On Loving Persephone
In Roman myth Ceres was the doting mother of Persephone. They shared a deep and loving bond, spending most of their time in each others’ company even into Persephone’s adulthood. Pluto abducted Persephone into the underworld to rule over it with him, leaving Ceres in a state of deep and anguished grief for many years. As goddess of the harvest she plunged the planet into a state of famine and sterility to reflect her devastation, prompting the gods to call upon Pluto to return her daughter. This he did, but in doing so he tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds which consummated their relationship necessitating that she spend half the year in the underworld with him and the other half above ground with her mother. When Persephone returned to her mother the earth sprang back into life, offering an abundant harvest. When she returned to her underworld spouse, Ceres rendered the earth cold, dark and infertile. Hence, it is said, we have the seasons of growth, harvest, decay and death, followed by a reawakening and renewed abundance.
Asteroid Ceres speaks of loss and grief, of those people, places and things we are forced to live without but for which we continue to yearn. She speaks of grief so painful it threatens to tear our very soul apart as we struggle, seemingly in vain, to grasp the enormity of its devastating impact. She reminds us that to love is to risk grief, for as Colin Murray-Parkes once observed ‘only one who can avoid love can avoid grief’. Whilst not everyone loses a child, many people suffer devastating loss. When Ceres and Pluto align we can risk embracing it by gazing into the face of absence, the empty space shaped as our heart’s desire. In doing so we are held in the arms of the divine which is both the lost and the loser, the grief and the love. In this conjunction between the grieving Ceres and Pluto, the cause of her grief, is revealed the paradox at the very heart of existence: that both love and grief must co-exist otherwise neither is real. In the presence of the beloved we find the source of our joy and in their absence the root of our pain. We cannot embrace one without a willingness to embrace the other and live through the storm of loss should it descend upon us.
The planet Pluto is associated with death and rebirth. In its realm we must undergo the most profound d transformation in the darkness of our own shadow. This journey is undertaken achingly alone and requires courage unimaginable until we must call upon it. When abducted by Pluto we are lost in isolation no matter who may be reaching down to save us. This is how it must be, for rebirth requires that we know ourselves completely alone to discover our deepest yearnings. Only then do we encounter the truth of who we are and the reanimating power alive within the shockwaves of change.
Our most fracturing losses can take many forms. It may be a loved one departed through death or a need to walk separate paths; it may be a long cherished vision of hope which reveals itself to be empty just when we most need its sustaining power; or the loss of independence through accident or illness. In the maelstrom of grief we discover where we invested our identity most deeply; from whence came our sense of self-worth. We discover just how deeply entwined we are with that thing now lost, departed along with a huge chunk of ourselves. The physical force which rips through our body in times of grief rearranges us and our lives, never to be the same. Love does this equally. The two carry the same power and within one dwells the other.
So where is Persephone in all of this? The loved one lost to us, gone with our heart and hope in tow? We currently find asteroid Persephone conjunct Neptune in Pisces. Here we encounter the deepest truth of loss. A truth so hard to grasp we may struggle a lifetime to do so, and yet in the moment we can, life itself is renewed: that which is lost is not gone but changed. No longer manifest as substance – be it person or circumstance – its energy now so deeply merged with the divine they have become one. Whether it be a loved one lost to another or to death, a cherished hope gone or our physical resilience faded, it has simply returned to its true home, to sacred source. It arose, was here and real, we lived it to its end and now it returns to the One in which we all reside. Life and all it entails arises from and returns to this place of stillness and rest, infinite love and endless embrace. We can connect with this source of peace at the end of a thought, the completion of a creative project, the close of the day, the loss of a love. All endings take us to this place of infinite presence where all things reside. Energy itself never dies, not love nor fear, grief nor rage. Energy is energy. It simply seeks to flow onward, to be neither blocked or suppressed, diverted or in some way diminished. Love simply wants to love, grief simply to grieve. In allowing these energies to express their fundamental nature we align ourselves with the natural order of the universe in which all things arise and cease. Energy takes shape and form, is expressed through a specific constellation of physicality, circumstance and emotion, then dissolves back into the unified field from which it emerged.
We will return to that field too – when it is our time – shedding our body, mind and emotions in favour of a deeper union with Source. Until such time we face the losses and loves which define us and shape our lives. In each comes the sacred reminder that all things arise and cease, are born and then die, just passing through and yet present forever and eternally alive.