September is a month of change:- the temperature, season, colours, plants. It's a time when the Earth prepares itself for the winter months and new growth.
Demeter is the goddess of agriculture, fertility and the harvest. As we relayed in the story of Persephone in our March blog at the beginning of Spring, now the season has come around and it's time for her to begin her descent into Hades for the winter months. Now Demeter's grief at losing her daughter and desperate search for her will become apparent in the barren earth, cold and darkness.
According to the myth, Hades gave Persephone a pomegranate when she left the underworld and the amount of seeds she ate corresponds with the amount of months she was bound to him. Six months of the year when Persephone and Demeter are reunited during Spring and Summer the world is full of new life and growth, and the other six months it is infertile. The pomegranate therefore became a symbol, offered to Demeter in prayer for a fertile land and bountiful harvest.
Luckily for us, autumn and winter today are anything but barren and dark. It's a time for grape and olive harvesting, preparing the land, mulching the soil, turning the compost, preparing leaf mould, cutting back plants that have flowered and planting winter vegetables like kale, spinach, cabbage, beetroot and leeks. With a benign autumn climate and gentle rain we can also sow seed which may flower before Christmas or spring out when March comes around. A bountiful time to make preserves, jams and fill the larder with good things to eat!