Jeffrey had a fascinating post the other day on Persephone’s willingness to go into the underworld of her own free will. I’m looking forward to debating Jeffrey soon on the rulership of Ceres (he says Virgo, I say Cancer) but I’m still looking for my Demetra George book. Meanwhile, check out this excerpt (I added paragraphs to make it easier to read):
Pluto was originally a female deity, but when the matriarchalists were subjugated, was changed to a male, although the powers and attributes remained pretty well intact. Pluto as a female deity was a Crone aspect of a chthonian, deep-earth Mother Goddess. She ruled underground wealth, mines, magick, deep mysteries, death and spirits of the dead, initiation and transformation. Persephone was a Maiden Goddess, daughter of Demeter the Earth-Mother, who ruled fertility, the fields, crops, and agriculture.
Now consider that when Persephone left her mother to go down to Hades/Tartarus, the underworld, it was of her own free will. She voluntarily left her Mother to study with the Crone the things which were in her sphere of influence. She went to study, in brief, magick. And she was initiated into the Mysteries and underwent a transformation. This was symbolized by the eating of the pomegranate and her need to spend a portion of each year in Hades/Tartarus. Once she was an initiate, she was bound to pay homage for all she had learned, and to presumably spend a certain amount of time studying and broadening her knowledge, and hopefully attaining higher levels on initiation, eventually becoming One with the Crone in knowledge and understanding.
Yes, Demeter suffered from loneliness because of the loss of her daughter, but both benefitted from the transformation and knowledge gained. And this may be a myth explaining the true reason for winter — a time to study, to go within and explore the mysteries of life, death, the cycle of the seasons, and renewal. The Maiden returns each spring and life renews itself, but the Maiden is more wise and tempered by her sojourn into the underworld, and the secret knowledge she has gained. Eventually there is little difference between Maiden, Mother, and Crone — all are aspects of the same Great Goddess. And that is the deepest Mystery of all.