Demeter was the goddess of the earth Eurip. The notion of her being the author of the earth's fertility was extended to that of fertility in general, and she accordingly was looked upon also as the goddess of marriage Serv. Her priestess also initiated young married people into the duties of their new situation. As the goddess of the earth she was like the other theoi chthonioi, a subterraneous divinity, who worked in the regions inaccessible to the rays of Helios. As agriculture is the basis of a well-regulated social condition, Demeter is represented also as the friend of peace and as a law-giving goddess.
The mythus of Demeter and her daughter embodies the idea, that the productive powers of the earth or nature rest or are concealed during the winter season; the goddess Demeter and Persephone, also called Cora, are here identified then rules in the depth of the earth mournful, but striving upwards to the all-animating light. Persephone, who has eaten of the pomegranate, is the fructified flower that returns in spring, dwells in the region of light during a portion of the year, and nourishes men and animals with her fruits.
Later philosophical writers, and perhaps the mysteries also, referred the disappearance and return of Persephone to the burial of the body of man and the immortality of his soul.
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Demeter was worshipped in Crete, Delos, Argolis, Attica, th western coast of Asia, Sicily and Italy, and her worship consisted in a great measure in orgic mysteries. Among the many festivals celebrated in her honour, the Thesmophoria and Eleusinia were the principal ones. The sacrifices offered to her consisted of pigs, the symbol of fertility, bulls, cows, honey-cakes, and fruits.
Her temples were called Megara, and were often built in groves in the neighbourhood of towns.
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Many of her surnames are descriptive of the character of the goddess. She was often represented in works of art, though scarcely one entire statue of her is preserved. Her representations appear to have been brought to ideal perfection by Praxiteles. Her image resembled that of Hera, in its maternal character, but had a softer expression, and her eyes were less widely opened.
She was represented sometimes in a sitting attitude, sometimes walking, and sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by horses or dragons, but always in full attire. Around her head she wore a garland of corn-ears or a simple ribband, and in her hand she held a sceptre, cornears or a poppy, sometimes also a torch and the mystic basket. She appears most frequently on gems and vases. The Romans received the worship of Demeter, to whom they applied the name of Ceres, from Sicily. Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 1 ff trans.
- Persephone Greek Goddess of Spring.
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Evelyn-White Greek epic C7th or 6th B. Right blessed is he among men on earth whom they freely love: soon they do send Ploutos Plutus, Wealth as guest to his great house, Ploutos Wealth who gives wealth to mortal men. And now, queen of the land of sweet Eleusis and sea-girt Paros and rocky Antron, queen potnia , giver of good gifts aglaodoros , bringer of seasons horephoros , lady anassa Deo, be gracious, you and your daughter all beauteous Persephone, and for my song grant me heart-cheering substance. Homeric Hymn 13 to Demeter : "I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess, of her and of her daughter lovely Persephone.
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Hail, goddess! Keep this city safe, and govern my song. Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter trans. Taylor Greek hymns C3rd B. O universal mother, Deo famed, august, the source of wealth, and various named: great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joyest in peace; to nourish corn is thine. Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing are thy constant care. Lovely delightful queen, by all desired, who dwellest in Eleusis' holy vales retired. Nurse of all mortals, who benignant mind first ploughing oxen to the yoke confined; and gave to men what nature's wants require, with plenteous means of bliss, which all desire.
In verdure flourishing, in glory bright, assessor of great Bromios [Dionysos] bearing light: rejoicing in the reapers' sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find. Prolific, venerable, nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Koure [Persephone]. A car with Drakones Dragon-Serpents yoked 'tis thine to guide, and, orgies singing, round thy throne to ride.
Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine, and fruits of lovely green. Bright Goddess, come, with summer's rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling peace; come with fair concord and imperial health, and join with these a needful store of wealth. Basileia Antaia Cerulean Queen [Demeter], of celebrated name, from whom both men and Gods immortal came; who widely wandering once, oppressed with grief, in Eleusis' valleys foundest relief, discovering Persephone thy daughter pure in dread Aides Hades , dismal and obscure. A sacred youth while through the earth you stray, Dysaulos [Iakkhos Iacchus ], attending leader of the way; the holy marriage Khthonios Zeus [Haides] relating, while oppressed with grief you rove.
Come, much invoked, and to these rites inclined, thy mystic suppliant bless, with favouring mind. Bacchylides, Fragment 3 trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric V Scolia, Fragment trans. Campbell Greek lyric B. Tend the city well. Callimachus, Hymn 6 to Demeter trans.
A human's rambling.
Mair Greek poet C3rd B. Lady of much bounty, of many measures of corn. Hesperos the Evening Star from the clouds marks the time of its coming: Hesperos, who alone persuaded Demeter to drink, what time she pursued the unknown tracks of her stolen daughter [Persephone]. Lady, how were thy feet able to carry thee unto the West, unto the Melanoi Black Men and where the golden apples are?
Thou didst not drink nor dist thou eat during that time nor didst thou wash. Thrice didst thou cross Akheloios with his silver eddies, and as often didst thou pass over each of the ever-flowing rivers, and thrice didst thou seat thee on the ground beside the fountain Kallikhoros Callichorus [i. Nay, nay, let us not speak of that which brought the tear to Deo!
Better to tell how she gave cities pleasing ordinances; better to tell how she was the first to cut straw and holy sheaves of corn-ears and put in oxen to tread them, what time Triptolemos was taught the good craft. O Demeter, never may that man be my friend who is hateful to thee, nor ever may he share party-wall with me; ill neighbours I abhor.
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And as unsandalled and with hair unbound we walk the city, so shall we have foot and head unharmed for ever. And as the van-bearers bear vans [i. Far as the City Chambers let the uninitiated follow, but the initiated even unto the very shrine of the goddess--as many as are under sixty years. But show that are heavy and she that stretches her hand to Eileithyia [goddess of childbirth] and she that is in pain--sufficient it is that they go so far as their knees are able. The waxing and waning of which followed by the inevitable lunar return, reminds us of birth, death and the stages between.
These cycles of female existence will be interpreted using the moon as connective imagery. A series of murals and related illustrations will be produced. Although the murals will be predominantly 2D, with some use of metallic paint, plaster and wire will be added to provide a 3D perspective. The figures will be life size.
Associated poetry and song, and written research will be part of my study. Hecate bargains with the God of the Underworld, who had stolen Persephone to live with him in Hades. Persephone is returned to an anguished Demeter for half of each year.
Hecate, a shadowy figure, crouches behind the waning moon.