Spring Equinox

Technically it was yesterday the sun went into Aries, but we celebrate at Neskaya today.  Mythologically, this is the day Persephone returns from the underworld.  The story is that Hades, God of the Underworld, saw her and pulled her down into his kingdom, to be his wife.  Persephone’s mother, Demeter, the Earth Goddess, went into mourning and nothing would grow on the earth.  Human beings became distressed because crops wouldn’t grow.  They called on Zeus, King of the Gods, and he made his brother, Hades, give her back.  But Persephone had eaten six seeds of a pomegranate, so she must still spend six months every year in the Underworld.  When she goes down, Demeter grieves, and plants stop growing.  It is autumn.  When she comes back, Demeter rejoices and we have spring.  One version of the myth tells us that when Persephone goes down, she is Kore, the Maiden, but when she returns she is Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.  A stay in the Underworld raises one to a new level of consciousness.  An older version of the myth says that Persephone went down to the Underworld by conscious choice, somewhat like Inanna “casting her ear to the Great Below.” When Inanna goes down, she must give up all her powers, symbolized by her crown, scepter, etc.  Her return is engineered by her faithful assistant Ninshubur, who goes to the gods for help.  Inanna returns, taking her power back and we assume that she also is wiser and more conscious after her stay in the Underworld.

I know a lot about sojourns in the Underworld, courtesy of depression rooted in PTSD.  I don’t know that I’m any wiser, but I’m certainly more conscious and compassionate.  I’m more appreciative of little daily joys — like sitting here on this couch, companioned by fire and a beloved dog, looking out at a stony patio with the woods behind, watching the bluejays and the chickadees come & go — and being comfortable and relaxed, not feeling terrified or depressed.  And I don’t get upset about things that used to upset me, although I can still get triggered.  Even when triggered, I’m a lot more resilient.  After spending time in hell, most things that people worry about look pretty trivial.

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