she may have the regal presence of a wise elder who knows the mysteries of life and death.

On the negative side, she may be easily dominated by others since she is so passive. She is the most formless of the goddesses, lacking ambition, drive and commitment. Her growth comes through learning commitment and follow-through.

She may also have a hard time with assertiveness, and never become angry, because she wants to be liked, and feels dependent on the generosity of others, whom she perceives as more powerful. She may also be narcissistic to an extreme, to be liked, always worrying about how she looks to others, or how she sounds.

Every girl should use what Mother Nature gave her before Father Time takes it away ~ Laurence J. Peter

She is susceptible to depression when she is dominated by people, since instead of becoming assertive, she bottles up and represses her feelings, instead of expressing them. And she internalizes her anger, blaming herself, feeling guilty and powerless. She may withdraw into the inner world of her imagination and inner self. She may spend hours on end in meditation, introspection, or inner creative work. However, she must be careful lest she slip into psychosis and become too disconnected from the outer world.

After Persephone emerged from the underworld, Hecate became her constant companion. Hecate is Goddess of the Dark Moon and the Crossroads, who rules over the realms of magic and sorcery. This is symbolic of the fact that Persephone has the constant connection to the underworld and another dimension.

Sexually, since Persephone is such a maiden and girl, she may be unresponsive, unless she connects to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. She also needs to stop seeing Hades as her captor and see him as Dionysus, for they are one and the same! Dionysus can invoke her passions and sensuality and make her a mature woman.

Ultimately, Persephone in her glory is the ecstatic priestess and goddess. She is naturally a medium and psychic, as a guide to the Underworld, or rather the “Otherworld.”

About The Author: Oceana is a certified Doctor of Homeopathy and a Certified Angel Therapy Practitioner®, a teacher, healer and highly accurate intuitive in Canada, who has founded her own system of readings. No matter where you are located, she can relay messages from your Angels, feel your emotional state, and provide you with homeopathic remedies and nutritional advice. She can virtually take any energy and transform it for a person's higher good. If you'd like the opportunity to reach your soul's highest potential, you can find Oceana at: PsychicAccess.com.

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