Sunday, February 9, 2014

Artist's Sunday #2: Re-kindling Persephone

Been awhile since the White Fox did Artist's Sunday. The blogging life often gets superseded by other things. The holiday season was... taxing, and time- and energy-consuming. So, apologies, dear readers, but here we go again!

Since childhood, your White Fox has been fascinated by mythology and folktales. My favorite stories to read were the Greek myths of Persephone, Hephaestus, Artemis & Orion, the Graces, the Muses... well, you get the idea. There was a phase of obsession with unicorns - and not fluffycorns, by the way - the old stories, the real stories of unicorns that would rip you open with that horn of theirs unless there was a virginal maiden nearby to calm him. I checked about a dozen old books about unicorns from the library that summer and read, and read, and read... these days, however, I'm convinced the unicorns were just randy old goats...

*ahem* I have always adored and been obsessed with dragons of all shapes and sizes. As I grew, I discovered other mythos - the Celtic stories of the Warrior-Queen of Connacht, Cu Chulainn, the Morrigan, Arawn, Arianrhod, the Cailleach, Cerridwen, Bloduwedd, Rhiannon & Llyr, the Tuatha de Danaan, Lugh... other tales, such as the stories of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, or Amaterasu, or Inari and his kitsune, or the Jade Emperor, ancient /Mesopotamian mythos, such as Inanna, Ishtar & Ereshkigal, Enlil, Gilgamesh & Enkidu (which she's actually been fascinated with because of an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Extra points if you can name the episode...). The Egyptian mythologies, too, of course... like the story of how the gods had to get Sekhmet drunk on blood-wine to get her to stop taking her job too seriously and slaughtering all the humans. Most recently it's been a fascination with the Phoenix, and re-kindling of Persephone...

This Artist's Sunday is dedicated to Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.

She was born to Zeus and Demeter, and was beautiful, and much-loved by everyone, gods and humans alike. Even Hades could not deny her beauty, and he also loved her, so much that he opened the earth one day and stole her away while she was collecting flowers on the plain of Enna. He was so quick that no one but Zeus and Helios, the all-seeing god of the sun, noticed.

Demeter's heart was broken, and she wandered the earth searching for her daughter, until finally Helios revealed what Hades had done. The grieving mother was so angry that she withdrew herself from the earth, causing the earth to cease to be fertile (fecund...). Zeus took action, knowing that this infertility could not continue, and sent Hermes to Hades, to make the god of the Underworld release Persephone.  Hades agreed, but not before he had given Persephone a pomegranate. Eating from the pomegranate bound her to the Underworld, and she is forever fated to live there for one-third of every year. The rest of the year, she lives with her mother, Demeter, and there is joy and life in the earth.

When Persephone must return to the Underworld, Demeter refuses to let anything grow. This is how winter came to the world.

Some say she loved Hades in return, and ate the pomegranate seeds on purpose, so she could be with him, and Demeter would still allow the earth to grow. Personally, I prefer this version of the tale, but I'm a hopeless old romantic at heart...

And now a little more eye candy for your savoring, before I sign off on this Artist's Sunday:

Live, Love, and Make Art
Ever Yours,
the Artful White Fox


  1. Unicorns? Molly Grue is my Mary Sue, which is why I have a weakness for young wizards. I love that pomegranate stuffed full of garnets (are they garnets?) and the note card. I always thought the pomegranate's connection to blood/death/sex/birth made them a better contender for a kind of forbidden fruit.

    They're freakin' expensive here in Arkansas, though. Why is that?

    Are they hand-carried in silver basket by oiled Nubian warriors, all the way from Hades itself?

  2. What a wonderful selection! I've been lusting after one of Eliora's Athames for a very long time!