The story of Persephone, the sweet daughter of goddess Demeter who was kidnapped by Hades and later became the Queen of the Underworld, is known all over the world. It is actually the way the ancient Greeks to explain the change of the seasons, the eternal cycle of the Nature’s death and rebirth. And it sets the stage perfectly for the intention of Six Seeds Coaching.
Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of harvest and fertility. She grew up to be a lovely girl attracting the attention of many gods. However, Demeter had an obsessive love for her only daughter and kept all men away from her.
The most persisting suitor was Hades, the god of the Underworld. He was a hard, middle-aged man, living in the dark, among the shadows of the dead. But his heart softened when he saw Persephone and was amazed by her youth, beauty, and aliveness. When he asked Demeter for Persephone’s hand in marriage, Demeter got furious and said there wasn’t the slightest chance for that to happen. Hades was heart-broken and decided to get Persephone no matter what.
One day, while the young girl was playing and picking flowers along with her friends in a valley, she beheld the most enchanting narcissus she had ever seen. As she stooped down to pick the flower, the earth beneath her feet suddenly cleaved open. Through the gap, Hades himself came out on his golden chariot with black horses. He grabbed the lovely maiden before she could scream for help and descended into his underworld kingdom as the gap in the earth closed behind them.
No one witnessed the abduction except for two gods on high. The whole incident had been witnessed by Zeus, father of the maiden and brother of the abductor, as well as by Helios, god of the Sun. Zeus decided to keep silent about the whole thing to prevent a fight with his brother. Helios wisely thought it better not to get involved in anything that didn’t concern him.
A distraught and heartbroken Demeter wandered the earth looking for her daughter until Hecate, goddess of wilderness and childbirth, advised her to seek for the help of Helios, the all-seeing Sun god, in order to find her daughter. Helios felt sorry for Demeter, who was crying and pleading him to help her. He then revealed that Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades. When she heard that, Demeter got angry and wanted to take revenge but Helios suggested that it was not such a bad thing for Persephone to be the wife of Hades and queen of the dead.
Demeter was furious at this insult and deeply believed that Hades, who after all had only dead people for company, was not the right husband for her sweet daughter. She also got angry at Zeus for not having revealed this to her. In her grief she decided to punish the gods by leaving her duties as the goddess of harvest and fertility. The earth began to dry up, harvests failed, plants lost their fruitfulness, animals were dying for lack of food, and famine spread to the whole earth, resulting in untold misery.
The cries of the people who were suffering reached Olympus and the divine ears of Zeus. The mighty god finally realized that if he didn’t do something about Demeter’s wrath, all humanity would disappear and there would be no one to worship the gods. He tried to find another solution to both calm Demeter and please Hades. He promised Demeter to restore Persephone to her if it could be proved that the maiden was being held against her will. Otherwise, Persephone belongs to her husband.
The crafty Hades learned this agreement and tricked his reluctant bride, who was crying all day and night from despair, to eat six seeds of the pomegranate fruit. This was the food of the Underworld and it was well known that if one ate of any food in the Underworld, you would never be able to leave. (Some legends speak to the innocence of Persephone and not knowing of this decree and ate of the pomegranate out of hunger. And others mention that she began to fall in love with Hades and wanted a way to return, knowing her mother would never allow it. Eating the seeds would give her a way to see her love again.)
All gathered to witness, as Zeus asked if Persephone had eaten anything while in the Underworld. She replied yes. Six pomegranate seeds. Angered, Demeter threatened that she would never again make the soil fertile and everyone on Earth would die. To put an end on this quarrel, Zeus suggested a compromise. Because she had eaten six pomegranate seeds, Persephone would spend six months with her husband in Hades and six months with her mother on Mt. Olympus. This alternative pleased none of the two opponents, nevertheless that had no other option but accept it.
Thus the lovely maiden Persephone became the rightful wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld. During the six months that Persephone spent in the Underworld, her mother would mourn and would not see to her duties, leaving the Earth to decline.
According to the ancient Greeks, these were the months of autumn and winter, when agriculture wanes and nothing grows. Whenever Persephone went to Olympus to live with her mother, Demeter would shine from happiness and the land would become fertile and fruitful again. These were the months of spring and summer. This story is the Greek’s way to explain the change of the seasons, the eternal cycle of the Nature’s death and rebirth.
Why Six Seeds Coaching…
I resonate with the story of Persephone’s journey in context to my coaching style. I see so many new age teachings and spiritual movements these days, saying all you have to do is be positive, use daily affirmations, and only speak loving words and you’ll be successful in life. That there is nothing to do but to be. And yes, where these teachings are highly important to direct us towards a life that is inspiring and beautiful, it is only half of the story.
The true healing resides in the shadows, in the places we fear to go. We fear them not because it is dangerous, but because we are ill-equipped in navigating those areas. These are the places we have shoved down all our hurts, our pains, and our broken hearts. We think that by seeing these old wounds we will be re-inviting them into our lives. Some believe shadow work is dark and evil. That it is an unnecessary practice because it’s inviting bad things into our lives. And that just isn’t so.
Here’s how it works: To survive the trauma and abuse as children we learned to push down our pain, to keep it out of sight to ensure it stays out of mind. We thought that by hiding them in the dark we could press on and forget about them. And it may have worked in the beginning.
But these wounds never heal on their own. They sit there in the darkness and fester. Trying to get our attention by repeating familiar experiences. Not to punish us or so that we can “learn our lesson,” but to ask for the healing we weren’t capable of giving it when it originally happened. This is why we seem to date the same toxic personality, or get jobs with the same abusive boss. We are not making mistakes over and over again. We are manifesting situations to give us another opportunity to heal what is wounded. And we will keep repeating these patterns until they finally get get our attention and we give them the space to tell their story. It’s in the acknowledgment that they find peace and are finally released.
As humans, searching for wholeness, we must be willing to go into the deepest, darkest caverns within ourselves and discover what is unfinished. We must summon the courage to face what we have hidden from our whole lives. As we delve into the shadows and reveal what is wounded we are able to bring it to the surface, shine the light upon it, and heal what is undone. Once we understand the moment our wounds were formed, we are able to find peace and release them once and for all. The true nutrition resides in the depths of our subconscious, and in that there we find ourselves.
So for me, in the story of Persephone, it takes both, the light and the dark, to know self. We must reign in the shadows. And equally celebrate our triumphs in life. This is how we heal. This is where we remember wholeness.
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