On 20 March, the Autumnal Equinox in all its bright beauty burst through the cracks in my curtains. The day was bright and I had decided to do a ritual in honour of Persephone and Demeter. I had previously worked with Persephone during Samhain and while doing work for the Witches of the Blackberry Field Oracle (A group of women who work with Dark Goddesses, and the teachings of the Delphic oracle- unfortunately as I’m not in Canada I cannot participate as fully in the group as I’d like. I owe my debts to Sorceress Slaying Crow O’ Hagen for indirectly giving me confidence to start my own system and providing me and The Sisters with wonderful information and resources. However even though I was led down that path by Hekate, it was only a short stop on the way. I feel my work with Anubis and Hekate has taken me down a different path in which Dark Goddess work is complimented by working with Psychopompic energies, “low” magic and Egyptian flavoured ceremonies.)
Anyway I stray… Working with Persephone and Demeter together during this Mabon is poignant for me, as in my own life, there are changes. I am learning to step out on my own, collecting things for my future home, my mother is moving away soon, and I will have to step up, and be independent of her, coming into my own the way in which Persephone learnt to be content and independent as the Queen of The Dead. Hekate, Persephone’s friend, will of course be by my side too, as my friend, my confidant. I will be saying goodbye to my family, some of my pets and the life I once knew, and I’ll have to embrace adult life, with one deaf little dog, a lizard and my boyfriend. Of course this is not an easy transition. Persephone, was said to initially be very unhappy, she kicked and screamed (whether raped or not), and Demeter grieved and raged.
The land became barren, humans died under her wrath, and Zeus had to make a plan (of course he was the one who led to Persephone’s “abduction”.) Funny how all this is happening in the midst of the change from the harsh summer to the crisp autumn, from Pisces to Aries, in every ending is a beginning, in every beginning an end.
Whilst all this was going on, we know little of Persephone’s experience with Hades in the Underworld. She surely changed, a trauma of being taken away, or even moving away into independence willingly creates change. This initiation into her role as Queen of Shades, is cemented when she finally eats the pomegranate seeds and is forced to return to the underworld every year for a third of the time (according to the Homeric hymns). She learns contentment in the land of the dead, she finds happiness when she returns to her Mother.
This lesson is important on many levels, for me it resonates due to a similar ordeal, for others and at other times in my life it may mean something about sacrifice, and working through grief, understanding rebirth through the Mysteries, and finding personal power. It could mean descending into darkness to come out changed, it could mean working with the dead, as we pay our dues to Charon. For each of us, the meaning, the symbolism, the resonance may be different.
I gave my offerings of sweet wine and grain, apple and rose petals and honoured the transition. I had found the 93 Adorations of Persephone by Melittabenu and I wrote my own for Demeter. As a non-Hellenic practitioner my UPG may lead to different understandings of Demeter than others, I feel this best captured the way she has appeared to me. Our god/desses are not one-dimensional and if these adorations I’ve been looking over for the last week have anything to teach me/us, it is that.
I wrote my adorations using Goddess Aloud (Goddess Worship), The Homeric Hymns (Classical translated text), and Moon Magick (Neo-Wiccan Perspective).
I also wrote it outside, sitting under an apple tree, with crisp autumn leaves by my feet.
- I adore thee, Mother on Earth
- I adore thee, Lady of the corn
- I adore thee, Lady of Sorrow
- I adore thee, Measurer of Time
- I adore thee, of the blue robe
- I adore thee, Carrier of wheat
- I adore thee, Crowned with corn
- I adore thee, Giver of bread
- I adore thee, Protectress of women
- I adore thee, Who presides over the fertile earth
- I adore thee, of maternal love
- I adore thee, Lady of fruitfulness
- I adore thee, Giver of agriculture
- I adore thee, Queen of Law
- I adore thee, Whose feet nourish the soil
- I adore thee, Mourner of Persephone
- I adore thee, Raging one
- I adore thee, Who makes the earth barren
- I adore thee, Who brings cold
- I adore thee, Lady of the equal night
- I adore thee, Who roams the land
- I adore thee, Queen of the harvest
- I adore thee, Mother of Dionysus
- I adore thee, Who changes everything she touches
- I adore thee, Spinner of the wheel*
- I adore thee, Who searches high and low
- I adore thee, Confider in Hekate
- I adore thee, Draped in black
- I adore thee, Who knows despair
- I adore thee, Desolate land
- I adore thee, Fertile seed
- I adore thee, Initiator of the Eleusinian Mysteries
- I adore thee, Who ripens the meadows
- I adore thee, Blighter of fields
- I adore thee, Autumn leaf
- I adore thee, of the golden hair
- I adore thee, Giver of the splendid gifts
- I adore thee, Bringer of seasons
- I adore thee, Daughter of Rhea
- I adore thee, Who becomes the crone
- I adore thee, Whose voice is crushed leaves
- I adore thee, Queen among goddesses
- I adore thee, Nurse of babes
- I adore thee, Veiled in mourning
- I adore thee, of the fragrant breast
- I adore thee, of immortal hands
- I adore thee, Who buries deep in fire
- I adore thee, Who brings bitter pain
- I adore thee, Who makes us weep
- I adore thee, Who imparts immortality
- I adore thee, Who takes it away
- I adore thee, Revered one
- I adore thee, Source of joy
- I adore thee, Beautiful mother
- I adore thee, Who destroys
- I adore thee, Terrible wrath
- I adore thee, Who celebrates Persephone’s return
- I adore thee, Bringer of darkness
- I adore thee, Who ripens the vine
- I adore thee, Lady of the golden butterfly**
- I adore thee, Who turns the grass
- I adore thee, Who brings rebirth
- I adore thee, Whose seeds fall to the soil
- I adore thee, Who sows the land
- I adore thee, Who reaps the bounty
- I adore thee, Great Mother Demeter.
I included the song “Persephone” by Kellianna in my ritual, as well as the “We all come from the goddess” song (the extended version), which contains the lines “Corn and Grain, Corn and Grain, All that dies is born again”
I believe working with Demeter and Persephone during the Equinox was a good move on my part as it solidified a relationship with the two goddesses, as well as helped me welcome in the season. Samhain’s focus will be different from my usual reliance on Demeter’s grief, and Persephone’s descent. I also feel the resonance of what happened in the myth and what is happening in my life now made the ritual all the more poignant and beautiful for me.
Anubis is almost always on my Altar, he opens the way, and guards the circle. Hekate is Persephones handmaiden and integral to the myth.
Also featured on my altar, are a candle each for Demeter and Persephone, Hekate, Apple, rose petals, wheat offerings, cards from my Druid Plant Oracle, Bolline/Sickle, Wine, three candles within a coffin, symbolising the descent and a spicy incense I associate with Autumn
* In relation to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year.
** I had seen this beautiful large Yellow butterfly fluttering about as I looked up for inspiration:-).
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