Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pomegranates for Halloween

Pomegranates figure in many myths and stories from ancient times and from all around the world.  In the ancient Greek story of Demeter and Persephone,  Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken to live in the underworld as his wife.  Her mother, Goddess of the Harvest Demeter, was so sad that she allowed all the green things on earth to die during those six months.  Zeus didn't want the earth to die, which it would have done without plants, so he told Hades to return Persephone.  The rule of the underworld, however, was that if anyone ate or drank anything in the underworld, that person would have to remain there for eternity.

Hades had tricked Persephone, who had been careful to not eat or drink anything, into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was in the underworld; so she was condemned to spend six months of the year there.  During those six months Demeter  mourns and withholds fertility from the earth.  This was the ancient Greek explanation for the seasons.  Halloween falls midway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, and was considered the beginning of winter.  Opposite Halloween on the calendar and midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice is Beltane on May 1, considered by the ancient Greeks to be the beginning of summer (May Day).

This year we return to the what seems to be increased dark on November 1, when daylight savings time ends.  I've been at rituals where pomegranates were paired with apples, the fruit of immortality in some traditions.  Pomegranate seeds in their luminous gel are completely edible and excellent for you, supplying you with great amounts of vitamin C as well as numerous antioxidants, fiber, etc.


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