Persephone is one of my favourite figures in Greek mythology behind Cassandra (obviously) and so I had pretty high hopes for this one - happily, not only were my expectations met, but WELL exceeded. I've seriously never seen anything quite like this.
I kept running around the house when I had this on trying to capture all the different shifts of colour in this stunning dark berry base, but it's beyond my skills. In some lights it's a steely purple, in others a rich juicy burgundy, and full of shifting microglitters that give off an almost blue/green shimmer in the right light.
In case you don't know the story of Persephone, let me break it down for you so you'll understand why this is such an awesome interpretation of the character. You see, Persephone was out in the fields one day, playing with flowers or some such girly junk, and Hades rolls by on a day trip from the Underworld. He decides he's super into Persephone, and since the Greek gods weren't really that interested in ideas like consent, he takes Persephone back the the Underworld with him to be his queen. Her mum Demeter (who happens to be the goddess of growing things and crops and domesticity) understandably gets a bit concerned when Persephone doesn't come back from her cavorting in the fields, and sets out to search for her. Eventually Helios (a sun deity, who can see everything that happens because he's up in the sky and all) dobs in Hades for kidnapping Persephone, and Demeter goes to Zeus because he's SUPPOSED to be in charge of everyone to demand Hades give her daughter back. Zeus shrugs it off, and so Demeter refuses to let anything grow, ANYWHERE, until she gets her way. Naturally, the people who live off the grain and fruit etc that suddenly won't grow anymore get jack of this pretty quickly, and so everyone gangs up on Zeus until he relents and makes Hades give Persephone back. HOWEVER, Hades is a total jerk and insists that because Persephone ate a certain number of pomegranate seeds while she was on her enforced "holiday", she has to come back to the Underworld for that many months a year. And that's why we have summer and winter, you see? When Persephone is at home with her mum, Demeter is all happy and lets all the crops grow. But when Persephone has to go back to the Underworld, she has a massive sulk for about three months, and that's what we call winter. It's not a bad explaination as far as these things go, and I've always kind of loved Demeter's stubbornness.
Anyway, the major element of the story of Persephone id the idea of duality - when she's at home Persephone is a kind, gentle harvest goddess like her mother, but in the Underworld she's the cold, unfeeling Queen of the Shades. I've always been fascinated by the idea of the one goddess representing both the caring and cold sides of femininity. I think Shades of Phoenix have managed to capture this duality really well, as well as evoking the pomegranate that gets Persephone locked in the Underworld.
|You can't tell me this doesn't make you think of the Underworld|
Persephone is a limited edition, and won't be sold through any of Shades of Phoenix's overseas stockists, so if you want it (and why on earth wouldn't you), you'd better get in quick! The Shades of Phoenix Etsy store is open from 6PM tonight, and I'm going to go ahead and guess this is going to sell out quickly.