Sphere of Influence: Protection and Agriculture
Preferred colors: Green, Gold, Brown, Blue-green
Associated symbol: Mare Animals associated with: Horse , Crane Best day to work with: Saturday Strongest around Mabon Suitable offerings: Honeycombs, unspun wool, unpressed grapes, grain. Associated Planet: Earth
Demeter controls the wheel of the year. She is the Earth Mother, Goddess to farmers, and mother of Persephone. When Persephone disappeared into the underworld, Demeter was inconsolable. As the source of all growth, the earth withered as Demeter mourned for her daughter. She took a job as nursemaid to Metanira, Queen of Eleusis. When the Queens daughter (Baubo) saw her crying one day by a well, she tried to comfort her, but without success, despite many attempts.Finally, she exposed her Vulva to Demeter. This made the goddess laughter, and the earth responded with new growth. Shortly after this, Persephone was restored to her mother, and Springtime came to the starving earth. Her greatest festival, shared with Persephone, was at Eleusis, a three day festival that culminated around the time of the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon). Demeter was worshiped in fireless sacrifices, demanding all offerings in their natural state. Honeycombs, unspun wool, unpressed grapes, and uncooked grain were laid on her altars. She encourages care and respect of the Earth. Give thanks to her for a bountiful Harvest.
Greek myth (cthonic olympian)
Dêmêtêr (or Demetra) (DEH-MEH-ter) ("goddess mother" or "barley mother") is the Greek mythology|Greek goddess of agriculture, the pure nourisher of youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death, and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. She is invoked as the "bringer of seasons" in the Homeric hymn, a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before the Olympians arrived. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
Demeter is easily confused with Gaia (mythology)| Gaia or Rhea (mythology)|Rhea, and with Cybele. The goddesss epithets reveal the span of her functions in Greek life. Demeter ("grain-mother" or "earth-mother") and Kore ("grain-maiden") are usually invoked as to theo ("The Two Goddesses"), and they appear in that form in Linear B graffiti at Mycenaean Pylos in pre-History of Hellenistic Greece|Hellenic times. A connection with the goddess-cults of Minoan civilization|Minoan Crete is quite possible.
==Titles and functions==
In various contexts, Demeter is invoked with many epithets:
*Potnia ("mistress") in the Homeric Hymns|Homeric Hymn to Demeter
*Chloe ("the green shoot", Pausanias 1.22.3), for her powers of fertility and eternal youth
*Anesidora ("sending up gifts" from the earth Pausanias 1.31.4), as Demeter *Malophoros ("apple-bearer" or "sheep-bearer" Pausanias 1.44.3)
*Kidaria (Pausanias 8.13.3),
*Chthonia ("in the ground" Pausanias 3.14.5)
*Erinys ("implacable," Pausanias 8.25.50)
*Lusia ("bathing", Pausanias 8.25.8)
*Thermasia ("warmth," Pausanias 2.34.6)
*Cabiri|Kabeiraia, a pre-Greek name of uncertain meaning
*Thesmophoros ("giver of customs" or even "legislator"), a role that links her to the even more ancient goddess Themis. This title was connected with the Thesmophoria, a festival of secret women-only rituals in History of Athens|Athens connected with marriage customs.
In honor of Demeter of Mysia a seven-day festival was held at Pellené in Arcadia (Pausan. 7. 27, 9). It lasted for seven days. Pausanias passed the shrine to Demeter at Mysia on the road from Mycenae to Argos but all he could draw out to explain the archaic name was a myth of an eponymous Mysius who venerated Demeter.
Major sites for the cult (religion)|cult of Demeter were not confined to any localized part of the Greek world: there were sites at Eleusis, in Sicily, Hermion, in Crete, Megara, Celeae, Lerna, Aegila, Munychia, Corinth, Delos, Priene, Akragas, Iasos, Pergamon, Selinus, Tegea, Thorikos, Dion, Lykosoura, Mesembria, Enna, Samosthrace
She was associated with the Roman mythology|Roman goddess Ceres (god)|Ceres. When Demeter was given a genealogy, she was the daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and therefore the elder sister of Zeus. Her priestesses were addressed with the title Melissa.
Demeter taught mankind the arts of agriculture: sowing seeds, ploughing, harvesting, etc. She was especially popular with rural folk, partly because they most benefited directly from her assistance, and partly because rural folk are more conservative about keeping to the old ways. Demeter herself was central to the older religion of Greece. Relics unique to her cult, such as votive clay pigs, were being fashioned in the Neolithic. In Roman times, a sow was still sacrificed to Ceres following a death in the family, to purify the household.
== Demeter and Poseidon==
Demeter and Poseidons names are linked in the earliest scratched notes in Linear B found at Mycenaean Pylos. Where she was the fruitful earth, she might either have the nature of an ear of grain, or she might be a fruitful mare. Poseidon (his name seems to signify "consort of the Goddess") once pursued Demeter, in her archaic form as a mare-goddess. She resisted Poseidon, but she could not disguise her divinity among the horses of King Onkios. Poseidon became a stallion and covered her. Demeter was literally furious (" Demeter Erinys") at the assault, but washed away her anger in the River Ladon (" Demeter Lousia"). She bore to Poseidon a Persephone|Daughter, who name might not be uttered outside the Eleusinian mysteries, and a steed named Arion, with a black mane. In Arcadia, Demeter was worshiped as a horse-headed deity into historical times.
== Demeter and Persephone==
The central myth of Demeter, which is at the heart of the Eleusinian mysteries is her relationship with Persephone, her daughter and own younger self. In the Olympian pantheon, Persephone became the consort of Hades (Roman Plutus, the underworld god of wealth). Persephone became the goddess of the underworld when Hades abducted her from the earth and brought her into the underworld. She had been playing with some nymphs (or Leucippe) whom Demeter changed into the Siren|Sirens as punishment for not having interfered. Life came to a standstill as the depressed Demeter (goddess of the earth) searched for her lost daughter (resting on the stone, Agelasta). Finally, Zeus could not put up with the dying earth and forced Hades to return Persephone by sending Hermes to retrieve her. But before she was released, Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds, which forced her to return six months each year. When Demeter and her daughter were together, the earth flourished with vegetation. But for six months each year, when Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became a barren realm. It was during her trip to retrieve Persephone from the underworld that she revealed the Eleusinian mysteries. In an alternate version, Hecate rescued Persephone.
While Demeter was searching for her daughter, having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica, Greece|Attica (and also Phytalus). He asked her to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus, his sons by Metanira. As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make Demophon immortal by burning his mortal spirit away in the family hearth every night. She was unable to complete the ritual because Metanira walked in on her one night. Instead, Demeter chose to teach Triptolemus the art of agriculture; from him the rest of Greece learned to plant and reap crops. He flew across the land on a winged chariot while Demeter and Persephone cared for him, and helped him complete his mission of educating the whole of Greece on the art of agriculture.
Later, Triptolemus taught Lyncus, King of the Scythians the arts of agriculture but he refused to teach it to his people and then tried to kill Triptolemus. Demeter turned him into a lynx (cat)|lynx.
Demeter was usually portrayed on a chariot, and frequently associated with images of the harvest, including flowers, fruit, and grain. She was also sometimes pictured with Persephone.
Demeter is not generally portrayed with a consort: the exception is Iasion, the youth of Crete who lay with Demeter in a thrice-ploughed field, and was sacrificed afterwards— by a jealous Zeus with a thunderbolt, Olympian mythography adds, but the Cretan site of the myth is a sign that the Hellenes knew this was an act of the ancient Demeter.
Demeter placed Aethon, the god of famine, in Erysichthons gut, making him permanently famished. This was a punishment for cutting down trees in a sacred grove.
*http://www.templeofdemeter.com/index.html "Temple of Demeter" website
* Jane Ellen Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 1903
* Karl Kerenyi, Eleusis: archetypal image of mother and daughter, 1967.
* Walter Burkert (1985) Greek Religion, Harvard University Press, 1985.
* Carl Ruck and Danny Staples, The World of Classical Myth, 1994.