By Carol S. Pearson.
When an executive at HarperElixir began talking with other people in the publishing world about Persephone Rising, several spontaneously exclaimed, “I am Persephone!” That led the two of us to wonder how many other Persephones are out there. I wrote Persephone Rising because #IAmPersephone, as well.
I invite you to watch and share this animated video that summarizes the essence of Persephone’s story:
If this is your path, please tweet, post, blog, or reply to my tweets, using the hashtag #IAmPersephone, so that your statement will be united with those of others. I also invite you to comment using the form below this blog. However you communicate, don’t hesitate to indicate how you are like Persephone in ways that differ from what I’ve shared, as well as in those that are similar. Your participation can help us all understand more fully how the Persephone archetype is being expressed in our time and supports her rising in today’s world.
Below are some example tweets as well as the rest of my blog post to learn more of Persephone’s story.
- I seek personal and professional fulfillment and opportunities to make a difference, learning as I go, so #IAmPersephone
- I have been abducted by love / by pregnancy / by ambition / by compassion & have grown from the resulting challenges & gifts #IAmPersephone
- My multiple roles are stretching my capacity, so I’m setting priorities saying yes to what most matters & no to much else, so #IAmPersephone
Have you ever felt abducted—metaphorically, at least? I know I have. I became interested in the Demeter and Persephone story that is the mythic basis for Persephone Rising when I felt abducted by grief, just as Demeter, in the story, felt when her daughter went missing, and when she later learned that Persephone had been abducted to the Underworld, the realm of the dead.
Like many today, my life has followed this pattern of abduction, growth, and rising, over and over again. I’ve been abducted to the inner Underworld by disappointment, grief, worry, defeat, and recognizing that the story I was living was not working for the situation I was in. I have then been challenged to go inward to find my footing again, so that I could rise like Persephone did.
I’ve also been abducted by love, as Persephone was—by romantic love, by motherly love, by friendship, by various causes and organizational visions, and by the call of spirit. I use the term “abducted” because almost always, I did not completely know what I was getting into. I have been seduced into situations I was not completely prepared for, which in life, for many of us, is an impetus to growth and change. And, the resulting multiple commitments left me struggling and stretching to fulfill my obligations and achieve my ambitions. In this process, I have sometimes felt trapped by either/or choices in which whatever decision I made would feel as if I were cutting off a part of myself. At best, a creative inspiration has guided me to find a way to be true to most aspects of myself while still having a manageable life. For me, as for Persephone, this required not always doing what others wanted from me, and having the fortitude to face any resulting consequences.
Understanding the relevance of Persephone’s story to your life today necessitates moving beyond its literal details to its symbolic archetypal meanings:
- The Goddess Persephone seems to be the right archetype not only for me, but also for many women in this exciting and challenging time, with Hades representing all the calls that seduce us into finding our right life and work. She is steadied by a connection to her deeper self, so that she can be adaptable, flexible, and risk-taking without losing her core identity. She carries deep wisdom within her, but she also has a light spirit that helps her easily speak her truth and act on it—hence the lightness of the video and many examples in Persephone Rising.
- The Underworld takes on many meanings—the realm of the dead in the story, or in modern life a soulless organization or marriage; a time of depression or anxiety, pulling us inward; the criminal underworld, where our collective shadow is acted out; the personal shadow we do not want to acknowledge that gets us into situations that require us to see our denied parts; and/or inner journeying in reflection, meditation, analysis, or psychotherapy that leads to transformation.
- Similarly, Zeus can represent any arrogant authority figure who disregards the desires and insights of women; the persistent inner or outer attitudes that undermine women’s options during today’s unfinished gender revolution; or a strong leader and administrator, who respects and learns from others.
- Demeter can be seen as a micromanaging, hovering mother/parent, a loving, courageous mom (or dad) who rescues her daughter, or a force who stands up to power and wins.
- Dionysus, Persephone’s child, can call us into frittering our lives away with meaningless frolic, learning to live life as a joyous dance, and/or experiencing the joy of being deeply connected simultaneously with ourselves and with others around us.
Persephone integrates her father’s confidence, her mother’s care, and her child’s love of life with her own unique qualities. These supporting archetypes also have assisted me with the tasks of leading, being a mother, and relaxing into having a good time, even as Hades has lured me into explorations of my inner life and Persephone has equipped me to be flexible and adaptive, at least when my values are not being violated.
To gain more information about Persephone, watch the #IAmPersephone video and share with the hashtag #IAmPersephone to tell the world your story! Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within is available October 13, 2015. To order the book, follow a link from the Persephone Rising page of my website.