My Persephone


By Stasha Ginsburg

Persephone doesn’t feel timeless. She looks in the mirror and sees the wrinkles of bark tracing lines on her skin. Underground has its own season. If you spend too much time in a land without sun, you grow strange mushrooms and molds. Not that mycelium isn’t a medicine too. Good for the compost, good for the roots, good for the gardens, good for the worms.
Intellectually, I know she is life eternal. She isn’t death eternal. Death isn’t eternal. That is a myth. She is that which doesn’t die. She is everlasting transformation. Queen of a misunderstood land. She is placeless and she is everywhere. We see her and we see her not. Daffodil rising to greet the dawn. The yellowing of spring. The greening of the fields. The blossoming on the bough. Bud on a greenless twig.

She speaks through body differently than she speaks through tree. The body is herstory. Though history is visible also. The old history. Patriarchy story. The abduction of persephone. Once, she chose to go under. Then, we are told, she was taken with force, without will. The heredity of old stories clots in her veins. Victim to stories she was conditioned to bear. Ancestral patterns repeating themselves. Social patterns and conditioning weeded in her a thousand years ago. Yet, pomegranate seeds are eternal. They will always be juicy and ripe, jeweled and blood red. Life force is seeded and tucked away. Hidden inside. How we digest the stories is another story.

I can’t find her story, my persephone song, her now story, through my mind. To find her I must pilgrimage to the butterfly hermitage of pelvis, uterus and ovary. To the Butterfly of my womansex within me. To the labyrinth of Fallopean tube song. I must listen to nipple and to breast. To all that makes me woman, makes me round, makes me fertile, makes me ripe. Regardless of wrinkles or age.

I have feared her deathsong in my body. Fear of death runs deep inside the Patriarchy’s prison. The misunderstood song of eternal endings. That isn’t herstory. Herstory knows that it is not about dying, but rather, dying to the self. The eternal revolution, evolution, revelation, of resurrection. The radical act of change. The radical act of love. It is and it isn’t about the Sun King. It is about what impulse in my body rises to meet the impulse of the rising sun in me in spring. My Persephone song is the song of my mythology and cosmology coursing wildly through my veins. What in me is dying to myself now? What new, tender shoots have the audacity to rise and thrive during these times? Rise oh my soul. Rise oh my spirit. Rise oh my gifts! Rise oh my inner sun, shining, radiating through me. Rise through my bones and blood, marrow and nerves, flesh and organs and skin. Rise and thrive.

My Persephone is not a victim song this season this year. She is not the abducted forgotten one. Oh no! The world knew she was going to come up again. Yes, she ate those seeds way back before she was born again new. Again and again the world turns, the seasons change. The world went dark with forgetting. and now it is her time to bring geen truths, golden truths back upon the earth, verdant and bold, blossoming and sticky, ripe and abundant.

Persephone, my Persephone. Persephone, my eternal. Persephone, my Queen of the death place, which is one of the most fertile regions I know. All that dies gives birth to so much life.

How do I know if I can trust her if I follow her now? Has she transformed into a new form? I find myself no longer wearing her young maiden Kore skin, but rather, edging my way more slowly, cautiously, and yes, wisely and joyfully even in grief, between Demeter and Hecate. Moving towards the crossroads of midlife. Feeling my way into the dark, dark forest where the whisper voices of Italian Renaissance poet-philosophers remind me of stark truths. I find the Cynical. Hardy. Crystallized. and Sturdy. And, surely, something in me has a tender, vulnerable, innocent eternal spring. A Persephone truth found only in the courage of the journey.

Beneath the muck, beneath the parts too long grown fuzzy or gray with lichen and moss, beneath the browning and the composting beneath the sludge, beneath the mushroom, something pink. Anemone. Aphrodite pink. Yoni pink. Vagina pink. Clitoris Pink. Nipple pink. The tender hidden interior of seashells spiraling a sacred algorithm that never ends. Yet even Yoni at this age seems a fruit past its season. Where hath gone the eternal youth, the tight unfolding, the bud before the blossom, before the Apple the impulse of Summer? Youth feels a story long gone.

I have walked wearily with Demeter’s Sorrow song.

And I see humor and the wisdom of time and age through the my soon to be crone-ing eyes

We are all of it in its entirety. The myth lives eternally and how we stand in relation to it is how it changes as well as how it changes us, but Life. Death. Life and Death keeps on turning and turning the brown earth red again.

I was lost in this myth. Now, I (w)rite my way back to her Elysian Fields. (W)rite of Passage with my Caduceus. Healing fingers telling somatic stories rooted in place and time.

I choose a new role in this myth. a new name. I choose a new myth.

I don’t want to be cut off from Spring eternally. I don’t want to Wrinkle in Time, despite the grace it has. I resist aging. I resist death and in this confession I finally find the treasure gems of my sweet and salty tears, her tears inside my truth.
My Persephone. Now, finally, now after the Revelation, she reveals: there is youthful impulse in aging, only it looks different than I think. It isn’t a song I know, and I cannot find a branch to tell me so. It speaks from underground. And I need to get still to listen. To allow all of it, all the crinks and wrinkles and pain and heartache and humanness and age to be what it is. I must allow the feelings, all of them, and wait for the words to swell in my uterus to swell to become red again with pomegranate seed life force. They will flow. But what happens when the blood red river dries too?

Hecate tells me my mind is spinning, resisting, trying to figure out stories that haven’t yet had their say. Don’t let the mind be a prophet. The time will come for the story to fall like water. Demeter reminds me..for everything there is a season. Even when seasons change their myths and rhymes. There are cycles that cannot be sped, harvests that need to wait, fallows that need to be still longer. Have patience for the time of grieving. Grieve and grieve some more. Allow this to be the flow song. Regardless if the daffodils have found their wings.

And then someone whispers: when she Rises you may not recognize her. But a part of you will know. It’s the tender part. The anemone. That which is selective about how it opens. The pinking of soul is a heart song worth sheltering, worth protecting, worth saving, worth savoring, worth holding, worth birthing. Surrender song. Soft Song. Grace Song. Regardless of what the world says. Go against the stream. The way the strong pink salmon do.

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Stasha Ginsburg
Stasha Ginsburg
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