What are some facts about Demeter?


Quick Answer

Demeter is known as the goddess of agriculture who taught humanity how to sow seeds. She is closely associated in myth with her daughter Persephone, whose compulsory journey to the underworld she mourns every autumn.

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Full Answer

Demeter's parents are Cronus and Rhea. She is one of the god Zeus's lovers as well as his sister. The two conceived Persephone together.

Hades, god of the underworld, abducted Demeter's daughter and dragged her to his shadowy realm. Demeter searched high and low for Persephone, so desperate that she forgot her responsibilities as the deity of grain and caused widespread famine.

Hades eventually offered a compromise to end the starvation, allowing Persephone to go to the surface and visit her mother once a year. Her freedom is only temporary, however. According to Greek mythology, Persephone's annual release from captivity is the catalyst for the changing seasons because Demeter only allows growing things to flourish in the spring when she is happy. Demeter falls into grief when her daughter returns to Hades in the autumn, causing the plant life to go dormant until the next spring.

Demeter is often depicted with a wreath made of corn and bearing a torch to symbolize the hunt for her daughter. The pig and the snake are sacred to her.

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