Demeter & Persephone revisited
A true Mother’s Day story by Elizabeth, daughter of Lorraine, daughter of Marguerite, a story for all mothers…….and all children. Told May 14th, 2012 at Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church.
I am going to tell you a very old story about a mother and a daughter. A story that is told every day all around this spinning earth, as we spin around the sun. Some will say it’s just an old story to explain the seasons – but every story has more that one reason to be told.
So Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was in the parking lot of the mall one day….. and suddenly she lost her sight. She went blind. And straight away she was rushed to the doctors – who said – “We’ll keep her.”
And Demeter had no idea where Persephone went— last she heard, her little person, ( that’s where we got the word – we are persons – probably cause persephonees sounds to feminine and persephones is to long ) it is also worth noting that Demeter was a God, but really right now, we are only interested in in her as the MOTHER. Who had lost her CHILD. One minute she was at the mall, the next, her mother could not see her anywhere.
Demeter went searching, not paying attention to anything else, like groceries or clients and when she found where her child was, she rushed to her… but the doctors in the hospital would not let her in. She could only look at her baby thru a thick transparent veil, a wall of glass. And so there, she stood watching. She called out – “b-a-b-y!” ( because we are always our mother’s babies) and Persephone thought she heard her mother thru the hum and whurr but by now Persephone had lost her voice. She still could hear, but when she tried to speak all that any one heard was buzzing nonsense. She felt like she was trapped in a cave.
The doctors took pictures of her head, on the inside – and they found weeds growing in there. And they said, “We have to take them out. If we don’t she will die.” And they were right. Weeds in your head are very very bad. And Demeter was very, very scared. She stopped cooking and cleaning, which made every one else in the whole household get tense and very mad, She was a Domestic Goddess after all. And they went to Zeus to get him to make Demeter do her job – people were hungry after all. But all Demeter could do was to go to the window and watch.
They wheeled her daughter away to an operating room and pulled all the weeds, and hooked her up to all kinds of machines – but still Persephone did not wake up. She stayed in the cave, listening and helpless.
“We have done all we can.” said the doctors. And they shook their heads. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..” Demeter knew in the garden of her heart that her daughter was still in there, waiting to be freed. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” she wailed. Some people though it was just the wind howling.
But somewhere deep inside the cave of her heart, Persephone heard her mother.
Just then, Official Hospital Food Service arrived with a plate of bright red, cherry flavored, cow hoofs and before the nurse could say “no food – she can’t eat”, Persephone, who was very, very hungry, ( it had been several months since she had eaten,) opened her mouth.
And Demeter knew that the time of waiting was over. She raced home and began to cook, “Cow hooves indeed! ” she muttered, as if that could raise her daughter up from the cave of death and despair…….So she made a fabulous meal for all the family and set off to the hospital with thermoses of magical elixirs and potions.
Again the citadel forbid Demeter entrance but rather than argue, Demeter simply found another way in. This was a matter of life or death and so she used the fire escape. And climbed up floor after floor to sneak in the thermos of restoration.
She never gave up, she just climbed up and up and up and when she reached the gates of the cave tower, she snuck around the guards as quiet as a church mouse and entered the room.
And Persephone opened her eyes and saw her mother, and sipped the magic potion and it was the best tasting thing she had ever known. If was filled with honey and healing. It was made of hope. Winter was over. Flowers began to bloom in the garden of Persephone’s heart, and her mind began to open like a radiant rose.
She was Waking up. She was coming Home.
All kind’s of season’s change, as does everything, but love remains. And so now even though once a year the doctors have to look around in the cave of her head, Persephone knows she will always be ok, because her mother is always in the garden of her heart. Rejoicing. Happy Mother’s Day.