Sunny Sunday: Happy Story: The Seven Pomegranate Seeds

The story of the seven pomegranate seeds is a greek myth about the goddess Persephone and Hades. This was a retelling of this (my words, pieced together from multiple different versions of the story). It isn’t exactly happy but it’s not sad either so that’s okay!

The Seven Pomegranate Seeds (as told by Rogan)

A long time ago in Ancient Greece, the goddess or agriculture and marriage, Demeter, had a daughter called Core who was very beautiful. Hades saw Core in an ebony pool and instantly fell in love with her.

Hades went to Zeus and asked him if he could take Core to the underworld and make her his wife. Zeus didn’t know what to say as Core was his daughter and he didn’t want to condemn her to a dark, dreary life but, equally, what was he supposed to say to his older brother, so he told Hades that he would think about it.

After some time with no answer, Hades decided that, as Zeus hadn’t said no to his request, he was not forbidden to take Core as his wife and was therefore allowed. So, he kidnapped Core when she was out in the fields picking wildflowers and dragged her through a hole in the ground to the underworld.

Once Hades had kidnapped Core, he made her his wife.

Demeter searched far and wide for Core. She searched in Sicily, Crete, Colonus and Hermione; she asked strangers and friends alike whether they had seen Core. Each said no, she found no answers, no clues.

Finally, Demeter went to Helios, the sun god, in hope that he would know where her daughter was. Helios tells her to give up looking for Core and, instead, look for Persephone, as that was what she had become as Hades’ wife. Helios told her, “Where she is now, deep in the shadows of the underworld, she is lost even from the sight of Helios.”

Demeter confronted Zeus and told him to bring her daughter home. When Zeus told her that he could not, she declared that if her daughter did not come home, mankind would perish. Sure enough, a year of unrelenting famine came. The animals died, crops withered and the grass turned brown.

When the situation was so desperate that mankind was on the verge of extinction, Hermes was sent to the underworld to convince Hades to give up his wife. Hermes told Hades that life would soon no longer exist and when Hades asked why this should matter to the god of death, Hermes said, “Because even death depends on life. Nothing can continue without it.” Hades conceded that his wife must return and Persephone and Hermes prepared to return to the world of the living.

As Persephone and Hermes were preparing to return to the world above, a gardener of the underworld came to Hades and told him that Persephone had eaten seven pomegranate seeds. Hades, as the rule of the gods was ‘if one has eaten the food of the underworld, one must never return’, sent the gardener after Persephone and Hermes to make them return.

When Demeter had embraced her daughter, after they left the underworld, the Gardener appeared and announced that Persephone had eaten seven pomegranate seeds from the Underworld. Demeter could not believe that her daughter could have done such a thing and turned to her daughter who admitted that she had indeed eaten seven pomegranate seeds from the gardens of the underworld.

The gods discussed the predicament and faced a huge dilemma: they couldn’t ignore the rules but they couldn’t allow life to perish, which would happen should Persephone live in the Underworld. They eventually reached a compromise: Persephone would spend half of the year in the underworld and the other half with her mother. However, Demeter would not accept this; she persuaded the gods to let Persephone spend nine months with her and only three months in the Underworld.

And so, from that day on, every year for three months, the world turns cold and freezes over as Demeter mourns for her daughter in the underworld.

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