Our Spiritual Philosophy of Service

The story of Persephone and her daughters expresses our spiritual philosophy of service.
This philosophy guides us in all our actions as members of the Wiccan Interfaith Council International.

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"I am the beauteous daughter of Demeter, She who is the giver of Life, known to all as Persephone. I have kissed the face of Depression and
Despair, through my compassion for others, I have created the Mysteries, so all may realize and grow.”
On her wanderings, Persephone came upon the spirits of the dead, hovering around their earthly homes, restless and hungering.
"While I walk along the sandy shores, or chance to pick wildflowers near the mountains, I hear the saddest of sounds!" she cried out to her mother, Demeter.
"How I hoped I could be spare you this one sound", exclaimed Demeter. "Yes, tis true, my compassionate child. Those in the Underworld cry out for loving care
and attention, on their way to the Cauldron of Rebirth. But with all the living to nurture, I simply don’t have the time.”
Persephone became haunted by the suffering of these spirits. She could no longer enjoy the beauty of the earth, thinking of their misery. She resolved to go into
the Underworld herself and nurture these spirits. “I have collected three poppies, three sheaves of wheat, and pomegranate seeds,
and am eager to go and tend to those in need.”
My love shall be your torch, my dearest daughter", said Demeter.
And so, slowly, alone, she descended into the Underworld. Hearing the moans of the dead, she found an enormous cavern filled with tormented spirits, the dead
wandering about in despair. She prepared a bowel of pomegranate seeds, since many call it the “food of the dead”. As each of the spirits approached her, she fed
them with the seeds and said:
You have waxed into the fullness of life, and waned into the darkness; May you be renewed in tranquility and wisdom. So nurtured, you may enter Great Hecate’s Gates.”
And Hecate, Queen of the Shades, was happy to have Persephone’s kind and thoughtful help. She welcomed the souls of those now past:
“I am called Einodian Hecate, lovely dame, Of earthly, watery, and celestial frame,
Sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, Pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade;
Persian, unconquerable huntress hail!
The world’s key-bearer never doomed to fail; On the rough rock to wander thee delights,
Leader and nurse be present to our rites; Propitious grant our just desires success,
Accept our homage, and the incense bless.”
For months, Persephone received and blessed the dead on their way to Hecate’s Doors. Meanwhile, Demeter grieved the loss of her companion,
her daughter. She roamed the earth, hoping to find her. She sat and waited, while the earth grew barren; seeds wee planted, but no growth occurred.”
Until she returns, the Earth shall remain barren. No plant shall blossom or bear fruit. No harvest shall spring from the thrice-ploughed fields.
Until my daughter returns, all shall wait, and go within, and prepare for her coming.”
One morning, as Demeter slept, purple crocuses began to burst forth, whispering, “Persephone is coming, she returns!” Demeter leapt up
and rushed through he earth to meet her daughter, so named by the Goddesses as Kore. As they embraced, leaves budded and flowers once again
came out, and the earth erupted into life again. Birds sang, animals shed their winter coats and Demeter wove a cloak of flowers for Persephone,
now known as Kore.”
I return, dear Mother, to bring you gifts from the Underworld.
“You have given service and support, and now stand new before me…you are now Kore.”
Yes, I am back, my great mother, and I share my fruits with you and all who have fasted and waited for me.” *

Inspired by Charlene Spretnak's story of Persephone. © 1996 Paulette Reynolds.
All rights reserved. Please contact Lady Paulette for
permission to reprint:

* Spretnak, Charlene. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths. Boston: Beacon, 1978. (111-117)

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