Ceres' daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped and taken to the underworld by Hades. She was an innocent young maiden, picking flowers, when the earth opened and Hades took her against her will. As a result, she must spend a portion of the year with Hades, and a portion of the year ‘upstairs’ with her mother.
The interesting thing I recently found out is that Persephone often seems to be referred to in writing and ancient rites as “Kore,” (or Cora), which is the Greek word for ‘girl’ or ‘maiden.’ This name for her is primarily invoked when telling this kidnapping story about her, and she is meant to represent all that is innocent and lovely. While this is the most famous story about Persephone, it is by no means the only one; she certainly had a life beyond Hell. However, it seems that when Kore went down to Hell and came back out again, she came back up with her name: Persephone.
Each planet represents a facet of human experience. Pluto, of course, is the Roman name for Hades (Hell). Astrologically, the planet Pluto represents our personal journey into our own “Hell.” At times in our lives we are invited (sometimes kicking and screaming) to deal with our demons, to come face to face with what scares us. When we do this, we stand to gain access to our deepest source of strength and power. We can take back the parts of us that have been trapped in fear and a fight a cause of paralysis in our lives. We come back with some deeper sense of ourselves than we’ve ever had, transformed. There is danger, because we never know if we will make it back out again, but we are all capable of claiming that strength to do so.
Persephone’s journey represents the wisdom and the pitfalls of two extremes. On one end, we have Ceres, Persephone’s mother, who protects and nurtures and feeds, but at her well-meaning worst, she is overprotective, not allowing her daughter to grow up, to find her name, because she is naturally fearful of exposing her to the danger necessary to gain her power. Pluto is the mastery of hard-won self-knowledge and personal strength, but at his worst he is morose, seeing and spreading nothing but misery and fear, which then poisons him and everyone around him. When we must walk Persephone’s road, we walk between these worlds, and bring back the wisdom of each: naivete & beauty, as well as courage and power.