Mabon Blessings! We like to tell this story on Mabon evening, gathered around a fire. I have a pomegranate to show, and when the story is finished, I open the pomegranate to show the seeds inside, and let everyone try one if they wish.
image source HERE
Once there was a beautiful young girl called Persephone. Her mother was Demeter, the Goddess of the growing things. Demeter and her daughter lived in a world where it was always summer. Green things were always blooming and the sun shone warm and sweet.
One day while she was out with her friends, Persephone felt a trembling beneath her feat and heard a rumbling. The ground split open and Hades, God of the underworld, appeared driving a chariot. He snatched Persephone and took her back into the earth with him. The ground closed up again with a huge roar and all that was left of Persephone was a bunch of flowers on the ground.
Demeter searched everywhere, but she could not find her daughter. For days and days she looked for Persephone. Her grief was so great that the earth began to grow cold and all the green things died. There was no food, and a terrible hunger came to the people.
In the underworld, meanwhile, Persephone came to see that Hades wasn’t as scary as she first thought. He had been so lonely in the underworld, he told her of his longing to keep her there with him.
Persephone missed her mother and the bright world above ground. But her new status as Queen of the underworld and her love for Hades gave her reason to stay with him. She believed that she had important work to do deep under the ground.
Persephone knew that if she ate or drank anything in the underworld, she would have to stay there forever. Even though Hades begged her too have just a sip, or one bite of food, she didn’t’.
Demeter had finally learned where Persephone was. She insisted that she be returned to her. Hades sadly hitched his horses to his chariot and prepared to take Persephone back. But before they left, he offered Persephone one last thing to eat – a ripe, blood red pomegranate. Looking him in the eye, Persephone took six seeds and ate them.
They went back above ground, up through a crack in the earth. Persephone threw herself into her mothers arms, joyous to be reunited. The earth again grew rich with flowers and the sun shone once more.
But, because Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, it was decided that for six months of each year, she must return to the underworld with Hades, on Mabon, and winter would come to the world. In spring she would once again return to her mother, allowing the earth to bloom.