Hades and Persephone "Hades Takes a Wife"
|"Hades Takes A Wife" Rust print on vintage linen over panel, 36 x 28 in.
Hades ruled the Underworld alone and desired a Queen to rule with him. He fell in love with Persephone but knew Persephone’s mother Demeter, goddess of harvest and fertility, would never consent to his proposal. So, Hades appealed to a higher power, his brother Zeus (Persephone’s Father) who agreed to the union but foresaw Demeter’s objections. Together they decided Hades would steal Persephone from her mother.
One day while Persephone picked meadow flowers a cavern opened at her feet and Hades took her down, down to his Underworld Kingdom. Demeter frantically searched the world for her lost daughter but of course she was no longer of the world. Eventually she discovered what had really happened but refused to accept Persephone’s fate. Enraged she roamed the earth in mortal guise, forbidding trees to bear fruit or fields to yield grain.
Zeus realized that if he allowed Demeter to persist, all of humankind would starve so he summoned Persephone back from the Underworld. Hades appeared to acquiesce but insured Persephone’s return to him by giving her seeds from a pomegranate to eat. Anyone who tastes the food of Hades must remain in the Underworld and since she had eaten the seeds, Persephone had to dwell at least part of every year with Hades.
Each Winter when Persephone is in the Underworld, Demeter mourns and the earth lies fallow and unproductive. Each Spring when Persephone returns to her mother, Demeter rejoices and the earth flowers and is fertile once again.
Persephone’s descent to and return from the Underworld could also represent a vision of eternal life and triumph over death; symbolic of transformation and the cyclical nature of life. One's existence did not end with death because there was no death; there was only change from one state of being to another.
Please check out "Hades Takes A Wife" in my studio, stop #5, on the 2017 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour, December 2-3 & 9-10 (Saturdays and Sundays) 10am to 4pm.