The goddess Demeter is often thought of as the only goddess on Mount Olympus who truly empathized with the human experience of suffering and grief, having experienced it fully herself. The most nurturing of all the goddesses, Demeter, whose name means “Grain Mother,” is the goddess of compassion and fertility. She is seemingly the most independent from male influence of all the Greek goddesses. Demeter is associated with the cultivation of the soil and therefore the abundance of the harvest. Romans equated Demeter with the goddess Ceres.
According to legend, Demeter fiercely defended her daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by her uncle Hades, the god of the Underworld. When her child vanished, Demeter wandered the planet ceaselessly in search of her. Her loss was so great, she decided to withhold the harvest, causing the plants to wither and die. Thus, the land became barren and bleak and the people starved.
So valuable were Demeter’s gifts, that Zeus (who after all was her father) freaked out and sought Persephone’s return. However, before she left, Hades tempted Persephone with a pomegranate (a symbol of fertility). She delighted on six tiny seeds, allowing Hades to have a slight say over her. Hence, it was decreed that she spend four months each year in the underworld. Imagine if she’d eaten more!
During these months of absence, Demeter grieves for her daughter and gives us winter. When her daughter is with her, Demeter allows things grow. This is why the goddess is intimately associated with the seasons, the cyclical dying and blossoming of nature.
The illustrious Demeter has many gifts to offer:
Love is Almighty
Demeter is the earth goddess/mother, representing maternal instinct, motherhood and nourishment. She is the archetypal single mother. She demonstrates a woman’s infinite ability to love and nurture. There is nothing more powerful than a mother’s love — the bonds are incredibly strong.
She also exemplifies a woman’s wonderful kindhearted nature. Ask yourself, are you nourishing your relationships with positiveness? Are you generous and giving or do withhold your love as a form of punishment? Do you cultivate your relations? Are you aware of your sacred power?
We nourish with love and understanding, and when we channel this powerful energy, our life grows and blossoms beautifully and abundantly. Not only does our life blossom, but the immediate world around us does too.
Perseverance is Genius
Demeter reminds us to stand firm for what is good and right, even in the face of adversity. As the saying goes, perseverance is genius. Determination pays off in the end, so keep on truckin’. Do not give up on your dreams and goals — we must plow to harvest grain. Focus on what it is you want rather than what you do not want. Nourish and cultivate your spirit and don’t settle for less. Patience is key. Meanwhile don’t obsess. If you do, then other things around you go neglected.
Ebb is not the Enemy
Winter is a necessary part of existence. Death is needed to bring new life. If you’re experiencing a rough patch or if it feels like winter in your world, don’t despair. Ebb is always headed for flow. There would be no light without dark. It’s all part of the divine cosmic plan. Unfortunately, to grow we sometimes need to struggle and suffer. It’s part of what makes us human. While it feels like nothing exciting or positive is happening during winter, things are rumbling underneath the surface. It takes time for the seeds of change to sprout. If you are depressed, ask the universe this: give me strength to adjust to the seasons and the ability to change and adapt to life.
Demeter makes herself heard. She does not sulk in silence. Feelings left unexpressed build up and can even create disease for they take up space inside you and thwart flowing energy. The goddess tells us, “The more you learn to accept and acknowledge your feelings, the less time you will spend in emotional turmoil and the more energy you will have to live life.” The more we learn to accept and honor our feelings, the safer it will become to express them.
Want to know more about getting in touch with your inner goddesses? Come back every week for new “Channel Your Inner Goddess” articles.
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