Greek Myths: Demeter and PoseidonbyTara_Neale©
Demeter smiled serenely to her companions: Aphrodite, Artemis, and Athena. The wind blew softly off of the sea, cooling the mid-day heat of Helios' magic chariot, the sun. Their daughters, the young goddesses frolicked on the hillside of Mount Aetna nearby.
She smiled as she watched her beloved Persephone giggle and pick a poppy from the field. Her daughter was becoming a beautiful young woman. Of course, she would be. Her father was Zeus after all, the master of all the Gods.
It had been many years since she had graced his bed, but the thought of her magnificent lover as always set her body aflame. Her breasts suddenly felt heavy and full within the confines of her bodice. Her nether regions became achy, needy. How long had it been since she had lain with a man? Mortal or God? She chuckled, 'Too long if you have to ask,' she thought.
She stood slowly and turned to her friends, if such catty bitches could be called that. "If you will excuse me, ladies, I think I need to powder my nose."
Aphrodite chuckled, "That is one way of putting it, sister dearest. You really should stop pining for him. He's not the only god you know."
Demeter rose her chin, "If you are the wise Goddess of Love, how is it that you cannot manage to keep your own crippled husband?" Athena and Artemis chuckled softly as she made her quick exit.
She re-appeared a short time later. Her friends were arguing, another of their silly spats. This time she hoped it would not lead to another war among the mortals. She shook her head and looked across the fields to the slopes of Mount Aetna. She scanned each beautiful face, but the one she sought was not among them. Stopping by the table, she asked, "Where is Persephone?"
Athena looked out across the fields, "She was here just a moment ago. I'm sure she could not have gotten far."
Demeter nodded, but the lump that was growing in her stomach did not bode well. "Persephone!" she called out. She waited a long moment then stepped off the patio, moving closer to the fields where the young goddesses had been playing, she called her daughter's name again and again until she grew hoarse.
The others joined in the hunt, but still no sign of the young woman. "I am certain that the girl is fine," reassured Artemis. "She has probably just wandered off in search of more of those infernal flowers."
"Yes, I am sure of it," agreed Aphrodite.
But Demeter was inconsolable. "Send for Zeus. Send for her father," she demanded.
Aphrodite laughed, "Oh yes, I am sure that Hera will just love that. Another reminder of her husband's wandering eye. If the girl is not in trouble now, she will be once Hera hears of this."
Demeter shook her head and walked deeper into the fields, leaving the others to their partying. She knew that something was not right. She could feel it. Her mother's instinct.
She had been walking for days. She was not certain how many or how far she had wandered from Mount Aetna. But still no sign of Persephone. She quizzed each person whom she met, mortal or immortal. And if she did not like their responses, she reeked her havoc, setting fire to fields, destroying the very crops for which she had sworn to care.
She had a brief glimmer of hope when she ran upon the three-faced goddess Hecate. She had heard Persephone's cries but had not seen the young woman. Perhaps if she could just find Helios, the sun. Perhaps in his travels across the sky, he had seen something. He saw so very much.
Eventually she found the god, driving his chariot towards the hills. His daily travels complete once more. She cried out to him. "Helios, Helios," the bearded man looked up at her with a smile. "Have you seen Persephone?"
The man shifted uncomfortable, began to fidget with his golden chariot. "I saw her some days ago, yes."
"Where? Where is my daughter?" she demanded.
"I do not wish to get caught up in this matter. It is none of my concern," he kept his eyes down as he continued fiddling with buckles that would release the steeds.
"Where is she, Helios? What do you know?" she demanded, grabbing the man and shaking him.
He shook his head, "You did not hear this from me, mistress. But Zeus gave his daughter as wife to his brother, the Invisible One."
She shook her head, "Hades? Why would he do such a thing? Persephone is but a child. And Hades rules over the underworld, he rarely leaves the place. My daughter had no business there."
The man shrugged, "It is not my place to question my father, but Demeter, Persephone is no child. She is a woman, full grown. Hades is not the only one who has noticed her. Merely the one that father felt could most care for and protect her. So he came for his bride, opened a rift between this world and the underworld and took what he had been promised."
She shook her head as she pulled away, "No, not him. Never him. I will not be separated from my child. I will not." She lifted her fist and shook it at the heavens. "Do you hear me. I want my daughter back!"
"I want my daughter back," demanded the goddess as she stood before the king of gods. "You had no right to give her to Hades."
"I had every right to choose my daughter's husband," he boomed. "And I have chosen well. My brother has the power to protect and care for her as she deserves."
"She is a child," pouted Demeter.
"She is a woman full grown and her beauty was already stirring trouble everywhere she went. I have had enough with women brewing their vain and vile ways among the mortals. No one has time to worship me because they are engaged in wars caused by petty squabbles between goddesses. No, this is for the best. My brother will see to her happiness." His gaze roamed between Aphrodite, Athena and Hera, who had the grace to look properly chastised for once.
"And what of my happiness, dear brother? Does that mean so little to you? Do I mean nothing to you? That you would take my child from me. Our child."
He sighed, "Demeter, you are a beautiful goddess. You could have any god or man. Yet you wrap yourself in the child and your work. Have you thought that perhaps that is not for the best?"
Aphrodite smiled at her, "Yes, another lover. Another baby perhaps. That is what you need, Demeter."
She shook her head, "Caring for my child and my crops is better than brewing trouble as you say of the others. But hear me this, brother, if you do not return my daughter, you will see the trouble that I can cause."
"What do you mean?" he asked as he stepped from his throne, towering over her.
But emboldened with her sorrow, she did not back down. "There is no place for me here. Olympus is no longer my home. I want nothing to do with it. Or you," she said as she turned to leave, her gowns wrapped about her, clinging to her ripe body.
She barreled from the throne room of Olympus, practically run into Poseidon as he entered. His large hands gripped her shoulders to keep her from falling, "Woe, little sister, where are you going in such a hurry?"
"Away from this place," she said staring over her shoulder at Zeus. "Away from all of you," she said as she looked about the gods and goddesses assembled there. She jerked from his grasp and ran crying from the room.
Poseidon stood staring after her for a long moment before turning back to the assembly. "Woman troubles again, dear brother?" he smiled at Zeus.
"Is there any other kind?" he asked bringing a golden goblet of ambrosia to his lips and drinking it in a single gulp.
"Well, our little sister certainly has grown up nicely. I'm beginning to realize what you saw in her all those years ago."
Zeus arched his brows, "And what of your wife, little brother? How does she fare?"
"Pregnant again. The babe makes her mood so foul that I have forsaken my seas to seek refuge here," he said reaching for grapes on the table.
Aphrodite shifted in her seat, sensing that this was something she could use, perhaps to get back into her father's good graces even. Since her husband had renounced her in favor of that little traitor, she had need of refuge in his palace.
If he wished Demeter occupied with a new lover, another child, perhaps she and Eros could be of some assistance. And perhaps his dear brother was just the god for the job, at ends as he was with Amphitrite with child. She smiled at the possibilities.
Demeter did as she had for weeks, wandering through the dying fields of grain. She had promised her dear brother that he would see her wrath and all about her it spread. Heads of grain that should be ripe and full were instead dry and shriveled. Her earth mourned with her the loss of her child.
"Oh Persephone, where are you?" she cried out.
The boisterous laugh from behind startled her. She turned to see the imposing form of her brother, Poseidon. "What are you doing here?" she demanded. "Did he send you? It won't work you know. I will not allow the earth to bring forth her bounty once more. Not until he gives me back my child."
He shook his head, "Even full of anger and despair, your beauty shines threw. No, little sister, Zeus did not send me. I came to check on you myself."
"As you can see, I am far from fine. I want my daughter back."
He laughed again, "You know he might be on to something. Maybe what you need is not Persephone. Maybe your need a new lover. Perhaps another babe would distract you from this melancholy."
"Oh yes, just what every woman needs. A man's answer to everything. Sex. Some cock and everything is supposed to be forgotten," she flung her hair about her shoulders as she fled the field as fast as she could.
Demeter made it to the edge of the woods but his laughter echoes through them. Her anger boiled inside of her. One brother had taken her beloved daughter. Hidden her deep in the bowels of the earth where she could not reach her. Goddess, only knew what depraved things he was doing to her little girl. Another had simply handed over their child to him for the taking. Now this. The other wanted to defile her as well.
She was tired of being a pawn in their little games. Nothing to any of her brothers but open legs to be screwed and another mindless cow to bear their young. Enough was enough, she thought as her anger took physical form, torching the fields through which she fled. If she was lucky, the ass would get scorched for his troubles.
Demeter ran through the fields of Arcadia. About her frolicked the horses of King Onkios. She was tired. So tired, too damned tired. She had cried until there was simply no more tears to be had. She wanted to rest. To heal. To slake her sorrow.
She watched the mares prance about her. Carefree. She envied them. Longed for that type of respite. On a whim, she transformed herself. Taking the form of a light brown mare. She joined them, danced about the field. Felt the warm sunshine of Helios upon her back. Ate the green grasses of the field. It was the best she had felt in so very long. She lost all thought of time and place, just reveling in the unburdened life of a beast.
Poseidon chuckled. So his little sister thought to play. He enjoyed these games, the chase was after all the best part of it. Once he caught a woman, mortal or goddess, she rarely lived up to his fantasies. As he watched her racing through the fields with her mane and tail flying behind her, he wondered, perhaps this once she would prove him wrong.
The fact that she had chosen to take the form of a mare was not lost upon. It was like an engraved invitation. He was the horse god. How much more obvious could she make her interest?
He transformed into huge black stallion. It was one of his favorite forms, one that he often assumed when he wanted to be free for a time from the duties and responsibilities that seemed to always weigh so heavily upon his broad shoulders.
He took off across the field. If little sister wanted a chase, he was just the stud to give it to her.
Demeter plunged naked beneath the water of the River Ladon. She bathed in it until she skin swelled with its waters. She scrubbed and rubbed her skin until it was a bright pink. She would never be clean. Never again be the same.
How could he have done it? Her brother. But he had. Her attempts to evade him had been in vain. Even in the form of the mare, he had recognized her. Known of her divinity. And nothing could stop him from taking her. Taking what he wanted. Just another conquest.
She was nothing to any of them but something to be used and discarded. Zeus. Hades. And Poseidon. They had all taken what they wanted from her. Used and abused her.
Well, no more. She would spend her days upon the earth now. Among man. The mortals were more civilized than those beasts called the gods. But one thing was certain, she would have her child back. Her daughter would not become another of their pawns. No matter how long it took Persephone would come back home to her.
Zeus stepped to the side of the humble abode. His shoulders were slumped a bit under the weight of his station. The woman before him bore little resemblance to her once goddess regal state. She looked like any other mortal hag. Except for the round fullness of her belly. Demeter was obviously well into her pregnancy.
She stood when he entered. He smiled, despite her human form, she still retained the gracefulness of her true heritage. A human woman could never move with such speed and elegance this far gone into her pregnancy.
"Demeter," he nodded his head.
"What do you want, Zeus?" she replied with a frown.
"The same thing I have wanted every time I sent a messenger. I want the fields to grow again. Ripen with grain. Feed our subjects."
"So they can go back to worshipping you, I'm sure," she said with disdain.
"Yes, so they can go back to worshipping me. And what is wrong with that? It is as things should be," he boomed.
"I will tell you as I have told your errand boy. Not until you bring back my daughter," she spat as she turned back towards the table and her knitting.
"Very well," he replied. "Bring in the maiden."
Persephone raced into the room, followed by her guards. "Mother," she cried as she flung herself into her mother's bosom.
Demeter smiled as she held her first born in her arms. She cried, but this time it was not tears of sorrow. Or even shame. They were tears of joy. "Let me look at you, dear."
Persephone stood back, spinning and smiling. "See, mother. I am fine. Hades has taken good care of me. He really is," she began.
"I do not want to hear anything more about him. We will put this all behind us. Begin again," said Demeter with finality.
Zeus stepped forward then, "I am afraid that will not be possible, Demeter. Persephone ate from his table. She must return to the underworld for a portion of each year."
Demeter frowned at him, but she understood the gravity of his words. Mortal or immortal were forever bound to Hades once they ate from his table. "I will not till the earth when she is not with me. It was be as barren and fallow as my soul."
Zeus nodded his head in resignation. "Understood, Demeter. But I would not waste time worrying of such things while she is here."
She smiled and nodded, turning back to her daughter. "Of course not. Come Persephone, tell me everything of your adventures."
The girl giggled and waved her hands towards her mother's bulging abdomen, "Yes, well, my time in the underworld has not been as productive as yours, mother dear."
Demeter gave birth to another daughter Despoina and a horse named Arion, with a black mane and tail like his father's, Poseidon. Persephone remained with her mother for two-thirds of each year and the earth ripened and bore grain enough to feed Zeus subjects. And for the three months each year that Persephone returned to her husband in the underworld, Demeter kept her promise. The earth was barren and cold.