Hades was the brother of Zeus and the god of the Underworld. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of nature. The myth of Persephone is one of the oldest of all Greek myths. Her story is a personification of some of the most universal concepts about life and death. In her youth, Persephone represents the powerful bond between a mother and a daughter and the often difficult transition from maidenhood to marriage. As the goddess of Springtime and Rebirth, she is eternally connected to the cycles of the earth, which lies barren in her absence and bloom again each spring with her return. Her initiatory experience in the realm of the dead is such a powerful experience that it changes her life forever. It is after this transformation that we remember her most for her role as the Greek goddess of the Underworld.
The myth tells the story of Hades who fell in love with Persephone and decided to kidnap her. The myth says that in one of the rare times he left the Underworld, he traveled above ground to pursue her, while she was gathering flowers in a field.
One day, Hades saw Persephone and instantly fell in love with her.
Hades confided his secret to his brother Zeus, asking for his help, so the two of them concocted a plan to trap her. As Persephone played with her companions, they caused the ground to split underneath her. Persephone slipped beneath the earth, and Hades stole her to the Underworld where he made her his wife.
The myth says that Persephone was very unhappy, but after much time, she came to love the cold-blooded Hades and lived happily with him.
The myth of Hades and Persephone is associated with the coming of spring and winter. When Persephone comes to Earth, it’s springtime. When she descends back to Hades, it is winter.
The disappearance and the return of Persephone were the occasions of great festivals in ancient Greece, among them the Eleusinian rites, whose secrets were so closely guarded that little is known about them today.
Some experts believe the rites or mysteries fostered the idea of a more perfect life after death, and thus helped to lay the groundwork for the coming of Christianity, which upholds the idea of everlasting life.