Make way for Persephone!

by | Oct 24, 2019 | Seasons Newsletter, Uncategorized | 14 comments

 

I was surprised.

She didn’t want to be Persephone in the school play. I thought all the girls would have lusted after the part of the maiden, dancing with her friends amidst the spring flowers, her head crowned with a ring of blossoms.

But not 11 year old Mira. She wanted to be Hades.

The clash

Each year, at the height of Spring, I make a new attempt to reconcile what I’ve seen as a jarring clash. Southern hemisphere Beltane, Whiringanuku, Flowering and Saprise has been invaded, it seems, by the northern hemisphere festival of Halloween. At dusk, children form excited clusters, clad in black cloaks and spooky gear, and giggle their way down the streets to trick and treat.

Once upon a spring

This was unheard of when I was a child. Spring stood supreme, showering us with pollen and petals as we walked to school, raining its bounty over our heads and into the eager warm soil. The idea of death remained aloof as we launched ourselves into outdoor games, swimming, and running freely once more over the hills. The cows came back into milk, hens were clucking and laying again, and calves were ready to be groomed for Calf Club Day.

Our mothers baked their soft airy sponges, dusted with icing sugar, our fathers cut their best cabbages, and we kids pushed pansies and daisies into sand saucers, ready for the flower show.

Spring was simple then: a season of awakening and enthusiasm as we shook off the shackles of winter.

Bad characters

“Why Hades?” I asked my grand daughter.

‘Because he’s much more interesting than Persephone. I like the sound of him. He’s a tiny bit evil and powerful too.’

Have you noticed how children are drawn to the bad characters? Maybe that’s the attraction of Halloween, imported into our southern hemisphere season of peak spring from America.

Spring captured

Spring is full of the brightness of newly awakened oak leaves, lush grass and a sea of rain flowers, the white crocus-like blooms that spring up like mushrooms after warm rain.

But then, spring in all her innocence, is abducted. The earth opens and Hades charges up from the underworld in his chariot, grabs Persephone and takes her down to the realm of death.

The dark realm is the current season of the northern hemisphere, on the brink of Samhain, the Festival of the Dead where chaos rules and the usual social order is turned upside down. The import of this festival to the southern hemisphere threatens to swallow up any celebrations of spring.

My fantasy

But I have a fantasy. In it, two seasons live in one day. The day is October 31. I imagine clusters of Persephones tripping down the streets, laying flowers on people’s door steps at dawn. Then at dusk, gaggles of ghosts and goblins prowling the darkening streets with their bags of trick and treats. Not just the Halloween takeover, but space for flowers, maypoles and maidenhood as well. Two hemispheres in one day, a kind of reconciliation.

Is there a way for the young ones to flirt with the shadow without being abducted by it?

What do you think? I would welcome your thoughts.

Blessings of the season to you,
Juliet
 
 
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14 Comments

  1. Kerrin Brizzell

    I like your idea that Peresephone has been hijacked by Hades and maybe that reflects what is happening in our world generally at this time. Such a focus on the dark side, bad news, risk etc. This must be internal too, so maybe that is the place where we can have an impact – attending not only to our own darkness, but allowing our own light. Maybe thats what I will celebrate this spring. Thanks heaps Juliet

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Karrin, I’m so glad this has landed for you. Yes, there is a heavy burden of the bad news being delivered to the young, and well as what arises from inside for us all. I love your understanding. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Anita Blanchett

    Is there a way for the young ones to flirt with the shadow without being abducted by it?

    I love that question. Its come to light for me right now. How I can so easily dupe myself that I am living in the light because I don’t do any ” evil “. Just this morning I saw that when I agreed with a friend last night that ” yes so and so is a so and so “. I didn’t see that my own shadow was dancing with that of my friend. I could have instead chosen to hold presence, awareness, choosing to be awake and coming from that awakened place. How wonderful it would be to give children awareness of the dance of the shadow in daily life. That its part of us all. That when we judge it in another its because we are avoiding embracing the truth of it in ourselves. Oh what they could do with that powerful knowledge in their lifetimes!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Anita, thank you for adding to the conversation with these wonderful thoughts on the dance of the shadow.

      Reply
      • Arijana

        I find myself asking the same question, and i refuse to celebrate Halloween mid-spring. This is a season for a different kind of treat. I am not necessarily against sheltering children from realities of life such as death and/or transitions from the visible into the invisible worlds. That can be done in a way that deepens their imagination and compassion. Right now, for us here in Aotearoa, the world of light is more visible and prominent. It just needs normalising- this continuous interplay between the two.

        Reply
        • Juliet Batten

          Arijana, I really appreciate your thoughts. Halloween has its own season in autumn and spring is now. Thank you.

          Reply
  3. A W (Phil) Philpot

    Thank you Juliet,
    Lovely newsletter as usual. Many of us long standing pagan folk feel the same re the psychic clash of the popular importation of the NH Halloween symbology into the time of Beltane. Like the endless commercialisation of Xmas at midsummer I find this popularisation a negative energy in the turning of the wheel here in the SH.
    Blessed Be Phil

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Phil, thank you so much. A psychic clash, how well put.

      Reply
  4. Geraldine Klassen

    Juliet, thank you for your refreshing thoughts on the seasons. When I read your newsletter, I feel a part of your life, sharing your experiences with mother nature.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Gerry, what a lovely comment. Thank you so much; you inspire me with the writing.

      Reply
  5. Kathryn Rountree

    Thank you so much for another lovely newsletter, Juliet – I always feel recalibrated and brought back to centre after reading them. Re your fantasy of the dual celebration at this time of year… I love it, but I’d have the flowers-on-doorsteps ritual next morning. If it was on the evening of the same day (31 October), it would feel to me as if Halloween/Hades was conquering or trumping Persephone/spring by virtue of coming after the flower ritual. Flowers next morning would truly symbolise the triumph of spring! Thank you once again for your creative and generous ministering…

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Kathryn, this is an excellent idea! — ‘the triumph of spring’ indeed. Thank you so much for this, and for your kind comments.

      Reply
  6. Hilary

    Hi Juliet – that’s a great way of looking at life … as we are all of the whole – so why not Halloween in the evening, and Spring in the morning … I think I’ll remember this. Great that Mira is already 11 … she’s grown fast – as fast as we’ve aged?! Don’t we always like the bad guy too – who turns into the good guy? I know that’s the way my thoughts used to turn … unless he’s ‘foul’!! Take care and now I’m happier with Halloween coming around … Spring can be there during the day – cheers Hilary

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      ‘The bad guy who turns into the good guy’ – now that’s an interesting thought Hilary. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      Reply

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