Meeting Persephone

On March 23rd, 2023, Pluto entered the sign of Aquarius for the first time after a long stay in Capricorn. As my curiosity was piqued, I embarked on a little trip into cold celestial bodies. I quickly found myself in the land of the Roman and Greek gods while researching the stars.

Early history
Greek and Roman mythology portray Pluto and Hades as gods of the underworld. Both the Roman and the Greek rulers of the underworld were driven by the same deep desire: The Roman Pluto, a brother of Zeus, wanted Proserpina and the Greek Hades asked Zeus to mediate a conversation with Persephone’s mother, since he planned to marry her daughter. Due to Zeus’ knowledge that Demeter would not freely give her daughter in marriage to the god of the underworld, he had no interest to intervene in all these matters. Zeus shrugged his shoulders, explaining to his brother that he could take Persephone without Demeter’s approval. As the societal structures of the time changed, so did the well-known prehistory, resulting in much of it being altered from its original form.

Known as a daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone plays a prominent role in Greek mythology. Ancient Greek mystery cults celebrated Persephone’s return to the upper world as a symbol of nature’s reawakening. There exists a great deal of mystery surrounding ancient civilizations, whose practices date back to 1500 B.C. Chr. These ceremonies revolved around three central themes: descent and fall, sacrifice and fasting, transformation and the return of light and new life. Ancient fertility cults were brought to Greece via Crete, from Egypt. It is assumed they were associated with the goddesses Isis and Gaia. Sacred stories of mother and daughter have existed long before the Judeo-Christian idea of a divine father and son.

In Greek mythology, Persephone or Kore, the daughter of Demeter, symbolizes the new blooming of the harvest. It was during the fall of the year that only women in early Greece observed this significant ceremonial fertility ritual. Eventually, the cult reached Rome via Sicily, where Demeter and Persephone were worshipped as Ceres and Proserpina.

Originally known as Kore in her early stages of development, Persephone represents the youthful, vivacious, and enchanting goddess of spring. Demeter, her mother, loved and protected her until Hades, Persephone’s uncle and ruler of the underworld, abducted her and brought her to his domain. Note that no reference to rape or kidnapping is found in the original cult of Demeter and her daughter, nor in the traditions that preceded their mythology. This element was only present in the Olympic version of the myth introduced later in history. As recounted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a story dating back to the seventh century BC, Persephone was abducted into the underworld and subsequently forced into union with Hades.

The portrayal of Persephone as a kidnapped and raped victim is a dominant interpretation in her transformation, but it is believed that it only gained popularity after the shift from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society occurred. Historical records indicate that violence and rape were not part of the original story.


How did the story unfold? One day Hades, Persephone’s uncle, emerged out of a crack in the ground and swept the young maiden away to the underworld as she was playing peacefully in a meadow and picking flowers. As has already been mentioned, there are reports of violence and rape. Her ascension to the throne of the dead as the goddess of the underworld was not accompanied by ritual or elaborate celebration. Due to the loss of her daughter, Demeter allowed the earth to wither and no fruit to grow for a long period of time. Eventually Zeus, the king of the gods, was turned to, and a compromise was reached after much back and forth. Hades reluctantly released Persephone for part of the year, but not before giving her pomegranate seeds, the fruit of the dead, to ensure Persephone had to return to the underworld. Due to Persephone’s consumption of these seeds, she was obligated to descend into the underworld each winter. This symbolized nature’s retreat from nature during the winter months. Upon Persephone’s return to earth, spring blossomed once more, and nature flourished once more. That concludes the well-known version.

Another variant of this narrative is far less well known and refers to the myth prior to social changes from matrilineal to patriarchal structures. Mother and daughter are pictured enjoying a happy and carefree time, the grain grows every year, surrounded by the magic of Demeter, and seeds grow, nourished by the underworld. The two women were united in a soulful connection until Persephone became aware of the existence of wandering and lost souls.

In order to bring help, blessings, and salvation to the dead, Persephone decides of her own accord to begin her journey into the world of the dead. According to this version of the story, Persephone is portrayed as an independent individual. Her decisions are based on what she feels in her heart.


Despite Demeter’s desire to prevent her daughter from going to the realm of the dead, she was unable to prevent her from cutting the umbilical cord. Persephone returns to earth after spending a long time in service to the underworld. The sprouting and blooming of spring flowers at Demeter’s feet heralded her return. In response to her inner calling, Persephone returned to the realm of the dead following the annual grain harvest in order to continue serving the souls of the dead.

Persephone and her mother Demeter were central figures in the Eleusinian Mysteries, a religious tradition that dates back to the Mycenaean period (ca. 1400-1200 BC). Similarly to the myth of Inanna-Ereshkigal in Sumerian culture, crossing the underworld signifies change and transformation in the cyclical course of life. As the wheel of life turns, there is a constant and eternal coming and going, dying and being born of all there is on earth. In a symbolic sense, this also applies to individuals who experience life-changing transitions, illnesses, or intense suffering and pass through the gates to the underworld in their own individual way as a result of such events. It is not uncommon for Greek deities to assume multiple identities in ancient times. This can be seen in the goddess Persephone, Demeter, and Hekate (the elder self of Demeter). It is believed that these three faces and stages of spiritual development were worshipped together as a whole in presence of one Goddess.

The curiosity I had about Pluto led me to return to old myths in my search for information about the planet. At the end, it might be appropriate to mention what Pluto represents in astrology. As a result of a journey into the underworld, we may experience a transformation regarding our actual death. We may also experience a shift in how we perceive and experience ourselves due to deep shadows entering our lives. The realm of shadows is something we are forced to encounter by fate, in its own way. In this respect, it is no coincidence that Pluto symbolizes transformation and the power of deep change, and that it carries powers beyond moral judgment. Certainly, it is no coincidence that as a planet, it stands for the power of transformations we as humans inevitably undergo through crises. It also stands for the dissolution of mental and spiritual entanglements. Our healing powers emerge through the dying of old structures, bringing us a bit closer to our truth by awakening the dormant energy of our soul to the surface.

Readings further in depth: “Die verlorene Göttin”, Birgit Weidmann, “Lost Goddesses of Early Greece”, Charlene Spretnak, “Inanna – Gilgamesch – Isis – Rhea”, Heide Göttner-Abendroth