Of all the symbols of Hellenismos that I think is perhaps the most universal, in that it is present in just about every corner of the globe, is the poppy. The beautiful poppy of the mysteries, the blossoms that decorate Eleusis with its broad delicate petals and deep dark centers. Even though I don’t have much of a personal connection with Demeter, I can appreciate the potency of her poppies. Just as the doves and pigeons of Aphrodite can be seen everywhere, and the violets of Dionysos, so too there are the poppies of Demeter. It shows a widespread presence of these gods infiltrating everywhere, through every nook and cranny into our urban landscapes. They are a part of our lives as the pigeons and doves adapt to living in the nooks of the city, and the poppies and violets shoot up in sparse amounts of soil. Even in these far northern climes all of these can be seen as a testimony of these gods which are so intrinsic to our spiritual development and social-unity, and the alignment between nature and man.
And so, while there are vast amounts of snow still laying on the ground, steadily melting under the influence of the waxing light of Apollon, in the slivers of bare ground huddled next to the houses where the warmth of our dwellings thaw the snow and warm the earth more rapidly, the violets and poppies have shoots of greens already emerging from the soil. I have remarked before that Alaska’s spring tends to be tracked by the rapid increase of light (as the light increased 6 minutes per day here near the Gulf, much more rapidly than other parts of the country, and yet not as great as the more northern parts of Alaska), rather than spring vegetation, here is the barest smallest exception..the barely present growth just starting to raise through the earth. And the poppy is parimount. In our garden we have both blood red poppies and we have brilliant blue poppies, poppies which represent the first blush of the returning spring carries to call of the return of Kore to every part of the world….though blooming at varying points of time depending on environment. And I know that these poppies which have already bloomed in warmer climates will be full blossoms in May here in Alaska as it marks the beginning of our very short growing season.
Does this mean that I alter the return of Persephone in any fashion in order to match to the appearace of such blossoms (or any flowers and greenery at all). No I don’t, especially considering that the snow cycles here vary from year to year depending on where the cycles fall between the winds/currents of El Nino and its opposite La Nina. So in a winter such this, which is likely in the midst of a La Nina year, is quite different than other winters in which the snow (that is not as deep…we have a record snow this year actually) would already be greatly receeding and these growths would be a bit more widespread. There wouldn’t be flowers yet, but the growth would be present. I see the same phenomena in my mother’s garage, that spring occurs. The begonias that my mother winters in her garage go all winter without water in their pots, and then on their own in March they push through the soil all on their own in the dark garage after which my family begins to water them. This convinces me that even under the deep cover of snow, unseen by us, spring is occuring under a veil. Persephone’s presence may be a bit more obscure to us in colder climates, but it is there, and the coming of the poppies, already sprouting beneath the snow, visible as the snow pulls away, reminds us of this.
The poppy is, as is Persephone, everywhere, filled with its rich nectar and dark wells at their center. They are the blossoms flowering between the worlds.