The Goddess of the underworld, Persephone is perhaps one of the best known stories in mythology. Like the Goddess herself, the symbolism within this tale is rich and complex. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter (Ceres). While out picking flowers one day, she caught the eye of Hades. Hades (Pluto) was not one to consider any feelings but his own and and in his desire for this fragile beauty, this young breath of light, she was forcibly taken to reside in hell, married and raped. It is a violent story. Persephone's mother fell into great mourning and as the Goddess of crops and nutrition, everything died in the wake of her terrible grief. The Gods became worried after a time because they feared if humanity starved, there would be no one left to honor and worship them. Zeus granted Demeter permission to reclaim her daughter for some months of the year, and this cyclical time was when the growing seasons came. After some months above ground enjoying the Sunshine and elements, Persephone regrettably returned to the underworld, winter set in, all plants died and nature waited for the return of the queen of Hades.
So Persephone, a virgin and naive in her youth is forcibly taken to a dark place and made into a woman all in one day. She becomes Mrs. Pluto. This is really an illustration of what it is like to meet one's shadow-self after we are forced to through the catalyst of crisis. Persephone is shocked at the sudden prospect of life in the underworld. Horrified at what she finds at first, Persephone is seized with fear at the sights and smells of hell. She is bereft at her loss of freedom and depressed in the face of her bleak future. As her ordeal stretches on, Persephone goes ever deeper on a journey into her own unconscious.
Our unconscious is the cesspool of self-denial and
self-hatred--where we lock away truths we cannot bear.
The unconscious contains all that we cannot accept about ourselves. It is the cesspool of self-denial and self-hatred. It is where we lock away truths we cannot bear, as they disagree with our conscious and chosen beliefs about ourselves. The 7th house, Pluto, the 8th house and the 12th house are all places where we can store these beliefs in a birth chart. Most often, we delve into these darker or lesser known places in ourselves only when we MUST. Crisis is the ultimate impetus for transformation and that is what Persephone finds herself doing... transforming.
The result of this transformation is unexpected and powerful in it's effects. Persephone learns how to handle herself over time in her stressful environment and learns a great and lesson; that she has mastery over the king of the underworld himself. It is Pluto's weakness and fear of being alone that keeps her chained. She goes from powerless as a screaming, helpless, kidnapped child, to a fully formed, brave queen with the realization of her own capabilities. She develops the maturity to be happy in the light while she is with her mother in a place she wants to be and to wait patiently in the dark for the happiness she has developed the faith will surely come.
Crisis is the reason for her forced self exploration and sudden maturity. She, in essence, meets and accepts her shadow-self. This acceptance gives her comfort even in the worst of places. Ultimately, Pluto did this poor girl a favor. He forced her to strengthen her own backbone if she wanted to at all survive her environment. He gave her ultimate security that can only come through being personally tested and knowing what one can survive
Persephone is indicative of how we think
or don't think for ourselves...
Persephone had no voice of her own when it came to where or how she lived. Her fate was determined by one with seemingly greater power. She was a victim of Pluto's obsession which resulted in being loved too much. In the natal chart, she shows where we may abdicate our own power. Persephone is indicative of how we think or don't think for ourselves, how we make our own choices, how we have been taken captive, how we do or do not assert ourselves when appropriate, when we must keep hope when life is bleak, how we give up our happiness for another and where we allow another to entrap us under the guise of safety. Persephone had no real character or identity of her own until she was tested by the fires of Hades. The placement of Persephone can point to where we need to be authentic and how we can develop our originality and expression.
This myth is akin to our own experience of getting a good look at something ugly within ourselves that we have tried to deny or blame on another. Many times, it is a crisis, a weakness or a testing of our character that brings on the sneaking suspicion that something is not right within ourselves. Many times these painful personal insights come as a result of a very true comment or a humiliation or a failure. Deep self understanding and the journey it takes to get there are shown with asteroid Persephone.
When we learn to live with and master our own inner-Hades we become royalty of our own under-psyche.
A big one with this asteroid is how we lie to ourselves. Remember, the shadow side of all of us is seen as a bad guy/girl to our waking self. When we, like Persephone, learn to live with our own inner Hades and indeed master it, we become royalty of our own under-psyche. That is where real power lies, in wholeness.
In transit, Persephone can point to where we are taken by surprise or when we are forced to deal with situations we never wanted or consciously asked for.
Princes Diana, a woman who was expected to abide by her Plutonian husband's lifestyle and tradition and who was under constant pressure to hide her true self in order to maintain her position, had Persephone exactly opposite Pluto and conjunct Chiron at 6 degrees Pisces. She did indeed receive her greatest wounding from her association with her husband and experienced much around the theme of personality- building and strengthening. She had a shadow side that is still coming to light with the public. On the day she was married, she had the transiting Sun exactly inconjunct her natal Persephone and Chiron.
In the birth chart of Sigmund Freud, Persephone is conjunct Uranus in the seventh house. Uranus is radical and penetrating insight, Persephone is delving into the shadow self and cultivating authenticity and this conjunction occurs in the seventh house of others. Perfect placement for a psychoanalyst.
Freud has another placement that lent his chart value in his professional life. Proserpina (the Roman version of the myth) is directly conjunct Saturn (original significator of career and represents the father) in the sign of Gemini in the eighth house of transformation. Communicating and researching issues stemming from a father complex to assist in cathartic transformation came naturally. The eighth house shows how we get our needs met, sexuality and is also the house depth psychology. Freud coined the term "Oedipus Complex" a condition that is descriptive of a child's first sexual urges and are directed toward the parent. Sexuality, parenthood and discovering the psychological needs of others were of great interest to him. Saturn is restriction and fear and can become obsessive with what it touches. Saturn wants to achieve the truth. Freud was all about peering into the deepest recesses of the mind to ferret out any acute or latent psychological complex that may be restricting the individual. He dug deep into his own eighth house. Proserpina is an energy that after all, is as deep as the underworld.