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“Hymn to Demeter” is an ancient Greek poem dating back to seventh century B.C.E. It is one of the ancient writings that documents and carries seasonal rituals that were conducted to glorify and praise ‘great goddess’, whose sacred presence incorporates powers of agriculture, vegetation and the cosmic laws. The hymn indicates a historical or cultural period when it was written and reveals textual mysteries that prompt readers to seek the origin of such rituals in a pre-patriarchal paradigm. A psychologist Carl Jug believes that spiritual transformation of individual can be brought about ‘indirectly’ as opposed to ‘directly’. Jug believes that one attains a spiritual transformation by participating in rituals that take place outside an individual and the person has to witness and take part in it. Jug insists that spiritual transformation cannot be attained by simply passing through the process of death and rebirth. His believe correlates with the “Hymn of Demeter” in various ways as stated in this paper.
The belief of Carl Jug in spiritual transformation correlates to the “Hymn to Demeter” in various ways. According to “Hymn to Demeter”, rituals played a significant role in spiritual transformation; thus, successful completion of a ritual led to a transition into a different spiritual realm. In the hymn, following abduction of Demeter’s daughter by Hades, Demeter demanded to be built a sanctuary to help her reunite with her. After the reunification with her daughter, Demeter was compelled to reveal rites, which she began teaching the inhabitants. The initiations conducted prepared aspirants to obtain the vision of light, to release their subconscious fears and to master them. The initiations revealed by Demeter included reunification of goddesses and the possibilities of immortalization of man. Spiritual transformation mandated that initiates should be present in person during the rights, and this is evident in the “Hymn to Demeter”. For instance, initiates engaged in a ritual that involved wearing of grooves and dancing around the well as part of the initiation.
Also, Persephone obtained her spiritual transformation when she was raped by Hades. Her relationship with Hades involved physical abduction in the meadows, which leads to her daily transformation into the spiritual underworld. Raping of Persephone permanently alters her from being a maiden to Hades wife: a spiritual transformation attained though physical engagement in a ritual of sexual intercourse. The incident of abduction is a transformational process that takes place outside her individual self and leads her to a state of identification symbolized by her marriage with Hades. Moreover, in the myth, when Persephone is raped by Hades, her lifestyle and naïve psychological state was destroyed, which prompted her to find her own identity. Consequently, it promotes the energy of her mother leading to their spiritual transformations till their reunification.
In addition, another correlation that exists between Jug’s belief in spiritual transformation and the “Hymn to Demeter” is illustrated when Persephone physically eats Hades sweet pomegranate, which compelled her to return for a portion during one third of each year. The cyclic return to Hades acts as a ‘burial and resurrection’ process that takes place outside an individual and signifies a ritual of spiritual transformation for Persephone.
Demeter -Persephone’s mysterious mother-daughter relationship is used to illustrate the union of the same, where Persephone is Demeter’s renascent form. The relationship is immortalized and transformed by the continuity of generations passed from grandmother to granddaughters. Thus, spiritual transformation of a mother into a spiritual realm takes place when she gives birth to her daughter - an experience that takes place outside oneself. Woman’s essential self is considered reborn in her daughter. The blood bond existing between Demeter and Persephone results from their capabilities to continue generation of life from their own substance.
In the “Hymn to Demeter”, rituals played a significant role as indirect ways to spiritual transformations. For instance, when Demeter was searching for her daughter Persephone, she planned to secretly make Demophon a god by performing a ritual involving coating and anointing with ambrosia, gentle breathing, while holding bosom and immortalization through daily burning of his mortal spirit in a family hearth. Her ritual was interrupted and she was unable to complete it, making her lament the way the foolish mortals failed to understand the concept of a ritual. The ritual took place outside oneself and guaranteed that upon its completion, Demophon was to undergo a spiritual transformation to become a god - the belief shared by psychologist Carl Jug.