Family Archetypes, Finding a familiar image in the myth of Demeter and #Persephone

I’m starting my second quarter at Pacifica Graduate Institute. In my first week of, Healing Power of Creativity, we are looking at myth and sand-play. The course is taught by Priscilla Taylor, L.M.F.T., Ph.D. and covers, “Sand-tray therapy, dance therapy, psychotherapy, art therapy, music therapy, and narrative therapy are recently established therapeutic modalities in psychology today, to name but a few. Though these forms of therapy are relatively new to Western psychology, they have ancient roots and cross-cultural shoots. This course uses a multi- modal approach to experience the ways in which creative expression can be personally and collectively healing.” – course description

My assignment was to select an image from the story of Demeter and #Persephone do some active imagination and see talk about the process.

Bringing the mythic image to life in your imagination


Demeter then takes off in her dragon-pulled cart, and Ovid provides very detailed descriptions of her flying over all the known world and also through the heavens, asking of all about her daughter’s fate, until finally the sun tells her what happened.
(2014-04-15). The Long Journey Home: Re-Visioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time (Kindle Locations 423-425). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

In the drawing I focused on the face of the dragon. She is also a protective mother involved in seeking. Demeter is on the back of her dragon. The relationship between Demeter and her dragon is oneness. Demeter is a small figure, stiff, standing on her active dragon.

Demeter is emotional in her search, feeling hopeless but committed. The rhythmic sound of wings beating is a comforting companion in their search. The clouds become stormy as their moods darken and the search continues.

Lesson about the healing power of re-telling a myth

The big picture I got from the initial reading, The Long Journey Home: Re-Visioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone, was about the changes that occur in retelling of stories. Basically it’s like a game of telephone where each person changes the message a little and at the end it’s a vary different message from the start. I felt this particularly strongly because I just completed a quarter of study on the Inanna myth. It’s hard not to see strong connections and also changes between the Inanna myth and that of Demeter and Persephone.

Being more aware of myth variations, and feeling encouraged to embrace the tendency as a storyteller to add details to the original image, was nice. Basically we can learn something about ourselves by noticing what elements we are identifying with in a particular myth. I think my focus on Demeter and the dragon was because that image resonated with me already. I like the image of a female warrior and this character is already living in my psyche. I have read other books where the warrior women or heroine was a dragon rider and feel connected to that character.

Lessa and her dragon, Ramoth, from Dragonflight (Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey

Version of the myth of Persephone and Demeter