Demeter – Goddess of the Earth

  • Her name comes from De (Doric form of Ge) and “meter” and means “mother earth”.

  • She was one of the Olympian gods. Most probably she was also worshiped before the Dodecatheon.

    Goddess of agriculture, harvest and fertility. She presided also over the sanctity of marriage and motherhood.

    Demeter is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hera and Hestia.

  • She is one of the few goddesses not notorious for her love affairs. Being distant and aloof, Demeter only had a few romances. Her brothers were the first to vindicate her. Zeus was transformed into a bull in order to make love with her. Later on, feeling regrets for his action, Zeus castrated a goat and put his genitals in Demeter's arms as an expression of repentance. Demeter accepted his apology and several months afterwards she gave birth to her only daughter Persephone. Poseidon also expressed sexual interest for his sister.   In order to avoid his siege, Demeter transformed herself into young female horse and hided among the royal flocks of Oknios, son of Apollo. As soon as Poseidon realized it he transformed himself into a horse and he finally managed to have intercourse with Demeter. The fruit of this intercourse was a daughter, Despina, whose name should not be pronounced and a horse with feathers and black mane, Arion. Demeter's wrath for her rape from Poseidon gave her the name Erinya, which in Ancient Greek means "remorse".

    Demeter’s third lover was a mortal, Iasion, with whom the goddess fell in love. She laid with him in a thrice-ploughed field. From this union, the goddess gave birth to a son, Plutus, who was offering people wealth and abundance. 
  • The biggest celebration to honour Demeter was Thesmoforia, from mid-September to mid-October, the season of seeding. They were taking place all over Greece and it was a feast where only married women could participate. As long as Thesmoforia lasted, women had to abstain from sensual pleasures, they fasted and they were exchanging obscenely jokes. The feast was completed with Kalligeneia where the women had fun. From the feasts of Thesmoforia the names Thesmoforos (in Greek, "thesmos" means customs and "fero" means "to bring"), and Kalligeneia were attributed to Demeter.

  • The symbols of Demeter were the cranes, corn, narcissus, myrtle and crocus. The bees were considered her priestesses and in the sacrifices men were offering bulls, calves, and honey.

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