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Persephone's New Moon

Persephone by Romina Ressina

The first New MOON of the year is on January 16, at 6:17pm PST, at 26 degrees CAPRICORN.

It is conjunct the SUN VENUS and PLUTO, all squared by URANUS in ARIES.

This New Moon is very much the partner of the recent CANCER Full MOON of January 1st, but this speaks of the bedrock below us.

This New MOON wants to know what we're made of. The associated Sabian Symbol is:

Pilgrims Climbing The Steep Steps Leading To A Mountain Shrine.

MERCURY (messenger) and SATURN (the master) are conjunct in early CAPRICORN. Thus this climb to the mountain shrine is being made to receive our assignments from Saturn, newly in Capricorn. The nature of these sacred orders can be intuited by the dwarf-planet CERES tightly conjunct the North Node of Fate, on the ascendant, right as this MOON is new. Coupled with VENUS conjunct PLUTO in CAP, and deep diving, passionate MARS + JUPITER in SCORPIO squaring the NODES/CERES, this conjures the myth of Demeter and Persephone.

Meinrad Craighead

Ceres is the Greek name for Demeter. Ceres/Demeter is the Greek Goddess of harvest, fertility, agriculture and vegetation. She also presides over sacred law, and the cycles of life and death. Her beloved daughter is Kore/Persephone.

We first encounter Persephone gathering flowers in a meadow sacred to Dionysus. The flowers the maiden gathers were considered psychoactive drugs by the ancients. That fact alone suggests that she is not an innocent gathering a mere bouquet, she is something of a healer, a witch, an initiate into women’s mysteries.

Sorcerer's Stone Blog

As she pulls up a flower (all plants' roots grow in the underworld), the earth opens up and Hades/Pluto sweeps her up in his golden chariot and drives her to his underworld kingdom.

"This indigenous relationship to plants as doorways into other realms is what ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes meant when he spoke of the “resident divinity” of a plant. Hades and his horses lurk within the molecular radiance of the flowers, waiting to break apart the veil between the worlds and abduct Persephone into his realm." -Robert Tindall

Art from Pintrest

Deeply distraught, Demeter casts a dark cloak on her shoulders and wanders the earth, searching ceaselessly for her daughter. On the ninth day she meet Hecate, the goddess of magic, on the road, who brings her to the palace of the Sun god Helios, from whom Demeter learns the truth. Exhausted, the goddess sits beside a well, under an olive tree. Frustrated and desperate, she shuts herself in her temple and retaliates against Zeus and the gods of Olympus by withdrawing her fertility from the earth.

Demeter by Evelyn de Morgan

The people begin to suffer greatly and appeal to Zeus. As a result, Zeus capitulates and sends Hermes to bring Persephone back. While saying goodbye, Hades offers Persephone a pomegranate and she eats several seeds.

Persephone remains the maiden until this juncture. She cannot return to Demeter the innocent that she was before her abduction into the realm of death. Persephone eats pomegranate seeds and this is the formal sealing of her union with Hades because the Fates have declared that anyone, mortal or immortal, who eats food in the land of the dead is bound to Hades.

Art by Financial Tribune

Following the mother and daughter’s tearful reunion, Persephone discloses her eating of the pomegranate seeds and so the gods establish that Persephone must now “spend one-third of the revolving year in the misty dark, and two-thirds with her mother and the other immortals.”

Artbella from Deviant

The negotiations were acceptable to both mother or daughter, as Persephone had grown to love her dark companion, and Ceres/Demeter, reconciling herself with the sacred character of her daughter’s relationship to Hades, restores fertility to the earth.

Persephone and Hades by Ashphodel Fields

Demeter put an end to the ceaseless winter upon Earth and everything was reborn into full fertility, and this is why we have the different seasons; when Persephone is away from Demeter, her mother still mourns and we have fall and winter, and upon her joyous return, Demeter causes spring to be reborn.

The Eleusinian Mysteries

Deeply rooted in this myth were the Eleusinian Mysteries; initiations held every year at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Their basis were the mysteries represented by the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother, by the king of the underworld.

The Cycle of the Sacred Ritual had three phases;

the Descent/loss,

the Search,

and the Ascent/reunion.

The main theme being

the ascent of Persephone and the reunion with her mother.

Evelyn de Morgan

This secret and preserved set of rites, ceremonies, and beliefs spanned two millennia.

For the initiated, the rebirth of Persephone symbolized life flowing eternally from generation to generation.

The mysteries were a working ritual that functioned until the sanctuary was closed by Christian emperor Theodosius in 392 A.D.

During its long life, the mysteries were open to all – slave or aristocrat, female or male, foreigner or native – as long as the initiate spoke Greek and had not committed murder. The list of the initiates includes nearly all the prominent figures of the ancient world: Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Cicero… Given the profound influence of these ancient figures, we might imagine the Eleusinian mysteries as the hidden cradle of the Western tradition.

The exact details of the holy mysteries, were never recorded.

What little we know about the actual content of the sacred rite is it culminated in the Mysteriotides Nychtes, the Nights of the Mysteries.

Persephone from Pintrest

Portions of the sacred drama of the Mother and Daughter may have been reenacted by initiates along with the priestesses and priests. The ingestion of the sacred communion drink made of boiled barley water and mint, likely infused with the psychoactive fungus ergot, (akin to LSD), would have significantly heightened the experience of the participants. The sounding of a great brass gong, a great fire inside the temple and then the apex of initiation was a vision received.

Most likely the vision was of Persephone herself.


With this New MOON, where in your life do you need a healing medicine vision to carry into this new year? Where can the themes of descent (loss), search, and ascent (reunion), be applied for some perspective on something you are going through?

In what ways are you Persephone? In what ways are you her mother?

The MOON herself makes a journey to the underworld each month and is born anew. We too need this cyclical pulse of what Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D calls the "Life Death Life" cycle. There are many deaths and rebirths in one life. It is how we renew ourselves. With this New MOON, we are born anew with Persephone's ascent after the dark of the northern Winter Solstice, and are invited to meditate on this myth and draw upon its wisdom for the context of our own highs and lows. Myths are living bodies of codified human experience and are here for us to use in our modern day lives.


Paetra Tauchert, Astrologer

Tale extracted from:


*--- Artist Unknowmn

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