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Spring can only come after Winter.

Kore was just a girl when She was abducted by the God of the Dead, Hades ("The Invisible"), and dragged down into the Underworld to be His wife. Her mother Demeter was consumed with grief and searched for nine days, but no one would tell Her anything: for Kore had been abducted with the approval of Zeus, ruler of the Gods, Who was the girl's own father. Finally Helios--who as sun God sees all--told Demeter what had happened. In anger and despair, She rejected the world of the Gods and wandered among humankind. In Her sorrow, She also withheld Her gifts of fertility so that no crops grew. At this Zeus finally gave in and commanded Hades to release Her daughter.

However when Kore was returned to Demeter, it was found She had eaten a few pomegranate seeds while in the Underworld, binding Her there. As a compromise it was allowed that Kore would spend one third of the year in the Land of the Dead, and two-thirds with Her mother on the Earth. This produces the seasons--for when Kore is away from Her mother, dark winter descends as the Earth sorrows; but When Her daughter is returned to Her, the flowers spring forth in joy.

Kore and Demeter are thought of as two faces of the same Goddess, and with Persephone, Kore's name as Queen of the Underworld, they make up the classic Triple Goddess--Kore (whose name means simply "The Maiden"), Demeter ("Earth or Barley Mother") and Persephone ("Destroyer of Light"), the Crone or death Goddess. Within Herself, the Goddess (and Woman) contains the whole cycle of life, from birth to death to rebirth.

An early form of Demeter or Kore as Underworld Goddess is the horse-headed black Goddess Melaina. Persephone is also sometimes called the daughter of the Underworld river Styx, and mother of Dionysos.

The journey of the Great Goddess through death and rebirth formed the basis of the famed cult of the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiatory rites to the Goddess held in the Greek city of Eleusis that were said to have been founded by the Goddess Herself. Over time the Mysteries became very popular and were considered a highly ethical ritual to take part in that promised eternal life after death. The mystery of Nature's death and rebirth told through the tale of Demeter and Kore is a women's mystery that was recognized as humanity's mystery.

In a reading this card indicates that the situation is more complex than originally thought. Large patterns and cycles are at play here; it may help to keep in mind that things are cyclical and will come around. It can also represent finding your power in a bad situation--after Kore was carried off against Her will to the Underworld, She became its Queen.

Alternate names: Core, Cora, Persephone, Persephoneia, Persephassa

To read Her story, go here.

This design is available on prints at ArtPal.


Ch'ang O