Friday, September 23, 2011

For the Autumnal Equinox, Books about Persephone

Welcome to the Equinox! "Equinox" is Latin for "equal night," and on these two days of the year, day and night are exactly equal lengths. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's the Vernal Equinox, but here in the North it's the first day of autumn.

The declining temperatures and falling leaves at this time of year always put me in mind of Greek myth. In one version of the Classical myth of Hades and Persephone, the first day of fall represents the time of year when Persephone is compelled to leave her mother Demeter and return to the Underworld, where she reigns as queen for half the year. (In other versions, Persephone goes to the Underworld only in winter.)

Here are some of my favorite books starring Persephone:

Songs on Bronze: The Greek Myths Made Real by Nigel Spivey: This is the version of the myth that completely changed my view of Hades forever. I always thought of him as a villain, but in this telling (one of many myths retold in this volume), Persephone is less a prisoner and more the bride in an arranged marriage who falls in love. Hades has a certain charm in Spivey's masterful retelling.

Find it on Amazon.

The Shadow Thieves (Cronus Chronicles, Book One) by Anne Ursu: In this young adult fantasy, modern-day Charlotte Mielswetzki discovers Greek myths are real and finds the entrance to the Underworld in a local mall. She uncovers a plot to overthrow Hades. Persephone in this version has never gotten used to the idea of her arranged marriage, all these centuries later.

Find it on Amazon.

Pomegranate Blues by Hillary Hujanen. I haven't read this one yet, but this is the blurb:

"While juggling her junior year and a whirlwind romance, high school student Persey Green learns a disturbing truth. She’s a goddess reborn, but she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity as the bride of the god of the Underworld, whom she has grown to love in his human form. She must make the ultimate decision."

Find it for only $.99 on Smashwords.

The Surrender of Persephone by Selena Kitt: Up from the depths of the earth comes Hades, also known as Aidon. He lifts Persephone into his chariot and takes her to the eerily lovely splendor of his Underworld kingdom, the land of the dead. In his mind, this is a perfectly acceptable arranged marriage, a deal between Aidon and Persephone's father Zeus. Persephone feels a mixture of fear and attraction to the handsome, amber-eyed god. Slowly, he introduces her to a world of sensual delights balanced with controlled pain. From Kitt's skillful writing, it is also abundantly clear he loves her. The couple comes to love one another and seem to be meant to be together. The sweetness balances the S&M themes.

Read the full review here or purchase on Amazon.

Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen. Shinoda Bolen is a psychologist, and this nonfiction volume applies goddess archetypes to patterns in women's lives. Many women will see themselves in one of these goddesses. Personally, I identify with Persephone. Shinoda Bolen discusses how to channel these archetypes of feminine power and strength to live a happy and successful life.

Find it on Amazon.

Image Attribution:
Orpheus and Eurydice by Jean Raoux, c. 1718-1720. Public domain in the U.S.
Pomegranate Photo by Tomomarusan, Creative Commons license

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Nora B. Peevy said...

Oh! The Cronus Chronicles sounds really good. Funny you posted about this. I wrote a modern day Persephone short story that was published in the UK in Twisted Tongue in the June 2010 Issue. It is still one of my husband's favorite stories. I took four years of Latin in high school and myths are still a love of mine.


Erin O'Riordan said...

Oportet ministros manus lavare antequam latrinam relinquent.

I believe I'd like to read that story, Nora.

shah wharton said...

What a fabulous insight. You write some fascinating articles Erin. X

Erin O'Riordan said...

Why, thank you, Shah. I could say the same to you.

Wren Doloro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wren Doloro said...

Goddess in Everywoman is fantastic! Wow the BDSM one sounds really intense...