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(pərsĕf`ənē) or


(prōsûr`pənē), in Greek and Roman religion and mythology, goddess of fertility and queen of the underworld. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. When she was still a beautiful maiden, Pluto seized her and held her captive in his underworld. Though Demeter eventually persuaded the gods to let her daughter return to her, Persephone was required to remain in the underworld for four months because Pluto had tricked her into eating a pomegranate (food of the dead) there. When Persephone left the earth, the flowers withered and the grain died, but when she returned, life blossomed anew. This story, which symbolizes the annual vegetation cycle, was celebrated in the Eleusinian MysteriesEleusinian Mysteries
, principal religious mysteries of ancient Greece. The mysteries may have originated as part of an early agrarian festival peculiar to certain families in Eleusis. The Athenians later (c.600 B.C.) took over the ceremonies.
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, in which Persephone appeared under the name Kore.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Persephone is one of the names given to the hypothetical planet orbiting the Sun beyond Pluto. Peresephone, asteroid 399 (the 399th asteroid to be discovered, on February 23, 1895), is approximately 55 kilometers in diameter and has an orbital period of 5.3 years. Persephone was named after the daughter of Demeter, who was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld to become his queen. According to Martha Lang-Wescott, Persephone represents “separation anxiety; attitudes toward making transitions (that take one away from familiar people and circumstances); experience of feeling separate from family/others.” This asteroid’s key word is “separation.” J. Lee Lehman notes that the location of Persephone may indicate an area where skills are undeveloped. The less pleasant side of this asteroid is that it may indicate where one is an innocent yet willing victim.


Lang-Wescott, Martha. Asteroids-Mechanics: Ephemerides II. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1990.
Lang-Wescott. Mechanics of the Future: Asteroids. Rev. ed. Conway, MA: Treehouse Mountain, 1991.
Lehman, J. Lee. The Ultimate Asteroid Book. West Chester, PA: Whitford Press, 1988.
Schwartz, Jacob. Asteroid Name Encyclopedia. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1995.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Kore), in ancient Greek mythology, the goddess of fertility and the underworld. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus and the wife of Hades. The myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades and her annual return to earth from the underworld reflects a primitive conception of the periodic dying and rebirth of the plant world. Persephone was venerated by the Romans under the name of Proserpina.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Persephone (Roman: Proserpine)

goddess of fertility; often associated with crops. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: NCE, 1637]
See: Farming


personification of spring. [Gk. Myth.: Cirlot, 252]
See: Spring


the period of her stay (winter) with Hades. [Gk. Myth.: Espy, 28]
See: Winter
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.