"the Kore" by guterrez

“Proserpina’s themes are divination, protection and purification. Her symbols are candles, corn (corn is the name for whatever cereal grain is in common use. The Roman cereal crops were wheat and barley, and they also used millet) and pomegranates.  In ancient Roman mythology, Ceres (an earth and vegetation Goddess) sought her daughter Proserpina, in the Underworld where Pluto held Her captive. During this time nothing grew on the earth. As she searched, Ceres illuminated the darkness of Pluto’s realm with candles, this indicates a time of soul-searching, of finding any dark corners in our spiritual lives and filling them with purity and light. In works of arts, Proserpina is depicted as a young, lovely corn Goddess. In Greek stories She’s known as Persephone.

In magical traditions, people light candles in the Yule log today, giving strength to the sun and chasing away some of the figurative dark clouds that winter left behind. If candles aren’t prudent, turn on every light in the house for a few minutes for a similar effect. Do not burn the Yule log, however, keeping it intact protects your home from mischief.

Another traditional activity for Candlemas is weather divination, which we commonly recognize on this day as Groundhog Day.

So, get up and look out the window! Poor weather portends a beautiful spring and a mild, enjoyable summer. Snow today foretells twelve more snowfalls before April 22 (Saint George’s Eve).”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Proserpina is an ancient goddess whose story is the basis of a myth of Springtime. She is the Roman equivalent of Persephone. She was subsumed by the cult of Libera, an ancient fertility goddess, wife of Liber.

Her name comes from proserpere meaning to emerge. She is a life-death-rebirth deity.

She was the daughter of Ceres and Jupiter, and was described as a very enchanting young girl.Venus, in order to bring love to Pluto, sent her son Amor to hit Pluto with one of his arrows. Proserpina was in Sicily, the land over which She was Matron, at the fountain of Aretusa near Enna, where She was playing with some nymphs and collecting flowers on the banks of Lake Peregusa, when Pluto came out from the volcano Etna with four black horses.

"Rape of Persephone" by James Childs

Notably, Pluto was also Her uncle, being Jupiter’s (and Ceres’s) brother. He abducted Her in order to marry Her and live with Her in the Underworld, of which he was the ruler.  She is therefore Queen of the Underworld.

Her mother Ceres, the Goddess of cereals or of the Earth, vainly went looking for Her in any corner of the Earth, but wasn’t able to find anything but a small belt that was floating upon a little lake (made with the tears of the nymphs).

"Demeter - Painful Mother" by Umina

In desperation Ceres angrily stopped the growth of fruits and vegetables, bestowing a malediction on Sicily. Ceres refused to go back to Mount Olympus and started walking on the Earth, making a desert at every step.

Worried, Jupiter sent Mercury to order Pluto (Jupiter’s brother) to free Proserpina.

Pluto obeyed, but before letting Her go, he made Her eat six pomegranate seeds (a symbol of fidelity in marriage) so She would have to live six months of each year with him, and stay the rest with Her mother. So this is the reason for Springtime: when Proserpina comes back to Her mother, Ceres decorates the Earth with welcoming flowers, but when in Fall She has to go back to the Underworld, nature loses any color.

For more information on Proserpina and Her myths and stories, visit Proserpina, Goddess of Sicily and Myths About the Roman Goddess Proserpina.