Persephone and The Very, Very Bad Deal
Let’s talk about myths. My favorite books explore the relationship between the power of myth and the motivations of man. Joseph Campbell did it best with The Hero With A Thousand Faces but there is an older publication called The Golden Bough by James George Frazier that also looks at the connections between myth, religion, and everyday life. For today, I’m going to delve into the Persephone story.
Here’s the deal. Persephone was a daughter of Zeus. As you know, Zeus was the king of the Greek gods and a bit of player. He had a bevy of friends-with-benefits type relationships with both gods and mortals – much to the concern of his wife, Hera.
Anyway, Zeus had a daughter named Persephone…. She was really sexy with a Summer of Love, hippie-chick vibe. In the age-old conundrum of Ginger versus Mary Ann, Persephone had the unheralded, simmering hotness of Mary Ann. Eventually Persephone caught the eye of Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Hades was so enamored with this tantalizing café latte of a woman that he carried her away to his underground palace. These days that kind of stunt will get you arrested quick, fast, and in a hurry. Obviously, Persephone wasn’t happy with the situation so she refused to eat. Instead she spent her time praying for Zeus to come and rescue her. Zeus apparently had other things to do. You know...things like maintaining the time-space continuum and cruising the online dating sites for more baby mamas. After a couple thousand years of praying, Persephone gave in to Hades and she consumed one little pomegranate seed. Yeah, that’s right…girlfriend ate one little seed from a pomegranate that Hades gave her. You are free to draw your own conclusions about the veiled meaning of Persephone taking in the seed of Hades. I didn’t make this story up. I’m just telling you what I heard.
So, Persephone had resigned herself to her fate. She had settled into the daily grind of being Consort Queen of the Underworld when suddenly up pops Zeus. The King of The Gods was all surly because Persephone hadn't waited longer for him. This despite the fact that he had taken several millennia to show up…. What else is a girl to do? Anyway, Persephone starts packing her bags and she tells Hades that he can kiss her rosy butt goodbye. Except, she can’t leave because – get this – the act of eating that one pomegranate seed was enough to forever bind her to Hades and to the underworld. Ain’t that messed up? Further, Zeus agrees to this travesty of justice. Probably because he wants to do whatever it takes to keep the highly unstable Hades from going all ticky, ticky, kaboom. As an appeasement, Zeus decrees that Persephone shall be given three months' freedom on the surface each year. Hades agrees to this…because Persephone was getting on his nerves every time he wanted to watch the game. Persephone agrees to the deal because…well, she had no choice. She’s just an entry level goddess with zero management level seniority. So as part of her plea bargain Persephone spends three months of freedom on the surface. Legend says that those three months bring about our days of summer. That’s pretty much where the official narrative ends. Persephone playing house in the underworld for nine months and then kicking it freestyle on the surface for three months. Honestly, I’ve always had a problem with that setup. Admittedly, if you make a deal with The Devil then you gotta expect some ridiculously high interest rates…but come on. First of all, sister-girl made her agreement under duress. And it wasn’t even a written contract, just an implied verbal agreement. Second, I don’t believe for a minute that Zeus couldn’t take a fifteen minute lunch break and go pick up his daughter. Plus, that omnipotent deadbeat had a crew of heavy hitters that he could have sent for Persephone. Freakin’ Hermes could have zipped in there and got her home in a Flash…no pun intended Barry Allen fans. What about Apollo? You’re telling me Mr. Sun God Strut Muffin couldn’t go all Seal Team Six and rescue Persephone? Unless there was a Galactus level emergency in the Negative Zone, Persephone should not have spent more than one hour in the underworld. I’m just saying…. The whole Pantheon of the Gods knew exactly where Hades and Persephone were shacking up. But nary one of those rat bastards lifted a finger to go and help the sister. Instead, our girl Persephone had to improvise. What did she get for her trouble? A shotgun wedding and some jacked up probation, that’s what. Right here, right now…I’m saying it. Persephone got a bad deal.