Persephone is the Greek goddess of springtime and maidenhood, and is the queen of the Underworld. She is married to Hades, god of the dead and king of the Underworld. She was associated with spring growth and was worshiped alongside her mother Demeter goddess of the harvest.
Associated Aspects: Death, Changing of Seasons, New Growth, Purity, Fertility.
Appearance: She usually manifests as a beautiful young woman, either holding a sheaf of golden wheat and a torch. Another depiction of her is in her role as the queen of the underworld, hosting fallen heroes in her court.
Personality: She is generally believed to have been a happy and sometimes naive woman, however after becoming the queen of the underworld she takes on a more serious personality.
Animal Associations: Black Rams, Black Horses, Bats.
Plant Associations: Pomegranates, Wheat, Asphodel, Parsley, Black Poplar.
Symbols: Pomegranate, A Torch.
A Popular Legend
Probably the most popular legend about Persephone is how she becomes Hades' bride. After seeing her for the first time, Hades fell in love with Persephone, so he asked Zeus for his daughter's hand in marriage. Zeus agreed but told Hades that Persephone’s mother Demeter would never agree to the marriage. So Hades came up with a plan to kidnap his new wife.
On a beautiful summer day when Persephone was out in a meadow with her nymph friends picking flowers, Hades surprised her by bursting from the ground riding a golden chariot pulled by black horses. He grabbed the goddess and disappeared back into the earth. When Demeter learnt that her daughter had disappeared she became so upset that she stopped performing her duties as harvest goddess and so the earth experienced its first winter.
With his worshipers going hungry and his lover Demeter so upset, Zeus promised her that he would bring Persephone back if she could prove that she was staying in the underworld against her will. Hades learnt about this agreement and event though Persephone had begun to enjoy her life with him, he was worried she would leave him and so he came up with another plan.
Hades tricked Persephone into eating the seeds of a fruit from the underworld, the Pomegranate. The effects of this meant that the Goddess had to spend 6 months a year in the underworld. So when Zeus, Hades and Demeter met, they came to agreement that Persephone would spend half the year in the underworld and half the year in Olympus.
Warding off Ghosts: It was believed that having an image of Persephone in the house would ward off ghosts.
Successful Harvest: To thank the goddess for a successful harvest as well as to ask for bountiful future harvests, people would leave out Spring flowers, roses and ripe wheat as an offering to Persephone.
This is just a short summary of the mythology behind the Goddess, below are some resources for further reading.