Those Olympians! They think they have the corner on the market. Well, power will do that to you. Those of us who are older and who have been there know that power is like the tide – it comes and goes. And when it goes, you’d better have something else to hold onto.
Me? I watch a lot. I’m an observer, you might say. I get very quiet. My power, such as it is, comes from that. I’ve grown comfortable with the dark. No one else seems to want it, so I’ve claimed the territory. Even Selene, who reigns in the dark, is the light there. I am the dark in the dark. When travelers reach the place where roads diverge, I am there to insist that they choose: the way of authenticity or the way culture prescribes. You can see why humans have come to fear me.
You wonder what happened with Persephone. I use her name, her own name, notice, while others call her “Demeter’s daughter. I did that, too, before it all happened. Not now. She’s earned the right to her name. Many say it means “The Destroyer.” That’s nonsense. She destroys nothing. That’s simply mortals’ fear of death speaking. I prefer “She Who Shines in the Darkness.” She has grown into power and continues to do so.
Well, I was going to tell you what happened. It started in the borderlands. You see, I live on the edges, the borders. It is where I have to be. In my cave, I heard a cry but was too late to see anything when I went out to investigate. Some days later I saw Demeter out searching. She looked wretched – not her usual state, for sure – and I finally put two and two together. I suggested to her that Helios would have seen something. In her distress she wasn’t thinking clearly and it hadn’t occurred to her, so I took her to him. I don’t think he meant to be hurtful, but, as I said, those Olympians are so full of themselves that they don’t think. When he told her that Zeus had allowed Hades to take her daughter away to be his bride, she was furious and ran off. I let her go. There was little I could do for her at that point, and I knew she had to work things out for herself.
When I saw the earth begin to dry up, I realized what had happened. It was the perfect response, Demeter removing all fertility from the green world. I disliked the suffering, though, and also how dusty and ugly everything became. She forced Zeus’ hand, and I was secretly happy to see it. It isn’t my way to blatantly challenge those male power-hoarders, but, oh, I am glad when they receive some comeuppance. That’s a little petty of me, I guess. Oh, well!
So, I waited to see what would happen. When Persephone returned, I went to see them, mother and daughter. I don’t ordinarily meddle, but I did feel I had a role in this series of events, albeit a small one. And I had been terribly concerned for the girl. For Demeter, too, but I knew she would eventually find her way. I’m pleased to say they both welcomed me.
I didn’t know the child well before, but I could see the shift in her, and I could foresee the changes to come. She was moving into her own power. Demeter may not have noticed – she was just glad to have her daughter back, even if it wasn’t permanent. But this young woman (not a child any longer) was going to assume great and grave duties (no pun intended). An idea struck me and I voiced it without hesitation. I offered to precede and follow her. I had, have, things to share, things to teach, about dark and light ways, and companionship to offer. You could call me her mentor. Yes. I won’t speak of what passes between us – that is between us. Suffice it to say, I have taken on this role, and I believe it has served her. And, if I am completely honest, me, too. it has served me, too.