Return of the Goddess

Feast of the Return of the Goddess (Persephone/Kore)
(March 25)

Flood rises — and the waters bear her up,
out of unknown caves, through a hidden lake.
Earth quickens as her first tentative step;
meadow flowers whisper, “awake, awake!”
Grasses spring up, pushing between her toes.
Frozen ground turns to mud beneath her heel.
Once-sleeping blossoms blow open like eyes.
Delicate petals unfurl on the rose.
Pond awakens with carp, sunny and eel,
shattering the last of its winter guise.

Maiden meets her mother beneath apples.
Aromatic blooms incensing bright air.
Leaves shadow ground with Sun-and-shad dapples.
Wind tremors and shimmers goddesses’ hair.
How tight, how fierce, how loving that embrace!
First since abduction, first since divine threat.
No words spoken as nature rejoices.
Yet deep sorrow appears on mother’s face
to see her daughter with eyes and cheeks wet—
and six seeds clutched tight: the maiden’s choices.

Maiden proves Mother, and Mother ages;
youth renews earth, and Earth becomes older.
Wind lashes orchard as crone rages.
Breeze-borne petals scatter, turn brown, moulder,
and leave a place where apples may grow ripe.
Life arises only where death walked by,
as plough-wounded ground is healed by new grain.
Thus goddess, returning, shows a new shape,
and Mother and Daughter both laugh and cry
at rising of daisies, and falling rain.

The tale goes that when Hades released Persephone, he sent her along an underground river from Hades to a lake in Sicily. Hence, Sicily is called Persephone’s Island — fitting for a tremendously fertile island wracked by a history of violence and death.

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