At times I feel as if I am a modern Persephone, abducted by my husband to live in the underworld. An underworld in the classical sense, the ancient Greeks after life, the place where Hades the ruler of the spirit realm abides and where mythology finds its home.
I have lived here for more than a decade, in this world full of ancient mysteries like Persephone who lives for six months each year as the Queen of the underworld. We both live through the constraints our Husbands have created for us. We have eaten from the fruit of love, the original fruit of Adam and Eve, the food of the underworld and so Sicily has become part of our destiny. In a much less elevated role than Persephone I find myself in a dark and strange land full of ancient traditions and histories which are confusing and intriguing at the same time. It is where the foundations of the upper world are, where everything begins and is born up onto the earth. The shadows are deep and sinister, the devil is closer to us than we know.
I am strangely protected, as if being married to a native of the underworld gives me safe passage to see this fascinating place and I am slowly beginning to know the people of the underworld. Keeping in contact with the world above is my life line and I count down the days until I can see the summer’s light again. The darkness plays tricks on my eyes. This place has the danger of becoming a prison, it is easy to be trapped by fear. At times this other world is the opposite to my world and the opposite to myself. Yet I have found another part of myself here.
I cannot resign myself to staying here forever, I need the light of my home and family. There have been times when my hands have trembled. When I have been weak with tears, woe and vain worry. Depression is a dark veil which threatens me. Yet in a real paradox part of my genetic make up and families personal mythology comes from this place which makes me connect with many elements of life here. My fascination with the mysteries of Sicily keep me enthralled. It is strange, how I can be an insider and a foreigner at the same time? But I have this constant flow between perspectives which balance one another, it is an ebb and flow of both a love and hate.
I cannot push the comparison with Persephone too far as she was abducted by Hades in a contrived scheme with Zeus to marry her off, which backfired when Persephone’s mother Demeter the goddess of nature plunged the world into an eternal winter, thanks to her grief at being separated from her daughter. I don’t think my mother has these powers but all mothers are saddened when their young ones leave home. Luckily Zeus was able to make a deal with Demeter to share her daughter with the underworld, giving us the relief of four different seasons instead of the eternal winter of a grieving mother’s heart.