The Peplos KoreKore (Persephone) was both the Queen of the Underworld and of Springtime (death and rebirth). Kore means 'maiden' and is also what statues of her priestesses are called. Kore's was the myth at the center of the Eleusynian Mysteries, which had to do with the rebirth of vegetation, but at a deeper level, one's own death and rebirth. To recap the myth:
Persephone was titled Kore (the Maiden) as the goddess of spring's bounty. Once upon a time when she was playing in a flowery meadow with her Nymph companions, Kore was seized by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her mother Demeter despaired at her disappearance and searched for her the throughout the world accompanied by the goddess Hekate (Hecate) bearing torches. When she learned that Zeus had conspired in her daughter's abduction she was furious, and refused to let the earth fruit until Persephone was returned. Zeus consented, but because the girl had tasted of the food of Hades--a handful of pomegranate seeds--she was forced to forever spend a part of the year with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter, conversely, saw the dying down of plants and the halting of growth.
In other myths, Persephone appears exclusively as the queen of the underworld, receiving the likes of Herakles and Orpheus at her court. [theoi.com]
Votive statue with Demeter, Kore and Hekate - found Temple of Selinunte, Sicily, circa 580-570 BC
"Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusynian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities." [wikipedia]
We don't know exactly what went on in these secret, mystery rituals, but initiates probably drank mushroom or poppy infused wine and went through a simulated experience of death and the intermediate state, before being 'reborn'. Mainstream Hellenistic and Roman religion would have taught that souls continue living in the underworld eternally, after death, but since Kore-Persephone returns to live again above ground, as does the grain, it's likely that this secret religion would have been more about returning via reincarnation, in keeping with nature.
Persephone herself is really a triad of Kore (maiden), Persephone (she who shades or kills the light) and Proserpine (she who springs forth). The threefold return.
Cicero called Persephone 'the seed of the fruits in the field'. Homer describes her as 'the formidable, venerable, majestic queen of shades'. Being a supreme, serene, goth Earth Goddess, she is definitely queen of the Pluto in Capricorn times. And as a Spring Goddess who oversees the plant/life cycle, there are also aspects of her in the Anima Mundi of arcanum 21, dancing inside the world seed (aka mandorla or vesica piscis) woven of vegetation. This Goddess of creation, who gives birth to herself as the manifest world, was adapted into Christ, who was also resurrected and who's kingdom in heaven was at hand and who's book would be the source of a 'new world'. The 4 evangelists are the Judeo-christian incarnation the 4 fixed, royal stars (Regulus being the Lion's heart, which will be conjunct the solar eclipse).
The Gospel of Mark - the Lion (aka Leo/Regulus) is said to be the oldest of the 4 and does not actually mention Christ being resurrected.
Church of St. Sernin in Toulouse (built before 1080), sculptor Bernardus Gelduinus
Those anticipating an apoc-eclipse are hoping for rebirth in the only way they understand it, in literal, biblical terms. Apocalypse means 'lifting of the veil'. This is what we see in the World card - the veil, lifted, to reveal the figure's naked body (though some of her mystery remains covered). Similarly, the Moon veils then unveils Sun during solar eclipse.
Veiled Persephone, from Cyrene
"In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades."
*note: Hades was both the Greek name for Pluto and for the Underworld - neither was death himself, but ruler of the death realm.
A natural, symbolic phenomenon should be experienced as the pure energy it expresses, rather than trying to analyze whether it is an omen for something else. With a total, solar eclipse, the drama of death and rebirth is acted out, in simplest, most powerful terms, on the biggest screen we have, starring the two most popular luminaries. Like all Greek dramas, it will affect us collectively but also work on each of us, individually.
The event occurs on the 21st of a 12 day
(8 + 21 + 2+0+1+7 = 8 + 3 + 1 = 12),
or, if you don't reduce the 10 to 1, = 21, making it a double 21 day.
12 is the the middle 'octave' between 3 and 21.
3 The Empress, 12 The Hanged Man, and 21 The World are the 3 x 3 triad, the womb of creation.
Kali Yantra - symbol of feminine energy.
12 signifies time. The Hanged Man is 'doing time' (Le Pendu, root word of pendulum). He's still in utero. His awareness comes from self-reflection and the inner universe, for he is still waiting to be born. It also has to do with sacrificing a part of oneself, hence making it sacred. In some older decks, the number is written backwards, urging us to turn the card right side up, like the figure #21.
21 is the number of completion, perfection, all elements in balance.
It's the alpha and omega, resurrection and realization/awakening. The last card of the major arcana, it depicts the formation of the 4 elements of material world, (the symbol for earth is a cross), which are born as the aces of the minor arcana:
Inside the World seed is everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. Every moment is such a seed. Every moment is a death, resurrection and rebirth of the last one. This is the whole principal of Tarot, it's cycles of 3 - the 4th is always the beginning of a new cycle, as well as the final (material) form of the last. In total there are 3 cycles of 7, both being 'magic' numbers of transformation. No wonder the Greeks loved math so much.
What does this all have to do with the Solar eclipse ? Well, because Regulus will be closely involved (conjunct), the other 3 fixed stars of the grand cross will be, too. This event signifies a completion and a new beginning, whatever that entails, over the next 6 months.
What parts of ourselves might we like to sacrifice and make sacred, give closure and rebirth to ?
It's yet another level of initiation into the age of Aquarius, with it's polar opposite sign of Leo being the undercurrent. Regulus recently moved into Virgo (herself associated with Demeter-Ceres), which is a pretty big deal, but most of us were born when it was still in Leo. We've been feeling the primal Leo energy, with the postulating, 5 yr old dictators and all the Mars/Sun in Leo aggression. Patriarchy as the insane cartoon it really is. It's a lot more 'me' than 'we' at the moment. The energy is exaggerated, concentrated, like the aces of the minor arcana, to show us the arche-type of energy we'll be drawing on in the Aquarian Age. Mission out-of-control is in the USA... at least for now.
Demeter, atop the Chicago Board of Trade building
The timing of this eclipse couldn't be more perfect:
"The ancient Greek calendar began each month with the New Moon sighting, and according to that calendar the Eleusynian greater mysteries were celebrated in the month of August or September. The mysteries were the most sacred rites performed in ancient Greece and were celebrated in art, song, and the pottery of that era." [llewellyn.com]
Ceres (Demeter, Kore-Persephone's mother), will be exactly in opposition to Pluto, during the solar eclipse. The Vertex - an evolutionary point - follows closely behind, conjuncting Ceres, just as the Moon is one degree off the Sun. (The asteroid named Persephone will even be at 24 degrees, Leo, close enough). We are at a critical point in our evolutionary path. Pluto is also the God of wealth, particularly the minerals beneath the earth. Astrologically, Pluto represents the evolution of the soul and affects entire generations. In Capricorn, an entire chapter has come to a close...the USA has Pluto in Capricorn ! America's Pluto return is coming up in 2022, but the effects will be felt before that, and are, already. If things continue the way they are going, the US will no longer be the leader of the 'free world' by this time. Trump is simply the face of lack of social responsibility and lust for power, status, wealth that is the shadowy side of Pluto in Capricorn. He wears the robe (veil) of the entire country, and anyone can see he is living in a personal Hades. The Solar eclipse is conjunct his ascendant.
Fun fact: Persephone and Hades had a daughter - her name was Melaina, meaning 'dark or black one'. Yep. These players are only a reflection of forces at work on a deeper level of the collective unconscious. We are at the halfway point between the nodes of Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn, going from Capricorn to Cancer, a period that began with the patriarchal religions suppression of the Mother Goddess. So right now we are seeing a desperate, last hurrah and power grab, as well as the self-destructive side of the Goddess. Pluto opposite Ceres, both want Persephone.
Mercury in retrograde is the psychopomp, so pay close attention to those little messages, dreams, overheard bits of conversation, etc, right now. They might have the effect of Hecate's torch. Try to focus on your own experience, take a news break.
It's all Greek to me.
The Return of Persephone, Athenian red-figure bell krater 5th c B.C., (Met Museum)
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