Libation Offered to a Vegetation Goddess

Libation Offered to a Vegetation Goddess

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Oshun, also spelled Osun, an orisha (deity) of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. Oshun is commonly called the river orisha, or goddess, in the Yoruba religion and is typically associated with water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. She is considered one of the most powerful of all orishas, and, like other gods, she possesses human attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.

Several myths exist concerning Oshun and her significance as a Yoruba deity. In most Yoruba stories, Oshun is generally depicted as the protector, saviour, or nurturer of humanity. Oshun has also been described as the maintainer of spiritual balance or mother of sweet things. One myth highlights Oshun as the central figure in the creation of human beings. The Yoruba people believe that the orishas were sent by Olodumare, who is considered the Supreme God, to populate the Earth. Oshun, being one of the original 17 sent to Earth, was the only female deity. The other gods, all male, failed at their attempts to revive and populate the Earth. When they realized they were unable to complete the task given to them by Olodumare, they tried to persuade Oshun to help them. Oshun agreed and brought forth her sweet and powerful waters, bringing life back to Earth and humanity and other species into existence. As that Yoruba myth suggests, humanity would not exist if Oshun, the goddess of life and fertility, had not acted.

Other myths hold that Oshun is one of the wives of Shango, the god of thunder. She is commonly described as the favourite of all orishas by Olodumare, because of her beauty and sensuality. In yet another Yoruba story, Oshun is depicted as the goddess who not only gives life but also takes it. When angered, Oshun may flood Earth or destroy crops by withholding her waters, thereby causing massive droughts. In one myth, Oshun is incensed by her devotees and sends down rain, nearly flooding the world. Yet once she has been appeased, Oshun saves Earth from destruction by calling back the waters.

Tradition holds that the first interaction between Oshun and human beings took place in Osogbo ( Oshogbo), Nigeria. That city is considered sacred, and it is believed to be fiercely protected by the water goddess. Oshun is said to have given the people who went to her river permission to build the city and promised to provide for them, protect them, and grant their prayers if they worshipped her dutifully, making the obligatory offerings, prayers, and other rituals. Out of that first encounter between the people of Osogbo and Oshun evolved the Oshun festival, which is still practiced today by the Yoruba people. Every year Oshun devotees and other people of the Yoruba religious tradition go to the Oshun River to pay homage, make sacrifice, and ask for a variety of things such as wealth, children, and better health. Although other orishas are honoured during the festival, the climax of the festival is centred on Oshun. Osogbo is also home to the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, a forest that contains several shrines and artwork in honour of Oshun it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.

Oshun is especially important to women in West African cultures. Those who want children and who may suffer from infertility usually call on Oshun for assistance, and she is associated with the concepts of femininity and the power of women. More widely, she is sought after in times of drought or severe poverty. With the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and dispersion of Yoruba culture, Oshun is also an important figure outside Africa, where she is known by other names, such as Oxum in Brazil and Ochún in Cuba.


In the Mesopotamian tradition, during the journey of Inanna or Ishtar to the underworld, the earth becomes sterile, and neither humans nor animals are able to procreate. After confronting Ereshkigal, her sister and ruler of the underworld, Inanna is killed, but an emissary from the gods administers potions to restore her to life. She is allowed to return to the upper world only if someone else will take her place. Her husband, the vegetation god Dumuzi, agrees to spend half the year in the underworld, during which time vegetation dies off. His return brings regrowth. [4]

In ancient Egyptian religion, the cultural achievements of Osiris among the peoples of the earth provokes the envy of his brother Set, who kills and dismembers him. Osiris's wife Isis makes a journey to gather his fourteen scattered body parts. In some versions, she buries each part where she finds it, causing the desert to put forth vegetation. In other versions, she reassembles his body and resurrects him, and he then becomes the ruler of the afterlife. [4]

In European folklore, a woman's fertility has an influence on farming. [5] Vegetation goddess figurines from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture have a lozenge and dot pattern that represents a sown field and female fertility. [6] The death of vegetation is also associated with the travel to the underworld of Ningishzida. [7]

In Christianity Edit

In the parables of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Sower, "the sower soweth the word" where the seed is the word of God. [8] The parables of the mustard seed and the growing seed explain the Kingdom of God where growth is due to God, not man, [9] and follows its own timetable. [10]

In the Gospel of John 12:24, [11] the death and resurrection of Jesus is compared to a kernel that falls in the ground and dies, and then produces many seeds. [12] In many Christian traditions, Easter sunrise service or Resurrection Service is held in God's Acre where the bodies of the dead are "sown as seed." The sowing of seeds also refers to scattering of people away from their ancestral homeland. [13]

Honoring the Winter Solstice

Light the first candle, and say:

Light the second candle, and say:

Light the remaining candles on the altar at this time, and if you have decorative holiday lighting, turn it on. Return to your place at the altar, and face the holiday tree or Yule log. Raise your arms up to the tree, and say:

Light your incense, and if you'd like to make an offering of food, bread, or something else, do so now. As the smoke of the incense rises to the night sky, meditate on what changes you'd like to see before the next Sabbat. Reflect upon the time of the season. Although winter is here, life lies dormant beneath the soil. What new things will you bring to fruition for yourself when the planting season returns? How will you change yourself, and maintain your spirit throughout the cold months? When you are ready, either end the rite, or continue on with additional rituals, such as Cakes and Ale or Drawing Down the Moon.

If you don't have a ritual robe, you can take a cleansing bath before the rite, and then wear a simple cotton or other organic material. Another option would be to make a robe as a Yule gift to yourself!


However, Skadi becomes welcomed by the gods of Asgard when she marries one of them. Her father, the giant Thiazi, kidnapped the goddess Idun, the beautiful goddess of youth, and, therefore, the gods’ apples of immortality. Odin killed him for doing so and rescued Idun. However, Skadi was furious and determined to avenge the death of her father. She took her weapons and stormed the citadel of Asgard claiming for either revenge or compensation—she gave them the choice of a harmful or benign consequence. The gods, scared of the ferociousness of Skadi, decided they’d rather give her gold. Skadi didn’t want gold, since she was already rich from her father and grandfather’s pillaging. Odin then offered her a husband from among the Asgardian gods, giving her the status of goddess. She agreed, but Odin said she could only look at the gods’ shoes to choose her husband. Skadi agreed, hoping that she’d pick handsome Baldur, whom she had a crush on, but she chose ugly Njord, the god of the sea, because he had the best shoes.

Njord and Skadi’s marriage didn’t last long—only half a month. Njord couldn’t stand the cold and isolated mountains and Skadi couldn’t stand the brightness and noise of the coastline. So, they got a divorce. There are different myths as with whom Skadi ended up afterwards. Some say she got together with Ullr, the god of winter and archery. But, some say she married Odin and gave birth to many sons with him.



[5.68.1] To Cronus and Rhea, we are told, were born Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Of these, they say, Hestia discovered how to build houses, and because of this benefaction of hers practically all men have established her shrine in every home, according her honours and sacrifices. And Demeter, since the corn still grew wild together with the other plants and was still unknown to men, was the first to gather it in, to devise how to prepare and preserve it, and to instruct mankind how to sow it.

[5.68.2] Now she had discovered the corn before she gave birth to her daughter Persephonê, but after the birth of her daughter and the rape of her by Pluton, she burned all the fruit of the corn, both because of her anger at Zeus and because of her grief over her daughter. After she had found Persephonê, however, she became reconciled with Zeus and gave Triptolemus the corn to sow, instructing him both to share the gift with men everywhere and to teach them everything concerned with the labour of sowing.

[5.68.3] And some men say that it was she also who introduced laws, by obedience to which men have become accustomed to deal justly one with another, and that mankind has called this goddess Thesmophoros 30 after the laws which she gave them. And since Demeter has been responsible for the greatest blessings to mankind, she has been accorded to most notable honours and sacrifices, and magnificent feasts and festivals as well, not only by the Greeks, but also by almost all barbarians who have partaken of this kind of food.

[5.69.1] There is dispute about the discovery of the fruit of corn on the part of many peoples, who claim that they were the first among whom the goddess was seen and to whom she made known both the nature and use of the corn. The Egyptians, for example, say that Demeter and Isis are the same, and that she was the first to bring the seed to Egypt, since the river Nile waters the fields at the proper time and that land enjoys the most temperate seasons.

[5.69.2] Also the Athenians, though they assert that the discovery of this fruit took place in their country, are nevertheless witnesses to its having been brought to Attica from some other region for the place which originally received this gift they call Eleusis, 31 from the fact that the seed of the corn came from others and was conveyed to them.

[5.69.3] But the inhabitants of Sicily, dwelling as they do on an island which is sacred to Demeter and Corê, say that it is reasonable to believe that the gift of which we are speaking was made to them first, since the land they cultivate is the one the goddess holds most dear for it would be strange indeed, they maintain, for the goddess to take for her own, so to speak, a land which is the most fertile known and yet to give it, the last of all, a share of her benefaction, as though it were nothing to her, especially since she has her dwelling there, all men agreeing that the Rape of Corê took place on this island. Moreover, this land is the best adapted for these fruits as the poet also says: 32

But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e&rsquoen untilled, both wheat and barley.

This, then, is what the myths have to say about Demeter.


[5.69.4] As for the rest of the gods who were born to Cronus and Rhea, the Cretans say that Poseidon was the first to concern himself with sea-faring and to fit out fleets, Cronus having given him the lordship in such matters and this is why the tradition has been passed along to succeeding generations that he controls whatever is done on the sea, and why mariners honour him by means of sacrifices. Men further bestow upon Poseidon the distinction of having been the first to tame horses and to introduce the knowledge of horsemanship (hippikê), because of which he is called &ldquoHippius.&rdquo

[5.69.5] And of Hades it is said that he laid down the rules which are concerned with burials and funerals and the honours which are paid to the dead, no concern having been given to the dead before this time and this is why tradition tells us that Hades is lord of the dead, since there were assigned to him in ancient times the first offices in such matters and the concern for them.


[5.70.1] Regarding the birth of Zeus and the manner in which he came to be king, there is no agreement. Some say that he succeeded to the kingship after Cronus passed from among men into the company of the gods, not by overcoming his father with violence, but in the manner prescribed by custom and justly, having been judged worthy of that honour. But others recount a myth which runs as follows: There was delivered to Cronus an oracle regarding the birth of Zeus which stated that the son who would be born to him would wrest the kingship from him by force.

[5.70.2] Consequently Cronus time and again did away with the children whom he begot but Rhea, grieved as she was, and yet lacking the power to change her husband&rsquos purpose, when she had given birth to Zeus, concealed him in Idê, as it is called, and, without the knowledge of Cronus, entrusted the rearing of him to the Curetes who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Mount Idê. The Curetes bore him off to a certain cave where they gave him over to the Nymphs, with the command that they should minister to his every need.

[5.70.3] And the Nymphs nurtured the child on a mixture of honey and milk and gave him upbringing at the udder of the goat which was named Amaltheia. And many evidences o the birth and upbringing of this god remain to this day on the island.

[5.70.4] For instance, when he was being carried away, while still an infant, by the Curetes, they say that the umbilical cord (omphalos) fell from him near the river known as Triton, and that this spot has been made sacred and has been called Omphalus after that incident, while in like manner the plain about it is known as Omphaleium. And on Mount Idê, where the god was nurtured, both the cave in which he spent his days has been made sacred to him, and the meadows round about it, which lie upon the ridges of the mountain., have in like manner been consecrated to him.

[5.70.5] But the most astonishing of all that which the myth relates has to do with the bees, and we should not omit to mention it: The god, they say, wishing to preserve an immortal memorial of his close association with the bees, changed the colour of them, making it like copper with the gleam of gold, and since the region lay at a very great altitude, where fierce winds blew about it and heavy snows fell, he made the bees insensible to such things and unaffected by them, since they must range over the most wintry stretches.

[5.70.6] To the goat (aeg-) which suckled him Zeus also accorded certain honours, and in particular took from it a surname, being called Aegiochus. 33 And when he had attained to manhood he founded a city in Dicta, where indeed the myth states that he was born in later times this city was abandoned, but some stone blocks of its foundations are still preserved.


[5.71.1] Now Zeus, the myth goes on to say, surpassed all others in manly spirit and wisdom and justice and in the other virtues one and all, and, as a consequence, when he took over the kingly power from Cronus, he conferred benefactions of the greatest number and importance upon the life of mankind. He was the first of all, for instance, to lay down rules regarding acts of injustice and to teach men to deal justly one with another, to refrain from deeds of violence, and to settle their differences by appeals to men and to courts of justice. In short, he contributed in abundance to the practices which are concerned with obedience to law and with peace, prevailing upon good men by persuasion and intimidating evil men by threat of punishment and by their fear.


[5.71.2] He also visited practically the entire inhabited earth, putting to death robbers and impious men and introducing equality and democracy and it was in this connection, they say, that he slew the Giants and their followers, Mylinus in Crete and Typhon in Phrygia.

[5.71.3] Before the battle against the Giants in Crete, we are told, Zeus sacrificed a bull to Helius and to Uranus and to Gê and in connection with each of the rites there was revealed to him what was the will of the gods in the affair, the omens indicating the victory of the gods and a defection to them of the enemy. And the outcome of the war accorded with the omens for Musaeus deserted to him from the enemy, for which he was accorded peculiar honours, and all who opposed them were cut down by the gods.


[5.71.4] Zeus also had other wars against the Giants, we are told, in Macedonia near Pallenê and in Italy on the plain which of old was named Phlegraean (&ldquofiery&rdquo) after the region about it which had been burned, 34 but which in later times men called Cumaean.

[5.71.5] Now the Giants were punished by Zeus because they had treated the rest of mankind in a lawless fashion and, confiding in their bodily superiority and strength, had enslaved their neighbours, and because they were also disobeying the rules of justice which he was laying down and were raising up war against those whom mankind considered to be gods because of the benefactions they were conferring upon men generally.

[5.71.6] Zeus, then, we are told, not only totally eradicated the impious and evil-doers from among mankind, but he also distributed honours as they were merited among the noblest of the gods and heroes and men. And because of the magnitude of his benefactions and his superior power all men accorded to him as with one voice both the everlasting kingship which he possesses and his dwelling upon Mount Olympus.


[5.72.1] And it was ordained, the myth continues, that sacrifices should be offered to Zeus surpassing those offered to all the other gods, and that, after he passed from earth into the heavens, a just belief should spring up in the souls of all who had received his benefactions that he is lord of all the phenomena of heaven, that is, both of rain and of thunder and of lightning and of everything else of that nature.

[5.72.2] It is for this reason also that names have been given him: Zên, 35 because in the opinion of mankind he is the cause of life (zên), bringing as he does the fruits to maturity by tempering the atmosphere Father, because of the concern and goodwill he manifests toward all mankind, as well as because he is considered to be the first cause of the race of men Most High and King, because of the preëminence of his rule Good Counsellor and All-wise, because of the sagacity he manifests in the giving of wise counsel.


[5.72.3] Athena, the myths relate, was likewise begotten of Zeus in Crete, at the sources of the river Triton, this being the reason why she has been given the name Tritogeneia. 36 And there stands, even to this day, at these sources a temple which is sacred to this goddess, at the spot where the myth relates that her birth took place.


[5.72.4] Men say also that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Cnosians, at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which tradition tells it was originally performed.


[5.72.5] To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphroditê and the Graces, Eileithyia and her helper Artemis, the Hours, as they are called, Eunomia and Dikê and Eirenê, and Athena and the Muses, and the gods Hephaestus and Ares and Apollo, and Hermes and Dionysus and Heracles.

[5.73.1] To each one of the deities we have named, the myth goes on to relate, Zeus imparted the knowledge of the things which he had discovered and was perfecting, and likewise assigned to them the honour of their discovery, wishing in this way to endow them with immortal fame among all mankind.


[5.73.2] To Aphroditê was entrusted the youth of maidens, the years in which they are expected to marry, and the supervision of such matters as are observed even yet in connection with weddings, together with the sacrifices and drink-offerings which men perform to this goddess. Nevertheless, all men make their first sacrifices to Zeus the Perfecter and Hera the Perfectress, because they are the originators and discoverers of all things, as we have stated above.

[5.73.3] To the Graces was given the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze, and the further privilege of being the first to bestow benefactions and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours 37 such men as have performed good acts.


[5.73.4] Eileithyia received care of expectant mothers and the alleviation of the travail of childbirth and for this reason women when they are in perils of this nature call first of all upon this goddess.

[5.73.5] And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos. 38

[5.73.6] And as for the Hours, as they are called, to each of them, according as her name indicates, was given the ordering and adornment of life, so as to serve to the greatest advantage of mankind for there is nothing which is better able to build a life of felicity than obedience to law (Eunomia) and justice (Dikê) and peace (Eirenê).


[5.73.7] To Athena men ascribe the gift to mankind of the domestication and cultivation of the olive-tree, as well as the preparation of its fruit for before the birth of this goddess this kind of tree was found only along with the other wild woody growths, and this goddess is the source of the care and experience which men even to this day devote to these trees.

[5.73.8] Furthermore, Athena introduced among mankind the making of clothing and carpentry and many of the devices which are used in the other arts and she also was the discoverer of the making of pipes and of the music which they produce and, in a word, of many works of cunning device, from which she derives her name of Worker.


[5.74.1] To the Muses, we are further told, it was given by their father Zeus to discover the letters and to combine words in the way which is designated poetry. And in reply to those who say that the Syrians are the discoverers of the letters, the Phoenicians having learned them from the Syrians and then passed them on to the Greeks, and that these Phoenicians are those who sailed to Europe together with Cadmus and this is the reason why the Greeks call the letters &ldquoPhoenician,&rdquo men tell us, on the other hand, that the Phoenicians were not the first to make this discovery, but that they did no more than to change the forms of the letters, whereupon the majority of mankind made use of the way of writing them as the Phoenicians devised it, and so the letters received the designation we have mentioned above. 39


[5.74.2] Hephaestus, we are told, was the discoverer of every manner of working iron and copper and gold and silver and everything else which requires fire for working, and he also discovered all the other uses to be made of fire and turned them over both to the workers in the crafts and to all other men as well.

[5.74.3] Consequently the workmen who are skilled in these crafts offer up prayers and sacrifices to this god before all others, and both they and all mankind as well call the fire &ldquoHephaestus,&rdquo handing down in this way to eternal remembrance and honour the benefaction which was bestowed in the beginning upon man&rsquos social life.

[5.74.4] Ares, the myths record, was the first to make a suit of armour, to fit out soldiers with arms, and to introduce the battle&rsquos fury of contest, slaying himself those who were disobedient to the gods.


[5.74.5] And of Apollo men recount that he was the discoverer of the lyre and of the music which is got from it that he introduced the knowledge of healing, which is brought about through the faculty of prophecy, whereby it was the practice in ancient times that the sick were healed 40 and as the discoverer of the bow he taught the people of the land 41 all about the use of the bow, this being the reason why the art of archery is especially cultivated by the Cretans and the bow is called &ldquoCretan.&rdquo

[5.74.6] To Apollo and Coronis was born Asclepius, who learned from his father many matters which pertain to the healing art, and then went on to discover the art of surgery and the preparations of drugs and the strength to be found in roots, and, speaking generally, he introduced such advances into the healing art that he is honoured as if he were its source and founder.


[5.75.1] To Hermes men ascribe the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace, as they are used in wars, and negotiations and truces and also the herald&rsquos wand, as a token of such matters, which is customarily borne by those who are carrying on conversations touching affairs of this kind and who, by means of it, are accorded safe conduct by the enemy and this is the reason why he has been given the name &ldquoHermes Koinos&rdquo because the benefit is common (koinê) to both the parties when they exchange peace in time of war. 42

[5.75.2] They also say that he was the first to devise measures and weights and the profits to be gained through merchandising, and how also to appropriate the property of others all unknown to them. Tradition also says that he is the herald of the gods and their most trusted messenger, because of his ability to express clearly (hermêneuein) each command that has been given him and this is the reason why he has received the name he bears, not because he was the discoverer of words and of speech, as some men say, but because he has perfected, to a higher degree than all others, the art of the precise and clear statement of a message.

[5.75.3] He also introduced wrestling-schools and invented the lyre out of a tortoise-shell after the contest in skill between Apollo and Marsyas, in which ,we are told, Apollo was victorious and thereupon exacted an excessive punishment of his defeated adversary, but he afterwards repented of this and, tearing the strings from the lyre, for a time had nothing to do with its music. 43


[5.75.4] As for Dionysus, the myths state that he discovered the vine and its cultivation, and also how to make wine and to store away many of the autumn fruits and thus to provide mankind with the use of them as food over a long time. This god was born in Crete, men say, of Zeus and Persephonê, and Orpheus has handed down the tradition in the initiatory rites that he was torn in pieces by the Titans. And the fact is that there have been several who bore the name Dionysus, regarding whom we have given a detailed account at greater length in connection with the more appropriate period of time. 44

[5.74.5] The Cretans, however, undertake to advance evidences that the god was born in their country, stating that he formed two islands near Crete in the Twin Gulfs, as they are called, and called them after himself Dionysiadae, a thing which he has done, they say, nowhere else in the inhabited earth.


[5.76.1] Of Heracles the myths relate that he was sprung from Zeus many years before that Heracles who was born of Alcmenê. As for this son of Zeus, tradition has not given us the name of his mother, but only states that he far excelled all others in vigour of body, and that he visited the inhabited earth, inflicting punishment upon the unjust and destroying the wild beasts which were making the land uninhabitable for men everywhere he won their freedom, while remaining himself unconquered and unwounded, and because of his good deeds he attained to immortal honour at the hands of mankind.

[5.76.2] The Heracles who was born of Alcmenê was very much later, and, since he emulated the plan of life of the ancient Heracles, for the same reasons he attained to immortality, and, as time went on, he was though by men to be the same as the other Heracles because both bore the same name, and the deeds of the earlier Heracles were transferred to the later one, the majority of men being ignorant of the actual facts. 45 And it is generally agreed that the most renowned deeds and honours which belong to the older god were concerned with Egypt, and that these, together with a city which he founded, are still known in that country.


[5.76.3] Britomartis, who is also called Dictynna, the myths relate, was born at Caeno in Crete of Zeus and Carmê, the daughter of Eubulus who was the son of Demeter she invented the nets (dictya) which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Dictynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Dictynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess and the Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honour of this goddess.

[5.76.4] But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Dictynna because she fled into some fishermen&rsquos nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth for it is not a probably story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods, nor is it right to ascribe such an impious deed to Minos, who tradition unanimously declares avowed just principles and strove to attain a manner of life which was approved by men.


[5.77.1] Plutus, we are told, was born in Cretan Tripolus to Demeter and Iasion, and there is a double account of his origin. For some men say that the earth, when it was sowed once by Iasion and given proper cultivation, brought forth such an abundance of fruits that those who saw this bestowed a special name upon the abundance of fruits when they appear and called it plutus (wealth) consequently it has become traditional among later generations to say that men who have acquired more than they actually need have plutus.

[5.77.2] But there are some who recount the myth that a son was born to Demeter and Iasion whom they named Plutus, and that he was the first to introduce diligence into the life of man and the acquisition and safeguarding of property, all men up to that time having been neglectful of amassing and guarding diligently any store of property.


[5.77.3] Such, then, are the myths which the Cretans recount of the gods who they claim were born in their land. They also assert that the honours accorded to the gods and their sacrifices and the initiatory rites observed in connection with the mysteries were handed down from Crete to the rest of men, and to support this they advance the following most weighty argument, as they conceive it: The initiatory rite which is celebrated by the Athenians in Eleusis, the most famous, one may venture, of them all, and that of Samothrace, and the one practised in Thrace among the Cicones, whence Orpheus came who introduced them &ndash these are all handed down in the form of a mystery, 46 whereas at Cnosus in Crete it has been the custom from ancient times that these initiatory rites should be handed down to all openly, and what is handed down among other peoples as not to be divulged, this the Cretans conceal from no one who may wish to inform himself upon such matters.

[5.77.4] Indeed, the majority of the gods, the Cretans say, had their beginning in Crete and set out from there to visit many regions of the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the races of men and distributing among each of them the advantage which resulted from the discoveries they had made. Demeter, for example, crossed over into Attica and then removed from there to Sicily and afterwards to Egypt and in these lands her choicest gift was that of the fruit of the corn and instructions in the sowing of it, whereupon she received great honours at the hands of those whom she had benefited.

[5.77.5] Likewise Aphroditê made her seat in Sicily in the region of Eryx, among the islands near Cythera and in Paphos in Cyprus, and in Asia in Syria and because of the manifestations of the goddess in their country and her extended sojourn among the inhabitants of the lands appropriated her to themselves, calling her, as the case might be, Erycinian Aphroditê, and Cytherian, and Paphian, and Syrian. 47

[5.77.6] And in the same manner Apollo revealed himself for the longest time in Delos and Lycia 48 and Delphi, and Artemis in Ephesus and the Pontus and Persis and Crete

[5.77.7] and the consequence has been that, either from the names of these regions or as a result of the deeds which they performed in each of them, Apollo has been called Delian and Lycian and Pythian, and Artemis has been called Ephesian and Cretan and Tauropolian and Persian, although both of them were born in Crete.

[5.77.8] And this goddess is held in special honour among the Persians, 49 and the barbarians hold mysteries which are performed among other peoples even down to this day in honour of the Persian Artemis. And similar myths are also recounted by the Cretans regarding other gods, but to draw up an account of them would be a long task for us, and it would not be easily grasped by our readers.


[5.78.1] Many generations after the birth of the gods, the Cretans go on to say, not a few heroes were to be found in Crete, the most renowned of whom were Minos and Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. These men, their myth states, were born of Zeus and Europê, the daughter of Agenor, who, men say, was brought across to Crete upon the back of a bull by the design of the gods.

[5.78.2] Now Minos, by virtue of his being the eldest, became king of the island, and he founded on it not a few cities, the most renowned of which were the three, Cnosus in those parts of the island which look toward Asia, Phaestus on the seashore to the south, and Cydonia in the regions to the west facing the Peloponnesus.

[5.78.3] And Minos established not a few laws for the Cretans, claiming that he had received them from his father Zeus when conversing with him in a certain cave. Furthermore, he came to possess a great naval power, and he subdued the majority of the islands and was the first man among the Greeks to be master of the sea.

[5.78.4] And after he had gained great renown for his manly spirit and justice, he ended his life in Sicily in the course of his campaign against Cocalus, the details of which we have recounted in connection with our account of Daedalus, because of whom the campaign was made. 50


[5.79.1] Of Rhadamanthys the Cretans say that of all men he rendered the most just decisions and inflicted inexorable punishment upon robbers and impious men and all other malefactors. He came also to possess no small number of islands and a large part of the sea coast of Asia, all men delivering themselves into his hands of their free will because of his justice. Upon Erythrus, one of his sons, Rhadamanthys bestowed the kingship over the city which was named after him Erythrae, and to Oenopion, the son of Minos&rsquo daughter Ariadnê, he gave Chios, we are told, although some writers of myths state that Oenopion was a son of Dionysus and learned from his father the art of making wine.

[5.79.2] And to each one of his other generals, the Cretans say, he made a present of an island or a city Lemnos to Thoas, Cyrnus to Enyeus, Peparethos to Staphylus, Maroneia to Euanthes, Paros to Alcaeus, Delos to Anion, and to Andreus the island which was named after him Andros. Moreover, because of his very great justice, the myth has sprung up that he was appointed to be judge in Hades, where his decisions separate the good from the wicked. And the same honour has also been attained by Minos, because he ruled wholly in accordance with law and paid greatest heed to justice.


[5.79.3] The third brother, Sarpedon, we are told, crossed over into Asia with an army and subdued the regions about Lycia. Euandrus, his son, succeeded him in the kingship in Lycia, and marrying Deïdameia, the daughter of Bellerophone, he begat that Sarpedon who took part in the expedition against Troy, 51 although some writers have called him a son of Zeus.


[5.79.4] Minos&rsquo sons, they say, were Deucalion and Molus, and to Deucalion was born Idomeneus and to Molus was born Meriones. These two joined with Agamemnon in the expedition against Ilium with ninety ships, and when they had returned in safety to their fatherland they died and were accorded a notable burial and immortal honours. And the Cretans point out their tomb at Cnosus, which bears the following inscription:

Behold Idomeneus the Cnosian&rsquos tomb, and by his side am I, Meriones, the son of Molus.

These two the Cretans hold in special honour as heroes of renown, offering up sacrifices to them and calling upon them to come to their aid in the perils which arise in war.


[5.80.1] But now that we have examined these matters it remains for us to discuss the peoples who have become intermixed with the Cretans. That the first inhabitants of the island were known as Eteocretans and that they are considered to have sprung from the soil itself, we have stated before 52 and many generations after them Pelasgians, who were in movement by reason of their continuous expeditions and migrations, arrived at Crete and made their home in a part of the island.

[5.80.2] The third people to cross over to the island, we are told, were Dorians, under the leadership of Tectamus 53 the son of Dorus and the account states that the larger number of these Dorians was gathered from the regions about Olympus, but that a part of them consisted of Achaeans from Laconia, since Dorus had fixed the base of his expedition in the region about Cape Malea. And a fourth people to come to Crete and to become intermixed with the Cretans, we are told, was a heterogeneous collection of barbarians who in the course of time adopted the language of the native Greeks.

[5.80.3] But after these events Minos and Rhadamanthys, when they had attained to power, gathered the peoples on the island into one union. And last of all, after the Return of the Heracleidae, 54 Argives and Lacedaemonians sent forth colonies which they established on certain other islands and likewise took possession of Crete, and on these islands they colonized certain cities with regard to these cities, however, we shall give a detailed account in connection with the period of time to which they belong.

[5.80.4] And since the greatest number of writers who have written about Crete disagree among themselves, there should be no occasion for surprise if what we report should not agree with every one of them we have, indeed, followed as our authorities those who give the more probably account and are the most trustworthy, in some matters depending upon Epimenides who as written about the gods, in other upon Dosiades, Sosicrates, and Laosthenidas. 55


[5.81.1] Now that we have discussed the subject of Crete in sufficient length, we shall undertake at this point to speak about Lesbos. This island has been inhabited in ancient times by many peoples, since it has been the scene of many migrations. The first people to seize it, while it was still uninhabited, was the Pelasgians, and in the following manner:

[5.81.2] Xanthus, the son of Triopas, who was king of the Pelasgians of Argos, seized a portion of Lycia, and, making his home there, at the outset he became king over the Pelasgians who had accompanied him but later he crossed over to Lesbos, which was uninhabited, and divided the land among the folk, and he named the island, which had formerly been called Issa, Pelasgia after the people who had settled it.


[5.81.3] And seven generations later, after the flood of Deucalion had taken place and much of mankind had perished, it came to pass that Lesbos was also laid desolate by the deluge of waters. And after these events Macareus came to the island, and, recognizing the beauty of the land, he made his home in it.

[5.81.4] This Macareus was the son of Crinacus, the son of Zeus, as Hesiod and certain other poets state, and was a native of Olenus in what was then called Ias, but is now called Achaïa. The folk with him had been gathered from here and there, some being Ionians and the rest those who had streamed to him from every sort of people.

[5.81.5] Now at first Macareus made his home in Lesbos, but later, as his power kept steadily increasing because of the fertility of the island and also of his own fairness and sense of justice, he won for himself the neighbouring islands and portioned out the land which was uninhabited.

[5.81.6] And it was during this time that Lesbos, the son of Lapithes, the son of Aeolus, the son of Hippotes, in obedience to an oracle of Pytho, sailed with colonists to the island we are discussing, and, marrying Methyma, the daughter of Macareus, he made his home there with her and when he became a man of renown, he named the island Lesbos after himself and called the folk Lesbians.

[5.81.7] And there was born to Macareus, in addition to other daughters, Mytilenê and Methymna, from whom the cities in the island got their names. Moreover, Macareus, essaying to bring under his control the neighbouring islands, dispatched a colony to Chios first of all, entrusting the leadership of the colony to one of his own sons

[5.81.8] and after this he dispatched another son, Cydrolaüs by name, to Samos, where he settled, and after portioning out the island in allotments to the colonists he became king over it. The third island he settled was Cos, and he appointed Neandrus to be its king and then he dispatched Leucippus, together with a large body of colonists, to Rhodes, and the inhabitants of Rhodes received them gladly, because there was a lack of men among them, and they dwelt together as one people on the island.

[5.82.1] The mainland opposite the islands, we find, had suffered great and terrible misfortunes, in those times, because of the floods. Thus, since the fruits were destroyed over a long period by reason of the deluge, there was a dearth of the necessities of life and a pestilence prevailed among the cities because of the corruption of the air.

[5.82.2] The islands, on the other hand, since they were exposed to the breezes and supplied the inhabitants with wholesome air, and since they also enjoyed good crops, were filled with greater and greater abundance, and they quickly made the inhabitants object of envy. Consequently they have been give the name Islands of the Blessed, the abundance they enjoy of good things constituting the reason for the epithet.

[5.82.3] But there are some who say that they were given the name Islands of the Blessed (macarioi) after Macareus, since his sons were the rulers over them. And, speaking generally, the islands we have mentioned have enjoyed a felicity far surpassing that of their neighbours, not only in ancient times but also in our own age

[5.82.4] for being as they are the finest all in richness of soil, excellence of location, and mildness of climate, it is with good reason that they are called, what in truth they are, &ldquoblessed.&rdquo As for Macareus himself, while he was king of Lesbos he issued a law which contributed much to the common good, and he called the law the &ldquoLion,&rdquo giving it this name after the strength and courage of that beast.


[5.83.1] When a considerable time had elapsed after the settlement of Lesbos, the island known as Tenedos came to be inhabited in somewhat the following manner. Tennes was a son of Cycnus, who had been king of Colonê in the Troad, and was a man who had gained renown because of his high achievements.

[5.83.2] Gathering together colonists and using as his base the mainland opposite to it, he seized an uninhabited island called Leucophrys this island he portioned out in allotments among his followers, and he founded a city on it which he named Tenedos after himself.

[5.83.3] And since he governed uprightly and conferred many benefactions upon the inhabitants, during his lifetime he was in high favour, and upon his death he was granted immortal honours for they built for him a sacred precinct and honoured him with sacrifices as though he were a god, and these sacrifices they have continued to perform down to modern times.

[5.83.4] But we must not omit to mention what the myths of the Tenedians have to tell about Tennes, the founder of the city. Cycnus his father, they say, giving credence to the unjust slanders of his wife, put his son Tennes in a chest and cast it into the sea the chest was borne along by the waves and brought to shore on Tenedos, and since Tennes had been saved alive in this astonishing fashion by the providence of some one of the gods, he became king of the island, and becoming distinguished by reason of the justice he displayed and his other virtues, he was granted immortal honours. But it had happened, when his step-mother was slandering him, that a certain flute player had borne false witness against him, and so the Tenedians passed a law that no flute player should ever enter his sacred precinct.

[5.83.5] And when Tennes was slain by Achilles in the course of the Trojan War, on the occasion when the Greeks sacked Tenedos, the Tenedians passed a law that no man should ever pronounce the name of Achilles in the sacred precinct of the founder of their city. Such, then, is the account which the myths give regarding Tenedos and its ancient inhabitants.


[5.84.1] Since we have set forth the facts concerning the most notable islands, we shall now give an account of the smaller ones. While in ancient times the Cyclades were still uninhabited, Minos, the son of Zeus and Europê, who was king of Crete and possessed great forces both land and naval, was master of the sea and sent forth from Crete many colonies, and he settled the greater number of the Cyclades, portioning the islands out in allotments among the folk, and he seized no small part of the coast of Asia. 56

[5.84.2] And this circumstance explains why harbours on the islands as well as on the coast of Asia have the same designation as those of Crete, being called &ldquoMinoan.&rdquo The power of Minos advanced to great heights and having his brother Rhadamanthys as co-ruler, he envied him because of his fame for righteousness, and wishing to get Rhadamanthys out of the way he sent him off to the farthest parts of his dominion.

[5.84.3] Rhadamanthys went to the islands which lie off Ionia and Caria, spending his time upon them, and caused Erythrus to found the city which bears his name 57 in Asia, while he established Oenopion, the son of Minos&rsquo daughter Ariadnê, as lord of Chios.

[5.84.4] Now these events took place before the Trojan War and after Troy was taken the Carians steadily increased their power and became masters of he sea and taking possession of the Cyclades, some of the islands they appropriated to themselves, expelling the Cretans who had their homes on them, but in some islands they settled jointly with the Cretans who had been the first to dwell there. And at a later time, when the power of the Greeks increased, the major number of the Cyclades came to be inhabited by them, and the Carians, who were non-Greeks, were driven out of them. But of these matters we shall give a detailed account in connection with the appropriate period of time.

30. Law-giver.
31. Place of Advent.
32. Odyssey, 9. 109 f.
33. &ldquoAegis-bearing,&rdquo a common epithet of Zeus, from aegis (&ldquogoat-skin&rdquo).
34. Cp. Book 4. 21. 5 f.
35. Cp. Book 3. 61. 6.
36. Another reason for this name is adduced in Book 1. 12. 8 cp. also 3. 70. 2.
37. The same word as &ldquoGraces&rdquo above.
38. Child-rearer.
39. On the &ldquoPhoenician&rdquo letters cp. Book 3. 67. 1.
40. A reference to the practice of incubation the sick would sleep in temples in the hope that the god would reveal to them in dreams the cure for their maladies. Cp. Book 1. 25. 3.


African American Wiccan Society, 2013. Oshun. [Online]
Available at:

Ellis, A. B., 1894. Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa. [Online]
Available at:

The Reunion Black Family, 2011. Oshun The Goddess Of Fertility,Luxury And Love.. [Online]
Available here.

UNESCO, 2015. Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. [Online]
Available at:

Uwechia, J., 2009. Oshun the African Goddess of Beauty, Love, Prosperity, Order, and Fertility. [Online]
Available here.

Wu Mingren (‘Dhwty’) has a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History and Archaeology. Although his primary interest is in the ancient civilizations of the Near East, he is also interested in other geographical regions, as well as other time periods. Read More



Homeric Hymn 13 to Demeter (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess, of her and of her daughter lovely Persephone."


Orphic Hymn 29 to Persephone (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Hymn to Phersephone. Daughter of Zeus, Persephone divine, come, blessed queen, and to these rites incline: only-befotten, Plouton's [Haides'] honoured wife, O venerable Goddess, source of life: 'tis thine in earth's profundities to dwell, fast by the wide and dismal gates of hell. Zeus' holy offspring, of a beauteous mien, Praxidike (Avenging-Goddess), subterranean queen. The Eumenides' [Erinyes'] source, fair-haired, whose frame proceeds from Zeus' ineffable and secret seeds. Mother of Eubouleos [Dionysos-Zagreos], sonorous, divine, and many-formed, the parent of the vine. Associate of the Horai (Seasons), essence bright, all-ruling virgin, bearing heavenly light. With fruits abounding, of a bounteous mind, horned, and alone desired by those of mortal kind. O vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight : whose holy form in budding fruits we view, earth's vigorous offspring of a various hue : espoused in autumn, life and death alone to wretched mortals from thy power is known : for thine the task , according to thy will, life to produce, and all that lives to kill. Hear, blessed Goddess, send a rich increase of various fruits from earth, with lovely peace : send health with gentle hand, and crown my life with blest abundance, free from noisy strife last in extreme old age the prey of death, dismiss me willing to the realms beneath, to thy fair palace and the blissful plains where happy spirits dwell, and Plouton [Haides] reigns."


Stesichorus, Fragment 702 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) ( 6th B.C.) :
"I sing of Demeter and Kore (Core, the Maiden), wife of Klymenos (Clymenus, the Famous One)." [N.B. Kore and Klymenos are euphemistic titles for Persephone and Haides.]

Bacchylides, Fragment 3 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Sing of Demeter, ruler of corn-rich Sikelia (Sicily), and of the violet-garlanded Koure (Core) [Persephone]."

Greek Lyric V Scolia, Fragment 885 (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"I sing of the mother of Ploutos (Plutus, Wealth), Demeter Olympia, in the garland-wearing season, and of you, Persephone, child of Zeus: greetings, both! Tend the city well."


Persephone was the queen of the land of the dead. This section contains general references to this role. More specific aspects are detailed in the sections which follow.

Hesiod, Theogony 767 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"There, in front [of the ends of the earth], stand the echoing halls of the god of the lower-world, strong Haides, and of awful Persephone. A fearful hound [Kerberos (Cerberus)] guards the house in front . . . keeps watch and devours whomsoever he catches going out of the gates of strong Haides and awful Persephone."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 21 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Then let Ekho (Echo) speed to Persephone's dark-walled dwelling, to his [deceased] father Kleodemos bearing the glorious tidings."

Pindar, Isthmian Ode 8. 56 ff :
"For these Akhilleus' (Achilles') hand pointed the way down to Persephone's abode [i.e. he killed them]."

Sappho, Fragment 158D (from Palatine Anthology) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"She died before her marriage and was received by the dark chamber of Persephone."

Lasus, Fragment 702 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th B.C.) :
"Sing of Demeter and Kore (Core, the Maiden), wife of Klymenos (the Famous One)." [N.B. Kore and Klymenos are euphemistic titles for Persephone and Haides.]

Theognis, Fragment 1. 703 ff (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Persephone who impairs the mind of mortals and brings them forgetfulness. No one else has ever contrived this, once death's dark cloud has enveloped him and he has come to the shadowy place of the dead and passed the black gates which hold back the souls of the dead, for all their protestations."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 973 ff :
"No man, once the earth has covered him and he has gone down into the darkness, the home of Persephone, has the pleasure of listening to the lure or piper or of raising to his lips the gift of Dionysos [i.e. wine]."

Aesop, Fables 133 (from Chambry 133 & Babrius 75) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"The Incompetent Doctor . . . The patient said [to the incompetent doctor], 'They [the shades of Haides] are taking it easy, drinking the water of Lethe. But Persephone and the mighty god Plouton [Haides] were just now threatening terrible things against all the doctors, since they keep the sick people from dying. Every single doctor was denounced, and they were ready to put you at the top of the list. This scared me, so I immediately stepped forward and grasped their royal sceptres as I solemnly swore that this was simply a ridiculous accusation, since you are not really a doctor at all."

Plato, Cratylus 400d & 404b (trans. Fowler) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[Plato constructs philosophical etymologies for the names of the gods :]
Sokrates : Let us inquire what thought men had in giving them [the gods] their names . . . The first men who gave names [to the gods] were no ordinary persons, but high thinkers and great talkers . . . Pherephatta [Persephone]!--How many people fear this name, and also Apollon! I imagine it is because they do not know about correctness of names. You see they change the name to Phersephone and its aspect frightens them. But really the name indicates that the goddess is wisefor since things are in motion (pheromena), that which grasps (ephaptomenon) and touches (epaphôn) and is able to follow them is wisdom. Pherepapha, or something of that sort, would therefore be the correct name of the goddess, because she is wise and touches that which is in motion (epaphê tou pheromenou)--and this is the reason why Haides, who is wise, consorts with her, because she is wise--but people have altered her name, attaching more importance to euphony than to truth, and they call her Pherephatta."

Plato, Republic 427b (trans. Shorey) :
"The burial of the dead and the services we must render to the dwellers in the world beyond to keep them gracious." [N.B. "Dwellers in the world beyond" are the gods of the dead and the shades of men.]

Callimachus, Fragment 478 (from Etymologicum Florentine s.v. Klymenos) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Persephone] the spouse of Klymenos (the Famous One) [i.e. Haides], host of many (polyzeinos)."

Lycophron, Alexandra 44 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"She [Skylla] who feared not Leptynis [i.e. Persephone], goddess of the underworld." [N.B. Skylla was slain by Herakles but restored to life by her father Phorkys.]

Orphic Hymn 57 to Chthonian Hermes (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Hermes] who constant wanderest through the sacred seats where Haides' dread empress, Persephone, retreats to wretched souls the leader of the way, when fate decrees, to regions void of day . . . for Persephone, through Tartaros dark and wide, gave thee for ever flowing souls to guide."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 16 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Ethemea, of the race of Nymphae (Nymphs), who was stuck with the arrows of Diana [Artemis] when she ceased worshipping her. At last she was snatched away alive by Proserpina [Persephone] to the Land of the Dead."

Ovid, Heroides 21. 45 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[A maiden laments the death of her lover :] Ah me, at the very time of marriage cruel Persephone knocks at my door before her day!" [N.B. Here Persephone is the personification of death.]

Seneca, Hercules Furens 547 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Driven headlong to the depths, bold to tread ways irretraceable, dist thou see Sicilian Proserpina's [Persephone's] realms?"

Seneca, Hercules Furens 658 ff :
"All the world's holy powers, and thou [Haides] who rulest the all-holding realm, and thou [Prosperina-Persephone] whom, stolen from Enna, thy mother [Ceres-Demeter] sought in vain, may it be right, I pray, boldly to speak of powers hidden away and buried beneath the earth."

Seneca, Hercules Furens 1100 ff :
"Let the heavens hear his mighty groans, let the queen of the dark world [Proserpina-Persephone] hear, and fierce Cerberus, crouching in his lowest cave . . . let Chaos re-echo the outcries of his grief."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 10 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Upon the Stygian shores . . . not yet had the Eumenis [Erinys] met and purified him [the new dead ghost] with branch of yew, not had Proserpine [Persephone] marked him on the dusky door-post as admitted to the company of the dead."

Statius, Silvae 2. 1. 145 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Tis the seventh day [after death], and already those eyes are dull and cold, and Juno of the Underworld [Proserpina-Persephone] hath clasped him and seized in her hand the lock of hair."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 222 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"[Isis in the guise of Persephone speaks :] &lsquoI , whom you now behold, shine brightly in the darkness of Acheron and reign in the inner Stygian depths.&rsquo"

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 10. 25 ff :
"He [the corrupt physician] made a pretence of dispending the celebrated potion called by more learned people &lsquoThe Health Offering' (Salus Sacra), a drug necessary for easing gastric pains and dissolving bile but in its place he substituted another draught, &lsquoThe Death Offering&rsquo (Proserpina Sacra) [i.e. a draught of poison]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4. 152 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"I will pass even to Akheron the River of Pain of my own free will, and with rapture even amid the many lamentations of all-forgetting Lethe, I will tell the dead of my fate, to awaken pity and envy alike in merciless Persephoneia."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 12. 213 ff :
"[Dionysos transforms his dead friend Ampelos into a grape-vine :] &lsquoFor you Haides himself has become merciful, for you Persephone herself has changed her hard temper, and saved you alive in death for brother Bakkhos (Bacchus). You did not die . . . You are still alive, my boy, even if you died.&rsquo"

For MYTHS of Persephone as queen of the underworld see:
(1) The Rape of Persephone (Hades abducts her to the underworld)
(2) Persephone Favour: Sisyphus (allows return from the dead)
(3) Persephone Favour: Orpheus (allows wife to return from the dead)
(4) Persephone Favour: Alcestis (returns her to the living)
(5) Persephone Favour: Heracles (quest in the underworld)
(6) Persephone Favour: Psyche (quest in the underworld)
(7) Persephone & the Creation of Man (men return to her in death)
See ALSO other related sections on this page.
MORE information on the underworld see the REALM OF HAIDES


The Mysteries of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone promised initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 1 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"[After the return of Persephone from the underworld :] Rich-crowned Demeter . . . straightway made fruit to spring up from the rich lands, so that the whole wide earth was laden with leaves and flowers. Then she went, and to the princes [of Eleusis] who deal justice, Triptolemos and Diokles, the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpos and Keleus (Celeus), leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her Mysteries, to Triptolemos and Polyxeinos and Diokles also,--awful Mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries but he who is uninitiate and who has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead [i.e. passage to Elysion], down in the darkness and gloom."

Pindar, Dirges Fragment 133 (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"But, as for those from whom Persephone shall exact the penalty of their pristine woe, in the ninth year she once more restoreth their souls to the upper sun-light and from these come into being august monarchs, and men who are swift in strength and supreme in wisdom and, for all future time, men call them sainted heroes."
[N.B. Pindar appears to be saying that the soul is judged in Hades and, if found guiltless, passes on to the realm of Elysium. It must, however, return to earth twice more and suffer two more deaths. Then, finally, Persephone releases it from the cycle--it returns to earth once more to live life as a righteous king, hero or sage, before being sent to the paradisial Islands of the Blest.]

Pindar, Dirges Fragment 137 :
"Blessed is he who hath seen these things [i.e. the Eleusinian Mysteries] before he goeth beneath the hollow earth for he understandeth the end of mortal life, and the beginning of a new life given of god."

Pindar, Dirges Fragment 129 :
"For them [in Elysion (Elysium)] the sun shineth in his strength, in the world below, while here 'tis night and, in meadows red with roses, the space before their city is shaded by the incense-tree, and is laden with golden fruits. Some of them delight themselves with horses and with wrestling others with draughts, and with lures while beside them bloometh the fair flower of perfect bliss. And o'er that lovely land fragrance is ever shed, while they mingle all manner of incense with the far-shining fire on the altar of the gods. From the other side sluggish streams of darksome night belch forth a boundless gloom."

Plato, Meno 81a ff (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Sokrates : There were certain priests and priestesses who have studied so as to be able to give a reasoned account of their ministry [i.e. the priests of the Mysteries] and Pindar also and many another poet of heavenly gifts. As to their words, they are these : mark now, if you judge them to be true. They say that the soul of man is immortal, and at one time comes to an end, which is called dying, and at another is born again, but never perishes. Consequently one ought to live all one's life in the utmost holiness. &lsquoFor from whomsoever Persephone shall accept requital for ancient wrong, the souls of these she restores in the ninth year to the upper sun again [i.e. reincarnation] from them arise glorious kings and men of splendid might and surpassing wisdom, and for all remaining time are they called holy heroes amongst mankind.&rsquo"

Statius, Silvae 5. 1. 253 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Whenever a shade approaches that has won the praise of a loving spouse, Proserpine [Persephone] bids summon joyful torches, and the heroines of old come forth from hallowed bowers and scatter the shades of gloom in radiant light, and strew garlands and Elysian flowers before her."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 11. 222 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"[Isis in the guise of Persephone speaks :] &lsquoYou will dwell in the Elysian fields, while I, whom you now behold, shine brightly in the darkness of Acheron and reign in the inner Stygian depths.&rsquo"

For MORE information on the blessed afterlife see REALM OF ELYSION


Haides and Persephone presided over the oracles of the dead and the rites of necromancy (nekromankia)--summoning and communion with the ghosts of the dead.


Odysseus was instructed in necromancy by the witch Kirke (Circe) so that he might commune with the prophetic ghost of the seer Teiresias. According to the author of the Odyssey the rites were performed on the border of the underworld. Later authors, however, say that Odysseus visited the Nekromanteion (Oracle of the Dead) at Cumae in southern Italy or Thesprotia in western Greece.

Homer, Odyssey 10. 495 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Kirke (Circe) instructs Odysseus in the rites of necromancy :] &lsquoYou must visit the house of dread Persephone and of Haides, and there seek counsel from the spirit of Theban Teiresias (Tiresias). The blind seer's thought is wakeful still, for to him alone, even after death, Persephone has accorded wisdom the other dead are but flitting shadows . . .
&lsquoAnd when you have sailed through the river Okeanos (Oceanus), you will see before you a marrow strand and he groves that are Persephone's--the tall black poplars, the willows with their self-wasted fruit then beach the vessel beside deep-eddying Okeanos and pass on foot to the dank domains of Haides. At the entrance there, the stream of Akheron (Acheron) is joined by the waters of Pyriphlegethon and a branch of Styx, Kokytos (Cocytus), and there is a rock where the two loud-roaring rivers meet. Then, lord Odysseus, you must do as I enjoin you go forward, and dig a trench a cubit long and a cubit broad go round this trench, pouring libation for all the dead, first with milk and honey, then with sweet wine, then with water and sprinkle white barley-meal above. Then with earnest prayers to the strengthless presences of the dead you must promise that when you have come to Ithaka (Ithaca) you will sacrifice in your palace a calfless heifer, the best you have, and will load a pyre with precious things and that for Teiresias and no other you will slay, apart, a ram that is black all over, the choicest in all the flocks of Ithaka.
&lsquoWhen with these prayers you have made appeal to the noble nations of the dead, then you must sacrifice a ram and a black ewe bend the victims' heads down towards Erebos, but turn your own head away and look towards the waters of the river. At this, the souls of the dead and gone will come flocking there. With commanding voice you must call your cmorades to flay and burn the two sheep that now lie before them, killed by your own ruthless blade, and over them to pray to the gods, to resistless Haides and dread Persephone. As for yourself, draw the keen sword from beside your thight then, sitting down, hold back the strengthles presences of the dead from drawing nearer to the blood until you have questioned Teiresias. Then, King Odysseus, the seer will come to you very quickly, to prophesy the path before you, the long stages of your travel, and how you will reach home at last over the teeming sea.&rsquo"

Homer, Odyssey 11. 10 ff :
"[Odysseus travels to the underworld to consult the ghost of the seer Teiresias :] The vessel came to the bounds of eddying Okeanos (Oceanus), where lie the land and city of the Kimmeroi (Cimmerians), covered with mist and cloud. never does the resplendent sun look on this people with his beams . . . dismal gloom overhangs these wretches always. Arriving there, we beached the vessel, took out the sheep and then walked onwards beside the stream of Okeanos until we came to the place that Kirke (Circe) had told us of.
There, Perimedes and Eurylokhos (Eurylochus) seized the victims and held them fast, while I myself drew the keen sword from besie my thigh and cut a trench a cubit long and a cubit broad. Round it I poured a libation for all the dead, first with milk and honey, then with sweet wine, then with water over this I sprinkled white barley-meal. Then with earnest prayers to the strengthless presences of the dead I promised that when I came to Ithaka I would sacrifice in my palace a calfless heifer, the best I had, and would load a pyre with precious things and that for Teiresias and no other I would slay, apart, a ram that was black all over, the choicest in all the flocks of Ithaka.
When with my prayers and invocations I had called on the peoples of the dead, I seized the victims and cut their throats over the trench. The dark blood flowed, and the souls od the dead and gone came flocking upwards from Erebos--brides and unmarried youths, old men who had suffered much, tender girls with the heart's distress still keen, troops of warriors wounded with brazen-pointed spears, men slain in battle with blood-stained armour still upon them. With unearthly cries, from every quarter, they came crowding about the trench until pale terror began to master me.
Then with urgent voice I called my comrades to flay and burn the two sheep that now lay before them, killed by my own ruthless blade, and over them to pray to the gods, to resistless Haides and dread Persephone. As for myself, I drew the keen sword from beside my thigh, seated myself and held back the strengthless preseences of the dead from drawing nearer to the blood before I had questioned Teiresias."

Homer, Odyssey 11. 210 & 11. 386 :
"[Odysseus performs the rites of necromancy and is approached by the ghost of his mother. He queries her :] &lsquoIs this some wraith that august Persephone has sent me to increase my sorrowing and my tears?'
So I spoke, and the queen my mother answered me : &lsquoAlas, my child, ill-fated beyond all other mortals, this is no mockery of Persephone's it is all men's fortune when they die. The sinews no longer hold flesh and bones together these are all prey to the resistless power of fire when once the life has left the white bones the soul takes wing as a dream takes wing, and thereafter hovers to and fro . . .&rsquo
Meanwhile there appeared [before Odysseus] a whole company of women, sent by Persephone the august and these were the wives or the daughters of great men. They gathered flocking round the dark blood [of the sacrificial black sheep] all together. So they came forward one after another, and each in turn told me her lineage, for I left none of them unquestioned . . .
Then, when chaste Persephone had dispersed this way and that the souls of those many women, there came before me in bitter sorrow the soul of Agamemon . . . Then there came before me the soulds of Akhilleus (Achilles) and Patroklos (Patroclus) , of noble Antilokhos (Antilochus) and of Aias (Ajax) . . . and the soul of the fleet-foot son of Peleus went pacing forth over the field of asphodel . . . Other souls of the dead and gone still stood there sorrowfully, each of them questioning me on whatever touched them the most . . . Indeed I might then have seen [more of] those men of past days I wished to see, but before I could, there came before me with hideous clamour the thronging multitudes of the dead, and ashly terror seized hold of me. I feared that august Persephone might send against me from Haides' house the Gorgoneion (gorgon's head) of some grisly monster. I made for my ship at once, telling my comrades to step aboard and to loose the cables."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E7. 7 & 34 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"He [Odysseus] sailed Okeanos (Oceanus), and offered sacrifices to the souls, and by Kirke's (Circe's) advice consulted the soothsayer Tiresias, and beheld the souls both of heroes and of heroines. He also looked on his mother Antikleia and Elpenor, who had died of a fall in the house of Kirke . . .
[Upon returning to Ithaka Odysseus slew the suitors :] After sacrificing to Haides, and Persephone, and Teiresias, he journeyed on foot through Epeiros (Epirus), and came to the Thesprotians, and having offered sacrifice according to the directions of the soothsayer Teiresias, he propitiated Poseidon."

Lycophron, Alexandra 697 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"The grove of Obrimo [i.e. the grove of Persephone near Avernos in Italy], Kore (Core, the Maiden) who dwells beneath the earth, and Pyriphleges (the Fiery Stream), where the difficult Polydegmon hill [in Italy] stretches its head to the sky . . . and the lake Aornos [i.e. lake Avernus near Cumae in Italy] rounded with a noose and the waters of Kokytos (Cocytus) wild and dark, stream of black Styx . . . he [Odysseus] shall offer up a gift to Daeira [Persephone] and her consort, fastening his helmet to the head of a pillar." [N.B. In this account Odysseus visits the necromantic oracle at Cumae.]


The Cumaean Sibyl guided Aeneas through the underworld by means of the Oracle of the Dead near Cumae. Virgil's account is only quoted in part here.

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 113 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"He [Aeneas] besought leave to pass down to Averna (the Underworld) and meet his father's ghost. And she [the Sibyl told him :] &lsquo. . . You shall achieve your aim and with my guidance you shall [visit the underworld] . . .&rsquo
She showed him in the glade of Juno Averna [Persephone] a gleaming golden bough and bade him break it from the trunk. Aeneas did her bidding and saw the riches of Orcus' [Haides'] frightful realm and his own ancestors and the aged ghost of great-hearted Anchises."

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 138 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"[The Cumaean Sibyl instructs Aeneas in the rites of necromancy :] &lsquoBetween, there lies a forest, and darkly winds the river Cocytus round the place. But if so great your love is, so great your passion to cross the Stygian waters twice and twice behold black Tartarus, if your heart is set on this fantastic project, here's what you must do first. Concealed in a tree's thick shade there is a golden bough--gold the leaves and the tough stem--held sacred to Proserpine [Persephone] : the whole wood hides this bough and a dell walls it round as it were in a vault of shadow. Yet none is allowed to enter the land which earth conceals save and until he has plucked that gold-foil bough from the tree. Fair Proserpine ordains that it should be brought to her as tribute. When a bough is torn away, another gold one grows in its place with leaves of the same metal. So keep your eyes roving above you, and when you have found the bough just pull it out : that branch will come away quite easily if destiny means you to go otherwise no amount of brute force will get it, nor hard steel avail to hew it away.&rsquo"


In Statius' Thebaid the seer Teiresias performs necromancy to commune with the dead to discover the cause of a curse-plague afflicting the city of Thebes.

Statius, Thebaid 4. 410 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"He [the seer Tiresias] prepares the rites of Lethe [i.e. Nekromankia], and makes ready beforehand to evoke the monarch [Haides] sunk below the confines of [the Theban river] Ismenos where it mingles with the deep, and makes purgation all around with the torn entrails of sheep and the strong smell of sulphur, and with fresh herbs and the long mutterings of prayer . . . [Tiresias] bids the dark-fleeced sheep and black oxen be set before him . . . Then he entwined their fierce horns with wreaths of dusky hue, handling them himself, and first at the edge of that well-known wood [i.e. one sacred to the goddess Hecate] he nine times spills the lavish draughts of Bacchus into a hollowed trench, and gifts of vernal milk and Attic rain [i.e. honey] and propitiatory blood to the Shades below so much is poured out as the dry earth will drink. Then they roll tree trunks thither, and the sad priest bids there be three altar-fires for Hecate and three for the maidens born of cursed Acheron [i.e. the Erinyes] for thee, lord of Avernus [Haides], a heap of pinewood though sunk into the ground yet towers high into the air next to this an altar of lesser bulk is raised to Ceres of the Underworld [i.e. Persephone] in front and on every side the cypress of lamentation intertwines them. And now, their lofty heads marked with the sword and the pure sprinkled meal, the cattle fell under the stroke then the virgin Manto [the daughter of Tiresias], catching the blood in bowls, makes first libation, and moving thrice round all the pyres, as her holy sire commands, offers the half-dead tissues and yet living entrails, nor delays to set the devouring fire to the dark foliage. And when Tiresias heard the branches crackling in the flames and the grim piles roaring--for the burning heat surges before his face, and the fiery vapour fills the hollows of his eyes--he exclaimed, and the pyres trembled, and the flames cowered at his voice : &lsquoAbodes of Tartarus and awful realm of insatiable Mors (Death) [Thanatos], and thou, most cruel of the brothers [Haides], to whom the Shades are given to serve thee, and the eternal punishments of the damned obey thee, and the palace of the underworld, throw open in answer to my knowing the silent places and empty void of stern Persephone, and send forth the multitude that lurk in hollow night.&rsquo"

Statius, Thebaid 4. 520 ff :
"[The blind seer Tiresias describes his visions as he performs the necromantic rites :] &lsquoHimself [lord Haides] I behold, all pale upon the throne, with Stygian Eumenides [Erinyes] ministering to his fell deeds about him, and the remorseless chambers and gloomy couch of Stygian Juno [Persephone].&rsquo"


Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 915 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"For the goddess Persephone sent up to them [the Argonauts] the mourning ghost of Aktor's son [who had died during the expedition of Herakles against the Amazones], who craved to see some men of his own kind, if only for a moment."


Witches, such as Medea, were practitioners of the necromancy. Medea employs this chthonic power in a spell to restore Aeson's youth.

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 242 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Medea uses her magic to restore Aeson's youth :] Two turf altars she built [for the ritual], the right to Hecate, the left to Juventas (Youth) [Hebe], wreathed with the forest's mystic foliage, and dug two trenches in the ground beside and then performed her rites. Plunging a knife into a black sheep's throat she drenched the wide ditches with blood next from a chalice poured a stream of wine and from a second chalice warm frothing milk and, chanting magic words, summoned the Deities of Earth (Numina Terrena) and prayed the sad shades' monarch (Rex Umbrarum) [Haides] and his stolen bride [Persephone] that, of their mercy, from old Aeson's frame they will not haste to steal the breath of life . . . [She then applied the potion to the body of Aeson] and Aeson woke and marvelled as he saw his prime restored of forty years before."


The Oracle of the Dead (Nektromanteion) in Thesprotia was a shrine sacred to the netherworld gods Haides and Persephone. The oracles of the daimones Amphiaraus and Trophonios in Boiotia were also necromantic.

For MORE information on the necromantic oracles see:
Cult of Haides & Persephone


Persephone was the mistress of the Erinyes (Furies)--underworld daimones who punished the crimes of filial betrayal, impiety and murder. She despatched them when curses were invoked in her name.

Homer, Iliad 9. 450 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Phoinix tells the tale of his curse :] &lsquoI first left Hellas . . . running from the hatred of Ormenos' son Amyntor, my father who hated me for the sake of a fair-haired mistress. For he made love to her himself, and dishonoured his own wife, my mother who was forever taking my knees and entreating me to lie with this mistress instead so that she would hate the old man. I was persuaded and did it and my father when he heard of it straightway called down his curses, and invoked against me the dreaded Erinyes that I might never have any son born of my seed to dandle on my knees and the divinities, Zeus Khthonios (of the Underworld) [i.e. Haides] and Persephone the honoured goddess, accomplished his curses.&rsquo"

Homer, Iliad 9. 565 ff :
"Meleagros (Meleager) lay mulling his heart-sore anger, raging by reason of his mother's [Althaia's] curses, which she called down from the gods upon him, in deep grief for the death of her brother, and many times beating with her hands on the earth abundant she called on Haides and on honoured Persephone, lying at length along the ground, and the tears were wet on her bosom, to give death to her son and Erinys, the mist-walking, she of the heart without pity, heard her out of the dark places."

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 489 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Orestes [prepares to slay the murderers of his father] : O Gaia (Earth), send up my father to watch my battle!
Elektra : O Persephone, grant us indeed a glorious victory!
Orestes : Father, remember the bath where you were robbed of life."

Orphic Hymn 29 to Persephone (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Praxidike (Exacter of Justice), subterranean queen. The Eumenides' [Erinyes'] source." [N.B. Praxidike is a title of Persephone as avenger of the dead.]

Statius, Thebaid 1. 46 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Oidipous (Oedipus), who had blinded himself upon discovering that he had killed his father and married his mother, summons the Erinyes to punish his sons for their scornful treatment of him :] Oedipus with avenging hand probed deep his sinning eyes and sunk his guilty shame in eternal night . . . yet with unwearied wings the fierce daylight of the mind hovers around him, and the avenging Dirae [Erinyes] of his crimes assail his heart. Then he displays to heaven those empty orbs, the cruel, pitiful punishment of his own lie, and with blood-stained hands beats upon the hollow earth, and in dire accents utters this prayer : &lsquoGods [Haides, Persephone and the Erinyes] who hold sway over guilty souls and over Tartarus crowded with the damned, and thou O Styx, whom I behold, ghastly in thy shadowy depths, and thou Tisiphone, so oft the object of my prayer, be favourable now, and further my unnatural wish . . . Sightless though I was and driven from my throne, my sons, on whatever couch begotten, attempted not to give me guidance or consolation in my grief . . . and they mock my blindness, they abhor their father's groans . . . Do thou at least, my due defender, come hither, and begin a work of vengeance that will blast their seed for ever!&rsquo"

Statius, Thebaid 1. 110 ff :
"From her [the Erinys Tisiphone's] shoulders falls a stark and grisly robe, whose dark fastenings meet upon her breast : Atropos [one of the Moirai] and Proserpine [Persephone] fashion her this garb anew."

Statius, Thebaid 5. 155 ff :
"They [the Lemnian women] pledged their solemn word [to slay their husbands], and thou wast witness, Martian Enyo, and thou, Ceres of the Underworld [i.e. Proserpina-Persephone], and the Stygian goddesses [the Erinyes] came in answer to their prayers."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 10 ff :
"Upon the Stygian shores . . . not yet had the Eumenis [Erinys] met and purified him [the newly dead ghost] with branch of yew, not had Proserpine [Persephone ] marked him on the dusky door-post as admitted to the company of the dead."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 28 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Hera, angered by the success of Zeus' bastard son Dionysos., seeks to cause him harm :] Away she went to the gloomy all-welcoming court of Haides there she found Persephone, and told her a crafty tale : &lsquoMost happy I call you, that you dwell so far from the gods! You have not seen Semele at home in Olympos. I fear I may yet see Dionysos, one born of a mortal womb, master of the lightning after Zagreus [Persephone's son], or lifting the thunderbolt in earth-born hands. Cornbringer, you have robbed! Beside the Nile with his harvests they hold a festival for another, instead of your sheafbearing mother Demeter they tell of a spurious bountiful Deo, bullbred, horned, Inakhos's daughter Io [i.e. Egyptian Isis] . . . He [Zeus] rescued Semele's son [Dionysos] from the flaming fire, he saved Bakkhos (Bacchus) from the thunderbolt, while still a baby brat . . . But Zagreus the heavenly Dionysos he would not defend, when he was cut up with knives! What made me angrier still, was that Kronides gave the starry heaven to Semele for a bridegift,--and Tartaros to Persephoneia! Heaven is reserved for Apollon, Hermes lives in heaven--and you have this abode full of gloom! What good was it that he put on the deceiving shape of a serpent, and ravished the girdle of your inviolate maidenhood, if after bed he was to destroy your babe? Lord Zeus holds the starry hall on Olympos he has given the briny sea to his brother [Poseidon] the water king for he prerogotive he has given the cloudy house of darkness to your consort [Haides]. Come now, arm your Erinyes against wineface Bakkhos, that I may not see a bastard and a mortal king of Olympos . . . Be the avenger of my sorrow . . . Let not Athens sing hymns to a new Dionysos, let him not have equal honour with Eleusinian Dionysos, let him not take over the rites of Iakkhos who was there before him, let not his vintage dishonour Demeter's basket!&rsquo
The whole mind of Persephoneia was perturbed while she spoke, babbling deceit as the false tears bedewed her cheeks. Goddess bowed assent to goddess, and gave her [the Erinys] Megaira to go with her, that with her evil eye she might fulfil the desire of Hera's jealous heart."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 198 ff :
"Dionysos waited for darksome night, and appealed in these words to circle Mene (Moon) in heaven : &lsquoO daughter of Helios (the Sun), Mene (Moon) of many turnings, nurse of all! O Selene (Moon), driver of the silver car! . . . If thou art Persephoneia, whipperin of the dead, and yours are the ghosts which are subservient to the throne of Tartaros, let me see Pentheus a dead man, and let Hermes thy musterer of ghosts lull to sleep the tears of Dionysos in his grief. With Tartarean whip of thy Tisiphone, or furious Megaira, stop the foolish threats of Pentheus . . .&rsquo
While Bakkhos (Bacchus) yet conversed with circling Mene (Moon), even then Persephone was arming her Erinyes for the pleasure of Dionysos Zagreus, and in wrath helping Dionysos his late born brother."

Suidas s.v. Persephone (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Persephone : An Underworld spirit (katageios daimon). Elektra says : &lsquoO house of Haides and Persephone! O Hermes of the Underworld and holy Ara (Curse) and divine Erinnyes (Furies)! You who watch over those dying unjustly and those being robbed of a marriage bed: Come! Help avenge the murder of our father!&rsquo"


Persephone was the goddess of spring growth and more specifically of the sprouting of the grain seed. The earth flourished when she returned from the underworld each spring.

Orphic Hymn 29 to Persephone (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[Persephone] associate of the Horai (Seasons), essence bright, all-ruling virgin, bearing heavenly light. With fruits abounding, of a bounteous mind, horned, and alone desired by those of mortal kind. O vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight: whose holy form in budding fruits we view, earth's vigorous offspring of a various hue . . . Hear, blessed Goddess, send a rich increase of various fruits from earth."

Orphic Hymn 43 to the Horae :
"[The Horai (Seasons)] attending Persephone, when back from night the Moirai (Fates) and Kharites (Charites, Graces) lead her up to light when in a band harmonious they advance, and joyful found her form the solemn dance. With Mother [Demeter] triumphing, and Zeus divine, propitious come, and on our incense shine give earth a store of blameless fruits to bear."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 26 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"The entire bulk and substance of the earth, was dedicated to father Dis [Haides] (that is, Dives, &lsquothe rich&rsquo, and so in Greek Plouton), because all things fall back into the earth and also arise from the earth. He is said to have married Proserpina (really a Greek name, for she is the same as the goddess called Persephone in Greek)--they think that she represents the seed of corn, and fable that she was hidden away, and sought for by her mother. The mother is Ceres [Demeter]."

For MYTHS of Persephone as the goddess of grain and spring see:
The Rape of Persephone (story of her seasonal return to earth)
For MORE information on Persephone as a spring-time goddess in cult see:
Cult of Demeter & Kore



The shades of the dead wandered the fields of asphodel in the underworld. It was a drab, ghostly-grey plant, edible but extremely bland. Haides is holding a sprig of asphodel in the bas-relief picture at the top of this page (image R14.1).


Yerba mate has a fascinating rich history. Its consumption has transitioned from God-given drink to an outlawed dirty, punishable vice and finally to a valuable recommended beverage with invaluable health benefits. Besides the traditions, scientists have since proven that drinking yerba mate has a lot of health benefits including disease prevention and weight loss. The best way of drinking yerba mate is still through a mate gourd coupled with a bombilla. However, it can also be enjoyed as tea bags or in French presses for more convenience.

Watch the video: Chiist LIBATIONS (October 2022).

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