Joy here. I promised you a story – so here it is. These are Persephone’s musings on her yearly descent into Hades.
It hurts, this waiting, oh, it hurts.
I know that the Change comes. I know it approaches. I am ready to pick the flower, look into the mirrored pool, and descend. Go down, go deep, go red-bloody. I am ready to sink into deep dark.
Yes, I cried out the first time. Who wouldn’t? When my Lord Change takes us, are we not all surprised?
But know this: He extended his hand, and I took it. It was a bare moment of consent, but it was mine only. Do we not scream when we plunge down the hill, fearful though we boarded the ride of our own will, though we chose the hill and drop, though we know we’ll come through alright? Don’t we scream?
Even after all these years, each time, I still scream. Each year, even now, I still wait, flowers fading around me. And I do cry out, as I descend – in pain, in ecstasy, in relief. And those screams echo eerie throughout Hades’ dark realm. Styx resounds with them. I scream for joy, the deep calling to the deep – my core to the womb-world of Hades. For the fear, the thrill – and the relief.
Because this waiting hurts, teetering on the edge. I am hovering between worlds, between roles, between loves. I am caught in the gap, and all I want is to press on through, to just go.
And yes, my mama cried. Yes, she felt cheated. Yes, it’s hard. Change is. Even now, every time, change is hard. Even now, each time, her face is drawn when she has to let me go.
But oh, the touch of cool Styx. Oh, the tart sweetness of seeds bursting between teeth. Change is sweet, too.
And my mother cannot say it, cannot admit it – but it is good for her, this little death of mine. It is rest from her constant giving. It is renewal and a time for herself. Time for her to not be Mother, but simply Demeter, simply woman. She who creates for others, creates life, has time to create herself.
But it hurts, now. This edge-space is hard for me, is painful. The harvest is gathered – let my fruit come to ripeness. The wheat is scythed down, my mother’s gifts collected – let the animals be sacrificed, let the blood flow, the meat be roasted, rich and savory, and let me go.
Let the chill come, let frost cover grass, let me go. I long for my lover, my king. I long for the cool darkness, for rest and wisdom. Of course, I will come back. I will dance again. I will revel with Dionysus, but now I long to go down. Down where the dimness spares my eyes, where the dim light holds me in shadow. Down, where I am concealed and revealed. Into the deeps, where I rule, sovereign and mysterious.
The trees are turning red, the trees are burning, burning, burning. The pomegranates are burning in red leather. Everything is burning for release, for change. Everything around me is burning for reprieve and quiet. The whole world seems to be burning for Death, burning for Life, and immortality.My body is burning. My soul is burning. That same bright red, that same autumn glow.
True queen I am of flowers, true queen of the ruddy pomegranate. I am the true maiden-lover who dances with the wine-god, and the true Dark Queen of the dead and the depths. I rule life, and I rule death. My nature is rebirth – ever and ever will I rise and renew myself. Do not doubt it. But now, I go, stepping with joy and fear into the darkness. For my beloved is mine, and, for this season, I am his.