In today’s post, we will be examining one of the 12 Olympian gods in Greek mythology, namely, Demeter. Without further ado, here is everything you should know about Demeter, her family, her symbols as well as her sacred animals and plants.
Who is Demeter in Greek Mythology?
Being one of the most important figures in ancient Greek religion, despite not always being at the forefront of the Greek pantheon, Demeter was the Greek goddess of the harvest, agriculture, grains, sacred law, and fertility. Demeter is often depicted as a woman holding a sheaf of wheat or a cornucopia.
Demeter was mainly worshipped in rural areas, where she was considered the controller of nature and the seasons. Her rituals were often associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Demeter is also associated with the underworld as she was the one who discovered Hades’ abduction of her daughter Persephone to his kingdom in the underworld.
According to the myth, Hades kidnapped Persephone to the underworld and made her his wife. Demeter mourned her daughter’s loss so deeply that she stopped caring for the earth, which led to famine.
Zeus eventually ordered Hades to return Persephone to her mother. However, she could only return to the earth for some parts of the year as she had eaten grapefruits, the fruits of the underworld, by the hands of Hades.
The winter months when the lands were “dead” marked the mourning times of Demeter for her daughter while spring months marked Persephone’s return to her mother.
Demeter’s Family Tree – Who are Demeter’s Parents and Siblings?
Demeter’s parents were Titans Cronus and Rhea, and her siblings were Zeus, Hera, Hestia, Hades, and Poseidon.
She is known as the mother of Persephone, Ploutos, Korybas and Orion, Despoina.
Demeter Symbol List – What are the Symbols of Demeter?
As she is known as the goddess of harvest, fertility and agriculture, she had many symbols related to agriculture. Perhaps, the most common symbol of Demeter is the cornucopia, which is also known as the horn of plenty.
Other symbols of Demeter include torches, bread, sheaves of grain, and wheat. And, of course, like the other Greek gods and goddesses, she has animals and plants that are sacred to her worshippers.
The sacred animals of the Greek goddess of the harvest are pigs and snakes (serpents).
What are the Sacred Plants of Demeter?
Barley, wheat, poppy, and mint are the sacred plants of Demeter.
This wraps up our piece on the Greek goddess of fertility and harvest, Demeter, her symbols, sacred plants and animals. If you liked reading it, you should probably check our round-up post on Greek god symbols here or you can read about the symbols of Apollo here. Thanks for reading.