Goddess of the Grain

Every winter, When the great sun has turned his face away, The earth goes down into a vale of grief, And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables, Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay-- Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.
- Charles Kingsley, Saint's Tragedy (act III, sc. 1)


Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture and grain; a kind and benevolent goddess, she was beloved for her service to mankind in giving them the gift of the harvest, the reward for cultivation of the soil. Ceres was credited with teaching humans how to prepare and grow grain and corn, and to be responsible for the fertility and preservation of the land.

Ceres had a daughter, Persephone, who was Queen of the underworld. Persephone was such a beautiful young woman that everyone loved her, even Hades wanted her for himself. One day, when she was collecting flowers, the earth suddenly opened and Hades rose up from the gap and abducted her. None but Zeus, and the all-seeing sun, Helios, had noticed it.


Broken-hearted, Ceres wandered the earth, looking for her daughter until Helios revealed what had happened. Ceres was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and the earth ceased to be fertile. Knowing this could not continue much longer, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to make him release Persephone. Hades grudgingly agreed, but before she went back he gave Persephone a pomegranate. When she later ate of it, it bound her to underworld forever and she had to stay there one-third of the year. The other months she stayed with her mother. When Persephone was in Hades, Ceres refused to let anything grow and winter began.

This myth is a symbol of the budding and dying of nature. In th e Eleusinian mysteries, this happening was celebrated in honor of Ceres and Persephone.


Flora and fauna refer to plant and wildlife, respectively. The indigenous plant and wildlife of a geographical region is often referred to as that region’s flora and fauna. Both are collective terms, referring to groups of plant or wildlife specific to a region or a time period.

By definition, flora is a word of Latin origin referring to Flora, the goddess of flowers. She is sometimes called the handmaiden of Ceres. Flora can refer to a group of plants, a disquisition of a group of plants, as well as to bacteria. Flora is the root of the word floral, which means pertaining to flowers. Fauna can refer to the animal life or classification of animals of a certain region, time period, or environment. Fauna is also of Latin origin. In Roman Mythology Fauna was a good spirit of the forest and plains.

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