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Mabon: Journeying With Persephone

By Natalie Hartier

As we enter the season of autumn, we have the opportunity to take a long and fruitful journey with the goddess Persephone. She is quite the intriguing lady. As bringer of spring and Queen of the Underworld simultaneously, she is paradox incarnate. She helps us to find balance in the many roles of our lives, and also to strike out on bold and daring new paths.

Traditionally the story of Persephone is quite dark and violent, and paints the goddess as more of a victim than a strong young woman with opinions and desires of her own. The tale is usually told in such a way that Persephone is innocently picking wildflowers with her mother, the harvest goddess Demeter, when she is snatched away by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Varyingly referred to as her “kidnapping” or even her “rape” in these tales, Persephone is taken against her will to be Hades’ bride, and then tricked into consuming the food of the underworld, thereby trapping herself there.

Would we not expect a bit more from a goddess? Ellen Dugan, in Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon, finally sets the story straight by showing how Persephone might have had a bit more choice in the situation.

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