Persephone with Orchid (2017)
Persephone, daughter of the Earth Goddess Demeter, called also Kore (“Maiden”), reaches to touch a wondrous flower created by Hades, God of the Underworld, to entice her. Tradition has it that the flower in question was an orchid, which is also associated with male sexuality.
The story of Persephone can be seen in many ways— as an abduction, as initiation, even, in much older versions of the story, as a coming into Queenship as Persephone becomes co-ruler of the Underworld. Her mother Demeter wandered heaven and earth to find her lost daughter, not permitting any plants to grow until she was found. At last an agreement was reached that permitted Persephone to spend half the year with her mother (Spring and Summer) and half with Hades (Autumn and Winter).
The full mythic cycle of Persephone, Demeter, and her Underworld Journey and Return formed the basis for the Eleusinian Rites of ancient Greece.