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KORE PERSEPHONE (PROSERPINE)

KORE PERSEPHONE (PROSERPINA)

Hellenic goddess of the Underworld, vegetation and changing of the seasons, guardian of the souls of the dead, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, wife of Hades. The myth of her abduction was an explanation of seasons changing and the base for Eleusinian Mysteries. Her first name, Kore, means ‘a young girl, a maiden’, her second name probably originates from a foreign language which was unknown to the Hellens, one of the possible etymology is perein phonon meaning  ‘bringing death, causing death’.

ABOUT GODDESS

The myth of Kore’s abduction has already been told in the post about Demeter so let me simply quote it

Kore was a young girl when she was playing on the meadow with fellow nymphs on a sunny day. Her mother allowed her to weave wreaths from all the flowers but a narcissus dedicated to the gods of the Underworld. Unfortunately, Kore forgot her mother’s warning and picked this flower. It brought the darkness over the meadow, the ground cracked and a chariot led by black horses  emerged from the abyss. It was Hades, the lord of the Underworld, he captured Kore and abducted her to his realm below the surface of the earth. It was all so sudden that nobody was able to react or even realise that Demeter’s daughter disappeared. Only Cyane (Kyane), a water nymph and Kore’s companion, heard her friend’s cry and hurried to save her. However, it was too late and one of the horses kicked her in the shoulder so she could only massage the sore spot and cry after Kore. Terrified Demeter kept searching for her daughter everywhere but she did not realise that Zeus had promised his daughter as a wife without her mother’s knowledge and consent.

When Demeter found out about the conspiracy (either from all-seeing Helios the sun god or Hekate, goddess of the night and witchcraft), she became so furious  that she cursed the earth and told her not to raise crops until her daughter comes back to her. This interrupted the order of the seasons so plants began to wither and people started to complain they would not be able to gather them and they would suffer from hunger.  Zeus had no option but to return Kore to her mother. However, the girl was lured to eat a couple of grains of pomegranate in the Underworld and this made her belong there forever. In the end the gods and goddesses entered into a compromise: Kore was to spend one third of the year with her husband as Persephone the Queen of the Underworld but for the remaining two thirds she could return on the surface and enjoy the time with her mother. This is how the Hellens understood the seasons change: in winter the earth was saddened by the absence of Kore Persephone together with Demeter and in spring and summer when she was coming back, the earth was showing joy by letting leaves and blossoming the flowers.

Kore's abduction

It is the first and the most significant appearance of Kore Persephone in the Hellenic mythology but not the last one. She is present as the wife of Hades in many stories telling about the hero’s descent to the Underworld. She is so moved by Orpheus’ song that she convinces her husband to return his wife Eurydice to him. She helps Heracles fulfil his twelfth labour of tying Cerberus, the guardian dog of the Underworld. She is sometimes involved in a story whether she wants it or not, such as in the case of Pirithous, a hero and a friend of Theseus, decided to take Kore Persephone away from Hades as a revenge for the death of his own beloved wife Hippodamia. The plan failed and both heroes were sentenced to be imprisoned in Hades and enchained to the rock. Theseus was freed from the ordeal by Heracles,  Pirithous, however, had to remain enchained in Hades forever.

Kore Persephone has also participated in the dispute with Aphrodite concerning Adonis. According to myths Adonis was an illegitimate child of Princess Myrrha who made Aphrodite angry, and the goddess punished Myrrha by making her fall in love with her own father. Princess managed to deceive him and spend a couple of nights with him but when the affair came to the light, furious king seized the knife and started to run after her. Escaping his rage, Myrrha begged gods for rescue and they turned her into a tree which was later named after her. After nine months tree bark cracked and a boy came out of the trunk. Aphrodite put the baby into the chest and entrusted to Kore Persephone. However, the goddess of the Underworld fell in love with young Adonis herself and decided to keep him in Hades forever. This made Aphrodite furious. The disagreement must have been eventually resolved by Zeus who decided that Adonis was to spend one third of the year with Aphrodite, one third with Kore Persephone and the remaining part of the year wherever he wants to. According to another version of this myth young man died pierced by the tusks of boar, the animal was in fact jealous Ares in disguise. Aphrodite’s grief was so big that Zeus let her lover return to the goddess during spring and summer, Adonis, however, must have come back to Hades for autumn and winter.

According to most of the myths, the marriage of Kore Persephone and Hades remained childless* but some versions claim that she was the mother of  Zagreus/Iakchos/Dionizos (with Zeus).

Deity descending into the Underworld was a popular explanation of seasons changing in the ancient times. A similar motif in present in the mythologies of the Middle – East, be it Attis (see the post about Cybele) or Osisris (post about Isis) and the theme of a young woman abducted to the Underworld is also present in the story of Ereshkigal (see the myth of Ishtar). Basing on the mythology and archaeological remains, it can be assumed that an agrarian cult of Demeter and Kore Persephone was one of the oldest in the Hellas, older than the cults of Olympian deities. It is possible that it came to Hellas from other countries (the Hellens were writing the name ‘Persephone’ in many ways, it may suggest that they were unable to pronounce it themselves so it either originated from a pre-Hellenic language or was a borrowing from a foreign language). The beginnings can be dated up to 1400 – 1200 before Christ based on the inscriptions on the tablets found in Pylos, her name is written as Preswa and this may be its oldest form. There is also enough evidence to assume that Persephone was venerated in the Minoan Crete. Similarly to Egypt, the eldest deities were strictly associated with nature and often depicted as half – humans and half – animals (a Cretan figure of Minotaur, centaurs, satyrs, tritones, mermaids, sirens etc seem to be the remaining of this cult in mythology). An image of two women was discovered in the temple of Despoina in Mycene, it is assumed that these were either Demeter and Kore Persephone themselves or their priestesses wearing animal masks, this proves how early their cult was. Cretan agrarian cults have not used images of any deities  (similarly to the oldest forms of the Great Mother Cybele’s cult), they were mostly performed by females and the rites themselves included dancing, shaking trees and worshipping stones (most probably  meteorites). There are also reasons to believe that Kore Persephone was identified with yet older goddesses such as Despoina or Ariadna. Excavations on the temple sites suggest that places of worship were situated near springs and fire was burning in them all the time.

women wearing clothes from the Minoean age and dancing around (most probably) Kore Persephone, the Isopata ring

Demeter’s daughter was the goddess of both Underworld (as Persephone) and vegetation (as Kore). She was depicted on sarcophagi as a symbol of revival and eternity. Apart from the Eleusinian Mysteries, Kore Persephone was also venerated separately in the temples located in Corinth, Megara and Sparta. She was worshipped as Despoina (Mistress of the House) in Arcadia, furthermore she was known under other nicknames, the most popular were those presenting her in the most favourable way to gain her benevolence: Hagne („Pure”, it was primarily the name of a spring nymph), Melindia or Melinoia („Of Honey”), Melivia, Melitodes, Aristi Tchonia („The Best of Chtonic”). In her aspect of the vegetation goddess she was called Kore Soteira („The Saviour Maiden”), Neotera („The Younger One”), etc., she also often appears together with her mother as Two Goddesses (Demeter being The Older and Kore The Younger) in Eleusis, The Great Goddesses and The Mistresses in Arcadia, Karpophoroi („The Bringers of Fruit”) in Tegea and Thesmophoroi („The Legislators”) during the Thesmophoria festival.

The cult of Demeter and Kore Persephone had many local versions but the most important festival was of course the Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated in the autumn. Celebrations were aimed at the immortality of life and were filling the initiated with hope for the good fate (it was most probably believed that they were sent to the best part of Hades called The Elysian Fields after death). Mysteries were divided into the Lesser ones (celebrated every year) and Greater ones (celebrated every five years, on the fifteenth day of boedromion month ie. at the turn of August and September/September and October, they lasted ten days). A prerequisite for participation was only freedom form “blood guilt”, the festival was open for women and slaves. This was the time of  initiation and involved a couple of degrees of initiation. The Eleusinian Mysteries required keeping the secret so only a few people with the highest degree of initiation knew what was hidden in kiste, a sacred chest and kalathos, a lidded basket. It is speculated that the Demeter’s sacred objects were golden serpent, an egg, a phallus and seeds.

It remains unknown what were the mysteries like because revealing the secret was punished by death, however the descriptions of public celebrations were written down. The Greater Mysteries in Athens began on the fourteenth of boedromion when the sacred objects were brought to Eleusinion, a temple situated at the base of the Acropolis Hill.  The next day was the time of Agyrmos (“the gathering”) when the priests announced the beginning of holiday and offered sacrifice. On the sixteenth day of the month, the rituals of purification in the sea were taking place near the port of Phaleron and on the seventeenth it was the time for Epidauria (so called “festival within festival”), celebrations for Asclepios, god of healing, when he was invited symbolically to the city with his daughter Hygieia goddess of hygiene and led in procession to Eleusion. On the nineteenth day procession was moving from the Kerameikos cementary to Eleusis along Hierá Hodós (“Sacred Way”), participants were swinging the branches called bacchoi. At a certain point they started to shout obscenities to commemorate (Iambe), an elderly woman who was trying to make Demeter laugh while she was grieving the loss of daughter by pulling the skirt up and saying naughty jokes, people were also shouting “Íakch’, O Íakche!” to celebrate Iacchus. When the procession reached Eleusis, it was the time for one day fasting to commemorate Demeter’s hunger while she was searching for her daughter, the only thing allowed to drink was kykeon made of barley and pennyroyal. On the 20th and 21st it was time for the proper celebrations when the crowd was gathering in Telestrion, a great hall („Initiation Hall”) where those waiting to be initiated gathered, in the centre there was Anaktoron („Palace”) where only the priests were allowed to come because sacred objects were stored here. Before entering Telestrion adepts had to say, I have fasted, I have drunk the kykeon, I have taken from the kiste (“box”) and after working it have put it back in the kalathos (“open basket”).  At first two special vessels were filled, then one was emptied in the direction of west and the other towards east and the worshippers were looking at the sky and earth whispering the rain fertilising the ground. The story of Kore Persephone’s abduction was told in three acts, first descent, then search and finally ascend and reconnection with mother. A ‘divine child’ was placed on hearth (check the story of Triptolemus in the post about Demeter) and those initiated to the highest degrees were to cut in silence a sheaf symbolising revival of life after death. The festival was completed with Pannychis, an all-night feast with dancing and rejoicing accompanied by the sacrifice from the bull and remembrance of the dead by libation the next day.

This is how Cicero wrote about these celebrations, For among the many excellent and indeed divine institutions which your Athens has brought forth and contributed to human life, none, in my opinion, is better than those mysteries. For by their means we have been brought out of our barbarous and savage mode of life and educated and refined to a state of civilization; and as the rites are called “initiations,” so in very truth we have learned from them the beginnings of life, and have gained the power not only to live happily, but also to die with a better hope.. (Laws II, XIV, 36)

Another holiday for Demeter and Kore Persephone was the festival of Thesmophoria celebrated all over Hellas from the 11th to 13th of the Pyanepsion month (October) when married women were free to come out of the houses** and participated in the women exclusive rites. Not much is known about this festival for a very simple reason: only married women participated in them and they were not the ones who wrote chronicles or memories. What we do know is that there were processions on the first day, the second one was the time of mourning, extinguishing the fire and eating pomegranates and the third was sacrificed to the rather unknown in mythology Kalligenea, goddess of beautiful birth. There were also records saying that at night swine were sacrificed in the trenches and caves and the remains of the animals sacrificed in previous year were retrieved and placed on the altar, mixed with seeds and planted. There was also Anthesphoria, the festival of flowers and cereals, celebrated in the Hellenic colonies in Italy (so called Magna Grecia) and in the Peloponnesus.

Ancient Romans took the cult of Kore Persephone over from Hellenic colonies established on the south of Italy and Sicily. She was called Proserpine in the local local dialect and this version of her name was adopted in the Apennine Peninsula. It is interesting to notice that she was venerated as the patroness of marriages in one of these cities called Epizephyrian Locris (present day Locri), this usually was the domain of Juno (Hera). Children were entrusted to Persephone and brides were bringing her their garments before weddings as votive offerings. A very popular image of Kore Persephone and Hades surrounded by plants and animals attributed to them comes precisely from Epizephyrian Locris.

Kore Persephone and Hades

In the 5th century before Christ Empedocles, a poet, philosopher and healer, has created the concept of four elements. He connected Kore Persephone named here Nestis with the element (or to be more precise with the root, it was not until Plato when the word ‘element’ was used) of water: Now hear the fourfold roots of everything: enlivening Hera, Hades, shining Zeus. And Nestis, moistening mortal springs with tears. Empedocles uses the nickname of Nestis and does not pronounce her real name which was considered to be a taboo since the earliest times. It was not advised to call the Queen of the Dead even in a simple conversation nor to speak her name aloud so Nestis was used as her cult title (Homer in his hymns refers to her as the Queen of the Shades).

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

The type of the oldest Hellenic sculpture is called kore, some hypotheses assume the figures represent Demeter’s daughter.

 KoreKore

Moreover, Kore Persephone is also presented sitting on the throne as majestic Queen of the Underworld with a sceptre, fruit, sheaves of grain and a liknon basket used to separate seeds from chaff.

Kore Persephone

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

A young girl, a teenager. A person who experienced a sudden or tough events. A person who is emotionally immature. Someone who was charged with too much responsibility too early. Somebody who became bitter due to bad experiences, childhood traumas or seriously betrayed trust. In negative a person with a victim pattern and not enough self – esteem and maturity to face the problems on their own.

Advice

What you need is patience. This card shows maturing in a hard way and learning to compromise. You cannot accelerate anything. Let things run their course. Give time some time. What you reap is what you sow. At first you will have to work hard and make a lot of effort to put your plans into action and you will be rewarded later. Everything changes sooner or later.

I personally associate strongly the card of Kore Persephone with the rune Jera.

Patience. Maturing. Harvest, crops, abundance, wealth, plenty. Revival. Beginning or end of the cycle. Bad timing, hurrying too much, poor plans, acting blindfold. An insufficient harvest, loss, scarcity.Intervention in the natural cycle. Possible trip but not for pleasure, rather forced by circumstances. Trauma. Abandonment. Compromise. Inevitability. A strong influence of mother. Secret knowledge, esoterics.

 Love

 If you are in the relationship: lack of maturity to a stable and adult relationship. Compromises and patience are required. Hiding from problems. Early marriage, possibly enforced somehow. Being childless. A strong influence of the mother. A cold, emotionally detached or manipulative partner.

If you are single: lack of maturity to a stable and adult relationship. A strong influence of the mother. Patience is suggested. It is also advised not to get into a relationship just to avoid being alone.

Finances

Trip forced by circumstances.  Beginning or ending a certain stage of career. Business involving volatility of revenues depending on time or season. Suspension of business activity. Time of harvesting profits.

 Health

Women: fertility and regular cycle, pregnancy and successful, natural delivery. Therapy limited to taking medicine. Vegetarian, macrobiotic or vegetable, fruit and cereal based diet. Regenerative skills. Checking your health regularly. Negative: laziness, wrong diet, insufficiency, problem with high cholesterol and obesity. Woman’s cycle disorder. Neglecting regular health tests. Eating in a hurry. Endangered parts of the body: the digestive system (particularly stomach, colon, small intestine and the large intestine).

CARDS

Kore Persephone  in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Kore Persephone in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews 

Kore Persephone with Demeter in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Kore Persephone with Demeter in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Kore Persephone (together with Hades and Cerberus) in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

 Kore Persephone in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Kore Persephone in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

 Kore Persephone in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kore Persephone in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 Kore Persephone in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Kore Persephone in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Kore Persephone in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr 

Kore Persephone in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Kore Persephone in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

 Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Kore Persephone in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

 Kore Persephone in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kore Persephone as Eight of Swords in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Kore Persephone as Eight of Swords in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, Wikipedia and http://www.webwinds.com/myth/elemental.htm

* It seems logical that the deities associated with death could not have children themselves. In Egypt Seth, god of desert and death, was infertile and his wife Nephthys craving for a child, got pregnant with their brother Osiris (that could be the reason for Seth’s hatred towards Osiris).

 *** In Hellas women did not participate in public life.

DEMETER (CERES)

DEMETER (CERES)

A Hellenic goddess of sowing, cultivating, harvesting and the birth – death-rebirth cycle, the second child of Cronus and Rhea and the mother of Kore Persephone. When the Olympic gods seized the power over the Earth, she became responsible for maintaining its fertility. She was taking care of the soil and the crops and it was Demeter who taught people how to grow grains, how to make bread and how to cultivate vegetables and fruit. Her name may be derived from the words ‘deus/dyeus’ and ‘meter’, when put together this signifies ‘goddess – mother, divine mother’. In Rome she was venerated as Ceres.

ABOUT THE GODDESS

The cult of Demeter was one of the oldest in the Hellenic world, she is mentioned together with Kore and Poseidon in the tablets at Pylos dated around 1400-1200 before Christ (‘two mistresses&the king’). There is also an assumption that she was forming the Triple Goddess as Mother together with Kore (Maiden) and Hekate (Crone). Demeter has been associated with Kore, her daughter with Zeus to the point that they were known as ‘two goddesses’.

Kore was a young girl when she was playing on the meadow with fellow nymphs on a sunny day. Her mother allowed her to weave wreaths from all the flowers but a narcissus dedicated to the gods of the Underworld. Unfortunately, Kore forgot her mother’s warning and picked this flower. It brought the darkness over the meadow, the ground cracked and a chariot led by black horses  emerged from the abyss. It was Hades, the lord of the Underworld, he captured Kore and abducted her to his realm below the surface of the earth. It was all so sudden that nobody was able to react or even realise that Demeter’s daughter disappeared. Only Cyane (Kyane), a water nymph and Kore’s companion, heard her friend’s cry and hurried to save her. However, it was too late and one of the horses kicked her in the shoulder so she could only massage the sore spot and cry after Kore. Terrified Demeter kept searching for her daughter everywhere but she did not realise that Zeus had promised his daughter as a wife without her mother’s knowledge and consent.

When Demeter found out about the conspiracy (either from all-seeing Helios the sun god or Hekate, goddess of the night and witchcraft), she became so furious  that she cursed the earth and told her not to raise crops until her daughter comes back to her. This interrupted the order of the seasons so plants began to wither and people started to complain they would not be able to gather them and they would suffer from hunger.  Zeus had no option but to return Kore to her mother. However, the girl was lured to eat a couple of grains of pommegranate in the Underworld and this made her belong there forever. In the end the gods and goddesses entered into a compromise: Kore was to spend one third of the year with her husband as Persephone the Queen of the Underworld but for the remaining two thirds she could return on the surface and enjoy the time with her mother. This is how the Hellens understood the seasons change: in winter the earth was saddened by the absence of Kore Persephone together with Demeter and in spring and summer when she was coming back, the earth was showing joy by letting leaves and blossoming the flowers.

Eleusis was the goddess’ sacred place and this is where the Eleusinian mysteries were established. For more than two thousand years the history of Demeter and Kore Persephone was celebrated in secret ceremonies and it was one of the most important cults in the whole Hellenic world. It is impossible to recreate these rites now but they were probably concentrating on fertility and rebirth and some symbols may have been taken by Christianity (such as accepting bread or drinking wine; also the holiday of the Assumption of Mary has a pagan character, she is venerated as Our Lady of Herbs in Poland).  To find more about the ceremonies please visit this site. It is also believed that the first letter of Demeter’s name (Delta in the Greek alphabet) has the shape of the womb and therefore is the symbol of life, conquering death and bliss.

Demeter does not often appear in epic poems but apart from the story of Kore she is mentioned in some other myths. In the story of Tantal, the king of Phrygia who invited the Olympians to the feast and served them the body of his son to check if they recognize the meat, Demeter is so plunged in grief after the loss of Kore that she eats a piece but vomits immediately when she realizes what she ate. In another myth she is pursued by Poseidon but she is so disguised by his desire that she assumes the form of mare to avoid any contact with him. Poseidon finds her, however, and takes the form of stallion to cover her. She later gives birth to a daughter Despoina (Mistress of the House) whose name was not allowed to be pronounced and a horse Arion with black mane and tail. Demeter becomes furious and goes to the river to wash her anger away. During the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia she drinks too much wine and sleeps with Iasion in a ploughed furrow which later results in the birth of their son Ploutos (or in another version twins Ploutos&Philomeus and another son called Korybas). However, jealous Zeus kills Iasion with a thunderbolt.

It is also believed that because of her nickname Thesmosphoros (Giver of Customs) Demeter was associated with the sanctity of marriage and with the religious law in the earliest times. The goddess has also her vengeful aspect as Demeter Erinys.

Personally I like and respect this goddess a lot because of her uncompromising attitude, standing up for her child, serenity and friendliness towards mortals. She never hurt any of them and was very fond of people,  she even wanted to give immortality to one of them. When she refused to protect the Earth after Kore’s abduction, she assumed the human body and moved in to the royal court of Eleusis as the nanny of Prince Demophon (Triptolemus). To make him immortal she put him into a sacred fire one evening to burn out his mortal weakness but this ritual was broken by the queen, boy’s mother so he never fully acquired divine powers. He was, however, initiated as the first human being into the Eleusinian mysteries.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Demeter’s attributes were ears of grain, daffodils (Kore was captured by Hades when she cut a daffodil), poppies,  sheaves, siecles and plows.  The bird mostly associated with her was a crane and the most common sacrifice was made of sow.

She was also traditionally associated with horses, one of the aspects of her cult was Aganippe (Night-Mare, The Mare who destroys mercifully), a black winged horse, and some of her idols showed her as mare – headed with a mane entwined with snakes, holding a dolphin in one hand and a dove in another one.

Demeter was usually depicted sitting and either holding a torch (because she was searching for her daughter day and night) or snakes. She is also portrayed riding a chariot driven by horses.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The person who is shown by this card is mostly concentrating on family and house. Children’s material needs are important for her. In negative her whole life revolves around children, she is overprotective and does not let her children grow up.

Advice

This is the time to take care of your family, either on material or emotional level. Show affection to your loved ones.  Children are very important for you. You feel separation from your child. Help your children but do not live their lives. Everything and everyone has to grow up.

If you are thinking about starting a family, this card confirms it is a good choice.

In its negative aspect the card of Demeter tells about family issues, especially with children, relationships between parents and children growing apart and economic problems.

Mother. Maturity. Possible pregnancy. Childbirth. Natural law. Marriage. Abundance. Protection. Help. Journey. Contact with nature.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: this card suggests you have big maternal needs and if you do not have your own children yet, this inner yearning for a child will be growing. If you have children, this card may suggest you are concentrating on them and neglecting your partner. Marriage.

If you are single: your strong relation with mother may disturb you in establishing a healthy and long-term relationship. This card may also suggest you want to have a child rather than a relationship with another person. Single parenting.

Finances

Investments in land or stock exchange. Your company is undergoing changes. Profit gained thanks to secret knowledge. Insecure moment.

Health

Time to change your diet. Eat more unprocessed, natural food like vegetables, fruit and grains. Lack of nutrients. Digestive system. Insomnia and problems with sleeping. Emotional tension.
Endangered parts of the body: digestive system.

CARDS

Demeter is also one of the most popular goddesses and she appears in nearly all the decks I came across, the only exception is the deck of Doreen Virtue.

Demeter in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky, a beautiful picture full of symbols associated with Demeter and Kore Persephone

Demeter in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Demeter in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Demeter in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Demeter in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Demeter (with Kore Persephone as Two Goddesses) in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Demeter in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Demeter…

…and Ceres in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst (the author made a huge faux pas and no one corrected her: Ceres WAS NOT a Greek but Latin goddess…what is the point of making a distinction between Demeter and Ceres if it may seem they are both from the same country??? I like the idea of pregnant Demeter though)

Demeter in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Demeter in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Demeter in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (as Ceres)

Demeter in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Demeter in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Demeter as Magician in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano, I have to disagree with such assignment because the card of Magician the first Major Arcane is traditionally associated with the element of Fire&the energy of Mercury while Demeter clearly represents the element of Earth

Two cards of Xena-like Demeter from Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, Wikipedia and http://www.pantheon.org/articles/e/eleusis.html.

ATHENA (MINERVA)

ATENA (MINERVA)

A Hellenic goddess of wisdom, justice, strategy, courage, just wars, invention, crafts, weaving and embroidery. According to Plato her name means Divine Intelligence.

ABOUT GODDESS

Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis the goddess of wisdom who was swallowed by Zeus while being pregnant (the oracle told him, ‘if Metis gives birth to a daughter, the girl’s offspring will dethrone you’). After a couple of months Zeus was suffering from huge migraines so he called his son Hephaestus and ordered him to chop his head with an axe (labrys). After some hesitation he did it and then a woman jumped out of Zeus head wearing a full armour and shouted like warrior so loudly that both heaven and earth started to shake. From the historical point of view Athena’s cult seems to originate in Libya where she was associated with Neith and her name appears before the one of Zeus at the palace in Knossos (Crete).

Athena was a devoted guardian of Hellenic heroes, a protectoress and a counsellor for Perseus, Hercules, Theseus, Jason, Achilles and Odysseus during their epic quests.  She was the goddess of war but considered as an act of defending territory, house and family rather than bloodshed itself which was the domain of Ares. She was also the goddess of knowledge but I would say rather knowledge based on logics and thinking rather than inner feminine wisdom coming from the inside which is symbolized by the Tarot arcane of High Priestess. Athena was the patroness of literature and art but again she was rather attracted to philosophy than music and singing. Her ingenuity has become legendary and she was considered to invent many useful tools, however her most blessed gift for the human kind was an olive tree. Poseidon and Athena both wanted Athens to be their city so they started a competition, Poseidon struck the rock with his trident and a spring sprang up while Athena planted an olive tree and thus won the city for herself*.

Athena remained a virgin and never got married. However, she took care of Erechthonius, the child that was conceived when Hephaestus was trying to rape her and the semen fell on Gaia. When Erechthonius grew up, he became the king of Athens.  Despite many features of character which are traditionally considered to be male such as rationality and bellicosity Athena was not free from vanity. Together with Aphrodite and Hera she wanted the title of The Most Beautiful and when Prince Paris of Troy attributed it to Aphrodite, she swore revenge to him and his city. This is why she was supporting the Achaean troops and was helping the Hellens any way she could. Even having all the knowledge and mental abilities she was unable to admit that she was wrong. When a mortal woman named Arachne challenged her to a duel in embroidering and won it by creating the scenes of gods enjoying carnal pleasures with mortal women, Athena torn the material with anger. Arachne could not stand such injustice and she hanged herself which eventually made the goddess realise what she has done. She brought Arachne back to life and changed her into a spider so that she could keep weaving (this is why the fear of spiders is called arachnophobia)**. She was not the only victim of the goddess, unsonsciously Athena brought bad luck to satyr Marsyas. She invented aulos (flute) but when she started playing, she noticed in the river that her cheeks seemed deformed so she cursed the poor instrument and threw it away. Marsyas found it and started to play, he soon developed such skills that he became famous and some even considered him to be the best musician in the world. This of course made Apollo the god of music very angry and he challenged Marsyas to a duel. The competition was so fierce that it remained unsettled for some time until eventually Apollo was announced to be the winner. Furious god flayed Marsyas alive. One of explanations for Tiresias’ blindness is the fact that he saw Athena bathing and  in anger she took away his physical sight but in return she gave him an inner sight with the ability to see the future.

Athena plays a major part in the myths involving Orestes. Orestes was the son of Agamemnon and  Clytemnestra who was just a child when his father sailed away to fight Troy. Clytemnestra was not much loved by her husband and was hurt many times so while he was away she found herself a lover Aegisthus  whom she has lived for many years with and whom she had children with. When Agamemnon came back from Troy bringing with him a captive Cassandra Princess of Troy who already bore his twins, Aegisthus and Clytemnestra decided to get rid of her husband whose revenge would be fatal for both of them. When Agamemnon was stepping out of bath, Clytemnestra entangled him in a cloth net and then Aegisthus came out of the closet and killed the king.

When Orestes grew up, his sister Electra started to incite him to take revenge on the murderes of their father (do you remember what is Electra complex?) and eventually he killed Aegisthus and his own mother.  This made The Erinyes, goddesses of vengeance persecute him constantly until being unable to have even one moment of rest he fell into madness.  The Delphic Oracle suggested coming to Athens and undergoing a trial before a court of law on the Areopagus hill. The trial turned into a discourse over who in fact is more important, mother or father. The prosecutors were The Erinyes and Apollo was the defender.  In his defense speech Apollo deprived motherhood of any significance stating that woman is only a passive soil in which man sows his seed. Thus Orestes’ crime is justified because father is the only respectable parent.  In the final verdict the amount of votes for and against the matricide was equal but eventually Orestes was found free of charges because the ultimate vote belonged to Athena and she was pro-Orestes.

Athena had many nicknames. The most famous include Pallas (taken either from her Titan father in an alternative version of her origin or from her companion whom she accidentally killed and took her name as the sign of grief), Parthenos (‘Virgin’, the name of Parthenon in Athens come from this meaning), Promachos (‘the First Fighter’), Polias (‘of the city’, it shows her as the patron of various Hellenic cities and their civilization), Glaukopis (‘the Bright – Eyed’, a Homeric expression), Hippeia (‘Horse’, as the inventor of chariot) and Alea (she was worshipped under this name in Sparta and Arcadia).

In Rome Athena was named Minerva and she was venerated in so called the Capitoline Triad together with Jupiter and Juno. She was worshipped as Minerva Medica and had her temple on the Esquiline Hill; her celebration was called Quinquatrus and was taking place on March the 19th.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Athena’s main attributes are the Corinthian helmet, a spear and an aegis (shield). Aegis was a powerful weapon because the head of Medusa was placed on it (Medusa was one of three Gorgons, snakes were her hair and her eyes were turning into stone anyone who looked at her, she was killed by Perseus who cut her head off and gave it to Athena***). Her sacred animal was an owl and the plant attributed to her was an olive tree. She was traditionally depicted as a tall woman of classical facial features, majestic rather than beautiful. As Promachos she is depicted holding the small statue of goddess Nike in her hand.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The card of Athena shows the woman who enters male dominated world (typically male jobs, power, etc).  She becomes similar to them neverthelss keeping the mask of a typical woman (Athena’s logical reasoning and courage are attributed to men in culture but her fondness of embroidery and weaving are considered to be typically female). She prefers male companionship than female one and her success does not open the gate for other women****.The card shows ambition, bravery, recognition, focusing on an aim and a victory gained thanks to the intelligence and ingenuity (heroes owe their triumphs to Athena’s advice and guidance).

In a deeper psychological layer this card shows a woman who identifies herself with father not mother (Athena jumped out of Zeus’s head not his heart; from the symbolic point of view head is attributed to man while heart represents feelings i.e. women’s world). Negative: this card shows lack of spontaneity, high self-control or even fear of inner self (Athena keeps her virginity, she refuses any contacts with emotions, love, carnality and passion, she destroys Arachne’s embroidery showing her relatives enjoying carnal pleasuers). Woman may be afraid to do sth spontaneous because she does not know in what way others would perceive her and she may ‘lose face’.  Personally I perceive Athena as a poor little girl without mother and self-confidence who needs to be assured she is beautiful and this does not happen, she swears vengeance to the mortal who claimed that the beauty of another goddess is bigger (but as I wrote that is my personal perception).

Profession: scientist, academic teacher escpecially in the fields requiring precise and logical thinking such as mathemathics, physics, architecture, philosophy etc, inventor, boss, soldier, police officer, judge, lawyer, court worker, municipal official, someone whose work involves strategy and logistics, weaver, taylor, embroidery person, athlete

Advice

In this situation follow your brain, not your heart. Consult an expert. You need further education or studies. If your question concerns promotion at work or passing an exam, this card suggests success.

Your thoughts are your spear and shield, they help you to concentrate on your aim and to protect you from negative influences. Be courageous and do not hesitate to use your brain as your weapon.

You may behave as someone overwise and too quick to judge. Beware of haughtiness. Look closely before you take someone’s side.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: either the time for marriage or divorce. Strong position of a woman in a relationship. Guidance of a woman. Possessiveness. Complexes. Lack of emotional commitment in the relationship. Jealousy. Problems with women. Attempt to buy someone’s love. Calculating.

If you are single: a woman who feels very well in a male companionship but does not want to get involved. Complexes. Problems with acceptance of your body. Showing yourself as strong but feeling insecure inside. Following the advice of your brain, not your heart.

Finances

In the matter you are inquiring about the legal aspect is involved. Consult a lawyer or an educated person.  You may need further studies or courses. Introduce innovations in your work. Be active and do not fear challenges. In case of any discord, try to arrange a settlement first.

Health

Consult a doctor, this card suggests a specialist or a clinic. Migraines. Mental health. Endangered parts of the body: head and all its organs.

CARDS

Athena is a very important goddess and she appears in every deck I have come across.

Athena in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky (as Minerva)

Athena in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Athena in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Athena in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Athena in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Athena in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Athena in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Athena in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Athena in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Athena in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Athena in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (as Athena Glaukopis)

Athena in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

Athena in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

Athena in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock (and as Minerva on the second card)

Athena in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Athena in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

I am a bit confused by the image of Athena in the deck of Doreen Virtue. She is pretty and the message simple and clear, You know what to do. Trust your inner wisdom, and take appropriate action without delay. I agree that knowledge is Athena’s feature but it concerns the process of thinking itself as well as sense and logics while this message speaks about intuition and subconsciousness which is rather connected with goddesses possessing creative and magical abilities (my personal match for such message would be Sophia or Isis).

Athena in Ascended Masters by Doreen Virtue

Athena in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs (as Minerva)

Athena  in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Athena in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Athena is very adequately paired with the Major Arcane of Emperor in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano. The card of Emperor is the strongest male energy in Tarot.

In The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr Athena represents the Arcane of Justice probably because the court in her city of Athens was situated on the Areopagus hill.

*There is evidence that Athena was venerated in Athens from the very beginnings of the city.

** It is believed that this myth does not come from the original Hellenic mythology but was added in the Roman era.

***There are various different explanation why was Medusa a monster. Most myths claim that all the Gorgons belonged to the first generation of gods, but in the Roman versions Medusa was initially a beautiful priestess of Athena who was raped or seduced by Poseidon. When the goddess caught them in her temple, she was so enraged that she changed Medusa into a monster (this version comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses). The myth of Medusa is the base for many psychological interpretations including Sigmund Freud’s theory associating the punishment of Medusa with Athena’s hidden conflict with her father or the fact that Medusa might be Athena’s Shadow i.e. the dark part of personality that we prefer not to show to the world (for more information check this site and this blog). It must be also said that Medusa is a chtonic (Underworld) goddess closely associated with the symbol of serpent so killing her by a male hero led by male-like goddess is somehow symbolic.

****Margaret Thatcher is a modern example of Athena’s energy.

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves and Wikipedia.

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

Goddess of the moon*, hunting, mountains, forests and wild nature, protectress of the Amazones, maidens and virgins.

ABOUT GODDESS

Artemis was a daughter of Zeusa and Leto and a twin sister of Apollo. Leto being Zeus’ lover drew the wrath of Hera his wife and the guardian of women in labour that was why the children could not come to the world for nine days and nights.  When Leto finally bore her first child it was Artemis who then helped her mother to deliver her twin brother.

Artemis never got married. She remained a virgin and she expected the same from her female companions (usually nymphs) who she was spending time hunting and hiking. She was an extremely vindicative goddess whose arrows cause diseases and pierce anyone who who had the misfortune to expose themselves to her. This is what happened to the children of Niobe, the mother of seven sons and seven daughters, who dared say openly that she had more offspring than Leto. Artemis killed Niobe’s daughters and Apollo her sons.That was also the case of Orion, a famous hunter, to whom she sent scorpion to bite him because he was competing with her in discus throw (according to another version of a myth she punished  him because he was pursuing her nymphs and yet another says that when Apollo noticed that his sister is falling in love with a handsome hunter he decided to protect her virginity and made her accidentally kill him). One way or another both Orion and the scorpio were shifted to the firmament and the same happened to Callisto (Kallisto), her companion who fell victim to Zeus’ desire. When she became pregnant, the goddess transformed her into a female bear and baited her dogs on her. Callisto would have certainly died if not Zeus lifted her up in the nick of time and placed in the sky as a constellation of Ursa Major. Another victim of her rage was Actaeon, a mortal man who saw her nude while bathing in a mountain brook. She sent her own pack of dogs against him to tear him to pieces. Also Agamemnon the chief of the Achaeans caused her anger while their ships were heading to Troy.  The goddess caused calm sea and she demanded Iphigenia, his daughter as a sin offering so Agamemnon made her and her mother Clytemnestra come under the pretext of her engagement with Achilles. The most common version of the myth says that when the victim was about to be fulfilled, Artemis took the girl and brought her to Tauris (Crimea) where she became her priestess. She also sent a boar to devastate the areas surrounding the city of Calydon because King Oeneus omitted her during sacrifices. During the hunt for the boar  Atalanta one of her companions became the reason for a huge row which resulted in the death of Meleager, the king’s son.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Artemis’ symbols are a bow and arrows. Animals commonly associated with her include a bear, hunting dogs, wild fauna and a hind. One of Hercules’ labours was catching alive the Ceryneian Hind who was her sacred animal; a hind was so agile that it took the whole year to finally capture her, hinds were also harnessed to Artemis’ chariot.

When represented in paintings and sculpture Artemis does not usually wear a long chiton and peplos like other goddesses but a knee – length tunic instead to feel comfortable while running and hunting. 

Artemis and Acteon

The goddess was particularly worshipped in the mountainous and wild countries of Hellas such as Arcadia, Sparta, Laconia, Elis and the Taygetus Mountain. However her most famous temple was situated in Ephesus in Asia Minor where Artemis was identified with an ancient Asian goddess of fertility (more about it here and here). In Tauris humans were sacrificed to her.

Artemis of Efes

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

This card signifies a young girl or even a teenager. In her positive aspects she is independent, fit, strong and protective towards the ones she loves.  This person is friendly yet remains distant. Just like Persephone she has a strong bond with her mother and she finds support among other women but she tends to avoid men, relationships and engagement. As an archer she suggests concentration and focusing on an aim and avoiding distraction until you achieve it. In her negative aspects she is vindicative, does not forgive mistakes and it is better not to mess with her. Similarly to Athena Artemis keeps her virginity which may signify the fear of carnality and intercourse.

Advice

This card suggests help and advice from a sister, a female friend etc. It also informs you that you need more movement and excersises and it encourages you to spend time in wild nature (the modern version of Artemis’ activity would be extreme sports).  It is a positive answer to any questions involving sport activities or requiring competition.

Because of its association with the Moon it shows the whole spectrum of what is connected with it in culture, psychology and esoterics: intuition, emotionality, foreseeing the future, romanticism, fantasy, unconsciousness, ignorance, illusion, darkness, ambiguity, confusion, mystery, lies, gossip, self-deception, sorrow, tears, despair, pessimism, nervousness, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychosomatic illness, threats, mistaken action or passiveness, hidden issues which need to be explained, mental illness, hallucinations, somnambulism, nightmares, closing oneself off from others, running away from problems into the inner world, disease or drugs, sexual complexes, toxic relationship with a mother and other women.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: a strong influence of a woman on your relationship (a female friend, a mother,  a mother-in-law etc). A lot of emotions but usually hidden and unexpressed. Fears about future. Illusions. Hidden relationship.

If you are single: being single by choice. A pleasant company of the people of the same age. Secret longing for a partner.

Finances

Double check the documents you are going to sign. Do not be deceived by the outward appearance. Promises may not be fulfilled, do not take them for granted.

Health

Problems with body liquids flow, embolism, swelling. Sleep disorders. Coma. Depression, hallucinations and mental disorders. Addictions. Suicidal thoughts. Psychosomatic illness. Infectious diseases. Excessive use of drugs. You need more workout and movement. If you are a pregnant woman, this card suggest either a non-complicated labour  or the help of a competent woman. Endangered body parts: blood and lymph vessels, lymph nodes.

CARDS

A beautiful representation of Artemis in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Artemis in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky (she is portrayed here in an Amazone style)

Artemis in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Artemis in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Artemis in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé (as Diana)

Artemis in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Artemis in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Artemis, a hind&a leaning tower in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 A very ethereal and oniric image of Artemis in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews, volatile and delicate, it is lunar indeed rather than athletic; she is accompanied by a dog and some hares, symbols of fertility, but remember that despite being a midwife, she does not the goddess of fertility herself

Artemis in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

There is a strange situation in the deck by Doreen Virtue. The Hellenic and Italic goddesses are usually merged semantically while here we have the division into Artemis (Guardian) and Diana (Focused Intention). Artemis’ message is You and your loved ones are safe and spiritually protected while Diana says, Keep your unwavering thougths, feelings, and actions on your target, and you will make your mark. To be honest I do not think it was a good idea.

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

It is similar with Artemis&Diana in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took



 

 And in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock (first card is Artemis, th second one is Diana)

 Artemis in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

 Artemis in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Artemis in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

Artemis in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

 A warlike Artemis straight from a computer game in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

A military and modernised Artemis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Artemis wearing ballerina’s skirt in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan (but how can you use a bow and an arrow while hopping on one foot in the clouds? laughing1)

Artemis in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano where she is Knave of Swords (as Diana)

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle and The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr where she is naturally associated with Moon the eighteenth Major Arcane  (as Diana again).

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

*In the Hellenic and Italic mythology there are four deities connected with the sun and the moon:  Helios/Sol and Apollo (sun) and Selene/Luna and Artemis (moon). Helios and Selene had belonged to the Titans, the first generation of gods whose cult was later replaced with the Olympians Apollo and Artemis. Since then Apollo is sometimes identified with Helios and Artemis with Selene, however there is still a certain semantic division. Helios and Selene are the deities who are phisically related to the sun and the moon as they roll the stars over the firmament with their chariots while Apollo and Artemis are their patrons but they do not put them into motion themselves.