Updated: Sep 19
¨Better dry bread in peacetime than meat in wartime.¨
From Skie Alexander's 'Your Goddess Year Book' Dates For Inviting Her: September 18-24
In many parts of the world, September is harvest time, when we reap the earth's bounty in preparation for the darker days that lie ahead. This week we recognize Demeter, one of the oldest and most important of the Greek goddesses, also known as the goddess of grain or the corn goddess. Her ancient festival, Thesmophoria, was usually celebrated in the autumn and only adult women attended. The Mystery rites held in her honor at the town of Eleusis -north of Athens- took place in September.
The goddess of agriculture in ancient Greece, Demeter held a powerful and prestigious position, for it was she who made the fields fertile and the crops thrive. She also taught human beings how to grow fruit, corn, wheat, and to bake bread. Like many fertility goddesses, she's depicted as a Mother Earth deity who nourishes her people. Artists often show her holding a sheaf of wheat or a cornucopia.
Demeter's maternal devotion is the subject of one of the best-known
myths about her. As the story goes, the goddess's only child, a beautiful young daughter named Persephone, was kidnapped by Demeter's brother Hades. This god of the underworld wanted the girl for his wife and dragged her down into his kingdom beneath the Earth. Naturally, Demeter was heartbroken and desperately tried to rescue her daughter, but without success.The top god Zeus, brother of both Demeter and Hades, offered no help at all.
When Demeter sought help from the gods to force Hades to release
her daughter, only the goddess Hecate (October 30 - November 5) came to the distraught mother's aid and attempted to negotiate Persephone's freedom. After Persephone and Demeter were reunited, Hecate remained as the girl's companion.
Angry, Demeter decided to force the Olympians'hands. She withdrew her fertility from the earth. Nothing grew. Famine spread across the land. Zeus finally relented and told Hades to let the girl go. There was a problem, however. While imprisoned, Persephone ate some pomegranate seeds, an act that bound her to the god of the underworld. Eventually, the deities worked out a deal. Persephone could spend two-thirds of the year above ground with her mother, but she must live with Hades for the other third: the winter season. As a result of the agreement, Demeter came to govern the seasons, for the land blossomed only while mother and daughter were together. Persephone's descent into the underworld and her return to the realm of the living also represents the cycle of death and rebirth.
Women who wish to become pregnant can call upon this mother goddess
to increase fertility. She can also assist you in raising your children with love, kindness, and patience. Her powers of fertility extend to all creative endeavors in which you seek growth -she'll nurture your efforts at growing a business or fulfilling your artistic talents. If you're a farmer, gardener, or work in the food industry, ask Demeter to be your patroness. Let her perseverance guide you in the pursuit of your goals.
Myths tell us pigs and cattle, which represent fertility, were favorites of the goddess. Some legends also connect her with snakes, symbols of sexuality.
HOW TO INVITE HER
In honor of the grain goddess, bake a loaf of bread and ask her to join you. You may also want to invite a group of your female friends to participate in making and eating the bread. A recipe isn't included here because you should choose a recipe that not only tempts your palate but is also one that holds a personal symbolic significance for you or whose ingredients represent an outcome you desire. Keep the following in mind as you choose your ingredients:
Because Demeter also governed the growth of fruit and fruit-
bearing trees, a type of bread that includes fruit may bring you close to the goddess. Figs and dates are associated with fertility. Olives are a valuable crop in Greece-a gift from Demeter's fellow Olympian Athena (January 22-28).
Consider baking olive bread or basting the loaf with olive oil. Use fall vegetables, such as squash or pumpkin, in your bread. If your goal is to attract good luck, put dill in the bread. Add cinnamon to bring success and prosperity. Add orange peel to encourage wealth or to bless a business. If you seek security or advancement in your job, include pecans. You may also want to serve beer, a beverage brewed from grain, with your homemade bread. Enjoy!