Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Demeter, Mother Goddess

Mother Goddess at Goddess Harvest Festival at Artemis, Franschhoek


Demeter was the prominent Mother Goddess. She presided over all forms of reproduction and renewal of life, especially that of plant life. She is a goddess of fecundity, fertility and regeneration.She has a mystical identity with her dark underworld sister, the Queen of the Dead, she gives birth to a Divine Son, who remains her youthful consort rather than becoming a husband or mature equal.

Symbol : sheaf of wheat, single ear of corn, flowers, the sacred pig and dolphin

The sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis was in active use for nearly two thousand year. In AD 396 it was destroyed by the Goths, followed by the men in black, the Christian monks. Her matriarchal consciousness was transmitted into the Virgin Mary by the Roman Catholics.
Demeter reminds us that not everything sacred belongs to the masculine heavens. She reminds us that to walk upon the earth as our sacred Mother and as the dwelling place of both goddesses and gods.
Demeter and Persephone (her daughter) symbolize the dynamic cycles of nature that occur within the body of the earth and through the mystical principle of correspondence, within the body of every woman.


Demeter, the Nurturer
She seems to have endless nurturing energy and seemingly selfless devotion to her children and family.
She lives for the other, loses herself in the other, it is the other that is her source of fulfillment, not herself.
Aphrodite is also ruled by love – love for the Beloved though – Demeter is ruled by love for the child.
The child is the child within, the maiden self, the needy husband, the dependent children.
Demeter is ruled by love.
(Aphrodite is ruled by love,
Athena and Artemis by ego fulfillment through independence
Persephone and Hera by power and
Hestia by spiritual fulfillment)

Demeter, the Mother
Demeter is fully identified with the role of mothering, to the exclusion of all other roles. She is so caught up in being a mother that she does not have time to pay attention to Aphrodite in her appearance, to Athena in her interest in worldly affairs, nor emotional and psychic growth through Persephone.
She is constantly giving out to children, husband and every stray friend in the vicinity.
Demeter, the Maiden

A part of Demeter, caught up in Kore (Persephone) never grows up. She hides in the underworld for the winter to escape from the world and its demands on her love and giving. This underworld is manifested as addictive, escapist attitudes, behaviours and relationships.

Demeter, the Wise Woman

In Demeter, the Wise Woman, she had healed the wounds and she understands that the primordial unity and love between mother and daughter and a solidarity among women reaches back into the fullness and timelessness of matriarchal consciousness.
This brings the aspect of immortality to women. Through generations, a bond is carried backwards and forward by mother and daughter.


The Separation

The symbolic separation between Demeter and Kore represents separation from one’s own innocence, from your maidenhood, from your very feminine essence. A deflowering takes place as the woman is initiated into marriage and sexuality.
The Homeric hymns tells about the moving of the earth and its opening beneath Kore’s feet – these symbolize her first bleeding and a new consciousness of her womanhood and the power of her womb.
Menstrual and gynaecological problems can be traced back to a woman’s awakening experience and her wounding through a patriarchal system and disconnection from a feminine consciousness.
Premenstrual symptoms have been classified as the Wise Wound, and in Jungian understanding, the inner masculine figure (the animus) represents the woman’s unconscious feminine power which has been suppressed by culture and society, thus leading to these symptoms.

Her inferiority complex

Society does not acknowledge the role of a fulltime mother. For a Demeter this re-wound her deep feelings of inferiority and spur her even more into sacrificing herself for others.

Her betrayal by a patriarchal society
In the patriarchal society, Demeter has been betrayed. The role of the matriarch has been lost and denigrated. She is no longer acknowledged as the wise and fruitful one – the roles of mothering and nurturing are no longer valued.

Her birth rights denied
Demeter has always filled the role of assisting with the labouring and birthing process. The number of ceasarian births have escalated the last decade. The woman’s right to be aware of her own body, its rythms and needs, have been denied her. No longer is she regarded as capable of giving birth to her own offspring and no longer are women allowed to surround her in this sacred process.


1. Maiden and flower – Demeter and Kore

2 . Mother and fruit – pregnancy and giving birth

3. the Wise Woman, the Crone – the inner psychology of menopause.

Hecate helps the mature Kore return from the underworld. Hecate is the wise woman, the crone, that Demeter becomes. Hecate, as crone and moon goddess oversees and integrates every aspect of Demeter’s transformation. She is the Triple Goddess herself. Demeter, as Kore, has to spend time in the underworld, in order to learn that she is not to become fully identified with the realm of psychic and emotional energy and become dependent on Persephone.

extracted from various works - credit to Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen for Goddesses in Everywoman

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