Demeter, name referencing mother, is the goddess of agriculture. She was the daughter of deities Rhea and Cronos, also sister to Zeus. She does sit as one of the twelve main Olympians, but she is of old origin.
Most famously, is her role as Persephone’s mother, who unfortunately gets stolen away by Hades. Persephone was daughter of both Zeus and Demeter, in which Zeus had promised Hades one of his daughters in marriage. Yet, both gods were aware that Demeter, the ever-loving and protective mother, would never give up Persephone. So, a plan was schemed between the two of them.
Demeter searches endlessly for her daughter in the underworld, leading her to the start of the Eleusinian Mysteries. These mysteries were a three-part journey for the goddess, the loss of Persephone, searching for her, and eventually having a reunion with her lost daughter.
At Eleusis, Demeter had befriended the royal family that resided on the land. Demeter had agreed to rearing the Queen’s son, but the Queen had interfered with having an immortal and eternally young son. So, Demeter had asked for the family to build her a temple on Eleusis in her name. Here at this temple is where the goddess of agriculture would retire to. As a thanks, Demeter reveals her true being and secret rites.
Regardless, as the search for Persephone went on, Demeter had begun to affect the world around her. The high intense emotions of desperation and distress caused her to forget about her role in harvest and a famine came forth. Eventually, with the help of others, notably Hecate, Demeter had found Persephone.
Though, it is not the kindest of reunions as Demeter is angered to hear that Persephone would want to stay in the Underworld. She threatened to stop tending to the Earth if Persephone did not return to her. Zeus had decided that Persephone should stay half of the year in the Underworld and the other with Demeter.
However, for the six months that Persephone was gone, Demeter stayed true to her words according to beliefs. The Earth’s greenery would disappear and turn into the seasons of fall and winter, showcasing that Demeter left it to wither away. Whereas when Persephone does return, the seasons of spring and summer are introduced.
“Demeter | Characteristics, Family, & Myth | Britannica.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Demeter. Accessed 11 April 2022.
“Eleusinian Mysteries | Greek religion | Britannica.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eleusinian-Mysteries. Accessed 11 April 2022.
“What Is the Demeter and Persephone Story Summarized? -.” Theoi Greek Mythology, 13 September 2019, https://www.theoi.com/articles/what-is-the-demeter-and-persephone-story-summarized/. Accessed 11 April 2022.