Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds

pomegranatepropheciesThis was written for the Pomegranate Prophecies, found here.

It was a perfect spring day when Persephone decided to go pick a bouquet of flowers. She had sat down and begun to make a daisy chain, when her uncle, Hades, came by. He had always been one of her favorite Gods; there was something mysterious about the underworld that had always appealed to her. She smiled and sprung up, rushing to hug him.

As Hades hugged his niece, he was stunned; wrapped around him was the curvacious form of a matured goddess and not a little girl. He looked into her blue eyes and couldn’t help himself; he caught those deep red lips with his pale ones.

She gasped breathlessly as he pulled back abruptly, an apologetic look on his face. As Hades parted his pale lips to speak, she crushed herself against him, pressing her lips to his once more. The heady sensation of lust rolled across her and she answered its call.

As they laid in the grass, Hades reached over and stroked Persephone’s face. “You’re so beautiful. I want to show you the best parts of my world.”

Persephone smiled at him. “You know my Mother will never agree to letting me go,” she wistfully replied. Hades sighed heavily, trying to think of a way around Demeter.

“I’ll ask Zeus,” he declared. Standing, he kissed her once more before disappearing into the Earth. Persephone returned home to Demeter, wistful and pouty, longing for the embrace of Hades.

The two met everyday for a week, meeting in the hiding places of Persephone’s childish haunts. Finally Zeus had time to meet with Hades. Listening to his brother’s dilemma, he demanded that Hades marry Persephone as the consequence of his action, and to figure out a way to get Demeter to agree to it.

At a loss, the couple went to the best trickster and marauder they knew- Eris. The goddess listened to the little plan the two haphazardly laid out, with a cheeky grin spreading across her face. “This sounds like fun!” she shouted, swinging her legs on the edge of her seat. They began to form a plan to hide Persephone from Demeter long enough to make it to the Underworld, where Eris would marry them.

The wedding day dawned fine and bright, and Persephone donned her favorite frock- a bit of color for the “gloom” of her new realm. Likewise, Hades wore his finest, coming up to the earth and the appointed place early to avert any problems. Finally the signal was given- the meeting between Zeus, Hera, and Demeter- and his radiant Persephone appeared.

“Persephone, my love, will you marry me, and be the Queen of the Underworld?” he asked as he offered his hand to her.

“Yes,” she confidently replied, climbing into his chariot and for the first time, undergoing the journey to the underworld. She gasped as the earth parted with a rumble and the chariot plunged into the tunnel. Her breath was taken away as she saw the roots of plants, burrows of small animals, bug homes and earth worms, all displayed neatly as they hurtled by. Soon she was seeing layers of stone and fossils. She was fascinated by the sights and Hades smiled at her expressions of childlike wonder.

“You’re going to bring the light back to us,” he softly whispered in her ear, as he stood behind her. The rivers of the Underworld began to pass by, and a shadow fell over her face as she saw how gloomy the regions looked. “This is the river Acheron…. Cocytus…. Lethe… Phlegethon…. and the Styx. And… this is our home- our part of the wonder- the House of Hades.” The chariot stopped, and Hades stepped out, helping Persephone out as well. She looked around, dismayed by the lackluster of the region. It reminded her of an old home that had been abandoned and filled with spiders. She made a sour face and shook her head.

“We’ll certainly need to spruce the place up,” she said with a slight smile.

“Whatever you wish,” he replied, looking into her eyes. Their lips were just meeting as Eris appeared like a wraith, scaring them both. She chuckled with a sparkle in her eyes as they jumped.

“Are we ready to get this wedding going?” she asked as Hera strode forward.

The pair nodded, and Hera began officiating, grim and stoic as always (she had only agreed to this because it would anger Demeter even more).

Over the next few months, the couple lived blissfully. Persephone redecorated the palace, bringing new life to the realm, as well as taking on some of her duties as queen. Meanwhile though, things on earth had become quite ugly. Demeter had refused to let things grow since Persephone’s disappearance, and no one would tell her where her beloved daughter had gone. Finally things had become bad enough to where Zeus had to step in on behalf of the humans.

“Demeter,” he said when she appeared before him, “You have to quit this! Let things grow again.”

“No.” she simply replied.

“What do you want??” he asked, impatiently.

“I want Persephone back. No one will tell me where our daughter has gone, Zeus.”

Zeus sighed heavily and thought for a few moments before he answered “She has gone to the underworld and married Hades.” Angry, Demeter stormed out of Olympus and huffed her way to the earth, knocking at the door to the underworld at Cumae. Plowing the doorway guardian over, she marched her way to the ferryman and demanded a ride to the palace. Afraid to argue with such a fearsome force, the ferryman agreed and took her there.

Persephone and Hades were sitting out in the courtyard when Demeter showed up. They were sitting beside each other, laughing and flirting. Persephone leapt up when she saw her mother’s countenance.

“Persephone, you are coming home with me NOW.” Demeter commanded.

“No mother, I am not.” Persephone calmly replied. “I am married. This is my home now, and father said it was fine.”

“Then the earth will die, dear child. I have vowed not to allow growth to come to the plants until you are returned.”

“That is a shame. I’m not coming with you.” Persephone turned and haughtily walked into the palace, shutting the door behind her. Demeter turned on Hades, her eyes spitting fire at the one who had taken her child from her. Hades merely sat in the same place, folding his hands in his lap and matching her stare. Furious, Demeter returned to Olympus, and demanded an audience with Zeus.

“What now?” Zeus asked.

“Persephone will not come back home, and I will not allow the plants to grow until she does. She is your daughter as well, and she belongs in our world of light and life, not in that world of dark and death.”

“I will see what I can do,” Zeus tiredly said, wanting to get her off his back, and adding “As long as she hasn’t eaten the food of the underworld, I will command her to come back.”
Eris had been spying on Demeter, seeing what kind of fun she could have, and quickly went to the Underworld before Zeus could send Hermes, his messenger. Persephone was out in the garden, trying to convince some of the underworld plants she had sown to grow. Walking quietly up to Persephone, Eris tapped her on the shoulder, frightening her. “OH, it’s just you!” Persephone said with a laugh. “What are you doing here?” she asked. Eris smiled and simply held out her hand. Within the cup of her palm were five pomegranate seeds.

“A gift for the glowing wife,” she simply answered, watching Persephone take and swallow the seeds.

“Thank you,” Persephone replied.

“You’re welcome,” Eris said in farewell.

Shortly afterwards, Hermes arrived in the underworld, bearing Zeus’ message for the couple. With a panicked look on her face, Persephone asked Hades “Can they do that?? I don’t want to go back.”

With a sad look on his face, Hades nodded his head, adding thoughtfully “If you’ve already eaten some of our underworld fruit though… you could stay.”

Out of nowhere, the cheeky voice of Eris announced “Ah, but she has.” The startled trio looked around, surprised to see her sitting high upon the top of the palace.

“What do you mean Eris?” asked Hades.

“Earlier today,” she replied as she uncrossed her legs, “I watched Persephone eat five Pomegranate seeds.” She giggled and winked at Persephone. Smiling, relieved, Persephone nodded her head in agreement.

“I’ll have to notify Zeus of this,” Hermes said in a stern voice. Both he and Eris left for Olympus, leaving the two worried lovers alone.

A few hours later, Hermes returned. “Zeus has decided that you are to be returned to Demeter, but for five months of the year you are to come home to Hades.” Tears began to slowly fall from Persephone’s face as she kissed Hades goodbye, but the hope and promise of the five months was comfort already.

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