When I was in 4th grade, I made a discovery. I found a book of Greek myths that had been my mother’s textbook in highschool. It was filled with the most wonderful stories about gods and goddesses and heroes galore. I loved that book and read it cover-to-cover more times than I can count.
One of the myths that I remember the most vividly is the one about Persephone. Persephone was the young, beautiful daughter of Ceres (the goddess of crops and the harvest). Hades (god of the underworld) saw her one day and fell in love. So he stole Persephone and took her to his home; the dark glittering underworld, where he married her. Two things happened as a result. Persephone did not like her new home and started a hunger strike. Her mother mourned the fact that her daughter was missing and wandered the earth leaving it fallow as she walked. Zeus (king of the gods) got wind of what was happening and he convinced Hades to give Persephone back to her mother. Hades acquiesced, with the provision that Persephone must have remained on her hunger strike during her entire stay with him. It turned out that she had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds. So it was agreed that Persephone would live 6 months of each year with Hades and 6 months above ground with her mother. Now it is said that each year Ceres mourns the absence of her daughter and we have winter, but each spring Persephone comes back to life from death and Ceres blesses the earth with new life.
Persephone is the immortal visage of spring; young, beautiful, nubile and bursting with life. I think of her each year when the calendar winds around to April-ish. She will return to her mother soon and we will have new life in abundance after the cold empty winter months.
I’ve always thought that it’s interesting that Easter falls in April(ish) each year. The ancient Greeks had Persephone and we have Jesus. The timeline is different with Jesus. He only spent 3 days in the underworld. And because he was fully human, he actually died on the cross bearing the weight of all of our sin. And His renewal, his resurrection, signifies new life for all of us.
This year in particular I find myself hopeful as the dark days of Lent spin themselves out and we approach Easter. It’s been a long, dark winter for me as I found myself battling a recurrence of major depressive disorder (complete with increased anxiety and panic). I’m hoping that as the weather turns and I get my brain focused back in that the new life of spring and Jesus will bring me back to myself. Here’s to spring. Here’s to new life.
This post is part of the March 2014 Synchroblog – New Life. Check out the links below for some great reading on the subject:
Michael Donahoe – New Life
K.W. Leslie – Sin Kills; God Brings New Life
Carol Kuniholm – New Life. Mystery Fruit.
Jeremy Myers – I Get Depressed On Facebook
Glenn Hager – A Personal Resurrection Story
Loveday Anyim – Spring Forth – Ideas That Speak New Life
Loveday Anyim – Inspired By Spring To Create A New Life
Sarah Quezada – Post Winter Delight
Edwin Aldrich – Finding New Life In Our New Home
Doreen A. Mannion – Each Day A New Decision: Choose Life
kathy escobar – new life through nonviolent communication
Anita Coleman New Life, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Eternal Living
Mallory Pickering New Life Masterpiece Theater Style
Liz Dyer New Life, Empowerment and Dropping Keys