While picking flowers one day, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades (the god of the Underworld) to be his wife. Her mother, Demeter, was driven into grief and because of neglect or vengeance did not permit anything to grow on earth. Hungry and frightened people everywhere cried out to the gods to do something. So Zeus sent Hermes to retrieve Persephone from the Underworld, but before Hermes got to her, Hades tricked Persephone into eating several pomegranate seeds, which bound her to return to the Underworld for a few months each year. Thus when Persephone, Demeter’s golden daughter of light and innocence, is down in the Underworld with her husband Hades, the world knows the winter of Demeter’s grief. Another name for Persephone is Kore (KOH-ray), which simply means “girl” or “maiden” in Greek. This name for her is primarily invoked when telling this story of her kidnapping, as she is meant to represent all that is innocent and lovely, as a maiden is before she is “defiled” by Hades. Or so go some versions of the story.
Like all myths, the abduction of Persephone has several variations and is an allegory for different life experiences, one being the story of a woman coming into her fertile power as she makes the transition from maiden to wife to mother. In most versions of the story, Persephone is taken against her will from her mother, has her innocence stripped from her, and is held prisoner in Hades. This is often portrayed as a tragedy, where poor Demeter and Persephone are apart and Persephone is in hell. But it is through the process of journeying through the Underworld that Kore, the naive girl, becomes Persephone, the queen.
Our own personal Underworld contains such dark creatures as Fear, Despair, Grief, and Powerlessness, but the Underworld is also home to Courage, Power, Ecstasy, and Clarity. You are asked to walk the road of Persephone during an eighth-house progression, to go down into your deepest self, into the Underworld, where the burial grounds of your old wounds and madness lie. We all have fears, not only common fears as part of the human experience but also personal fears that we have met on our journey in this world. What scares you also traps you, and you will find your greatest strength and your truest power waiting to be recovered from these depths. As you go into this intense inner world, you have one question to answer: are you the prisoner or the queen?
Read more in Astrology of the Moon by Amy Herring