Today’s post is how Demeter represents the values of the Hellenic culture.
Demeter is closely connected to civilisation, even if she is more connected to agriculture and rural settings. Agriculture is, after all, a foundational force of civilisation. Because of Demeter’s gift to humankind, humankind has been able to build permanent settlements, increase in number, develop large-scale societies, develop new technologies such as pottery, the wheel, domesticating animals, writing, monumental architecture, and make advances in all manner of sciences.
And just like she has given humanity this gift, she can take it away, as she did in her wrath over her daughter’s abduction when she hid the seeds in the soil and allowed them not to sprout until she was reunited with her daughter. Demeter would have starved the world for the sake of her daughter. Her power is further demonstrated when Zeus, for the sake of the world, finally relents and orders Persephone be brought back to Demeter. The ensuing events then settle the compromise between Haides and Demeter, where Persephone would spend a third (traditionally the summer) of the year in the Underworld with her husband and the rest with her mother in the Upper World.
Demeter represents the deep caring and love a mother feels or should feel, for her children. The indomitable will to do whatever it takes, sacrifice whatever it takes, to protect her children. Mothers are capable of a lot when their children are endangered, things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.