Persephone's Dance

by S.J. Albertini-Bond © 2002

I am free.

I am gone from that blasted place. From hearing the people beg and beg. And for what? For more -- that's what they want always -- more and more and more. "More rain. We need more rain for the fields." Or worse yet, "We've had enough rain. Now we need your sun."

Didn't they realize? There was a balance to it all -- if they stopped their whining they'd see it. But no, they need to beg, nay, to demand what they think is theirs. Don't they realize that their right is not dictated by their mewling but by what is Gaia's and hers alone.

Of course they don't realize it. The simpering fools -- they don't know when they've incurred Zeus' wrath, let alone the delicate balance that is life. No, they cry to the heavens and try to shame the gods and goddesses.

And my mother, my mother the Mistress of the Fields, the Goddess of the Crops, the Giver of Food, is there to dispense at her discretion. "Oh Demeter, come and bless our fields," they'd beg. Those Grecians make it sound like they are fighting for the honor of having a goddess amongst them. But they're not, not really. They're looking for bragging rights, they are.

And it was my job, as dutiful daughter, to go with her. To listen to the pleas, the cries, the whines, and all the nonsense. To go field after field, to family after family, and hear the same damn whines. As if each were special -- as if no one else had those cares or worries.

Then Hades -- my uncle, my would-be-lover -- took me at dusk. The land opened up and in I went into the hole -- down and down until I was alone with the man who would shape my destiny. I thought I was dead -- is that not what the Lord of the Underworld does? But nay, he was taking me as his consort. And yes, I cried -- the River Styx alone would make people want to shed their skin, let alone tears.

So my mother, for the first time, left the fields and went back to Olympus. She cried such tears that the lands flooded, for the tears of a goddess will cleanse the land and it can destroy. She meant to do both. She meant to punish the people -- for she knew their bleating grated on me so. My mother thought I abandoned her willingly and so she struck down on them with the vengeance that only a grieving mother can do.

Then she turned on them -- and that was worse. At lease with the rivers of pain from her eyes, they knew she was still theirs. But her ignoring them-that struck them deep. They knew not what to do -- were they abandoned? Were they finally left on their own after all that time being supported by Demeter?

Helios, the sun, knew that no matter how bright he shone, it would do no good to the Grecians. And he too tired of their whines. So he whispered in my mother's ear what he'd seen as he turned in for the night. He told her of my falling, falling so deep into the netherworlds that it was doubtful that I'd survive.

And so with her vengeance aimed at a new target, my mother stormed into Mount Olympus and demanded from my god, my protector, and my father -- Zeus -- to have me come home. At first he shrugged off her request until he realized that the heavens are in a balance with the lands. My mother denying the people their foods meant she denied the gods and goddesses their offerings. She could hold their egos in the palm of her hands until Zeus got me back.

So my father sent the messenger after me. Perhaps he feared what his brother would do -- what torments of the damned he'd release unto us all. But the Lord of all Anguish knew better than to fight the God of All. Instead he tossed me a pomegranate, and kissed my hand, whispering, "My darling, never forget your realm here."

As I went back, I ate the fruit. And in doing so, I bound myself to Hades forever. My mother was so angry when she learned -- for now I was truly not hers totally. It was then that I saw that I was her savior and she would have me suffer the indignities of the mortals to keep her company. It was humiliating -- to be nothing more than a distraction.

But she was my mother -- my own giver of life-the one who had risked so much for me. How could I deny her when she denied so many for me?

So it was agreed -- I walk with her during harvest and then I go to my Underworld on Winter Solistice. My mother had me for most of the year, but for some of it I return to Hades and to the life of the places most do not mention.

And now, I am here. The souls of the damned dead anguish here in this forgotten world. Their cries come out, but here I can ignore them, here I can -- no I am encouraged -- to ignore them and peruse my own desires. I do not have it forever, but for this brief time, I am one with the dark.

So now I dance. For this is my holiday.

I am free.

For now.

x x x

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