Art by Susan Seddon-Boulet
Who is she? How can she possibly be understood? She goes into the Underworld one thing, and comes out something else entirely. No longer part of one world alone- not either world any longer- but belonging to both at once. Her mouth no longer speaks of innocence and purity, but of a knowing, a deep and dangerous understanding of what goes on underneath, and she can never again be the same. No longer Kore, no, even her name no longer fits her. Like teeth she has outgrown, falling out of her mouth. She is something darker now, wiser, infinitely more powerful. It takes time, it must. It always takes time for the caterpillar to undo itself and become something more- more beautiful, more true, more free. To grow a new body, a new life, a new self.

We cannot remain children forever.

Not forever, but once she was a child. Once she played with wild abandon among the flowers, felt the blooming all around her as the sun touched the earth and created things like morning and dew. The world was bright and full of promise, full of hope and infinite possibility. She must have dreamed and wondered what her future would hold. 

It's tragic that such a lovely world was ripped from her, torn away without any warning. One moment the world is bright, the next all is dark, and never again will she experience the sun in exactly the same way. Yes, that's tragic. It always is when things must change. When everything we know is lost to us. When even our "selves" have been destroyed. She was no longer Kore. But she had the opportunity to become something new. 

You see, she is often miscast as a simple victim. As the poor sad maiden with innocence lost. But though victimized she was, she did not stay that way. Not for long. She had a choice. And like Eve before her, she ate of the forbidden fruit. In some circles, this is linked further, with the pomegranate (and not the apple) representing the fruit of knowledge that banishes Eve and her husband from the Garden, from the only life they knew. Again, tragic. But without it, what would things be? Who would we be without knowledge of our darker sides?

Even Peter Pan's dear Wendy makes the choice to leave the child-like fun of Neverland and return to the cold harsh reality of the world to do the hard work of growing up. Another child taken from the world she knew into another, where she ultimately makes the choice to become an adult. In fact, Wendy even plans to return to the bright and shining Neverland each year in the springtime for "spring cleaning" and to return to her home in the real world when the season is over. It's not her fault that Peter, in all his childishness, simply forgets to return for her.

Persephone does return to bring in the spring each year, and to welcome new growth and blooming. She is the herald of our return to light and growth. She brings with her the light and warmth to create our world anew each year, and that is part of the gift she gives us- the green of the grass, the sweetness of the flowers. It is part of her beauty. Let us celebrate spring while it is upon us, let us run with wild abandon through fields of flowers, and relish in the sun's rays. And then when the sun goes down, let us celebrate the gifts that the moon have to give to us as well- the mysteries, the dark shadows, the deep and dangerous knowing that comes after a tragedy has befallen us.

For that is the other part of Persephone's gift to us. As she grows and matures into her role as Queen of the Underworld, she also becomes Queen of the seasons of her life. She accepts the darkness, the strange and powerful world which has adopted her to rule, and she rules with compassion and gentle understanding.  When springtime comes, she again becomes our princess of life and renewal, and then when it's time, she retreats into the Underworld, which has become her other home.  What would life be if there were no death? If there were no sleep, no rest for the weary, no time to reclaim ourselves and regroup? In each of our lives there are seasons, and, like Persephone, we have the opportunity to learn to change with the seasons, to swim with the current, to become one with our selves as whole beings, rather than simply embracing the sweet and spitting out the bitter. 

The autumn equinox fast approaches. Persephone has done her work in the land of the living and now prepares to return to those who need of her light in the Underworld. In what ways can you take advantage of the gift of fall and winter, of the restful quiet of the world growing cold? The leaves begin to change color and fall, the nights become more brisk and the air is full of change. It is the time of the harvests, time to reap what we have sown. What gifts can you give yourself as a reward for all of your hard work and effort? What are you reaping now and what do you want to reap in the future? It is time to rest and regroup, to plan for the future, to face our dark sides and learn deeper lessons about our true nature.

And through it all, Persephone whispers that, like the moon, she is always with us, even when we cannot see her light. This is the waxing and waning of the Goddess, the cyclical center of ourselves, the constant ebb and flow of life within us and all around us. There is a time for all things, and when we learn that and begin to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us, we become the Queens of the seasons of our lives.

How can you become the Queen of the seasons of your life? What lesson does Persephone have for you?

With love and light,

When I was 19, I made up a game while on a road trip with friends. Teenage dramas were infiltrating our happy getaway, and tensions were running high. So, when my brother's Jeep broke down in the middle of the Utah desert, I decided to try something fun. I had a video camera with me, and I decided to tape each person saying one nice thing about one of the others in our group, each in turn. Just one thing that they appreciated about each other. First it was Jerry Appreciation time, where everyone expressed their good feelings for him. Then Tink Appreciation time. Then Eric, Marshall, John, Harley, even me. At the end, the person who was being appreciated had to say one nice thing about themselves. :)

Yeah, it's cheesy, and not everyone I know would probably agree to participate in the first place. But at the time, it seemed to ease some of the harsher moments of what we were going through. And later, whenever things got difficult, I'd watch those videos, listen to how we loved and joked and cared for each other, and it always made the world feel a little warmer. 

It brought me such joy, that I held on to the tradition. I've tried to keep it for special occasions- I'll sometimes try to play on road trips, on holidays, or ask that we play for my birthday in lieu of gifts,  although I have had the odd night where we play just for fun after a glass or two of wine. It's my absolute favorite tradition, and it makes my heart just shine to hear how my loved ones appreciate and care for each other and themselves.

This year, I turned 30. While drinking some delicious wine, and smoking some delicious hookah (flavored tobacco smoked out of a gorgeous water pipe), I asked if we could do Appreciations. And so we spent the evening appreciating the little things- a person's cute mannerism or way of going about life, style, taste in music, books, whatever- to the bigger things- the way a person expressed themselves boldly to the world through their art, their music, the way  they loved, the way they changed our lives. We laughed and cried. It was one of my best birthdays ever.

We saved the Lindsay appreciations for last. Honestly, I felt terribly shy and spent the entire time with my hands clasped together along my jaw, like a cartoon child. One by one, my friends told me what they loved about me, until I was shaking and near tears with gratitude and love. When it finally came time for me to say what I appreciated about myself, all I could say was that I truly have the best taste in friends. I firmly believe that I know some of the most brilliant, beautiful, talented, loving people that exist in the whole world. And I want to express my appreciation for them.

To my loved ones near and far- you have touched my life in ways you can't even imagine. You have altered and affected me so deeply in such beautiful ways. Everything I love about myself, I owe it to those who inspired me, encouraged me, believed in me, and helped me to see it in myself in the first place. You are incredible people with so much to offer the world, and I feel so blessed to have had you play roles in my story. It's better because of you. Please never forget that.

With all the love in my heart,