WEFOUNDCare of the Ancient Ones: Gentle Eldercare in the Rough-and-Tumble World of Modern Medicine

According to the myth, during her search Demeter traveled long distances and had many minor adventures along the way. In one she taught the secrets of agriculture to Triptolemus . [17] Finally, by consulting Zeus, Demeter reunites with her daughter and the earth returns to its former verdure and prosperity: the first spring.

If one supposes that Persephone stayed with Hades for four months and Demeter eight months, corresponding to eight months of growth and abundance to be followed by four months of no productivity, [18] the parallel with the Mediterranean climate of ancient Greece can be seen. The four months during which Persephone is with Hades correspond to the dry Greek summer, a period during which plants are threatened with drought. [19] At the beginning of autumn when the seeds are planted, Persephone returns from the underworld and is reunited with her mother, and the cycle of growth begins anew.

This reading of the ritual, however, does not square with the central foundation document of the mystery, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter line 415, where Persephone is explicitly said to return in the spring of the year, not the fall: "This was the day [of Persephone's return], at the very beginning of bountiful springtime." [20]