Today, the Solstice, we welcome winter. I share this picture of a pomegranate I took in Sicily because in western literature and art, the pomegranate represents the cycle of life and death. This symbolism stems from the ancient Greek cult of Demeter and Persephone. Autumn marks when Persephone returns to the Underworld to join her husband Hades. She brings with her pomegranate seeds, which also represent fertility, prosperity, abundance, and generosity, and holds them with her until spring. (Side Note: When the maiden Persephone was first abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld, he fed her pomegranate seeds, which signified that she became betrothed to him.)
It is during the dark, lifeless weeks of winter that Persephone’s mother Demeter falls into her annual sadness and allows everything on the Earth’s surface to die. When Persephone returns to the surface in spring, she brings with her the pomegranate seeds and with them, renewed life.