God of the Week: Demeter

02/07/2011: Demeter


Demeter is the ancient Greek goddess of the soil. She was a central figure in the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries which promised its members a rewarding afterlife. Her mention in Mycenean Linear B tablets make her one of the oldest recorded gods of the Greek Pantheon.

The goddess Demeter, the daughter of Rhea and Kronos, is an exceedingly important figure in the history of religions on account of the numerous phases of her character in cult and myth, and also because of the powerful influence which she exerted on the whole Greek world after a certain period. It is impossible to say more in reference to her origin than that, when we go back as far as we can, she still seems to be a Hellenic divinity. Parallels to her cult found among barbarians remain parallels and nothing more, and the fact that she was acknowledged as the chief divinity of the northern Amphiktyony is proof positive of her very ancient establishment as a goddess common to many Hellenic tribes. While she is obviously a form of Gaia (Ge), she was in function the soil goddess rather than the broadly generalized earth goddess.
-The Mythology of All Races, Volume I: Greek and Roman
-by William Sherwood Fox, Ph.D
-Louis Herbert Gray, Editor

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