Forbidden Fruit. Acryla gouache & watercolor. 15" x 10".
The conclusion of the myth of Hades and Persephone:
Now when all-seeing Zeus heard that Demeter would let nothing blossom or bear fruit on the earth, he sent Hermes to win over Hades with his soft words, that he might return Persephone to the light, and that her mother might see her and cease from her anger.
And Hermes sprang down to the hidden places of the earth. He found the lord Hades in his house reclining with his shy wife at his side.
And Hermes said: 'Dark-haired Hades, ruler over the dead, Zeus bids me bring Persephone unto the light, that her mother may see her with her eyes and cease from her dread anger. For Demeter plans an awful deed, to destroy earth-born men by keeping seed hidden beneath the earth.'
Hades, ruler over the dead, smiled grimly and obeyed the behest of Zeus. For he urged Persephone, saying :
`Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go, and feel kindly in your heart towards me. Be not so sorrowful; for I shall be no unfitting husband. If you are here, all that is mine shall be yours, and you shall rule over all within my realm.'
Though he said this, Persephone was filled with joy to return to her mother. So Hades gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, the food of the dead, which the living must not eat, so that she would return to him and her mother could not keep her away forever.
Then Hades prepared his deathless horses and his chariot. And Persephone mounted on the chariot, and strong Hermes took reins and whip. Swiftly they traversed their long course, and neither the sea nor mountains checked the speed of the immortal horses, but they cleft the deep air above them as they went. And Hermes brought them to Demeter.
When Demeter saw them, she rushed forth. When Persephone saw her mother's sweet eyes, she leaped from the chariot and ran to her, and embraced her. But while Demeter was still holding her dear child in her arms, her heart suddenly misgave her for some snare, so that she feared greatly and asked:
`My child, tell me, surely you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me; but if you have tasted food, you must return beneath the secret places of the earth.’
Then Persephone answered her thus: `Mother, he put in my mouth sweet food, pomegranate seeds, and forced me to taste against my will.’
Because Persephone had eaten the food of the underworld, she was forced to return there, one month for each of the six seeds she had eaten. So during in the autumn and winter, Demeter mourns for her daughter and the earth lies barren. But in the spring, when Persephone returns to her mother, the earth blooms and bears fruit once again.
My easel near the finish of the painting. Mini-Loki and his clone stand on top of the easel, where they inspire me to greater heights of artistry. (Burdened with Glorious Purpose, and all that.)
The text of the myth is adapted & abridged from the Homeric Hymns, based on the translation by Hugh Gerard Evelyn-White.