Autumn Is Here And So Are Pomegranates

“By what guile did the mighty Host-to-Many deceive you?” the Goddess Demeter asked her daughter Persephone in the The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (As translated by Helene P. Foley). … If you guessed that Hades (the “Host-to-Many”) deceived Persephone by feeding her pomegranate seeds (based on the photo), you are correct. Hades’ cunning action condemned Persephone to spend part of each year in the Underworld as his wife.

Pomegranates, which are in season now, have been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Scholars believe that they were brought to Sicily by both the Phoenicians and the Greeks, not only for food, but also for religious reasons. Pomegranate seeds represent fertility, prosperity, abundance, and generosity. And because of the Persephone myth, they also represent the cycle of life and death, for when Persephone goes to the underworld (i.e. autumn and winter), she brings the seeds with her into the depths of the Earth, and when she returns to the surface with seeds in hand in spring, she brings abundance.

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