|Proserpine is Rossetti's version of the beautiful Persephone.|
"Come now Shadow Seeker; listen to my dark secrets in the whispering voice of the autumn wind. I, who hold the keys to the dark tower of your dreams can also unlock the greater mysteries of your heart. Here in the sublime sanctuary of my Underworld realm the darkness sighs for you."
Persephone lifts an ornate lantern and lights the candle within. “At the center of all things is the light of all lights; the light of spirit and the light of hope.”
A large black moth flies from the darkness to the light of the lantern. You watch fascinated, as again and again the moth makes for the lantern, beating its wings against the filigree pattern. In one quick movement Persephone reaches out and gently catches hold of the moth. It sits peacefully upon her open hand and you take a closer look at its beautiful dark markings.
“Light any spark in the dark and the moth will come, for he is eternally drawn to the darkness; the deeper, denser shadows beyond the pool of light. As he struggles to reach the shadow side of candlelight he exhausts himself, constantly striving to attain an illusion and reach his dark goal. But of course the moth will never reach this denser shadow... except in his own demise.
Human nature is very similar in that you have a tendency to believe that circumstances are somewhat blacker then they really are. You forget to see the light and neglecting to seek its warmth and comfort, you are burned by sorrow. Remember then that it is in the darkest days that you should look to the light, not to the shadows beyond.” Persephone blows gently on the moth and it flies away into the night.
"Fear not the dark nights of the soul when the weight of melancholy presses down upon you…if you will but step forth into the shadow-scapes of nature you will discover your night vision and come to see the gentle truths behind Life’s harsh trials. Embrace the Darklore and allow your heart to release the ruby tears of past pain. Only then will your spirit be free to pursue your own Gothic fairytale, for who knows what may happen in the enchanted Shadow Lands that lie beyond ‘happy ever after’?"
I have always been drawn to the goddess Persephone and her mythology. The story tells how Hades, god of the Underworld, saw Persephone picking flowers in a meadow and became infatuated with her. Hades abducts Persephone, dragging her down into his dark realm, forcing her to be his queen and tricking her into eating the seeds of a pomegranate (the fruit of the Underworld) in order to bind her to his dark world. But Persephone is goddess of springtime and without her the world falls into decay.
Eventually Persephone's mother Demeter goes to see Hades’ brother, Zeus, demanding that he intervene and make his brother return Persephone to her duty as maiden of spring. Because Persephone has eaten the pomegranate seeds she is bound to the Underworld, so a compromise is reached wherein Persephone returns to the Earth and to her mother for six months of the year, maintaining her role as spring goddess, but each autumnal equinox Persephone must go back to her husband and take up her crown as Queen of Death and the Underworld for the next six months, giving the Earth over to autumn and winter as Demeter mourns this annual loss of her daughter.
On the surface this would seem to be a simple myth told to explain the cycle of the four seasons, but Persephone’s story is full of dark themes being overcome; abduction, trickery, betrayal, possessiveness, violation, rape, brainwashing manipulation, control, loss of innocence/ignorance and apparent powerlessness. But Persephone is far from powerless and in the end, after all her trials, she becomes more powerful than she was before as Persephone is now both the beautiful Maiden Goddess of Spring and also the Dark Goddess of the Underworld. She carries both light and dark within her and this is what makes her so beguiling.
I believe that most women go through their own 'Persephone Years' ...those periods in life when some difficulty must be overcome; betrayal confronted; deception brought to light and enemies faced and conquered. Our Persephone Years are those phases of sorrow, loss and sadness, which may come from divorce, illness, bereavement etc. The trick to keeping positive is to realize that Persephone's story is a teaching myth...in the darkest time you are transformed to become stronger, more beautiful and more powerful than ever. If you are struggling through such issues let Persephone be your guide with the meditation above...allow her to help you ascend back into the light, not as a vulnerable young women, easily manipulated and taken advantage of, but as a powerful Queen of great fortitude.