Friday, February 19, 2010

Myths and Symbols

Gosh, it's been a busy week over in the block or not corner! I started back at my writing and editing diploma, and what with evening classes, internships and homework, haven't had much 'sitting and thinking' time.

So to save me coming up with my own post topics, I've decided to do a few on what we've done in classes.

First up, in my class on myths and symbols and how they're used by writers, we were asked to think of a story that has 'stayed with us' - and why.

The story that I first thought of was the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter's daughter Persephone is kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. She's eventually rescued, but because she ate six pomegranate seeds while she was there, Zeus rules she has to stay with Hades for six months every year. Demeter is the goddess of fertility, so for those six months every year she refuses to make anything grow, which is why we have winter every year (although I think in Australia it would be summer!).

The reason this story has stayed with me? Mostly it's because when I was a kid reading it, I had no idea what a pomegranate was, and why you'd eat the seeds. And the explanation for the seasons is very cool.

But, apart from fascinating yours truly over the course of her lifetime, this story has been around for thousands of years. That makes me think I should look at it more closely, and try to learn something!


  1. Hi

    I always thought Zeus was not a very nice god. He was just such a meanie! He'd torture and kill his own cos he was in a bad mood or was jealous or some other. Then again that's what makes him Zeus!

    Anyway - this is a great way of explaining the seasons! I never knew what a pomegranate was either - I couldn't even pronounce it properly -so many syllables to get my tongue round!

    Good luck with your editing and writing and oh golly what a busy week you're having!

    Have a great weekend!

    Take care

  2. Thanks Old Kitty.
    The thing I like about Zeus (and the rest of the Greek gods) is that he behaves just like a human would if they were made a god - making harsh, unilateral and not necessarily rational decisions!

    Enjoy your weekend too.

  3. Just mentioning the phrase "myths & symbols" of course brings Dan Brown to mind. He's made a lucrative career out of writing about them.

  4. Did *anyone* in the last 40 years or so actually know what a pomegranate was when they first heard that story? :P

    (Personally, once I did know I was amazed she'd bothered :) )

  5. Hi KarenG - I think Dan Brown's roaring success just shows how much people love all that stuff.

    Hampshireflyer, thanks for dropping by. It's strangely reassuring after writing this post to find out I wasn't the only one ignorant of pomegranates!