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Is she the Goddess of  the E-meter?

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6d.gif (1616 bytes)emeter, her name means mother, and she is the Mother Goddess of antiquity, though linguistically, Corn Goddess may be more apt. In the Dorian and Aeolic dialects she is Damater.  The daughter of Cronos and Rhea, the Romans associated her with Ceres, and she became intimately associated with that staple crop, Corn.

The very food of humankind was known as the 'groats of Demeter'. At the time of seeding, the peasant prayed to Demeter, and celebrated the harvest in her name, for it is Demeter who fills the barns. Images show her in a wreath of corn ears, and she carries more of them in her hand. Demeter means 'mother earth', both in its fertile aspect and as a resting place for the dead (often known in Greece as 'Demeter's people').

In the Iliad, 'blond Demeter', separates fruit and chaff 'in the rushing of the winds'. Her role with corn was naturally extended to corn and flour which is equivalent to Wealth, and her son Plutos (Ploutos), 'sired on a thrice-ploughed corn field', became that attribute.

Her daughter, Kore (the Girl) took on many of the same characteristics of her mother, and the two became almost as one, the Two Goddesses, or even the Demeteres. Kore  is Persephone (Pherrephatta, in Attic). She is the girl-like daughter of the Corn Goddess, and Mistress of the Dead, wife to Hades himself. In a striking image related to the Eleusian Mysteries, Demeter is shown seated on a sacred basket containing a snake. With her is Persophone - she who dies and is resurrected. Demeter holds a torch - her's is held upwards, signifying life (and purification). Persophone's is held downwards, representing the lower regions. As in Celtic mythology, where cattle were driven between fires at Beltane, so here fire also represents the purification - here of our higher and lower natures. Kore was identified as the power within the corn itself. Triptolemus was initiated by Demeter and Persophone and was believed to be the first man to sow Corn.

Demeter's association with the horse almost certainly derives from the Arayans, and their Mother Dã, who seems to have merged with the much older Mother Goddess cults that they found as they travelled ever further south. This link became manifest particularly at Eleusis, where Demeter and Persophone reached high divine status. Her rites were celebrated there each Autumn, with music and dancing re-enacting the loss and discovery of her daughter.

By Poseidon, Demeter bore the foals Arion and Pegasus, and a daughter who became identified with Persophone, though Hesiod gives Zeus as her father.

Eleusian Mysteries


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Useful Web sites


Robert Graves, Greek Myths

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last updated : 18th February 2003
© Phillip J. Brown (1998 - 2003)

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