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Places of the Myth of Demeter - Ceres: Etna

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The site is part of the Places of the Myth of Demeter inserted in Places of Myth and Legends - included in the Register of the Region of Sicily LIM (Places of gods and minor divinities)

Places reported on the IWB: 

  • Rock Sanctuary (Agrigento)
  • Rocca of Cerere (Enna)
  • Promontory of Trapani
  • Top of the Etna Volcano (province of Catania)

The following is an excerpt from the sheet Places of the Myth of Demeter.

The legend of Demeter is closely linked to that of Persephone, considered his daughter and also known by the names of Kore, Free e Proserpina. Demeter is represented as a very beautiful goddess, with thick blond hair like the ears of ripe wheat, sitting with a torch or a snake in her hands and her favorite victim is the pig, a symbol of fertility. Daughter of Crono and Sale, had, from a relationship with his brother Zeus (Jupiter), a daughter to whom he gave the name of Persephone.

He fell in love with this girl Pluto, the god of the dead, who, having obtained the consent of Zeus, kidnapped her while she was picking flowers in the countryside of Enna[1]. Persephone only had time to let out a cry that was heard by her mother, but to no avail, since, rushed to help her daughter, she could not find her because Pluto had already carried her underground, into the kingdom of the dead. After the kidnapping of her daughter, Demeter took hold of a torch lit with the flames of the Etna volcano and searched continuously for nine days and nine nights, but could not find it.

During the search, she arrived in Eleusis, in central Greece, where she was welcomed by Triptolemus' parents, who offered her wine which the goddess refused. However, he had a potion called Ciceone prepared, made of flour, water and mint and which will be used as a potion for initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries. Demeter, grateful for the hospitality received, taught Triptolemus the art of cultivating the land and sent him around the world to spread the cultivation of wheat. On the tenth day, the God Helios (the sun) revealed the truth to her and Demeter, irritated with Zeus for having been an accomplice of Pluto, refused to go back to Olympus, until her daughter was returned to her. Missing from Olympus, Demeter no longer fulfilled her functions as protector of the fields and the earth became more and more sterile, so Zeus, who was the guarantor of the harmony of the universe, asked Pluto to return his daughter. Unfortunately, this was no longer possible since Persephone, during her stay in the kingdom of the dead, had broken the rule that imposed fasting on her; pushed by Pluto, she had, in fact, eaten a pomegranate grain, thus binding herself definitively to him. However, an agreement was reached, Persephone, for two thirds of the year she would have lived underground with Pluto and for one third in Olympus with her mother. Here, therefore, that every year, in spring, Persephone flees from the underground to return there in the autumn.

The relationship between Persephone's exit from the subsoil and the sprouts of wheat that come out of the earth in spring and her return to hell is all too clear, which corresponds instead, with the sowing period in which the seeds of the wheat are planted underground, consecrating the start of the winter season.

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Photo: web

Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero, Region of Sicily

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